1. In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media? In our group, we chose to work on a Soca music video called ‘Right Dey’ By KES the band. Much like other music videos, the mise en scene played a lot on the representation of the music itself, for example, our song is very up beat and lively, so we chose to have bright lighting in our video to match the mood. However, due to having the theme of ‘Bringing Socato London’ we further conveyed this by using shots from winter as well as summer to show that soca can be listened to all year round. In doing so, it challenges the generic convention of typical soca music videos, as majority of these video are shot under bright lighting and usually in a hot climaxed place E.G. Trinidad and usually accompanied by seductive girls, expensive cars and pleasant locations such as beaches.
Generally on Soca Music Videos there are a selection of seductive girls, those of which tend to also have a certain role, such in the video of ‘My girl’ by KES the Band, there is a different girl for different times of the day. We challenged this representation by having our actresses cover up, especially as it was winter, this connotes that you do you need to be a model type to have fun as well as sending out the message that anyone can be beautiful. My girl by KES the Band: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J6Er54nlxAs Sometimes the girls in the video also have a set dance routine that is usually repeated through out the video. We thought to stick to this idea and have our team do a routine dance, on the other hand, we did not want the girls to be portrayed as all the same, so instead of having a male lip sync the song, we had the dancers be the focus of the video rather than the band themselves. So the actresses would lip sync to the lyrics, whilst various shots of London, dancing and shots of everyone enjoying themselves are also shown.
. This is an example of how our group has challenged the voyeurism, especially looking at the representation of women. Looking closely, we have women of different age and sizes doing the same thing, but in a more decent portrait.
In having the dancers lip sync the lyrics, we developed this more by eradicating the idea to have a substitute male to pose as KES the Band, therefore there is a lack of band shots or iconography of the band. Although this does not happen often in videos, and the fact that there is a demand on close ups shots of the main vocalists, the director had split the lyrics between two girls whilst using other various size shots to keep the audience interested and to make up for the lack of shots for the band. N-dubz is another artist/band who also made a video without their appearance: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5GxwM6wnWpg
Our video has changed dramatically from our first proposal to the finishing result, at first our idea was to do a linear narrative video, simply lip syncing and dancing from point A to B. The locations we used was situated in known places of N-W London, this is also part of the route that the traditional carnival group passes through. Yet towards the end, we had realised that the shots we had taken was not enough, which is when we decided to change our theme to ‘Bringing Soca to London’. After taking iconic shots of London such as the London Eye and Buckingham Palace, we had to also change the narrative to fit in the new shots. In the end, we decided to have a video with no narrative, but instead to have plenty shots to create a montage. However majority of music videos have a narrative, so by challenging generic conventions, we hope to appeal to other genres, not only soca.
London plays a very important role to our video as we have challenged many of the usual conventions of a soca music video. London is used for iconography much like the Caribbean is used for theirs.
According to academic, Andrew Goodwin, another key feature of generic conventions include relationship between lyrics, visual and music. The lyrics of the chosen song does fit the visual in some aspects as the song as is about people getting together and dancing and having fun. Which is basically the aim of our video. The visual also has a strong relation to the music this is due to editing the cut aways to match the beat of the song, we also made the clips short in order to keep to the pace of the song. For example, during the bridge of the song, we slowed down the clip to match the music. (2:49 +)
At certain points we also added text to really stand out and it also adds to the video style, due to Web 2.0 theory and youtube, the consumer can now be the producer, and music videos no longer need a millionaire look. Like most Soca videos, they too do not look fancy seeing as they are a niche group.
2. How effective is the combination of your main product and ancillary texts? Our group made sure that the music video and the digipack represent the same meaning, in order to create an icon or instant recognition between the band, music and visuals; as it would generally be branded by a recording company, allowing an anchored image to be exposed to the audience. To begin, we explored internet sites and search engines such as Google and Wikipiedia to find resources from previous digipack and album covers. Upon finding the images, we learnt that there is a relationship between the music video and the digipack, for example: a typical music video has many indecently exposed women, the album covers also portray this certain representation of women also.
We decided to support this convention to have a strong correlation between the music video and the digipack; due to challenging the stereotype of women, we cannot have those genre of photos on our product, therefore we searched for packs where there are good representation of women. This is an example of a Soca artist who challenges the generic forms of Soca music videos/advertising. However another problem occured as the band was purposely not represented in our music video, instead it was fan-based. Therefore we had to find other means of constructing the digipack which excludes representation yet matches our music video.
Another common Soca digipack cover surprisingly has no photo at all, but in fact only has text and effects, we believed that this type of cover would better suit our digipack as we also have text in our video and can use similar effects for advertising and such. This way we are also able to keep a specific icon of the band towards the target audience and achieve an immediate association between the video and digipack.
3. What have you learnt from audience feedback? Just like the previous year, we had gone through the expected procedures of researching to begin with, then moved onto brainstorming, filming and so forth; through researching, we were able to refer back to feedback given to better suit our Soca audience. During the researching period we each took 10 questionnaires which were carefully constructed to achieve the information which were relevant to our production. [Canbelocatedonthe blog]
Our group had used different means of having the questionnaires answered via social networking such as Facebook as well as phone and traditional pen and paper. Thanks to the internet, we no longer have to rely on ‘word of mouth’, however many of our questionnaires had actually chosen ‘Friends’ as the most successful advertising, promoting the idea that peers have an impact on our lives. After looking over the questionnaire results, they were carefully analysed and then copied onto graphs using Microsoft excel for easier extracting of data. [All of which is available on the blog]
From the questionnaires, I have learnt that no there is specific age for someone to listen to music, and that their ethnicity or location does not depend solely on their choice of music and most of which have more than one preference of genre, in saying so there are still individuals that are influenced by environmental aspects. Due to the diversity, there can be no absolute way to construct a music video that will have every individual appeal to it, so our main focus would have to be those who listen purely to Soca music. For example, one person left feedback who would of preferred more effects.
Furthermore, the questionnaires taught me that playing in clubs and music videos are a good way of advertising and promoting artists/bands or singles. So we then constructed a questionnaire regarding digipack, however very few responded, so we had to rely on research from the internet, to match the real media. This supports the Web 2.0 theory and Long Tail theory, as people no longer buy many albums or digipack as everything is now available on the net. ‘Why would I buy the album when I can download it off the internet and in the comfort of my own home?’ said one student as we were discussing digipack designs. From the regular feedback given, I had to re-edit different parts such as speeding up some shots, or even shortening some shots to add more excitement and keeping to the pace . I was also advised to add more text as well as variety of shots, which included re-filming most shots to get better lighting and angles.
Our final production was then put onto social networking sites, mainly Facebook to get more audience feedback therefore we are more aware for the next opportunity for music video arises. Other comments:
Majorityofthefeedbackwerepositiveprovingtomeandmygroupthatourmusicvideohadbeenasuccess,aspeersofvastageshadcommentedonstyle,lighting,alignmentandmanymore. Fewcriticismswerepresentbutwelcomed,wehavelearntthattherearesomefactorsneededimprovingsuchasmoreprofessionaleffectsaswellasconnotationsofthevideoneededtobeelaboratedmorewithinourvideo.However,insayingthat,oneindividualhadmentionedthe‘fun’shown withinthevideo,which happensto be oneofourmainpurposes,ashavingfunisthebasicimplicationofthelyrics.