Sunday 13th March:
I have completed my project proposal and have started to research my documentary topic in further depth. I have decided to make a documentary about why football is so popular around the globe, and I will draw upon qualitative and quantitative data from many sources to answer the question. I also aim to share some of my own insight into why playing and watching football can be so exhilarating, and this touch of personal experience should give my documentary a unique identity.
The research I have been undertaking has allowed me to learn more about the social and political reasons behind the sport’s popularity and I have found historical events that are relevant to the question and I can touch upon in my documentary. Looking further into the potential budget, costs and production issues of my documentary has encouraged to think ahead and plan the production process, as well as thinking of alternatives if some obstacles were to put production on hold temporarily (e.g. a COVID lockdown). I have thought over the legal and ethical considerations of my documentary and have plans in place, for example, to acquire permissions for filming locations. Research regarding the concepts, ideas, and documentary topics has begged me to consider how I will structure the film and how I will divide the limited runtime between each topic. I now have a deeper understanding of what my film will be composed of and what equipment I will use, for example, for narration I will need a high-quality microphone and audio recording equipment.
Studying successful football documentaries has shown me what documentaries do right to both provide an accurate account of history and entertain their audience. I have got off to a good start on my project as I have a clear idea for my documentary in addition to a detailed production schedule. The schedule will allow me to manage my time according to each task so I can complete the Final Major Project to a high standard prior to the deadline. I will continue expanding upon my research in the coming weeks before I will prepare to present a pitch of my project to the class.
I have been inspired by Raymar Football, a YouTube channel that recounts significant events in football history using a superb, gripping story structure. The 2006 World Cup film ‘The Grand Finale’ manages to portray football cinematically while keeping the grounded edge the sport has that makes it so interesting to spectators. I am also interested by Oversimplified, a content creator that specialises in concise, informational history documentaries. Another influence on my documentary is ‘Bend it like Beckham’ by Gurinder Chandha. I would like to develop its dramatic style into my own film.
Thursday 17th March:
This week, I have carried out detailed and in-depth research into a variety of topics related to my football documentary. I have expanded upon the research present in the concepts, topics and ideas sections to give my project more potential content to cover, allowing me to pinpoint exactly what message about the sport I want to communicate in my documentary. This meant I had the opportunity to gain further insight into the topics of controversy surrounding football, including political tensions sparked from international rivalries and corruption in major football organisations.
I further developed my academic skills through the checking and logging of multiple sources in a bibliography. I promptly responded to feedback from my tutor and conducted primary research regarding my target audience. I did this by surveying a small focus group. I asked them what they thought about football personally and who they thought watched football the most out of the population. This gave me a deeper understanding of the target audience my documentary will be directed at in particular as well as a plethora of topics I can mention and develop in my film to give an informed response to the question ‘Why is football the most popular sport in the world?’. I have also looked for quantitative data and I have found it to be a very reliable and accurate source of evidence for the arguments and reasoning in my documentary. The use of quantitative data was particularly helpful in the process of getting a better idea of my target audience.
I have refined my UAL Project Proposal and Practitioner Research in preparation for the deadline on Friday 18th March. This encouraged me to think ahead to the next stage of my project. I am starting to think about how I will present my project in the upcoming pitch and I think it would be a wise choice to begin deciding on a format for my presentation. I think PowerPoint is an excellent medium for a visual presentation and using that as the foundation of my pitch would be extremely helpful for getting my project idea over to the audience. I also need to think about writing a detailed script that provides me with cues for my speech, as well points of discussion if I happened to lose my train of thought. I will ensure to cover all the points mentioned in the brief to provide the audience with a clear picture of what I intend to do in the next few months. This will also involve a detailed production schedule with the corresponding dates so I am fully prepared for the weeks ahead, manage my time well and submit my work well in advance of each mini-deadline. I will be sure to rehearse my presentation in the weeks prior to the pitch so I am well-prepared and can confidently express my idea to the audience.
Thursday 31st March:
I have completed all the research on the brief in-depth, logging an extensive variety of sources while doing so. I responded to feedback and added to my blog where necessary. I fleshed out my target audience research by carrying out a study involving primary data. This involved asking a focus group some questions regarding football and what they thought the target audience of my documentary was themselves.
I expanded my concepts, topics and ideas research significantly by writing up all my research regarding the project, including facts I knew from knowledge, with sources to verify the reliability of the information. I also gave more specific examples for my competition research in an attempt to gain a better understanding of what made certain sports documentaries succeed and others fail to. I made sure to adjust the format of my blog for clarity and legibility. I also reflected on how I may be able to promote my work and concluded that a trailer is the best way to spread news of a new sports documentary, as proven by recent projects by major streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.
As part of the research process, I also did some test shots and experimented with different equipment to compare the results. This helped me begin thinking about the types of shot I will record in my shot list. I shot some footage without equipment and with the Steadicam DJI Osmo, designed for mobile phone cameras. This piece of equipment stabilised my footage and made recording panning and zooming shots much more efficient. I will almost certainly make use of it in the production stage.
I have written up my pitch script, covering each component of the pitch in accordance with the brief. I have made notes that will serve as cues to give my speech a natural flow with some room for adaptation should things deviate slightly from the plan. My pitch will be on Friday 1st April so I will rehearse it several times to ensure I have an idea of everything I want to discuss and I am feeling confidently prepared for the pitch. I have made a presentation as well to serve as a visual medium to support my pitch script.
At this stage of my project, I feel that I am making good progress with my project and am meeting the set deadlines on the brief so far. I am almost arriving at the pre-production stage and I aim to continue focusing on organisation and time management so I can continue to achieve each objective in good time.
Wednesday 6th April:
I have completed my pitch and I received some feedback regarding my progress so far on the Final Major Project. I was pleased to learn that I am working at a distinction level so I will be sure to continue working hard as I have been doing until the final deadline. I was told that I had expressed my ideas with clarity and successfully presented my idea to an audience. One piece of advice was to keep in mind the proportion of archived footage allowed in the documentary. I put the successful result of my pitch down to planning a well-structured script and rehearsing my presentation several times. This allowed for a fluent presentation on the day and meant I felt prepared and confident. I uploaded my pitch resources to my blog so that it is all up-to-date.
I have begun moving on to the stage of the FMP: planning and pre-production. I have gathered all the necessary paperwork and have stated filling in the necessary documentation. I decided to begin with the production schedule, as this allows me to plan the activities of the weeks ahead so I manage my time well. I have also started assessing risks and planning how I would respond to potential hazards in production. I have also begun scouting possible filming locations and will fill in recces and start to secure filming permissions where necessary. In the case of needing to be granted permission to film somewhere, I will make use of the location release forms provided by the college.
Before I start working on the storyboard and shot list, I will need to structure and write a documentary script. I will begin working on that in the coming days and will draw upon my research to find links to tie together each topic in my documentary. I will also think of how I will be narrating each line as I am writing so that it leaves an effect on the audience. After I have an outline for my documentary, I carry out tests shots at the filming locations and refine my shot list. This will mean I am well-prepared for the production stage and for a screening of my test shots to the class. Following the plan conscientiously will allow me to be as efficient as possible with the time permitted for production.
Wednesday 27th April:
This week, I have been focusing on completing the pre-production paperwork in preparation for making my documentary. I have logged details on the cast and crew list and carried out a production risk assessment, allowing me to plan the next few months of work effectively. I then created a production schedule to a high level of detail with activities assigned for each day. This should permit me to allocate my time for maximum productivity.
Subsequently, I thought of possible film locations and filled the respective recce sheets so I will be able to access each location without any problems on the filming days. One of my locations requires permission for use. This is Sports Direct in Exeter, which contains several football items such as boots and shirts. Permission was kindly granted by the manager, and I confirmed this using a location release form. This ensured that I have all the necessary documentation filled in correctly prior to the production stage.
I planned the filming process in detail using a storyboard, where I planned each shot to accurately match the script’s research and analysis. This storyboard has given me a strong idea of what shots and equipment I will need for my project, as well as the transitions I will use in post-production. I will plan a shot list in detail so I will have a solid plan for filming to efficiently with over the next month. Furthermore, I have booked a DJI Osmo steady Cam to take more test shots so my shot list is composed of high- quality shot ideas and the used equipment matches the requirements of the shot. I will continue to add to my documentary script to make sure all the research I have done translates into an informative documentary to the audience.
Wednesday 4th May:
I have completed the pre-production stage of my project. I found two more filming locations that I will draw upon for footage for my documentary and filled in the recces so they are logged on my blog. I also finished my shot list, which gave me a better understanding of the message of my documentary that I was trying to convey about football to my audience. The shot list also allowed me to consider the logistical issues of the production stage, including the shot types, camera angles and movements. The individual planning of each shot composing my documentary will ensure I draw focus upon elements of football that are particularly important to the topic in question: football’s increasing popularity. Considering camera movements (such as panning and tilting) for each shot allowed me to create dynamic footage that will keep the audience engaged as it is synched with my narration.
Carrying out test shots prior to filming turned out to be incredibly helpful as it gave me an idea of what shots looked aesthetic, so my cinematography was to a high standard and I could use my time wisely instead of having to spend too much time searching for the right shot. I believe cinematography is particularly important for a documentary as it adds to the sense of professionalism that is essential for credibility and audience engagement. I have started filming the shots from my list, and I filmed spare footage so I have a large variety to draw upon for my documentary. The DJI Osmo steady Cam phone mount was very useful for panning and tilting camera movements and steadied my footage, removing shakiness that will maintain an immersive feel to my documentary.
I booked out equipment for audio recording that I will use for my narration. This is one of the most important elements of my documentary so it is important that the audio quality is high. I experimented with the Tascam DR-70D, however its system for storing audio recordings did not allow me to access them efficiently. I used my Google Pixel 4a sound recorder instead, which consists of a high-quality sound recorder, and spent several hours recording audio. I recorded sentences separately to ensure every line was communicated as intended. I made sure that I was in a quiet location to avoid interruptions in my audio recording. I rehearsed each line a few times, practising the enunciation and pace of each for greater effect. I also made sure that the tone of my voice matched the tone of the documentary, and that the volume of my voice was matched each line closely to create a sense of flow.
I will continue filming footage if reshoots are necessary and will refine any lines that I think aren’t spoken clearly. I have uploaded all the footage and audio to my laptop so I will begin post-production in the next few days.
Wednesday 11th May:
I have begun shooting footage for my documentary. Using my shot list and experimenting with different camera angles and movements, I drew a large variety of shots to draw upon from each filming location. The test shots already helped to give me some ideas of which shots would work well and needed to be changed in order to give my documentary the professional appearance I was aiming for. I uploaded the footage I had taken to my laptop so I can start getting an idea of the structure of my documentary. I had read my documentary script aloud with a stopwatch at hand so I could gather an understanding of how much footage I would need, and approximately how long each shot should last. As I filmed more footage, I decided that it would be better to avoid using archived footage in my documentary, because I believe its inclusion would take away from the creativity and originality of my project. As a result, I had to find suitable alternatives to the archived footage by deciding on my own shots and experimenting further. The footage I had recorded over several days meant that I had a good timeline on my editing software to begin recording the audio narration.
For the audio recording, I found a quiet room where I could concentrate on the delivery of each line and where distractions and interruptions would be minimal. I then recorded did multiple takes of each line of my script until I was satisfied with the way each one with spoken. I paid attention to enunciating each word clearly and altering the tone on my voice on certain words for emphasis. I think this approach will make my documentary far more interesting as monotone narration can lose the focus of the audience. I paid attention to keeping the volume of my speech roughly the same to give a sense of continuity between each line. After I had finished recording all my lines, I uploaded them to my DaVinci resolve software and began arranging each audio file in is chronological order. I then began synchronising the camera shots with the audio.
As I had a few takes for different shots, I uploaded all the takes and then watched through all of them before choosing the one I thought was best. This extra check ensured I did not miss out on any high quality shots I had taken earlier. After everything was uploaded, I started fixing some of the shots in post-production. First of all, the audio files were almost all the same volume but there were a few outliers so I equalized the audio levels using the DaVinci Resolve software. Furthermore, the steady cam mount I had been using for footage gave me mostly stable footage but there was occasional shakiness in certain shots which would take away from the aesthetic cinematography I had been looking for in my footage. Therefore, I stabilised some of the camera footage in post-production, which improved the quality of the shots. After several days of editing, I had the initial version of my documentary, which I will keep adding to and refining over the coming week.
Wednesday 18th May:
I gathered some feedback on the early version of my documentary and focused a few days on improvements and fixing some errors in post-production. Some changes were simple, such as shortening a shot that was too long, but others required more time. My documentary struck a balance between expository and poetic documentary, however my documentary did not go into one genre in enough depth. As I intended for my project to demonstrate my strong appreciation for the sport, I thought moving more towards a poetic documentary would make more sense. This involved adding more of my own perspectives and experience of watching and playing the sport into the script.
The abstract cinematography I had been aiming to create in my footage matched well with the reflective tone of the documentary. I drew upon more of this poetic footage for the last portion of my documentary, where I discussed my personal opinions regarding why I believed people were so passionate about football. The last line of my documentary ended with a degree of uncertainty: ‘the fate of the beautiful game remains to be seen’. This term ‘beautiful game’ is a term that is often used to describe football and I think it perfectly encapsulated the poetic nature of my documentary as its title.
After spending many days recording spare footage, I recorded further audio, reading the lines I had expanded upon in my script. I then spent hours editing together the audio files and synchronising it with the extra footage to convey thematic congruity. I also added the title ‘the beautiful game’ in one of the opening shots, and lined it up within the frame of a goal (in the shot) to emphasise the documentary’s connection to football. In addition, I added some credits at the end to provide a sense of finality to my documentary. I decided to avoid using dramatic music in my documentary as I believed this would distract the audience from the narration and it did not fit with the thoughtful tone of the film.
I reshot some footage I thought could be improved by minor changes. One of the shots was of me doing kicks up, which on reflection was better in slow motion than normal speed, demonstrating the technique of each skill move. I kept refining the documentary slowly over the last week, in preparation for the screening on Friday 20th May. I will keep looking for ways to improve my documentary before uploading the video to YouTube and adding it to my blog prior to the deadline. I will also prepare some speaking notes for my presentation on the day of the screening, so I can discuss my initial aims for the project, the obstacles I had to overcome and my opinions on the final version of my documentary.
16th March: Research target audience
17th March: Research legal and ethical issues
18th March: Research concepts ideas and topics
21st March: Research project technical requirements
22nd March: Research costs, budget and production issues
23rd March: Plan changes and adaptations in case of COVID lockdown
24th March: Evaluate how research has shaped ideas
25th March: Evaluate how valid research was
28th March: Evaluate best sources
29th March: Reflect on research if more time/budget
30th March: Present evaluation of research to class
31st March: Work on a pitch for a Final Major Project
1st April: Research content of pitch for FMP
4th April: Write up script for FMP
5th April: Work on PowerPoint presentation for FMP
6th April: Rehearse pitch for FMP
7th April: Conduct pitch for FMP
8th April: Produce pre-production paperwork for project
26th April: Complete test shots
27th April: Plan structure of documentary content
28th April: Plan structure of documentary content
29th April: Write shot list for documentary
3rd May: Write shot list for documentary and think about transitions
4th May: Complete production recce and risk assessment for project
5th May: Beginning shooting footage
6th May: Shoot footage
9th May: Shoot footage
10th May: Record audio for documentary footage and narration
11th May: Record audio for documentary footage and narration
12th May: Shoot footage
13th May: Shoot footage
16th May: Shoot extra/spare footage
17th May: Edit footage and include transitions
18th May: Edit footage and include transitions
19th May: Edit footage and include transitions
20th May: Edit footage and include transitions
24th May: Watch through project and present moving work to class
25th May: Conduct presentation explaining reflection on project, the projects I have overcome and final project, record feedback and comments from presentation and evaluate the final product
26th May: Finish evaluating the final product by answering questions on brief
27th May: Project Deadline
 Raymar Football, began 2017
 2006 FIFA World Cup Film – The Grand Finale
 Oversimplified YouTube Channel, began 2006
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 Most Popular Streaming Services in the United States in 2019, Julia Stoll, Statista, 18/01/22
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 ‘Neymar: The Perfect Chaos’ Official Trailer, Netflix, 11/01/22
 Copyright Rules and Policies, YouTube