In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?
Every genre of music has a certain set of conventions of which some have been subverted by various directors and artists. For example, pop music videos portray sexuality by the use of mise-en-scene and clothing, often provoking an attitude and lifestyle to be created within the audience. Lady Gaga is a prime example who does this, although her videos are extremely theatrical and artistic, they are still to a certain extent follow the same conventions of pop music videos. I however did not feel comfortable with creating a generic music video, one of which will have been previously made and reused time and time again, for this is the reason why I chose then genre of ‘indie rock’. ‘Indie’, being short for individual, gives the director an opportunity to create something audiences may not expect, producing a far greater response from the audience. Once I found my unsigned band ‘Exlovers’ I felt it would be important to start generating my ideas by looking at similar artists of the same genre and seeing how they met or subverted the conventions of the genre. On post (Analysing music videos) shows the process I took whilst searching for inspiration.
My first idea that I generated (see post: Brainstorming ideas and development.) shows the process of how I came to my initial idea, along with the post after called ‘Animatic’ that shows my stop-frame animatic of which I made to present my ideas visually. However this idea of mine was too adventurous, one of which my skills were not strong enough to produce a successful piece. I wanted to create something that uses my skills I had already learnt, yet push myself and take it to the next level. Previously I have created a stop-motion animation film to a simple melody which is of the same genre as ‘Just a silhouette’. The video shows skill of camera work and editing effectively. I felt it would be successful if I took this further, creating a stop motion film, subverting the conventions, yet including an aspect of animation to enhance the narrative. My main aim was to create something visually pleasing, an idea that I developed from researching and analysing a music video by Florence + the machine. In this video the director has increased the brightness and lowered the contrast of the footage creating a dream like effect, enhancing the sense of equilibrium. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VulUgj4z0CU&feature=player_embedded
However in my music video I wanted to create a cold effect, especially when my actress is located outside in the cold, giving a sense of discomfort, yet I wanted to contrast this by her smiling whilst the sun gleams down on her as she is excited to get inside her warm cosy house. I wanted this effect to look beautiful, and express the feel of safety and warmth of being at home. I also decided to keep my music video narrative based, I felt this would have a greater effect of looking professional as I would only have to direct one person and would present this story around the one character, subverting typical conventions of the indie genre as they often have a performance set video. I gained further inspiration from ‘Lost things’ –written and directed by Angela Kohler (see post: Current Issues) An aspect that I felt was effective and used in my own piece was the computerized animation. I felt this worked well. The whole video is made using stop motion, filmed in a homely environment, allowing the audience to feel connected to the text. The animation heightens a sense of non-reality, creating it to look almost dream-like, something that I wanted to create myself.
As my target audience are a young audience of teenagers to young adults (from about 15-25 years of age) I wanted to make this video as relatable as possible. Stereotypically the ‘teen’ is at an awkward age, trying to find their place in society. My aim was to represent this by my actress being of a teen age, trying to express herself through clothing and her style in her bedroom, yet if anything she looks more uncomfortable and awkward trying to do so, especially in the outdoor scenes, Juxtaposing with the indoor scenes in her room, a place which people, especially teenagers feels is their own and is created into their own sanctuary.
How effective is the combination of your main product and ancillary texts?
To promote and market my music video, I created a DVD cover and an advert to advertise the DVD and its release. During this production of the DVD cover, I researched some album covers of the same ‘Indie’ genre along with existing cover art for my band, Exlovers: After looking at these cover art for Exlovers singles, I developed an understanding that they represent their work by using the ‘vintage’ look which is a common convention used by similar indie bands of this time. However, their cover art are all created by a film camera, andas I am a media student I wanted to explore the new media technologies and use a digital camera, using Photoshop and Adobe Lightroom to edit my shots. I chose four album covers which I felt more inspired by and that I felt represented the band whilst making the cover art eye catching. From looking at the first image, by Belle & Sebastian – I think the use of sepia is effective as it contrasts with the black hair, although it is not in black and white, it reminds me of the Exlovers single for ‘You forget so easily’. I also really liked the last album cover by Tokyo Police Club. I liked the editing used of the red flag contrasting against the main black and white background, an effect I considered using.
During the development of my ideas I researched the ‘look’ of the band and what ideologies they’re already trying to portray. In a lot of their photo shoots they include ‘hearts’, a simple, relatable aspect to use and develop my ideas with. Hearts are continuously used throughout the photo shoots for Exlovers. I wanted to recreate this look as I felt it would fit in with the image that Exlovers have already created and portray, making the DVD cover look more believable. I feel the idea and objective of the image is something that you would expect to see in a HMV store in the indie rock section. From this I took photography of myself and chose four that I felt had the most potential of looking effective being cover art. (see post : Album Covers) I chose this image as the album cover as I felt it met the look of Exlovers whilst being the most striking picture, along with the h ighestquality photography. The second step was to choose the typography so I tried exploring with different fonts but felt it would be more effective if I used a font that the band had previously used creating a sense of intertextuality. I experimented with different fonts, colouring and positioning to see what worked best.
Overall I’m really pleased with the outcome of the DVD cover; I feel it works effectively with the main product, even though the two don’t necessarily match with the ideologies behind the pieces. However the artistic look of the pieces works together and both represent the look and style of the band and still synergise together. The third and final stage of the development was the back of the DVD cover, the part where the key media aspects where needed. To make It as effective and realistic as possible I included snap shots of the music video, including the ‘special features’ section , a mini review from NME- the lead magazine for indie rock music, the bands Myspace link, the bar code and the DVD symbol. All together I feel creates a realistic looking DVD album cover: My second ancillary task was to create an advertisement for the DVD release. To develop a more in depth understanding of what was needed to make this successful, I browsed though the rock n roll magazine NME for inspiration. Whilst browsing through I noticed common conventions used in the advertisements of album releases, they are often keep them simple which makes them more eye catching and bold. Not only has this but they contained the image of the album cover, along with the band’s name and song names. I took this into consideration when designing my advert, I wanted to keep it as simple yet effective as I could, whilst remaining the style of Exlovers that I have previously used, to intertextualize their products. Overall I’m happy with the outcome of the DVD cover and advertisement. I feel they meet the look and need of the band and their audience. They are both eye catching whilst not being over done, yet still maintain the image and style of the band that is reflected by the images, text and colour pallet that I’ve chosen. However the main issue with what I have created is the fact I didn’t use synergy as a marketing advantage. As my DVD cover and Advertisement work hand in hand, they don’t relate back to the music video, nor follow the same look that I created. They both follow generic codes and conventions for an indie band, but they look as if there created for two separate bands. Whereas I should of focused on one focal point throughout the pieces synergising the products, making them more marketable and completing an overall look for the band.
How did you use media technologies in the construction and research, planning and evaluation stage?
Research and planning: During the research stage I used various different media technologies to help me develop my ideas, ranging from internet based research to viewing the television. The internet was most efficient as I could easily search for appropriate websites to help find my band Exlovers on Myspace to finding existing Album covers for inspiration, simply by typing into Google search engine which delivers suitable sites quickly and efficiently. www.myspace.com was extremely helpful for the search of my unsigned band as it plays the artists music, gives a general description of the band, has photos of the bands which helps gain a general understanding of their look and style, and contact options to contact the band and their management if needed. These are a few of the bands I found: Immediately I could distinguish the bands style and genre by the layout and theme they had within the MySpace page and felt it was something good I could work with and develop ideas from. Not only this but because of the music player application on the MySpace page, I was able to listen to the bands music which I also enjoyed and felt ideas developing After choosing my band, I was then able to email their manager to ask for permission to use their song which was easy as his email was on the bands MySpace:
Research and planning: To help develop ideas and gain inspiration from existing artists I used the website youtube.com, which enables you to search got any video on the net, allowing me to view any music video I wanted at my own time and leisure. To continue with this research into different music videos, I watched music channels on sky TV, such as MTV2 and NME TV to broaden my knowledge of new coming artists and the current videos that are being made, helping me understand what modern audiences expect to see. To help me further with my understanding of what my target audience would want to see in a music video, I set up a group on Facebook, constructing a questionnaire asking what type of genre they like, what they would expect to see, and what type of music channels they would watch etc. The results from the questionnaire showed that the majority of my audience where 17-19.,meaning I would range my target audience from around 15-25 to target as many people as possible. The results also showed that my target audience enjoys a certain genre of music – Indie, supporting my choice of using my found unsigned band Exlovers. They also enjoy music channels such as NME and MTV2, meaning I would have to view these channels and analyse the type of music seen shown on them.
Construction & evaluation: Their response supported my idea and plans, which made me feel confident in my decision. I began the construction of my first idea, which included the use of a green screen. I soon discovered how difficult this would be after trying to edit the footage on after effects. From here I decided to simplify my idea and create something more ideal to fit my skills. Instead I decided to create stop motion animation, which takes a lot of camera skill and patients. When constructing a stop motion animation you use a setting called continuous shot on a digital SLR camera, once pieced together it makes it appear that what’s on shot is moving. I wanted to make the piece visually interesting, to do so I had to edit each individual shot as some lighting was different in some shots. I used Adobe Lightroom (a type of Photoshop that is simply for photo editing) to edit my film, examples: These screen grabs show the difference from before and after I edited the photographs This is a print screen of the Lightroom program software I used to photo every photo from my stopframeanimation. On ‘quick develop’ there was a setting where I could choose a certain type of edit style for my photographs, which then allowed me to batch edit all the photos at once. Here it shows the editing effect I used for my video, highlighted as ‘cold tone’, allowing me to edit the way I wanted successfully. I feel this worked successfully and gave a professional finish to my piece. I feel this worked successfully and gave a professional finish to my piece. Once I had pieced my music video together, I constructed a survey using a website called ‘survey monkey’, which is a quick and easy way to collect data and results. Click here to take survey It helped me collect and analyse my results efficiently, enabling me to generate a defined conclusion on weather my products I created where successful for my target audience.
What have you learnt from your audience feedback?
During the planning stages of the music video, I constructed a Facebookgroup to question my target audience and to give me a broader view on ideas, influences and generally what they would be attracted too in a music video. In the Facebookgroup that I made I added a questionnaire as it was an easy way to gather results, these are the following questions I asked: 6. What is your preferred style of music video? -performance -narrative - a mixture of both -cameo -animation 7.What colour of editing do you prefer in music video? -Natrual lighting -Floresant colours -Black n White -Sepia 8. If you watch music channels, which ones do you mainly watch? -MTV hits -MTV dance -MTV base -MTV 2 -vh1 -tmf -the box 1. How old are you? 2. What type of area do you live in? Eg, inner city? Suburbs? Rural? 3. Are you male or female? 4. What is your preferred music genre? - Pop - Rock - Indie - RnB - Hiphop - Classical - Dance Please state if other 5. In this genre of music, what do you expect to see in the video, please explain? -magic -kiss -Q -Kerrang -bliss -scuzz -flaunt -NME TV After collecting my responses I know what genre and style of music video I should create, overall the answers I gained where very useful. From my audience feedback, I gathered a greater understanding of what they wanted, I felt it was important to question their age, this way I could create something that they are able to relate too. The majority of my audience that replied to my questionnaire where 15-19, I was able to understand that my target audience are of the teenage, meaning I would have to create something relatable to teenagers. My questionnaire also determined that my audience wanted a music video that belonged in the indie genre, which helped me, narrow down the search to find my unsigned band.
After the developing and production stage, I was left with a film which I felt met all the wants and needs of my target audience. I feel it is relatable to teenagers as it reflects their everyday lifestyle whilst looking visually interesting and all most dream like. The actress I used was also in the same age range as my target audience, but most importantly I feel like my music would be shown on music channels such as MTV2 and NME tv whilst not looking out of place. However, I felt it was important to subvert the typical conventions of indie music videos and not present the teenage lifestyle as ‘rebellious’, instead I did the opposite. Most indie music videos set an example to their young audience by presenting drink, sex and drugs , yet this is something I wanted to avoid in my work, and instead created something more approachable and relatable for my audience instead of setting a bad example. Once I had completely finished the editing of my video, I felt it was important to gain feedback from my target audience to see if my ideas and construction of the film was successful. To do this I used an internet based program called ‘survey monkey’, which allowed me to create questions and answer boxes making it an easy way to question, collect and analyse my results. The questions I used where simple and down to the point, here is the survey my target audience received, and the results:
Here it shows the first two set of results from my survey. The results prove that my piece was in fact successful as my target audience would go out and buy the single if they heard and saw the music video. Survey monkey allowed me to create this simple interactive online questionnaire. As you can see the layout is simple yet the questions target the issues I need to question. This website highly contributed to the quality of results I received to produce a conclusion and evaluate my work.
Generally my audience understood the video showing how they relate to it personally, however some found this difficult, to have avoided this, I might of had to focus on the mise-en-scene to convey more meaning behind the text Reoccurring responses, my audience generally like the animation, the homely features such as the cat and the bed and the effects. These results show my audience where generally happy with the outcome of the music video, some say they didn't have a least favourite aspect to the video. however this may be the audience being nice, where as some of the responses where more helpful saying how I should include more animation, and how I could of improved on the Photoshopped brick section, all of which I agree with.
From my results I believe my audience do like the video overall, all that participated in the survey said that watching the video would make them want to go out and buy the record, therefore making it a success on a marketing level. However the main problem I found is that some of my audience didn’t quite understand the meaning behind the video and ‘don’t understand how it relates to the song’, whereas some of the audience did understand the simplicity behind the video, giving me mixed results. Another common critique I received is that the video should involve more animation throughout the whole of the video. I do agree with these comments as I feel it would have taken the video to a higher level of skill and if I was to redo the video again, that would be the main aspect I would change about it. On the other hand I did receive positive feedback. A lot of my target audience found the brick wall animation scene the best part of the video, along with the animation I had included. Overall I feel the music video was a success, my target audience are impressed and would be interested in watching the video and buying the record, making me feel fulfilled with what I have created.