Evaluation of our Uses of
Use of Digital Technology in …
Research- access to information
What is a search engine?
The definition: A computer program that searches documents,
especially on the world wide web, for a specified word or words
and provides a list of documents in which they are found.
We used ‘Google’ mainly, to find reviews, screen shots and facts
about psychological thriller films similar to ours and also to
navigate to specific pages quickly on other websites such as
Filters allowed us to refine results to be more recent/ relevant
Digital Search Engines
We used the ‘BFI’ statistical yearbook to gather
information and statistics about what particular
genres appear to be successful in both the UK and
abroad. A key benefit of digital research (and the
internet in general) is the way professional
organisations can easily share their research and
findings with the wider world, and we can access
this for free and from any location we choose.
Also we used the ‘BFI’ yearbook to identify who our
target audience was, as it is an excellent collation of
statistics from the past year of UK films enabling us
to back up our ideas of who watches thrillers in
terms of age, gender and so on with some hard
The ‘BFI’ yearbook also enlightened us on the
amount of revenue generated from films which
helped us prove our film had marketable potential.
Access to Information
One issue with internet
research is the sheer volume of
information that can be found.
This can be overwhelming at
times. For example, YouTube is
a massively useful resource for
anyone studying film openings,
but it can be easy to spend far
too much time finding material
because there is so much
available and there are so
many links to follow.
We found similar issues when
researching music on copyright
sites such as freeplay music.
Selection and Volume
Learning the Best Sites
Another site that we used was ‘IMDB’ this is
because it allowed us to recognise how well
films in our particular genre are doing. We
read reviews of recent films such as: ‘Gone
Girl’, ‘Interstellar’ and ‘Locke’ to understand
One way we improved in our use of digital
search engines was learning the most
relevant sites that are film-specific and run by
people with the same interests and concerns
us us. Learning to recognise these sites, such
as Artofthetitle, in search results helped
speed our research considerably.
One very useful feature of
internet research was being
able to use Google images to
find collections of thumbnails
around a key topic which
then provided a quick visual
reference that could be use
to establish ideas for settings,
locations, props and so on.
For example, we were able to
find lots of images relating to
murder investigation boards
to know how to set out our
Is a useful film review website similar
A very useful feature of our internet
society is that it is now so easy to gain
an overview of public opinion thanks
to the number of audience members
who upload, share, comment and
It provides many reviews, with an easy
to use ratings system, from both
critics and the audience, so we could
get a good idea of what is enjoyed by
our audience and what is not
Sharing, Commenting, Reviewing
Access to information
• We used wikipedia to identify key conventions of the psychological thriller
genre in order to have our sequence stay within the boundaries of the
• It also provided information on revenue produced by films
“Blogger.com’ is a useful digital blogging site that
allowed us to share information that we have
researched and access it at both home and school.
This was an easy, accessible way of collating our
research and planning activities. It is also backed up in
a way that is difficult for paper products and can be
accessed by several users from multiple locations.
Posts appearing in chronological order give a good
idea of the progress of the research and the
Digital Blogging Sites
The most valuable aspect of Blogger for us was its
sharing capacity. We were able to find research
resources, post them on Blogger and then all comment
on them, splitting the work and thinking evenly
between the group.
Sharing and MultimediaCapacity
A further value was being able
to present work in different
formats. For example, the
filmed presentation of our
storyboard was a much more
effective way of debating this
work and getting feedback on
it than written formats would
Information is easy to access Information isn’t always
Most of the information is free Very time consuming to find key
Filters are used to make sure
that the search results are
relevant to what you need
Easy to go off topic
Gives you related websites at
the bottom of the page that will
give you more detail
Hard to find an original source
due to search engines
prioritising certain sites over
When you type in a key word
you receive all related articles
Blogger was again a particularly
useful tool as it was accessible at
home and in school. Our work was
stored in order of the date when
we did it so it was easy to find our
most recent posts.
We could also attach photos and
videos and this was very
convenient as we could access our
planning, such as the storyboards,
when we were out filming as we
can access Blogger in a version
optimised for mobile phones..
The use of images and videos on
blogger were helpful, as we could
refer back to our always planning as
they would stay on the blog. We
undertook various practice filming
tasks and were able to watch them
back and evaluate both our own
work and the work of others so that
we could learn from mistakes and
plan to avoid them in future.
Blogger – Multimedia Format
By using Blogger, it enabled us to be
able to view other groups blog
posts as well as the people within
our groups blog posts. This was
very useful, as it developed our
understanding if needed. Also, it
allowed us to build upon our ideas.
Secondly, we also received
comments from our teacher
suggesting improvements and
corrections. This was helpful, as it
allowed us to improve our posts
and also strengthened our
Blogger - Sharing
As with the research stages, we also
used Blogger to make and share
group posts. In these posts we
allocated each individual in the group
a colour and then all commented on a
post, exploring all of our different
These group posts were effective and
very useful, as evaluating the research
to decide the next step is also a
planning activity. This allowed us to
express our opinions and preferences;
we could come to a final decision
Blogger – Group Posts
Final Cut Express is a digital editing package that allows for non-linear editing and is an
essential tool that we use to edit our films.
Final Cut Express has been essential, as we have learned to edit our footage and enhance it
with transitions and effects while maintaining continuity. It is hard for us to imagine now
how this could have been done non-digitally, when cuts would be difficult to correct and
amendments to footage might be permanent. The main advantage of FCE is that no
changes we make are permanent and can be changed and corrected.
At first, we experienced several problems with continuity. However, now that we are
confident using FCE we can edit effectively, using transitions and music etc.
Final Cut Express
In both our practice filming task and real opening sequence, we have been
and will be using LiveType in order to create credits and titles for our piece.
It allows us to customise them to our exact needs and is totally compatible
with FCE with the capacity to drag files from one package into the other.
Digital technology becomes increasingly useful where there is compatibility
When digital camera in order to
take still pictures of two of our
locations so that we could see
how appropriate they were and
start to foresee any potential
This shows how useful
combinations of digital
technology can be.
We have been using digital camcorders
to film all our practice filming and also
the real coursework.
The advantage lies mainly in memory
and convenience. Modern cameras
have a large memory and it is also easy
to upload to digital editing packages.
While the cameras have many in-
camera editing features, we have not
used many of these, preferring to
manipulate footage in FCE.
Blogger was a very useful tool that kept
us connected while planning what to do
and what to include.
Sharing images and plans was important
so that we all understood what was going
Final Cut Express and LiveType when used
together, correctly can provide a very
professional final piece.
It is really difficult for anyone of our
generation to imagine carrying out this
kind of work without using digital
technology. We can only imagine the time
and difficulty of working without the
benefits of the technology we have
constant access to.
Final Cut Express
Final Cut Express is a digital editing package and was the most important
tool we used in the construction of our opening sequence as it allows for
the manipulation and editing of our footage in professional ways.
Editing on Final Cut Express
This was the main editing package we used and the most important use of
digital technology in our piece in many ways. We were able to store our
clips in the browser and manipulate them as we wanted on the timeline.
Any changes we did not like could easily be undone and the clips used
again without any permanent changes having been made to the original
Sound and Image
Here you can see how we put sound and image together. The video clips have
been trimmed and ordered into the correct sequence at the correct times.
You can see a grey box that indicates a transition into this part of the
sequence – a cross fade. The volume of each audio clip has also been adjusted
and audio effects added were ambient sound changes to minimise the audio
differences this can cause.
The whole sequence was built on the principle of layering – we used a
series of layers on both video and audio timelines to create the whole
piece. This was time-consuming and required a lot of precision and
readjustment. We had to constantly replay at the starts of lessons to
remember where we had got up to and what needed to be done.
LiveType was the
software we used
to create our title
us a greater range
of fonts and effects
for our credits
which made them
look a lot better in
our sequence. Once
we created the
credits we could
them to Final Cut
LiveType for Credits
Had to get font, font colour and size right and also
timings of the length of the credits. We also had to
make choices about how they appeared / disappeared.
Not all digital technology is easy to use – one of the
disadvantages is that it is time consuming to learn.
Final Cut Express for Ident
Use of Final Cut for the Ident
While creating our ident, we learned to use the filters in Final Cut and
were able to adjust them across a clip, increasing or adjusting an effect as
the clip went on. This was quite a sophisticated use of the package.
Advantages of using Final Cut Express
• Lots of tools for editing
• Easy to learn and use
Disadvantages of using Final Cut Express
• Had to work on separate computers to get
all of the work done then merge it
• Time consuming, a lot of editing requires
time and patience
Editing on Final Cut Express
Summary – Construction and
It is hard to imagine constructing this project without
the benefit of digital technology. We do not have the
skills to use cameras that are not digital, and although
the editing packages may have taken some time to
learn, it is certainly easier to edit this way than in the
old style with film. Probably the main benefit has been
being able to work on different versions of the same
work and being able to constantly undo and start again
Blogger allowed us to present our evaluation work in a variety of
formats and to keep it all together in one accessible place.
Blogger helped us to organise our
evaluations - posts listed by title –
organized and appear in chronological
View and comments system – useful
for ideas and improvements
Linking Research and Evaluation
Blogger helped us to link our research with our evaluation. For example, we
did a substantial amount of research into target audiences early on. When we
came to evaluate this concept, we were able to link the two posts together as
shown above so that the two could be read together and the work could be
seen as a whole.
Comments and Feedback
One of the greatest advantages of digital technology like Blogger is that
we can share our work with others very easily and there is easy
interaction. We received feedback on a rough cut from a school in Bath
which proved very useful.
Variety of Format
We were able to vary the presentation of our
work as Blogger allows us to post work in
almost any media. This meant we could chose
appropriate formats for each task. For
example, We used a collage of images (contact
sheet) to prompt a discussion on use of genre
conventions because the montage showed our
common themes and ideas.
And here a mind map was
used to evaluate target
audience as it helped
structure the comments.
Advantages of using Blogger:
• Can view the work of others to get
• Easily organize work
• Comments give possible
Disadvantages of using Blogger
• Lack of editing tools compared to
the interface of programs such as
• Accidental unsaved work, loss of
Summary – Evaluation and
Overall, digital technology was extremely helpful for us
with our evaluation. In fact, this was the only stage of
the course where we did not find ourselves turning to
old media from time to time, but used digital media
virtually throughout. It has helped us share our ideas
and produce a series of evaluations that are linked.