Friday, 24 February 2012

Futher points on AS blogs

Read the DETAILED post below as well as this...

Some quick points about your blogs at this stage:
  • many of you failing to make attractive multimedia a constant feature: long text-based posts need pics, links, embeds...
  • start any analysis of a film opening with info (dir, year, budget etc etc) as you've been instructed to!!! and - again as instructed - change font/colour for this initial info, each part of which set out on a new line (see post below with a good eg of these principles applied)
  • use semiotic terms
  • make it explicit which part/s of an opening MAY influence YOUR work/thinking
  • you MUST each provide a summary of what you learnt from the openings YOU looked at (remember: [1] general examples/media language and [2] genre examples/media language [ie conventions]
  • as discussed in class today, i'm seeing little detail on or planning for titles
  • never post a podcast/vid without some text explaining context/whats in it
  • you MUST be gathering up screenshots of films/editing/software as you go, and including these in posts (making use of caption tool for images)
  • as my example of a vodcast on layering in music vids (hopefully) showed, vodcasts are simple but are generally very impressive. try to avoid vodcasts with a single shot of talking heads. edit in screenshots. if its aud feedback, try filming feedback in CU or MCU and add in as a shot-in-shot (if you don't know how to in final cut, ask an A2 student or book 5-10mins with John to go through this)
  • um...use the coursework guide!!! at this stage you need to ensure your group has divvied up EVERY post task, and all of you have noted in your copy who is doing which post (initial ALL or 1 person beside every post listed in the guide, and check with each other on progress). spend some time checking you've shared everything relevant
  • also use my blog with links to all past IGS Media blogs to look for examples of good practice, things or resources you could use too

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Tips on getting marks for R+P

Cross-posted from my A2 musividz blog; written for A2 coursework but the assessment criteria are essentially the same for AS Research and Planning, so these same points apply:

I still need those progress checklists back, with dates added where you think each point has been covered.

Looking at several, its clear that there are common issues that may prevent many of you from attaining high-end marks (ie as 'excellent' rather than proficient or even basic in some cases).
Before listing the main points, remember that you should resfresh your memory on the assessment criteria fairly often - I wouldn't expect you to memorise these, but re-read say once a week (Sunday/Monday) to ensure you're keeping these in mind as you work. As you're going through checking your own blog, you can be looking at others (including last years and students elsewhere) + re-reading relevant sections of the coursework guide.
I'll organise points below using the main R+P assessment criteria (abbreviated as on the Progress Checklist front):

Most of you have undertaken extensive analysis of egs (some need more for ancillary texts). BUT, need to ensure you distinguish GENERAL and GENRE examples.
No matter how many detailed posts you have on individual egs, I can't give EXC marks on this unless you provide clear, detailed summaries of your findings. For each of the 3 text formats you should be providing two summaries. Do this as a vodcast to help with marks for UseICT/Pres'n (and include a sep discussion on which aspects best fit your aud for TgtAUD).
There are arguably no more important posts in your entire A2.
The knowledge you evidence from this should be reflected in later posts on drafting (changes/new ideas/multiple edits noted in brief posts in which you cite examples you've seen).
If you don't do this, your Eval will either be poor or you'll have to backtrack and fill in these blanks; you'll struggle to ensure your Product marks are high (as you're not working from a secure, evidenced knowledge of the M.Lang of the format/genre), and exam prep for Q1a/1b is also made much harder than it should be.
Again, keep referring to your knowledge of specific examples ('existing texts') as you post on drafts, new ideas etc; this encompasses all aspects of M.Lang (shot selection, lighting, mise-en-scene, framing, editing etc).

This is a particularly glaring gap in many blogs - I've suggested a links list on your Aud-focussed posts and would reiterate this (such links lists help exam board to easily see evidence of how you deserve high marks...).
You must clearly set out a primary and secondary target audience (generally 12 or 15-24, with younger and older [the existing aud] as secondary). You must keep showing/discussing how your design choices are guided by this TgtAud (including evidencing AudFeedback - see Eval Qs!!!).
Think about the purpose of many of the posts/tasks. For example, the 'cultural footprint'/online profile etc are intended to furnish evidence of appropriate target audiences. If your act appears on a TV show with a youth aud, that helps justify your tgtAud; if they appear on ITVs Loose Women that helps to suggest/evidence a secondary aud of mature women (same principle for magazines).
The point is: MAKE YOUR CONSIDERATION OF tgtaud EXPLICIT AND CLEAR IN A WIDE RANGE OF POSTS (including discussions of conventions). Make sure AudFeedback is suitably evidenced (a links list is again useful).

This is not just about gathering people, locations and objects but how you've manipulated/directed these: what have you brought to these raw ingredients?
Have you any filmed evidence of rehearsals/shoots where you provide explicit direction?
Any filmed evidence of director and cinemtaographer communicating to help organise shoot (and perhaps producer too, organising with call sheet)?
How have you evidenced selection + manipulation of mise-en-scene? Consider set dressing and costume/make-up. Have you evidenced how your choices link to existing conventions (if different, you still need to know + show the existing conventions before discussing why you're challenging/developing these)? Have you tested out choices - especially costume/make-up/hair - with a sample target audience, using pics and/or vid to show them alternatives you're considering? We've seen with screenings of rough cuts that clothing can be a really key aspect in reflecting or breaking the verisimilitude of characters and even genres.

Should be really simple...
Keep publishing evidence of drafting; don't wait for full rough cuts but instead target short sequences (or parts of digipak/ad) and publish before-and-after (where the after can actually be 2 or 3 alternative takes) - again, link in AudFeedback.
Keep 'vanilla', basic edits of sequences, play around with FX/re-sequencing and publish (maybe using shot-in-shot) these as a video; it makes sense to use stills/screenshots to add a brief commentary, make it into a simple vodcast - try to incorporate AudFeedback)
Keep reflecting too on what tools/tricks you're learning from the software (P'shop + FCE, + any others)

It will be difficult to give high marks on this if post ordering is illogical: tweak the publish date of your posts and build a more logical order. For example, don't have a batch of podcasts published on the same day.
Its not just the blog overall; reflect on the timescale and management of the production from initial idea to final cut. Reflect on means critically discuss how it went; what could/should you have done differently.
In my written comments for the exam board I'll often put something such as 'initially poor time management, but this picked up considerable and a good capacity was shown to work under restrictive and demanding deadlines imposed by this slow start'. So, I'm not saying to disguise poor time management, but instead to reflect on this and to highlight more positive periods.
Its worth considering a blog post explicitly on TimeMgmt towards the end of your blogging, as part of a general reflection on and evaluation of your own work.

Hopefully obvious...
Look for small text; courier font; highlight colour (generally not a good idea, it mostly looks awful, but if you insist on using it take care to check its legible on your blog given the background image/colour);

random space between lines; broken links or URLs which aren't made into links - [try clicking on that! In general, its as well to use words: Wiki on Propp]; videos that have been removed by YouTube; dailymotion vids (blocked not just here but by many schools where examiners will be marking); posts with lots of text but no pics/vids (and use the caption tool where useful for pics); pics or vids that go beyond the blog's main frame and block out the links lists etc on the side frame; check all Word/ppt docs + pdfs are properly embedded.

The small details are important: group pic, embedded mp3 of track, top links list etc
Especially important are links lists which make your blog easy to navigate, and also highlight results of research.
Accurate, descriptive post titles, and basic written info on pod/vodcast content within a post also help.

All the design features listed in the Progress Checklist P2+P3. Again, those links lists are vital, but there are many gadgets you should utilise, several of which (eg Polls) link nicely to AudFeedback too.
Podcasts + vodcasts are absolutely vital - make sure you highlight these with links lists. That means using these to reflect on drafts + aud feedback (this topic in particular can be covered informally + quirkily), as well as the various topics of location scouting etc.
Have you considered using a Prezi in place of PowerPoints (and even instead of one or two vodcasts)?
Use that top links list to press home the other media tools you've used: Facebook, QR codes, Twitter, company blog etc. A post summarising your use of technology is useful prep for Evaluation + exam, and will help justify high marks if given.

I think thats fairly comprehensive; if you yourselves have any suggestions/further queries, publish a comment and I'll add to this post.

Good eg of post on sample opening

5 current A2 students are looking to create new productions for a resubmission of their AS coursework (an option which is likely to be taken away next year please note!), and this post is a good example of nice detail (including precise info on titles), use of semiotic terms, analysis as well as denotation, and simple multimedia features well used (relevant images including specific screenshots to illustrate specific points, plus a YouTube vid of the opening embedded - links to an IMDB page, wiki, fansite or review could have been added).
NB: diEgetic is misspelt as diAgetic, a common mistake as thats how it sounds

See the post at

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

F6 Access During Hols

I'll come in from 10am-3pm Weds + Thurs next week so you can upload/edit work, do general blogging, and get quick feedback (enabling further reshoots as required during the hols).
Progress generally has been much slower than expected, and we need to switch to exam preparation very soon after half-term, so I encourage you all to make good use of this opportunity and move towards completion in this time.
I'll add a further post later today with some revised deadlines, especially as regards Evaluation, which will now follow on from exam-centred lessons (you can apply learning from these to your Evaluation Qs).

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

IGS LipDub challenge

I've been asked to help plan an IGS LipDub for next month; below is an example that became a huge online hit after TV reports on the BBC One Show + NI news...

The idea is to shoot a one-shot vid where the camera travels round the school, and most of the school appear, lipsynching a line/performing.

Any thoughts on track choice (in this case, longer is better) or anything else would be welcome...