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Thursday, 24 May 2012

LAND: Final Edit

This module was a group project, for which I was working with Gareth Messenger and Jake Gable. Our chosen topic was “A Place Called England”-a folk song written by Maggie Holland. We were to film and produce a 5 minute video to go with the song.

Our first task was to listen to the song, and discuss what we thought it was about, and what message it was trying to get across, and think of how we can create that message through film. We decided that the song was mainly about how England is being destroyed and ruined by industrialization. This was the focus of our piece.

For our paper edit, each member of the group went through the song lyrics individually, and added in their ideas for locations and shots. We then sent the documents around to each other, and commented on each others ideas, pointing out any potential problems, or adding in other possible locations. By doing this, we came up with a basic plan of what we wanted to film, and how it would look that the whole group agreed on.

Before we started filming we wanted to organise the music. I contacted Maggie Holland, the original artist, but she now lives in Edinburgh, and also had a tour scheduled in Belgium. My next idea was to contact June Tabor, who is also well known for performing this song, but unfortunately she was in the middle of a tour, and her agents would not let me contact her directly. I also tried looking on Youtube for some footage of the song, and sent several emails requesting copyright permission, but unfortunately received no response. We decided to continue with the project and try to resolve our music issues another time.

The next stage of the project was to go and film individually. We separated up the song, and each took various sections. For example, I live in Weston-super-Mare, and know of a limestone gorge nearby, which is featured in the song. So I was responsible for filming that. I visited the locations I wanted to film in first, to try and see if there would be any potential lighting issues etc, and then went back to film when the weather was how we wanted it to be. For example, for the country shots, we wanted it to be a nice, clear day, whereas for the industry shots, we wanted it to be quite grey and miserable so that the message of the song came across not only through our filming, but because of the weather as well.

We review the footage together, and pointed out things we liked and shots that we didn't think worked as well. We discussed alternate shots and locations, and began planning the next stages of filming. Whilst going out and filming, we decided to try and film motion shots in the car. These worked really well with our train footage, which gives the impression of a train journey, looking out of the window at the countryside. This became a main theme for our project. Using this idea, we decided to film another train at night, to use at the end of the project. We were hoping this would make it look like someone who has been travelling all day, getting on the train when its bright and sunny, and getting off at night.

Once we had all our footage, we had to resolve our problem with the music. We were advised to use a piece of copyright free classical music, and read the song as a poem over the top. This seemed like our only feasible idea, and so we used Ralph Vaughan Williams: Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis. The piece of music itself was 16 minutes long, and so we edited it into a 5 minute piece, with instruments that fit well with our footage. We chose the most emotive sections of the piece and cut them together with the soft beginning and faded end. This worked really well, especially with our footage of rivers and streams.

Once we had the music edited together, we focused on reading the song lyrics as a poem. We cut out certain lyrics and verses, and recorded Jake reading them, as he has a very soothing voice. We lined the poem up against the music, so that they flow nicely together, and repeated certain lines to make it seem really emotive.

Our last task was to fit the pictures with the poem and the music. We edited out any shots that did not work, or that were badly filmed and out of focus, to leave us with all our best quality shots, which we edited together with the swell and stings of the music, along with the words of the poem. We did not want it to be too literal, but we have tried to fit words and pictures together. We used transitions such as cross dissolve to layer pictures on top of each other. This works really well for the shots of the stream and the swan.

I think the piece could have been better if we had spent more time planning, and filmed a wider variety of shots. Some of the filming was of a very poor quality, for example it was filmed without a tripod. I think this is disappointing for such an important project. However, I think the group worked really well together, listening to each others ideas and commenting appropriately. We each did our share of filming and editing, and although there were disagreements and issues between us, we did not let it get in the way of the group project. I think overall it looks very good, because we have made it very emotive, and the words, pictures and music fit really well together.

It is disappointing that we could not get the original song due to copyright issues, but I think that by using the classical music with the lyrics read as a poem, it makes it slightly more emotional. I think our use of shots is varied and interesting, but maybe not so much that it would keep the audience interested for the full 5 minutes.

To conclude, the group worked really well together and have produced a very good piece, although it may be seen as somewhat lacking in certain aspects, such as variety. We experienced various issues such as corrupted tapes and copyright issues, but resolved them together and worked as a team to complete this project.

LAND Paper Edit


Film 1 – DUR: 18-20 minutes

Note that timings are only rough estimates at this moment, as are the locations because all can be discussed together. They are merely suggestions and options as to places that can be used to film.
We can play around with the footage on location, different angles, shots, zoom, pull-focus to make it jazzed up.
Main focus is the song. Interviews are not necessary for our piece, otherwise it will conflict with the song.
For the song, we must continue contact with Maggie Holland. If we cannot film her, see if she will willingly send us down a studio recorded version of the song to us. OR, film Edinburgh Napier university to see if Media students will film her on our behalf.

Verse One

“I rode out one bright May morning, like a hero in a song,

Looking for a place called England, trying to find where I belong.

Couldn’t find the old flood meadow, nor the house that I once knew,

No sign of the little river, nor the garden where I grew.”

• Sunrise (sped up) on the horizon beyond hillside, obvious countryside

OR This idea works well, long shot from top of St. Catherine’s Hill, seeing the sun rise. Film same shot that evening, seeing it go down. Speed it up in the edit.

Shot of Maggie Holland singing? Pictures? (Dependent on whether we meet)
DUR: 6-10 secs

• Shot of St George Flag flying in the wind. (Perhaps we can find a way to combine the two...sunrise coming up with a St George flag in view.

• Fade sunrise shot into the next shot, little river.....trickling stream. Actuality of stream trickling – Obtain a feel for the river/stream. DUR: 6-10 secs. Possibly the River Itchen? Location: The John Donne walk? Have to be careful with fades, need to use them as sparingly as possible to maintain classy look. Perhaps a gradual fade in/out or cross dissolve from one scene to the next?

• A quaint house in the country next to a river, pan from the house to the stream/river.

Verse Two

“I saw town and I saw country, motorway and sink estate,

Landlord in his rolling acres, poor man still outside the gate.

Retail park and burger kingdom, prairie field and factory farm,

Run by men who think that England’s only a place to park their car.”

• Shot overlooking a town centre amongst some countryside, possibly St Catherine’s Hill, overlooking Winchester with hills and countryside in side. Zoom VISUAL. DUR: 10 secs

• For ‘motorway’ lyric, film whilst in the car driving along a motorway stretch, speed it up, also there are several bridges overlooking the motorway that we can film from. May look good doing this at night with all the streetlights?

• Focus on people’s feet whilst they are walking through the high street.

• “Landlord in his rolling acres, poor man still outside the gate” – THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX. Need a farmer, or some kind of land owner. TRACTOR/COMBINE HARVESTER/PROPERTY DEVELOPER. DUR: 6secs

• Fade, from landlord in his acres, to a retail park.....with a burger king. Then cross dissolve into prairie field, possibly film Sussex Prairies
DUR: 10-12 secs.

• A good shot would be of fuel emitting cars clogging up the countryside.

• Focusing on the stark difference between the quiet prairie fields and the smoggy factories.

Verse Three

“But as the train pulled from the station, through the wastelands of despair,

From the corner of my eye, a brightness filled the smoky air.

Someone’s sown a patch of sunflowers, though the earth is sooty black,

Marigolds and a few tomatoes, right beside the railway track.”

• Steam railway-actuality of “CHOO CHOO”. Possibly Dymchurch Steam Railway in Kent. VISUAL – Train coming away from the station, into a field. Pulling out. DUR: 10secs

• Following a train as it travels through the country. Maybe one person filming through the window of the train (permission needed) or find a location and film the train going past (similar to in the Railway Children when they sit and watch the trains go by)

• Think industrial places here. Coming into Reading from Winchester on the train or coming into Clapham Junction, all you see is terraced houses. Rows of them with smoking chimneys. Film this out of window on whilst on train to these destinations. Mid-shots. Perhaps out of focus, then pulling into focus slowly with the focusing ring on the lens, like a blurred picture becoming clear. Train slows down coming into these stations so this would be easy to film.

• Go into sunflowers VISUAL –Up close nice shots, Bees on sunflowers, real tight colour filled images – make it vibrant, extravagant. Street End Farm in Bishops Waltham grows sunflowers – BIG ones) DUR: 8-12 secs

• Same again with Marigolds and tomatoes – ALLOTMENTS

• Get an allotment owner to dig up some tomatoes or plant some. Shots of them looking into distance with shovel on a hot spring/summer’s day. DUR: 5-8 secs

• Railway track with Marigolds will be hard to find. Maybe just the marigolds shot fade with another shot of steam railway over top of one another so both are on screen but entwined with each other. DUR: 5-8 secs

Verse Four

“Down behind the terraced houses, in between the concrete towers,

There’s compost heaps and scarlet runners, secret gardens full of flowers.

Mehta grows her scented roses right beneath the big jet’s path

Bid a fortune for her garden, Eileen turns away and laughs.”

• Terraced houses and concrete towers. London towns.– Overview of terracing with building landmarks in Busy areas. The contrast between City and Countryside. LONDON. DUR: 4-6 secs

• Compost heaps and Garden estates – Secret Garden – a relatively unknown place, such as Mottisfont Abbey Garden and Estate. DUR: 5 secs

• ROSES - Also, at Mottisfont Garden DUR: 4-6 secs

• “Big Jet” – fade a plane flying over St Catherines Hill over with the shots of roses? Eastleigh Airport-find the best location to get shots of planes taking off and landing. DUR: 4-5 secs

Verse Five

So rise up George and wake up Arthur, time to rouse you from your sleep.

Deck the horse with sea green ribbons, drag the old sword from the deep.

Hold the line for Dave and Daniel, as they tunnel through the clay,

Whilst the oak in all its glory, soaks up sun for one more day.

• Shot of old couple waking and leaving bed? Opens curtains, sun is shining in. For next verse, mid shots of farm yard area. Horses, stables etc. Try moreton-in marsh, Gloucestershire, or Millets Farm.

“The Oak in all it’s glory” – shots inside a woods. Camera on floor, focusing up on oak trees, slow zoom or focus into close up shots seeing sun shine through the tops of the trees, peaking in through gaps in the light. – New Forest, Boxhill woods, or Corpse Wood up by Sarum Road? Another idea is to find a grand oak tree standing alone, looking regal in a field?

• Rise up George and Rise up Arthur....statues of them, similar to the statue of King Alfred in Winchester. If we do a worms eye shot looking up at them...make them look tall and regal.

• Clearly need to focus on the oak tree. Big, strong and mighty, with the sun shining behind it.

Verse Six

Come all ye who grow in freedom, whatever the land that gave you birth,

There’s room for you, both root and branch, as long as you love the English earth.

Room for vole and room for orchid, room for all to grow and thrive,

Just less room for the fat land owner, on his ass in his four wheel drive.

• Opening line of this verse, baby being born/cradled in mother’s arms faded over image of the countryside. “English earth” – close up and actuality of soil, things being dug up with spade. Justaposition of farmers working hard and sweating compared to ‘city boys’ preferably shot of middle aged balding portly men stood talking in suits, laughing?

• This gives a very poignant message of how old, traditional country uprises against town, industries and factory. This is a very important part of the story and is going to need considerable planning to get the right emotions across.

Verse Seven

For England is not flag nor empire, it’s not money and it’s not blood.

It’s limestone gorge and granite fell, it’s Wealden clay and Severn mud.

It’s blackbird singing from the may tree, lark ascending through the scales,

Robin watching from your spade, and English earth beneath your nails.

• “England is not flag nor empire”-a regal castle, or perhaps Buckingham Palace, with flags flying.

• Limestone gorge-Burrington (near Weston-super-Mare) beautiful cliffs with mountain goats.

• Severn mud-perhaps children squelching in welly boots in the mud (need permission)

• Blackbird singing in the may tree-ac tuality of birdsong

• English earth beneath your nails- people digging in their allotments, pulling vegetables out of the garden (another idea is vegetables being pulled out of the garden, then washed, cooked, and served for a family dinner? Maybe somewhere else in the song)

Verse Eight

So here’s two cheers for a place called England, sore abused but not yet dead,

A Mr. Harding sort of England, hanging in there by a thread.

Here’s two cheers for the crazy diggers, now their hour has come at last.

We shall sow the seeds they saved in common wealth and common land.

• This is the conclusion of the song. Really need to bring everything together for this ending.

• Idea of the diggers taking back their land from the industrialization of the country.

Monday, 14 May 2012

Magazine Spreads

Article 1: Confessional Interview

Article 2: The Ultimate University Survival Guide

Critical Reflection

For my confessional interview I chose to do a "triumph over tragedy" story, on Jim William-who I went to school with. Although it was advised not to use somebody you know, once I had explained the story, I was told to use it for this module. I asked Jim if he was happy to be interviewed, and we agreed that he would have full copy approval of what was included in the article. The reason for this is because a lot of the interview contains confidential information. The story is that Jim suffered a traumatic childhood at the hands of his mother-who suffered from mental illness. He was eventually put into a foster home and later adopted. This story in itself would have worked for a magazine spread, but when Jim reached his teens, he began to suffer from mental illness-resulting in several suicide attempts, and eventually being admitted into a psychiatric unit. Now that he has recovered, he is training to become a mental health nurse, in order to help other people suffering from similar issues that he did. This is such a heart-warming story that I really wanted to use it for this project.

As mentioned above, I interviewed Jim, and we went through the transcript together, picking out things to include, and things that he wanted left out, until we had a basic outline for the article. I wrote up the interview and sent him the finished spread, to make sure he was happy with it, before uploading it.

I chose to use black and white pictures to make the article more emotive. The first picture, of Jim sat alone, to introduce the story, and the second picture, of him with his girlfriend, both looking happy, to show how he has overcome his problems. The pictures are copyright free and positioned in a way to break up the text. I used colour to try and attract attention. For example in the headline, the word "BEAT" is in red, to give it more emphasis. I also used coloured boxes for quotes and different sections of the story, such as being adopted. I feel this works really well, as it shows the flow of the interview, and separates the text.

The box at the bottom features helplines for readers who are affected by the article, or who know someone who is. I used a bright coloured background and font to make it stand out, because it contains vital information that can help people suffering from mental illness.

The article as a whole is based on magazines such as Pick Me Up, and Chat, full of real life stories, told by the victim. I wrote the article in Jim's words, so it sounded like him telling the story, rather than me reporting on it. It is also from these kinds of magazines that I have seen the advice box at the bottom, and chose to include it in the hope that it could potential help other people overcome mental illness.

My second article is a feature I wrote last year, which I have turned into a magazine spread. It is titled "The ULTIMATE University Survival Guide" and as the title suggests, is aimed at students about to start University. The article is written from a personal perspective, as when I first arrived in Winchester, I struggled to settle in. Now that I am about to graduate, I have learnt several things, which I wanted to pass on to other students.

I used creative commons photographs to break up the text and draw attention to the page, and colourful text to show that it is a light-hearted article. I broke up the text into different sections, so that it would be easier to read and not put people off because of big chunks of text.

I did not want the article to be boring, or for the tips included to be obvious, so I tried to add in my own personal experiences to lighten the tone. For example, a student packing for University is going to bring clothes, books, and a laptop...but probably not a pair of earplugs!

My favourite piece in this article is my food thieves deterrence techniques, as I think they are original and quirky, and not what would be expected.

I originally had several other tips I wanted to include, but did not want to overload the page with text and information, and so chose the most important ones. I felt I had to include all the information on safety. in the hope that readers would follow the advice and stay out of danger. An example of this is having the phone number of a licensed taxi company stored into your phone, and not walking alone late at night.

In terms of the overall look of the article, the big bold headline attracts the readers attention, but I wanted to make it look more interesting, and so tilted the word "Ultimate" so that it looks like it has been stamped into the headline to change "The University Survival Guide"-which sounds official and a bit dull and boring, to "The ULTIMATE University Survival Guide"-seems much more interesting and exciting.

I tried to be as responsible as possible whilst writing the article. I did not want to encourage typical student behaviour, such as binge drinking and one night stands. Instead I wanted to provide advice on how to deal with these situations, staying safe. and also saving money-as that is one of the biggest problems among students.

I am really pleased with both of my articles. They greatly contrast each other, and would be found in completely different types of magazines for different audiences. I think there are improvements that could be made with both spreads: In article 1: the interview could be more concise and to the point, with more quotes included. and article 2 could include more information about things that students wouldn't really know or think about, but on the whole, I think the articles work really well for their different audiences, because they are eye-catching and informative.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

The Radio Lifestyle!

Today is the big day! Our RSL is about to be launched, and I'm busy producing news bulletins. For the next 4 weeks I will be living in the radio studio, from 7.30am-6.05pm. I have a rota system with the MA students, so that there are 3 or 4 of us in for the morning shift (7.30-1) and then a different team in the afternoon (1.30-6). Due to other commitments, my weekend team consists of only 2 people per shift. The idea is for the morning team to update the current bulletin, but also to begin producing the afternoon bulletin, so that when the teams change, there is a bulletin ready for them to read through. Their task is then to begin producing the bulletin for the following day, which will be updated the following morning with any current stories or information before it is broadcast.
I think the next 4 weeks are going to be a challenge, especially with other academic and medical commitments I am obliged to do, such as law blogs, law revision, the law exam next week, as well as physiotherapy and hydrotherapy appointments.
The biggest challenge is on a Thursday and a Friday, as the MA students have lectures all day. This means I am on my own to produce and present the bulletins on both of these days, although we are currently looking for people to help out on these days.
I am really excited about the RSL and looking forward to finding out how many listeners we have. I have learnt a lot about radio production this semester, and have enjoyed it much more than I thought I would, to the point where I am even considering a career in radio.
Sound Radio is broadcasting on 87.7fm until 21st December, in Winchester and the surrounding areas.

Friday, 18 November 2011

Sound Radio's 24 hour broadcast for Children in Need

For Children in Need, Thomas Sampson, Aarran Summers, Maxine Knight and I put on a 24 hour radio show. The show ran from 3pm Wednesday until 3pm Thursday and raised a whopping £1059.84 for the charity!
Although it was tiring, it was an amazing experience. I was able to deal with any technical issues that occurred, and adjust sound levels etc.
The beginning of the broadcast was full of technical problems, as the Myriad system kept shutting down. I reloaded the system whilst the presenters apologised for the difficulties, and talked about what was coming up in the show.
Most of the broadcast went smoothly, there were a few minor issues, which between us we managed to fix.
We all took it in turns to present so that the official presenters could have breaks, and the 4 of us got on really well. There was a really good vibe during the show, and although we were all quite tired, I think everyone really enjoyed it.

To donate to Children in Need, please go to

Monday, 7 November 2011

Media Law: Defamation and Privilege

Our third lecture in media law covered defamation.
A statement is defamatory if it tends to do any of the following:
  • expose a person to hatred, ridicule or contempt;
  • cause them to be shunned or avoided;
  • damage their reputation in their business, trade or profession
  • make right-thinking members of society think low of them
A defamatory statement that is written down is a form of libel. If the statement is spoken, it is seen as slander.
The way a statement is tested for defamation is to see what a reasonable thinking person would take the statement to mean. This is also the same for inference-a statement with a secondary meaning that can be understood by someone without any special knowledge.

In a trial for a defamation case, a jury is involved. The judge will decide if the statement is capable of having a defamatory meaning, and the jury will then decide if the statement was defamatory considering the circumstances.

The claimant suing over a statement must be able to prove that:
1) It is defamatory
2) It may be reasonably understood to be about him/her
3) It has been published to a third party.

The test of identification is whether the statement would lead people who knew the claimant to believe that they are the person being referred to.

Everytime a defamatory statement is repeated, it is seen as a fresh publication. Therefore, a journalist is liable for repeating a defamatory statement made by an interviewee or source. With internet publications, each time the article is accessed, it is seen as a fresh publication.

A person who has been defamed can sue the reporter, the editor, the publisher, the broadcaster, or anyone else who participated in publishing the defamatory material.

There are several defences for journalists to avoid being sued for libel.
The main ones are:
  • Justification
  • Fair comment
  • Absolute privilege
  • Qualified privilege
The justification defence is a complete defence to prove that the statement is substantially true. This defence only applied to facts, and the defendant must prove not only the meaning of the words, but any innuendo or inference.
This is important in journalism, as investigative journalists must always make sure that they can prove their facts in court.

A defendant can plead that a statement expressing comment was an honest opinion on a matter of public interest. This is the fair comment defence. The comment must be based on true facts that are either stated in the story or are widely known.

Privilege was covered in the 4th lecture of term. There are occasions when public interest demands freedom of speech without risk of proceedings for defamation, even if the statements made are defamatory and even if they turn out to be untrue. These are referred to as privileged, which exists under common law and statute.

Absolute privilege is a complete defence for defamation. It does not matter whether the words are true or false, or whether they were used maliciously. However, a journalist may be reporting on an occasion protected by absolute privilege, but this does not mean that the report is similarly protected. For example, Members of Parliament can say whatever they want in the House of Commons, but reports on the parliamentary debates are only covered by qualified privilege.
The only time journalists are covered by absolute privilege is when reporting court cases. This is vital because what is said in court is often highly defamatory, however privilege does not apply if the hearing is held in private.

For absolute privilege to apply, a report of a court case must be fair and accurate by:
  • presenting a summary of both sides
  • contains no substancial inaccuracies
  • gives proportionate weight to both sides.
If any of these are missing, then the protection of privilege is lost.
Allegations made in court report must be worded correctly so that the allegation is not stated as a fact. Also, in order to maintain absolute privilege, court reports should be published as soon as it is practicable to do so.

Qualified Privilege is available as a defence where it is important that the facts should be freely known in the public interest. The protection provided by qualified privilege is similar to that of absolute privilege, but the requirements that must be met differ. To be protected by qualified privilege, the published report must be fair and accurate, and published without malice. A general requirement for qualified privilege is that the matter published must be of public concern, and so the publication is for the publics benefit (i.e. public interest).

The Reynolds Defence protects the publication of defamatory material, provided that it was a matter of public interest and was the product of responsible journalism. During the Reynolds vs Times Newspapers (2000) 2 AC 127 case in the House of Lords, Lord Nicholls outlined 10 circumstances which should be taken into account when deciding if the media qualify for this defence. These are:
  • The seriousness of the allegation. The more serious the charge, the more the public is misinformed and the individual harmed if the allegation is not true.
  • The nature of the information, and the extent to which the subject is a matter of public concern.
  • The source of the information. Some informants have no direct knowledge of the events, or may be being paid for their stories.
  • The steps taken to verify the information.
  • The status of the information. The allegation may have already been the subject of an investigation which commands respect.
  • The urgency of the matter. News is often a perishable commodity.
  • Whether comment was sought from the claimant. He may have information that others do not possess or have not disclosed. This will not always be necessary.
  • Whether the article covered the claimant's side of the story.
  • The tone of the article. A newspaper can raise queries or call for an investigation. It does not need to adopt allegations as statements of fact.
  • The circumstances of the publication, including the timing.
Journalists see these points as a list of hurdles they must jump in order to get this defence.

(McNaes 20th Edition)

Sound Radio

Sound Radio will be back on air shortly, and most of my time is now being spent preparing for the RSL. I have a team of 8 MA students, which have been organised into a rota to produce and present news.
On Saturday evening, several members of the Radio Society went to the fireworks display to promote Sound Radio. We all had promotional shirts and handed out over 750 leaflets.

This week I am focusing on training for the MA students, and hourly bulletins to be broadcast online as practise for the RSL.

I am really enjoying my work on radio at the moment, and am looking forward to the RSL. I think it will be challenging, but will be a fantastic achievement if it is successful.