Evaluation Q1


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

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Introduction Most documentaries no matter what genre tend to include the same codes and conventions as this is what makes them successful. These include: Voiceovers Interviews External Footage Music Institution name and logo Camera Shots Transitions In my documentary I aimed to use as many of these codes and conventions as possible as I knew this would be what would make my documentary fit for purpose. I am going to analyse how successful I was in doing this and how it compares to real media products.

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1. (Documentary) After extensive research I decided that I wanted to make an interactive style documentary based on prisons. I chose this as I enjoy watching documentaries in my free time that are similar to this, therefore my prior knowledge would help me in the construction of my product. In my documentary I used conventions that are used frequently in other interactive documentaries such as interviews. I featured several different interviews in my documentary to dig deeper into the characters that are introduced to the audience. It also allowed me to manipulate the way in which the characters were presented to the audience through the question I prepared for them. This is an example of an interview in the documentary with the victims mother, I asked her several questions about her son and his behaviour. This is an effective convention to include in my documentary as it allowed me to manipulate the characters response. People often have emotional barriers and close themselves off partially when being interviewed, however I knew that if I asked her the right questions I would be able to break through these boundaries and get more deep and meaningful answers from the interviewee. This worked and I ended up filming an interview that was full of the characters emotion and the answers she gave seem real and from the heart to the audience. I have seen this used in many docu- mentaries as it is such an effective way of tapping into the characters emotions so this is how I decided to use several interviews in my documentary.

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1. (Documentary) Another convention that I used in my documentary was text. I inserted text over several different clips in my documentary to give them further information on the subject or important information that I specifically want them to focus on. I chose to use text as I had seen this used in the majority of the documentaries I had researched, regardless of style. It is a fundamental feature used in mist documentaries. At the start of the documentary I laid text over some video footage to introduce the documentary to the audience and the title can often say a lot about the content of the documentary to the audience. I felt that it was also important for me to include this as it would allow me also to connect with the audience deeper. As you can see, I have seen this used in other documentaries like the one above so I decided to incorporate it into my own documentary as I knew it would help me meet the required codes and conventions of a high standard product. Including the title tells the audience a lot more about what the documentary contains. In mine, I have the title “Luke Smith: Behind Bars” laid over the top of footage of some prison cells. From this, the audience can clearly see that this is a prison documentary.

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1. (Documentary) Furthermore, another convention that I used in my documentary was external footage. I have used footage taken by someone else in order to make my documentary more fit for purpose. I wanted to include footage of a prison in order to give my audience an idea of where the documentary is set in order to build some tension to be carried through, and I did not have the resources available to shoot this footage myself. I have chosen to do this as when researching I noticed that quite a lot of documentaries incorporated external footage into them. The ones I found that were similar to mine and used it because it allowed them to show the audience something that had happened in the past or to extend their knowledge on a topic. I believed that using external footage would allow me to extend my audiences knowledge on prisons by showing them what they look like. Above you can see the external footage of a prison that I used in my documentary. This allowed me to still achieve a high quality finished product as if I couldn’t use this, I would have had to film the footage myself, something that I do not have the resources or capability to do so I wouldn’t have been able to include it, meaning the audience would not have been able to see where the documentary was filmed. By allowing your audience to see where your documentary was filmed, they gain a deeper understanding of your product.

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1.(Advert) When creating my poster advertising my documentary, I again analysed some existing media products in order to pull the codes and conventions from them for inspiration for making my product. This poster was the main inspiration for making my product. I liked this product as it was for a documentary similar to mine so I knew using it for inspiration would market my product effectively. It features the institution logo in the top right hand corner to show where it will be screened. It has a bold title that is large enough to attract the attention of the audience, the black on top of the white are contrasting colours so this makes it stand out even more, which is important as this is the thing you want the audience to remember the most. The image is large and takes up half the page, and is well edited in order to attract the readers attention. The professional editing techniques makes the poster look professional, this will make the reader believe the documentary will follow suit with this. As you can see from the screenshot, I have incorporated all of the codes and conventions used in the professional media product into my product. It is very minimalistic but I believe it does its job as an advert as it gives the audience the information they need, it does not distract them with overcrowding the page. I also believe I have near enough mirrored the editing used on the image which is very advantageous as it is so large and is the main feature of the advert and the impression the user gets from it is what they will think my actual product will be like.

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1. (Double page spread) For my double page spread, I again decided to use previous media products for examples of codes and conventions I could use in my product. By incorporating these into my double page spread I knew I would have a better chance of making it fit for purpose. The main one I used for inspiration was this: When researching, I found it difficult to find any existing examples of double page spreads that advertised documentaries that would be suitable for me to use, so I had to use a double page spread that was not specifically about a magazine. However, I still believed that using it for inspiration would allow me to make my product fit for purpose. The first thing you notice is the large image on the right hand side which has been cartooned in order to add to the effect. Users are more likely to notice this image as it is different and all the colours are vibrant. The main heading is bold and in different colours. This is to separate different pieces of information from each other, whilst still keeping them together as the title. Underneath this is the main body of text, it is split into two columns in order to make it look more presentable, easier for the audience to read and to make the text look less daunting and lengthy. As you can see, I tried to duplicate the codes and conventions used on the professional product as I knew this would allow me to meet the highest criteria I could. I used editing techniques to edit an image I took into something similar to the one above as I believe this is the main feature that attracts the audience to read the article as it is unique and stands out. I have also selected a similar font and colours for my title as I believe these are very effective as they stand off the page due to the dark colours used for a background. I have formatted my text in the same “two column” format as I believe this looks professional and clean. The colours used are also similar, I have chosen a dark colour set as I believe this reflects the theme of the documentary to the audience.

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