Introduction. As part of our A2 Media coursework, we were told to make a documentary focusing on teenagers and their lives. Documentaries more often than not focus on controversial topics so our group, me, Sarah Lordan and Tarandeep Singh decided to go on that and chose the topic of phones and the way they are consuming the lives on teenagers. It has been said by some that we live in a world where losing our phones is a bigger deal than losing our virginity and when we looked at the statistics about phones and the comments by students about how much time they spend on their phones, it is quite possibly true in more cases than it isn’t. This was enough for us to decide to go ahead with the documentary with this as the main topic. While it was a struggle at first to get started and ahead of steam, we got there and managed to complete the documentary, the listings page and radio trailer. Three tasks done, now the evaluation.
In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge codes and conventions of real media products? During the making the of the production for the documentary, we had to make three pieces of work – A documentary based on teenagers and a listings page and radio trailer to go with the documentary and try and sell it. To do this, we needed to look at different media products to get the normal conventions of a media product, as well as adding in our own style to it. We had a look around at different websites and channels in order to find a couple of documentaries that were to do with our topic of the way phones are consuming the lives on teenagers and we came across two of them on the BBC’s panorama website, a programme shown weekly that highlights the big topics and digs out the dirt on them. We realised as a group that if we could take some of the codes and conventions of a documentary shown to people all over Britain, we’d have a decent documentary, so we studied them, took the best parts and tried to implement similar techniques into our own documentary. Or as good as we could anyway!
The Channel Four Ident. The first thing we noticed was the channel ident for the documentary. Anything shown on TV starts off with the channels ident to make sure you know what channel you are watching while there is an over voice at the same time that lets the viewer know what’s on now and what is coming up shortly. We did this exact thing in our own documentary and succeeded. As we decided on making the programme a channel four documentary, a channel famed for it’s documentaries on the weird and wonderful side of life from the sex education show to the secret millionaire. With this in mind, being a channel four documentary would sell the programme well and would happily get people talking about the show. The voiceover for the programme had to be related to channel four as the show is being shown on there. We decided on a simple sentence which told the viewers what would be in after this documentary and then to present the actual programme about to be shown. A typical convention of a documentary- the channel ident. This is one of many Channel four idents shown on normal television that we used for our one.
The montage . A montage is used in every documentary as part of the opening sequel to make the programme look more exciting and grab the attention of the viewer straight away whilst the narrator explains why the documentary has been made and is likely to also talk about statistics and comments made by people concerned with the topic as they attempt to grab the readers attention. To go with the images and clips from interviews, there is also normally background music to go with the montage to keep a tempo and give the montage an atmosphere. In our documentary, we have done all of this with the background music going with the images of mobile phones being used by several people. An image montage should be able to tell the viewer what the documentary is about without even explaining in words which is what we’ve done. All different clips of different types of phones and research of phones has been used in order to create the feeling towards the viewers that this documentary has something to do with phones and why people use them. To go with the images we have the narrator who, in time with the images and music, gives an overview of what the documentary is about and gives many statistics about mobile phones squeezing in as much as she can to persuade the viewers that this is a serious problem and the viewer should really stay and watch to find out more about the problem at hand. Above: A clip from the montage of Phone-ophilia. Below: A clip from an actual documentary shown on TV focusing towards phones.
Naming the programme For any programme, there has to be a name for it which goes along with the actual topic of the documentary. It is also very rarely shown at the start of the programme as it tends to start just after the montage. As a group, we followed the codes and conventions of documentaries by putting the name of the documentary in writing shortly after the documentary had been shown. As you can see from the two clips from the right, they are generally shown in large writing on the screen for everybody to see, so they know the name of the programme they are watching when watching it. We came up with the name for the documentary in our group as the term ‘ophilia’ is put towards obsessions. For example, necrophilia which is attraction to the dead and hydrophilia which is an attraction to water. Phoneophilia is a play on the word which basically means the attraction or obsession towards phones. The moment the name of the programme is revealed to viewers watching both of the programme’s in the images.
Vox Pops Vox pops are a convention used in most documentaries as it allows the viewer to see the publics view on the controversial subject the documentary is being shown for. It gives the viewer a sense of appreciation and that everyday people can have their views broadcasted on television. In our documentary, we have used vox pops to ask college students how much time they spend on their phone during a single day in order to show the people watching just how much time is spent on mobiles a day to highlight the biggest problem to start with before cutting to all the stuff in between that issue. For a vox pop to work, the interviewer has to be standing one side of the camera with the person being asked the question on the other side of the camera looking across towards the interviewer. This accounts for the rule of thirds. As you can see from the image in the top right corner, a clip from Phone-ophilia, the interviewee is one side of the camera leaving the other two thirds of the shot free. It is very similar from a clip from an actual live documentary which is shown in the bottom right. The rule of thirds. Both interviewee’s are one side facing the opposite way.
Interviews. A documentary without an interview never happens ever because the big interviews are where the biggest and best opinions come from. From the people who know what they are talking about and are involved in a line of work that involves the topic the documentary is focusing on. In our documentary, we have two main interviews with two people who are both involved within the phone business. The first, right , was a man who works at a local phone shop in Sparkbrook, Birmingham, who spoke his mind on how much of an obsession phones have become and whether they will replace other technologies as more and more things are capable of being done on the phones. The second interview was with a phone technician who knows the inside knowledge about mobile phones such as what they can do nowadays and where the phone business could be in the future. In any documentary, the main interviews have to be done with those who know what they are talking about and also be able to answer the questions given to them. We believe the two interviews we got, answered those questions.
Title and sub-heading The title of the article is the main piece, so it has to be the one thing that stands out above all else. With the use of different colours and the drop shadow tool, I believe I have done this. At first, it was just a title that was fairly big and at the top of the page. However, we had to make the title stand out so we stretched out the writing to as large whether we could to fit the one half of the page. The use of the colours black and red connotes the idea of danger, that it can be a dangerous idea that we are becoming addicted to our phones. The drop shadow simply helps the title stand out, which is needed for any title of any page. As for the title itself ‘R U Addicted?’, this goes with the texting fashion today where people spell ‘are you’ as ‘r u’ making it shorter and quicker to type in. The subheading has to then give a short explanation about why the article was made, who was involved and when the piece is to be shown to the public depending on what it’s about. To make it stand out a bit more, we’ve highlighted the names of the documentary makers so the people who are reading know the stars of the show, the directors who formed the documentary in the first place for this article to even come about.
The article. The actual text in a listings page has to be done just right so you don’t go on too long about the programme you’re selling, but you go on long enough to make it an interesting enough read and leave the reader in suspense as to quite how good the actual programme will be. With the use of several techniques, we have done a good job of making a listings page that follows the codes and conventions of a normal listings page and sells the documentary well. The first paragraph has to be a paragraph that sells the documentary straight away and gives a brief insight to it immediately. ‘Phoning, texting, e-mailing, gaming, music listening, social networking… it seems like phones have everything these days. But have they become an obsession in teenager’s life?’ The first two lines tell the reader exactly what the topic for the documentary is about and also asks the rhetorical question for them to think about before answering it themselves. Also in the article, the date of the documentary has been mentioned twice. Once during the article and the other is just above the article in a different colour so it grabs the readers attention before reading the article, meaning they know where to find the date for it if they do want to watch it. Also, like all articles do, the content has been split into columns to space out the writing and make it look more readable than it would have if it was just into one long winded block of writing.
Pull quote, page number & credits. The three aforementioned conventions are used in articles for different reasons to each other, but all make sense to be used. A pull quote is used to grab the readers interest and pull them towards reading the article. In this case, I’ve used a quote from one of the comments made by one of the makers of the documentary who said ‘Surreal experience really… It’s quite amazing, the stuff we found out’. A simple quote but effective enough to make the reader think what the surreal experience could be, and what was amazing? What did they find out? These questions make the reader and then they want to read the article where they can find out some of these answers and maybe watch the documentary when it is shown on TV. The page numbers simply allow the reader to find the page easier if they see it on the front of the magazine or if they wish to show somebody else the article that they’ve read. It makes life 10 times easier than if there wasn’t page numbers. The credits are there to give credit to those who have sorted the illustrations out and written the article. Somebody may come across the article and like what he has written. If they agree with it, they will want to read more about what he has written and find him quite interesting. They may start buying the magazine more often just to read his article.
Images. In every article, there has to be images. It’s like an unwritten rule in a sense so in the article we’ve used two images that help the magazine look tidier and give it more colour. The main image, bottom left, is of one of the guys who actually takes part in an interview, giving his views on phones and how far they have come. It is a standard image for everybody to see and goes with the topic as he sits there with his two computers behind him with all the wires. A second image is used and placed in between the two columns of writing to again, add more colour and split the columns a bit more. It is also an image of a guy on his phone which links into the mobile debate. To add to the images, there are captions added to them. The captions are short sentences that simply explain the picture and normally have a play on words for a mini heading above them. The second picture has an easy to see caption with ‘A text life’, playing on the words of phrases used such as ‘A hard knock life’ or ‘A tough life’ etc.
The radio Trailer. Firstly, the radio trailer was made with a slow, serious like tone in the background. Most radio trailers will have a catchy jingle or some music in the background to help the trailer flow and give more reason for the listener not to switch off listening to an advert. In our trailer, we have a tone of music that makes the listener think deeply about what they are listening to and gives off the impression straight away about how serious this topic can become if we are not careful about it. (Trailer script) ‘ Contact. Socialising. Addiction. Distraction. An investigation into the lives of teens. Just why are modern day mobiles phones consuming the lives of teenagers? We find out at a local college to get a further insight into this incident. “ It distracts me in class ALL the time” “I can’t live without my phone” Phone-ophilia, Channel 4, 8pm’
In order for the radio trailer to work, the script has to have some typical conventions of a radio trailer when it is trying to sell a programme. For example, we have got the time, date and name of the programme so the people listening know what the programme is called, what channel it is on and the time and date of its showing. Another convention we have used is the rhetorical question. A question that makes the listener think before different opinions and facts come about to answer the question. ‘Just why are modern day mobiles phones consuming the lives of teenagers?’ A question like that can get the reader thinking about the answer and what his opinion of the question is before the question gets answered. If they want to find out though, they have to watch the documentary in a bid for it all to come clear to him or her. A selling technique used all the time. There are four different people speaking in the trailer which means the same voice repeating itself doesn’t become boring and makes the listener switch off. Different voices are used in a lot of trailers so switching off becomes less of an issue and the message can come across a lot more clearly. The usage of two voices of everyday people talking about their own phone obsession helps add to title of the topic- being addicted.
How effective is the combination of your main product and ancillary tasks? In order to sell the documentary, we had to make a listings page and radio trailer. These two products would be advertisements for the documentary so the people of Britain could hear about the documentary, hear the glowing reviews and get people excited and interested about the idea of the programme and make them want to watch it when it is shown on TV. However, the documentary can only be sold so far as it has to try and live up to the expectations itself and be a documentary people would recommend and happily re-watch again if it was on. The balance of advertising the product and the product living up to the high advertisement has to be done properly. Something we’ve tried to do as well as possible throughout the project and tried hard to succeed.
Both tasks highlight the name of the programme which is phone-ophilia. However, there is a slight mishap when introducing the programme time which was an unfortunate error and miscommunication. The listings page actually says the programme will start at 21:00 while the radio trailer calls the start of the programme at 8pm. I think the name of phone-ophilia is highlighted well with the name of the programme simply being based around addiciton. In the script for the radio trailer, addiction and distraction is mentioned which are two of the main problem for teenagers in modern life. As for the listings page, ‘R U Addicted?’ is how you would be more likely to see ‘Are you’ in text language. As for the documentary, the constant images of phones being played in the montage prove the many types of mobiles and different ways of using, showing the addiction. Another use in both the trailer and the listings page is the use of rhetorical questions in a bid to get the viewers interested and trying to answer the questions asked towards them but needing to watch the documentary in order to find out the answers they crave. TRAILER SCRIPT. ‘ Contact. Socialising. Addiction. Distraction. An investigation into the lives of teens. Just why are modern day mobiles phones consuming the lives of teenagers? We find out at a local college to get a further insight into this incident. “ It distracts me in class ALL the time” “I can’t live without my phone” Phone-ophilia, Channel 4, 8pm’
The target audience for the project was teenagers and young adults aged in between the aged of 16-24 or those at college and full time education. For this purpose, we have tried to include shots of teenagers on their phones and also get them to talk about their own phone addictions such has how much time they spend on their phones each day. One problem was that the documentary was advertised on products that children are less likely to listen to or read. The listings page was made in a TV times kind of magazine which lists all the programmes that are on. However, with the internet being around and magazines such as TV Times unlikely to be bought by youngsters, the advertisement is less likely to be seen. And the radio trailer was on Radio Four, another programme that is unlikely to be heard by teenagers as we try and advertise where we can. I think the radio trailer really gets to grips with the hard hitting nature of the controversy and gets the people listening serious and talking about the topic. The listings page is a bit more about the story of the makers and how they’ve come to make a TV documentary. More light hearted than the documentary. Together they have the celebratory and darker sides to make a good mix of a good documentary. Overall, I believe the listings page and radio trailer compliment the documentary well and the pieces above prove it. There is a nice mix of seriousness and light heartedness to impress the people who come across the programme and may enjoy it.
What have you learnt from the audience feedback? For anything that is done in the commercial world, there has to be feedback so you know where you stand on the project. The points you have succeeded in, done really well and made people sit there and appreciate the work you have done. This ground work can be the basis for where you go next time with the project. The foundations of a good project and interesting work. More importantly though, the negative feedback and how it can be turned into positive feedback and make you realise the jobs that need to be improved and achieved in order to give yourself more success when you go and try this kind of thing again. Considering it is the first time we have done this kind of thing, we believe the feedback we have got proved that while there were some mishaps and some thing didn’t go quite right, we did a good job overall of producing a documentary with a listings page and radio trailer to boot.
Documentary feedback. For the documentary, there were a list of features to feed back on by other viewers of our product. The categories to answer were as followed: Excellent, Very Good, Good, Okay and Poor. The viewers watched the documentary then ticked the boxes they felt necessary for the feedback. What we got was a mix of results. The choice of topic. For the topic of obsession with mobile phones in a teenagers life, we gained a mix of results but they generally chose good or very good which meant they believed the topic had a lot of potential and that people would like to see it. Filming/Shooting. A topic based on how well we filmed, including the mise en scene of the filming we did. Overall, we gained a mark of good which meant the viewers were satisfied with the quality of the filming and how we had shot certain images to capture the right feeling for them.
Using sound and music. For the usage of sound and music within the documentary, we got a mixed review with some not to impressed with the outcome, some believing it was okay and others saying that it was quite good and satisfactory for a documentary. Effects. The effects in the documentary are things such as transitions and captions, for example. In our documentary, there was a mixed review between some saying it was good and others saying it was ok. There could have been one or two more effects used to make the product easier to understand. Target Audience This feature was whether the documentary looked like it was being focused on teenagers, the target audience for the programme. This was deemed between good and very good by the viewers which shows we did enough to pull the documentary towards teenagers. Professionalism The professionalism of the documentary was deemed ‘okay’ meaning that compared to real life documentaries, our documentary was quite a way of in terms of matching it.
Listings Page Feedback. For the listings page, the people looking at it were asked to simply look at it and name one or two positives and negatives about the page in their own personal opinion. <ul><li>Positives </li></ul><ul><li>Follows the natural codes and conventions for a listings page </li></ul><ul><li>Good drop shadow effects on the page heading and image. </li></ul><ul><li>Good captions used on the images. </li></ul><ul><li>Uses all the correct techniques. </li></ul><ul><li>Negatives </li></ul><ul><li>More images needed to make the page more interesting. </li></ul><ul><li>A better quality of image needed as well as quantity, also. </li></ul><ul><li>Incorrect use of drop caps in the text. </li></ul><ul><li>A lot of white space. Makes the page look blank and duller. </li></ul>Also, as part of the feedback, the people looking were asked if they could give the article a mark out of 10 based on their opinion. The following marks were given: 7, 7, 7, 7 & 5. Thus giving the overall mark for the page – 6.6.
Radio Trailer Feedback. For the radio trailer, the people looking at it were asked to simply look at it and name one or two positives and negatives about the page in their own personal opinion. <ul><li>Positives </li></ul><ul><li>Good detailed script with appropriate music for the topic. </li></ul><ul><li>The words used in the script are ‘good’. </li></ul><ul><li>The music and the script work very well together. </li></ul><ul><li>The combination of everything flows well. </li></ul><ul><li>Negatives </li></ul><ul><li>Background music is a bit too loud, drowns the narration. </li></ul><ul><li>The trailer is too short. A bit more in terms of a script is needed. </li></ul>Also, as part of the feedback, the listeners were asked if they could give the trailer a mark out of 10 based on their opinion. The marks were as followed: 6, 7, 7, 8 & 9. Thus giving the overall mark – 7.4.
How did you use media technologies in the construction, Research and Planning and Evaluation stages? During the process of making the three products we made, we had to use many different products as we strived to make an effective documentary, listings page and article as we could to complete the project. For the project, we had to use the apple macs as they have many tools on there that can aid a project such as the one we were doing. For starters, there was the Final Cut Express programme which was the place we made the actual documentary and uploaded all of our footage. Canon digital camera’s were used to take all the images and videos that we could have used in the documentary. Garage Band was the tool used to create the Radio Trailer whilst InDesign was used to create the two page article for the Listings Page. Photoshop was used in order to help make the pictures look better. Internet sites like Google, Youtube and Blogger were all used for research and planning as many ideas were explored to try and create the best project possible. And Microsoft Word and PowerPoint have also been useful during the project.
Research and Planning. In order to start any project, there has to be some sort of plan to get an idea of where you are going to head as a group and go forward in the project. When we found out our groups, we got together and decided on a topic for the documentary before putting together a full formal proposal on Microsoft PowerPoint. This included nine slides, one for each part of the planning and it included things such as ideas for any potential ideas for the overall topic, research of current news stories and controversies regarding the topic eventually chosen in order to find facts, statistics and prove how controversial the topic is. Things such as when the show would be shown on TV, initial ideas of what to include in the programme, what channel and the health and safety issues that go with walking around with expensive equipment and choosing the right spots to film, i.e. not in the middle of the road. Also, the feasibility issues like getting permission to film in certain areas and talk to certain people. In a world where suing and privacy is dominant, getting the permission to film around certain places is a must. We then had to show the whole class our presentation to let them see what our ideas were and get other peoples opinions on the matter to help us in our quest to produce a fantastic overall project. We originally decided on doing just phones but were persuaded to try and go with a documentary that would the start of 5 different documentaries focusing on different types of technology that are taking over teen’s lives. Unfortunately, we didn’t quite get all the different shots of all technologies to create that idea in the end though.
Documentary. In order to get the right tools for the documentary, we moved from ordinary computers to the Apple Mac computers, PC’s that are more complex and have more tools on them than the ordinary computer. One tool that was a must for the documentary was Final Cut Express which was the programme used to create the actual film. To shoot for the filming of the documentary, we were given Canon cameras to go out and take images and videos. We were also given tripods to keep the cameras still and be able to focus properly on the intended target for the shot. Microphones were also part of the filming tools in order to add to sound to whatever we had filmed. After filming everything we had to, it was saved onto the Mac’s then when all the filming was done, it was added into a ‘log and transfer’ part in which all the images and videos we had shot were logged all together and transferred onto the actual product. With all the videos into different files, we could pick each shot and drag it towards the bottom where the documentary line is. Then we found all the little tools such as transition effects and learnt how to change the sound levels on Final Cut giving us more options to improve our documentaries and give it a more professional layout and showed our ability to use I.T effectively. We all added things such as captions to make what we put in, more understandable to the viewers as well. One more technology used was the internet and in particular, Youtube and the websites for Channel Four and Panorama in order to view previous documentaries made and also real life documentaries so we can get the basics from real life documentaries.
Listings Page. In order to create a listings page that would be effective enough to sell the documentary and advertise it creatively, Adobe products were used and InDesign and Photoshop to be exact about those products. In Design was the main tool used for the job with the layout of the page being on there and the article being written on there. The colour charts and ability to constantly be able to change and adapt the way the article is laid out was a big influence in choosing In Design above other possible products that could have been used. It also allows a two page set which the article actually covers. Photoshop was another tool used as it gives a chance for the images to be edited and look clearer for the actual article. One tool in particular used on Photoshop was a tool to darken the pictures that were taken in the light so the focus becomes more on the main figure of the picture and not the brightness in the background around it. On In Design, when the images were placed in position on the page, a drop shadow effect was used to highlight the picture a bit more and make it look more impressive and again show the use of I.T. Another tool used was the internet to find other real life articles from real life magazines to get an idea of a stereotypical structure to help structure the page professionally. Sites such as Blogger, where past media groups placed their articles on, and just generally searching around on Google and the websites of magazines that produce similar articles were used.
Radio Trailer. The third of the tasks we had to create in order for the project to be complete was the radio trailer and in order to make the best possible trailer, we used Garage Band on the Apple Mac’s. The radio trailer was left to Tarandeep in our group though as he felt comfortable with the radio trailer and left me and Sarah to get on with other stuff in the project in an attempt to get everything done. What we did all use as a group is M Audio which is a portable voice recorder. As a group, we found a quiet room to go into and record the script involving all three of the group members to make it more diverse. Then the voiceovers were added to the Macs and then brought in to make the radio trailer on Garage Band as shown below.