Shafiqur Rahman – Evaluation
1) In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?
The brief we were given in the beginning of our A2 course, was to create an opening 5 minutes for a television documentary; on a topic of our choice. We brainstormed possible ideas for the topic of our documentary. Alongside this, was two ancillary tasks given; a radio trailer and a double page spread for a listings magazine, to go alongside our documentary. We were asked to research into the possible things that can be added to the opening 5 minutes; we analysed similar documentaries and also did the same for the two ancillary tasks. DOCUMENTARY CATEGORIES: Optimistic/Pessimistic Lighthearted Serious Resigned Uncritical Irony Condemnatory After looking at other documentaries with these possible categories, we realized that we must have some sort of category for our documentary on ‘Cyber Bullying’. Cyber Bullying is a very current issue and is quite a serious one. Our aim was to create a documentary that was factual whilst keeping the serious tone that the issue is. We had a mixture of categories such as, Optimism; by showing there is help out there for victims. Factual; by presenting official statistics (obtained through research). Bill Nicholls’ Documentary Modes (2001) : Different documentary modes are something that we initially looked into. Firstly we into different types/styles of documentaries that there are; poetic, participatory, reflexive, performative, observational and expositional. POETIC MODE: a very subjective style of documentary. EXPOSITORY MODE: addresses viewer directly to advance an argument or recount history OBSERVATIONAL MODE: events observed and recorded ‘objectively’ with
no intrusion of an author/narrator (leaves audience to make up their own mind) PARTICIPATORY MODE: film makers appear on their own work and express views on camera (contrasts expository mode) REFLEXIVE MODE: this documentary type frequently reflects on its own artificiality, drawing attention to this PERFORMATIVE MODE: a much more personal approach than participatory mode- individual film maker tells their own story
As part of our research we watched Morgan Spurlocks ‘Supersize Me’. This Documentary. The participatory and performative modes are used in this documentary, as it stars morgan spurlock addressing viewers directly and this creates much more of a personal approach.
THE EXPOSITIONAL MODE IS THE MODE THAT IS MOST SIMILAR TO OUR DOCUMENTARY IN MANY WAYS. THIS MODE CONTAINS A NARRATIVE AND A VOICEOVER THROUGHOUT AND THIS IS HOW THE OPENING OF OUR DOCUMENTARY IS AS WE FELT VIEWERS WOULD BE MORE INTERESTED IN WHAT THEYRE WATCHING IF THERE IS SOMEONE SPEAKING ABOUT WHAT IS BEING SHOWN, DUE TO THE FACT WE HAD A LOT OF FACTS/STATISTICS.
We decided to call our documentary ‘Banter or bullying?’. The Reason behind this name was because we felt that cyber bullying can sometimes be justified as ‘banter’ and having a laugh. The main aim of the name was to hopefully make viewers question what they say and how it can be taken; one persons joke may be something that can really hurt someone elses feelings. I watched and analysed different documentaries to get an idea of the codes and conventions they use and hopefully adapt these into our documentary. The two that were looked at were ‘Bully’ and ‘Supersize Me’ (which was earlier mentioned)
There are a few different things I was looking out for in both of these documentaries: Camera Sound/Background Music
The conventions that I picked up from the two documentaries were the use
of Camera. This included the shot types such as Close ups,
Medium Close ups, Establishing Shots/Long shots and
Extreme Close ups. In ‘Bully’ the most commonly used shot
was the medium close up.The medium close up in this documentary engaged me as a viewer more as the expression and actions of those being filmed were seen more clearly and the emotions used could be seen more clearly and this in effect will emphasise the message/quote/fact further. After looking at this documentary we decided we would use the same shot type for the majority of our opening five minutes as we wanted the same effect.
We used a handheld camera a lot in our documentary for the vox pops to make
the viewer feel as though they are there, and get a feel for what is going
on. We decided that this would be the best way to capture the answers for our vox pop questions as the vox pops are quick, unplanned and quite informal questions. This was used a lot in ‘Supersize Me’ and we found that it was very effective
for our documentary. SUPERSIZE ME BANTER OR BULLYING?
HERE IS AN EXAMPLE OF A VOX POP FROM ‘SUPERSIZE ME’ AND A VOX POP FROM OUR DOCUMENTARY. BOTH SHARE THE SAME SHOT TYPE FROM UNDERNEATH AND THE RULE OF THIRDS IS MAINTAINED IN BOTH ALSO. THE SUPER SIZE ME ONE POSITIONS THE WOMAN ON THE RIGHT HAND SIDE WHILST OUR ONE POSITIONS HER IN THE MIDDLE.
The other type of shots in our documentary with the use of the camera, is by using a Tripod. We used this on various occasions such as establishing/Panning shots of the college and inside the canteen, for showing college equipment such as computers, classrooms, and of students walking up and down the stairs. The tripod meant that we could and use skills that we know such as Pan, Tracking and Zooming in a professional way. The main use of the tripod was for expert interviews, which enabled us to set up the camera in a professional manner.
HERE WE HAVE THE FORMAL INTERVIEW FROM SUPERSIZE ME AND THE FORMAL INTERVIEW FROM OUR DOCUMENTARY. BOTH USE THE RULE OF THIRD AND THE BACKGROUND IS THE USUAL ENVIRONMENT OF THE INTERVIEWEE. ALSO THERE IS A BY LINE TO INTRODUCE THEM AS THIS SETS MORE OF AN AUTHORATIVE ASPECT TO THE INTERVIEW AND SHOWS THESE ARE PROFFESIONAL PEOPLE.
BANTER OR BULLYING
I REALLY LIKED HOW OUR USE OF SHOTS WERE SIMILAR TO THOSE WE ANALYSED DURING OUR RESEARCH AND PLANNING. THE SHOTS WE USED LOOKED PROFFESIONAL AND EACH ONE WAS USED TO CREATE MORE PROFFESIONALISM AND SENSE OF REALISM WHICH SETS INTEREST TO OUR VIEWERS MORE SHOTS USING TRIPOD:
HERE ARE SOME OF THE VARIOUS SHOTS THAT WERE USED DURING OUR DOCUMENTARY. WE DECIDED TO USE SHOTS APPROPRIATE TO THE NARRATIVE AND WHAT WAS BEING SPOKEN ABOUT AT THE TIME OF THE DOCUMENTARY.
SOUND IS ANOTHER VERY IMPORTANT CONVENTION OF DOCUMENTARIES. IT INCLUDES: DIAGETIC SOUND, NON DIAGETIC, BACKGROUND MUSIC AND VOICEOVER. IN SUPERSIZE ME THERE WAS A PRESENTER (MORGAN SPURLOCK) AS HE STARRED IN HIS OWN MOVIE. ALSO THERE WAS A LOT OF DIEGETIC SOUND SUCH AS THE VOX POPS AND FORMAL INTERVIEWS, AND ALSO NON DIAGETIC; THE VOICEOVER WHEN STATISTICS WERE BEING SHOWN. SUPERSIZE ME BANTER OR BULLYING
In ‘Supersize Me’ Morgan spurlock has a lot of factual information and statistics about Mcdonalds, such as how many mcdonalds there are in the world etc. When he presents these facts he uses the non diagetic sound of his voice as a narrative to what is being shown. Similarly we have aimed to do this in our documentary by presenting facts that have been found during the research & planning stage of our task and we have added a voiceover going through it. The reason behind this is because we appreciate that a lot of people do not want to sit and read throughout a documentary, therefore we have ensured all was done to make sure the documentary we created was accomadating to a range of viewers.
Here we have the sound we recorded for parts of our documentary
Many parts of the documentary sound were either too loud or too quiet, therefore where appropriate we adjusted the sound levels so that the documentary flowed without too much/too less noise.
THIS IS THE MAGAZINE DOUBLE PAGE SPREAD WE CREATED FOR ‘TV TIMES’. WE ANALYSED AND LOOKED AT VARIOUS MAGAZINES AND THEIR LISTINGS TO GET A GENERAL IDEA OF WHAT IS REQUIRED FOR A DOCUMENTARY AND THE CONVENTIONS OF A MAGAZINE ARTICLE. THE LAYOUT AND LOOK OF OUR SPREAD WAS KEPT MINIMALISTIC AND GENERALLY QUITE SIMPLE. THE REASON FOR THIS CHOICE OF SIMPLICITY WAS BECAUSE THE GENRE OF OUR DOCUMENTARY IS QUITE SERIOUS AND WE WANTED TO CONNOTATE THIS THROUGH THE LOOK.
Tv times is the magazine we chose to place our article in. It is a very popular television listings magazine published in the UK by IPC media. It is well known for its access to television actors and tv programmes, therefore we felt this would be the listings magazine that we would like to publish our article on, as this would give our documentary the most exposure.
Here are three conventions that I picked up straight away that we included in our article. It is the DROP CAPITAL, TITLE AND SNAP FROM DOCUMENTARY
Masthead is the headline/title of the page, and is always used in magazines/newspapers. Articles for tv listings articles are sometimes headlines based on a story line or character. The masthead can also be the name of the program and we decided to do this with our masthead. Date/ time/ channel are often added in articles for television. This gives readers a clear indication of when the show is on. Also we liked how this looked on the articles analysed and decided to add this too.
Drop Caps are used most of the time in magazine articles at the start of the text and we decided to add this to make things look professional.
Page number with ‘tv listing’ logo to create a flow throughout
Pull Quotes are used in magazines to grab the readers attention. They are normally a snippet from the article and should draw people to read the article. In this case we used something that could have an emotional thinking effect.
Magazines usually have a captioned picture of part of the show/documentary; included in the article. We have also done this to give readers a visual insight.
After analyzing other radio trailers we decided to create one of our own to promote our documentary. At the start of the course when we were doing the research and planning; I decided to look at the codes and conventions of radio trailers and these were the things:
-The average length is 30 seconds
-It gives the scheduling information at the end of the trailer. The sequence is: title - date and time - channel
-For the voiceover, the narrator briefly outlines the content of the documentary , whereby they may pose questions that will be answered in the programme
-Direct address is used as it uses personal pronouns like 'you' to intrigue the audience
-Extracts from the documentary are used so that the audience can get an insight into the documentary which will result in them wanting to watch the documentary
-Sound effects are appropriate
-Music bed is appropriate to the documentary and is always an instrumental so that the audience isnt distracted
We tried to follow the codes and conventions of radio trailers. Our trailer was 30 seconds long and we also included the scheduling information at the end, we made sure the narrator outlines some elements of the documentary and made sure we added extracts from the documentary so that listeners could get a feel for what the documentary is about. The theme of the trailer is of a victim speaking in the beginning, using the same background music as the documentary so that there is an instant connection with both. I felt the trailer wasn’t too long therefore gave a very small feeling of what the documentary is about and I think this is important to attract viewers as they’re left on a cliff hanger. CONCLUSION
Overall I feel that the media products created do mostly use and conform to the forms and conventions of real media products. I think that the documentary itself is very professional, concise and interesting and none of this could’ve been done without initial research and planning which we all did at the beginning of the course