Evaluation In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products? My music video challenged forms and conventions of real music videos in terms of narrative structure. This is because my music video is entirely narrative based with no element of performance by the band, while conventional music videos, especially by rock/ indie-rock bands, are heavily reliant on performance-based music videos (e.g. Kings of Leon, Razorlight and The Kooks all tend to use an element of performance in their music videos). The advantage of a performance-based music video is that it represents the band as exciting to see live at gigs and as serious artists rather than manufactured (e.g. the latter can be said for many pop videos which show the artist lip-synching rather than during a real performance in front of an audience, such as Britney Spears’ ‘Hit Me Baby One More Time’: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TKo4fFVymqk , in comparison to Kings of Leon’s ‘Use Somebody’: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LWhairF_DS8 , in which the live performance scenes represent the band as significantly more serious). However, I chose to pursue a narrative-based music video for two main reasons. First, an interesting narrative provides a hook for audiences to watch the entire video, and second; the simple fact that a narrative-based music video is slightly unconventional will cause it to stand out and be more memorable. For example, The Arctic Monkeys and Bjork have produced some memorable, narrative-based music videos (e.g. ‘When The Sun Goes Down’ and ‘Fluorescent Adolescent’ by The Arctic Monkeys and ‘Bachelorette’ and ‘All Is Full Of Love’ by Bjork). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xGtteCra4U8 Link to Arctic Monkeys – ‘When The Sun Goes Down’ These videos are memorable because their narratives provide hooks for the audience which keep them watching the video. For example, in Bjork’s ‘Bachelorette’, the narrative is linear and each twist opens up a deeper layer of the story, where certain aspects of the story are recycled and put into slightly different situations, for example the way the story of her book is shown over and over again so that there are many stories within stories and what was initially fictitious becomes reality and a new fictitious story is created. Because of the complex nature of the plot, not only does the narrative provide a hook for the audience to watch the entire video but also to revisit the video and watch it again to make more sense of the story. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1a1bfbk_yQU&feature=related Link to Bjork – ‘Bachelorette’ Above: stills from ‘When The Sun Gos Down’ Right: stills from ‘Bachelorette’
As for the narrative of my music video, I chose to follow a more conventional path by using lyrics from the song as direct inspiration for the plot (in accordance with Goodwin’s theory; “there is a relationship between lyrics and visuals”). On the other hand I then used a slightly unconventional non-linear narrative style in order to tell the story as if it were a dream, which is in keeping with the distinctly nostalgic tone of the song. In order to do this I took inspiration from several films, most notably Le Mépris ( Contempt , dir. Jean-Luc Godard, 1963) in which the narrative is used in a fascinating way by the director so that the real focus of the film is the thoughts of the characters about the past, present and future rather than the actual events of the plot. Furthermore, the film includes some wonderful short montages of past events which are put together with fast cuts between lots of short shots which significantly aid the dream-like atmosphere of the film. These were of particular inspiration to me as I included similar sequences in my music video, most notably between 02:01 and 02:07. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AXLLxpljdZ0 Link to my music video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IT7P7ijpAPY Link to Le Mépris trailer I also used generic conventions from music videos of the romance genre. Particular influences of this type were Madonna’s ‘Like A Prayer’ and Celine Dion’s ‘It’s All Coming Back To Me Now’, the main influences of which were the slow cross-fade transitions which I used abundantly in my music video, as a result of their efficacy in these two examples. I also relied heavily on flashback sequences in my music video. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jMe9iLshK0Y Link to clip from Shutter Island http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xIg7jcnkGYI&feature=related Link to Once Upon A Time In America http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QAKpu72Kugw Link to Celine Dion’s ‘It’s All Coming Back To Me Now’ The use of flashback is a relatively conventional narrative device used effectively in the context of romance in films such as Casablanca (1942), Once Upon A Time In America (1984), Manhattan (1979) and Shutter Island (2010), although the latter is more of a dream scene. Still from Celine Dion’s ‘It’s All Coming Back To Me Now’ Flashback sequence from Once Upon A Time In America
Although I didn’t use narrative conventions of the indie genre, I did use indie conventions in terms of characterisation. I did this through the costumes worn by the characters, which were heavily designed to fit the ‘indie dress-code’ (typically consisting of skinny jeans, slim polo shirt/ checked shirt/ print design t-shirt and leather jacket/ cardigan/ hooded jumper). My research supports this as the clothes on sale at Topshop/ Topman and H&M are very similar to those worn by band members of the likes of The Kings of Leon, Arctic Monkeys, Razorlight and The Kooks, and these two shops were by far the two favourite shops of indie/ rock audiences according to my audience research. Therefore, by the characters wearing clothes purchased from or similar to those available from these two shops I was using the generic dress-code of the indie-genre. This is vital for attracting my target audience for several reasons. First, they can relate to the lead singer of the band (who is the protagonist in the video) because he is wearing similar clothes to what the audience members tend to wear, creating a relationship between the band and the audience. Second, the lead singer is made to appear more desirable to audience members because he is wearing fashionable clothing. A desirable protagonist was found to be an important factor in a music video according to the participants taking part in my audience research. Lacan also states in his Mirror Stage Theory that a human child becomes fascinated by his/ her own mirror image the first time he/ she recognises himself/ herself, leading to the argument that audience members can recognise themselves in the context of the narrative of a media text if they see similarities between themselves and the protagonist. Furthermore, given the increasingly strong link between fashion and musical genres, the generic costumes fortify the band’s indie image and the genre of their music. As for my print productions, I also followed certain generic conventions. For example, according to Goodwin’s theory, artists tend to adopt a visual style which they reuse in many of their productions (for example Jams Morrison uses the same font in his album covers, see images opposite) and I too used a similar visual style between my music video and digipak cover in terms of the use of stills from my music video.
Also, regarding my magazine advert, it is a generic convention to include an image of the artist in order to enhance his/ her marketability, which is something that I did in my magazine advert. For example, the advert for the release of the Noah And The Whale’s album ‘The First Days Of Spring’ which includes an image of the band is shown below: How effective is the combination of your main product with ancillary texts? Due to a steady drop of record sales in recent years, which has come as a result of (mainly) illegal downloading, bands and artists are increasingly relying on revenue from gigs and festivals, as well as other sources (e.g. merchandising, special edition box-sets/ DVDs etc.). Consequently, it is increasingly important for bands and artists to market themselves as a ‘brand’ or an ‘experience’ which audiences want to buy into, as opposed to simply listening to their music. It could be argued that, in a way, bands and artists are exploiting the audience’s instincts of wanting to belong and wanting to be part of a specific group, which they show to everyone by going to the gig, buying the merchandise and the special edition DVD (e.g. when Radiohead released their album ‘In Rainbows’ as a free internet download they also released a limited edition digipak which was sold in stores for £40 and went on a hugely successful tour following the album’s release). For the marketing of a band’s/ artist’s ‘brand’ to be successful, however, it is crucial that each text produced by or relating to the band/ artist has a continuing theme and style, making the brand a consistent image, in accordance with Goodwin’s theory: “the artist may develop motifs (or a visual style) which recur across their work”. It was therefore important for me to create a brand and image of my band through the consistency of themes and representations in each of my productions. In conclusion, I have used forms and conventions of the rock/ indie genre as well as the romance genre in order to make the band more marketable, but by combining the two I have developed both genres, especially the latter through the use of flashback, illusion and nostalgia to add dimension and ambiguity to the narrative. By developing forms and conventions as opposed to simply using them I have created a more dynamic text which moves genre forward rather than leaving it as stagnant (a criticism which could be applied to some pop music videos or action/ adventure films). Furthermore, this type of complex narrative will appeal to a more sophisticated audience who are familiar with an ambiguous narrative and, according to Kress (1988), this audience demographic would be in a familiar place and enjoy the notion of ambiguity, as he claims that when an audience ‘visits’ a genre it is like visiting a familiar social occasion.
For example, I created consistency between the music video and the digipak booklet by using still images from the music video in the booklet. The background of the front cover, for instance, is a collage of many, very small stills from the music video, edited for a sepia look in order to create a retro style which adds a personal tone. This provides a subtle yet strong link between the two products and serves to strengthen the band’s relationship with the audience due to the intertextuality between the texts to strengthen the fan base as the audience can now identify with band’s ‘personality’ and style, which is a central element to the band’s brand. An audience member who buys the album is likely to have seen the music video and therefore sees the connection between the two products and this interaction between the two texts adds depth to each text. For example, the drama and intensity which I aimed to achieve in my music video through the use of a non-linear narrative, close-up shots and hand-held shots is intensified in the front cover of the digipak through the messy layout of repeated images, to suggest fragmented memories which the protagonist is trying to make sense of. Without the music video, the images in the background of the front cover would have less meaning and significance. I also included several larger stills from the music video on pages inside the booklet, further strengthening the marketing of the artist. Nevertheless, each production is strong enough to stand alone and each have had something new added to them so that they avoid being dull and repetitive. As for the relationship between the digipak booklet and the magazine advertisement, which would appear in NME magazine as it is well-known for promoting new British rock bands in recent years (e.g. Bloc Party and the Killers), I have strayed slightly from the music video as I haven’t included any stills from it; however I have maintained close thematic links to the digipak booklet. For example, the image used in the background of the magazine advert also features in the digipak booklet, in a smaller size and simpler design. Also, NME is recognised as a rock orientated magazine, meaning that the genre of the band is kept consistent. Furthermore, some of the quotes featured on the magazine advert also feature in the digipak booklet, again maintaining a connection between the two. Perhaps the most important link between the two print productions, however, is between the quote I attributed to the lead singer of the band: “just get out there and play your music, it’s what being a musician is all about” and the image of him playing the guitar in the advert and the information at the bottom of the page: “visit www.thenewyorkfund.co.uk for tour announcements” as all of these consistently promote the band as performers who are exciting to see live as well as allowing fans to access the artist. As I have mentioned above, this is crucial for any band due to the increased importance of live performances. The front-cover of my digipak A panel from my digipak and my final magazine advert which use the same image of the artist
What have you learned from your audience feedback? I conducted audience feedback by screening the music video on a large screen in front of the Media Studies class and handing out questionnaires. One strength of using the questionnaire as the method for getting data was that it allowed me to collect both quantitative and qualitative data, resulting in my ability to evaluate more rich and detailed data. On the other hand, one weakness of using questionnaires is that participants may not always communicate their opinions fully or entirely truthfully, due to the effort of writing full answers and the questionnaire’s impersonal nature. I received feedback from two classes, a Year 13 Media Studies class and a Year 12 Media Studies class, making the demographic of the sample males and females between the ages of 16 and 18. This demographic is representative of my target audience as my target audience includes both males and females between the ages of 15-22. However, the sampling method can be criticised for being biased as they are all Media Studies students, making it likely that they have specialised viewing habits compared to a wider, more mainstream audience. Furthermore, the classes are likely to include mixed preferences of music genres, meaning that the feedback I receive isn’t just from my target audience who prefer rock/ indie/ guitar bands; therefore the feedback I received wasn’t entirely representative of my target audience.
<ul><li>Gender:…………….. Age:……………… </li></ul><ul><li>Please circle as appropriate, 1 = worst 5 = best </li></ul><ul><li>How much did you enjoy the music video? 1 2 3 4 5 </li></ul><ul><li>2) Did it hold your attention? 1 2 3 4 5 </li></ul><ul><li>3) How do you rate the camera work and editing? 1 2 3 4 5 </li></ul><ul><li>4) How do you rate the standard of mise-en-scene? 1 2 3 4 5 </li></ul><ul><li>5) Was the music video: too short correct length too long don’t know </li></ul><ul><li>6) Would you watch it again? yes no undecided </li></ul><ul><li>7) Can you suggest anything to improve the appeal? </li></ul><ul><li>8) Were there any aspects that you found offensive? i.e. representation of race, gender, age, culture </li></ul><ul><li>9) Was there any part you found confusing or hard to understand? </li></ul><ul><li>10) What is the best part of the production? </li></ul><ul><li>11) Does the video reflect the style of music? yes no undecided </li></ul><ul><li>12) Does the video successfully promote the artist/ band/ group? yes no undecided </li></ul><ul><li>13) On a scale of 1 2 3 4 5 with 5 being the highest how do you rank the music video? </li></ul><ul><li>14) Any further comment? </li></ul>The questionnaire that the participants completed is shown below:
My sample was made up of 19 participants in total, with 10 females and 9 males. Out of the 19, 6 were aged 16 (2 females and 4 males), 9 were aged 17 (6 females and 3 males) and 4 were aged 18 (2 females and 2 males). The relatively even spread of males and females in the sample strengthens the generalisability of the findings to my target audience, as my target audience is an equally male/ female audience. The sample size of 19, however, is quite small and therefore limits the reliability of the findings. In order to evaluate the quantitative data I put the responses into tables, keeping the responses of males, females and different age groups separate so that I can analyse the responses of each group separately and compare them with each other, making it easier to identify any possible trends. For example, the table showing the results for question 1) “How much did you enjoy the music video?” is shown below, with the responses of each participant of each category shown in the blue shaded areas, while the mean ratings from each categories are shown in the red shaded areas: From this table I can see that the mean rating from all 19 participants for how much they enjoyed the music video is 3.4 out of 5. This is perhaps a little disappointing, as I would have hoped for a rating closer to or even slightly beyond 4 out of 5. However, an interesting and more positive finding from this question is that the mean ratings progressively increase through the age groups, rising by a whole point from 3 to 4 out of 5 from those aged 16 to those aged 18. The mean rating of 4 out of 5 from the 18 year old group is pleasing and suggests that maybe my target audience is a little older than I previously assumed (e.g. 18-24 rather than 15-22). On the other hand, this finding can perhaps be attributed to one of two possible factors. The first of which is that the rating increase from 3 out of 5 from the 16 year olds to the 3.4 from the 17 year olds appears to be largely influenced by the significant increase of females in the 17 year old group compared to the 16 year olds. This is important because females gave a higher mean rating than males (3.7 vs. 3.1), suggesting that the mean rating of the 17 year olds was raised only by the increase of females, rather than a shift in opinion caused by age. This appears to be true for the males, as their ratings did not increase according to age, although there may be an age factor among females, as their mean ratings rose from 2.5 from the 16 year olds to 4.5 from the 18 year olds. From this I can therefore argue that our music video appeals to an audience both slightly older and more female than male than I initially intended. However, the second factor which may have influenced the rise of ratings according to age is that the younger students (those aged 16 and some aged 17) are part of the Year 12 Media Studies class, whereas the older students are part of the Year 13 Media Studies class, which I am also part of myself, suggesting that a social desirability bias may have influenced the results by preventing the older participants from being entirely truthful and perhaps giving excessively positive feedback. While this doesn’t account for the higher mean ratings given by females than males, however, it does reflect a flaw in my sampling method. Age Sex Mean Female Male 16 2, 3 2, 3, 4, 4 3 17 2, 4, 4, 4, 4, 5 2, 2, 4 3.4 18 4, 5 3, 4 4 Mean 3.7 3.1 Total Mean: 3.4
The results for question 2) “Did it hold your attention?”: Interestingly, in this question sex appeared to be less influential, with the mean ratings of males and females both being 3.6 out of 5, and it is pleasing that the total mean is a little higher in this question than the last (3.6 vs. 3.4). Age appeared to be a more significant influencing factor than gender, and a slightly more significant factor in this question than the last, as the mean ratings rose from 3.2 to 4.3; a rise of 1.1 compared to the rise of 1 in the previous question. The most pleasing finding from this question is the mean rating of 4.3 from the 18 year old participants, as this suggests that the music video held their attention very well. One 16 year old male cites the editing as the factor which keeps the viewer’s attention, as he answered “the editing – holds the viewers attention” in response to question 10) “What is the best part of the production?”. Age Sex Mean Female Male 16 2, 3 2, 3, 4, 5 3.2 17 2, 3, 4, 4, 4, 5 3, 3, 4 3.6 18 4, 5 4, 4 4.3 Mean 3.6 3.6 Total Mean: 3.6
The results for question 3) “How do you rate the camera work and editing?”: These results are very pleasing as they show that participants rated the camera work and editing consistently highly with very little, insignificant variation according to age or sex, highlighted by the total mean score of 4.3 out of 5. Many responses to question 10) “What is the best part of the production?” also show that participants rated the camera work and editing highly, as one 16 year old female answered “camera angles”, another 16 year old female answered “the editing” and an 18 year old male answered “shot types”, while some cited specific examples such as “the use of cross fades” according to a 17 year old female and “the tilt-shot of the gate” according to a 17 year old male. Both the quantitative and qualitative results suggest that the camera work and editing were very well received by the participants and were perhaps the most popular aspects of the production. Age Sex Mean Female Male 16 4, 4 3, 4, 5, 5 4.2 17 4, 4, 4, 4, 5, 5 4, 4, 5 4.3 18 4, 5 4, 4 4.3 Mean 4.3 4.2 Total Mean: 4.3
The results for question 4) “How do you rate the standard of mise-en-scene?”: Here the female ratings are far more pleasing than the male ratings, as there is a significant difference between the females’ and males’ appreciation for the standard of mise-en-scene. The vast difference between the female and male ratings is surprising and I would be interested to find out why this is the case, as at the moment I can only speculate. Two comments from 18 year old females in response to question 10) relate to the mise-en-scene, with one answering “I like the use of the red coat – striking” and another answered “locations”. Age Sex Mean Female Male 16 3, 4 2, 3, 4, 4 3.3 17 4, 4, 4, 4, 5, 5 2, 3, 3 3.8 18 4, 5 3, 4 4 Mean 4.2 3.1 Total Mean: 3.7
The results for question 11) “Does the video reflect the style of the music?”: Pleasingly, every single participant believed that the video reflected the style of the music, suggesting that I used genre conventions successfully. Age Sex % of y/ u/ n Female Male 16 y, y y, y, y, y 100% y 17 y, y, y, y, y, y y, y, y 100% y 18 y, y y, y 100% y *y = yes, u = undecided, n = no % of y/ u/ n 100% y 100% y Total % of y/ u/ n: 100% y
The results for question 12) “Does the video successfully promote the band?”: These findings are slightly worrying, since overall less participants believed the video to successfully promote the band (37%) than those who were undecided or said ‘no’ (63%). More worrying still is that out of the 18 year olds, who initially enjoyed the music video more, 50% believed that the video does not promote the band successfully, against just 25% who believed that it does. This suggests that focusing on the image of the band is something I could have done more of, perhaps through the use of a “live performance by the band” as one 17 year old female commented on question 7) “Can you suggest anything to improve the appeal?”. Age Sex % of y/ u/ n Female Male 16 u, y n, u, y, y 50% y, 33% u, 16% n 17 n, n, u, u, y, y n, u, y 33% y, 33% u, 33% n 18 n, u n, y 25% y, 25% u, 50% n *y = yes, u = undecided, n = no % of y/ u/ n 30% y, 40% u, 30% n 44% y, 33% u, 22% n Total % of y/ u/ n: 37% y, 31 % u, 32% n
The results for question 13) “How do you rank the music video?”: Other than the mean rating from the 16 year old participants, these findings are generally pleasing, as most mean ratings are close to 4 out of 5. This suggests that overall the music video was fairly well received, although not brilliantly. In terms of areas for improvement, most of the comments for question 7) on suggesting anything to improve the appeal related to a clearer and faster narrative. For example, one 16 year old male suggested “more depth to the story”, another 16 year old male suggested “more excitement” and a 17 year old female suggested a “faster narrative”. Furthermore, one 16 year old female commented that “the story behind the video” was unclear in her answer to question 9) “Was there any part you found confusing or hard to understand?”. On the other hand, a 17 year old female claimed that “the narrative” was the best part of the production, in response to question 10). Other comments suggest that repetition was an issue, with one 17 year old male suggesting “less roundabout scenes” and a 17 year old female suggested “less cross fades” in their responses to question 7). However, an 18 year old female claimed that “the roundabout and how it had continuity” was the strongest part of the production while a 17 year old female answered “the use of cross fades”, suggesting that there is somewhat of a split amongst the participants regarding this issue. Age Sex Mean Female Male 16 3, 3 2, 4, 4, 5 3.5 17 3, 4, 4, 4, 5, 5 3, 3, 4 3.9 18 4, 4 4, 4 4 Mean 3.9 3.7 Total Mean: 3.8
In terms of the best part of the production, the bar chart below shows all of the responses for question 10) “What is the best part of the production?”: In addition to this substantial amount of audience feedback, I also received qualitative feedback from a visiting music video director and producer who works for the production company Triggerset. This feedback was given in a simple conversation following the screening of my music video. Among the positive feedback he gave was that he believed that the music video suited the genre very well. He was also impressed by the roundabout scenes, arguing that it was the strongest part of the production because it appeared to be very natural, adding a very personal feel to the video which allowed him to better relate to the characters. He was also positive about the quality of editing and the synchronicity between the visuals and the music. On the other hand, he suggested that the main areas to improve on were the grading and colouring of some of the images in order to enhance style and, in keeping with some of the comments received from the participants who filled out the questionnaires, the slight repetitiveness of cross fade montages. The chart clearly shows that the participants believed the editing to be the best part of the production, while the camera work was also popular. The narrative, on the other hand, was less popular than I would have hoped.
In summary, I have learnt some key things about my music video from my audience feedback. For example I learnt that its strongest aspects are the editing and camera work. I also importantly found that the music video was more popular among a female audience than a male audience, suggesting that my initial aim of appealing to an equal male/ female audience wasn’t entirely successful. In order to appeal to a mixed audience I tried to give both the male and female characters relatively even roles in the video and not portray one as significantly more dominant than the other (as it was done in Le Mépris, where the protagonist is male and the story is told more from his point of view rather than hers), although the song would tip the balance to a male protagonist since the artist is male. However this provides a possible explanation as to why females rated the video higher than males; perhaps the male character wasn’t strong or dominant enough for them to relate to, though none mentioned this in response to question 7). It’s possible that it’s down to a matter of genre preference; females are often assumed to prefer the romance genre more than males and there is some support for this on www.imdb.com in the user ratings section, where females rated the romance films Amélie (2001, dir. Jean-Piearre Jeunet), The Piano (1993, dir. Jane Campion) and The Notebook (2004, dir. Nick Cassavetes) higher than males. This is also supported by the fact that males more than females suggested a quicker or more exciting narrative in terms of how to improve the appeal, suggesting that the video was perhaps too heavily rooted in the romance genre for the male audience. Some evidence may also suggest that the video appeals to a slightly older audience (i.e. 18 year olds rather than 16 year olds) than previously anticipated, although I have discussed the problems of this theory earlier. The most worrying finding from the audience feedback was the low number of participants who believed that the video promoted the band successfully, and this consequently remains to be the primary area for improvement should I attempt a similar project in the future. The questionnaire which the participants filled out is shown below: Age:........................ Sex:.......................... Please circle as appropriate, 1 = worst 5 = best Does the digipak successfully reflect the genre of music? 1 2 3 4 5 Does the magazine advert successfully reflect the genre of music? 1 2 3 4 5 How do you rate the standard of graphics in the package? 1 2 3 4 5 How do you rate the standard of graphics in the album cover? 1 2 3 4 5 How successfully is the Britishness of the package established? 1 2 3 4 5 Would the magazine advertisement encourage you to buy the digipak? Yes no undecided Can you suggest anything that could improve the appeal of the productions? Were there any aspects that you found offensive? ............................................................................................................................ Identify the strongest feature of the productions: ............................................................................................................................ Rate the print package overall: 1 2 3 4 5 I also received some feedback for my print productions. This done in a similar method to the feedback from the students for music video, where participants (from a Year 12 Media Studies Class) were shown the both print productions and asked to fill in the questionnaire. Unfortunately, however, only 2 (1 male, 1 female) participants took part, meaning that the feedback does lack reliability.
Overall the feedback I received was good and generally a little more pleasing than that received for the music video. For example, the female participant answered 4 out of 5 for every question from question 1) to question 5) and answered ‘yes’ to question 6). Also, in response to question 11), she answered 4/5 out 5, and answered “colours and photos” to question 9). The male participant also gave positive feedback, answering 5 out of 5 for questions 1) and 4) and 4 out of 5 for questions 2), 3) and 5). He identified “the design of the CD” as the strongest feature of the productions in response to question 9) and also gave an overall rating of 4 out of 5 in question 10). However, he answered “undecided” in response to question 6), this being the most negative aspect of the feedback. How did you use media technologies in the construction and research, planning and evaluation stages? Throughout the entire project, a vast amount of media technologies have been vital for even the simplest tasks. During the research and planning stage, for example, I posted all of my notes onto my blog along with related images and embedded video clips in order to illustrate my ideas in more detail. Regarding research, Youtube has been a crucial tool as it has allowed me to watch an unlimited amount of music videos (as well as other texts, e.g. sections of films such as Celine Dion’s ‘It’s All Coming Back To Me Now’ or sections from Le Mépris) for analysis and for potential influences for free and instantaneously. The vast majority of my research would have been impossible without Youtube (or a similar service). My investigation into materialism in pop music, for example, was centred around my ability to watch any music video I wanted at my leisure as the research was based on comparing several music videos with each other (for example I compared levels of materialism between Michael Jackson’s music videos and Justin Timberlake’s music videos to research whether levels of materialism have varied over time). Also for my audience research, I sent out questionnaires for participants to complete via the school email system as this allowed me to gather data quickly from a large sample. Ultimately, I was able to analyse responses from over 50 participants, providing me with a reliable body of audience research which would prove a useful reference during much of my other research and planning work.
As for the planning and construction stages, the social networking site www.facebook.com was essential for group communications as we often agreed on meeting, filming and editing times using its messaging service. During the construction stage, however, other technologies were clearly indispensable. Most importantly, the lightweight digital camera allowed us to film without hassle as we could transport it easily from location to location and capture any footage we wanted onto my laptop as soon as I took it home. Once the footage was captured, we could edit it into the sequence we wanted and could add any effect we chose on Adobe Premier Pro CS4. For example, the brightness/ contrast tool was something we utilised to adjust shots in order to create the mise-en-scene we wanted. For instance, the shots making up the carousel sequences were heavily edited with this tool to make it look like a very sunny day, an important aspect of our mise-en-scene as it added to the nostalgic, dream-like atmosphere of the video; in a similar effect to what is achieved in Le Mépris. Below are some examples of scenes from Le Mépris and my music video in which the dream-like atmosphere is aided by the sunny mise-en-scene: (These are stills which also feature in the digipak booklet, hence their arrangement) Stills from Le Mépris Brigitte Bardot in Le Mépris : Still from my music video
Furthermore, the speed of the roundabout shots were increased using the speed/ duration tool in order to achieve a greater sense of constant movement, resulting in heightened intensity and disorientation. We also used a lens flair effect in the opening shot to further add to the sunny nature of the flashback. Furthermore, we used cross-fade shot transitions throughout the video, as well as simple jump cuts, in order to control the pace of the music video and maintain the relationship between the music and visuals, in accordance with Goodwin’s theory. As for my print productions, I used my digital camera (a Fuji Film FinePix S2000) to take the pictures and then edited and manipulated them with Adobe Photoshop CS4. I was able to upload the images onto my laptop with ease before Photoshop allowed me to heavily manipulate them in order to create the effects I wanted. On the front-cover of my digipak booklet, for example, I added a sepia tint and increased the exposure of the collage of small stills which together created the retro and ‘used’ look that I hoped to achieve. To the right is an image of the background I used for the front-cover of my digipak. The image is made up of small stills from the music video, each of which I imported separately to Photoshop using the printscreen tool. As well as enhancing the link between this text and the music video, the intended effect of using purely stills from the music video was to add to the personal tone of the front-cover, through the use of personal photographs rather than a posing shot of the band. The use of personal photos also reflects the artist’s obsessive going over of memories.
I was also able to import a photo of a scrunched up piece of paper which I took and was able to cut it out using the magnetic lasso tool and place it over the background, and finally add text above it. I chose to use a script font which I downloaded from www.dafont.com so that it looks hand-written (but still easily readable), adding to the notion of obsession (along with the scrunched-up paper). Furthermore, I was able to arrange the bold text of ‘The New York Fund’ in a slightly unusual way, making the cover more eye-catching. The final front-cover of my digipak cover is shown below: I also used several stills from my music video within the pages of the digipak booklet. I imported these stills by taking print screens of a paused shot from my music video and pasted into Photoshop, where I cropped it and edited its size so that it fitted appropriately onto the page. Below is an example of the use of stills on the middle-page spread of my digipak booklet:
These images were also edited using the brightness/ contrast tool in order to sharpen the images and enhance their stylistic impact. For example, the image on the panel shown below was heavily edited on Photoshop: On my magazine advertisement I also used an image which I took using a stills camera and then edited on Photoshop. During the planning stage of this production, I was able test various effects before choosing the one I preferred. In some of my designs, in order to make the advertisement eye-catching, I used the layers system on Photoshop to add a plain, coloured layer above the layer with my image and then tried various effects, most notably ‘colour burn’, ‘linear burn’ and ‘darken’, which allowed me to create interesting effects with my image and strengthen the promotion of the artist.
For example, in the design on the left, I used the ‘darken’ effect on the plain, orange coloured layer which created this effect on the image, while in the on the left, which came after the design on the left, I used the ‘linear burn’ effect:
In my final design, which is shown below, I selected specific segments of the image using the rectangular marquee tool and was subsequently able to edit each segment differently: I was also able to make the background image black and white while using bright colours for the text, which I feel is a strong stylistic effect causing the design to grab the audience’s attention. The tools which I used to edit the segments of the black and white image were the brightness/ contrast tool and the exposure tool, with which I created subtle differences in brightness and offset in order to add interest to the image.