A2 Media Music Video Evaluation By Emily Shufflebottom
Introduction For my A2 coursework I have chosen to a music video. I chose this because I believe that a music video would be a lot easier than a film trailer. This is because I would not have to come up with a name. I did have to do a storyline for my video but it was easier than coming up with a plot for a trailer. I also thought that it would be easier to do a music video because I wouldn’t have had to use as many actors. Even though my initial idea was to use more than one actor, I decided it would be more effective to use one actor. Then, I would be able to focus on that actor instead of lots of actors. The genre of the song I chose was hip-hop and the genre of the actual video was abstract (random). I also thought about putting some live action in the video as well.
In what way does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products? I believe that my media product does use conventions of real media products. When I was researching various media products I was interested on what types of techniques the videos use to attract their specific audience. Once I had decided on the artist and genre, then I looked into the different techniques that are used in the media products. For the silhouette technique, I have tried to make my actor as dark as possible so I made him wear black. Even though I did not have the technology to make a silhouette image such as using bright lights to put behind my actor, but I tried to make it as realistic as possible. I believe that it looks just as good as the technique I researched in the music video ‘In My Head’ by Jason Derulo. Moving on from the silhouette technique, I believe that I have made my video as conventional as I can. Similar to Usher’s music video ‘OMG’, I have kept my actor dancing in the middle of the screen for most of my video. I have done various cuts from one place to another and hopefully kept to the beat of the music. I have also done different camera angles in some parts of the video. There are a few shots where there is a close up on my actor’s face. I am also pleased with the amount of cuts that I used because they are frequent and some of them even cut within the beat of the music. This I believe will make it look more professional and conventional. These are some still shots of my video compared with some still shots from a professional music video. To improve my video, I was told that adding more effects would make it look a lot more professional. So that is what I did. Using Pinnacle Studios, I added effects such as ‘Earthquake’ and ‘Negative’ and I have to say that I am very pleased with what was produced.
Continued… These are my other media products. I believe that they all do use conventions of existing media products. They may not look as realistic as professional media products but I did my best with the technology that I had. As you can see, I have used the same techniques as the professional album covers and more or less the same idea. Like the professional media products, I have used bright colours and bold text. Even though the title on the professional media product is more plain than mine, I wanted it to look ‘wacky’ and eye catching. I did have one person tell me that they couldn’t read it, so I changed it ever so slightly so that the person can read it. When I was thinking of what background to use, I had a look at what ‘Big Ali’ had used on his album cover. I noticed that he used an image of himself. I thought of using this technique before I saw his album cover and I had already taken photos to use on my album cover. I couldn’t decide which image to use. After finding so many (which are my first designs), I found the one that I finally used. I thought it was perfect because it is bright, colourful and fits in with the title of the album ‘Neon Lights’. However, I couldn’t decide which image to use of my actor, but then my actor came up with an idea of doing a one-handed handstand for me to use. Once I had picked my background image, I experimented with the image of my actor and couldn’t decide where to place him on the cover. I had edited the image of actor using Macromedia Fireworks and took the background out so that it was just an image of him. After looking at my background image again, I noticed that there is a small part of the ‘city’ that there is a smaller building than the others and that would be the perfect place to put my image. It looks as if he is actually doing a handstand on top of the building. I also like how the actor looks like he is balancing the title on his feet. On the professional album cover, the actor has been sharpened to stand out more. That is what I did with my actor’s image. I also sharpened the background image as well. As for the album back, I didn’t want to use exactly the same background image so I found a similar image on Google and decided to use that. It is more colourful and (with an image of my actor) looks very professional. For the text, I wanted it to stand out, but not so much that you couldn’t read it. At first, I tried the colour white but I thought it looked too plain, so I played around with the different colours and decided to keep it red. I also didn’t want the font to be plain so I kept it simple but I believe it looks very effective because it really catches your eye. I wanted it to be exactly the same on the front and back of the cover. As for the image on the back, I wanted to use a different image to what was on the front and I had taken lots of photos, so I had lots to choose from. I actually edited the image in Fireworks and used the ‘Negative’ effect. I also added an image of a barcode because it makes it look more like an album and not just an image.
These are my other products that I had to do. The top image is the inside slip to go inside the CD case. The image below I didn’t actually have to do but I decided to keep it anyway. I believe that the inside slip could be slightly more professional. However, I think that how it looks now is better than I thought it would be. Firstly, I wanted the background image to be similar to the backgrounds on the cover and back. Instead of finding a similar image, I just decided to use the same image that was on the album back. Like before, I only edited a little bit. All I did, was sharpen the image in Macromedia Fireworks so that it stood out. As for the main image, I decided to use a completely different image instead of having everything the same. I wanted to show that I had taken a range photos and this particular image I like because it is in black and white. I wanted contrast between the background image and the main image. The background image is very bright and active, where as the main image is calm. The next thing I thought about was the text and the font. I wanted to keep the font exactly the same as the cover and back text because it would have looked out of place to have a different font. However, I wanted to have different colour text on the inside slip. I wasn’t sure what to put on the inside slip so I researched some on the internet and eventually found a few that would help me decide what to put on mine. I found a professional inside slip that had a technique on it that I thought was very effective. It had a small quote from the lyrics of the main song. I thought that this was a good idea so I decided to do that with mine, so I took out a few lyrics from the song and added them to the top of my inside slip. I also wanted it to be a different colour so that it would stand out. When I researched the inside slips, I found that all of them had details of the album on them such as who produced it, when it was released etc. I thought that I had to put that on mine otherwise it wouldn’t look professional. The only reason that I have done a CD design is because when I was making my poster, I wanted to put it on there. I didn’t end up using the CD design on my poster, I just wanted to see what it would look like. However, I liked it a lot so I decided to keep it. I started simply with a ‘doughnut’ shape in Macromedia Fireworks. I edited it slightly so that it looked more like a CD outline and then thought about what I wanted to put on it. I decided to use an image I had found on the internet and cut off the edges so that it was round. As for the image, I wanted to use the same image as the one on the cover because I thought that it would attract attention. I had to obviously cut the middle of the image off because it wouldn’t have looked right. I also wanted to have the same title and font so I split them up and placed them either side of the image. At first, I kept the design how it was, but then looked at some professional designs and saw that there was a Digital Audio Compact Disc logo on there. So, to make mine look more professional, I found the logo on the internet and copied it onto mine. Now, I think it looks a lot better.
Andrew Goodwin’s Music Video Theory
Andrew Goodwin came up with a way to analysis music videos. This is the theory that I will use to analysis my music video. He suggested that:
There is a relationship between the lyrics and the visuals, with the visuals illustrating, amplifying or contradicting the lyrics.
There is a relationship between the music and the visuals, with the visuals illustrating, amplifying or contradicting the music.
Genres are complex and diverse in terms of music video style and iconography.
Record companies will demand a lot of close ups of the main artist or vocalist.
Voyeurism is present in many music videos, especially in the treatment of females, but also in the terms of systems of looking. Some examples are screens within screens cameras, mirrors etc.
There are likely to be intertextual references, either to other music videos or to films and TV texts, these provide further gratification and pleasure for the viewers/fans.
Is there a relationship between the lyrics and the visuals, with the visuals illustrating, amplifying or contradicting the lyrics?
In my music video, I have tried to keep the lyrics and what is seen on screen, similar. The genre of my music video is hip-hop/R ‘n’ B, so I have tried to keep the whole video linked to the genre. The song I chose was a ‘feel good’ tune so I had to have something on screen that wasn’t dull or boring. There are certain parts of the song that the lyrics are telling us to do something such as ‘let me see your hands up, everybody put your hands up’. I decided to actually have my actor do that on screen. I had him perform a dance move that had his hands up in the air and because the song is an up beat song, I made sure that the dancer moves around and makes the audience feel as if they are dancing as well. Some parts of the song slow down a little bit so I had to make my actor dance as though the song has only become quieter. So he suggested doing the ‘robot’. It is still up beat and happy, but he has only slowed his dancing down by a small amount. Even though there isn’t an obvious story line, I still believe that my music video has all of the conventions that a professional, dance music video would have. In professional, dance music videos, if the song gets faster, then the dancers usually pick up their pace and perform amazing dance moves. I think I have done exactly the same. When the song gets faster at the beginning, I added faster cuts and the dancer starts to dance a bit faster. I even added a ‘club light’ effect when the artist shouts through the song. This is because the audience can imagine themselves in a club dancing to the song. There isn’t a moment during the music video where the visuals are contradicting the lyrics.
Is there a relationship between the music and the visuals, with the visuals illustrating, amplifying or contradicting the music. Throughout my music video, there is a relationship between the music and the visuals because as the beat of the music gets faster, so does the dancer. This is very conventional in a dance music video. As well as getting faster, when the beat of the music gets slower, then so does the dancer and his move. The whole point of the lyrics is to have a good time while your are dancing and I wanted my dancer to portray that on screen. I wanted to tell the audience to pursue your talents because everyone hides their talents. My dancer in the video doesn’t care who is watching or what people think, he is just enjoying himself. Another thing I have done is when the music gets faster, I have tried to make the cuts quicker. I didn’t want to go too far with the video and go over the top. I believe that this would have ruined it and not made it look very professional. I didn’t want to have too many cuts or too many effects because I don’t think you would have been able to see the dancer.
Genres are complex and diverse in terms of music video style and iconography. The genre I chose was R ‘n’ B because young people mainly listen to this style of music. The normal style for his type of video is the main artist dancing on the screen. I wanted to keep this style in my video but it was lucky that I knew someone who could dance the way I wanted, otherwise I would have had to change my idea completely. On the left is a still shot from the original music video for the song. As you can see, behind the main artist are neon lights. I couldn’t have any lights like that because they are very expensive but I tried to match this idea by putting ‘neon’ effects onto the video. Another thing I tried to replicate is the fact that the camera is constantly cutting to the dancers and then back to the main artist. Even though that in my video, the dancer is the only person in the video, I have put close ups and long shots of him.
Record companies will demand a lot of close ups of the main artist or vocalist. In my video, it was difficult to show the actual artist and vocalist because it is just his song and the dancer on screen isn’t actually singing the song. However, there are some close ups of the dancer on screen to show you who he is (even though he has a mask on and his face is covered). There is even a close up that has been flipped around and he is upside down. Some of the shots that the dancer hasn’t got the mask on or his face isn’t covered, I have made a close up so that the audience can see the humour and emotion on his face. The main idea of the video is to really show the dancing instead of selling the artist. That’s why most of the video is full of long shots of the dancer, so you can see what he is doing.
How effective is the combination of your main product and ancillary texts? Here are my two main products. As you can tell, the products and my video all link in similar ways. Apart from the fact that I have used the same images that I have taken, I have used the same colour scheme for each product. I have stuck with the ‘neon’ colour scheme and I even thought that the album cover and back would look good actually on the poster. I have even kept the same font and colour on the poster as the album cover and back because I wanted to keep more than one thing similar. In my music video, I wanted to keep the idea of bright colours and a happy mood, that’s why most of the video was filmed outside in the sun or the snow. Before I started my album cover and back, I searched on the internet for images that have neon lights on them. This is because I wanted the background of the album cover to be eye catching and bright. I wanted it to match the theme of the music video. However, I didn’t want to use exactly the same background image on the poster as the one on the album cover and back. I personally think that I made the right choice in choosing a different image because I have used the album cover and back on the poster. This is so that people who see the poster and haven’t seen the album will know what it looks like.
What have you learned from your audience feedback? I have asked four people on what they think of my products and I overall, they liked them. Firstly, they have said that they liked the main colour scheme and the ‘neon’ effect and how it matches the name of the song and album. They also think that they look professional and how it looks like an actual album and poster. Below are the stages I went through from one of my first attempts, through to my final product. I did do more drafts than below but they are very similar. These are the ones with the most changes. When I asked for feedback the very first time, they suggested keeping the title and the main image but changing the background and getting rid of the lights at the bottom. So I took the advice and did another draft. I changed the background as suggested and kept the title and image. I actually changed the background image because it was a different colour but I didn’t like the original colour. When I asked for feedback after the new design, they said that they liked it but I could have changed the main image because it was boring compared to the other images I had taken. So I changed the main image with a more interesting image I had taken and I personally think that changing it was a good idea. You can see the image more clearly because the other image looked too dark. I also like how I have placed the image because it looks like he is holding the title in his hand and it looks lots more brighter. Once I decided to keep the main image, I tried some other designs to see what they would look like. The next image below is the first image that I used a city background. It is not very clear but I just wanted to see what it would look like. I like the colours used but I think it is a little too bright and I didn’t like where the title was placed. It didn’t have any text on either so I found another image on the internet which I thought was perfect because it isn’t too bright or too dark. It is a similar city image and I used the same technique as I used before by placing the image to look like he is doing a handstand on top of the building. Overall, the feedback I got for my final products was the best and they thought it looked more professional than the others.
How did you use media technology in the construction, research, planning and evaluation stages? I used many different programmes to make my products. The programme I used to make my music video was Pinnacle Studios. Before made my music video, I had never used Pinnacle Studios before so this would be a challenge. Below is a still shot of my music video in progress using the programme. I could have used Windows Movie Maker for my video but there are lots more options on Pinnacle Studios because you can put lots more effects onto the clips and you can edit the footage as well. You could even darken or make the footage lighter if you wanted to. Once you think that you have finished you can click ‘Make Movie’ (on the right of the image below) and it will convert it into a Windows Media Player file. However, if you think that you want to edit the video again, if you have uploaded it to Pinnacle Studios, it will automatically stay on there so you can edit it as much as you like. I think that I have improved a lot using technology since last year because I didn’t know anything about making music videos before. I didn’t know how to use Pinnacle Studios until I experimented with some of the effects and learned the basics of the programme. To upload the videos to my blog, I used the programme Vimeo and Youtube. However for my presentations, I used the programme Slideshare.
For my research, I used a number of different websites. The two main ones I used were Yahoo Music Videos and Youtube. Even though I couldn’t upload the Youtube videos in school, I researched at home music videos from previous years and professional music videos. Once I had found the videos on the websites I could then upload onto my blog to evaluate and talk about. I even paused the videos at specific times and still shot them so I could explain what I wanted to do. I also used a website to look for different fonts for my titles. It is called Da Font and I could choose what font I wanted, what colour it was going to be and even what size I wanted it. I could then download them off the website to put onto my products and then onto my blog.