Published on March 3, 2014
Evaluation TODD LILLIS
In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products? For our A2 coursework we were given a brief to create the first five minutes of a documentary, alongside this we were to create a double page spread and a radio trailer. For research we began by watching documentaries such as ‘Supersize Me’, ‘A Good Smack’ and ‘The Great Offices of State’. In order to follow the conventions of a TV documentary we analysed them to see what they all had in common and also to see whether they challenged the conventions. We found that in ‘Supersize Me’ there was a lot of piece to camera, which we took inspiration from. We also followed the way ‘The Great Offices of State’ set out they’re interviews so that they would look professional.
In order for our documentary to look professional and be effective, we had to research onto our chosen topic, cyber-bullying. This consisted of researching into the genre of documentaries, the narrative structure, similar documentaries, the codes and conventions, radio trailers, double page spreads, interviews and TV listings. We also had to research into the channel in which we wanted the documentary to be featured on, the target audience and the background of the actual topic of cyber-bullying.
Comparison screenshots of documentaries… We took inspiration from how ‘Supersize Me’ set out they’re piece to camera and we used a mid shot with appropriate mise en scene. The college sign in the background helps introduce our target audience of 16-24. This is an example of how our product follows conventions of real media products as we use Expository Mode as the basis of the entire 5 minutes.
We also used the Observational Mode which allows the viewer to reach a conclusion of their own whilst watching the documentary. We only used this during the reconstruction when we see Laura isolate herself from the cyber-bullies. Another mode used in the reconstruction was the Poetic Mode, it is used to put more emphasis on the mood and tone of this specific section of the documentary.
Our documentary focuses on the expository mode which is shown through the vox pops and interviews, alongside facts and figures presented via a voiceover. The documentary is based on a very touching and saddening topic so constructing it meant we had to take into account how (for example), the voiceover should sound and how shots would be taken to portray certain things. The main shot type we did use was a MCU (Medium Close Up), which we used to frame the vox pops and the interviews. The reason we chose MCUs was because of how they looked in ‘The Great Offices of State’ and in ‘Supersize Me’, both of which used this shot for effective framing during interviews. Long shots were also used in our documentary, for example when I walked towards the camera at the beginning it is an example of both an establishing shot and a long shot.
Whilst watching other documentaries we found that a typical convention is that all documentaries contain at least 2/3 interviews. When looking into the interviews the interviewee is usually within the field of the topic, whether it be an expert or even just working within it. It also became clear that during the professional interviews the editors show the names and entitlement of the interviewee. This is another convention of real media products that we took and placed into our own documentary.
The Mise en Scene is a key part of every documentary, the background, the props, what people are wearing, everything has to match the topic otherwise it is pointless using it. Our interviews needed to do this, so we sat our professionals down next to computers to portray an official looking setting. Another key aspect of any documentary is the use of sound, non diegetic, diegetic and ambient. We used garage band to create our backing track which we played throughout the whole documentary to emphasise the emotion.
How we followed the codes and conventions for our double page spread We chose to produce our double page spread for the magazine ‘Radio Times’ as we felt it was suitable for our target audience and also has many documentaries advertised in there. We looked at a range of TV listing magazines such as ’TV & Satellite’ and ‘TV magazine’ to get an idea of the typical codes and conventions that we were going to following order to make our product look as professional as possible.
Summary - Documentary Overall, I feel that we followed most of the code sand conventions of a documentary and the challenges were suitable. We used a variety of shot types and of location to keep the documentary looking both professional and interesting. The use of the non-diegetic background music was created in Garage Band towards the end of the editing process and gave the documentary a slow pace which gave heightened emotion to the topic. The changes that I would make to the documentary would be to have re done the final interview as the effects placed onto it made it look almost like a shadow, unfortunately we ran out of time so this was not possible to do again.
The title is a typical convention and informs the reader what the spread is about. The use of a secondary smaller image shows the reader what is involved within the documentary. The main image establishes the article, grabs the readers attention quickly. The rule of thirds has been applied to keep the article looking professional. We have used a subtitle which summarises the content of the article. We followed the house style of a Radio Times magazine by adding the date, time and channel below the main image. Pull quotes were added to follow the conventions of magazines and the house style of Radio Times. Page numbers conventionally placed in the bottom corners to make it easier for readers to navigate through the magazine.
The title is a typical convention and informs the reader what the spread is about. The house style of a Radio Times magazine is clear by adding the date, time and channel. A subtitle is used which summarises the content of the article. The rule of thirds has been keeps the article looking professional. Page numbers conventionally placed in the bottom corners to make it easier for readers to navigate through the magazine. The use of a secondary smaller image shows the reader what is involved within the documentary. Pull quotes follow the conventions of magazines and the house style of Radio Times. The main image establishes the article, grabs the readers attention quickly.
Summary – Double Page Spread I feel that our double page spread stuck to the codes and conventions of a professional media product as we used; a title, subtitle, pull quotes, page number, main image, minor image, date and time, captions, columns and stuck to the rule of thirds. The double page spread looks professional and follows the house style of our chosen magazine. However some small changes I would make would be to make sure that the copy isn't interrupted with hyphens as I feel that takes away the professionalism.
How we followed the codes and conventions of a radio trailer Typical radio trailer conventions: • Documentary extracts • Facts • Music • Voiceover • Time and date • Channel To get an idea of some radio trailer conventions we listened to a range of trailers from a range of channels. We chose to create a trailer for BBC radio 1 due to the station being aimed at young adults and students.
Summary – Radio Trailer Overall I feel that our radio trailer sounded very professional and it followed the list of conventions. It contained an appropriate length of documentary extracts which gave a suitable amount of relevant information to advertise our documentary. I wouldn’t change the radio trailer as I feel that it followed all of the codes and conventions, was relevant to the topic and sounded professional.
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