Project Overview• Having known Polly for a long time, and being familiar with both her style of music and creative way of working, I knew she would be an ideal artist to work with on this project. I contacted her and she seemed very interested, and we decided on a song to work with. As this song ended up being The Camden Backfire Blues, a song she wrote herself, we decided it made sense to film the video in Camden Town, London. The location provided a mixture of interesting visuals ranging from intricately decorated buildings, walls and streets, to more simplistic interior locations like bars, pubs and shops, all of which happily allowed us to film inside. This provided us with the opportunity to include a lot of different shots and camera angles, depending on where we were at the time. The location synchronised well with the song not only due to its title, but also its theme and lyrics; the song is about a girl caught up in the seemingly damaging side of the nightlife and music scene, both of which are heavily weaved into the culture of Camden Town. This meant that there was a definite visual connection between the song and its visual representation. The only prop we used in the production was Pollys guitar, as I wanted to ensure that the videos narrative scenes did not seem entirely staged; heavy prop usage can often give the impression of a studio creation, which was not the effect we necessarily desired.
Conveying Codes and ConventionsWhen listening to the Camden Backfire Blues, I wasreminded of several songs and videos I was alreadyfamiliar with, such as the story featured in the ArcticMonkeys song (and video for) When the sun goesdown or the negative themes of othersongs, particularly Babyshambles Delivery, the videofor which I also liked. Various aspects of these, andothers, such as the great use of black and white, aswell as variation in the shots used in Creeps videofor You, have been featured in my video, from theblack and white imagery I chose, or the inclusion of alone character as the focus of the video. As TheCamden Backfire Blues is a song with a definitenarrative structure, I wanted to reflect this in thevideo, but not too overwhelmingly. I gave it a loosenarrative in the sense that there is one centralcharacter being followed through the story the songis telling, though the lyrics themselves are notillustrated entirely literally, as this can often make avideo become quite clichéd or tacky. There is also aperformance aspect to the video, emphasising thefact that the character included is also the artistbehind the song, the one who is telling the story. Iexpected that these themes would make the videoenjoyable in a visual sense but also relevant to thesong it accompanies, enhancing it instead ofdistracting from it.
• As well as studying videos individually, I also took influence from having observed certain directors bodies of work, such as that of Saman Keshavarz, director of videos for acts such as Russ Chimes (Midnight EP series), Apparat (Song of Los) and Cinnamon Chasers (Luv Deluxe), who despite not using Keshavarz performance or lyrical illustration in his videos, does feature narrative, though usually in a much more traditional sense, with multiple characters and definitive plot. What I took from Keshavarz style is the way in which he conveys emotions within his visuals; by using frequent close ups and focussing on facial expression as well as action to create recognizable characters even within such a short space of time in a music video. Another director I was influenced by is Douglas Hart, who often creates videos for artists much more similar to my own, such as Fionn Regan (Catacombs), or Ocean Colour Scene (various). What I admire about Harts work is his effective combination of both narrative and performance within a video, something I have incorporated. As Hart well as this, the aesthetic appeal of his work is great; he often experiments with colour distortion and unconventional camera angles. Removing the colour from my video, and experimenting (though not as greatly) with camera angle, has proven a notable transcendence of Harts work.
Challenging Codes and ConventionsIn addition to intertextualising the work of others, I have alsoensured that my video has its own appeals, so that it doesntappear to have copied aforementioned works, or others. Itdoes not copy all the styles of one video directly, insteadcombining effects and ideas to become a production in its ownright.The video includes many typical, basic codes and conventionsof such media products such as lip-synching, performance/narrative, and in terms of editing, theway in which the video cuts to the beat of the song, as well asthe transition effects used. What challenges these codeshowever, is the way the song presents the character. Usually insongs with similar lyrics, there is a third personnarrative, something that conveys in the video too, with thischaracter merely being observed and spoken for. What myvideo does is present a first person narrative of a song writtenfor the most part in third person. The fact that a female singsthese lyrics significantly suggests that the song is aboutherself, which means therefore the video provides an insightinto this character. It is her story, not a story about her.As well as this, the fact that lot of the shots I ended upincluding in my video were those I did not plan before handadds to the videos challenge of convention. I think it gives thevideo a natural quality; it does not come across as being tooheavily drafted or staged, instead appearing much morerealistic, and true to the nature of the artist herself. Whendirecting her, I was careful not to be too specific or constrictingin my proposed actions; as the song, and in turn thestory, were Pollys own, it made much more sense to pluck acertain amount of the narrative from real life action.
The Digipak This is the design for my music video digipak. It contains many important features such as the artists image, logo, song title, video age rating and a bar code. The back also contains a list of the packs features as well as positive quotes from its magazine reviews, further encouraging the viewer to purchase the pack. Its main features is its photography. The fact that the digipak contains strong visual imagery suggests to the potential buyer that the imagery found in the contained video will also be strong. I tried not to crowd the digipak too much, as I wanted it to be simple and aesthetically pleasing enough that it is still pleasant to look at after having owned it and looked at it for a long time.
Print Based AdvertsThe print advert is essentially an alternate version of the digipaks front cover. This way, there can be noconfusion over what the product it promotes will look like. It includes extra details, like a release dateand information about Pollys website. These things would only be found on an advertisement and noton the cover itself, as the information they contain will become outdated and irrelevant, not an aspectyou want to include in a product you want people to keep for a long time.I also produced this small printed flyer, which could be handed out at gigs. It too features an image ofthe digipaks cover, but also some original photography, providing variation for someone who hasalready seen the main print advert.
Codes and Conventions of the Ancillary TextsThe influences I looked to for My music digipak were similarly interesting as those of the video. I had to use imagery and text thatcorresponded with the song and video, to ensure a consistent house style; with the plans I had already made for the video Ilooked to the print-based imagery the artists I had already studied were using. What I found was that because a lot of the artists Ihad studied in terms of video were male, even though they were often promoting music of the same genre, their albums anddigipak covers were less focussed on personal image than the way in which I wanted mine to be.A female artists work, whether intentionally or not, will be subjected to more scrutinous analysis in terms of that females image;by both male and female audiences alike. Because of this I knew it was important to present Polly in the exact way I wanted hervideo to be viewed; professional, aesthetically pleasing, and also representative of her music genre, but not in a stereotypicalsense.Some digipaks that I found to include these conventions were Lana Del Reys Video Games/Blue Jeans release, and Kate WalshsTims House album. What I liked about these covers was the way that colour and pose were used; Del Reys had a great use ofvibrant colour, Walshs were muted. This is something I combined in my own digipak, with Polly wearing bright colours, as well asthe bright colour of her eyes, then being muted slightly so that the image was much more easy on the eye.
Representation of the Brand IdentityI think the digipak and print advert, in spite of visualdifferences form the video, do represent it well, as theyboth incorporate features relatively typical of Pollysindie, folk, or acoustic style, such as boths mainimage, a pretty, though not sexualised image of theartist, relatively simplistic in structure so as not todistract from the photography, its main aspect. Neitherthe print advert or digipak cover feature heavy use oftext, as I think this can often cause a potential buyer toavoid both, not wanting to read the words just tounderstand the content. All text on the back of thedigipak is less likely to have this effect, as it will not beseen at all until the buyer has picked up theproduct, clearly aready interested by the visuals on thefront, or the artist, whose name and image are featuredprominently for this reason.When viewing all the products I have created together, Ithink that they all represent eachother well. There is adefinite house style and sense of brand identitybetween the digipak and print advert; they are almostthe same; I made them this way because an advert for aproduct would logically contain an image of the productit presents, so the viewer knows what it is they are tolook for; for this reason, both have the same mainimage, and Pollys name and song title in large print.This also works well in terms of a person who sees thevideo before encountering the print advert or thedigipak. The songs title The Camden Backfire Blues isrepeated in the lyrics of the song; anyone who knowsthe song will recognize those words when they seethem on either the print advert or the digipak.
Audience Feedback In order to get an accurate view of what people would think of the video, I used a number of methods to collect response. Polly shared the video on her Facebook page, a good way to get the video seen by its target audience; people who already enjoy Pollys music and subscribe to her page will be interested in seeing this video. The response we received from this was great, 79 people liked the video, and it received a number of positive comments, complimenting various aspects such as the videos locations,Pollys song, Camden Backfire Blues is available online to Pollys style, the visuals we created, itsdownload, and she informed me that there were a significant use of black and white, among othernumber of downloads of the song in the time following the videosrelease; this is absolutely great for both of us, as the reason any things. This proves that the video looksmusician creates a video is to promote the song, to raise awareness professional and is enjoyable to thosein the hope that it will be bought. This has happened, proving that who viewed it. The fact that people havethe video is a great advertisement for its song and artist. With it complimented Polly on her look and herbeing extremely low budget to create, this also means that Polly has voice as well shows that the videoprofited from the creation of the video, another great aspect of theproject. represents her well too.
Survey Results• Another way I collected response was through the creation of a survey on Survey monkey. All the questions can be viewed here, but a selection of them provided more of an insight into peoples views than others, as follows: 75% of those surveyed said that the video was very entertaining and interesting to watch, and the other 25% said it had good qualities. The fact that no-one responded negatively is great as it proves the video is a good piece of work even when not considered within Pollys body of work; people enjoyed the video for more than just its song and artist.
This question received exactly the response I wanted- When creating all the products Itried to keep in mind a brand identity, and each products representation of itscounterparts, and the fact that this has communicated to 95% of the entire audienceproves that this was successful. It also mentions how the fan would be impressed orpleased in both the answers that received votes. No one thought that the fan wouldfeel mislead by the way the video was presented by its print advert or digipak, greatbecause disappointing a fan is the exact opposite intention of any artists releases.
40% of the people who watched the video and took the survey researched Pollyswork afterwards. This is a good amount, and it means that those people were directlycompelled to check out Pollys music after the way the video presented her and herwork, the explicit intention of the project. A further 40% said they would check outher music in the future, still meaning that the enjoyed the song featured. 20% ofpeople simply said that she was ok, although no specifically a negative reaction. It isgreat that no one said they definitely wouldnt want to check out her music, as itproves that she was definitely not presented in a bad way. After collecting responsesfor this question however, I did realise its flaw; I did not include an option for thosewho were already familiar with Pollys music, although those who are would probablystill be able to use one of the answers provided to voice their opinion of the song.
Every person surveyed said that they think both the digipak and video wouldbe satisfactory to a professional artist, an excellent result. The reasons forsuch a response included references to the professional photography of thedigipak and print advert, as well as their eye-catching images. In terms of thevideo, people voted yes because they thought it was well made and fit wellwith the song, and also that it did not look like a college project, but like aprofessionally made video.I also asked people to rate each product out of 10, and neither were ratedbelow 7 at all by anyone, which is also a great response to receive.
Artist ResponsePolly herself was also very happy with the video; the way she shared it on Facebook proves this, as well asthis message she sent me:Im very glad she is happy with the video, as important as audience feedback is, its also crucial that theartist themself is happy to share and be proud of their work.
Media TechnologiesI used a wide variety of media technologies throughout the project.Research and Planning Stages:My research stage included the use of media technologies in the way I consumed themedia I was then referencing; I used the internet, namely YouTube to gain knowledge ofthe types of music video that are out there, how they can differ, the effects one caninclude in them, as well as the way each one represents its artist. This was similar whenI research existing digipaks.When planning the video I created a small animation on Adobe Premier, as video editingsoftware was not something I had much experience in using. I found this helpful later onin my editing phase, as I had learnt certain skills that were then included in the finalvideo. I did not actually use Premier to edit my music video, but a lot of its basicconventions are the same as Final Cut, which I did use.
Construction, Editing and Evaluation Stages:In the construction of all the products, I used several technologies. To create the digipak, print advert andbooklet, I used an SLR camera, and after capturing the shots I needed, Photoshop to create the images Iwanted to use. After using effects that muted the colours of the photos, and that slightly adjusted theirfocus, and added text and frames to some, they looked much more professional and in keeping with the housestyle I wanted. Photoshop was a program I had used a lot before, both in the previous years magazineproject, as well as in outside projects, so I feel that my prior knowledge of such technology assisted theproficiency with which I used it, creating some images I am very proud of.When constructing the video, I used a handheld video camera, and then Final cut to edit. The camera itself wasquite simple to use, and most of the effects I added to the video came in the editing phase, such as the removalof colour saturation, transition effects and cropping certain shots. Final cut was a program I had not usedbefore, and even with my prior knowledge of Adobe Premier, I did find some aspects of the program quite timeconsuming to begin with, but as the editing went on I became much more confident in using it, meaning that Ipicked up some great skills for similar projects in the future, which is great.In my evaluation I used technology to gain audience feedback. The video was posted onto YouTube andFacebook, both great ways of sharing media. Facebook, a more personal way of doing do proved excellent foraudience feedback, as well as giving a lot of people the opportunity to see a video they might not haveotherwise seen; as it appeared on their homepages, watching it was so easy to do.Throughout the project, I have posted all stages onto a blog on Blogger. This was a very useful way to presentwork, as it gives me and those interested in the project an outlet to find all information and references in oneplace. The fact that it is online has been very useful too as it meant I could access my work anywhere, be thatat home or even on my phone if I was in the production phase of the project.As well as the blog, a lot of my correspondences with Polly took place via e-mail, great because it meant wecould share ideas in the form of links to existing music videos, as well as online images and articles, evenwhen we couldnt meet up to do so.