Q1. In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?Like many typical R and B videos we have created a narrative based/ performance music video. We felt that it was necessary to portray the emotions the artist felt throughout the song and therefore combined a narrative and performance type video, if we had used a purely performance based video we would have been unable to illustrate our storyline and if our video was purely narrative based it would have been difficult to portray emotion, combining the two enabled us to show our storyline to the audience while effectively depicting emotion. To comply with the conventions of narrative based music videos we have clearly illustrated a storyline which is prevalent throughout the song.Furthermore in order to make our video more diverse, we caused the story to be linked to the lyrical content of the song which depicts the intense love a girl has for her boyfriend and how “No one” (the title of the song) can get in the way of her and her lover. Anexample of this is when for instance in the song it says “when the rain is pouring down”, to accompany this line we recorded the artist looking out a window on a gloomy rainy daycreating a foreboding ambience, this relates to the end of the video when the artist finally leaves showing she has made her decision, but is looking back at the time she cherished with her family in particular the relationship with her mother.
Question 1 - ContinuedNarrativeOur music video challenges the codes and conventions of music videos, because unlike any othervideo it portrays a clash of cultures which is very common in Birmingham considering the diverserange of ethnic groups it is made up of. Our new idea is about a non-Muslim boy and the artistwho are trapped by religious norms and traditions. No matter what the lovers do, what plans theymake or how much they love each other, their struggles against social traditions prevent them frombeing together, however these traditions are unable to defeat their love for each other, throughour focus group we discovered that if the artist did not stand up for herself or what she wantedshe would have been unable to escape her inevitable fate which they said would have most likelybeen an arrange marriage, this gave us the idea for one of the scenes where the artists mothershows her a picture of a man whom she would like her to marry. We wanted to portray a majorcultural issue faced by many people in today’s modern society and illustrate a new found culturethat exists today, which breaks all previous social norms of conformity. Our narrative is about thedecisions and sacrifices, the artist must make and her determination and struggle against herculture, faith and even the eternal love for her own mother in order to capture true love. Thisdemonstrates the fiery passion shared between a couple in a loving relationship and how much ofher own self identity she has to give up just to be with the man she loves.
Question 1 - ContinuedMISE EN SCENEThrough research we found that a vital convention in any music video was ensuring that the artist has a costume change,as we wanted our music video to be something innovative we decided to do something that has never been donebefore, we decided to address a social issue through our music video. We decided to look at how cultural barriersprevent people from being together, and how the views of some cultures on interracial relationships can causeproblems for people and in some cases break families. Our video focuses on a girl who is torn between her culturalnorms and love which as a result causes her to become depressed, our video also explores alienation and how the girlalmost in a way is unsure about her identity and what she defines herself as which can in reality have tragicconsequences. We decided to base our video on the Pakistani culture, initially this posed a problem as it could havepotentially narrowed our target audience, however through research and the responses from our focus group we foundthat problems with interracial relationships are faced by numerous cultures which would therefore allow people fromcultures other than the Pakistani culture to relate to our video thus attracting them. For the costumes we knew we had touse clothes typically worn in the Pakistani culture, However this meant we encountered a problem as Pakistani clothesdo not represent the R and B genre - to address this issue and to try to be as conventional as we could in terms of theR and B genre we chose the colours for the Pakistani clothing to be colours typically associated with the R and B genre.The colours we therefore chose were brown, white, black, red, gold and grey. In relation to the R and B genre here iswhat these colours represent, the colour black represents style, sophistication and depicts tribulation which areattributes commonly associated with R and B, brown is a colour which represents sophistication and elegance significantelements within R and B, grey is a colour which evokes strong emotion, purple is a colour which presents passion andfinally red is a colour which quite simply represent love.
Question 1 - ContinuedThrough research we found that it was important to use the right type of lighting,this was because the lighting used in a video has a significant influence on theatmosphere the producer is aiming to create, we therefore recorded our lipsynching scenes in the studio where we used spot lights to illuminate the artistsface making it easier to identify facial expression and enabling us to create anatmosphere which was reflective of our concept which represents pain andtribulation, even within the house we tried to incorporate as much lighting as wecould within our video , we did this by using numerous lamps and torches as wellas tin foil to reflect light where we needed it most, by doing this we createdshadows which helped portray the fact that the artist has no control over her lifeand how her culture seems to dominate her life, here is an example of this..From this scene you can see that the shadow is behind the artist and almost looksas though it is overpowering her, we felt the shadow could represent her familyand culture which dominates her life and does not allow her to do as she wishes.
Question 1 - ContinuedEDITINGWithin our video we have incorporated a number of techniques in order to cause our video to look more effective, forexample our video utilises many flashbacks and therefore it was important to distinguish the past from the present, todo this we used an effect within Final cut express called Tint which enabled us to make the flashback scenes appearblack and white allowing people to clearly differentiate the past from the present. We incorporated this effect froman Alicia Keys video entitled “Unthinkable”, if we did not use this effect it could have potentially jeopardised thesuccess of our video as it would have made the narrative within our video unclear, another effect we used was the“soft edge tool” again this was used to show that the clip represented the past, it softened the edges and helped toshow that the clips were past memories. In order to connect the past and present we also used another edit, the splitscreen effect which we felt looked effective through research, an example of a genuine music video which uses thiseffect is Alicia Keys “Try sleeping with a broken heart”, within this video numerous split screens are used, this videogave us the idea and inspired us to use this effect. We used this effect to portray how the artist was feeling as theclip showed her in colour suggesting that she returned to the same place where she previously saw her boyfriend, thishighlights the importance of the decision she must make and immediately engages the audience, we believe this iseffective because people who experience problems with interracial relationships may be able to relate to a similarsituation. On the other side of the split screen is her boyfriend, here we have created the illusion that her boyfriend islooking back at the artist in black and white showing how he may have done this previously in the past or perhapssuggesting that he is a figment of her imagination. By using this effect we were able to display how the artist is tornon what path to take making our video quite intriguing and unusual.
Question 1 - Continued Razor Blade ToolWhile editing we used separate layers, this enabled us to place, replace and move clips without distorting the lip-synching. Also it quite simply made it easier to remove clip. When placing a video we first had to delete the audio, to dothis we had to lock the layer which had the video clips on so they would not be affected. As we were mistakenly given twodifferent cameras we had to rerecord certain scenes ensuring we used the same camera , because if we continued usingscenes from two different cameras it would have jeopardized the professionalism of our video due to the resolution beingdifferent . Furthermore when recording the scenes in the studio there were some scenes which were partially good qualityand partially outtakes, to make good use of these clips we used the razor blade tool which enabled us to cut the clips inhalf thus allowing us to use the part of the clip that we needed. Although we tried to make good use of the lights we hadsome of the scenes still appeared dark and as a result made some aspects of the scene difficult to see we used the colourcollector tool which enabled us to brighten the clips making them clearer and easier to see.When we came near completion of our video we decided to show a few of our peers the video in order to get an idea ofwhere to make improvements, when showing them the video someone commented on a scene near the end of the video.Here the artist is about to leave her house and take control of her own life, we therefore see her throwing the picture ofher and her mother on the floor, this suggests that this is the end of a chapter with her and her family and the start of anew one with the man she loves, initially we made it appear as though the artist has thrown the picture of her and hermother on the floor and is then leaving , however one of our peers suggested that after throwing the picture on the floorwe should cause the artist to actually disappear from the photo , we found this quite intriguing and therefore decided touse it because it suggests she is now living life the way she wants ,it therefore illustrates the removal of her presence notonly from the photo but from her mother lifes as well.
Question 1 - Continued CAMERA ANGLESWithin our video we used a range of angles in order to create meaning and effectively illustrate our narrative. For example ourvideo looks at the disempowerment of a girl, her tribulation and therefore weakness so we decided to use a high angle shot toportray this weakness and disempowerment, this was effective as high angle shots are also used to show weakness andvulnerability which is the artists state in parts of the video, high angle shot can also evoke feelings of empathy in the audience. Inone scene the mother is leaning over the protagonist and seems to be overpowering her, we felt this connoted the dominance ofthe artists culture in her life. Furthermore, when it was important that the audience focused on the facial expression of the actors we used mid shots in orderto allow the facial expressions to clearly be seen, we also used midshots to establish the relationship between characters bydisplaying the interaction between them, we did this near the beginning of the video where the protagonist is laughing with hermum which is followed by a shot of her sitting and talking to her boyfriend. When establishing a setting we used the typical longshot which allowed as to effectively move from one setting to the other while making the narrative clear. For the scene where theartist leaves the house we used an over the shoulder shot, when using this shot the shadow formed in front of the artist, thisdiffered from the scenes for instance in the studio where we used spotlights so the shadow formed behind the artist, this in itselfsuggested that initially the artist had no control over her life whereas when she leaves her house and a shadow is formed infront of her it is as though she Is creating her own shadow suggesting she is taking control of her own life, becoming independentand making her own decisions. A significant scene within our video is when the artists mother throws a teddy given to her by herlover on the floor, we felt this scene was important as it shows to the audience the impact the artists relationship is having on herfamily in particular her mother and how severe the effect is , in this scene the camera zooms in to the heart the teddy is holdinga heart, we felt doing this was powerful and would have a profound effect on the audience as it shows to them the strength ofthe girls relationship with her boyfriend, it portrays true love which as the saying goes nobody can come between.
Q2. How effective is the combination of your mainproduct and ancillary texts ?In order to cause our ancillary task to effectively relate to our main product we initially mapped out several ideassuch as the symbolism of blood and water which would connote within our music video the idea of whether or notblood is thicker than water and in the case of our video water being thicker than blood. Having mapped out ourideas we became particularly focused on the idea of trying to portray both cultures and in some way trying todepict the narrative of our video which is fundamentally about a girl torn between two cultures that are representedthrough her lover and mother. Initially we thought of having the girl in the middle with objects that represent both thePakistani and English culture behind her, we then developed this concept and decided to split the female artist in halfand have her dressed in clothing from both the Pakistani culture as well as clothes from the English culture. Thisenabled us to successfully combine our ancillary task and main product as it also allowed us to represent alienationanother element our video explores and how the girl almost in a way is unsure about her identity and what shedefines herself as which can in reality have tragic consequences. Also we used colours which were endemic within ourvideo to keep a constant continuity of the house style. This is extremely important as it allows the audience to link themedia products together causing the audience to be aware that they converge. Behind each half of clothing weplaced images which depicted the female in relation to both cultures, for these images we incorporated some scenesfrom the actual video, we felt this would be a good idea as it would give the audience a taste of the video whileportraying our story line.
Question 2 - ContinuedFurthermore the font style we chose for our CD cover appears quitesophisticated and elegant, these are both as I have mentioned beforeimportant elements within the R and B genre and therefore relates toour video as they cause the font to represent the genre our musicvideo is part of. It was important to choose a font that immediatelyconveyed to the audience the genre our video is a part of, for thisreason we chose a elegant font for artists name instead of forexample a bloody font. We decided to use a dark background forthe back of our CD cover black, this is because using a darkbackground enabled the back of our cd cover to connote the absenceof colour within the artist’s life which therefore effectively combines tothe main product as it depicts the tribulation faced by the artist as alack of colour denotes a lack of happiness and joy.
Question 2 - ContinuedOn the back cover we decided to have a picture of a white flower which looks as though it is crumbling away, wefelt the flower represented the artist mind-set within the video as it almost represented the artist peeling of bits ofthe flower which is helping her to decide what to do, whether she should leave and be with her lover or continueliving in misery. This also links to a scene within our video where the artist is praying and seeking guidance fromGod . These elements together ,as a result represent how perplexed the artist is and how this is causing her tobecome depressed. As well as this we felt that the crumbling of the flower also depicted the crumbling of theartists relationship with her family due to their lack of willingness to allow her to do what she wants and whatmakes her happy by forcing her to stay away from the man she loves. By using a white flower we felt that itportray the loss of the artists innocence in the eyes her mother as white is a colour which represents innocence andpurity .the decaying of flower also demonstrates the destruction the family honour due to the artists decision toleave, by using the colour white it is almost as though the artist leaving the home is leaving a stain on her familieshonour. We have also targeted the Pakistani/ Indian culture by using the colour white, this is because in thesecultures white is worn when a person dies as it is thought these culture white represents sorrow therefore by usingwhite we have almost depicted the death of the artist for her family.
Question 2 – ContinuedFor the promotional poster we incorporated an object of significancefrom our music video. We used a teddy bear which was given to theartist to symbolise the most predominant theme within our video whichis the power of love. We therefore decided to have a simple imageof this teddy on a desk. On the promotional poster we used the Sincity effect, this effect caused the whole of the poster to appear blackand white apart from the teddy, we felt this was effective as it wouldnot only cause the teddy to stand out but emphasise the power of lovethe protagonist has for her boyfriend, it also suggests that herboyfriend is what brings colour in to her life and without him her life iscolourless. The font we used for the promotional poster was the sameas the font we used for the cover of our CD; we did this because itmeant that we were able to create brand identity which thereforemade our cover easily identifiable in stores. We also placed theactual CD cover on the poster; we felt this would allow buyers toeasily identify our cover when going out to buy it.
Q3. What have you learnt from your audience feedback?Our audience feedback was essential in terms of giving us direction; it provided us with a basic criteriato follow. When deciding whether or not to change our initial concept the audience feedback suggesteddoing this would be effective and beneficial and therefore persuaded us to do so. When showing ourtarget audience footage of our initial idea the audience commented on the lack of emotion from themale singer “he didn’t look like he meant it” as well as the fact that both singers did not look like theywere actually singing the song as they did not open their mouths wide enough. When trying to addressthe lip synching issue as well as asking the male actor to be more emotional we made very littleprogress and therefore knew we had to take drastic measures. This is when we began mapping outother ideas and became particularly focused on the idea of social issues and cultural barriers whichprevent people from being together, and the views of some cultures on interracial relationships. Havingdecided to take a whole new direction we consulted our target audience who were intrigued by ournew idea. In order to see whether or not our video interested our audience and successfully attractedthem we created a questionnaire, here are the results…
Question 3 - Continued From this pie chart it is clearly evident that the audience understood the concept behind our video was clearly and therefore made it easy for the audience to comprehend. This means we have been successful in depicting the social issue we wished to represent. From this pie chart it is clear that the audience understood the combination of the song and narrative which shows that the song we selected was strongly compatible with the audience which would therefore be another engaging incentive within our video.
Question 3 - Continued Here the opinions were divided however we expected this as Pakistani clothing is not conventional to the RnB genre. To address this we trying to use colour conventional to the RnB genre .The results from the pie chart show that the majority of people understood this but some did notThe audience response for this question was quite pleasing , when weasked our target audience how our music video portrayed the RnBgenre they said that even though we have not used the conventionalclothes to represent the RnB genre , we gave deep consideration tothe colours used within the video as it created a unique ambience, alsothe use of the photo at the start of the video created a sense ofmystery because the audience cannot see whom the photo is of . Theyalso suggested that the use of the photograph is symbolic as it helpedto show the relationship with the artist and her mother.
Question 3 - ContinuedAs well as creating a questionnaire we showed our video to members of the public who fittedwithin our audience demographic, along with positive feedback we received some negativecriticism along with pointers on where to improve.Positive Feedback“I like the originality of your video; I’ve never seen a video like it before, it is extremelyinteresting and intriguing”.This comment makes it clear that out concept was successful and appealed to the audience.“The narrative is really good; I like how you have done something different”.“Did you really sing that? The lip synching is impressive”.“You have used the camera really well, the camera angles and movement add to the effectivenessof the video”.“The storyline is really clear and easy to understand”.Negative feedback“The lighting in some places such as in the house could use some improvement”.“I think there was too much cuts to the studio”.“I think you could have had some scenes with the artist and her boyfriend together in the presentas all the scenes with the artist and her boyfriend are in the past”.
Question 3 - ContinuedAs well as the video we also consulted the audienceon how effective the ancillary task was…Do you think the ancillary task was successful inpromoting our music video?For this question the majority of the audience felt the ancillary task effectively promoted the product ,many of them commented on the fact that the coloured teddy bear stood out on the dark, dull, greybackground, they say this caused the poster to look quite striking. In relation to the CD cover peoplecommented on the way the female had been split in half and how this was quite appealing as itintrigued them and caused them to want to find out more. The audience also commented on the websiteand how this extra feature was effective as it would allow them to access extra content. They also feltthat there was a strong liaison between the CD cover and music video which is effective as they wouldimmediately be able to make a link between the CD cover and the song.Do you think you would stop and look at the poster and CD cover? Why?Here the feedback was again very positive, the comments mainly revolved around that image of thefemale split in half which seemed to have intrigued the audience and caused them to want to find outmore, they also liked the way the poster and CD cover interlinked and the fact that there was strongbrand identity.
Q4. How have you used technologies in the construction and research, planning and evaluation stages?Through the journey of our a2 media coursework we have utilised many different technologies from software,equipment, and hardware some of which we have never used before and for others we have progressed ourknowledge further. In the research and planning stages we used Youtube to find music videos to analyse. From this webegan to understand how the lighting, sound, editing and mise- en–scene all have an impact on a music video and as aresult the audience response. We discovered codes and conventions which were typical or most popular in the RnBgenre. From this we learnt that split screens, flashbacks/flash forewords are usually used in terms of editing . in relationto camera angles, the actual lip syncing parts consisted mainly of mid shots. Mise – en scene was usually similar to otherRnB videos since they used nude natural colours to portray weakness and purity whilst black and darker colours whereused nearer the end to illustrate dominance.Since everything was on a blog we didn’t just want essays on pages. Slide share allowed us to bring our presentationsdirectly online so it is easy to access and enabled us to put a lot of information on one slide connecting informationtogether, Prezi is also useful because it brought a presentation to life by allowing us to control where we wantedeverything and the transitions where quite effective because it brought movement and character to a presentation. Bothof these programme allowed us to document our work , in a neat and organised manner. Our most commonly usedprogramme in the research stages was movie maker we believe it is a quick and easy program to use and which isusually free on windows computers . All the experimental footage and brainstormed ideas used where put together bythis simple video maker, it brought convergence into our coursework as we where able to place, images, video clipsand audio recordings onto movie maker. Other online software such as Animoto enabled us to encapsulate a fewimages from either the photo shoot or print screens and give easy access to the viewers.
Question 4 - ContinuedAs we began practicing with the camcorder, it was essential to check simple things such as battery life and memoryspace, I believe by doing this is gave us a sense of organisation and direction because before every scene was filmedwe knew exactly what to do. we were given a basic Sony camcorder which we used to our advantage since it allowedme ( Sundas) to experiment with the camera gaining firsthand experience and creating my own techniques for filmingEg) a diagonal tilt and shaky pan . By doing this we created our own unique ambience and mood for the music videowhich is not commonly seen in RnB music videos. Tripods is a simple piece of equipment that brings balance and stabilityto the camera , we usually used this in the studio scenes, it was vital to keep the bubble in the sprit level on the top ofthe tripod in the centre to ensure the camcorder was steady and on a hard smooth surface, because random movementof the camera during lip synching scenes could ruin the actual editing process because the sense of realism behind thesinging would be lost, as the camera would move losing the rhythm of the song and clip may become distorted.
Question 4 - ContinuedIn the construction stage, we realised we had to use a programme which we never used before. We needed to makeourselves familiar with the programme Final Cut Express . We found that final cut express enabled us do nonlinear,non-destructive editing. Final Cut Express stored all of our footage on a hard disk, allowing us to access any frame ofthe footage instantaneously. Without the constraints of linear editing, we were free to combine shots in differentorders and change their durations until we arrived at the exact sequence we wanted. Video and audio effects, suchas scaling, position, rotation, speed changes, and multiple layers can also be applied and played back in real time.No matter how we processed the footage, the underlying media was never touched. This is known as non-destructiveediting, because all of the changes and effects we applied to the footage never affected the music video itself. Anexample of this would be that unlike many of our peers who had everything on one layer, we decided to havemultiple layers, instantly creating cuts. We had layer 1 with just pure performance with the female artist (Halima)singing continuously and then on layer 2 we added the actual scenes and overlapped them together and renderedthem. Rendering allowed us to play the footage wherever we had placed the clip, but takes time so the editingprocess did require a lot of patience. Later we placed the flashback clips on layer 3 and finally the text which isneed at the beginning and the end of the music video was place on the 4th layer I believe we used the layers to ouradvantage because firstly it created a vast amount of cuts and we could move them without changing the wholesequence also adding effects could not be easier since we had enough room on the separate layers to make theeffects last shorter of longer not needing to worry about it cutting off parts of the next clip. Also the lock tool allowedus to lock layers Eg) the audio clip in this case the song “No one” by Alicia keys, so it could not be move even if doneaccidentally.
Question 4 - Continued As we continue to edit the music video our knowledge with final cut began to expand. We understood that clips allow you to easily cut, trim, rearrange, and sort our footage without manipulating it directly. For example when we placed the lip syncing scenes we had the add on parts usually before Halima actual sung, which we did not need and therefore would just be a waste of time rendering and therefore used the “Blade Tool” this adds an edit point to a sequence clip by cutting a single clip item, along with any clip items linked to it in the Timeline, into two pieces. This edit point is added at the frame of the clip item in the Timeline that we clicked. We then could easily remove the parts of a clip that we didn’t want by deleting it. We were able to manage and organise our clips in the Browser. We found that there are three kinds of clips, most common being the video, audio, and graphics clips, but there are other kinds of clips that can be stored within a project, such as a generator clip (a clip whose media is generated within Final Cut Express). Some of the techniques and tools we found out about we did not use because we wanted our music video to be simple and relatable and did not wanted to go into in-depth editing because first of all it is not conventional on typical RnB videos which usually consist of fades and cross dissolves which we have incorporated in our music video.
Question 4 - ContinuedOur music video always got saved as “Sequence 1”. Myself and Halima had no clue what this was and so began researching upon this word.A sequence is a container for editing clips together in chronological order. The editing process involves deciding which video and audio clipitems to put in our sequence, For example what order the clips should go in, and how long each clip should be. Sequences are created in theBrowser. To edit clips into a sequence, we opened a sequence in the Timeline from the Browser. A sequence contains one or more video andaudio tracks, which are empty when first created. As we began to edit a clip into a sequence, we copied the clip’s individual clip items to thesequence. For example, if you drag a clip that contains one video and two audio tracks to the Timeline, a video clip item is placed in a videotrack in the Timeline, and two audio clip items are placed in two audio tracks. In a sequence, you can move any clip item to any track,allowing us to arrange the contents of our music video.We also used Adobe Photoshop CS3 and CS5 to create the digipak for the albums release and for the magazine promotional poster. AdobePhotoshop was a programme we had used in GCSE media , and throughout our A level we have realised with 2 years of experience thatPhotoshop delivers the utmost power and creative control with the next generation of advanced tools for outstanding image manipulation andsuperior compositing. It redefines image editing with a strong focus on photography; this was clearly evident as we have progressed fromusing the simple paint bucket tool and text tool to becoming confident with using the clone stamp tool, magic tool and curves tool to adjustlighting and the history brush tool. With the creation of our ancillary tasks we discovered new effects such as the Sin City effect this is wherethe background is desaturated however the main object of significance is still in colour. Me and Halima became more comfortable with theclone stamp tool because matching skin tone and removing blemishes became easy for us . It was then we realised how far we progressed asa team. We were told our music video could only be 3 - 3.30 minutes long to prevent the audience losing interest. We discovered that our song"Alicia Keys - No One" is 4.08 minutes in length and needed to find a way to cut around a 1 minute off. At first this seemed like a difficultdecision because we did not want to make the cut evident, because it would have made our music video look unprofessional. The programme"Audacity" allowed us to cut, copy, splice or mix sounds together; thus making it easier to remove parts of the song, in order to keep the flowof the rhythm going we decided to cut nearer the end of the song and then fade the clip it make it unnoticeable.