IN WHAT WAYS DOES YOUR
USE, DEVELOP OR
CHALLENGE FORMS AND
CONVENTIONS OF REAL
Conventions of documentaries include vox pops, interviews, music, graphics, voice
overs and talking heads.
ACTUALITY: Filming real events as they happen
are a convention of real documentary, but this could prove
difficult with certain things like
trying to film a hurricane. This is when archive footage can be
FLY ON THE WALL: This is when you film real people as
they do real things focussed on their lives. In terms of
your documentary, you may be able to film things like
conversation, a live sporting event, or following a
certain individual around.
VOICE OVER: Most documentaries have a voice-over, and a
narration of what the programme is about, giving key
information and introducing the topic of debate. No voice overs
make the documentary
GRAPHICS: Documentaries often use graphics with written
texts. Maps, drawings, still photographs can be incorporated into
the opening sequence through JPEG files.
INTERVIEWS: An expert interview with someone who has
ample knowledge of your topic can give a clear insight into
issues is vitally important.
VOX POPS: This is more of a random interview with someone
on the street with a hand held camera, with a microphone
popping up asking people what they think.
TALKING HEAD: A shot of someone talking directly to the
camera as a
presenter of the documentary could also be used. The talking
head is the authorative figure.
MUSIC: Music is critical for the opening
sequence but the sound of the song or music should not
sequence, you need to balance the sound.
In relation to my media product (Inside Manchester: Music and Fashion) I have
used, developed or challenged these in the following ways:
When gaining interviews to make up my documentary, I used the convention of
vox pops - where random people on the street are targeted to answer a few
questions. This method helped me to gain a wide understanding of many people’s
differing opinions, which I could include on the debate for my documentary.
A few of
Expert interviews are also a key part of a documentary, to gain valid insights
to what experts in the field think or know about the topic. They also could
provide facts or figures and knowledge which may not be generally known. I
interviewed three people of interest in the field of music or fashion to follow
this convention, BBC 6 Music DJ Mark Radcliffe who provided information
on music in Manchester and generally, upcoming singer/songwriter Sam Webb
who we questioned on both topics and Amy Heard who is a teen model
provided knowledge on fashion and any relations to music in the modelling
This is the extended
Mark Radcliffe interview
I edited together as an
extra video people can
watch if they want to see
what else this expert had
This is an expert interview on one of
the documentaries I analysed
initially, complete with caption. It also
is a mid shot framed in the experts
working environment, which I
mirrored when filming my expert
Documentaries also can have a presenter, who looks directly into the camera and leads
the documentary, who also may be the one asking the questions. This authoritative
figure and anyone looking directly into the camera is called a ‘talking head’. I
challenged this convention by not having a direct presenter to introduce the
documentary and only using a voiceover. As I could only create a 5 minute excerpt I
decided to save as much time as I could to include the vox pops and expert opinions
rather than have a presenter. These authoritative figures aren’t always including on all
documentaries, as one of the ones I analysed about ‘Yo MTV raps’ didn’t have a
presenter yet it still flows well and the topic of discussion is easy to follow.
I used a voiceover to
documentary rather than
a presenter as presenters
are mostly found in
historical or nature
documentaries, such as
David Attenborough in
‘the living planet’ rather
than fashion or music
A documentary often targets hard hitting issues or events, and this requires filming real events as they happen which is
Actuality. My documentary wasn’t about significant events particularly so didn’t require this convention, but I did film cutaways
of real people in their daily lives walking or shopping in Manchester; which may be classed as fly on the wall filming, which is
used to capture real people doing real things in their lives, such as following a person around their day to day life. I used
cutaways to set the scene, provide some location details and when switching between questions which are a feature of
documentaries such as Panorama and can also be a feature on the news which reflects a serious edge to my documentary.
Certain things can be hard to film live so this is when Archive footage can be used which is another convention that can be
included to provide a look into the topic it is on from the past. My documentary was about current impacts of fashion and
music rather than the past, so I challenged the need for Archive Footage by not including it, but including opinions of peopl e
who reminisced about the past instead.
Most documentaries then also have a voiceover to introduce the programme and give key information which may be discussed
throughout. I used this convention in the opening sequence which I thought gave a good introduction to the documentary
which would have been the same as having a presenter, but this allowed me to use cut away shots and other documentary
conventions which I may not have been able to include otherwise.
One cut away
An interviewee who
the 80s and 90s
Archive footage in a fashion
and music documentary
Graphics also feature in many, such as photographs in the opening or closing
sequence to provide an overview of the topic in a different format (2D). I
used this convention by having graphics for titles, questions and captions as I
removed the planned opening sequence of including many pictures to use
cutaways instead. I did include some location shots at the end where I added
pictures to follow the 2D or archived footage convention.
graphics and end
A soundtrack or music behind the voiceover or throughout the documentary is also a
main feature, as this provides some background noise over silent clips, or can link the
many vox pops together. The music should be balanced and not be too loud so
opinions cannot be heard. I used two songs behind my documentary (which were kindly
provided and made available for use copyright free by Sam Webb’s band and SoundHub
records) making them relevant to the topics of discussion by showcasing some music
from a local Manchester band. They also linked my interviews well as there was an on-
going noise behind them rather than varying levels of background noise from the
original clips. I developed this convention by using music throughout, rather than only
during the introduction or end credits to provide a more interesting level to the
documentary. I also featured one of the same songs on my radio advert, this was to
create more of a brand image for my products by using similar sounds for both of
them, so its will be easier to recognise they are connected.
Editing techniques in documentaries have a mainly linear narrative, which
mine did about music and fashion, but also is non-linear as the interviews
aren’t chronological and go between different people throughout which
happened to my documentary to make it more interesting and to hear
different people’s opinions on each different question.
I followed this convention by
interviewing many different
people and intertwining
responses if they are longer to
build a narrative between
different responses. The linear
narrative throughout my
documentary was investigating
fashion and music in
Manchester, but each response
in varying orders create a multi
My documentary has included most conventions traditionally found in
documentaries, developed a couple and challenged a few. This makes it a more
valid recognisable documentary from all well-known features but with a
different edge to make it more unique and stand out as a serious documentary
informing audiences about music and fashion within Manchester.
Inspiration for my
Radio advert conventions: I followed the soundtrack convention as in the
background of my advert I used the same track from the opening titles of my
documentary and featured voice overs which were clips from the documentary
like how TV shows promote their programs by including key lines in the radio
ANCILLARY PRODUCTS – RADIO
My radio advert is
similar to these
adverts because it
uses sound clips
from elsewhere – I
sound clips, these
horror and sound
I followed the channel 4 guidelines of layout and font
for portrait a4 to make my newspaper advert realistic
as possible to something that channel 4 may produce.
I challenged the one shocking image convention
channel 4 usual conform to on their adverts, by using
many different pictures to gain interest and focus
audiences attention on comparisons between the
fashion shown rather than one striking or shocking
controversial image. I did this to get them thinking
about the documentary to intrigue them into watching.
Also used a rhetorical question for the tagline to get
the audience thinking further and adding the element
of music I couldn’t quite show on a 2d advert.
ANCILLARY PRODUCTS –
I took inspiration
adverts using lots
of images rather
than just one.
This is how I used the
same layout in my
HOW EFFECTIVE IS
OF YOUR MAIN AND
MY 3 PRODUCTS
My products all intertwine with each other, they are all about the same thing (Inside
Manchester) so include the same details and pictures or interviewees so it is clear that
they are all related as the topic is the same for each and the theme is continuous. I tried
to combine them as much as possible by using as many similar things as I could.
I did this by using the interviews as much as possible, not only in my documentary but
including voice clips in my radio advert from the documentary and still images of the
interviewees on my newspaper advert so they all are involved with each other.
COMBINATION OF PRODUCTS
Mark Radcliffe featuring in
my documentary and my
These people featuring in my
advert and my radio advert
The interaction of elements that when
combined produce a total effect that is
greater than the sum of the individual
elements, contributions, etc.; synergism.
The same track on my advert and documentary
I also used the same music in my documentary on my radio advert, to promote
less well known bands, get the audience thinking about new music and to give my
products a stronger brand image. Using an upcoming bands soundtrack from
Manchester also gave authenticity to my documentary and products to show I am
more involved in the local music community which then reflects my topic of my
documentary. This also means the audience can feel at home and link the two
together when they hear them separately, to clarify they are related.
I also tried to make my products follow channel 4 guidelines as possible, my
newspaper advert follows them well, I chose to make my documentary quite
serious, similar to documentaries on channel 4 (dispatches) which was a mistake as
my target audience wouldn’t want to watch a serious documentary about a topic
which could be comical. This is how my newspaper advert follows these
guidelines, which then relates the seriousness and aspects of channel 4 shows in
Tagline/slogan in the
top half of the page
Logo in centre of page
on the right
Text black with white
Title and air date in the
bottom left corner
As I aimed the documentary at a target audience of 15-25 year olds, it was
easier for me to ask this age range what they thought of my documentary as I
was making it. I asked for friends and classmates opinions of it as I was
editing to find out if the footage I was using would appeal to them or how I
edited the responses was interesting enough to keep watching. This initial
feedback helped me make better decisions about the video clips to
include, such as leaving out interviews with older generations as the
information they were giving was not very relevant to the target age group.
This ongoing feedback taught me what is important to the audience and how
to include what is right to meet the audiences wants to create a more
professional documentary and a realistic ancillary products of a newspaper
advert and radio advert.
I created a survey on SurveyMonkey to gain
feedback from anyone who watched my
documentary. I asked questions such as ‘how
effective is the documentary?’ and ‘what
improvements could be made?’ to gain an insight
to what people really thought of it and also help
me out so I could make the documentary better
before the finished product was uploaded.
After completing the questionnaire I
tweeted a link to it and my
documentary to gain more feedback
from a wider range of people to see
what more people think of the
I analyzed the results and my feedback to look at
any overall trends of patterns of what the
audience thought and learn what the good points
of my documentary were and what could be
The points from my feedback could help me in
future projects, such as making it less serious to
appeal more to younger audiences, despite being
aired as a serious documentary on channel 4. I
could’ve done this by incorporating some of the
outtakes of the Sam Webb interview or more
humorous responses from interviewees.
This survey is also useful after the video was completed, to review how my
documentary is being received and to see if I aimed the audience correctly or a
different audience would be the ones to watch or enjoy it.
This was an original draft of my
newspaper advert, from feedback I
learnt that I needed to include a tagline
to summarise the documentary and
intrigue the audience into wanting to
On this advert, the details of the
name, air date and time blocked many
of the photos so I moved this to
showcase more of the photos and
varying fashion in Manchester.
The channel 4 logo was also blocking
out a picture, so only the background
was the only thing you could see, I
changed this in my final draft as
recommended by my audience
FIRST DRAFT ADVERT
Through all the feedback we have received I have taken many aspects into account and learnt so
that in the future mistakes are not made again.
Main points that I have learnt and would improve on if I were to undertake the project again
would be to pay more attention to sound. I would think about background noises in future and
plan to film away from loud noises or street performers in order to get clear sounding clips of
what I want, rather than having to interfere with volume levels after getting all my footage.
I would also try and use a higher quality camera with a decent microphone, this would give a
better picture and allow focusing and wouldn’t have to mean using a separate microphone. I
would also carry out checks on my camera so that it would film continuously rather than the one
we used, which had a fault that meant filming cut out after 10 seconds, which limited the footage
we collected as key points were often missed or lost.
Another point I learnt was to focus on the target audience more, if I did this project again I
would include some of the outtakes from interviews and liven the documentary up by decreasing
the number of responses I include and adding shorter questions with quicker responses to keep
people interested in watching all of it. I would also film for more days in order to catch more
people with unusual or longer responses willing to be interviewed, to improve the quality of my
vox pops and improve the content for audiences.
WHAT HAVE I LEARNT FROM
HOW DID YOU USE
TECHNOLOGIES IN THE
AND EVALUATION STAGES?
DSLR Camera - Canon 5D
TECHNOLOGIES I USED:
When researching my documentary I used the internet to find out conventions
of the genre and to look at common features of most documentaries.
I also used websites such as YouTube and Vimeo when researching other
documentaries on similar topics to what mine would be, to analyse these and
see how effective they are to inspire me to make my documentary.
I used a range of cameras for each section of the project.
For filming the documentary I used a DSLR Canon 5D camera. This camera gave
me the ability to film high quality footage to improve the quality of my
documentary and also has a built in microphone which improved the sound
quality when a extra microphone wasn’t available.
When filming the interviews, I used a tripod to balance the camera and to keep
the footage level. I also used a microphone to record my interviewees voices
clearer and to minimise background noise. The clear recordings also allowed me
to separate the voices from the clips to then use in my radio advert.
To take the pictures around Manchester and of the interviewees, I used a
separate stills camera for better quality images and to save memory on the DSLR
(30+ interviews held a lot of space).
To take pictures like this
one I used for the header
on my blog
I used various camera to film and take pictures in order to gain high quality footage and images
to use for my products.
I then imported my footage to the Mac so I could use the software built in on them to develop
my products further, using Macs was a huge advantage as it gave me the option to use software
such as iMovie and Garage Band rather than having to use Windows Movie Maker or Audacity
on a PC to hopefully create more professional looking products.
I used iMovie to create my documentary, this was easy to use and straightforward to import
clips, edit them and build a complete movie/documentary.
Then when it was complete I uploaded it to YouTube.
Importing all my images and footage from the camera onto the
Mac then into iMovie to construct my documentary
I used garage band to create my radio advert as this was also simple software available to
me and allowed me to use sounds from my documentary on a ‘movie soundtrack’ and then
split them so they can be moved around and edited further to tune out background noise or
add sound effects and put in the order I needed for my advert. It was also simple to use and
drag my chosen clips in the order I needed them, it was also easy to import tracks from
iTunes into it to provide the soundtrack.
I recorded my clips through a microphone and also used clips from the footage I imported
on iMovie for my advert, after inserting the soundtrack.
I used SoundCloud to broadcast my advert which then allowed me to embed my advert
onto my blog which was useful to share to gain audience feedback.
Using Weebly as a blog meant it was easy to set up and use as the layout was clear, making it
easy to put text boxes, documents and videos onto a website to display all my work in one
I used a combination of Photoshop and Microsoft Publisher to create this
advert. I used some of the images that I took of people around Manchester
and of the interviewees I used to show varying fashions and to link back to
my documentary product.
I used Photoshop to edit the images I was going to use, to change the
brightness and contrast so they looked clearer to the eye and also to enhance
the pictures so they could be the best they could possibly be for this advert.
I then assembled the complete advert in publisher because my Photoshop
skills are limited and this was simple software to use, and allowed me to switch
up the layout easily until I found what I wanted. I also used a font website to
find a font similar to the one used by Channel 4 to type up the text and
logo, needed for the advert to look more official and realistic.
YouTube was very useful for lots of aspects of this project, I used the website to carry out
research as the project started, so I could find out what documentaries were like and common
features and conventions of them initially.
I then posted my preliminary video task on YouTube, to test how it runs and to test upload
speeds to estimate how it would be when exporting and uploading my final documentary. This
was also useful to test the comments as a form of feedback to see how it would work and if it
would be reliable to use for feedback on my final documentary.
I used YouTube to upload all of my videos, the documentary, video diary and extra full length
interviews, as it is a well known site which is simple to use and has enough users to use feedback
from (in the form of comments and likes).
I used Weebly to showcase all my work and put it online in a clear format in
order to separate each section of research and the products I created.
This website was simple to set up and easy to navigate which made it
straightforward to display my work as the project went on. It was easy to
insert text boxes and titles to split up each section, and it was useful to divide
each part of the project on different pages.
However, if I was to do this project again, I would use a different blog site
which would be more advanced and less likely to crash when uploading
documents or videos.
Screenshot Videos of my blog
whilst uploading some planning
work and an overview of my entire
I used PowerPoint to write up all my evaluation questions for the coursework.
PowerPoint was easy to access, freely available and the software is simple to
use and then transfer onto my blog through SlideShare.
This way I could use separate slides for each question and divide them further
into each of my products or the order I carried them out (research, first
draft, feedback, final product).