Main Task- The internet; including: Google, YouTube, Short of the Week, Survey Monkey and Word.
Ancillary tasks- Channel 4 website and You Tube.
Google was integral for my research as by choosing to do a documentary I would be entering a format in which I have never attempted to undertake before. Moreover I had to use Google in order to research narrative structures e.g Freytag’s pyramid. This helped me to really lock down what I was going to film as my brief was to film the opening to a TV documentary only, meaning that I could only focus on ‘exposition’ (the first of his nine stages of a narrative arc.)
The other main way I used Google for my main task research was to look into which institution might produce and distribute my documentary. Obviously this is a vital decision as by choosing a particular institution we then have to film appropriately to the codes and conventions of that institution in order to produce a believable product which is similar to real life TV documentaries. Moreover after exploring the various flagship TV institutions e.g. their scheduling including both when certain programmes are on and what they are as this is affected by whom their target audiences are.
YouTube and Short of the Week.
In order to get a grasp on high quality TV documentaries naturally I had to watch and analyse several. YouTube was very useful in showing me a wide range of documentaries in both quality and in topics helping me understand what pitfalls to avoid e.g. making sure any dialogue is recorded in a quiet area with a wearable mic attached to the subject but also choosing a subject area that was somewhat lacking in the documentary format; resulting in the choice of the elderly. I also used You Tube to analyse several pieces of instrumentals to get a rough idea of the type of music Amy and I wanted to use in our documentary as we chose to create our own to give our documentary an added element of originality that would make our documentary stand out from other existing real media products.
Short of the Week was also very insightful as it provided me with my most inspirational documentary BAR. BAR is a documentary short that focuses on the life of an elderly man narrated by his Grandson. Amy and I loved almost everything about this short from the nostalgic undertones to the warm mode of address which is used throughout. With only a few aspects that we weren’t so keen on such as the narration and the lack of dynamic shots.
Survey Monkey and Word.
Survey Monkey is a website that I found online in which it allows you to create your own questionnaire and send it to whomever you want to respond to it. I thought this was a more interesting way to collect data rather than a simple word document. The benefits of Survey Monkey were that there was no risk of losing the data as it was all saved on the website as well as it being far more convenient than printing out several copies of the questionnaire. However, there were some disadvantages of using Survey Monkey such as that as I wasn’t a paid up member I was limited to only ten questions which meant I had to cut several questions which could’ve been insightful in helping us create a better product. Another disadvantage was that being an online questionnaire not everyone answered it/successfully received it making our responses limited. Therefore when creating a second questionnaire for the title of our production we gave our subjects a standard physical copy that I created on word guaranteeing responses while also giving me greater insight into what people thought of the proposed titles.
Channel 4 website- After researching the various institutions and finally concluding that Channel 4 would be the most appropriate, I had to research and analyse all of the variations of Channel 4 newspaper advertisements in order to be faithful to the brand image and successfully produce a realistic opening to a TV documentary.
This was probably the most challenging aspect of my ancillary tasks as I really struggled to find any radio adverts produced by Channel 4 moreover I was reliant on examples by other institutions on You Tube which in my humble opinion weren’t of a professional standard or at least of a quality that I was happy with. Therefore to produce a realistic advert made by Channel 4 I had to try and apply the core codes and conventions of Channel 4 to a radio advert in my planning.
Main task: Camera, rode mic, wearable mic, final cut pro, Prezi.
The camera I used was a Canon eos 600D which I borrowed from the school. Using this camera in my planning allowed me to get familiar with all of its features before I had to film my final piece. During the planning stages I practiced with the camera for both lighting and setup as both are vital in making a high value product; allowing me to have a clear picture of where I wanted the cameras for filming day.
Rode and wearable mic.
Much like the camera I thought it would be useful to do several tests with the mics. From the tests I discovered that despite being in a quiet environment the rode mic still had lots of background noise. In contrast the wearable mics sound was very clear providing it wasn’t too close to the subject. All of this was extremely useful information and helped improve the final product.
Final cut pro.
This is definitely an area I could’ve improved on as the only time I used Final cut pro during planning was when we composed the first cut of our documentary. This shows poor planning as when you look at the other technologies that I used I practised with them and planned out how I would use each one. This potentially meant that because of the lack of planning/testing I wasn’t able to use the editing software in a more complex way which might’ve helped subvert the genre compared to the very conventional documentary that was made.
Prezi is an online software that allows you to create visually breath-taking presentations. Due to already using Prezi in the past, naturally I was comfortable using it for my planning as it allowed me to clearly map out ideas such as potential titles
Ancillary Tasks: Camera, Final cut pro, Photo shop, Power Director 8 and WordPress.
When planning for my newspaper advertisement I used the canon eos 600d, Photo shop and WordPress.
Photo shop was the sole software that I used to create my newspaper advertisements. Firstly creating my initial ideas with found images to practise some of my earlier ideas before I knew that I would choose to make it a Channel 4 product. For example having the writing gradually fade away or having the title across the image.
Then once I knew my institution and chosen concept I used the canon eos 600d to take my final images and apply the codes and conventions of Channel 4 products as well as the recently learned skills that I have learnt while practicing on found image.
Having used WordPress to post my work during AS and being used to the format it was logical to use it again and has been extremely useful when posting. It also allows people to comment on my products, which is one of the ways in which I collected audience feedback.
Ancillary 1- Newspaper advertisement: for the construction of my newspaper advertisement I used the canon eos 600d and photoshop.
Canon eos 600d- I used the schools camera which allowed me to take high quality images of my main image after several test shots. Overall I was very happy with the image itself however, when examined closely I found that the frame of the picture was slightly discoloured due to its age. Had I noticed this earlier I would’ve colour corrected it to make sure that the image itself was consistent in terms of the colours . Although it could be argued that the unadulterated aged image makes the proposed product more authentic and genuine; everything isn’t made to look swanky but rather natural demonstrated by the synegy of the natural imagery used at the start of my documentary.
Photoshop- Photoshop was my one and only software that I used to create my advert as it had all the tools that I required. Although I practiced with a variety of tools in my planning for my newspaper advert e.g. fading text and colour alterations; for my actual product I used very few effects/tools. This was because the institution behind my documentary is Channel 4. Moreover to follow channel 4’s codes and conventions I had to focus on the layout of my advert and the font/text opposed to special effects capping me in my creativity but also helping me have a clear set of criteria which helped me shape my product something I am very pleased with.
Ancillary 2 radio advert:
Power director 8: As this years coursework was extremely tasking it was impossible to complete everything in school. Moreover I was required to work at home as well resulting in the completion of my radio advert at home. However, I didn’t have final cut pro x on my laptop at home therefore I was required to use power director 8 which although initially caused me problems having to get used to a brand new software as well as it being extremely inferior to final cut pro x I was able to create a satisfactory product although I do feel it is the weakest of my three. I believe the primary reason it is the weakest is because I couldn’t find any Channel 4 radio adverts therefore I didn’t have any guidelines like I did with my documentary or my newspaper advertisement. As well as never having produced a radio advert of any kind before.
YouTube: In order to create a product in which I believe Channel 4 would create I had to try and be creative however, risky. Furthermore the concept I came up with was to use sound bites of found videos and integrate them with sound bites of my documentary.
Voice Changer (app): Although I had my main concept I felt that my radio advert lacked something that would give a channel 4 product a distinctive edge. Furthermore I decided to use the app Voice Changer to make my voice deeper in order to say the title of the documentary and when and where it airs. The decision to use this voice changer was to give the underrepresented elderly an undistinctive voice suggesting that they aren’t heard, until my documentary. Although my intentions are clear once explained I feel that if my audience only listened to the advert the preferred reading may be unclear, which is why ultimately I decided not to use it and instead re recorded it with a normal voice.
Camera: Once again I used two Canon eos 600ds this allowed me to get two different angles when filming Brenda’s responses as well as allowing me to film high quality cutaways.
Mic: I used two mics. A rode mic for the shots outside and a wearable mic so that all of Brenda’s dialogue was clear without any background noise. This is something i was extremely aware of as it was one of my biggest issues that i had during my AS production.
Lighting umbrella- Obviously as stated before I practiced various lighting set ups during the planning process. Furthermore I used the lighting umbrella to ensure that the subjects were well lit when filming them while also ensuring that the lighting is consistent throughout my piece.
Final Cut Pro X- Final Cut Pro X was the editing software I used to edit Passage of Time. Due to being familiar with the software from AS there wasn’t anything that I hadn’t used before except Ken Burns a tool used to zoom in making the documentary more dynamic and somewhat interactive. I used this several times throughout the documentary mainly on old photos to give an emotive warm mode of address. Although the use of Ken Burns was effective I definitely could’ve used more complex tools had I experimented during the planning stage like I did with lighting and camera set ups. Despite this I did use slow motion and various filters in order to emphasize the theme and importance of time and ageing.
WordPress: Having used WordPress for the last two years I have found that it is extremely easy to use, making it an obvious choice to use as a platform to publish my evaluation.
Prezi: Like WordPress Prezi is a website that i have used for several years now and prefer it to traditional presentation tools due to its fun and interactive nature allowing viewers to engage with my work instead of being displayed in a mundane way.
Slides- Slides.com is something that i have never used before until now and although it isn’t as interactive or dynamic as something like Prezi, I found that it was a great way to display my work in a clear and organised manner e.g. having a slide for each category and sub category; avoiding any confusion among my readers; due to this clarity I decided to use it for two of my four evaluation questions even though it would have been better to use a different technology I felt that it was an easier way to articulate myself.