Kirsty Allen Media Evaluation.

Q1) in what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?
At the beginning of our A2 course, we we’re given a brief in which we were asked; to create a 5 minute opening to a television documentary on a subject of our choice, bearing in mind it would be an hour long documentary. With this we had to research into our chosen subject. Along with this, there were two ancillary tasks; a radio trailer and a double page spread for a television listings magazine for our documentary.

I have watched many documentaries since the start of the course in preparation for creating my own 5 minute opening to one. Although each documentary is different, they all use many of the same conventions. Such as ‘Supersize Me’ and ‘Easy jet’.

Although many documentaries that are being shown give the impression they are real and unchanged, many footage has in fact been edited and the voiceovers used can often distort the sense of realism. Spurlock used natural lighting and sound in ‘Supersize Me’, wherever possible, which added to the technicality of realism. However, to give more information to the audience, he added text and labels on the screen during expert interviews to authenticate the views that he portrayed and to make the audience aware of who they are listening to/ watching.

A convention that i pulled out from all the documentaries i looked at, were the uses of the camera. There was a variety of different shots including; Long shots, Close ups, Extreme close-ups and and Medium close ups. I found that the most commonly used shot was the medium close uo. Therefore we decided to use this shot throughout our documentary to create a sense of realism and authority when it came down to the expert interviews etc.


To help us achieve the best angles and camera shots as possible, we used a tripod. This allowed us to ensure the shots were steady. This worked well when we panned either up and down or left and right to show a specific area.


We also used ‘rule of thirds’ in many of our interviews. The interviewees then follow the conventions of real media products. This is when the person being interviewed is normally in one third, commonly either the 1st third or the 3rd third.


Documentaries always include; background music and voiceovers. Sound plays an important part in all documentaries.

We followed the conventions of supersize me, by keeping the ‘presenter’ (voiceover person) constant throughout. This is known as ‘the voice of God’, where the narrator could be heard but could not be seen. I believe this is important to keep the voice the same throughout as it builds a understanding relationship between the audience and narrator. Sound creates the atmosphere/mood in documentary, therefore we had to choice background music in which we believed would be relevant with our documentary. For example; our documentary is based on a serious matter, therefore we could not chose background music which was upbeat and ‘happy’. In order to find our instrumental, we used garage band, to help us follow the forms and conventions of our documentary. Once we chose the instrumental, we imported it from Garage band to Final cut express, and had it on loop constantly throughout the documentary. We adjust the sound levels continuously so that the music is smooth throughout opposed to sounding jumpy. This also helps the audience concentrate on the message of the documentary as opposed to getting bored of the repetition of the soundtrack.

Although using special effects may contrast with the sense of realism, it can make the documentary look more interesting towards the audience. There were several special effects we used in our documentary, including changing the speed of both the footage and the voiceover. We done this because it showed the importance of certain things said or done, and helped the documentary to flow more smoothly. A section

where we used this was when there were people walking past, this made it look like a busier environment.

We stated that our target audience would be from both genders though predominately female, would be consisting of mainly middle class and would predominately consist of individuals aged between 17-24. This is why we chose to place our documentary on Channel 4 at 9pm. We believe that this was the best channel to place our documentary on, as we researched into previous documentaries shown on this channel, and they also show controversial topics. Eg like ours – eating disorders. We also then had to choose the right radio station to play our radio trailer on. In order to do this we had to listen to radio trailers that related to both the same target audience and the topic we are discussing. We decided the best one to use was Capital FM as this is the most Midlands most listened to radio station, and connects well with a similar target audience to our own. When creating the radio trailer we had to ensure we made it connect with the other two ancillary tasks; to do this we used the same voice over, and similar music to the documentary. We added a rhetorical question ‘what is the perfect figure?’, as we have heard previous radio trailers use this, and we found it quite effective. We made the trailer around 30 seconds long, which is a similar average length to real radio trailers.

Overall I believe we effectively followed codes and conventions with our documentary and within both our ancillary tasks.

Q2. ) How effective is the combination of your main product and ancillary tasks?
In order to promote our documentary we had to create a radio trailer and a double page spread, to make people aware of our documentary and let them know when it was on and what it was about etc. As our documentary was aimed at both genders, and to people ranging from teens to young adults, we had to make sure all 3 tasks reflected this. Even though our target audience included teens, we still used formal language, but at the same time used certain words etc to try and connect with the teens. We chose this target audience as we believe this is the most affected age range in which relating to our documentary, therefore it was aimed at individuals who could relate to the topic and feel interested in the subject.

I believe our radio trailer is effective in attracting our desired target audience, as it does not sound boring, and seems to be quite catchy. I believe there is many different ways in which our documentary and radio trailer connect, eg the same enthusiastic tone of narration, and in fact the same narrator. And of course, the music is the same in both tasks. The vox pops we used in our documentary and the voices in our radio trailer were teenagers/young adults. This enabled the target audience (teens/young adults) to instantly realise the trailer and documentary was aimed at them. The narrator informs the audience in the radio trailer of the date, time and channel the documentary will take place on, connecting again the 3 tasks. I also believe our magazine article combines well with all the tasks. The photograph we used as the main image was taken by a member of our group. We believed it was eye catching and the black and white colour effect worked quite well, to create a sense of realism. The colour scheme we used was directive and straight to the point. We believed that if we added too much colour it would look tacky, and less formal. Also, by adding a lot of colour it would have made the audience believes it wasn’t as serious as we believed this subject to be. We also added photos to our double page spread from the documentary, again, linking all the 3 tasks. The magazine we chose was ‘TV Choice’ as it was perfectly aimed at our target audience, and isn’t expensive to buy either.

Q3) What did we learn from the audience feed back?
At first, we questioned whether our products were good enough, however we actually found that people thought it was good so we found many positives from this. The audience did agree with us that there was room for improvements on the ancillary tasks, but they believed there were positives which contrasted this. Before producing our documentary and the 2 ancillary tasks (double page spread/radio trailer), we produced several questionnaires. From this, we were able to deduct the correct target audience; both males and females, and teens to young adults. These were overall from a working class background. This helped us a lot with our scripting, as it allowed us to decide the documentary should be more colloquial as opposed to formal.

From the audience feedback, we were told by a lot of them, that they watch similar documentary topics to this on channel 4. They all said they believe Channel 4 would be the best channel to show the documentary on, as they found it broadcasts shows that appeal most them and were relatable to this specific target audience, We later discovered, that this age group/target audience in fact, didn’t know a lot about ‘eating disorders’ therefore claiming they would be very interested into gaining knowledge on the matter. DOCUMENTARY FEEDBACK Everybody answered yes to the following questions;  the music complimented the documentary  the documentary clearly demonstrated what the topic was about  the documentary displayed a variety of camera shots  the scripting was appropriate to the target audience.  The documentary successfully targeted the intended teenage audience  They would continue to watch the duration of the doc. If it was longer than the five minute opening.


Was the editing varied?
100 50 0 yes no

Personally, I did not expect to get the response we did; I did not feel as though that many things would be positive. However I did expect the positive response about the music, as it was a calm subtle tune, and its sombre beat encompassed the seriousness of the documentary subject.

We asked whether the audience believed the editing was varied enough, 83% said yes where as 17% disagreed. I believe we did attempt to add variation and incorporate various editing techniques (E.g., manipulation of voice pitch and speed)

As displayed in the pie chart, only 10% of people said they did not learn anything from our documentary opposed to the 905 who said they did. This proved that we were successful in exploring youth body image pressures and promoting it, and creating awareness to our audience.

did you learn anything about the doc. if so, what?
eating disorders are a growing societal issue 10% about binge eating 18% no 10% facts about eating disorders 27%

perceptions of the 'perfect figure' 35%


Was it eye catching?
100 80 60 40 20 0 YES NO

The majority of 83% of the audience did think the double page spread was eye-catching. However this did shock me, as I found we didn’t spend enough time on this as we would have liked to, as I did not believe it was eye-catching. By grouping the open ended questions in the catch to the left, 58% of the people who answered yes, found the main image eye catching, 14% liked the use of colour, 14% said the heading, and the remaining 14% said the images used. However 50% of the 17% who answered no believed it lacked in colour and the other 50% said it was due to not including the date and time in the documentary.

We asked the audience whether they believed the double page spread was clear. 92% answered yes, whereas the other 8 disagreed. I believe the 92% agreed, as they found it was not cluttered, and the page was not overloaded with images/text etc.

what did you like about the double page spread?
images layout font style heading

what did you dislike about the double page spread?
no image achors lack of info. (time, date etc.) 8% layout lack of relevent images 8%

17% 33% 8%

42% 51%


We were overall pleased with the feedback; however we can see there is a lot of room for improvement if we had the chance. As only 8% liked the layout and 33% said they disliked it.


what did you like about the radio trailer?
beginning of trailer - montage of voices 10% 20% 70% music straight to the point

what did you dislike about the radio trailer?
short volume at start 17% 33% 50% hesistancy of voice over

Q4.) How did you use media technologies in the construction and research, planning and evaluation stages?
Research and planning. I believe the internet was the most important and useful technology we used for the research and planning stages, as it provided us with the facts and statistics in order to make our work authentic and to help get the message and promote the dangers of eating disorders. It also allowed us to research into different radio stations and different tv channels, allowing us to chose the best channel/radio station to promote our documentary.

You tube, also proved to be a success in helping us with the research and planning as we could view other documentaries of a similar topic, and we could look at varieties of codes and conventions. PowerPoint, Word and Excel, were all software’s in which we used to record our findings. We used PowerPoint to elaborate our findings, Word to create questionnaires, and Excel to formulate bar charts; which was useful in the evaluation to show the results from the audience feedback. Photoshop was significant is this is what was used to create our double page spread. It provided all the software needs to make it look authentic.

Without both Scribd and Slideshare the blog would have looked dull/boring. This helped our blog look professional. Final cut express/ Garage band played a very crucial part in the whole thing. Without these we would not have been able to complete and produce our products. Final cut express was the software which we formulated the documentary on. It had varies tools which allowed us to edit our recordings, to make the overall product look professional and unique. Whereas garage band was just as important. This was the software in which we created the background music for both the documentary and the radio trailer. The pre-recorded tracks sounded professional and boosted the appeal of our documentary immediately.

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