Evaluation Task 3 What have you learned from your audience feedback? We showed our video to a focus group of 16-18 year olds in order to obtain feedback on our media products. After the screening of the video, we asked them a series of questions related to our video and ancillary texts and were open to any constructive criticism or improvements that could have been made .
100% of our focus group said they liked the video, but there were several different responses as to why:
Girl 1: 'I like how it has a story, not just a band'
It is obvious from this comment that for part of our audience, there is a heavy reliance on the narrative element of the music video. It is important in helping the audience understand the message conveyed through the music.
Boy 1: 'The lighting was really cool'
Throughout the discussion, many people liked the lighting and how it was quite mysterious, reinforcing the alternative genre of the band.
Girl 2: 'There were different things going on, but it was really clear'
Despite the combination of the performance and narrative element, the audience were able to clearly understand what was going on.
Girl 1: 'Cool hair and cool style and what they were wearing'
The casual and cool style of the band fits the alternative genre of the song
Girl 2: 'I dunno, you couldn't really see the band'
This was an interesting response, because we had deliberately lit the band so that only their silhouettes could be seen. By not having the band in the foreground of the video, we have shown that they are more reserved and modest in terms of fame and being in the spotlight.
Girl 2: 'The song is quite slow and so the band was quite chilled'
This chilled out, easy going quality is something we had intended to portray through the band, all the while conveying the serious element as well.
Boy 1: 'Someone being upset about someone having a heart attack'
Our video does essentially address the situation of someone being upset about someone having a heart attack, we had intended to convey the feeling of desperation and hopelessness of someone experiencing a similar situation. So ultimately, referring to Start Hall's encoding and decoding model, this isn't a directly preferred reading, but the audience appear to understand that the video is about losing someone.
Girl 1: 'It shows strangers caring and helping'
This wasn't actually something we had thought about, but having mentioned it, the video does in fact show the kindness of humanity, which adds a slightly more comforting and uplifting element to a fairly 'depressing' video.
This comment initiated a difference of opinion of whether or not the band were targeted towards a male audience or not. When we put it to the vote, 4 out of the 10 people we asked said that it was predominately targeted towards boys, whilst the remaining 6 said that it was targeted towards a unisex audience. No one said that it was targeted predominately towards girls, although they did raise the point in saying that girls could potentially be attracted to the male band members
Girl 2: 'They have quite an edgy look, which can be quite appealing'
She commented saying how the style of the band and the lighting both complemented each other.
Picking up from the previous comment about the edginess of the band, we decided to ask the group what elements of the video enhanced this edginess.
Many suggested that it was ultimately the alternative style of the song, and it's slightly obscure quality which created an 'edgy' mood. Others commented on the use of lighting, revealing only the band's silhouettes, suggesting a sense of mystery
Girl 1: 'It's quite different because it's not got a girl and it's not about girl/boy'
This comment highlighted the understanding that this band aren't the conventional type of band who write about a girl in a love song. They write about this that matter, and about things that will perhaps make a difference. This is essentially what makes the band different from anything else.
When we asked the group what attitude they thought the band portrayed through the video, there was an interesting range of responses. Whilst some said that they were easy going and carefree, others commented on the seriousness and 'depressing' quality of the song, the later being the attitude we had tried to convey. Although the band is fairly youthful, we wanted to portray them in a way where they cared about their music and the meanings conveyed through their music.
Girl 2: 'The album cover isn't complex – just the outline of a tree'
The group picked up on the simplicity of the band and the melancholy, organic quality of their music.
Do you think the poster and digipak work well with the video?
Girl 1: 'It matched with the lighting of the band'
Many commented saying how the 'darkness' of the band is portrayed through all three products, conveying the sense of edginess which they mentioned.
Girl 1: 'Contradicting theories'
When we asked the group what they thought about the name, they seemed to understand its relevance and the reasons why we chose it. They picked up on the fact that it was something that 'wasn't meant to happen'. We deliberately chose this name in order to provoke speculation and make people question why they have chosen such a contradicting name.
Girl 1: 'You would listen to it for the sake of listening to it'
From the feedback we received, I think that this song would come under the ‘personal identity’ sector in the uses and gratifications model, as it allows one to compare and relate their life with the characters and situations within the narrative of the video. The ability to relate with the issues portrayed in the video is something which we had intended.
Girl 2: ' Wouldn't listen to it at a party', 'Listen to it because you want to hear the music'
Whilst the focus group said they liked the song, they emphasized the fact that they wouldn’t listen to it at a party as it is quite a serious song. When we asked the group where and when they would watch the video, they said that they would probably listen to it when they were alone or chilling out.
Girl 1: 'When you start watching it, you want to carry on watching it because you want to see what happens in the end'
The majority of the group commented on how the narrative grips the audience and makes them want to watch the video until the end to see what happens.
Boy 1: 'I would watch it again to try and see more of the people, because the lighting was so dark on the set, you couldn't really see anyone there, so if you're really into this band, you're going to keep watching it so you can really see the people playing'
This ties in with Dyer's theory of being 'simultaneously present yet absent'. The audience are continually trying to consume the band's products in order to understand them.
What could be improved in any of the products?
Girl 1: 'When you look at the poster, it looks a bit calm and you expect more soothing music'
Whilst the group said they like the digipak and magazine advertisement, they said that the simplicity and peacefulness suggested that the music was acoustic as opposed to electronic. This is a prime example of how the effects model isn't as straightforward as implying that audiences are passive recipients of the meaning and values of a text. This isn't something we had considered at the time, as we had intended for this non-manufactured organic element to be interpreted in a way which suggests the band's reluctance becoming commercial and mainstream.