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In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and
conventions of real media products?
For our advanced media production, we were asked to create the opening 5
minutes to a documentary on a topic of our choice. After brainstorming and
coming up with various ideas, we decided on the topic of whether “video games
have an impact on anti-social behaviour”. Prior to the production of our
documentary, we watched various professional documentaries, such as;
Supersize Me, BBC Panorama and PBS News hour, to gain a grasp of the
conventions used. From there, we decided on whether we should follow,
challenge or develop these conventions in our own documentary.
We decided upon using the Participatory mode, which is where the filmmakers
often express their own views to the camera and carry out interviews (supersize
me for example). However we later noticed that this mode had been challenged,
as our documentary also had aspects of the expository mode, such as the use of a
For the documentary genre, we challenged many conventions, including the use
of comedy. Whilst most documentaries are hard hitting and have a serious tone,
we kept ours light hearted and included some banter between the two
charismatic presenters in a conversation style. We felt that comedy should be
used, as we believed that it would be more appropriate for our target audience,
which are 16-21 year olds. We found that after showing our documentary to the
target audience, it was a success and many enjoyed the use of comedy
(One of the many clips that the target audience found funny)
Another convention we challenged was the use of dual presenters. From the
documentaries that we watched which included presenters, none of them had
dual presentation. We used the dual presenters as it allowed for a more comedic
approach, letting the presenters have banter, whilst it also allowed them discuss
the topic at hand which involved the audience more, instead of just having a
single presenter talking at the audience. Again from asking our target audience
questions about the documentary, we learned that a large majority enjoyed the
use of dual presentation.
(Challenging convention through the use of dual presenters compared to the
typical one, our documentary to the left, supersize me to the right)
A convention that we also noticed within the documentaries that we watched
was the use of interviews, both vox pops and professionals within the field. We
followed this convention and used a variety of vox pops and professional
interviews. We chose to follow this convention as it allows for a variety of
opinions on the subject, from both the public/ target audience and professionals
within the field. Doing this would also eliminate any potential bias from the
presenters who may have supported one side of the argument and not given a
fair representation for each side. It is common for vox pops to be carried out in
public locations, which we also followed. Various vox pops were carried out in
Solihull Town Centre whilst others were recorded at the college.
(An example of vox pops from both Super size me on the left and our
documentary on the right)
For the professional interviews, we tried to film them in a professional
environment, in our cases, offices, media classes etc. We did this as it improves
the credibility of the interviewee and allows for separation between the two
types of interview. We did this also because if we were to film our expert
interviews in the street like the vox pops, it would make them appear less
important and could potentially lessen their impact when talking on the topic.
(Seen in the screenshots, you can tell that the expert interviews are set in more
professional locations, in this case, both have been filmed within their office. Our
documentary is on the left, supersize me on the right)
Throughout our interviews, we maintained the same camera angle (Medium
close up). The use of one camera angle allowed for consistency throughout the
documentary, giving it a more professional feel than if we were to use a variety
of shots. We used this shot as it followed the convention of those used in the
documentaries we watched prior to the production of our own.
Another convention that we followed for the expert interviews was using a name
display. This name display told the audience the expert’s name and profession.
This gave our interviews a professional look and highlighted their importance
within the documentary (seen in the two screenshots above, both use name
displays to inform the audience of experts name and profession)
A further convention we followed from what we saw within professional
documentaries was the use of facts and statistics. We followed this, as we believe
the use of statistics is effective in informing the audience about the topic.
These screenshots show how we followed the convention of using facts and
statistics (supersize me on the left, our documentary on the right)