Posts Tagged ‘research’

So, today we are going to be looking at gathering specific information to support a hypothesis.

In English – getting our focus group to say things we can use to say what classification we want for the film.

Last week we talked about the focus group, and using it to see what they thought about the film. This week we are going to devise questions to specifically get information about the classification of the film.

BBFC govern classification, and a specific PDF is available that has all the information you need in it.

IN class, you will analyze each of the classification. What are the key things that would be in a film of that classification? What wouldn’t be in it? Make a mind map for the one you have. You will then present this to the class, so everyone has a model to refer too.

AFter this, you need to be with your group and think about your film. You need to develop a list of questions that reference the BBFC guidelines, so you can use the responses as evidence. So, as an extreme example –

Ask your Focus Group if they would agree or disagree with the statement “There is no nudity in the film”. Obviously, you may have untold violence but have kept any nudity at bay, so they all agree. This gives you the opportunity to say:

“I believe my horror film should be a U because audience agreed  there is no nudity in the film.”

Obviously, your classification depends on meeting all the criteria, so you need to address all the points for that classification!

So: develop a list of questions that references U, PG, 12, 12A, 15 and 18 classification criteria ready for Friday’s screening.


Quick Cinemagraph Test

Posted: September 29, 2014 by Alan Hardcastle in FDA 13_15, General
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So, A few tests we did today with cinemagraphs. These were done really quickly – about 40 minutes – but give you an idea of what can be done.
This first one was constructed with a still shot and video footage;


And this was done with stills taken from the video.


Music Videos!

Posted: October 14, 2013 by Alan Hardcastle in CMP 13_15
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Please follow the blog instructions in your PASSport workbook to explore the Purposes, Styles and Techniques of Music Videos. Please use this to define all the keywords used on the page.

As part of your practical exploration of music videos, you will need to select a music video to swede.

So, on top of the workbook you will also need to:-

  • Select 10 music videos you may be able to Swede
    • Put your list on the blog, saying why each video has been included.
  • Out of these, select a top 3 that you could make
    • It could be the most fun, it could just be the easiest…
  • Analyse each video to discuss the main purposes of the video –
    • so, make a blog entry to tell us what the music video is meant to achieve and how it does this.
  • Analyse each video to discuss the style
    • In a blog entry, tell us how the artists are dressed, the kind of location they are in and what the music video is saying.
  • Analyse each video to say how it is made
    • Plan how you could make it – make storyboards and come up with alternative Locations, Props and costumes

Throughout the rest of the week, you will be able to experiment with techniques. It is up to you to identify them!

Planning you research project

Posted: October 8, 2013 by Alan Hardcastle in FdA 12_14
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Doing a Research Project

This is a presentation based on Martin Davies “Doing a Successful Research Project”. The book is also available in the Library – I find it a great approach to research projects, well written and easy to follow.

So, how are you going to approach the research for Music Video Assignment 2? Simple. It’s all about the examples.

Remember, you need to be able to explain all that you find out as part of a video – so finding examples is key. No one wants to watch a show where you talk about music videos without playing any.

So, here is a suggested plan to follow:

  • List all the techniques used in music videos as listed on the assignment / personal blogs / etc
  • Find an example of each technique in at least two music videos.
  • Use a variety of search engines such as youtube, google, plus a range of sources of information such as the directors series dvd’s, books on music videos, making of music video films, websites with top 100 music videos, magazines etc to find examples of videos and explanation of techniques.
  • Use these to explain the techniques. It looks better when you show the technique being used in a variety of music videos – this will also help you explain it more fully.

Once you have done this, you should have a long list of music videos you can describe the styles of – use them to explain the style, and if you haven’t covered all the styles, find 2 videos for each style and use this to explain them.

That just leaves conventions – but you should have a really long list of music videos now! look at the list in the brief, and find examples of these in your list of music videos. You can use these examples to explain the conventions – and maybe refer back to the purposes in assignment 1.

So, how can we put it all together? Remember, this is about making it for an audience. You need to guide them through the different factors of a music video. To do this, you need to structure how you are explaining everything. Write a script, as this will help you focus on what you are doing. Here is a suggested structure to follow:

“There are lots of types of music video. For example, live performance, where a band is filmed playing live, like ‘Psycho Killer’ by Talking Heads from ‘Stop Making Sense'”….etc. [add clips of videos, talk over the top of them]

Most music video tend to follow a set of conventions – [define conventions] – for example, they may extend the meaning of the song – for example, ‘The Scientist’ by Coldplay focuses on the “…going back to the start.” line, but adds a narrative that is show backwards….. [add clips of videos, talk over the top of them]

so, how are they made? there are some basic techniques used, for example a video tends to be shot to the playback of a recording of the song. this will also be the track that the filming will be edited to – this means that when the performer mimes or dances to the track, it will be in sync for the edit….. [add video of you making a music video, playing back the song and having performer mime to track]….. etc.

All of this is suggested. You can add different Techniques, Styles or Conventions if you have examples – don’t limit yourself to the list. An remember, you have an audience!

Studio Report

Posted: November 25, 2012 by Alan Hardcastle in FdA 12_14
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Monday we will be working through your report –  a crash course, if you will.

So today, have a read around based on some ideas in this post ready for tomorrow, where I will take you through a proposed structure and touch on some suggested themes.

In general, when writing a report or an essay (the main difference being a use of arguments), you need to open with an introduction that defines what you are talking about. One way, is to use a dictionary definition to get you started. So, open by answering the question – what is studio production?

You can then always fall back on a bit of history. This is an easy thing to research, and all you need to do is pull out the relevant bits. Equipment was big and bulky (fond a reference, add a quote, maybe an example) so production required a studio [ref needed] – maybe a quick visit to any book about the birth of American cinema will tell you about Edison controlling most of the filming in America in the early 20th Century, which happened in New York [ref needed]. This meant a lot of people were very unhappy at having to pay him to use the camera’s he had invented. So they looked at alternatives, and had to move production to California – eventually establishing Hollywoodland [ref needed].

This example of history also gives rise to the reference to Studio as a funding body – cinema as mass production and industry, following the phonographic industry model. So now we have a Financial model (ownership of means of production, funding) to go alongside our technological model (size of equipment, limitations of technology)

So, having established what you are going to talk about, and established a short historical context of why studios exist, now you need to talk about why anyone would choose to use a studio. Equipment has become more light weight, more portable – why lock yourself in a room and build a set when you can go to a location?

The Italian Neorealists (think of them as an early reportage movement) talked about the weight of a location [ref needed] – they also said a lot of things that are very useful to documentary – so a location has more of an air of realism than a set. OK, fine – so explain how ‘Rear Window’ (Hitchcock, 1954) still looks so real.

Film, video, TV, Cinema – all are mediated realities. Now we need to look at Post-modernism to help explain this, and maybe some of Baudrillard’s Hyper-reality [ref needed] to look at the nature of this. The job of a film maker is to fool the audience and provide them with an alternative reality which will captivate them – so, we need to add an aesthetic model – and possible a spiritual model – to examine why we choose to use a studio.

As you delve through this information, you will discover a lot of information to help you with your Location report next – try not to compare them too much in this report, as you will have to define Location to do it, using up you word count!

[References will be filled in, using books, in class – live!]

Violent Media to Blame…?

Posted: April 4, 2012 by Alan Hardcastle in CMP 10_12, Critical Responses
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A couple of interesting news articles that directly influence our study. Remember, part of the piint of doing this is not to prove a connection, but examine the possible connection between Media violence and real life violence.

First up – primary school children are copying “video Game Violence” in the playground. It covers a range of issues, but it is important to separate some of the statements. Read The Guardian article.

The teachers fear that by spending hours alone playing the games, children could become anti-social and slow to develop speaking and listening skills. Many pupils arrive at school exhausted having played the games until the early hours of the morning, they said.

Now, are the games directly responsible for effecting children to become anti-social, and retarding basic soft skills? Or is the lack of sleep causing this? Just because we see a correlation, does not mean it is a direct connection.

And coverage from The Sun and The Daily Mail on the 14 year old who murdered his mother. Lots of focus on his love of Violent Games, Videos and Coronation Street. What’s to blame…?

‘It must have had an impact because any normal thinking person wouldn’t have done what he did unless he got something imprinted in his brain from what he watched

Both articles make lists of the films he watched, but tend to skip past naming specific games. Interestingly, The Evil Dead is implicated  – the original film was one of the films classified as a “Video Nasty” in the 80’s, and was only available as an edited version for about 20 years.

Both articles imply a copycat effect – ie people consume the media and then try to act it out. This could be a blurring of the lines between reality and fantasy, but that would be an assumption. If the fantasy world is being confused with the real world, that would be an separate psychological issue.

We also have an implication of desensitization – if children consume lots of violent media, they are more likely to be able to commit it. There are arguments against this, mainly that the desensitization would only apply to media violence – however, if someone is confused about the difference between fact and fiction…?

Audience Research

Posted: February 19, 2012 by Alan Hardcastle in CMP 10_12, Critical Responses
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27th January – 24th February 2012

Develop and distribute a Survey to find out the kind and duration of media people consume. For example, devise a series of questions for each of these four parts:-

1.    Who are they? Collect demographic info – Names, Geo-demographics, Age, Gender, Hobbies, Socio-economic scale. etc

2.    What do they Consume?

3.    How much do they consume?

4.    What do they think is violent media? Do they feel they are effected?

Add anything you feel is relevant, justifying your choices on your Blog. We will be using this survey to identify a potential media product to use, as well as volunteers to talk to – so ask the questions accordingly, carefully and make sure they can be understood!

At the end of this part, you will be able to present 2 audience profiles: (Example here)

  • ·      What media a specific demographic group are using (eg College Students)
  • ·      The audience for a specific product (eg Who watches Eastenders).

All of this information, and an explanation of what you did and how you did it will be the start of you report. This report can be online as a blog, or as a word document. It is up to you to keep it up to date.


  • ·      Develop a survey
  • ·      Write about how and why you constructed the survey the way you did
  • ·      Distribute it in a relevant way (eg If you wan to focus on games, get a link onto a games forum etc)
  • ·      Collect & Collate results
  • ·      Compile them and present them graphically, adding them into your Blog or report
  • ·      Interpret them, entering this onto your blog or report
  • ·      Select a product you are going to use in the rest of the research
  • ·      Present profiles.

There are numerous scare stories in the press to say that violent TV, Film and Games make audience more aggressive. But how do they know? How do they come to these conclusions?

You are asked to conduct audience research into media violence and come to your own conclusion about the effects of media on a chosen group. You will look at the theories on media effects and apply these to a media product.

Hypothesis –

Violent media creates a violent society.

A combination of violent TV, Films and Games creates people who find violence more acceptable. You can see this in how the media has become more violent over the past 30 years. Video Games, Video and the Internet have brought it all into the home and created a more violent society.

 You will investigate this using a combination of 1st and 2nd hand research, and present a report that either supports or disagrees with this hypothesis.

We are looking at audience research. There are two major studies that define the field other than as market research.

See Nationwide Study by Morley and Wiring the Audience by McDougal

Plus, a research study using GTAIV.

And in the Library, there are books discussing this exact topic.

Steven J KIRSH (2006) Children, adolescents, and media violence : a critical look at the research  302.23083

Karen BOYLE (2005) Media and violence : gendering the debates   302.23

Martin BARKER (2001) Ill effects: the media violence debate 2nd ed. 302.23

This blog is designed to take you through this project 1 step at a time.

How Long? How Much?

Posted: October 1, 2011 by Alan Hardcastle in CMP 10_12
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Ok, we are making short films. Adverts.30 seconds. That’s it.

So how long is it taking us to make these films? I want you to time all the tasks in the process. How long is it taking you to research each company you look at? and be careful here – some research packs have taken a week to get back to the folder, yet I know the researcher has sat still for a long time – or even just printed out web pages.

I want to know in hours how long the whole process has taken – confirming who what they have been nominated for, looking at what the company has given us, finding the web site, reading it, extracting what is important & relates to the awards, putting together the checklist, rough script, shot list & questions, phoning them, talking to them, running through the shots we want, negotiating access to those areas, running through the questions, rewriting the questions, rough script and shotlist based on what the company have said they want.

Then the logistics – this is essentially just sorting out who is going to get the footage. This should not take too long, but can be quite complex when there are 5 groups going out with 3 cameras in 1 minibus.

Then there is travel – how long does it actually take you to get to the company? How long are you filming on site? The average seems to be about 2 hours, which is a long time for a 30 second films… Then there is the journey back.

Then digitising – real time for DV, quicker for digital. But you ned to log the footage – where is the good stuff? Have we found the best shots, the best soundbites? We only have 30 seconds, but it needs to be a dense, action packed 30 seconds. It has to sell. This takes some serious editing.

By my estimation, 3 hours filming per film, 4 hours researching & talking, and (depending on how well the shoot was logged) either 7 or 14 hours editing. So, lets say 21 hours per film. Most of you will take a lot longer. But why is this important?

A job like this is payed by a fee. You would estimate how long it would take you to do all these jobs, in hours, and then multiply by an hourly fee. Lets say, £25 per hour. So, I make it each film (before we get to the master edit, and without expenses) as being worth about £525 each. (NB – this is based on one person, so with a 4 person crew going out takes it closer to £900). So, talk to someone who you know owns a business and see if they would be willing to pay £525 for a 30 second piece. If they say no, look at how big their business is – then ask yourself why…

I have had companies complain at a release fee of £100. But how would you bring the cost down? Well, you do it quicker. Drivers and crew who don’t muck about. Get in and film exactly what you need, based on good solid research. Maybe 2 hours to explore the subject, and come out with a good solid shotlist and questions that cover everything. It is worth spending more time on the research, because it is the filming and edit that will consume the most time. If you know what you want before you go, it is so much easier to assemble what you need at the end of the day.

So, as part of you blog – tell me how long you have been spending on each task. Multiply that, in hours, by £25. Then tell me if the work you have is worth that amount of money.