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Media Production Development.



Media productions develop out of that which has come before. Media creators and producers frequently reference ideas and techniques that have been developed by others. Collecting, acknowledging and building upon ideas, structures, aesthetics and techniques informs the direction of media productions and an understanding of how audiences are engaged. Students investigate and research a selected media form to inform the development of their proposed production.

This research contributes to the direction of their production design.

Students conduct an investigation of aspects of the media form in which they will work, developing knowledge of narrative, genre, style, media codes and conventions and aspects of the works of media practitioners relevant to their proposed production. Students develop production skills that inform the production, design and development of a media product. They record their learning in documented research, annotated production activities, experiments, exercises and reflections. 


Unit 3: Area of Study 2 - Media production development


This area of study forms the initial part of the Media production process. It documents exploration and investigation, experimentation, reflection and evaluation throughout the process. Media production development enables students to investigate a range of styles, genres and forms to develop their own distinctive style from different influences. Unit 3 Area of study 2 provides students opportunities to explore media technologies and processes related to their investigation and reflect on the development of their media product. Media production design articulates the context of the media product, including the intention, specific audience, the narrative and distribution of the product. It forms the basis of the planning of the creation of the media product, including representations, subject matter, characters, roles, tasks and timelines.


Exploration and investigation


As part of their exploration students should identify an idea, concept, ideology or theme, audience and media form they wish to examine for their Media production process. Students make links between their ideas and themes, and explore codes and conventions of media forms and document influences.


Students identify multiple influences from different media forms and the use of different media technologies. They record the codes and conventions that form the narratives, style and genre of these influences and how they are distributed, engaged, read and consumed by audiences. Students analyse aspects of these influences that may assist in developing their own individual style. They investigate technologies, equipment and materials in a range of media forms relevant to their selected media product and evaluate the capabilities of these resources.




Students use the Media production process and technologies in at least two experiments. Experiments should be short activities or exercises, not complete productions and focus on skill development. Students document


  • the influences,

  • the use of media codes and conventions,

  • aesthetic and structural qualities,

  • genre and style identified from the study of different media forms, to their own experiments.

  • Students should consider in detail different technologies and processes, and how codes and conventions can be manipulated to communicate different meanings.




After each experiment, students should write a detailed evaluation, making note of:

  • the intentions of these experiments and their relationship to influences,

  • research and studied media forms

  • the manipulation of codes and conventions and the relationship to the narrative, structure, style and genre

  • the opportunities and constraints of all technologies or processes used

  • how the individual style the student has used in the experiment has developed

  • how specific audiences would be engaged when reading and consuming the codes and conventions, narrative, style and genre of the experiment.


These experiments may lead to further research to refine production skills or understanding of the narrative, style or genre.

Production Experiments

by Brett Lamb

In VCE Media, the production exercises that precede your major project are an opportunity to develop your skill in the use of media technology—exploring technical equipment, media processes and the aesthetic qualities of the media form or genre you’ve decided to work in. Keep in mind that your two production exercises are not mini-productions. They should be contained activities that develop specific skills.

As a Media student, you need to practice using the equipment and making films at every opportunity. The more time you spend using the equipment, the more mistakes you’re going to make, the more you’re going to learn about the process of filmmaking.

Every school will undertake the production exercises differently. The time and resources allocated for this assessment task will vary.

The production exercises you complete for Unit 3 contribute 10 marks to the School Assessed Task which is assessed in Unit 4. Further information about the assessment of the Production Exercises can be found on the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority’s VCE Media page.

Ideas for production exercises

The best production exercises will allow you to develop a deeper understanding of your selected media form, allowing you to explore the aesthetic qualities and technical equipment you will use to complete your production. You need to think carefully about the production you plan to undertake, including the skills, processes and technology that you will use. Keep in mind that you cannot use the production exercises in your final media product.


  • Camera. The production exercise is a great opportunity to learn the features of the camera that you’re going to use for your production. If you’re using a digital SLR, this is your opportunity to learn how to use different lenses and aperture settings. If you’re shooting on something like a mobile phone, it might be worthwhile exploring options for stabilising the camera.

  • Camera movement. Think carefully about the type of camera techniques you need to use in your film. Perhaps you’d like to have a dolly in or a crane shot. The production exercises are a terrific opportunity to practice these skills.

  • Focus. Digital SLRs provide greater scope for using depth of field and focus than traditional video cameras. Complete a production exercise involving focus or shallow depth of field.

  • Editing. If you’re making a film, you will need to learn how to use your editing software. Shoot a practice scene and edit together in the editing software that you’re going to use.

  • Lighting. Plan to use a particular lighting effect in your film? The production exercise is an excellent opportunity to explore how you’re going to achieve these lighting effects. You don’t need expensive lighting rigs to light a scene. Use natural light and practical light sources, such as desk lamps and overhead lights, to illuminate your subject. If you’re planning to film scenes at night, you could practice achieving the day-for-night look favoured by Hollywood.

  • Sound. Think about the technology you’ve got to record sound, which might include the camera’s onboard microphone, lapel mics or shotguns. What will you do to ensure that you record clear and usable dialogue? Use the production exercise as an opportunity to explore the equipment you are going to use to record sound.

  • Music. Finding music for your film can sometimes be difficult. Use one of the production exercises to develop an understanding of how to use music software such as Garageband, Logic or FL Studio.

  • Dialogue. Learn how to plan, block, compose and shoot dialogue by filming a conversation between two people. Make sure that you get enough coverage by shooting each line of dialogue at different shot sizes. Ensure you capture cut ins, cutaways and noddies to help you edit the sequence together.

  • Colour correction. Colour correction and colour grading is an important part of post-production. Sometimes when you shoot a scene, the white balance on your camera may not be set correctly, resulting in a shot that is too blue or yellow. Most editing software – including Final Cut and Premiere – includes colour correction tools which allow you to adjust the colour and saturation of clips. Shoot a series of shots, deliberately changing the white balance then correct the resulting footage in your editing software.

  • Colour grading. Colour grading involves creating a visual style for your film. Ever noticed how The Matrix has a slight green tint or the films of Tony Scott have a yellow hue? This is colour grading in action. Shoot a series of shots and investigate how you can use colour correction filters to achieve a particular look.

  • Foley. The soundtrack is one of the most important aspects of your film. Filmmakers record foley sounds for a number of reasons. When shooting on location, there are often noises that interfere with the shoot which means that sounds such as footsteps have to be recorded later. Sometimes the sounds recorded on location don’t suit the tone of your film. If you’re making a horror film, for example, you might want a door to make an ominous screeching as it opens. Sounds like these will have to be recorded in post-production and synced with the footage. Use one of your production exercises to shoot a short sequence, replacing the sounds captured on location with your own foley sounds.

  • Sound editing. Record a conversation and explore the possibility of using audio editors to improve the quality of your soundtrack. Audio editors like Audacity and Adobe Audition allow you to amplify sounds and reduce noise. Learn how to use this software to ensure that your audio is perfect!

  • Special effects. Do you need to achieve a particular special effect in your film? Perhaps you need to learn how to create a matte painting or shoot against a green screen. Use one of your production exercises to practice achieving this technique.

  • Matching on action. If you haven’t made a narrative film before, you will need to practice using a technique called matching on action. Matching the action between two shots allows you create a seamless bridge between two pieces of footage.


  • Interview. Find someone to interview for your documentary. Write a series of open-ended interview questions and practice asking questions that elicit a detailed response. Consider using rule of thirds to compose these shots. When lighting the subject, think about how you can use available lighting, including desk laps and natural light to illuminate the subject of your interview.

  • B-roll. In a documentary, nothing is more tedious than lingering on a talking head for too long. During your interview, you will need to engage the audience by cutting to b-roll footage. Once you have interviewed a subject, practice filming appropriate b-roll footage that suits this purpose. Think about how you can use composition, colour, focus, depth of field and camera movement to make these shots more interesting.

  • Vox pops. If you plan to use vox pops in your documentary, get some practice by completing vox pops for your production exercise. Head out and record people’s responses to a particular question. Practice framing and lighting your shots correctly. Work out how you are going to record pristine audio on location.

  • Lower thirds. In documentaries, the title that appears beneath an interview subject is called a ‘lower third’. One of your production exercises might involve designing a lower third title and incorporating it with footage of an interview subject.

  • Editing. If you have filmed an interview for one of your production exercises, edit this together with b-roll footage to mask edits and awkward camera movements.

Documenting your production exercises

The documentation for your production exercises will include an intention, which outlines what you hope to achieve during the exercise and a realisation, which explains what you have learned. Your production exercises cannot be used in the final production in any way.

Writing your intention

The intention for each of your production exercises will include a discussion of style, aesthetic qualities, technical equipment, media processes. It will also include, as appropriate, planning documentation such as scripts or storyboards.
When you are writing your intention, consider:

  • Style and aesthetic qualities. What are the aesthetic qualities I will be exploring in this exercise? These aesthetic qualities might relate to an aspect of your production exercise such as framing or lighting. If you are filming an interview, for example, you might explain how you are going to conventionally frame up each of the shots using rule of thirds. If you are filming a conversation, you might explain how you are going to use conventions like look room and headroom. Exploring the lighting typically used in film noir? You would comment on how you are going to achieve this style of lighting.

  • Technical equipment. What technical equipment are you going to use? Include a relevant description of the technical equipment you intend to use. It is not necessary to include long descriptions of the camera’s features unless they are relevant to your production. If you are using a digital SLR, for example, you might comment on how you are going to use lenses and aperture to achieve a particular look. If you are using a microphone to capture dialogue or sound effects, you might comment on how you will configure it correctly when recording these sounds.

  • Media processes. Explain how you intended to use and develop your understanding of media processes, such as editing or colour correction, in the completion of this exercise.

  • Planning documentation. Your production exercise must include any planning documentation, such as scripts, shotlists and storyboards.

  • References. If you are exploring new techniques and processes in the completion of your exercise, it might b necessary to find out further information from manuals, books or online tutorials. in your intention, provide a commentary on how you intend to use these resources when completing your production exercise. Include an alphabetised list of resources at the end of your intention.

Undertaking your production exercise

Keep a record of what you are doing while you complete your production exercise. This might include diagrams, photographs, screenshots or notes.

If you are completing an exercise in colour grading, for example, you might take screenshots of the settings that you use to achieve particular effects. Likewise, if you are taking a series of photographs, you might keep a record of the shutter speed, aperture and white balance. If you are experimenting with a homemade jib, you might take build pictures and photographs of the device in action.

Remember, you are completing this exercise to become more familiar with the aesthetic qualities, media processes and technology you plan to use in your production. Keeping a record of how you achieved this during your production exercise will help you out later on. It will also make writing your evaluation much easier.

Writing your evaluation

The evaluation of your production exercise is a summary of what you have learned by undertaking the exercise. It is not sufficient to simply say you achieved your intention. A good evaluation will provide a detailed commentary on the aesthetic qualities, technical equipment and media processes that you explored.

When you are writing your evaluation, consider:

  • Style and aesthetic qualities. How well did you achieve the style or aesthetic qualities that you hoped to achieve? How will you use or modify this approach in your production?

  • Technical equipment. What did you learn about the operation of technical equipment? Technically, what do you need to be more aware of for the production? Are there issues you need to address before undertaking the production?

  • Media processes. Do you need to modify or change your approach to media production processes? Is there a better way to go about your production? What do you need to learn more about?

  • Further research. If you faced difficulties in the completion of your production exercise, explain how you will address this when you complete your production.

Students have One week   to complete each production exercise + written documentation Students will be assessed on the work they complete in class during this time Students can work on an exercise in the same Medium as their SAT production - this has the advantage of students being able to try techniques and applications they can learn and then later use in their Major Production or students can elect to work in a different form


First you need to decide what you would like to complete in your production exercises. If you are working in Print/Magazine for your SAT- you may like to design a Magazine cover / or a magazine advertisement / or a feature article for a magazine- alternatively you may like to try something different- like designing a poster to promote a product or a social issue - or design and package a CD - or design a brochure – or a catalogue – or design the cover for a Calendar – it is your choice Students electing to work in Video or animation can create a sequence of 30 -60 seconds based on a technique or production element you wish to use to create a particular effect- Or you could create a short narrative- Or an opening sequence to a short film typical of a specific genre. – Or a music video- sequence - Or any sequence where you wish to demonstrate the use and effect of camera shots / angles or movement combined with sound. Or an interview sequence- Students electing to work in Photography – can produce 1-2 digital photographs. You may wish to explore a particular genre in Photography- e.g. – Portrait/ Landscape / City scape/ Photojournalism / Realist / Sport / Abstract - or demonstrate a particular compositional element- e.g. rule of thirds- leading lines –shape –form –texture. Or you may wish apply an effect/ process or technique in Photoshop- or you may like to include text with your photo- or you may wish to explore a method of presentation

Or you may wish to explore a theme


Whatever you decide- you should aim for your exercise to demonstrate your skills and knowledge of the medium you have chosen.


You will be assessed on your idea- the quality of your work  and the documentation


It is important that you look closely at your Mediums Specifications and select 2 that you wish to highlight in your work




When deciding what you will present for your production skills exercises it is a good idea to think of an application- or a technique – that links to your big Media production you will complete in term 3 Whilst you cannot – complete an exercise that is the same as your main production you can explore an application or technique- or specification that will give you technical and creative experience that you can then benefit from when you work on your own production. Remember each exercise- must have documentation that explains your intention- your intended audience - the use of two specifications plus realisation So if I am doing photography for my main production and my topic is something like – night moods- - I might wish to explore the use of lighting- or different shutter and aperture speeds of the SLR camera – to present an image for one production exercise E.g. For exercise one- I want to take a portrait photo of a person – where I use back lighting to create a silhouette – around the figure –so that my subject appears frightening. I always wish to explore composition where I will use a low camera angle shot- so that my subject appears dominant and powerful For magazine- I wish to create a magazine front page based on Food/ Fashion/Sport/ Home/ Garden/ Teenage Girls/ Romance/Weddings/ Travel etc. 

For exercise one- I wish to explore the specification of layout- (the arrangement of all the content on my front page) I always want to explore the specification of Font (Typography) – so that the fonts I use are appropriate and generic to the type of magazine cover I wish to design)















For video- I wish to create a 30 second video sequence – where I will demonstrate how the use of creative camera work and sound can communicate a feeling of mystery / suspense/excitement/drama /sadness/ happiness/ tension


These are just simple ideas and approaches- you are not confined to these- there are literally thousands of ideas- at your choosing


The Best way to start –is to look back over your design plan- perhaps there is something in your research or influences you may like to use.


Make a list of all the possible exercise you could create as a good starting point




These small productions can really test you as you determine the Medium, content, style, specifications and audience your short production is for .


read about how to manage yourself and a sample of a students intention document 

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