Test shots: Using Nikon D3300 camera

These are some test shots I took around Central London, this is the camera I’ll be using for my documentary. This overall gave me a good experience on how to use the camera, experiment with the buttons and lens, and how to angle and position my camera to get the most effective shots.

Below are some shots I took:

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The equipment  I intend to use to carry out my documentary:

  • Nikon D3300– This will be the camera I’ll be using, now that I have had experience on this I feel confident filming with this. The quality and sound is very effective however I might need to use an external microphone during the interview scenes to get the best effect.
  • External Microphone– If the dialogue isn’t captured how I want to I will use a boom mic, it is crucial for me that the sound is amazing so I will need to consider this.
  • Tripod- The tripod will help me record my footage steadily, and give a professional effect when recording.

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The article above helped me further decide if its a wise choice to carry out an external microphone as well as internal. The article explains some drawbacks to just using an internal microphone without any other additional cameras, and for me I need to have the best sound possible. Therefore I think investing one will be crucial.

 

 

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‘The world in which we live is a reflection of what we see in the media’

Michel Foucault is a key theorist that was concerned with media playing a vital role on oppressing individuals and being somewhat domineering. It is evident that the media offers a limited view of truth because it is not true itself. I feel like this is important to the topic for my documentary. My emotions are full, as certain aspects are being conveyed in the wrong or inappropriate way in the media which isolate different genders, races and religion, which is completely wrong, linking to this theorist as well as my own views.

During my research I came across this quote  ‘We inhabit a society made up wholly of simulacra- simulations of reality which replace any ‘pure’ reality’. This quote is from another famous theorist, Baudrillard, he summarised my thoughts exactly in this statement and I feel like is very powerful for audiences to understand and be familiar with. Post modernists like Baudrillard, claim that in a media saturated world, we are constantly immersed in media. Which I completely agree with, this is a huge concern and threatens the differentiation between ‘true’ and ‘false’, reinforcing the distortion in media texts.

The difference between simulation and simulacra:

Simulacra is the idea that everything is a ‘remix’, which is a key theory within postmodern media, with no sense of truth or reality and the fact there is no originality in media texts any longer. An examples of simulacra (a copy without an original) is theme parks i.e. Disneyland. This is were the pretend version seems real than the actual thing they’re copying. This is no longer real but of the order of hyper reality, making up of simulations, appearing as believable. This is were the aspect of simulation is drawn in. Simulation is something that’s portrayed as real (like the Disneyland example of things being conveyed as real). This reinforces media is distorted and the lack of truth conveyed.

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Script: Draft 1

Below is my first draft for my script. I know this will need improving. I got a friend in my class to fill our my peer assessment feedback form which I needed to ensure I had the following below:

  • Production title
  • INT/EXT
  • Locations set
  • Time of day
  • Atmosphere set
  • Audio explained
  • Actors/ V.O. identified
  • Shot type
  • Camera angle
  • Camera movement
  • Clear direction for actor
  • Transition
  • 5 min duration
  • Clear/ interesting narrative
  • Professional presentation

 

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Target audience research

I carried out target audience research on Survey Monkey in which I collected 100 responses. This will successfully give me guidance as to what to include and not to include in my documentary.

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For my first question I asked the age of individuals taking the survey, this enabled me to decide what age bracket/ certification I should use to address my audience effectively. The highest vote was under 18, (59%) and 18-30 year old (27%), this will help me to target the audience effectively and get the message across in a more understandable way for the younger audience.

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My second question was the individuals genders. 65% of females voted, whereas only 34% of males took this survey. Despite this I want to address both male and females to help everybody form a new opinion on my topic.

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The third question I asked was particularly important for me, as this will help me how to structure and address my topic. From the results above it is apparent real life accounts / experiences is the most voted with 76%. The second most voted is interviews. I’m very happy with this result as these were the two prime things I wanted to include in my documentary to make it as engaging as possible.

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My 4th question was displayed as an open box question. This meant that the individuals could display there views on the above quote. I wanted to figure out if people knew that media news portrays things differently/ what they want. The mixed responses between: being unaware of this, very aware, and many were very sad. For the people who answered with being unaware; I hope to make them aware through my documentary.

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My 5th question: ‘What co/….. was also very important for me as i wanresd insight into peoples feelings for this particfular topic,,,

 

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6th question…

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7th question…

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question 8…

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question 9…

 

 

Interview techniques in documentaries’

After researching into my 10 short film documentaries I had definitely come to the conclusion that I wanted to structure my documentary in a interview style. To get make this as perfect as possible, while following conventions I had to do research into this to know: what to ask, what not to ask, how to angle my camera and what the background should contain etc.

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These Youtube clips in particular helped me:

Questions I want to include in my documentary

I am aware I won’t be able to include all these questions in my 5 minute clip, but these are the questions I’m considering to think about. In my script I will try to combine the questions and make sure the interviewees touch the subjects that are most important. Because my documentary will be a interview, cutting to various shots with a voice over I feel like the dialogue has to be extremely important.

  1. Did the 9/11 attacks affect you while growing up?
  2. How do you feel when media portrays the terrorists as ‘extremist Muslims’ all over the news?
  3. How do you feel about Isis, about what is happening in Westminster, France, Manchester and do your receive hate attacks because of your appearance?
  4. Do you as Muslims feel divided from other people due to the media impacting them?
  5. How do you feel when someone asks how you feel about innocent lives being lost due to terrorism?

 

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How to write a professional documentary script

The image below inspired and helped me on how I will make my script as professional and conventional as possible. With my short film being a documentary my script won’t be exact and this is more personal then staged. So with the interviewee I will display ‘Response’, this is to allow them to express their own feelings and judgments on this serious topic, hopefully my aim for this is to make it emotive and engaging.

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Summary of my research

As part of my research for my final media product and 2 ancillary texts, I analysed 10 magazine film reviews, 10 short documentary films and 10 documentary film posters. This helped me identify the common conventions of what each media text consist of in the genre of documentaries. This overall had inspired me to include and adapt some aspects into my media product.

Short film documentary analysis/conventions:

By analysing 10 of these I was exposed to how different film directors structure their documentaries to keep the audience enticed and engaged. This inspired me and influenced me on which structure I would want to follow- which I think is the most important aspect in this genre.

The generic conventions that appeared in most documentaries:

  • A Black screen- Most documentaries faded from a black screen into a shot
  • White/Sans serif typography– Creating mystery and seriousness to the short film
  • Inspirational quotes – These are displayed in some documentaries, to set the tone and inform/inspire the audience
  • Voiceover with parallel shots– Cuts from the initial interview to other shots to give the audience a better picture/engaging
  • Interview– Allows the personal accounts to be taken place
  • Typography as the interview starts– Distinguishes there names/ more informative
  • Credits– displayed at the end of the documentary

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Documentary film poster analysis/conventions:

After analysing 10 film posters (mainly documentaires) I came to a clear conclusion of the conventional colours, typography/language. images and most importantly the layout of the poster. With these 4 headings, I had analysed each in depth in order to understand what features and aspects are most conventional to use.

The generic conventions that appeared in most documentaries:

Colors- 

  • The typogrpahy/ titles are either black or white- against a white/light background, creating mystery/seriousness to the documentary
  • The colour scheme consists of roughly 3 colours– Is proffessional, colours help to represent the topics in the documentary
  • Tagline/credits- This is the same colour as the title, creating symmetry in the overall poster

Layout-

  • Producers name typically displayed at the top of the page, e.g. ‘Netflix presents.. A … Film.’
  • One main image represents something in the documentary
  • The title ratio differs; some titles at the bottom of the screen however a couple of posters have titles that are displayed at the top
  • Conventionally, in each poster the tagline is displayed directly below the title
  • Credits positioned at the bottom – examples of this conventional layout is – ’78 days’ ‘SpOILed’ and ‘New York’

Typography/Language-

  • Release date- this is displayed where the credits are, or on a blank space on the poster, the font size is bigger; engaging the audience
  • Sans serif- bold font size is used throughout the posters
  • Tagline– this is always smaller than the title itself to draw attention to the title
  • Language for the tagline is engaging, this entices the audience of a certain problem, in some documentaries an informative quote from the film is established

Images-

  • One main image on the poster – representing what the documentary could be about, this sets the tone of the main topic in the film.

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Magazine film review analysis:

Layout- 

 

Typography/Language-

 

Images-

 

Colours- 

 

Overall, after my research this has given me a clear idea of how I can structure my ancillary texts as well as my documentary itself.

10th short film analysis: A Victim

A Victim(2014) is a short film documentary looking into the issue of divorce in the modern community and the huge impact it has had on children, especially at a very young age. This is a true story about a kid who was faced with this issue and has learned to overcome it.

Textual analysis: 

The documentary short film begins with a black screen with white typography emerging: ‘Based on a true story’. The bold prominent title is significant to allow the audience to be able to prepare themselves on a serious topic (which is yet to be discussed in the documentary). This cuts to the producers logo to the film ‘One bird studios’, crediting the makers of the film and giving it a professional film like effect. This is coupled with non-diegetic music growing louder as the audience prepare themselves for the documentary. The logo abruptly cuts to a boy filming himself, with the use of edits and camera positioning it presents the audience watching into the camera. This makes the documentary personal and allows us to relate to his thoughts. The fact the non-diegetic score stops during the protagonists dialogue creates a feeling of suspense and sympathy for the young boy. His first word begins with ‘divorce’ allowing the audience to give insight into the main problem being faced by the child’s life. The personal pronouns, eye contacting and further facial expressions show a clear sense of helplessness and vulnerability. The dark low-key lighting suggests he is isolated as he begins to state he is a victim, making the audience sympathise with him. This cuts to a various range of shots with the voiceover beginning from the previous scene of the young boy. The voiceover becomes more emotive and parallel to the shots shown on the screen. The 2 shots contain a mother looking after her child, contrasting to the rest of the documentary showing a clear theme of neglection. The voiceover switches back to the scene of the young boy on the screen, the non-diegetic score becomes increasingly louder as he begins to tell his story. Creating a feeling of remorse and sympathy to his experience. This cuts to precisely three shots, 1 containing a medium shot of a childs toy car being focused on, however the camera loses focus and focuses on the background of the shot. This could represent the sense of growing up and moving on to focus on other things ( in this case parents not having time to think of their children during divorce/ the impact it could have on them).

The man concluded his ‘monologue’ with a clear message to inform the audience at the end of the documentary that the young boy had felt stronger as a person after his parents divorced. A long shot of the young boy walking on could represent his realisation of the word and his strength from walking away and learning. The documentary cuts away to a black screen, with the title being displayed: ‘A Victim’, paired with non-diegetic music growing louder. The effect of the title being displayed at the end allows the audience to dwell on his experience and somewhat inform the audience. The credits are then typed in the same white typography in the order: ‘Directed/Edited by, ‘Written/Acted by’.

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