Friday, 11 December 2009
In what ways does your media product develop, or change forms, and conventions of real media products?
Music videos are a principal method of media by which artists and their subsequent record labels can promote themselves in televised form, of which is often more appealing to audiences than streams of audio or promotional cd’s.
Our media product thus develops and amplifies on what is described in the music industry as ‘Indie’, a genre of music categorised for being independent, uncomforting to traditional genre constraints. For example, typical indie groups such as: the Kooks, Kasabian and Arctic monkeys often include visuals within their music videos of which are of an abstract nature i.e. ‘Thermals Pillar of Salt video’. We thus opted in favour of a 1st person viewpoint for the first segment of video instead of a traditional 3rd person perspective. This developed the ‘abstract’ form talked about previously; helping to solidify what convention was to run throughout our product. As a group we then decided, as a result of our research to also implement lip-syncing, a technique used universally in the music industry to create a seamless relational link between the audio and the visuals. We then resolved to accompany the lip-syncing with similar synced actions for example, whereby we included band members playing the keyboard were appropriate and also the drums and bass guitar. As with most music videos, the visuals only aid to compliment the audio of which is the most important media type in a music video, we therefore tried to augment the audio by accompanying visuals which were of an illustrative nature, personifying the tempo of the music. Again as with most music videos, we opted in favour of quick, abrupt, edits between clips to keep the flow of the product up-beat; it is also particularly good when the audio suddenly changes where a common fade would be too slow and inappropriate. Our product doesn’t have any underlying message as such and so doesn’t challenge any particular forms, it does however exhibit similar conventions stereotypically seen in music videos classified as ‘indie’ whereby their main intention is to be as out-going and non-representational as possible as possible, containing a majority of teenage actors, implying the audience should be of the same age group. Because our video is of an Indie convention we didn’t have to conform to any structured design of a typical music video i.e. where a pop video would need to include close-ups of the artist face, so to that extent we had relative freedom in what was produced. As a group we exploited this oppertunity by using an array of camerashots, for example, low angle shots, high angle, long shot and extreme close up, refering to Andrew Goodwin's analysis, we also included a few references to the notion of looking to conform to a general music video . To further embody this freedom we also made use the green-screening technology so as to expand our possible settings for our video. This was primarily done so we could replicate that of a high-budget video, however we were also trying to conform to the standard convention of the typical indie band of whom many, if not all make use of the same green-screen method. In terms of mise en scene our media product(s) develops the standard conventions of Indie paradigms i.e. dress sense were by one of my main goals was to make our products as believable as possible, consequently, authentic clothing was essential.
How effective is the combination of your main product and ancillary texts?
With regards to all the medias we produced as a group: the magazine poster, digi-pak cd cover and our video piece, I believe that we achieved a universal theme and style accross all products whilst still retaining individuality for each product. To justify this, in an attemp to solidify for the viewer a link between both the magazine poster and digi-pak we opted to use an image already used once in our digipak design, the intention was that viewers who had recognised that certain image in one of our medias previously would instantly realise, when seeing that same image again that the two must be related. This is then made even more obvious when the same characters in both images are present in our main video piece, cementing a link. Indie elements are instantly realised in all of our media products, such as the clothing and also even more so the background to which we based the medias, again personifying a correlation between them all. To make absolutely obvious the link we even edited both the magazine poster and digi-pak with the same colouring setting and contrast ratio, additional including Polaroid camera stills in both to further solidify similarities. The idea behind including NME’s notorious logo was not a hard one, as all in our group recognised it to represent and epitomise the indie sub genre. Most Indie groups will be rated by this company and thus there is an indirect link. The essentially ‘dark’/ ‘sombre’ fashion to both the magazine poster and digi-pak bears resemblance although this is rather contradictive of our video piece which in respect is the complete opposite, being up-beat, jump up rock/indie. In terms of effectiveness, with all medias working in conjunction to sell the artist I believe it would be effective as with the differentiating settings and styles this would entice both the older and younger generations of punk and indie to the band. Perosnally I believe all products expressed what we wanted to connotate, all represent what we, as a group invisaged to be 'Indie' and in that sense on a whole, our main product and ancillary tasks where effective in combination.
We received, as expected, negative but nevertheless constructive feedback for our main video, however we also received positive feedback regarding our magazine and digi-pak medias with which was somewhat expected as we better managed our time on the two projects. Personally I have learnt that video based projects should be met with much longer periods of planning and preparation as it was evident and also commented that our piece looked “rushed”, this was due to our green-screen not working as expected and also me being absent for one of the most important editing lessons. The most notable feedback was that we should have included sound into our preliminary rough cut; however we did try to implement it although evidently it didn’t come together when rendered and uploaded to YouTube. In general though we where told we had good ideas and many noted that it was obvious it was definitely of an indie genre. This was pleasing as it showed that our main product and ancillary pieces were effective and conveyed a strong constant indie theme. One of the many areas subject to feedback was the digi-pak design media. One such feedback was that it would have benefited the product on a whole if we had made use of items commonly found on real cd packs. These included bar codes, record label logos and company information as well as band details and references such as websites plus comments from individual band members saying their thanks to fans and friends e.t.c. We will no doubt make note of these feedbacks to utilise again when we are tasked with creating a similar product.
How did you use new technologies in the construction and research, planning and evaluation stages?
During the process of creating our media products, we made subsequent use of an array of different media technologies, all of which intertwined and were utilised in all medias. The primary media technology which was most important throughout the creation of our products was undoubtedly the Internet. The internet provided our group with essential research which was to prove most beneficial for finalising our video, magazine and digi-pak. Referring to the internet, of all sites available, the most notable one of which we made use of was YouTube, mainly for inspirational ideas for our music video, but also to watch professional videos of the same genre to give us an idea of how to structure our own video. In terms of technology, the two predominant pieces of software employed for all three pieces of media were Adobe Photoshop and Final Cut Express. Photoshop enabled us to apply affects to a relatively bland stock image so we were able to manipulate it to our tastes, this was also the same function for Final cut express ultimately, however instead of being designed for Images it was meant for video. The functions of Final cut express do extend further however, for example it was also utilised for separating unwanted video footage, implementing transitions such as the dominant cross-fade used to soften the change from one scene to the next, and also adding in the audio track so we could sync and create an illustrative bond between the audio and visuals. ITunes was also made use of, as was the artists MySpace, blogger and web domain. ITunes provided our group with samples of the artist’s tracks and previous works as well as the media to use in our product. MySpace and the artist web domain gave us the ability to easily find images to extract and play with in Photoshop as a test in creating an indie-esque image which would be important when creating our magazine and digi-pak. During the evaluation period blogger.com was exceptionally important as it enabled our group to not only view other groups work and use their ideas to adapt our own, but also much needed feedback through comments which was to prove invaluable when finalising the products.
Thursday, 10 December 2009
Music videos are a good way of promoting the artist and their record label; they will usually include a motif that is known to that artist. The genre of the music video chosen by our group was of the indie genre, a few well known bands who are also of this genre are the kooks and the killers. We looked at these bands and researched such this as what they wore, which colours they wore and other conventions of the indie genre. Performance based videos are a common convention of an indie video also, there is also usually a story going on and lyrics and visuals are very strongly related throughout. Our video was mainly the band, playing instruments which is also very common within indie bands, playing looking at the camera, which is a form of performance based even though you could not see a audience, There was a few moments where lip syncing did occur, but the video could of been a lot more effective with the help of better resources including an input of money, a proper green screen, lighting for more effect on the video, which is what signed bands have access to which is how they enhance their videos. Our video does not really have any links between the lyrics and visuals or visuals and music, i think with more time and better planning we could of made it so some of these did take place. We used the green screen so we could be in any location we wanted, and we could choose somewhere that related to the genre and out video, we finally decided on the inside of a speaker as it was a weird and original idea, which a lot of other indie videos include.
2.How effective is the combination of your main product and ancilliary texts?
Between out ancillary tasks, the digi pak and the magazine advert, there is a slight correspondence that could of been taken even further if more time was available. The correspondence comes with both tasks using similar pictures, also the editing done to the two pieces were also similar, both pieces use the colour grey quite a lot and there are also blurs around the edges of pictures on both pieces. The digi pak consists of some stills from our actual videos and a few pictures used from a photo shoot where there were members of the band posing wearing conventional indie clothing, just like famous indie bands do to try and promote the band and also the record label. Both pieces of work include notions of looking with the band members looking directly at the photo in certain pictures. Our video is off the indie theme so this links into our ancillary tasks in a few ways, these include what the band are wearing, in both the video and the two ancillary tasks they are wearing indie clothing, skinny jeans waistcoats etc. The main picture on the magazine advert is also present on the digi pak, with the colour of the back ground being quite low toned it allows the pictures to stand out more which is what the record label will want because it is all about the artist and this will help promote them. Also both pieces are all about the band with everything always focused only on the band. However there are also a few contradictory factors between the pieces, the music video is a very laid back thing with the band looking to have a good time, and the ancillary products are a lot more serious, I think this is a good thing as it allows the band to relate to more audiences, the music video will attract younger audiences, where as the digi pak and magazine adver attracting the older population, who will read these magazines or they may be collectors of digipaks.
3.What have you learnt from your audience feedback?
Our group received both positive and negative feedback as expected as we did not think the video would appeal to everyone, We did not mind receiving negative feedback as we knew that it would be helpful in improving our overall tasks. In coming up with ideas for our video, we would all right down what we think would fit in good here, people commented on there not being a huge relation between lyrics and visuals, we knew this would be the case as it was going to be a performance based video so it would be hard to do we took this criticism on the chin as there was not a lot we could do about it. Positive feedback was also received throughout the project saying how that we had good ideas, the feedback we received on our rough cut was very helpful as it allowed us to make minor but noticeable changes to make our piece more appealing. We got told that the camera work was very good with good, We had the king of final cut to do the editing so the feedback on our editing was all very positive. In relation to our final version the feed back we got was The music video fitted the conventions of the indie genre as it was a performance based video. Some of the criticism was that we needed sound, which we could not get on final cut in time, more footage, more variety of shots and also we needed to use actual instruments rather than pretend ones. The ancillary tasks also got very good feedback being told that there was good consistency throughout the two pieces, they also received negative feedback saying it wasn’t very appealing and boring, but all in all it was rather good feedback
4.How did you use new media technologies in the construction and research, planning and evaluation stages?
We used numerous amounts of new technology in creating our piece. In the construction phrase we used programs like final cut where it is able to edit your clip and add numerous different shot transitions enhance the quality of the final piece, photo shop is what is used to create the ancillary tasks such as our digi pak and our magazine advert and we could use different filters and change colours etc which will make the quality of our work better. Video cameras and still photo cameras, to collate work, which were then modified in these programs which made it possible to create our final piece. The main research that took place, was about the band looking closely at what they wore whether they had certain motifs etc. Most of this was done using Wikipedia or by using Google as a search engine to search for other websites, then navigating through these websites to collate extra information on the band. We also looked at other indie bands and their videos to get a good idea on what their video’s were like to give us a good idea on what would be needed in our video to make it into a good video. To plan our work we used story boards to illustrate our ideas, pictures where then taken of these images which were then put onto our blog allowing others to see our work and allow them to give us feedback. Furthermore, the impact of these new technologies on amateur film makers makes it easier and more accessible to create their own films. The range in software and equipment available through these technologies has been adapted through the modern era and one that is beneficial to film makers across the spectrum.
Will Morrison Ayton
Media product evaluation
1. In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?
Music videos are marketing strategies from different music labels that sell the audience their artist in a way that is both attractive and entertaining for the consumer. The main conventions of the music video are to promote the artist, create a brand, as well as promote brand new singles. Our group chose a music video of the indie genre, and initially we looked at different examples in this field, such as the Arctic monkeys, Snow patrol and The Kooks. This research enabled us to identify the conventions within this music genre. Some of the conventions related to the indie/rock genre include performance based video, often audience based, lyric to visual relationship often strong, which can be contradictory or amplified. Our group used some of these conventions in order to enhance our music production. One of them included the performance based aspect to it. This is evident with the band performing to the screen, with lip syncing. Also, the instruments, such as guitar and drums, are used which furthermore reiterate this convention. A real media product in contrast would use lip syncing significantly more effectively and through the vast amounts of money being poured into the music industry, there would be an audience of more significance along with better lighting and sound. Real media products would show more literally the relationship between lyrics and visuals, as opposed to ours that challenges this form. Our music video is rather contradictory as it does not show this relationship clearly. We have developed normal conventions to an extent, this is shown through our green screen technique. By using green screen, it enabled our group to choose a location that we think related to the music video. As we have identified this location, it shows we have developed normal conventions of a location/setting and altered slightly. We chose the setting according to what we felt the music meant and signified.
2. How effective is the combination of your main product and ancillary tasks?
There is a slight correspondence between our main product and our ancillary tasks however it is one that could have been developed more effectively. They combine well as the magazine advert as well as the Digipak shows the band members, displaying both the band performing as well as some posing pictures. Some of the indie genre elements are also evident and come across in our ancillary task. The mise en scene of the indie clothing is a factor that is obvious in both. The composition of the Digipak consists largely on similar photos set within a notion of looking such as camera film. However there is a difference, as from one side there are stills of the band posing, and the reverse side shows the band performing. Secondly, the magazine advert review is one from NME and their reviews consistently identify indie/rock music. The genre of our video is indie/rock so this bares some resemblance to the ancillary product. The concepts behind our final media product were not as evident as our group would have planned initially during the planning stage; therefore there are many differences between the product and the final ancillary tasks. In relation to the audience, there is no real combination between our main product and ancillary tasks as I feel that the Digipak has a very formal and mature style to it, whereas on the other hand the main product would appeal to a predominantly younger audience. There is a slight comparison between our music video and ancillary texts, however there is a very clear combination within the two ancillary tasks, the Digipak and the magazine advert. The colour and style of our advert is very similar to the Digipak. The very under toned colour, which does not immediately jump out at you, is evident in both ancillary tasks. The use of one of the Digipak pictures used as the main picture of the magazine advert is evident, and the subtle, mature style we have chosen is clear between both ancillary tasks. The whole package portrays the artists in a mature light and as sophisticated as our approach to it was down to earth and subtle and nothing that jumps out in your face.
3. What have you learnt from your audience feedback?
On receiving both critical and positive feedback from the rest of the group we were able to draw conclusions as to where our group went wrong and also what was positive and worked to our advantage. On receiving blog feedback early on in the construction stage, it was helpful in identifying weaknesses as well as reinforce positive ideas. One of the criticisms we faced was that there was not a strong relationship between lyrics and visuals. This is clear in our music video as we were not so intent on showing this relationship clearly, instead we listened to the music and jotted down notes that we felt related to the music itself. I can understand how this approach will not always work and therefore accept this criticism and in future will use it to improve the product. One of the conventions of a music video, identified through the Goodwin criteria, is showing intertextual reference. This is something we missed out and we have now learnt from this criticism that it can be used to expand and improve the music video. On the other hand, positive feedback given to us by the rest of the group has enabled reinforcement of our ideas and has highlighted our strengths in certain areas, such as different shot types with each band member shown individually as well as combined within the group. Feedback on the rough cut was very helpful for our group to enable us to make alterations to improve our product. In relation to the camera work, the feedback was positive, saying ‘there’s no shaking of the camera’ and the ‘shots are good’. In terms of editing, the transitions were successful and there was a good use of editing at the start. The music video fitted the conventions of the indie genre as it was a performance based video. Some of the criticism was that we needed sound, which we could not get on final cut in time, more footage, more variety of shots and also we needed to use actual instruments rather than pretend ones. These criticism were very helpful feedback before we started our final cut. There was mainly positive feedback from the group concerning our ancillary task. Firstly, the use of our band playing showed good consistency and the back of the gateway CD album was very effective and attractive. AS well as this the Polaroid’s were very effective. The criticisms included that one of the fold out’s was rather bland and boring, and a bar code could have been added for greater effect. However we received largely positive feedback which reinforced our own thoughts on the ancillary tasks.
4. How did you use new media technologies in the construction and research,
planning and evaluation stages?
Before, during and after the production of our media product we used many different media technologies to enhance the music video. The duration of the process required many programmes, such as Photoshop and Final Cut along with websites and media equipment. Firstly, throughout the duration of our research stage, YouTube was an important technology for us and this element of research enabled our group to develop understanding of other music videos that corresponded with the indie genre. We identified Vampire Weekend’s A Punk as a video that fitted our genre of music, which we could embed onto our blog enabling us to evaluate it and draw comparisons between its conventions and our own conventions. During the construction stage of our media production, we used Final Cut Express to edit the music video. By using certain shot transitions we could use variety and it was also largely helpful for cutting out unwanted footage efficiently. Constructing the Digipak and the magazine advertisement required the use of Photoshop, and the ability to use a range of filters and colour variations, enabled a more effective final product. Blogger.com is another website that has proved advantageous as it has allowed our group to evaluate other work as well as exhibit our construction stage of the media production. Blogger is a new technology which impacts on film makers work. The general availability to post comments, other videos as well as feedback is vastly important and the accessibility to the whole group has proved very helpful. All the way through the media industry, from production, distribution to exhibition, new media technologies play a huge role in film making. Furthermore, the impact of these new technologies on amateur film makers makes it easier and more accessible to create their own films. The range in software and equipment available through these technologies has been adapted through the modern era and one that is beneficial to film makers across the spectrum.
We have chosen to film our audio documentary with all of the group talking as we feel a variety of this dialogue will avoid boredom as well as display all of our ideas and opinions. We have done this very ordinarily and just read out the questions and answers, as variety and depth was added once it was edited.
Firstly, our group had to cut out any unwanted footage, and order it correctly in relation to the questions.
Our group then planned to synchronise this with stills of the programmes and technologies that we used. An example of this is when we mentioned the ancillary tasks, there was a still of the our Digipak layout. This avoids boredom and we found this was effective as it corresponds with the audio documentary. as well as this the visual style enhances the documentary.
Secondly, we have added actual footage from our music video. When talking about the video and conventions in the audio documentary, actual footage is useful in supporting this and displaying what we have said.