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Media Evaluation

In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real
media products?

Use

The formal interviews are in calm and quiet settings, with minimal diegetic sound, to put across the
seriousness of the interviews and the level of formality. We have incorporated names and titles of
the interviewees. They appear on the screen during the first few seconds of the interview. This is to
create connotations of professionalism during the interviews and will create a level of trust with the
audience. The medium-close up shot is commonly used in documentaries like “Supersize Me”. In
Nick’s interview we have positioned the interview to be in front of a Mac to add to the level of
formality and to enforce the idea that the interviewee is an expert. Also, in terms of mise en scene,
the interviewee is formally dressed to convey formality and expert status. The film posters in the
background emphasise the interviewee’s role in the media. Alex and Dave’s interviews take place in
the actual studios in front of technical equipment to convey their importance in the music industry.
This also shows their expertise in the topic. They are both less formally dressed as their jobs are
more behind the scenes of the shows. Ashley’s interview is set in the Express Music store with
guitars in the background and him holding one. This tells the audience his role as a band member
and shows his experience makes his interview worthy. His clothes are less formal as he’s a band
member, who stereotypically dresses casually.
As the topic of the documentary is music we wanted background footage of music being played to
focus the purpose. It’s also a way of showcasing one of our interviewee’s talents and showing that
he is an expert in his field. We have also used a range of background footage to back up the
narrative, which is a convention used by the “Supersize Me” documentary, that we felt was suitable
for our target audience as it makes it faster paced and more lively. We have used musically themed
background footage to keep the topic at the forefront of the audiences’ minds and to vary the shots,
for example the shot of the CDs is a pan.

We utilised introductory footage to give a professional introduction to the formal interview of Alex
Baker. The shot of Kerrang! Studios is shown before the shot of Alex, allowing a variety of shots that
give structure too. I was disappointed with the shot outside Kerrang! because it wobbles slightly
because the tripod was slightly stiff. If we’d had time we would’ve replaced the tripod and re-shot it.
The vox pops, on the other hand, show a level of informality because there is a lot of diegetic
background noise and the mise en scene is informal because they are casually dressed and in the
college refectory. Their names and titles aren’t included on-screen to reflect their lack of expertise
but they are all medium long shots. We have used a mix of males and females to try to keep the
documentary of interest to both sexes. In terms of mise en scene, we shot the vox pops in different
places to make it more interesting (as shown below):

We have utilised one piece of music throughout the main part of documentary to keep it simple and
not overpowering. Real media products would also only use one or two pieces of music because the
music shouldn’t be the main feature of the documentary. The music’s role is to be the foundations
of the documentary, to make it all flow and give it structure. In addition, the level of the music
should be low to maintain its role and remain subtle. We used a small piece of dramatic music at the
start for the first few seconds to give impact, but the main music started during the title page and
continued throughout.

Also, we have used a title page to introduce the programme, which a common technique used in
other documentaries. This creates a professional tone within the documentary. This is one of only
two parts of the documentary that we used effects and transitions. We used it on this section to
make the text enter the screen with emphasis. We have used it sparingly because real media
products don’t use many transitions, as it looks unprofessional and tacky.

The documentary has a factual tone and uses figures to inform the audience. In this shot for
example, Alex says “I have 3 or 4 Royal Mail sacks with 1000 in each” – this shows how many people
are fighting to get their place in the music industry. The use of numbers makes it more memorable
and more hard-hitting. Although I think we cut this clip to short as it doesn’t explain 1000 of what. If
we’d left a bit more on the audience would realise it’s CDs that he’s talking about, so this is
something I would change. Also, we thought that using Alex’s interview would encourage viewers to
watch it, as the channel we chose to broadcast it (4Music) is sponsored by Kerrang! radio and he
works for them. We would also choose Kerrang! radio to play our radio trailer to attract a consistent
audience.

We have used a hidden narrator, for example, during this shot we have the narrator talking about
ways bands promote themselves and a pan of magazines to illustrate the point. This type of
background footage is inspired by the “Supersize Me” documentary, which implemented
background footage directly as the narrator mentioned the topic it was about. We chose to use a
hidden narrator as it would’ve taken longer to shoot and we had time constraints to adhere to.
Computer screen shots are used in the documentary to act as background footage, as the interview
before this shot is with Ashley who talks about his band using MySpace. This is his actual band’s
page, so again this is regular background footage like “Supersize Me”. Also it demonstrates
professionalism as the documentary features technical aspects, like computers. We have also
incorporated other shots on computers including YouTube, Facebook, Facebook music and The X-
Factor on ITV Player.

This sped up clip creates an interesting shot and can be identified (above) by the blurring around the
people in it. This should appeal to the target audience (predominantly young, aged from 15 – 25) as
it’s lively and upbeat.
Cutaways are also used to show the background footage, this reinforces what the interviewee says.
For example, we have a shot of Dave Clarke talking about the X-Factor and then a clip of the X-Factor
and then it goes back to Dave Clarke. This is also a feature of “Supersize Me”

Develop
We don’t feel as though we have developed any of the forms and conventions, within our
documentary.

Challenged

This shot of Craig Jennings more like the news because the narrator reads out the quote and it
appears on the screen through a transition as it is said. I didn’t manage to get an interview with Craig
so I conducted an e-mail interview and received a photo of him to use instead. I think that this was
effective because it’s a different type of shot and breaks up the chains of interviews and vox pops. It
does follow the conventions in the way that Craig’s interview appears and then we have an
interview with someone else who talks about You Me at Six, the band he manages. This creates flow
and gives the documentary structure.

An on-screen narrator wasn’t included because we felt that the documentary was effective without
it, as many documentaries are successful without them. Also within the time we were given, it was
easier to produce a voiceover, as we had time constraints with interviews so having an on-screen
narrator would’ve complicated it.

On-screen statistics weren’t included in the documentary as they weren’t relevant because we felt
that the interviews that quoted facts were successful and didn’t need this aspect. Also, the target
audience is for younger people who probably wouldn’t find graphs and statistics interesting, so
would be unsuitable. The vibe is livelier with the interviewees stating the facts themselves.

I was disappointed that we were unable to obtain an interview with Craig Jennings, as he was way in
New York and that HMV and WHSmith didn’t reply to us as we would’ve got some useful footage.
Also, in one of the shots you can see the microphone (shown below). This was our first interview so
we lacked in experience but if it weren’t for the time constraints, I would’ve re-shot it.
On the other hand, I am pleased with the documentary because I feel that it does its purpose, by
informing people about the music industry and to giving an insight into real artists’ attempts to
make it into the music industry. I was also really pleased with the interviews that we managed to
organise, including Heart FM’s Dave Clarke and Kerrang! radio’s Alex Baker. I’m happy with the
structure of it and feel that if all fits together well.

How effective is the combination of your main product and ancillary texts?

Our documentary is the main product, accompanied by two ancillary texts, including an article and a
radio trailer. The three effectively combine to promote each other and to persuade the audience to
watch it.

We have used the voice over clips in our radio trailer that also appeared in our documentary to
create a sense of consistency. The clips we have chosen were some of the most interesting and
contributed to creating a dramatic radio trailer that persuades people to watch the documentary, as
our feedback shows people would watch it from hearing the trailer. We have also incorporated the
same music from the documentary into the radio trailer to ensure consistency.

This is our final article that consists of similar phrases and style of language that are used within the
other two pieces. By doing this, it creates a corporate image and reinforces the style of the
documentary, a technique which is used in other documentaries. For example “One Born Every
Minute” is about a maternity ward and the radio trailer contains sound clips of women in labour and
babies crying as it creates impact and is topically consistent. Quotations from one piece may be used
in another, for example the radio trailer features the phrase “But could this mean the end of the
music industry for good?“ that also features in the magazine article. I also thought that adding an
echo effect on the end of this quotation added to the dramatic atmosphere, making people want to
watch the documentary.

I’m really proud of all three pieces because I feel that they support each other in a promotional way,
as the radio trailer and article advertise the documentary in a way that persuades people to watch it
(as our feedback has shown). If I were to make any changes to the pieces I would use the exact
same graphics on the documentary and article to make the house style more consistent.

What have you learned from your audience feedback?

We have learnt what the audience think the documentary is about and which type of reading they
have taken (oppositional, preferred or compromised).

Most people thought that our documentary followed conventions used in real documentaries and
most gave us 3 out of 5 (5 being the highest) for how professional the documentary is:

Most people liked the interviews with the DJ’s, secondly the background footage, thirdly the music
and lastly, other:

Most people (50%) disliked other techniques, 35% disliked the voiceover, 10% disliked the editing
and 5% disliked the background footage:
All three of the following are correct, but most people said the music industry, which was our
main topic, so they have taken a compromised reading:

Our actual target audience was 16-15; however most people said that our documentary appeals to
16-18 year olds, 35% said 19-21 year old and jointly at 5% people said 22+ and 13-15 year olds:

The majority of people (14 out of 22) said they would continue to watch the documentary because it
was interesting and informative and 8/22 said they wouldn’t watch the rest because they weren’t
interested in it:
All of the answers given were aspects of the documentary, but most people (45%) said MySpace and
Facebook, whereas only 25% said the music industry which was our main topic. Jointly, 15% said
radio channels and unsigned bands:

Most people said they would change the voiceover, secondly the pace, thirdly others and lastly,
interviews:

Steph has also obtained audience feedback on our ancillary texts.
All of the people asked said that they would watch the documentary, having seen the article and
trailer:

40% of people said they would change the first few words of the article, 20% of people asked said
that they would add more colour and another 40% of people said that they would change nothing:
I’m really happy with the results that we received from our audience feedback, as the majority of
our audience have taken the preferred reading and made some valid points for improvement.

How did you use new media technologies in the construction, research and planning, and
evaluation stages?

We all used Garageband in the construction stage of the coursework. We used it to import the
sound clips and backing track from Final Cut Express that we wanted to use for the radio trailer. It
was easy to use as it was a similar layout to Final Cut Express (which we used first) and produced
good quality sound clips.

We also used Final Cut Express in the construction stage. We used it to upload and edit all of the
audio and video clips, then assembled them on the timeline and added transitions. We then
exported it from here to make back up copies onto portable media devices and DVDs. It was quite
hard to use at first, but after I’d learnt the basics, practiced using it and got some help from the
technicians, it was easy. This software produced useful editing features but on the other hand, it
tended to crash and we had to restore our work a couple of times. Quick Movie was used to export
the final documentary in the appropriate file format, quickly and easily, whilst compressing the files
to optimise loading time.

The blog was used throughout all of the stages to keep record of all documents created, show our
progress and to share files between ourselves. It was easy to use and allowed me to do everything
that I wanted to. The only drawback was that it was sometimes quite hard to format the alignment
of the uploaded images, but other than that it was really useful. I think if I did this coursework again,
I would keep the blog more updated as I ended up posting many items up at the end. I used a
scanner to scan paper-based documents that we can use as evidence for research and planning.
Using a scanner saved a lot of time as I didn’t have to type out documents and I could include
sketched designs. I was able to scan documents for all four stages of the project.
We used the camera during the construction stage to record our footage, the tripod to make the
footage more professional by keeping it still. We also used a microphone to obtain good quality
sound and we tested it before filming shots to ensure that it wasn’t subjected to diegetic
background noise. All of these pieces of equipment were of good standard and gave good quality
footage. The tripod was a bit stiff so it meant some of our pans were a bit jerky and we couldn’t use
them. But apart from that it was all easy to use. The stills camera was used to get photographs for
the magazine article, during the construction stage. This was useful as it obtained better quality
images than stills from the footage would’ve produced.

The Internet was used for research into similar products using Google. It was also used during
construction to obtain background footage of YouTube and a clip of the X-Factor (off ITV.com).
It was useful when organising interviews as I could e-mail potential interviewees and keep record of
their replies. It was also used to post documents on the blog. The Internet was essential for this
project as the four stages would’ve been much more difficult without it as we also used it to
communicate between ourselves to arrange times and places to meet up for filming. The only
downside to the Internet was that some of the sites we needed to access at college (like MySpace)
were blocked so we had to leave some of our work to do at home and move onto another task
during college time.

Microsoft Word was used to type up notes, make questionnaires and type letters to organise
interviews. It’s an easy piece of software to use and gave us professional looking documents.
Microsoft Excel was used to create graphs to analyse the audience feedback. It’s simple to use and
Cheuk created aesthetically pleasing graphs that make the results easy to summarise.

The Mac’s were used during the first three stages and gave us professional results, although was
hard to use at first because of a lack of experience. Backups were regularly taken throughout all four
stages by using memory sticks and DVDs, as well as the college hard drive. This way I ensured that
my work was safe.

InDesign was used to put the article together in the construction stage. Photoshop is useful for
editing photographs to appear in the article. Both of these pieces of software gave flexibility in the
editing but I think that it is hard to use because of the layers feature in the software. Steph created a
really professional article layout that was suitable for the target audience by being grungy and
artistic with the use of Polaroid pictures and a corkboard background. The images were of a high
quality.

In conclusion, I think that all of the software and hardware that we used enabled us to create a good
quality documentary that attracts the intended target audience. The only major drawback was the
tripod being stiff resulting in jerky pans and rendering some shots unusable. Also, I would’ve liked to
have learnt how to use InDesign and Photoshop to that standard that Steph has, but as there were
time constraints of deadlines this wasn’t possible. If I was to do this coursework again I would watch
the final documentary on a television before the deadline, as the sound quality was different on it
than it was on the Mac. This way we could’ve edited the sound quality to a much higher standard. I
also think that if we had the time and equipment, our sound quality could’ve been of a professional
standard. I felt well supported by the technicians as they helped with any problems that I had when I
was learning how to use the software.