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Lewis Rohloff – Louise Walshe

A2 Media Coursework Evaluation
1) In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media product?
When we first started our documentary we ensured we followed the common codes and conventions of TV documentaries so it would appear as authentic as possible. We all put our ideas forward and came up with the idea of basing our factual documentary on the topic of the recent rise in tuition fees. Our allocated task consisted of a five minute opening extract of a documentary. To ensure we kept an element CHANNEL 4 IDENT of professionalism we followed the codes and conventions, for e.g. interviews with professionals and vox pox’s. As a group we decided to base the documentary on uni fees as this subject appealed to us as this is effecting many young people in modern society, therefore we found that this subject could relate and appeal to us as well. This was a different but yet interesting idea to base a documentary on, along with it we got this idea after doing relevant research to target this documentary for teenagers and young adults as they are mostly under the medias influence and pressure to go to university or else be condemned to a low wage job. As a group as we personally tried relating this subject to us and thought what would appeal to us, as we are in the same age group so we found it easier to base and make a documentary that would appeal and engage us to watch a documentary. Our main product was the documentary as we spent a lot of time on it, from research to production to editing; also this helped us choose the colour theme along with appearance and the layout of the listings page article. The montage consisted of different sound levels, such as the lowering of music sounds on a particular interview shot where we thought would grab the viewer’s attention. The music we chose was quite up beat and kept the scene flowing and in order to keep the audience tuned in. Also the voiceover OUR DOCUMENTARY used is clear and easy to understand as it is spoken quite slowly. This works well with the arrangement of the different shots as the relevant information is given out when necessary. When adding the voiceover to the timeline, and any other sounds needed, we had to insure that all the volume levels where altered to ensure the sound remained loud and balanced in order to fit with the appropriate scenes. These are very important to the overall documentary as if the sound levels were un-clear and quiet, or too loud the whole documentary would lack in realism and come across as amateur, but as our sound levels were adjusted well, this really helped to make it appear to be fairly professional and created a high sense of realism. There are possible limitations within the voice over such as a possible lack of enthusiasm from the

Lewis Rohloff – Louise Walshe speaker however I feel the relevance of what is being said outweighs that of the arguably lacklustre delivery. REAL DOCUMENTARY An additional area in which we altered to convention was the framing and mise en scene of our interviews. The above picture suggests the main shot of how an interview is presented in a real documentary and how we have presented this as well. Although there are slight differences in the images above, they both still have similarities, for e.g. the medium shot, Mise en scene and positioning of the camera and both have taglines, stating who they are and their career title. Whilst we were filming our footage for our documentary we included a selection of cutaways and establishing shots. This is a typical feature of documentaries as it makes our interviews more visually stimulating to watch, and prevents the viewers from just watching the subject talking which could get tedious and make their attention go else where. We have establishing shots such as close ups of computer screens. This went well with the documentary because as the statistics were being read out by the voiceover, the relevant information was showing on the screen. We decided to combine the relevant footage of web pages, interviews from both professionals and average students alike. We found that this particular technique would keep the audience focused as it would be more interesting for them to watch and it would allow them to relate to the particular issues being raised in our documentary. We mainly used medium close ups for this particular filming to ensure the full image was shown, as it created a sense of realism and an indirect connection with the viewer, Other examples of editing that we used for example blurring, we did this to add extra effect when our opening montage ended and coins fell followed by the title screen, the coins connoting the high prices of uni fees. Moreover, we used different edits to change the scene such as zooms and an edit which looked like a page turning this added further effects in order to keep the audience visually satisfied and interested. After producing our documentary we drafted ideas to how we could present our listings page, in order to make our page look professional we used codes and conventions and similar features in comparison to real life magazines, we analysed and looked at other pages so that we cold use similar qualities and features and we did as shown below.

Lewis Rohloff – Louise Walshe Our radio trailer follows and challenges codes and conventions of real life media product in various ways. Whilst producing this we also had to bear in mind media conventions, in order to help us produce these tasks we analysed professional examples from popular radio stations and this showed and gave us examples and ideas to what we would have to produces as this was to ensure we had a good idea and framework to make our radio trailer consist of similar elements. Our radio trailer was produced from the following: The majority of our radio trailer contains extracts from our documentary, mainly from the montage as these are the main clips voiceover used, from the documentary which would interest the audience. Furthermore we got this idea from the previous radio trailers which we analysed. Similarly to the documentary, we ensured the voiceover used was clear and included all necessary information was given such as viewing times, also quotes from the documentary were picked out carefully as they were aimed to be catchy and effective in order to attract the audience and indirectly gain their attention and make them want to watch it. The script was correctly followed and we also studied and followed all the above media conventions in order to produce a radio trailer that could be broadcasted on the radio advertising it on channel 4 as we chose our documentary to be shown on the channel 4 the home of many similar documentaries. The radio trailer challenges the convention in such a way as it would catch the audience’s attention as it is short but yet catchy and contains a diversity of shots as well as a range of different voices

2) How effective is the combination of your main product and ancillary text?
Throughout the whole of our project I have found that the documentary was the most successful piece of production that we have created audience feedback has also proven this, as this is was our main product along with the two ancillary texts we have produced, I personally think these three product combined together they make an effective project. All three sources of media combine effectively with each other this is showed in various ways for example through its textual colour and font choice, in the documentary the main heading Fees Soar High´ this is in a block white colour, in order to show and keep a consistency in relation between the products we have shown previously, for example our documentary relates to it as the problem its tackling is a standard black and white question ‘Is It Worth It’.

As you can see above our documentary title screen has a black background with a once again white title which states the documentaries name, this is similar to our magazine article as it had similar uses of colour. Our radio trailer was also

Lewis Rohloff – Louise Walshe a great success as it is an appealing and effective promotion to ensure this by showing our fast paced editing skills along with relevant quotes and facts and figures from the documentary, almost a mini preview which dares the listeners to watch the documentary. It is also giving an interesting description of the documentary which engages the listener’s interest, this also shows success as its appealing and yet a good source of promotion of the main product. It meets its target audience and appeals to them. Through the radio trailer we use the same voice of the narrator in the documentary, as both the radio trailer and the documentary feature the same voice over, this is effective as it is allowing it to become more recognised and memorable to the listener if they were to here both see these product and would easily link them together, this is an effective way as it shows that they both relate and go well together and follow the same theme. As for our radio trailer, it would be aired on Capital FM, according to our research into Radio Stations, “fits in with our target audience”. Furthermore, the “background music created would appeal to the type of audience who listens to Capital FM”, thereby appealing to our intended target audience as well. However, these are mostly unsubstantiated claims so I could not honestly say that our radio trailer appeals effectively to our target audience based solely upon this. Personally, I think that the up-beat tempo of the backing track would appeal to a similar age group as that of our audience and the voice-over’ informal manner of speaking might attract an audience of similar social class as ours, but the over-saturation of male voices would most likely appeal more to a male audience. So in conclusion I would say that our products target the same audience fairly effectively, though not completely successfully.

Firstly, the radio trailer compliments the documentary as we used certain extracts from the documentary and incorporated them into the radio trailer. The extracts taken from the documentary and used in the radio trailer we believed offered enough to grasp the audience’s attention and make them want to learn more about the documentary yet at the same time not give too much away about the documentaries content. I strongly feel that the listings page sells the documentary to not just the target audience but a wider

Lewis Rohloff – Louise Walshe audience in general as it is eye-catching, owns a gripping headline and gives a preview into the mind of the documentary. In addition, the colour scheme used and the content within the page were both well received in feedback and by the group itself. What lets it all down? The documentary, in my opinion was the biggest success of the trio as it has a variety of opinions, questions and answers. Similarly, the listing page was a success however, what could be questioned is whether the article really suited our target audience or whether it was too heavy-reading? Perhaps with hindsight we may have considered producing the article with less heavy reading in order to sustain the audience’s attention. On the other hand, the article itself reads well and does promote the documentary very well in my opinion and is clear to the reader, when and where the documentary will be shown. Overall, I believe that the radio trailer was the media product which didn’t compliment or promote the documentary well enough. This is because; it doesn’t potentially offer enough throughout the trailer to persuade listeners to watch the documentary it promotes. Looking back, if we had another chance at creating the documentary, radio trailer and page I would have planned out how long we would spend on each task as I feel we didn’t leave enough time for the completion of the listings page, therefore it could have been planned better and most likely the final product would have been executed better, although we could then question would our article and documentary be at the same standard? The title in block, white capitals matches our documentary’s title which had the same characteristics Main picture takes up a lot of room

Lewis Rohloff – Louise Walshe

The colour scheme isn’t particularly eye catching and makes the page appear a bit bland Overall after having a close look at all three media product that we as a group have produced I personally feel that all these products together form a strong, appealing, and informative but yet interesting form of media. They follow codes and convention and are reasonably realistic and effective.

3) What have you learned from your audience feedback?

We were provided with audience feedback, as we wanted to know what our target audience thought of the opening sequence of our documentary along with the radio trailer and double page spread magazine. So as a group we examined the responses and converted them into graphical data. According to our predictions and results we are glad to say our documentary was great success along with the radio trailer and the magazine,

- No one gave the answers of either ok or poor with everyone in the class rating the documentary excellent, very good or good with half saying very good

Lewis Rohloff – Louise Walshe

- Mostly the audience thought the filming/shooting material was good therefore supporting the fact that the documentary had a good basis of good quality shots

- Once again a mostly good rating from the audience when asked whether the documentary seemed professional compared to other real documentaries

- A positive rating on how the documentaries editing was viewed means that the transitions don’t take anything away from the product and only emphasise its positives

Lewis Rohloff – Louise Walshe

- Similar results to previous questions in that the audience saw that the captions were used appropriately and were in keeping with the documentary

- 3 students rated the appropriateness for the target audience as excellent which is a very positive piece of feedback as it shows the documentary is suitable for that audience

- Another average rating on the sound and music use which shows no one thought the music took anything away from the documentary as a whole

Lewis Rohloff – Louise Walshe

Overall people viewed the documentary as good by a 75% majority; this further supports the evidence that the documentary would be well accepted by the target audience. Although we only took results from a small group of people they are still representative of the possible larger scale audience as they are all of similar ages, ethnicities, social class and are an even ratio of gender. Therefore interviewing a small but appropriately varied group is more effective than interviewing a larger but unrelated group of people.

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

In the stages of production we used various media technologies in order to produce the final pieces (documentary, radio trailer and music magazine). We used some familiar and unfamiliar technologies which were hard to use at the start but soon we learnt how to operate the new technologies and became familiar with the programs with the help of manuals. First and foremost, the only two computer systems I have utilized during the production process are my personal laptop and the Apple Mac, my computer of choice while at college. While the laptop carries out instructions at a much slower rate than the Apple Mac it proved very useful in the development of the title sequence animation, though altogether I found the Apple Mac to be much smoother than of the laptop and not as ‘clunky’ or rigid. Since the very beginning of the process I have used the Internet Explorer (when using the laptop) and Safari (when

Lewis Rohloff – Louise Walshe using the Apple Mac computer) browser software programs to procure information, conduct research and regularly update our blog. Once again, the Mac-based tool was much more user-friendly mainly because of its fluidity. For example, it enabled for simple transference of text from a document just by highlighting the desired text and using the ‘drag-and-drop’ method. Whereas Internet Explorer did not allow for this simple method of transferring information because of the Windows Vista OS (operating system) being far more rigid. Due to this, I also experienced problems with formatting posts on the bog when using the Laptop, such as it not responding to the addition of gaps between lines of text, automatically adding spaces at the beginning of a post and even refusing to embed videos in the post. Additionally, I also used the command-shift-3/4function of the Apple Mac to capture all the print screens that I used in this evaluation, yet another area in which the Mac outdoes the laptop because the cmd-shift-4 function allows for the capture of a designated area of the screen. Therefore, I would say that I used the Apple Mac desktop computer to its full extent and it definitely was more useful than the laptop in the production process, especially as most of the software programs I utilized were only accessible on the Mac. We used a wide range of technologies both inside the classroom and outside, for example televisions, windows PCs, and Apple Mac computer for purposes such as editing the documentary and radio trailer in final cut express. Computers were mainly used for internet research purposes and also to upload all research and planning ideas on to blogger.com. This is a site where our group posted work so that our teacher could see and assess our work, also using scribe it enabled us to put up graphs from audience feedback when we were gaining audience feedback. To produce the documentary we used a modern camcorder provided by the college, along with the camcorder in order to do the shots we wanted to we used a tripod in order to make a steady and realistic documentary. Some shots however appeared to still be quite shaky therefore via final cut express we edited it as much as we could to get a reasonable scene. This was a downturn in our project but we overcame the struggle and managed to overcome this.

Lewis Rohloff – Louise Walshe Some of the cameras components were slightly difficult to use meaning we had to repeat some shots on many occasions due lack of focus on the camera. However the camera was very convenient as it was easily placed on a tripod however we did find some difficulty at first. The tripod helped ensure shots were at a correct level and still. The camera also consisted of ports to place microphones and headphones into, this was very economical as we could easily listen to the recording and repeat any voice recording along with this, as we could connect the microphone into the camera at ease. Whilst recording we used a directional mic, which meant that we were able to focus on a certain sound reducing any background sounds that aren’t relevant. Also the microphone was time efficient and reasonably simple and easy to set up and use which saved a lot of valuable recording time although we found a problem which was that the sound levels came out slightly louder than other scenes around it which could have made the documentary flow less and have that particular scene stand out as a weakness. To put and edit our documentary together we used the Apple Mac computers in order to edit our and put our documentary together in final cut express this software was slightly challenging to get familiar with but eventually we became to use final cut express to its full potential and put all the documentary together, we found that final cut express was very useful as we could panel, fade, blur, add text, music to the shots, fasten or slow clips and connect them together. We used a scanner frequently in order to put our work up onto the blog, for example when we were logging clips and storyboards, this was very efficient and easy as it formatted and copied our work on paper and transferred it onto the computer and then we uploaded the scanned work on to the blogs, this was very useful to us. Finally we used many different technologies throughout making this product and in using them and developing our skills I feel I have become a better student of media with a greater knowledge of what goes into making a successful product.

My Blog - http://c05documentary11.blogspot.com/ Documentary -

Lewis Rohloff – Louise Walshe

Listings Page -

Radio Trailer -