Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Evaluation: Question 4 - How did you use media technologies in the construction and research, planning and evaluation stages?

Throughout the different stages of my A2 Media Studies coursework I have used a variety of different media technologies.

Research and Planning...

In the research and planning stage of my coursework is somewhere where I believe the main advantages of web 2.0 benefited my work. To begin with, when finding an artist whose music I could use and also a band that wanted to feature in the music video, sites like 'Reverbnation' and 'Soundcloud' were very useful. These sites use the full advantages of web 2.0 with all the content being provided by the users themselves.

Due to the global nature of the internet, I was able to access information from all over the world, giving me a large resource bank to base my research on. Once I had decided on the genre for my music video, I was able to begin my genre research. Using sites like YouTube I was able to look into past promotional packages in the 'rock' genre, viewing and analysing music videos. David Buckingham's theory states that "genre is not simply given by the culture, rather, it is in a constant process of negotiation and change". There is clear evidence of this though my promotional package as there is use of the genre conventions I discovered in my research  however i have also developed my own ideas to crete an overall original idea. Without this development in websites my research and planning would have been greatly effected, I would not have been able to research into existing products. Without this new media technology I believe there would have been a limit on the amount of research i could have done.

Another website, using the full advantages of web 2.0, of which I have made great use out of throughout my A-level Media Studies course is blogger. Blogger has enabled me to present my coursework, from research to evaluation, in an eye-pleasing and effect way. Being able to embed YouTube videos, slide shows using and prezi presentations was very useful, combining all these separate media platforms into one presentational database.

When planning and organising photo and videos shoots with the band and actors, I made great use of the social networking site 'Facebook'. I was able to contact the band through their own Facebook page and arrange everything through private messaging.

I also found Facebook's mobile application very useful to be in contact with the necessary people when I was out and about not at a computer.
I also found the use of my iPhone very useful, as it was great platform to view my shot list on when in the video shoots, and also using and iPhone's communication technology benefits, again making it easier to organise and plan the video shoots and locations.


A vital element of my print production was the images. For this I used my Canon EOS 550D. It was very useful using this camera as it allowed me to capture professional looking photographs of a very high quality. Much greater quality than you could achieve from any mobile phone or digital camera. Using this DSLR also enabled me to adjust the shutter speed, which was very useful when creating a slight motion blur effect of the images for the magazine advert, as i just decreased the shutter speed and moved the camera slightly whilst taking the shot. I was also able to experiment with ISO levels to achieve the desired white balance. Also with the manual focus setting I was able to change the focusing again to create a slight blur on the images. The standard 18 - 55 mm lens catered for a variety of shots, so I was able to use the one lens for the close ups as well as the long shots of the whole band for the front and back of the digipack.

I also used my Canon EOS 550D for the music video. As well as being able to take professional photos, the video quality on this camera is also very high. I decided to use this camera as I have previous experience with the video setting on it and felt more comfortable using it. I also knew that I could reach the desired effects from this camera. For the music video, I also used the manual focus setting to achieve the desired focus and also to achieve the focus pull seen in the first scene of the music video.

For my print production work the use Adobe Photoshop CS5 was vital. I used this software to design and produce both the digipack and the advert and it was the ideal media device for the job. As I am not very experienced with photoshop I also used YouTube to view tutorials, so i could reach the effect I wanted to achieve. I used the brightness and contract filters on almost every image to create the high contrast effect. I also edited the hue saturation and created a black and white effect. I experimented with the opacity of images and the duplication of images became a theme throughout my print work. Being able to use photoshop was a great help in making my promotional package, using this professional media technology I was able to create something using the same tools as professionals, giving me the best chance in getting the highest quality professional looking promotional package. Without the use of these new media technologies in my print work I would not have been able to create the work I did. My work would have been far less professional and no where near of such a high quality.

For the video post-production work I used Adobe Premier Pro. Unlike with photoshop, this is a piece of software I know very well, and I believe that I used it to it's full potential. Premier Pro allows you to import your video clips and arrange them using the timeline into your chosen narrative. With my music video I had heavy use of layering and superimposition, and premiere pro allowed me to create the image I wanted. Using the different video layers on the timeline I was able to adjust the opacity of the clips and place them over each other, thus creating the layered effect. Also premiere pro allows you to zoom right in to your timeline, so you can view your clips frame by frame, enabling you to create very precise cuts. This was very useful when creating synaesthesia, I was able to get cuts right on the beat of the music, creating my desired effect. Also other aspects of the video such as the lip sync, were made much easier by the use of this software and the ease of cutting and editing the clips. Without this piece of software, I believe my video would not have been up to such a high standard, however I do feel that my knowledge of the software really helped in this part of the course, as it is one thing having the software to use, but all in all you need to know how to use it.


In the evaluation stage of my coursework, I also made great use of web 2.0, I used social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. This was a quick and easy way to reach the desired audience and obtain relevant feedback from them. I used this for both my print work and also my music video as it was very easy to upload the images of the print work and also embed the YouTube video. Using Facebook especially made it much easier for the audience to comment below the post and leave their feedback and opinions.

Without these websites, I would not have been able to obtain the feedback that I did. I would have had to create a questionnaire and hand it out personally to people, with would have taken more time. This is clear evidence that Web 2.0 provided a great way to receive constructive feedback, and also allowed my evaluation to run more efficiently.

Also for one of the questions for my evaluation, I have used a website called 'Prezi'. This is another site that uses the full advantages of web 2.0, the content is supplied by the user and it is mainly just a viewing platform. Prezi enabled me to present my work in a more appealing way, I was able to display my ideas through images, text boxes and videos but also present it flowing from stage to stage. I found this website very useful, however it was very time consuming and if I have possibly presented my work in a different way it could have improved the efficiency of my evaluation. I do believe that this software can be developed and with a few improvements it could become slicker and easier to work with.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Evaluation: Question 3 - What have you learned from audience feedback?

I used audience feedback throughout this project in different shapes and forms. To begin with I researched into the audience and asked the audience to feedback on existing products, so I know what is suitable. Then once the project was underway, I asked for feedback at different points in production, just to check I was going along the right lines to meet the gratifications of my audience. Once I had finished my project I set about gaining audience feedback on all three of the completed tasks. Instead of just talking to people face-to-face or asking people to fill out a questionnaire I used social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to reach the audience and obtain feedback from them.  By doing this I ensured that as many people as possible saw my work and also left feedback.

For the music video, some of the feedback I received was from other media students so their responses were backed up by their knowledge of the subject and contained more technical references (as seen in Syra's comment to the right).

Others commented generally on their overall opinion on the video. In Julie's comment (seen on the right) there is clear evidence to back up Hall's reception theory. We can clearly see through Sian and Julie's comments' that the video has not been just passively accepted by the audience, but that the individual viewer has interpreted the meanings of the text based on their individual cultural background and life experiences. Julie has taken the preferred reading, whereas Sian has had a oppositional reading as to what the song and video means to her. For the majority of the audience the two actors and their role in the video gave something to relate to for the majority of people because many people have been in the situation of arguing with a partner. This encourages the audience to take the preferred reading but also opens up scope to be used for their own uses and gratifications.
Some audience member could even take this to using it for personal identity, possibly gaining messages and understand, especially from the situations of the couple featured in the video. In Julie's second comment she mentions a 'mistake' this is not something the video directly tells the viewer. She has taken the arguments and struggling of the couple and from her own judgement labelled it as a mistake, from the video she is taking away a message that when the man is seen texting another girl it is 'wrong' and 'a mistake'.

I had a range of other comments, mostly praising my work, saying how professional, well thought out and also time consuming it looks. I did also have a few people mention that the text on the advert might be slightly hard to read, if placed at a distance (like Sophie in the comment above). The opacity and possibly the font of the text on the advert would probably be one of the thing I would change if I were to do this project again. However I still received many comment saying how eye-catching both of the print texts were. So possibly where the text let me down, the images and the effects added to the digipack and advert held it together.

Summary of audience feedback..
Overall throughout the production process I was able to learn from the feedback I received from the target audience by the means of facebook. I dramatically changed the layout of both my advert and the front cover of the digipack because the audience said it was too boring and predictable. The changes can be seen either side..

But mainly since the project's completion I am able to reflect on decisions I have made and decide whether they were the right ones for the target audience. Apart for some comments on the clarity of the text for the advert all in all I think the project was a success and reached the target audience in the intended way. But however, following Hall's reception theory, it has left the audience to use the video for their own uses and gratifications, and also in Julie's case we can clearly see she has taken the intended message that the couple portrayed. 

Friday, 8 March 2013

Evaluation: Question 1 - In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?

In my research and planning I looked at bands and artists in the 'rock' genre. From this research I found that many of the bands such as 'Foo Fighters', 'Oasis' and 'The Strokes' use very similar conventions that run throughout the genre. As Steve Neale's theory states genre is 'instances of repetition and difference'. In my research all the videos were highly performance based, usually featuring the band like they are performing in a live environment. I also found that the videos contain moments of pure chaos adding the feeling that it is rather rebellious.

I challenged myself greatly in the making of my music video. Because the performance element is so evident in 'rock' music videos, I was adamant that I wanted the actual band who created the song to feature in the video. This created challenges when finding the band and also working my schedule around their tour dates.

For my music video I have used very similar techniques to create the desired effect of the genre conventions. When filming the band I asked them to wear dark clothes as I wanted to give quite a dark and gloomy effect which was inspired by other music videos I researched in the 'rock' genre.

In the Foo Fighters video of 'All My Life' The director has placed lights in the frame, behind the singer. I really liked the effect this gave however I also felt like it could be developed to make the singer appear as more of a silhouette. I had practice shoots so I could get the desired image that I wanted to achieve. 

The main 'rock' video convention that was vital I used, was having the performers lip sync and playing instruments. This the part of the film I am most proud of. The lighting is very effective and looks highly  professional. Using the actual band in the video rather than just actors also helped to give the professional look as they knew exactly what they were doing, and it looked realistic, mainly because it was.

However, directly following the forms and conventions of 'rock' music videos can become predictable and even boring for the audience. Appealing to a wide audience is vital because the more people that view the video the more people that would get onto itunes to purchase the band's music. One way to interest the audience is to get them to relate to the video and the people appearing in it.

In my research into rock music, all the videos contained very little, if any narrative. I decided to challenge this convention by adding a larger narrative sequence interspersed with the performance of the band. Using two actors acting as a couple appeals to a large audience, showing their ups and downs, is something that can appeal to a wide audience. The lyrics state 'the grass is always greener on the other side', with the images of the couple arguing and then the contrasting images of the happy times, I aimed to add the element of doubt to the narrative. Encouraging the audience feel for the characters and relate to them in their situation, this is one way in which I have challenged the forms of real media products.

One element that runs throughout all genres of music is the feeling of a personal auteur style with cinematography and editing. I have created previous videos on YouTube for my own enjoyment and also even for some local artists. I used similar techniques in these videos like, jump cuts, superimposition and layering. These features contribute into making my own auteur style.

For my digipack and advert I did very similar research into the genre conventions. They all contain similar conventions to the genre of music.  The 'Foo Fighters' album cover seen on the left, uses highly abstract objects that wouldn't necessarily relate directly to the audience, it portrays more of an entropic feeling. Little anchorage is used to explain why these pictures were chosen which again adds to the entropic features. 

I also looked at the album cover for 'The Naked and Famous'. As you can see album covers vary greatly from band to band, but there are still similar conventions that run throughout. In the digipack seen on the right, the use of circles on the front really appealed to me also it contains bright colours with a kind of pop art feel to them.

In my digipack I wanted to use the abstract objects, but also wanted them to be slightly related. I used facial features (eye, mouth) but edited the photographs getting smaller going into the center, this also gave a pop art element without using the bright colours.
I also used the image of a circle for the inlay tray, as this would sit behind the CD Disk as exactly the same size as the CD.
I also slightly challenged the conventions I found by having the actual band featured on the digipack with the star image and persona being portrayed. This is something that I did not find in my research in to the 'rock' genre of album covers.

I decided to challenge this convention because the band (This Wicked Tongue) I am effectively advertising and need to portray their star image to the audience. Also because this band play live on a regular basis and the target audience are people who often attend gigs, it is vital to portray the rebelliousness and angry nature of a rock band. I did this by having the screaming face on the front of the digipack. I also made the images rather abstract, especially with the front and back cover, this makes the audience think further into the cover as to what the photo is actually of, ultimately making the audience more active.

When looking at the adverts, I also had researched in to the same artists to see how they linked the advert and the digipack together. I even looked at one of the band's old adverts to see how they want to be portrayed. Straight away, it clearly showed the star persona of the band, and each member showcasing they're individual instruments and styles in the four images across the top. The bands name 'This Wicked Tongue' was written in the same font that is used on their other adverts and media texts.

For my advert I also used the star persona with the image of the lead singer screaming, this again connotes the angry rebellious nature of a 'rock' band. I used the normal conventions of any advert with the album name, release date and contact information (facebook, twitter, website...).

I also researched in to an existing advert for the rock band 'Foo Fighters'. The advert was highly redundant, the only information seen on this advert is the band name, album name, release date and a couple of the most well known songs, although that isn't much it is all that is needed for a well know, popular band. 

For the bigger bands and artists it is about reaching out to their existing fans and less about advertising who the band are and where to find them. So I knew for my advert I had to show the star persona and advertise the band as a whole and less about the album. However the redundant feel is used throughout, no matter how big the band is, so that is something I also used throughout my print work.

Friday, 15 February 2013

Music Video: Draft Cut

Here is a unfinished draft of the final music video. The video will be completed by March 1st.

Monday, 21 January 2013

Music Video: Car Scene

For a couple of shots in the video I need a view of a car moving from the outside, to do this I am going to use my car and I will have to drive it and instruct someone else to operate the camera. I will just have to make sure that I am not visible in the car and the shot should work fine.

Snow Delay

Due to heavy snowfall and severe weather conditions I have had to postpone the video shoot, this is very inconvenient. I am now arranging to change the schedule to film this inside shots this coming weekend (26th/27th), so no snow is involved.

Music Video: Contact With Actors

This is an image of the original communication with Dani (one of the actors). After meeting in person I have now arranged with her to film this weekend meeting at her house at 11 on Sunday morning.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Music Video: Cast Update

For my video I need two actors, I have chosen to use:

Dani Giblen and Sam James

I know them both well and can trust them to be reliable. They also do performing arts which is essential for a smooth running shoot as they will be easily directed and also be able to bring their own ideas to the table. They also live close so arranging shoot days won't be too much trouble.