1. In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?A documentary presents factual information about a particular topic for the audiences interest.For our task we were required to create a 5 minute opening for a documentary based on a topicof our choice. As well as this, we had to create a 30-45 second radio trailer and a double pagespread of a magazine on the same topic. To enable us to do this we needed to research into ourtopic of childcare so we had relevant and interesting information to begin creating ourdocumentary.The ways in which it follows the codes and conventions of a TV documentary:In a TV documentary there a certain codes and conventions which are things that are alwaysexpected to be in it and our aim was to follow these when creating our own. This meant that ourdocumentary was as professional as possible for the viewers because we wanted to make itresemble a real TV documentary. Examples of key codes and conventions expected in a TVdocumentary would be first of all, expert interviews, as our chosen topic was childcare, weinterviewed experts in this field such as the owner and worker of “teddy bears nursery”. Thismeant that our documentary used a narrative structure meaning that an persuasive argument isused throughout as the price of child care was debated by the experts as they gave their viewson the issue. Furthermore, statistics have been used to discuss the argument further and discusshow the raising cost of childcare is overall a good thing.Secondly, actuality has been used in our documentary as most of our footage was recorded andtaken by us on the college cameras, for example footage of the children at the nursery playingetc. This is also a convention that is found in real life documentaries and means that real lifeevents are filmed at the time it happens and is referred to as ‘actuality’.
Thirdly, another convention would be a voice over often known as the voice of god. This is one ofthe most important things to be used in a documentary as it gives the audience informationabout the topic as they are watching the documentary – we have used a voice over in ourdocumentary as someone in our group discusses the childcare topic.Furthermore, vox pops have been used which add to the interest of the documentary and is oftenfound in TV documentaries. Lastly a small amount of archival or found footage has been includedin our documentary which adds details without further filming needed.Bill Nicholls’ theory of Documentary Modes introduced the different documentary styles there are for example, poetic, observational, expositional, reflexive, per formative and participatory.Just like in the show ‘supersize me’ the film maker is included in the show, and this is known as the per -formative or participatory mode.This makes the show more direct to theaudience as the film maker is first hand involvedwith what is happening. We decided this was not an appropriate mode to use for our documentary based on child care as there was no way we could use this to an effective standard, We felt another modewas more appropriate to use when creating ourdocumentary. Secondly, the observational mode usually uses no voice over or music and is therefore extremelydifferent to our documentary. It also uses ‘fly on the wall’’.
The expositional mode includes a narrative voiceover and also includes many facts about the topic and is therefore the on that was most suited to our documentary because we included both of these things with our off screen voiceover constantly speaking about statistics revolving child care.As part of our A2 course, we watched the show ‘supersize me’ before creating our own documentary which helped us too understand what is expected of our own. Although this documentary was a different mode to what our own would be, other codes and conventions could still help us.. For example, the use of the camera in real life documentaries and many shots had been used such as… medium close ups, close ups, extreme close ups, establishing shots and long shots. All shots had been used for different purposes and this we took note of to help us when creating our own documentary and deciding on the shots we would use in it. The hand held camera was used frequently in supersize me and enabled the audience to feel as if they were involved completely in what was happening as it gives the documentary a more realistic feel. Therefore, we decided to use it in our documentary for the same effect on the audience. Furthermore, a tripod was also used in both supersize me and our own documentary for variation of camera shots so the whole documentary was not the same which might have made it boring. We used the tripod for the shot of the sign ‘teddy bears nursery’ as we felt it would be more effective is it was a completely still shot rather than hand held. We also zoomed in on this for added effect. Another time we used the tripod was for expert interviews with the manager and workers of ‘teddy bears nursery’ and gave them a more professional feel than what would have been portrayed with the hand held camera, we felt this shot was more suitable for this part of the documentary. The tripod also meant that we could use a pan or tracking shot which we did for the shot of the nursery.
It must be ensured that sound is used appropriately in TV documentaries for example when choosing what background music to use, whether to use a voiceover and narrator and non diagetic or diagetic sound. In supersize me, a presenter and narrator was used as Morgan spurlock was involved in the show as he was a guinea pig to see the effects of a mcdonalds only diet. For our documentary, we felt we only needed to use the off screen voice over as a presenter would not be appropriate for our topic.Our music choice was "campfire" from garage band. We chose to use this music as we felt it fitted our documentary the most - it is upbeat and exciting which strongly relates to the topic of the documentary being childcare. If a slow or more serious peice of music was played throughout the documentary it would create a more negative atmosphere and would not fit with the topic as well so this is why we have chosen this particular peice of music. This music is played for the split screen section which then fades into the Nick Clegg interveiw. Throughout the rest of the documentary we have used intrumental music quietly below our voice over and footage. The music levels are appropriate. When there is a voiceover, the music is not too loud so that the voice is not blocked out but it is still heard by the audience for added interest. In documentaries we are aware that it is extremely important that the music relates to what the documentary is based on otherwise it would not be professional.
Research was an important aspect of our documentary, as like in ‘supersize me’ where facts where given to the veiwers about the effects of fast food diets, we had to make sure the information we were giving was suitable, informative and exciting for the audience to keep them entertained whilst watching. To do this, we spent a lot of our planning researching into the issue of free childcare for under twos and preparing the voice over script so we were presenting it to the audience in an effective way to keep them engaged in the documentary.Another TV documentary we looked at was ‘One Born Every Minute’. We felt this was a good show to help us with creating our own as it was based around children so would be helpful to follow the codes and conventions. A male voice over introduced the documentary to the audience “a baby is born every minute. Of every hour” – this means that the audience, if not already will have an idea of what the documentary is about. This statement also relates to the title of the documentary and is therefore relevant. In our documentary we have used a male voice over which also gives the readers important information about our topic, childcare.
Background and ambient sounds are played behind the voiceover in relation to the documentary. It is sounds of women giving birth and creates the scene for the show. We have also used background sounds of children playing behind the male voice over for this same effect on the viewers.A montage of videos of women giving birth and other clips is used in the documentary before the actual show begins, once again giving the audience an idea of the topic of it and what type of thing will be involved in the show. If they do not like seeing people giving birth – they are best to switch over now. This is something we did in our own documentary as shown below.Real footage is used in this documentary and there is no found footage at all as it is filmed at Great Ormond St hospital. Examples of the real footage used are the midwife’s talking or on a lunch break and the women giving birth. The women giving birth needed to consent to being filmed, this is something that we needed to do with our documentary as well as we had to make sure the parents of the children being filmed consented to us using their videos and images of their children in our documentary. Real footage is an important factor to be included in a documentary and nearly all of the footage we used in our documentary is real footage as well.
The main camera shots used within the documentary are first of all the hand held camera.This appears to be used when the midwife’s are panicking and therefore successfully createstension for the audience. It is also used in other areas of the documentary for example whenfilming the couples walking through halls of the hospital etc. The use of the hand held cameranot only creates tension but also makes the audience feel as if they are first hand watchingwhat is happening rather than over a television screen so the documentary portrays a morereal experience to their viewers. This is used in contrast with the steady camera on a tripodused for the calmer scenes of the husband and wife talking etc.Another camera shot used would be the establishing shot used at the beginning of thisdocumentary to show where the footage will be filmed, inside “Great Ormond St. hospital”.We have chosen to use all three of these camera shots whilst filming our documentary.Furthermore, a high angle shot appears to be used a lot throughout the documentary as thecamera is looking down on the women giving birth and then again after the child has beenborn.Within the “One Born Every Minute” documentary, an effect has been used on the text whenthe title fades out onto a black screen – this gives the documentary a more professional feeland is why we used it in ours as well. Interviews are used in this documentary when theparents are at home talking about their relationship etc. We have used interviews in ourswhen we talk to the owners and workers of nurseries and child minders.
Overall, I feel our documentary was successful in conforming to and developing the codes and conventions of that of a real media documentary – watching ‘supersize me’ and ‘one born every minute’ helped us to make our documentary as professional as possible to the viewers. Although, as expected, certain parts of our documentary could be improved such as the sound levels as the interview with Nick Clegg seemed to be a lot quieter than the rest of the footage, this is because it was the only piece of found footage. This is something that we would need to work on to improve the quality of our documentary.
2. How effective is the combination of your main product and ancillary texts?In addition to our documentary, we also created a radio trailer and a double page spread for a magazine article which worked at advertising the show in the same way that is done with real media products.Our target audience is adults and parents of children in child care as the documentary discusses the effects of free child care for under twos. As well as parents, it is aimed at the owners and workers of nurseries and child minders around the country because they would be interested in this as well. Furthermore, it is aimed at both male and female parents as both could be looking after a child. The age range would most likely be between 20 and 40 of all different classes although the people most likely to be putting there children in childcare are middle class. To make sure we targeted this audience we needed to make sure all 3 of our products would attract this audience in the same way.Radio trailerRadio trailers are always between 30 - 45 seconds and advertise and inform when the documentary will be on and what time it will be on. They also persuade the listeners to watch it by including clips from the documentary so that the audience have an idea of what will be involved in the show.
Radio trailerTo gain understanding of what is expected of a radio trailer, we analysed existing ones such as the Italian grand prix.Radio trailers are always between 30 - 45 seconds and advertise and inform when thedocumentary will be on and what time it will be on. They also persuade the listenersto watch it by including clips from the documentary so that the audience have an ideaof what will be involved in the show.Conventions of radio trailers are information on the time and date of the show and the channel that it will be shown on - these are important aspects of a radio trailer.There are also vox pops that are taken out of the documentary and lastly, the use ofrelevant background music and instrumentals for added interest. All of which we usedin our own radio trailer to make it professional and encouraging. For example, the use of music was up beat just like in the documentary so was again suitable to the chosen topic. We also used interviews and vox pops taken out of our documentary and used the same person for the voiceover as well so both were combined.I felt it was effective to the target audience as it worked at encouraging them to watch our documentary and also gave them key information such as the time and day that it would be on and also the channel that it would be shown on. As well as this, the radio trailer gives the audience a taster of what would be shown in the documentary and is appropriate for the target audience. Despite the up beat temp, we ensured that the radio trailer, as well as our documentary was not childish even though it is about the topic of childcare so that we attracted the right audience – adults. I feel we did this in a successful way as we made the rest of our radio trailer as mature and professional as we possibly could.The radio trailer could be improved in that the choice of music should have been the same as the music used in our documentary. This would have made it more professional and more related to the documentary itself. Furthermore, the part of Nick Clegg interview that has been used is quieter than the rest of the radio trailer and is something we need to alter in both this and our documentary.
Magazine articleThe magazine article presents and promotes the documentary but in a different way and a perhaps less appealing way to the audience. We needed to make this look professional and to resemble a real magazine as much as possible. We decided to use bright colours and to make it look exciting as we felt that would be the most appropriate for our topic even though we were aiming it at an older audience so it may be harder to make this appeal to the target audience.As well as colour choices, we ensured that we chose a main image that was appropriate and appealing to the readers at a first glance as this is an important aspect of a magazine article. This is why we carefully chose a cute picture of a small baby taken inside a nursery which we felt was a good one to use as stereotypically this would automatically appeal to parents. Another way that we made the magazine look as much like a real one as possible was following the codes and conventions, for example, one striking image on one side of the page and text on the other that is appropriate to the topic. This is how we set out our own double page spread. Furthermore, as expected on a magazine about a documentary, the time date and channel is given to the reader as it states next to the image “Your children, Thursday 17th Jan, 9pm, Channel 4”. A grab quote is also used in bigger text and a different font to make the magazine seem like a real media product that’s quoting real people. “I couldn’t believe how much money we were wasting.” which encourages the audience to read to article and find out what it is about.
I feel that the magazine article could be improved in some ways. First of all, the c in ‘cash’ in the title could be hard for some people to read as the colour blends in with the background and may not look as professional as we wanted it too. This could be improved by using a darker shade of yellow so it is easier to read. Secondly, the image appears to be slightly larger and over to the right of the page, this is not a huge problem but would not be something that would be found in a real media product. Overall, the magazine article is extremely successful in attracting the target audience through the use of colours and what is being said. It has a professional look and definitely resembles a real magazine. Therefore, I think it would successfully encourage the audience to watch our documentary so fulfils its main purpose.We chose radio times as the magazine company to compare our own magazine too. This is because they have a huge fan base of mainly adults and these are the target audience of our own magazine. In order to do this we had to follow the conventions of this successful magazine company by similarly using columns to split our text and main image so it looks presentable. Also, a drop cap, grab quote and main image.In the making of our main product and ancillary tasks, we used final cut express, garage band and Indesighn.
3. What have you learned from your audience feedback?We carried out a questionnaire after the making of our documentary which helped us to understand to a better standard what others thought about our documentary, radio trailer and double page spread.The main findings of our audience feedback were first of all that the people who completed it felt that the target audience was parents over just adults, as expected because this is correctly the right answer. We also discovered that the editing was seen to be more effective than the sound levels which is something we realised that we needed to work on and the audience had picked up on this as well and later on answered a question revealing that the most popular thing that the public would improve was also the sound levels.We were happy that the audience feedback about the magazine article showed that every single one felt it was suitable for radio times. Furthermore, all of the answers about our magazine were positive as the audience informed us that the article was completely relevant to the childcare topic and also that the image used was a good choice describing it as “fitting the topic perfectly and enticing parents to read the article”. However, as we were aware some improvements could have been made and the audience acknowledged this as well. The most popular suggested improvement was a different use of colours and looking back now I feel this could have been a good thing to change as it is perhaps to much too look at. As well as this 1 person said to add a title even though a title is given so I don’t feel this is a helpful improvement. 4 people also said to use a drop shadow to make the title stand out which is something that we will definitely work on and would help us to improve the article. On the other hand, most people did say they could not think of any ways to improve it.
The radio trailer questions were the last part of the questionnaire and seemed to have an equal mixture of both positive and negative feedback intending that it was a weaker and less effective part of our project.As well as the magazine article it was answered that the trailer was relevant to the topic. Questions 2, 3 and 4 revealed that the audience once again felt that the sound levels were a problem with the radio trailer as they were in the documentary and this is something that should be improved which we will take into account. Other improvements that were said that could be made were to make it longer and fade the ending. We feel this was not done because of the time limit we were left with to create this and therefore time management is another thing we will work on.I feel that the audience reacted in a way that was expected as we knew our documentary, radio trailer and double page spread was not perfect and had room for improvement. Although, I do feel that the ratings we were given could have been slightly higher, especially the 6.2 we were given for the radio trailer as the only improvements to be made were sound and length.However I am happy with the 7.4 that we received for our documentary and double page spread.
4. How did you use media technologies in the construction and research, planning and evaluationSTAGE 1: PLANNING AND RESEARCH stages?Before creating our documentary we had to research into the chosen topic and from this create a plan of what we wanted out documentary to look like. To do this we first of all mind mapped ideas, with a few bulletpoints underneath and from this decided the best topic to base It on because this is what we had the most information on and easiest access too.This was simply done on a word document and other planning was doneon paper and drawn by hand, for example, the story board of how thedocumentary would appear and what order everything would be in.This especially helped us in that it made it easier when we began creatingthe documentary. To research into our topic of childcare we used Google tosearch information on news sites to establish what the main focus of our documentary could be. From this we found information on a new law allowing free child care from under twos which we decided would be a good idea. The news sites we used were BBC and the guardian. These were also helpful in that we had reliable statistics and facts to use in our documentary which made it professional and unbiased. Furthermore, it was important that we got a wider range of knowledge about existing documentaries as we knew this would help us in creating our own to the best standard possible. This is why we used the internet at home and websites such as 4od and BBC I player to watch similar documentaries based around the same topic for example I watched “one born every minute”.
STAGE 2: FILMINGTo take images and videos the college provided us with equipment which included a Canon HG20 HD Camera. After a brief of how to use this wefound it simple to use and it enabled us to get all the footage we needed. The tools we used on the camera ranged from zooming in and out, focus change – as some of the shots we wanted to be blurry. Lastly, the white balance meant we could make the lighting look as natural as possible.We used the camera to take videos of the children in the nursery andchildminder playing and singing and the zoom in was a particularly good onethat we used a lot during these videos as it gave a closer look to the audience.We also used it for still shots of the children and the sign post to‘teddy bears nursery’. A tripod was also provided and we used this forthe interviews as it was important that these shots were steady andenabled us to do more zooming and pan shots unlike most of the otherfootage which we used a hand held camera as we felt this had the best effectfor these particular shots. In the process of filming we also used a microphoneand headphones so that we could hear what we were filming and ensure thatwhen sound
Blogger.com is a website that we used as a group to upload all our work onto and we all contributed in doing this. It was very helpful as it meant that no work would be lost, and we could put as much work as we wanted onto the blog. Also we were able to go back and look at past findings when creating our documentary which particularly helped us for writing our script for the voice over in using the statistics and facts we may have found in one of the first lessons.
STAGE 3: EDITING OF FOOTAGEAfter every time of collecting our footage, we had to upload it to the apple Mac before everything on the camera would be erased for another group to use. To do this we copied and pasted the folder with our images and videos in to the media drive. The editing of our documentary was done on final cut express. First of all we log and transferred all of our clips followed by labelling the ones we wanted so we could identify what they were. After this had been done, we were able to start putting the clips together to make our documentary. As expected, a lot of editing was done in the process of creating it. We cut clips down so that they were the length we wanted them to be and single out the part that we wanted to use by using the razor blade tool. We also created a montage of videos and added text to certain parts of the documentary such as the interview with Julie Cooper and Jan Pitt talking about Teddy Bears Nursery. The type writer effect enabled us to position the text where we wanted it too appear. One main transition that we learnt to use was a fade, which is also found in real documentaries and we felt it looked good at the beginning of the documentary as the video of the children singing fades into the title of the documentary, similarly done in ‘supersize me’. We felt this made it interesting from the beginning.
STAGE 4: VOICEOVER AND MUSICAfter the editing of the clips had been finished, we recorded and added our voiceover and positioned it where we wanted it to be in relation to what the audience will be watching. We also used garage band to create music that would be played over other parts of the documentary. This track was exported as an mp3 and opened in final cut express to be placed onto our timeline and appropriately added and completed the documentary.