T3 Week 1, 2 & 3 Pre-production & Production

UPDATED 2018

OVERVIEW & KEY (IN-CLASS) DATES

  • 2 X PRE-PRODUCTION WEEKS
  • Research; focus, secure access, pre-interviews, style & approach, inspire yourself, consider your platform, tools, and techniques, practice, practice, practice…
  • 8 X PRODUCTION WEEKS
  • Shoot, interview, research, log, edit, write, test, practice, create…
  • 4 x POST-PRODUCTION WEEKS (Edit Month in August)
  • Edit, revise, repeat, perfect!
  • PRE-PRODUCTION WEEKS:
  • 25th MAY – SUBMIT PARTIALLY COMPLETED PRE-PRODUCTION BRIEF TO YOUR LEAD TUTOR
  • 1st JUNE – SUBMIT FULLY COMPLETED PRE-PRODUCTION BRIEF FOR FIELDWORK APPROVAL FROM YOUR LEAD TUTOR
  • PROJECT WEEK 3 SCHEDULED IN-CLASS SESSIONS DURING :
  • 4th JUNE
  • 10am – 4pm – Christopher Cherry Video Seminar & Workshop
  • 5th JUNE 
  • 10am – 12am Presentations & feedback. (6 mins per story)
  • 1 – 2pm – Sharron to outline Term 3. Revise Preproduction guide (All students to print and bring to class)
  • 2pm – 4pm Video Editing workshop – Basic color and audio correction 
  • Student Questionnaires (All modules)
  • 7th JUNE 
  • Sharron/ Sean available for hour-long tutorials. A booking form will be available in class on the 4th 
  • 3pm Student meeting with all staff & Student Reps
  • 4pm Cong Yan Seminar for dissertations
  • 8th  JUNE
  • Sharron Sean available for hour-long tutorials. A booking form will be available in class on the 4th
  • Program meeting TBC
  • 10th JUNE
  • Sharron available for hour-long tutorials. A booking form will be available in class on the 4th 
  • Sharron & Samuel to organize equipment. Sharron & Heidi to organize the Library.  
  • 11TH JUNE
  • Sharron available for hour-long tutorials. A booking form will be available in class on the 4th 

PREAMBLE

Here’s your briefing on what’s expected in Term 3. You will be given an additional verbal briefing on June 4th (Project Week 3) – and this is the week when you should start your practical work ‘in the field’.

These introductory notes will help you use the first two pre-production weeks effectively and be well-prepared for your class presentation on June 5th. You may need a Wechat tutorial to discuss your story idea in Pre-production Week 1. Please book tutorials as needed.

Do not waste your two precious pre-production weeks. By week 3 you will need to start your fieldwork and you must come to the in-class session on 4th & 5th June and prepare and deliver a 6-minute presentation of a clear, visual and accessible story.

THE FIRST TWO WEEKS (PRE-PRODUCTION WEEKS)

Pre-production Week 1 – Complete the outline and style & methodology section of your Term 3 Production Brief. You will need to secure access to a visual story, (which should be a continuation of one of your Term 2 assignments). You may change topic but this will create more work and more risk, so you’ll need to work hard and fast to secure access and consider how to tell your new story. A continuation building on a Term 2 assignment is often likely to yield better results.

Pre-production Week 2 – Complete your own practice tests for your style and methodology choices. Complete your risks & ethics sections and submit for approval.

Please use the new Production Brief: Production Brief AdPrac IMJ7005 2017-18

WORKING AUTONOMOUSLY

Time management is essential in Term 3, there is very little scheduled class apart from the edit month – as MA level students you are expected to study with a large degree of autonomy. Tutors are on hand to guide you but to do that successfully, you will need to meet interim deadlines to the required criteria and communicate regularly and effectively with your lead tutor.

 

PROJECTS

Ideally, you will be taking forward one of your Term 2 stories in some way. Perhaps extending or broadening it, or taking it in a slightly different angle, or continuing the same essential story focus but producing the story in a new media form. Only if both projects have really failed should you switch topics completely and if this is the case, you will need to start planning, researching and preparing early to catch up and be ready for Term 3 pre-production weeks.

We hope that your Term 3 stories will be the stories you use to showcase your talents to future employers to land the job, freelance gig, or internship that launches or drives the next step in your career. Think about what that next step is, communicate it with us too – and make sure you take your work in that direction. There is no set formula for an online visual multimedia story. It’s your story and you’ll need to tell it in the way, format, and style that you think best. Your tutors are here to guide you through the process. By now you should well understand online visual storytelling and it’s many formats but please see previous Term 3 projects for examples of the nature of assignments and the standard expected. We are also open to lots more diversity and innovation.

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LEAD TUTORS

In T3 students are split into two groups and will be assigned a ‘lead tutor’ – either Sharron or Sean to supervise your progress and deliver regular, high-quality advice, support, and direction in your quest for academic excellence. Your lead tutor will also approve your pre-production brief. You will still maintain contact with both tutors and occasionally tutors will switch groups – to provide ‘fresh eyes’ on work.

Your lead tutor will give timely feedback and guidance for the pre-production, production and post-production stages of your work. They will guide you, where possible, to some extra sources of information, project inspirations, methodologies and techniques relevant to your work. (Often by tagging you on Facebook Group posts – so please check in regularly). They may also direct students to specific online training or tutorials for self-study.

You will be expected to hit interim deadlines on time and to specified requirements. You will also be expected to maintain contact via emails and tutorials. The frequency and nature of these communications will vary but usually, you are required to submit work for feedback each and every two weeks. Often times you will also be required to complete a ‘mini assignment’ (Such as making a treatment, watching a tutorial, etc). Tutors endeavor to feedback in a timely manner – typically within 72 hours.

Where students are not content with any aspect of their supervision they are encouraged to address problems as soon as possible through discussions with their lead tutors or the course leader. If necessary they should pursue a complaint through the formal student complaints procedure.

FAQs for Term 3:

What do I need to prepare for the Term 3 Pre-production weeks?

25th May

  • Complete the outline and style & methodology section of your Term 3 Production Brief.
  • Map your issue use this form as an example and create your own form relevant to your project IMMJ SMW Follow & Monitor
  • Start your online digital research page
  • Submit all three things to your lead tutor (via Dropbox)

Please note your story needs to be MULTIMEDIAVISUAL and ACCESSIBLE, it also needs to have clear NEWS VALUE. Your story needs to be ‘MULTIMEDIA’ in that it must combine two or more media forms. (photography, video, audio, text, graphics). At least one of your chosen media forms has to be VISUAL. (photography, video, audio, text, graphics). You could not, for example, combine only audio and text. Your chosen mediums will depend on your story and how you think best to tell that story. Your story has to be ACCESSIBLE if you haven’t already secured access and access cannot easily be sought then you will need to embark on a different story. There is no time to waste setting up access that may never materialize.

NOTE. You will also need a social engagement plan. That might be releasing images on Instagram, making behind the scenes videos for Facebook, or curating a relevant Twitter feed.

Can I spend the first few weeks of Term 3 figuring out and researching my story and trying to secure access?

NO. You have two pre-production weeks. From week three, you need to start fieldwork.

Term 3 fieldwork will commence on the week beginning the 5th June. That means you need to be ‘in production’ (shooting or interviewing). Use the pre-production weeks to complete initial research and secure access. There is simply no time to waste, quality work takes time and energy. You will make mistakes and you will face unexpected challenges and problems during your reporting. (it’s never a smooth run). Only by starting the reporting process early and working consistently will you manage to overcome these challenges and be fully prepared for edit month. Note you have 8 reporting weeks and 4 editing weeks. Edit month is a critical final stage strictly for polishing and editing and making the work shine on your chosen platform. You will need to come to the first week of edit month with a high-quality rough draft complete and uploaded to your URL. If you are still reporting during edit month and scrimp on the editing stage you will do yourself and your work a disservice. It takes a full month of hard work to get long-form features from rough cut to the polished professional stage expected for the MA. More details re-edit month to come soon. Sharron and Sean will be on hand in the classroom for selected days during the edit month to help you on an individual basis.

How many days am I expected to work?

Every project is unique we cannot dictate exactly how you spend or manage your own time. However, there are some basic minimum requirements on time commitment and you’ll need to log your work time clearly in the diary section of the project form.

40 hours a week – You need to spend 40 hours a week planning, reporting, editing, transcribing, experimenting with new tools or platforms, practicing new techniques, filming, interviewing etc. You will also, of course, need to keep reading and researching as you go along.

20 x 8-hour days ‘on the ground’ shooting and interviewing – Out of 8 reporting weeks, we expect you to spend a minimum of 20 x 8-hour days ‘on the ground’ shooting and interviewing. Other days are for research, setting up interviews, practice, editing, working on your platform etc. Please highlight your 20 on the ground’ shooting and interviewing days in your diary by highlighting the text in RED.

How long does my video/text need to be? Quality, not quantity!!!

This question is nonsensical, as explained and demonstrated many times there are no set formulas for digital visual multimedia stories. Bear in mind, you are aiming to produce professional multimedia stories, just like you would see online at quality major media outlets. You will notice that few stories take longer than 20 or 30 minutes to view – and in most cases, we believe this is a good guideline. Stories from start to finish should take no longer than 20 or 30 minutes to consume. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule, some of your stories or projects may be much shorter and some much longer. We are absolutely open to exceptions but you must discuss these ideas with your tutors early on.

You should be aiming for quality, not quantity. We do not want to see ‘multimedia encyclopedias’ or ‘student looking’ projects we are looking for professional standard digital visual multimedia stories akin to those that you would see in international English-language media outlets. Your stories will be engaging, have news value, be beautifully produced with a great user experience for your chosen target audience.

Caution: Don’t ask Sharron how many videos you should have or how long your video should be. Think of your project as a cohesive whole.

How do I get feedback as I go along? & Editing as you go along…

You will need to do some rough editing as you go along in the forms of transcribing and translating interviews, rough video, picture, text and graphics edits etc. You should as early as possible be working on your live platform URL. Of course, there will be placeholders for content – as you won’t have produced your actual real content but designing and playing with your layout and platform early on is critical. You should have some ideas about how you want your multimedia story to look and feel from the beginning. Playing with it online at all stages means that narrative flow and user experience will be part of your thinking from the beginning stages.

Why do I need to keep a diary and how do I use it?

The Reflective Diary has been moved to the research module. For the Production Brief, you need to clearly log your work days and hours. The Diary in your Theory form is a place for you to reflect on your story, interviews, focus, practice, ethics your own journey, development, and learning and anything related to your Term 3 project. Writing your thoughts down can bring clarity. These reflections will also be useful when writing your final dissertation.

When should I start thinking about my platform and final design and layout?

Day 1.

“Put multimedia planning at the top of your workflow, not stitched onto the end.”

Digital visual multimedia stories are not a collection of media assets they are a combination of media assets selected to tell a specific story in a specific way. I simply can’t make the point any better than this brilliant post on Shorthand’s ‘The Craft’ blog.

“True visual storytelling places the layout and treatment at the heart and start of things – second only to the actual story itself.”

“So at the beginning of a project, everyone should come together – writers, editors, photographers, video journalists, data journalists – to get into the detail of the story, understand the resources available, and consider how best to tell the story across media. Only then should anyone in that team embark on gathering the materials, and writing the text.”

Of course in your case, you are the team, or at most you’ll have one partner. However, the necessity to plan how you will tell and combine your mediums from the very beginning remains the same. If you don’t have a solid idea at what you ultimately want to achieve, you have little chance of success. Your story and details may change along the way, but the look and feel of your story will remain largely the same and should be considered from Day 1.

Can I use some of my Term 2 work in my Term 3 project?

Yes, you can, you need to evolve, develop and extend your Term 2 work but you may incorporate your Term 2 reporting and visuals into your Term 3 work.

What happens if I fail Term 2?

Your final Term 2 stories will be marked and preliminary grades with written feedback given back to you within 3 working weeks. Those grades will then be externally moderated and finalized at UoB exam boards in  June. Should you fail by a small margin you will still commence to Term 3 with your peers, but you will need to make minor necessary changes and resubmit work on a refer status in July 2018. Should you fail by a large margin you will need to make substantial changes and submit Term 2 again on a refer status in July 2018. You will move to a resit or refer status and may need to delay Term 3.

Do you have any further questions at this stage? Please write to me via email or group wechat I’ll I’ll answer them the best I can. 

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