What is a Public Information Film?
PIFs are government made, short films that are shown during television breaks in the UK. The films have different messages, but they all advise the public on what they should do in many different situations, these can vary from being something as simply crossing the road to trying to survive a tragedy like a nuclear attack. Other subjects that these film concern include crime protection, how to vote, how to take care of the environment and a lot more. Throughout the use of these films they have varied a lot in their genre. Quite a few of them were aimed at children, some of these were very scary and remained in the childrens mind well into adulthood. Others were more funny, and humerous and used comedy to show the dangers or the problems coming up for those who ignored them. The PIFs about Joe and Petunia are a very good example about one of those kinds of PIFs. Many of the films were narrated by then celebrities. The PIF films date back as far as during the WWII years, when they were shown in the cinemas. Most of these films were made and starred by Richard Massingham, who was an amateur actor who discovered that no film company specialised in these kinds of films. These films were also contributed to broadcasters free of charge.
From your research, describe three PIFs that you liked and critically state why.
I quite liked this one. They have made a “catchy” song to try to make this a bit more cooler than it is, and I when taking in the perspective that this is from the 80s, that they have managed that quite nicely. They show the dangers of cycling in the dark, and how badly a driver can see you. They also come up with quite a lot of different suggestions, so I think it’s really good that instead of just saying ” get yourself seen” they instead actually give quite a lot of useful tips. This film manage to include a lot of different tips, and good footage but it’s not boring, and it’s quick, just a minute. So yes, this film was very good and you can’t misunderstand its message.
This is also quite a good film, this is more pessimistic than the one above, and shows more a negative result instead of trying to change your behaviour by being positive. You can argue until you turn blue about which of these methods works best, but I do think that sometimes you need to see the result of actions, and not hide everything. So, as I was saying, the film shows what happens when a driver isn’t being careful enough. Afterwards they show why the incident happen, and how one can prevent it. At the ending they try to include a catchy frase to get people’s attention. It is a bit boring, but I think that at the time it did what it was made for.
The last film is kinda a mix between the two above. It introduces a catchy song whilst showing what might happen if you don’t look before you cross. In my opinion they used a bit to much colour and effects, but it was indeed the 80s and everything was colour and too much effect those days. In the song they repeat the message many times. They also write it in the movie, to highlight it even more, something I think was a good idea as it sometimes help people to read something while hearing it.
Describe why these three may be relevant today. Would they work in today’s climate and environment?
All these three could be used today if they had refilmed it, and made quite a few adjustments. It’s still a problem that people don’t look properly before crossing, or before driving along.
Which current safety campaign do you like and why?
There are a safety campaign that aren’t current, but are quite new. It’s from 2013 and the campaign is called Think, I especially liked the videos that concerned driving without a seatbelt on. It’s really a type of film that I like. Simple. ” Richard didn’t want to die, he just couldn’t help himself” It’s two videos that a in the same genre where they have a narrator who says things like the one I just quoted, in the other video she also says “Like most victims, Julie knew her killer.” These two films are really cool and simply, they clarify from the beginning that the person is going to die, so you are at an extra alert through the whole film, waiting for it. It doesn’t have some catchy song or anything like that as in the previous films I’ve shown, no, it’s simply easy and sad. And the message comes very good out to everyone, even though it is a bit brutal.
One safety campaign that is current however is the FAST campaign, I don’t especially like this one however. The music is dreadful, and the footage is also very brutal. I don’t think that the message comes out good enough, since this is more like a scare technique, and yes, sometimes that is effective ( like the one I liked above) but with this one I think that the public will focus more on the person that is suffering, and not on the narrator and the meaning about it.