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Q1. How did you USE, DEVELOP or CHALLENGE codes and conventions of real media products?

This question discusses how my final product resembles existing TV soap trailers by using, challenging and developing the typical codes and conventions of real media products. I will answer this question in three different sections showing how my trailer either uses, challenges or develops the conventions along with screen shots of my trailer as proof, and also by comparing my product with an existing product to show how they represent each other. I will begin by answering the first section of the question ‘How did you USE codes and conventions of real media products?’….

My trailer uses many of the typical codes and conventions found in a television soap trailer. For this part of the question I will explain how I incorporated the typical conventions of soap trailers into my final product through my camera work e.g. typical camera angles, editing, mise-en-sene, sound and lighting.

How did I USE codes and conventions of real media products? Camerawork
I will begin by discussing the camerawork. First of all, characters in soaps never look directly at the camera so that was the first thing we reminded ourselves of when filming. In one of the clips that I wanted to use in my final trailer, Tayla looked directly at the camera for a split second. Because of this I cropped this section of the clip out to ensure that my trailer stuck to the code of no eye contact with the camera. Television soaps tend to use a number of different angles and camera movements to make the soap look more interesting and to capture what is happening from different angles for different effects.. For example; birds eye view, over the shoulder, worms view, pan up, pan across. We followed this convention in our final product by using a number of different camera angles and movements; The screenshots of the left are from my trailer and the ones are the right are from existing media products. When comparing the two it is clear that my trailer uses codes and conventions of TV soap trailers by using the typical different camera angles and movements that are often used in professional trailers. By each screenshot is an explanation as to why I chose that particular angle/movement as each one is used for a certain reason or effect. These two screenshots are examples of the different angles that I used. Screenshot number 1 shows a birds eye view angle of a woman crying. I chose this angle as I already had a clip of a man upset which had been filmed from straight ahead therefore this clip shows a woman feeling the same emotion but from a different angle. This adds some diversity to the trailer instead of having all the clips looking exactly the same. Screenshot number 2 shows a worms eye view angle. I chose this angle for this clip as we can only see the wheels of the car pull up and then the feet of someone step out of the car. I wanted to create a sense of tension and mystery as we have to wait to see who it is that is getting out of the car (in this case it is the revealing of a main character). This angle is often used in this type of scenario in soaps; the revealing of a character.

EastEnders

Number 1

Number 2

Coronation St Continued…

How did I USE codes and conventions of real media products? Camerawork
Screen shots 3,4 and 5 show the type of camera movements that I used. Screenshot number 3 shows a ‘pan up’. This movement comes straight after the worms eye view shot on the previous page. I used this type of movement for the same reason that I used the angle in this clip; to create tension and a sense of mystery as the character is slowly revealed from the feet upwards. This is the same way that Kat is revealed in this episode of EastEnders shown in the screenshot on the right. Screenshot number 4 shows a ‘pan across’. Again, I used this type of movement to create tension as the camera pans across the dead body but just as the face is about to be revealed and as the viewers heart begins to race, the shot fades out. Pan across is often used in murder scenes as the scene or body is slowly panned across to create tension as we do not know what will be revealed at the end of the pan. In this scene, screenshot 5, there is a fight. To have the camera handheld is a common way of filming fight scenes in television soaps as it makes it easer to move the camera to ‘follow’ the fight as well as create a ‘shaky’ effect. This is how we filmed this clip to create that shaky effect and to get a good shot of the fight which makes the viewer feel the intenseness of what is happening. This technique in filming is used a lot in soaps when something physical is happening such as a fight, car crash, falling building etc.

Number 3

EastEnders

EastEnders

Number 4

Number 5

Coronation St

How did I USE codes and conventions of real media products? – Mise-en-Scene
A typical convention in terms of Mise-en-scene for soap trailers is to have a shot at the end of the trailer where we see a still image of either the main characters or a setting from the programme, and the date/time. This shot shows the channels logo and fits in with that channels colour scheme and layout. This is used at the end of absolutely all TV Soap trailers and so it was vital that I included in in my trailer to make it look professional.
The channel I decided that my programme would be broadcast on was ITV so the final shot of my trailer shows a picture of my programmes three main characters with the ITV animation merging in over the top to reveal the date and time. Also, I have a voiceover which reads the date, time and channel which my programme will be aired on. This voiceover isn’t always used over this shot on trailers but the majority of the time it is. Below you can see the final shot of my trailer (on the left) and the final shot of an existing trailer aired by the same channel (on the right). In-between these two images is the final shot of another existing trailer but aired by a different channel (Channel 4). I have included this to show how all TV soap trailers, no matter what channel they are shown on, end in a similar way.

My trailer on ITV

Existing Channel 4 trailer

Existing ITV trailer

How did I USE codes and conventions of real media products? – Mise-en-Scene
When showing a main storyline TV soap trailers tend to focus on the main characters but also show the reactions of the other characters. Soaps tend to have repetitive characters which are usually involved in every episode in one way or another. I followed this convention for my footage content. I focused on the main storyline throughout and only showed the key parts which explained what the storyline was about as well as showing the most dramatic parts in order to draw viewers in. However at the end I showed the reactions of other, less significant characters of the programme.

My trailer has a beginning, a middle and an end which is typical of soap trailers. The beginning shows how the storyline came around and how it begun. The middle shows the most exciting, interesting parts of the storyline as we watch the most dramatic parts unfold. Then finally, we see the consequence of the storyline, in my case murder. The ending shows what has happened in the programme but doesn’t reveal too much so that people will tune in to find out more. All soaps such as EastEnders, Coronation Street, Emmerdale have a beginning, middle and end which are briefly shown in their trailer to get the main storyline across in as little time as possible.
An example of an existing media product which shows this layout is the EastEnders trailer for ‘Heathers Death’. The beginning; the plan to get Heathers money. The middle; The plan is put into action but it all goes wrong. The end; Heather is killed. This trailer shows a clear beginning, middle and end. It focuses on the main storyline and characters but also shows the thoughts/reactions of other characters who are less involved.

How did I USE codes and conventions of real media products? – Mise-en-Scene
Soaps are always set in the same place so the setting is recognisable to the viewer e.g. Coronation Street is set on ‘Coronation Street’ and EastEnders is set on Albert Square. This is a typical convention of soap operas and it is visible on all soap opera trailers as they are filmed on the usual set. I stuck to this convention by filming my trailer in as little amount of different locations as possible . We filmed in various rooms in college and in and around one house. That is only two main set locations which provided us with many different individual settings e.g. different classrooms in college and different rooms in the house. By using a restricted amount of locations we followed another convention of soaps. It is very common for TV soaps to be named after their locations; EastEnders is set in the East End, Hollyoaks set in Hollyoaks, Emmerdale set in Emmerdale. Because this is the case for almost all of todays popular soaps, we decided to go along with it and do the same thing. We decided to call our soap ‘Rundown’ as it was set on ‘The Rundown Estate’. This means that we used two conventions of existing products based only on the location. The photo’s below show the two main locations we used (left) versus the main locations that Coronation Street and EastEnders use. Comparing the two shows that our trailer complies with the conventions about location for soap opera’s and their trailers.

Aquinas College

76 Yates Street

Rovers Return

Coronation Street

Queen Vic

Albert Square

How did I USE codes and conventions of real media products? Editing
When editing my final product I tried to add as many TV soap trailer codes and conventions as I could without making it seem too ‘busy’ and complicated. All soap trailers use a montage of different clips from their programmes to create the trailer. I did this by selecting the most attention grabbing clips from all the footage we filmed and using them in order, one after another in my trailer to create a montage of footage. I chose clips which clearly show what the programme is about whilst highlighting the most dramatic parts of the main storyline. It is a typical convention of soap trailers to have each clip cut directly one to the next as the ‘montage’ of different clips from the programme are shown. ‘Fading in/out’ is also commonly used in these trailers, especially in EastEnders. For my trailer I made the majority of cuts, straight simple cuts which are used the most in existing TV soap trailers. The first half of the trailer uses fast, up tempo music which meant these abrupt cuts went well with the tempo of the music, however I used the fading technique in the second half of the trailer where the music became slower and more dramatic . As one image slowly faded in/out from the next/previous clip, the fairly gradual transition worked in time with the music to create a slow tempo, dramatic effect. Screenshot of the ‘fade in/fade out’ editing technique that I used in my trailer is on the left, and evidence of it being used in existing trailers is on the right. I can not get screenshots of the straight cuts as there is no way to pause the trailers on the cut as they just go from one clip straight to the next. ‘Fade in’ on EastEnders This transition was called ‘fade to white’ and I used it to change from the clip where we see a pan of the dead body, to the final clip with the channel logo. I chose this transition as it is smooth and gradual which creates a slow tempo for a sad part of the trailer. I chose ‘fade to white’ instead of just fade out so it separates this clip a little better from the final clip which just shows the date and time of the show.

How did I USE codes and conventions of real media products? Sound
It is a typical convention of soap trailers to use a lot of non-diegetic sound. This means that the sound has been added on over the top of the trailer e.g. music. This is a convention that is used on a lot of trailers so I decided to use in on mine too. When creating my trailer I muted all clips. For the first half of my trailer I chose a fast tempo piece of music to get the viewers adrenaline going and work them up to the big ending. The second half of the trailer reveals the ending which is quite sad so I used a slow, instrumental piece of music to go with the emotions that not only the characters were feeling, but also the viewer. Both pieces of music were added on over the top of the trailer and were non-diegetic. The dialogue in the trailer did not sound very clear or loud when it was coming straight from the footage that we had filmed on a camcorder (diegetic sound). Because of this, I decided to stick to the idea of using non-diegetic sound to get better quality so I recorded all the dialogue on a Dictaphone then put it over the top of the trailer in time with the video so the characters mouths moved in sync with the words. I also needed to add the sound of sirens and a gun shot. Obviously I couldn’t create these sound effects when filming so again I downloaded the sound then added them onto the trailer during editing. For one scene in my trailer I thought that the diegetic sound that was recorded in filming sounded better than adding sound over the top would. It was the scene where the police woman was on the phone in the office. As we filmed in an actual office you could hear office type sound effects such as typing and a phone ringing in the background etc. These created a more realistic effect and as soaps are supposed to be very realistic anyway , I decided to keep this clip as diegetic sound. This meant that almost all sound involved in the trailer was non-diegetic but with a tiny bit of diegetic. This fit in with the convention as some soaps use all non-diegetic and some use a bit of both like I did.