What benefits are there from using new media technology in research?

Research for our Media Coursework consisted of watching short films. Such as;

Booth Story

This short film follows a man who works the ‘grave yard shift’  in an underground car park, he’s found many things in the car park and one night he finds an egg. He goes to a library and finds out from a book what breed of bird the egg is from; it’s a duck. He learns to care for the egg, and eventually the duckling hatches. He rears the duckling himself into an adult and eventually he has to say goodbye to his new found friend.

Goodbye Mr Snuggles

This film is a little ambiguous, you watch two men walk together to a field, sit down and begin painting. During this you cut to a speeding car with a clown at the wheel. Now, clowns freak me out enough as it is but a clown with a revolver and a some what drunk disposition is too much for me. While he is speeding down the country lanes he shoots a bird from it’s a perch and eventually spins into the field where the men are busy at work. It ends in a shoot out, the clown dies and the painter withdraws his weapon sits down, is about to explain his actions and the credits start rolling. Either I am stubborn and want the meaning to be just told to me or there isn’t a meaning. You tell me…

 Right Place

This short film in my opinion is brilliant, the use of sound conveys how the character is feeling without him having to communicate it, as we all know less dialogue makes for a better short film! The story is very simple the lead has very severe OCD and is working in a late night ‘food mart’. In his opinion there is a right place for everything and he wants to find the right place for himself as well.

So that is three examples of short films we watched for research and now to actually answer the question; The benefits to new media technology are obvious, with sites such as ‘YouTube’ where users can upload their own amateur films, and view other peoples work far easier. In fact before 2005 and the release of ‘YouTube’ I don’t have the slightest inkling as to where you’d find amateur films to watch. I’ve already made the mistake of ‘Googling’ ‘amateur short films’ and I have got to tell you that not all were the genre of film I was looking for!  I believe that before ‘YouTube’ came along for an amateur film maker to get their work seen they’d have to take it to a film festival. Film festivals I am sure are fantastic for getting the bigger names to see your work, but if you want to spread a message far and wide you cannot beat the internet. Once something goes viral it spreads over the world like the rage virus in every zombie film ever made.

So I guess now I have made a short film, I’m sort of classed as an amateur film maker (or so my teacher says) and as an amateur film maker ‘YouTube’ has proved to be a great tool, as I can now send anyone I want a simple link to my film so that they can watch it, however with me participating as not only a crew member but playing a lead role I’m not sure how many of my friends will be watching it. Now YouTube has its benefits for upcoming artists, film makers etc. but posting your work on their site, ‘YouTube’ then has some rights to your work which is a bit of a negative point. Though when talking with a friend who is hopefully going to become an upcoming artist he said that he’d rather allow ‘YouTube’ some rights to his video as everyone knows about ‘YouTube’. You can get free publicity if your video gets a lot of views as you can end up on the home page. Where there are special sites you can pay to display your work, they have tough competition from ‘YouTube’.

Before starting our Advance Production (Simon Begins, a short story) we did a lot of research in lesson, including watching documentaries about continuity faux pas, camera techniques and so created a short film ‘The Corridor’ to practice using the equipment such as ‘Mini DV cameras’ and ‘booms’. Creating this short film also introduced us to the editing software ‘Final Cut Pro’.

The Corridor

Mini DV Camera


Final Cut Pro

As a mere A level student having access to this high level of equipment is rare, at GCSE we used a basic hand held video recorder and iMovie which is pre-installed on most Macs. To buy ‘Final Cut Studio’ could cost me from anything between £299 to £834 (http://tinyurl.com/5whfp6m – prices gathered from Amazon.com). Then after spending the money on ‘Final Cut’ I’d need to purchase the ‘HVR-V1E Professional Mini DV’ cameras that the college uses, setting me back another £1,700 to £2,992.72 (http://tinyurl.com/6d4rt83), then I’d need the proper sound equipment as it is no good having professional videoing and editing software but then using the basic microphone on the camera, so a ‘Shotgun Microphone’ would cost me yet another £167.95 (http://tinyurl.com/5wtqtcl – Amazon) then I’d still have to buy a ‘Boompole’ and the fuzzy thing that goes on the end which on amazon is listed as a ‘Deadcat’ (no wonder my dog tried to eat it). You know what I forgot to mention that I’d also need to get a computer with enough RAM to power ‘Final Cut’, it recommends you have at least 1GB of RAM automatically ruling out the ‘Mac Mini’ and ‘MacBook’. I’m left with 3 choices then; 1) a ‘Mac Pro’, with a spec costing about £2,185 which is the ideal as it would have 4GB of RAM; 2) an ‘iMac’ with a spec costing about £1,908, which has 3GB of RAM; or 3) a ‘MacBook Pro’ with a spec costing roughly £1,710 having a RAM of 2GB. All together it could have cost me between £3876.95 and £6179.67 to complete my media Alevel.

Continuity Errors

When making our short film we had to look out for continuity errors, while you can easily explain what ‘Continuity’ is: ‘The unbroken and consistent existence or operation of something over a period of time‘. When talking about a ‘continuity error’ we mean an error made with props, scene or actor position; something that is wrong that will detract from the scene. For example in the film ‘Kung Fu Panda’ during the escape scene; Tai-Lung throws 4 spears into the air, kicks only 3 spears and 4 spears are seen to stick into the prison wall…

Now while discussing what a continuity error is works and you can understand what is being spoken about, it does not give you practice in looking for such errors. During lessons we watched many examples of such errors, and turned them into a quiz to see if we could notice them, with new media technology compiling many short examples of errors is made much easier as you have easy access to the clips.

Others errors we have to practice looking for are demonstrated in the following video.

Again being able to access these clips on the internet is a crucial supplement to the course. I can honestly say that after my 4 years of studying media I can no longer watch films in the same way, I am so used to looking for errors I even pick fault in the Disney Classic, 1973 ‘Robin Hood’ (apparently it is ‘acceptable’ to sometimes draw Maid Marian a Vixen without a tail, now I haven’t heard of many fox’s with detachable tails).

I think that is just about it in terms of New Media Technology in relation to Research! Onto the next point…


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