Research and Planning

Essay Plan:

Explain how your research and planning skills developed over time and contributed to your media production outcomes. Refer to a range of examples in your answer.

Research

Form: 

  • For the AS final product we researched into the first two minutes of films of a specific genre, and saw what they contained:
    • Idents
    • Credits (actor names)
    • Company logos
  • At A2 researched into short films and their form, to see how they were different to the opening 2 minutes of a full length film:
    • Layout; need a start, the dilemma and the end
    • The timings of certain aspects
    • Different music styles
    • The most common genres
  • More experience in how to find specific genres and timings
  • Discovered more sites: Vimeo, YouTube etc
  • We could use any film to see how the first two minutes played out, but with short films we had a more limited range of genres because some don’t make for good short films – improved in the end because we made a film with a suitable genre.

Genre:

  • At AS (2 minute opening), we chose a very specific genre (alternate history) when doing genre research because we found that it was most interest
  • Improved our A2 product because when looking at the selection of genres, we chose a much more broad one
    • Allowed us to include more genre features and stereotypes (because there was a wider range) consequently allowing us to make the genre much more easily identifiable.

Filming Techniques:

  • In preparation for our AS project we researched into these three techniques: 180 degree rule, match on action and shot/reverse shot.
  • Helped improve our A2 product because we then went to use those techniques in the preliminary task which gained us experience for AS and then A2.
  • Match on action we have used in every project because it’s so useful and used in every film which makes ours look more professional
  • 180 degree rule is necessary because it not only sets the scene by showing where people and objects are situated, but it also makes the film and layout make sense.
  • Shot revers shot is used in almost every conversation recorded on films and so is useful to us because it gives us a guide on how to set out a proper looking conversation.

Storyboards:

  • At AS we all had to research into storyboards as a class to see what they required. We found that storyboards do not map out scenes but instead show the exact shot in the right sequence. This helped us in our final A2 project because we knew how to use them properly

Planning:

Makeup and special effects:

  • AS summer project researched and planned sesame seed project by watching latex tutorials on how latex were to be applied etc. We also did practical tests at AS just to see if it was manageable
  • Showed us that at A2 we should stick to things that we know and therefore we ended up with a better project
  • Also demonstrated that we should perform future makeup tests etc in the conditions they will be applied in during filming (the latex curled when submerged in the water, and the skin coloured makeup ran off)

Essay Draft One:

Explain how your research and planning skills developed over time and contributed to your media production outcomes. Refer to a range of examples in your answer.

Research and planning are important factors when trying to produce a professional looking film. They make it so that when it comes to the day of filming, the directors and camera men know exactly what they are doing, and therefore, the final production will be significantly better than that of an unplanned production.

One of the first sections of research that we did, was that into form. Form is how the film or production is set out, and this varies in different styles of films. For example, for our AS final production, we were asked to make a two-minute opening to a film of a genre of our choice. We had to perform research into this to see what a two minute opening of a film entailed. To illustrate, we found that they needed aspects such as idents, company logos and credits.Our research and planning skills improved from this point onwards as it showed us how to find those stereotypes and expected features. The research became more complex at A2, and the AS research preparation gave us a head start into knowing what to look for. The process was more difficult at A2 because when researching the AS project, we could have chosen any genre of film, as every film has an opening two minutes. Whereas, at A Level, we found that short films have a smaller variety of genre choices because some genres are not suitable for shorter durations of time if they have a more complex story line. We discovered that short films have a different layout to a two minute opening, as they need a start, the dilemma and the end, rather than just a start without giving away too much of the plot line.

This then leads me on to my developed skills in genre research. When producing the AS two-minute opening, my group chose a very specific genre: alternate history. This lead to further complications in the process because there was no variation within the genre. Consequently, we had to look for very specific stereotypes and expectations, that most people wouldn’t have recognised as resembling that genre. At AS we had performed surveys that showed very little people knew what an alternate history film was, but we found it a very interesting genre and committed to it regardless. This developed and improved my research skills over time as it showed me that one should not choose to conform to a genre that very few people are familiar  with. For my A2 production of a five-minute short film, we chose to base it on the drama genre, after being inspired by a Japanese film commercial. This was an improvement as we were able to saturate our film with well-known drama forms and conventions to make it appear as though it was a more professional production.

The next area within researching that I have developed over time is filming techniques. During the school year at AS, we were given a task by the teacher to research into three different camera techniques that are most common within large-scale productions. These three techniques were the 180 degree rule, match on action and a shot/reverse shot. During this research in our first year really helped improve my media productions over time as it demonstrated how to use a camera during filming, and make the shots look of a high quality. For example, the 180 degree rule significantly improved my filming techniques as it enables the viewer to visualise where characters and objects are situated in relation to one another. Doing the preliminary task at AS enabled us to familiarise ourselves with how this was to be done, and where to place the camera to show the audience what we desire to be portraying. Such as, when we had to film speech that wasn’t from an over the shoulder shot, and we had to show the two characters sitting opposite each other, establishing who was on the left and the right. The next technique was match on action, which is probably the most commonly used camera technique within the filming industry. Match on action allows the viewers to see the same event, but from more than one angle. Our skills developed overtime within  this aspect as by A2 level, it had become second nature on how to do it, with how much practice we had gotten at AS. In the preliminary task, we used a match on action to film the hand grabbing the door handle, and the door opening from the other side. This is a technique that I have then gone on to use in all of my production, including filming the exact same shot in my A2 production. Because I had previous experience in filming this door handle shot, it was significantly easier and quicker to do. The final technique was the shot reverse shot, which is used in nearly every film to show a conversation. Our experience in this developed over time which made us more comfortable in including conversations in our products, therefore, leading to a better media productions as an end result at A2.

Our skills developed in planning as we found that the more we did, the better the end result. For the National Student Film Festival as an AS summer project, me and my group performed some makeup and special effects tests, experimenting with the extent of our abilities. This lead to further improvements on our planning skills over time as we discovered that the end product does not look professional if the makeup does not look realistic. For example, in the AS summer project, I planned and made experimentation videos on how to apply latex and make it look like real skin, so that we could use that to make it look as though she had seeds embedded in her skin (we based the film on a Korean Myth called “Sesame Cosmetics”). I did not perform the makeup tests in the conditions that they were going to be in when it actually came round to filming; we submerged the finished latex skin cover up in water and the latex peeled backwards, as well as the skin coloured makeup running off and leaving the clear latex film visible. Subsequently, my skills improved over time from this experience: I realised that when planning any further projects, I should do any practice runs in the same conditions as they will be filmed, because that means that we will be certain of their success.

In conclusion, the main way that my research and planning skills have improved over time is by gaining extra practice from previous experiences. It seems as though the majority of the improvement lies within making mistakes the first few times round, and then doing further research and planning at A2, resulting in a much better production. As well as this, it could be said that with the repeated exposure and encounters with the research and planning techniques, our skills developed due to experience.


Essay Draft Two:

Explain how your research and planning skills developed over time and contributed to your media production outcomes. Refer to a range of examples in your answer.

Research and planning are important factors when trying to produce a professional looking film. They make it so that when it comes to the day of filming, the directors and camera operators know exactly what they are doing, and therefore, the final production will be significantly better than that of an unplanned production.

One of the first sections of research that we did, was that into form. Form is how the film or production is set out, and this varies in different styles of films. For example, for our AS final production, we were asked to make a two-minute opening to a film of a genre of our choice. We had to perform research into this to see what a two minute opening of a film entailed. To illustrate, we found that they needed aspects such as idents, company logos and credits.Our research and planning skills improved from this point onwards as it showed us how to find those stereotypes and expected features. The research became more complex at A2, and the AS research preparation gave us a head start into knowing what to look for. The process was more difficult at A2 because when researching the AS project, we could have chosen any genre of film, as every film has an opening two minutes. Whereas, at A Level, we found that short films have a smaller variety of genre choices because some genres are not suitable for shorter durations of time if they have a more complex story line. We discovered that short films have a different layout to a two minute opening, as they need a start, the dilemma and the end, rather than just a start without giving away too much of the plot line.

This then leads me on to my developed skills in genre research. When producing the AS two-minute opening, my group chose a very specific genre: alternate history. This lead to further complications in the process because there was no variation within the genre. Consequently, we had to look for very specific stereotypes and expectations, that most people wouldn’t have recognised as resembling that genre. At AS we had performed surveys that showed very little people knew what an alternate history film was, but we found it a very interesting genre and committed to it regardless. This developed and improved my research skills over time as it showed me that one should not choose to conform to a genre that very few people are familiar  with. For my A2 production of a five-minute short film, we chose to base it on the drama genre, after being inspired by a Japanese film commercial. This was an improvement as we were able to saturate our film with well-known drama forms and conventions to make it appear as though it was a more professional production.

The next area within researching that I have developed over time is filming techniques. During the school year at AS, we were given a task by the teacher to research into three different camera techniques that are most common within large-scale productions. These three techniques were the 180 degree rule, match on action and a shot/reverse shot. During this research in our first year really helped improve my media productions over time as it demonstrated how to use a camera during filming, and make the shots look of a high quality. For example, the 180 degree rule significantly improved my filming techniques as it enables the viewer to visualise where characters and objects are situated in relation to one another. Doing the preliminary task at AS enabled us to familiarise ourselves with how this was to be done, and where to place the camera to show the audience what we desire to be portraying. The next technique was match on action, which is probably the most commonly used camera technique within the filming industry. Match on action allows the viewers to see the same event, but from more than one angle. Our skills developed overtime within  this aspect as by A2 level, it had become second nature on how to do it, with how much practice we had gotten at AS. The final technique was the shot reverse shot, which is used in nearly every film to show a conversation. Our experience in this developed over time which made us more comfortable in including conversations in our products, therefore, leading to a better media productions as an end result at A2.

Our skills developed in planning as we found that the more we did, the better the end result. For the National Student Film Festival as an AS summer project, me and my group performed some makeup and special effects tests, experimenting with the extent of our abilities. This lead to further improvements on our planning skills over time as we discovered that the end product does not look professional if the makeup does not look realistic. For example, in the AS summer project, I planned and made experimentation videos on how to apply latex and make it look like real skin, so that we could use that to make it look as though she had seeds embedded in her skin (we based the film on a Korean Myth called “Sesame Cosmetics”). I did not perform the makeup tests in the conditions that they were going to be in when it actually came round to filming; we submerged the finished latex skin cover up in water and the latex peeled backwards, as well as the skin coloured makeup running off and leaving the clear latex film visible. Subsequently, my skills improved over time from this experience: I realised that when planning any further projects, I should do any practice runs in the same conditions as they will be filmed, because that means that we will be certain of their success.

In conclusion, the main way that my research and planning skills have improved over time is by gaining extra practice from previous experiences. It seems as though the majority of the improvement lies within making mistakes the first few times round, and then doing further research and planning at A2, resulting in a much better production. As well as this, it could be said that with the repeated exposure and encounters with the research and planning techniques, our skills developed due to experience.

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2 thoughts on “Research and Planning

  1. Leah,

    The following is the exam board’s description of a level 4 answer, from the January 2013 mark scheme (https://hijackersandconverts.com/a2-g325-past-papers/):

    Level 4 (21-25 marks).

    There is a clear sense of progression and of how examples have been selected, and a range of articulate reflections on research and planning. There is a fluent evaluation of progress made over time. Candidates offer a range of specific, relevant and clear examples of research and planning and creative decision making. The use of media terminology and research, planning and production terms is excellent.

    Complex issues have been expressed clearly and fluently using a style of writing appropriate to the complex subject matter. Sentences and paragraphs, consistently relevant, have been well structured, using appropriate technical terminology. There may be few, if any, errors of spelling, punctuation and grammar.

    I would mark your current answer as being Level 3, possibly 17/25.

    – “Camera men”? Sexist! Camera operators…
    – You spend quite a lot of time talking about form and genre, but give little information about what you actually found out. Be specific and give examples.
    – Avoid vague statements like “leading to a better media productions” – what was better, and how?
    – The paragraph about the latex is much better because it has specific detail – make them all look like this.

    Like

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