Monday, 28 May 2012

Pitch- Werneth Jamia Mosque

After my first idea about the media coverage on the Israel-Palestine conflict broke down because of, either a lack of knowledge on the subject or a willingness to comment on the subject I have been forced to change my idea.

I have decided to change my story and talk about the building of a mosque in my area. The VT will be informative and give other people an idea of what goes on inside a mosque, and how it is not just used as a place to pray. In the VT I will try to include links to history about other activities that would take place inside the mosque in the time of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), e.g. his companions would have wrestling matches inside the mosque. I will try to show the audiences that as well praying there are also educational and fun purposes to having a mosque. Also a mosque has a large role to play in the structure of its local community, as it is a place where a lot of people see each other.

I will also discuss the other issues about the progress of the mosque, the price it costs to build it and how they raise funds for the project. I will go around the local area and shoot vox pops with people giving their opinions on the matter and see if people are against or for the decision to build a mosque, which won’t be new but will be replacing an already established mosque. For my interview I will be speaking to a member of the mosque that has been involved largely in its progress and also give his/her opinion on why there are so many mosques being built around England and that area in particular. I will also shoot some GV’s of the progress and try to get hold of some images or footage of what the new mosque will look like after completion. Also my piece to cameras will be done on site next to where the building of the mosque is taking place.

News Package Research

Today I'm researching news programs to see how they're filmed and timed. I will be commenting on the style, content and running order.

This news program which focused mainly on the London riots last year. The style of the news program was similar to most BBC news programs. Firstly the presenter gives a preview of the main headlines and sports events. Before every VT you will see an introduction to it by the news presenter which is really the beginning of the story, e.g. The presenter will begin by giving the headline and also give some facts, then pass it over the news reporter that is standing by or if it is pre-recorded it will cut to that. Usually you see the presenter move on to different stories but because it was mainly focused on the riots the presenter passes through different elements of the story, e.g. first they covered images of the riots the night before, then they covered the aftermath, and then they covered the possible problem resolving.

The VT's are structured well and project the voices of the public well. The voice overs are well spoken and the story is produced in a simple structure which helps gives the audience a thorough understanding of what is happening. The story it self I believe is very objective and allows the audience to see both sides of the story through the publics voice. The main headline is given most of the time. The clip is nine minutes long and most of it if on the London riots subject, which means that the other two thirds of the news program must consist of other headlines, news and sports. I see the BBC as leaders in news programming and can always be used as example for people to watch and learn on how to put together a news package.

For the next news package I've chose the breaking news of the 9/11 tragedy. The reason I chose this is because it's different to the other one and is being broadcasted live. With live broadcasts the news is much slower and takes longer for the presenter to talk about because they are waiting for the news to come through while they are producing it. The graphics are on each side of the screen because there is the regular lower thirds which you would see on every news package and also a 'live' graphic which indicates that the broadcast is live. Graphics are important not just for the style of the package but also to help the viewers as it gives them an indication of what time things are happening, where they are happening and if someone else is providing images then they may be able to switch over to the broadcast which is more up to date.

When a broadcast is live you see that the news broadcasters are trying to receive information and images from other news broadcasts. Also they try their best to get eye witness interviews on radio microphones as they don't have enough time to get there themselves. It is very intense and most people don't get to finish their interviews or give their views because the broadcast would then move on to something else if there is more news being released.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Final Week- Assessment Day

On the final assessment day, most people did turn up on time but we still had the same issue of some people doing the setup while others sat down and did nothing. Although there were some people that were going through scripts and trying to time their program to make sure it was right. We decided that Ashley's group would go first so we set up and my group sat in the computer room while the others got on with the production. While they were doing that we were talking about our production and how it should go. Josh had all the VT's on the tricaster and we knew what order everything was going in so we were ready to go. We were 6 minutes short last week but that was because we were missing a couple of VT's so we were confident today we'd be spot on with the timing.

After Ashley's group had finished we went on dinner while they de-rigged the studio. When we came back we were surprised to see that they had not put things back in their places and left wires all over the gallery. They made our job of setting up very difficult after we helped them set up in the morning and we found this to be very childish because it was our assessment day, we didn't need to be put under more pressure by such tricks. Someone left three Sony V1's on the desk which we thought were left from when they de-rigged but it turned out someone had left them there as well. They weren't actually needed because the other group used the Panasonic P2's to shoot their program. I set up the cameras along with Kas and everyone worked on their own part. However we had a lot of difficulties with the autocue and this was probably my week point. Ezra and Imogen, on the other hand were very good with it and they sorted it out. It took us a long time to set up and this put us under pressure because before we went for the take we had to get in a practice run. We also had issues with the news piece that had to be edited on the day because Ashley was complaining that ours wasn't actually edited as it was footage that we took from the Champions League Final, but it still had to be edited on the day which Josh did very well to make it a part of our sports section.

We had an issue during our practice run because Matty wasn't familiar with his part on the news section and Josh asked me to frame him up for my camera but he was reading off the autocue, which was set up on camera two. We decided we had no choice but to frame him up on my camera but I would go very close to camera two to try and make it look like he was looking at my camera. After a shaky start to the production we started moving very smoothly and Rebecca was warming up to being the presenter and begun to come into her own. Towards the end during the sports section when Nabeel's VT was playing we had an issue with time because we had a final VT prepared but realised we were running out of time fast. We had to quickly move onto the end of the show but had to cut that short as well because we had gone over our time. A good production ended quite badly but I think for something we only rehearsed once it didn't go as bad as most of us expected.

From now on I think we all need to be a little bit more professional and do our work on time so it is ready to be rehearsed instead of bringing it in on the assessment day thinking it will all be timed well and done perfectly. As a team however, I think we did well. We all helped each other on our VT's and we made sure, as a group that everyone had their VT on the tricaster, on time, on the date. I believe in the future we should use this as a lesson to be learned because although we just about scraped through on this occasion I don't think it was very professional and personally I wouldn't watch it if it was on TV. We all need to watch more news packages and learn how it's done because some of the VT's looked like they were shot to be in a film or drama.

8-04-12- Vox Pops

Today I was after getting some vox pops and I stationed my self outside the mosque on a Friday after the main prayer and waited outside as there was well over 100 people there. After I got my first interview it started raining so I had to pack up and leave. I then got some help from my friend who said I could use his house to film some of the vox pops. He had a white background in his house so I decided to use it to make it look like I was filming in the corridors of the mosque. I got three people to come and film the interviews, which went very smoothly. It took me around 30 minutes to do all three then I had all the elements of my news package ready including my voice overs which I recorded at home.

I had a tough time to begin with when I couldn't get my news story about Israel and Palestine together but after countless disappointment and a good lecture from Sam I had my whole news package done within a week. I think if I, or anyone else in the class could put that kind of effort into their news package we would have been able to easily get three rehearsals in before the assessment day. It just goes to show that planning and preparation is everything, and if you really need to do something you can. I hope we all learn from this important lesson and next year if we need to put together another news package like this, then we put the effort in right from the beginning instead of waiting for everything to fall on our laps.

5-04-12- Piece to Camera and General Views

Today I went to Werneth Jamia Mosque to record my general views and piece to camera. I was accompanied by Mikael and he was going to be the camera operator for the day. Firstly I thought about getting a wide shot of the entire construction site for my opening, which I did from on top of a roof. Then we went downstairs to record some kids reading the Quran. I had issues with this because I had to either have a CRB check or get clearance from the parents of the kids. I decided to film just two children and I got their parents to sign a consent form to allow me to film them. After that I went downstairs to film my piece to camera in the main prayer hall. I had a script written down on my iPad and I memorised it for a few minutes then I was ready to go. It's the first time I had presented or reported on anything so I was a bit nervous I'd come across too relaxed, which I usually do. It took me around 4/5 takes because sometimes I would forget my lines or I wasn't happy with the tone of my voice.

When I was done with the piece to camera I went outside to get some more shots of the new construction site and some shots of the current mosque. I was running out of time as I only had a couple of bars left on the camera battery. I took a few shots of the current mosque then I circled around the construction site taking various shots of it. In my mind I had already decided that I would begin by talking about the current mosque, then move on to the new mosque and end by talking about the future of the mosque and what it has to offers.

22-04-12- Interview with Haje Rahman

Today I had to visit one of the committee members of the mosque for an interview. I had organised this before hand with him and I was going to visit him at his home. I took my own equipment with me, so I had my DSLR camera, Zoom microphone, tripod and microphone tripod as well. The interview was done in his office infront of his desk. Before we begun I tried to dress his desk so it would look presentable and also look good on the camera. I had a bit of a problem with the lighting but he was kind enough to provide me with a lamp to use to make it brighter. I also asked him to change the desktop on his computer to a slideshow of images of the new mosque. When I was happy with the setup and what I saw in the camera I decided to frame him to the right of the screen. There was no real reason behind it, it was just personal preference. During the interview I was having some issues with the camera because it kept switching off by itself so I messed about with the camera settings and then it was fine.

I shot the interview twice and had to make Mr. Rahman clap on screen so I could then sync it up with the separate microphone I was recording on. I did a good job finding him as he was well spoken and was also probably the most involved member, so he could share a lot of information with me. It took me around an hour to complete the interview including setup and I was more than happy with the footage I had captured.

Week 6- Second Studio Rehearsal

Today we all turned up in lesson and some of us had our VT's done and ready to go onto the VT but again we were let down by certain individuals that didn't complete their VT's so we had to wait a few hours while others edited their work. My VT was complete and all I needed was a lower third, which Josh had made for me and also to export my work to the right format. This took me around 10-20 minutes to do and by around 10am my VT was complete and uploaded onto the tricaster ready to be used. We had around 4 VT's ready on the tricaster and Nabeel and Joe were just finishing off editing theirs. We started setting up the studio while people were finishing off editing their VT's and had a few issues with the cameras because we had two cameras that weren't showing any picture. I had a look at each camera and was very disappointed to see that someone had put the BNC cable into the wrong slot in the camera. We have been using this equipment all year and yet we have people that don't know which input the BNC cable goes into. This was very worrying considering that we had our live back-timed program coming up next week.

To add to their disappointment Ashley didn't turn up so they were missing lower thirds and also Ashley had been editing for Matty so he had no VT. It was now frustrating for everyone and the pressure was being shown as there was a little argument in the gallery between Josh and Mikael because Josh criticised Ashley for not coming in and Mikael misunderstood him. I believe its important for us to not make these mistakes on the day as when one person doesn't perform or doesn't turn up it has a huge effect on their team especially when they are the captains of the team. It seems that we aren't a well-oiled team, as a lot of people tend to let down their team whether it’s by lack of work or lack of attendance. 

We were ready by around 1-2pm, which meant that Ashley's team would probably not be able to film anything today. We were also without an important figure as our presenter Rebecca didn't turn up for us so we had to get a backup, which was Matty. We began with a nice track shot of the TV onto the presenter Matty who then begun to read off the autocue. Rebecca wasn't in so we were missing parts of the script but luckily Josh had parts of it so we were able to get a beginning and the rest of it we had to improvise. We were lucky to have Matty as a presenter because when he's on screen he can be very professional and knows how to keep a program going. We didn't have all our VT's or all of our crewmembers but we did well to put together a quick rehearsal. Although next week was going to be a real challenge, as we hadn't had a proper rehearsal and people still hadn't completed their VT's.

Week 5- Studio Rehearsal

Today we had to practice on setting up the studio, which we should be ok with because we had set up the studio on numerous occasions. It took us around 30-45 minutes in setting up the studio but a problem we have always had occurred once again. Not everyone gets involved in the set up and some people tend to sit back and watch while others set up. Also every week there is at least 5-10 people that don't turn up on time and at least 5 people a week don't bother turning up at all. This creates a huge problem as when people turn up late they're usually not helpful and people that don't turn up at all cause issues on the final studio date because they have no idea on what their role is or how to do it correctly and efficiently. I have found that when we come up against issues on the studio floor where there are problems with the cameras, it turns out that people don't know how to fix them, which is a problem because we have been using the same kit all year and we should be familiar with the problems we get each time.

We still show signs of improvement as everyone is familiar with the equipment needed and how each piece of equipment helps the production. We all get one well and work well together but should really help and motivate each other a little bit more to work harder. Over time if we don't work better together better and show more of a group performance we can not learn something that will help us in our futures or produce a great standard of work.

After we set up we sat down and Sam spoke to us about how disappointed she was that we did not have many VT's on the tricaster for a rehearsal. She also told us that we were not at a professional level which was disappointing because we had been doing this project for a while now and that was the level we were aiming for. I believe the reason for this is because when people don't turn up to lessons they have no idea where the class as a whole is up to and they end up behind the rest of the class, which is exactly what happened here. I my self had not finished filming my VT because I had to change my idea, but I still felt disappointed in my self because I let the rest of my group down. As a result of this I booked two dates straight away the following week for filming so that I could complete my VT so it was ready to go onto the tricaster.

Week 4- New Idea

This week I was given more bad news after I contacted my friend that had been in Gaza over the past two weeks. When I messaged him he told me that he wasn't able to record any footage himself and was trying to get it from someone that went with him. I had to wait for him to ask someone else for the footage but he told me it wasn't looking very good because the people that had the footage weren't answering his messages so it was time to think of a new idea.

After considering a few options I decided to produce a VT on a local mosque which was being built in my area of Oldham. I think that non Muslims don't know enough about the religion or its features and most of what people know, again is from what they see on TV. This probably isn't the best place to learn about the religion as it is something that needs to be experienced first hand, e.g. reading the Quran or visiting a mosque. My VT will be current and informative so it can help people understand what takes place inside a mosque.

I had an issue with equipment because it was a very busy time in college not just for first years but also second years booking out equipment. I decided to get my own camera and microphone to make things easier for me when I'm filming so it gives me more time and allows me to be more flexible for when I need to film. I had to make sure I filmed and edited my VT soon as we were coming up fast to the practice runs for our back-timed news programs.

Week 3- Filming

Today I was going to Manchester city centre with Josh and Imogen to film vox pops and general views for our VT's. We met up in college and started writing up consent forms for the public to sign to ensure we are able to use them for our VT's. This gives us protection against any legal claims that maybe be pressed against us so we can't get into trouble for putting someone in our VT who didn't want to be in it. Luke had some consent form templates and so did Imogen and my self so we printed them out and ended up with more than what we needed which was ok just incase we got more vox pops than we needed. So we headed out to Manchester from college hoping we could find some willing people to comment on our subjects.

Firstly, Josh was up and he decided to pick his area to set up for the interviews and decided to do it around the corner from the big wheel. It was a good area because there was a lot of depth in the picture and the sun was shining so there was a lot of people out. I was the camera operator, Imogen was on sound and Josh was the interviewer. Immediately we had an issue with trying to gather people that were willing to give their views on the subject. I believe the reason for this was because of the way Josh approached people and who he approached. I think he should have approached people that seemed a little younger and would actually look interested and not actually trying to ignore him when they saw him coming. It took us around 20 minutes before we got our first person for an interview. I decided to frame them on the right and Josh on the left with him giving his interviewee the iPad to use while they give their views. In total it took us around an hour before we completed his three vox pops.

After Josh, Imogen went next and this time we decided to station ourselves just outside Piccadilly gardens. This was a well populated area as well and there was a path just next to it where a lot of people would walk past so we could get a lot of interviewees. Imogen was a lot better at picking people to stop and we were done a lot quicker this time. Josh was the camera operator, I was on sound and Imogen was the interviewer. Imogen did very well and was welcoming towards her interviewees, and they responded well. It took around 30-45 minutes for Imogen to complete her vox pops, then we went for some dinner before I begun my work.

When we went back out to film I started by looking for a place to set up for my vox pops and found one just next to the big wheel next to a busy sidewalk. I think its important to station your self next to a well populated area and also choose somewhere where people are likely to walk past your spot so you can pick them up. For the third set of vox pops, Imogen was on camera, Josh on sound and I was the interviewer. I spent 45 minutes trying to find someone to interview and a lot of people did not want to comment on the subject and others did not know anything about the subject so I ended up without any vox pops. This was very disappointing for me, not just for the obvious reason that I had no vox pops for my VT but also because I had no idea that people were so clueless on the subject or just had no interest in it because it is one of, maybe the most talked about and controversial subject around the world. I now understood that what people saw on BBC News or Fox News was probably all they knew about the subject and this was worrying because it is pretty much a one sided view, which is not what news is about. News should be objective and not subjective so people are able to hear both sides of a story and not just what one side thinks of the other.

Week 2- Presentation

This week we had to do our presentations on what our VT's were going to be about. My VT was about the media coverage of the Israel-Palestine conflict. Also we had to produce a 300 word pitch which would have to promote our VT ideas. Compared to other people my VT was on a very big, complicated topic which was going to be difficult to fit into two and a half to three minutes. Within the complete package we also had to think about presenting, introductions and interviews which was going to be very tight and difficult to time correctly. For my VT I knew it would be difficult to find someone to interview although Mikael said he knew someone from Palestine who was living in Manchester and he would try to organise an interview for me and I also had a friend who was going to Gaza in a couple of weeks and he agreed to record some footage for me to use as cut aways. As for my vox pops I was going to go with Josh and Imogen next week to film them in Manchester city centre. What I wanted was to get three different types of interviews; one which would show someone who didn't know much about it, one where someone would talk about the Palestinians as victims and another one which would be on the side of the Israeli people.

We filled out an equipment booking form and handed it in for next weeks lesson. We were also hoping on some good weather which would make our jobs easier and help us because people don't like standing around in the rain. Our equipment for next week included:

  • 1 Sony V1 camera
  • 1 Sony batter
  • 1 Tripod
  • 1 Gun microphone (with softy)
  • 1 XLR 3 pin cable
The task for next week was to film three vox pops for each of us and also some general views for cut aways. 

Week 1- News Show Groups

Today we were split into two groups for our back-timed news programs. As a group we decided on having two team captains to choose their groups and then we would begin producing our own VT's. The two team captains were Ashley and Josh, as voted by the class.

My team:

  • Josh
  • Luke
  • Kas
  • Imogen
  • Ezra
  • Luis
  • Rebecca
  • Joe
  • Andy Greenland
  • Nabeel
Josh picked me first on his team so me and him decided together on who to pick for our teams. We were deciding on filling up spots that we thought would be set up for certain individuals. It was important get a presenter and although our first pick was Erin, she was already picked by Ashley's team so we decided to get Rebecca as our presenter. I don't see much difference in the two except that Erin has had more experience in previous work presenting so she would have more confidence in doing it.

For my idea I decided to produce a VT on the media coverage on the Israel-Palestine conflict. The reason I decided to do this is because I believe the coverage that it gets is not very fair on the Palestinians. After watching a few news packages I saw that the major broadcasts that didn't give the best coverage were BBC and Fox News. Below is some footage from BBC and Fox News to prove my argument.

BBC News

Fox News