Review of Documentary: Unit 20 Criterion 4

Pass: Review strengths and weaknesses of own factual media production work.

Merit Describe strengths and weaknesses of own factual media production work with some detail and with reference to appropriate illustrative examples.

Distinction Evaluate strengths and weaknesses of factual media production work with reference to precise and detailed illustrative examples. 


Introduce the task and say what you needed to do (produce a short documentary about the Lewis Chessmen in conjunction with the British Museum and Chocolate Films). Explain that the target audience for your documentary is people who are visiting the museum and who might want extra information about the chessmen.

Evaluate the research process:

Explain what research you conducted into documentary conventions and what you learnt from it.

In order to understand how make a successful documentary we watched….

I learnt that some conventions of a documentary are…. (explain what they are and what effect they have)

The conventions I will try to use in my documentary are…..I want to use these because…..

Evaluate the pre-production process:

Explain what preproduction tasks you undertook and why they were important (Eg Storyboards, planning interview questions, research into the Lewis chessmen etc)

I undertook various preproduction tasks to help with making the documentary…these were useful because…

Evaluate how effective your research and planning was

The things that went well were….These were effective because…

In the research and planning I could have improved….

Evaluate the production process: Explain the strengths and weaknesses of producing your footage.

Explain the different footage you collected – inside the gallery, outside the museum, close ups of chess replicas etc.

What went well and what didn’t go well with actual production? Things to think about: time management, technical abilities, teamwork, etc.

Are there particular shots, angles, lightening, sound, interviews etc that worked well? Why did they work well? Which bits could have been improved and why?

Evaluate the post-production process: How effective was the editing process?

What went well and what didn’t go well with the editing process? Things to think about: time management, technical abilities, teamwork, etc.

Which transitions are particularly effective?

How have you used found images effectively?

How did you create the music? Is it effective and why?

Evaluate the finished product: Identify strengths and weaknesses of the final product.

How much did it change compared to your original ideas?

Is it appropriate for your target audience and why?

What conventions of documentaries did you use? You must refer to specific examples from your video.

Technical qualities and style. Does it look like a proper documentary? Are the shot types, sound and lighting effective?

Editing. Is it well edited? Does the editing help make it look like a real documentary?

Feedback from others. Did you get feedback from others (friends, teachers, museum people etc)? What did they say about it?


You MUST use evidence from your work to justify your conclusions.

You MUST evaluate what you did (explain what you did, why you did it and whether or not it was effective)

Use media terminology (e.g. shot types, connotations, montage, conventions)

Link all your points back to conventions of documentaries and how you tried to make a realistic and appropriate documentary.


Editing Logs: Due 30.01.14

You need to upload four editing logs that evidence your own individual contribution to the editing process.

The editing log needs to cover:

What the group did today:

Why we did this:

I was personally responsible for:

The purpose/impact/effect of this was:

The first editing log should be for 06.01.14: For this day you can write about how you uploaded the footage, viewed the clips, created bins to organise the footage, began arranging clips on the timeline, trimmed clips.

The second editing log should be for 08.01.14: This is the day Nick from Chocolate Films came in. Talk about how he helped you and gave you advice. Things you might have done on this day: trimmed clips, synced sound, rarranged clips on the timeline, fades and effects.

You need to choose two different days for the third and fourth editing logs. Things you might want to talk about: getting additional images from google, filming additional footage, rearranging footage, repsonding to feedback from me, trimming clips, fading and other effects, creating music.

It is essential that you refer to specific examples in your editing logs  - ie you talk about specific shots, transitions, images etc. Don't forget to talk about the conventions of documentaries and how your documentary uses them. You must go into lots of detail about exactly what you individually did and what sort of effect or purpose this had.


Documentary Dialogue 

Feedback and dialogue: Peer to peer coaching. Team up with someone from a different group and have the following learning conversation.

  •   “What parts of your documentary were you most satisfied with?”
  •   “How successful do you think you were in creating a realistic factual media product?”
  •  “Which documentary conventions did you use?”
  •  “How might your use of technology be improved?”
  •  “Which part of your work do you think OPM liked best and why?”
  • “What key elements do you want to focus on for improvement?” (Try to identify three things you would do differently next time.)

Once you've had your learning conversation, write down the answers you discussed and add these to your blogs under the heading "Documentary Dialogue: Peer to Peer Coaching"


Documentary Deadline! 21.01.14

The deadline for your completed documentary is Tuesday 21.01.14.


Pass Grade: Apply appropriate conventions and use appropriate technology to create a factual product that partially realises intentions.


Merit Grade: Apply appropriate conventions and use appropriate technology competently to create a factual media product that mainly realises intentions.


Distinction Grade: Apply appropriate conventions and use appropriate technology skilfully to create a factual media product that clearly realises intentions.



Feedback on your documentary drafts

Check your unit 20 blogs. Each group has individual feedback on how to improve their documentary. Please read this advice and take on board the suggestions. Then each person needs to reply to the feedback on their blog telling me what changes you've made and why.

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