Evaluation Question 1:In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?
Conventions of music videosIn Andrew Goodwin’s book ‘Dancing In The Distraction Factory’ one of his main theories about music videos is that the visuals should have a strong relationship with the lyrics. The imagery must either illustrate, amplify or contradict the lyrics, thus weaving a deeper meaning throughout the video. I think my music video displays this theory, as there are many shots which both illustrate and amplify the lyrics. For example the lyrics ‘I’m gonna fly against the wind’ is amplified through a wide shot of birds flying through the sky along a beach. This not only illustrates the word ‘fly’ but also amplifies the whole concept of the chorus, as the birds represent freedom and the chance to escape, but also the fear of breaking out from the crowd and being alone.
Another important convention of music videos mentioned in Goodwin’s book isthe tone and atmosphere of the visuals should reflect that of the music. Againthe visuals should either illustrate, amplify or contradict the music. Thisprimarily refers to the ways in which the editing, beat of the music and timingis connected with what the audience is being presented with on screen.I think my music video follows this convention as I’ve edited thebrightness/contrast filter so the colours within the video are much more vibrant,thus reflecting the optimistic and cheerful atmosphere of the music. I’ve alsoedited shots to reflect the beat/rhythm of the music, for example when themusic quickens the shots get shorter and the editing is more fast paced whichbuilds the viewer’s anticipation through the abrupt transitions. When the musicis slower, the shots are longer and the transitions are cross dissolves or additivedissolves to evoke a softer, more tranquil mood.
Contents• Editing• Shot composition• Representation• Animation• Mise en scene• Location• Ancillary products – graphics, colours, typography, photography.• Distribution company
My media product: editingI used the editing software, Final cut express, this follows the typicalconventions of most music videos as it’s the main editing software forprofessionals editing real media products.I increased the brightness/contrast filter of most shots to brighten the coloursand make them more vibrant to reflect the happy, positive music. The brightcolours are evident through this wide shot of the sun’s rays gleaming throughthe trees, thus portraying a tranquil, hopeful and cheerful mood. Thisdemonstrates how my video follows the typical conventions of the indie popgenre, as most indie videos feature bright, sun filled locations, e.g. in LucyRose’s Scar music video, the sun light has clearly been enhanced so it gives themedium long shot a hazy, cheerful atmosphere. Lucy Rose, Scar My music video
This is a screenshot displaying how I edited the brightness/contrastfilter to enhance the colours within my music video, which followthe typical conventions of indie pop music videos.
EditingI edited the footage using a combination of styles; I mostly avoided editing in conjunction with the beat of the music, as this would emphasise the beat and give a sharp, abrupt transition, which follows the conventions of rock music videos but wouldn’t reinforce the conventions of the indie pop genre. The indie pop videos which I’ve analysed have been edited off the beat of the music and had smooth transitions which help to reinforce continuity and a calm atmosphere. Therefore I edited most shots off the beat of the music and I used cross dissolves and additive cross dissolves to evoke a flowing, soft and delicate affect. As a result I’ve developed the typical indie conventions by enhancing the smoothness of the editing through these transitions. (For more analysis of the editing in my music video, please see the YouTube annotated video which is in the same post.)
Real media product: shot composition Ben Howard, Old Pine1. 2.3. 4.
Shot composition comparisonThe four screenshots from my music video are almost identical to the screenshots I’ve taken from a real media product; Ben Howard’s Old Pine music video, this is due to the way the shots have been composed and the setting of the shots.The first shot from my music video’s screenshots is a wide shot of the sun rising over a field, the trees in the background are silhouetted and there’s a focus pull of the plants in the foreground. This develops the conventions of the indie genre as the shot composition evokes hope, and optimism at the beginning of a new day which is symbolised by the sun rise. This shot follows the forms of a real media product as in the screenshot from Ben Howard’s video the composition is similar; it’s a wide shot of a field with the rising sun silhouetting trees in the background and a focus pull on the corn in the foreground. In both shots the trees in the background are out of focus which evokes mystery as the viewer is unable to see very far.
In all of the shots from Ben Howard’s music video the sepia tones have been enhanced so that they convey an authentic, vintage, slightly rustic feel which follows the typical stylistic conventions of an indie music video. The sepia colours suggests an Autumnal/Winter setting as the shots are almost colourless and quite bleak. In my shots I’ve increased the brightness/contrast filter but I have not added a sepia filter, as I want the vibrant colours to evoke a bright, sunny, summer atmosphere. Therefore I am challenging the typical conventions of indie music videos by not enhancing the sepia tones.
The second shot which is practically identical in both music videos, is the wide shot of the sea with a surfer jumping on to his surfboard. This shot evokes freedom and adventure, as if the surfer is ready to take on a challenge and brave the ocean. The angle of the shot is from behind the surfer so the viewer can’t see his face; thus evoking mystery but also displaying the surfer’s strong determination to surf. The shot’s wide composition displays the vastness of the ocean, which makes the water seem intimidating whilst also frames the surfer in the middle of the sea.
The third wide shot displays the artist walking through trees in a woodland setting. In the shot from my music video the artist is in focus, this contrasts with the shot from Ben Howard’s music video as he is out of focus due to the focus pull on the vegetation in the foreground. This adds mystery to the shot as the viewer can’t see the face of the artist, however in my shot I wanted to immediately introduce the artist to the viewer to make her the focal point of the video and to also make her recognisable to her target audience. In this shot from both my music video and Ben Howard’s music video the artists both seem to be dominated by nature (which is a typical convention of indie pop music videos).
In the wide high angle shot from my video the artist’s proxemics are much smaller than the trees which surround her; they almost dwarf her, thus conveying the message that the natural world has authority. Similarly in the wide shot from Ben Howard’s video, the artist is out of focus, which conveys his unimportance compared with the branches in the foreground as he is blurred. The framing of the shot is also significant as the trees take up about 90% of the composition, thus dominating the shot which displays one of the main stylistic conventions featured in music videos of the indie genre: nature plays a major role.
The fourth and final shot from both of the music videos is a wide shot of a surfer surfing a breaking wave. This action shot conveys freedom and adventure which is not only the main message of both of the music videos but it’s also one of the most common themes within indie music videos. However there are some differences between the shots; firstly my shot has been filmed from a further distance, whereas the shot from Ben Howard’s video has been filmed so that the camera looks as if it was in the water with the surfer. This makes the viewer feel more involved with the action which strengthens the artist/audience connection, but my shot makes the viewer feel as if they are simply watching the surfer from afar. I used the camera movement of panning to follow the surfer, in contrast the shot from Ben Howard’s video tracks the surfer from the side which gives a better, more impactful perspective.
My music video Representation Ben Howard’s Old PineThe screen shot from my music video is a wide low angle shots which makes the artist appear authoritative and dominant. However the screen shot from Ben Howard’s music video is a worm’s eye view shot which has a more exaggerated low angle due to the camera being positioned on the ground looking directly up the road at the artist, whereas I just shortened the legs on the tripod and adjusted the camera so it looked up at my artist. This extreme low angle shot establishes Ben Howard’s representation as being the one in control, which follows the archetypal representation of males as they are usually represented as being the domineering gender. This also follows the stereotypical representation of an artist (within any genre) being the focal point/main subject in their own music video as they want to appear in control because it’s their music video and they are trying to promote themselves to the public.
The screen shot from my music video follows this stereotypical representation of the artist being the focal point of the music video as the wide low angle shot draws the viewer’s eyes up to the artist and makes her appear independent and authoritative. However this subverts the archetypal representation of the female gender in the media; women are typically portrayed as being weak, dependent and submissive. I purposely wanted to subvert this inaccurate representation of women as the lyrics in Alex’s song speak of independence and freedom, so I wanted to reflect this message through the visuals. I wanted to create a good role model for the target audience of young girls (14 – 19 year olds), which would also appeal to them.
I have also represented the artist as wanting freedom to be an individual and to go against the crowd through a long shot of her running across the beach and wide shots of birds flying through the sky. These shots follow the stereotypical representation of indie pop artists (e.g. Lucy Rose) being quite wild/free and independent.The costume my artist is wearing for the majority of the music video also reinforces her representation of independence. The leather jacket represents independence as it was first worn in the 1950’s to signify the non-conformist views of women as it is a typically masculine piece of clothing. Style wise the leather jacket adds a touch of rebellion and edge to the music video which hints at the typical conventions of rock music. This is starkly juxtaposed against the white dress she’s wearing as the colour white is an icon of purity, while the lace material of the dress is quite a fragile, intricate piece of embroidery, typical of a wedding dress which reinforces the representation of virginity and innocence. This creates a balance between the representation of a tough, practical, independent girl and a pretty, innocent, sweet girl, which follows the stereotypical representation of female indie pop artists, such as Lucy Rose and Gabrielle Aplin.
Real media product: animationColdplay, Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall
Animation comparisonI was inspired by the animation at the beginning of Coldplay’s music video for Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall, as I thought it successfully conveys hope and optimism for the start of a new day, thus establishing the video’s atmosphere immediately. I wanted to emulate this atmosphere, but I didn’t have the time or the resources to create an animation using paint like in their video, so instead I cut out shapes from coloured card and made a silhouette of trees with a sun rising behind them which I then animated using iStopmotion software. My animation still uses conventions of real media as it is a similar animation sequence to one used in a real media product.In the Coldplay music video there is a city silhouetted by the sun rise with the sea in the foreground, this is different to mine as it is the urban world which is being referenced not the natural world. This is because their main location within the video is a city, whereas the main location within my video is a woodland. My animation also differs from the Coldplay animation as it features birds flying in the sky which introduces a key theme within my video (escapism and freedom). I chose to do an animation as it is a creative and artistic feature which develops the typical ‘quirky’ conventions of the indie genre.
Real media product: Mise en scene Gabrielle Aplin, Home1. 2.3. 4. Lucy Rose, Lines
Mise en scene comparisonThe first shot is a mid shot of the artist, both artists are wearing similar style costumes (apart from the different colours and my artist is wearing a leather jacket over the top of her dress), and both artists are wearing black tights with boots. The location and background of the shot is similar as it’s rural, the shot from my music video is in a woodland, and the shot from Gabrielle Aplin’s music video is in a field. The rural location is a main convention within indie music videos, as the theme of nature is common within indie songs. The colours featured in Gabrielle Aplin’s shots are warm colours; sepia tones, such as orange, red and yellow, this follows the typical conventions of indie music videos as the sepia tones evoke an authentic, slightly rustic edge. These colours contrast with the colours in my shots as they convey a fresh atmosphere, which challenges the typical conventions of indie pop music videos.
Both second shots are wide shots with trees in the background and the artist stood in the middle, I like this shot composition as the artist is the focal point but the viewer can see the surroundings which adds atmosphere to the shot. This style of shot makes the artist appear small/inferior compared to the vastness of the open landscape and height of the trees. Playing with shot compositions and camera angles helps to make the audience understand the artist’s emotions, e.g. in both of the second shots, both artists appear intimidated by the dominance of the natural world and isolation pervades throughout both music videos. I have used the typical convention of experimentation with shot composition within my music video and developed this feature by making the composition enhance the feelings and atmosphere of the video.
The third shot is slightly different between the music videos; the shot from my music video displays the artist sat down in the sand dunes looking out at the sea with the beach taking up a larger percentage of the shot composition . Whereas the shot from the Gabrielle Aplin music video depicts the artist stood up in the sand dunes facing the camera with her head taking up most of the composition and the sky takes up about 60% of the background. Despite this both shots are similar; they are both mid close ups of the artist and both feature the same style of background setting; a beach fading into the distance, which highlights the nomadic/explorer style of both videos. Both shots portray the artists’ need for freedom and independence through the artists’ isolation as there are no other characters present in the shot.
The fourth shot from my music video is a mid close up of the artist looking through some trees, with two branches framing her face either side. In comparison I’ve taken a screenshot from Lucy Rose’s music video, Lines, which displays a mid shot of the artist looking through trees. Despite the similar composition and location of both of these shots, the costumes are slightly different; Lucy Rose is dressed in a scruffy shirt which carries quite masculine connotations thus reinforcing the artist’s ‘tom boy’ image. Whereas my artist is wearing a dress and leather jacket which is more feminine, however she is wearing wellington boots which carries connotations of a rural, farmer’s lifestyle. Both shots exude the artists’ desire for adventure as they are both stood amongst trees – particularly the Lucy Rose shot as she looks as if she’s dressed practically to go exploring in the countryside. This reference to exploration and adventure is a key feature within indie music videos, particularly those with a pop influence.
Woodland Locations Beach My music video My music videoBen Howard, Old Pine Ben Howard, Old Pine
Location comparisonI used two main locations within my music video; a woodland and a beach, both are rural settings which is one of the major conventions of indie music videos. There are many indie pop artists which I’ve researched that use rural locations within their music videos, including Lucy Rose, Gabrielle Aplin, Coldplay, Mumford & Sons, Noah & The Whale, Bombay Bicycle Club, and Ben Howard. The main influence for my own music video was Ben Howard’s Old Pine music video, which featured parallel editing between a beach, a country lane, and a woodland. These locations are significant within the video as they illustrate and amplify the lyrics of the song. For example the name of the song, Old Pine, is a reference to trees and nature, which is reinforced through the wide low angle shot of trees, the trees are further highlighted through the use of the sun silhouetting the branches, which follows the theme of sun rises which interlinks key shots within the video.
I have similarly used a woodland location within my music video, to convey the significance of nature within the song and to amplify the lyrics, but also to portray the feeling of being trapped which is a key emotion within the song. The abundance of trees combined with the frequent use of low angle shots emphasises the height of the trees which makes them appear intimidating. I use the mid shot of the artist sat down on a bench in the wood as an anchor within the video to convey continuity. However there are a variety of different shots of the artist lip synching within the woodland which have been intercut with shots of the beach, this follows the typical conventions of a real media product, as Ben Howard’s music video uses these two locations to a similar affect.
Within Ben Howard’s music video, I think the wide shots of the waves and the surfer represent freedom and tranquillity. This is similar to the atmosphere I wanted to portray within my music video – especially through the wide shots of the surfers and the panning shot of Alex running across the beach. This portrayal of freedom within the beach shots contrasts with the feelings of being trapped within the woodland shots. A beach location carries connotations of hippies (as represented in Benjamin Francis Leftwich’s Atlas Hands music video, which I’ve analysed in a previous post), which is a stereotypical representation within indie music videos which I wanted to reinforce through my own music video.
My media product: ancillary products Magazine advert for the CD
My media product: ancillary products CD Digipak
Real media product: ancillary products Magazine advert for a gig to promote Lissie’s album, Catching a Tiger.
Real media product: ancillary products CD Digipak for Lissie’s album, Catching a Tiger
Ancillary products comparisonI chose to compare my ancillary products with Lissie’s ancillary products as I think my artist’s songs and style is similar to that of Lissie (quirky, indie/pop). Instead of using a magazine advert promoting Lissie’s album, I’ve used a magazine advert promoting a performance by Lissie, which is still similar as she will perform songs from her album, Catching a Tiger.Poster:Both of our ancillary products share the same link to the natural world through photos of a rural landscape. However my advert features the artist within a woodland setting, whereas Lissie’s advert just features an image of a cornfield without any visual reference of the artist. Lissie’s poster is simple yet effective; the image is of a corn field, with a cluster of trees in the background on the right, the sky takes up about 80% of the composition, with the text filling the sky. The photograph evokes a calm, tranquil atmosphere due to the large amount of pale blue sky and rural location. But I think the artist should be included within the image even if she can’t be physically recognised, as the poster’s purpose isn’t clear. My advert features a photo of my artist which enables her target audience to recognise her, so they are more likely to actively find and buy the album.
The edge of Lissie’s advert has been edited so the image fades out at the sides, thus evoking an ethereal, dream-like affect which reinforces the typical stylistic conventions of the indie genre. I’ve developed this stylistic convention by layering an image of a coffee-stained piece of paper underneath the photo of my artist on Photoshop; I then changed the opacity of the image so that it’s visible under the photo. This adds an authentic, vintage and slightly rustic vibe to the advert, which reinforces the representation of the indie genre.
Ancillary products comparisonThe text "Lissie" is in the same serif style typography as seen on her album which makes it recognisable to her target audience; the handwritten style portrays an authentic, artistic edge which follows the typical conventions of the indie genre. The name of her album, Catching a Tiger is in italics The other text displaying the date and location of the artist’s performance is larger, bolder and in a san serif style, which makes it easy to read and ensures it stands out at the target audience, as it’s important information. The text on my advert is in a san serif style which evokes a feminine vibe, the font of the artist’s name is in green which carries connotations of nature, while it also compliments the colours of the leaves in the image. The font displaying the name of the album is in a pale pink colour as it works well with the colour of the artist’s skirt, however the varying colours featured within my advert contrasts with the use of black font in Lissie’s advert.
CD Digipak:Firstly Lissie’s CD digipak only has four panels whereas mine has six panels. The photos on both of the digipaks are quite similar; both album covers feature a close up of the artist with a rural setting in the background. The canted angle mid shot of Lissie on the third panel conveys a fun, free spirit as it appears as if the photo has been taken in the moment – it doesn’t seem too posed or artificial, which is the problem for so many album covers. The centre back panel of my digipak is a mid shot which displays my artist in a similar pose to Lissie’s, however the shot has my artist’s guitar in the foreground, thus displaying authenticity as it suggests my artist has the ability to play a musical instrument. This is an important aspect which Lissie’s digipak lacks. Lissie’s back panel features the track list with a photo of a rural landscape as the background, however the artist isn’t included in the image, this might be because Lissie is already an established artist so she doesn’t need the images to be self-focused. This contrasts with my digipak as my artist features in all of the images, so that the target audience recognises her and can connect with her. The styles of typography on both of the digipaks is identical to the ones used on the advert, thus creating continuity within the promotional package and ensuring both artists establish a recognisable style.
Distribution companyI have had a discussion with my artist and we have decided that the company to produce and distribute my artist’s single, Against The Wind with my accompanying promotional music video, would be Universal Island Records as they distribute other indie pop artists, such as, Florence and The Machine, Ben Howard, Bombay Bicycle Club, Mumford and Sons, Gotye and Jack Johnson.Universal Island Records was founded in Jamaica by Chris Blackwell, it was based in the UK for a few years before being bought by the Universal Music Group. The record label operates as a standalone label in the UK, known as Island Records Group. The label distributes many different music genres, including, Rock, Pop, Hip Hop, and Indie. Although the label is mostly known for distributing Rock and Pop music, the Indie pop artists whose style I’ve tried to emulate within my music video are signed to this label, e.g. Ben Howard.
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