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For our project, we decided to do the Music Promotion brief, where we then produced a media portfolio compromising a main and two ancillary tasks, we then displayed our project along with research and planning on our Blog.
I worked in a group with two other people, Lewis Holgate and Jane Keegan, we each contributed to the blog in different ways. My particular contributions to the group’s blog/project included:
The conventions of a Music Video.
Creating a Questionnaire and then analysing it.
Finding inspirational CD covers.
Analysing at the equipment (hardware and software) that we were using.
Creating a draft/sketch for our Ancillary Task.
Creating a possible Front/Back CD Cover and a Magazine Advertisement which could be used for the final.
Filming, performing in and editing the footage that was created for the Music Video.
Our target audience is primarily for teenagers but also any fans of contemporary rock/pop music, I feel the band’s/artist’s image which is portrayed in the video and photographs could also reflect the style and charisma of a typical fan of the band.
Our product will appeal to our target audience as we have used “the same but different” when creating our product, meaning we have stuck to the generic conventions of a music video yet at the same time added our own individual techniques to the video, this is what the audience expect and have grown to like as they “enjoy the familiar”.
Question 1: In what way does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?
Genre provides a relationship between audiences and producers which minimises the risk of financial failure, at an ideological level, genres offer comforting reassurance and a closing down of the complexities of life. Genre can be most commonly described as a “type” or “class”, Graeme Burton believes that there is “a tight relationship between the media industries that manufacture genre products and the audience.”
The genre of music that the band Funnel are, are a mix between Pop Punk/New Wave/70’s influenced/Hippy band, this is clearly displayed through their songs, in the video we have portrayed the lead singer to have a quirky, hippy image to her, we did this through the use of the mise en scene.
The conventions of a music video include aspects such as the visuals illustrating, amplifying or contradicting the lyrics and the music, the theme of voyeurism, intertextual references, and using a female performer for “display purposes” – Andrew Goodwin argues that female performers are frequently objected and that the camera work and editing emphasize sexual treatment of a star. Through using Goodwin’s theory on the conventions of music videos we were able to see the typical elements that are used a lot in music videos, this was vital to use the typical elements as we wanted to be able to have a vaster audience who could relate to and enjoy the video more.
When planning, filming and editing our video we did a few things different, an example of this would be we used a number of handheld shots which are normally not seen in music videos as they give it a shaky, documentary style feel to it, however we felt it added to the realism of the music. It is vital to add something new to a genre/type of music video as the audience of today can get easily tiresome of the same clichéd videos, we feel ours is different enough to stand out from the rest yet still maintain the mainstream codes and conventions of a typical music video.
I felt our innovative approach to a music video proved to be very successful as the product followed specific codes and conventions, this would inevitably lead to the audience gaining pleasure from our product and then (hypothetically) possible profit would be made, which would link back to the producer and the commercial success, then a repetition in production would occur. This is basically the circle of pleasure and profit which Graeme Burton
created and mentioned in one of his media books, it supports the fact that there is a tight relationship between the media industries that manufacture genre products and the audience,
My ancillary task that I created was a front and back CD cover alongside a Magazine advertisement, I had previously looked at inspirational CD covers which allowed me to be able to see the generic codes and conventions of CD art work. Jane and Lewis also contributed by researching CD covers and music magazines, on my CD cover, I felt that I definitely used the typical elements of a CD cover, such as a picture of the band and the name of the band (which also was the name of the album) – Funnel. The back cover was also inspired by mainstream pop music CDs which led me to design it in that manner, I carefully created the layout so parts of the text could fit around objects in the photograph which was used as the background. With my magazine advertisement I thought my innovations were likely to prove successful as I tried to keep it as minimalistic as possible, for example, I used a slightly edited photograph (using Photoshop) then placed the name of the band onto the advert alongside the release date, which music store it will be available at, and which format in which it is available.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fizIPVGFlCU (It is also Embedded into one of the earlier Blog posts to watch from there)
This is our music video, the music is by the band ‘Funnel’ and the song is called ‘Cake’, it is labelled as the ‘pop punk’ genre and I feel the video perfectly reflects its fun, punky tone. Our product uses conventions of real media products, for example, we have the singer singing and looking into the camera which is common in almost all videos, below is a screen shot of her singing into the camera.
A lot of pop videos do not have a specific storyline, ours does not have a story line or any specific plot; a lot of real media products show the singer or band performing with their instruments - as does ours, I feel this is a good example of how we use conventions of real media products. It is also a known convention of music videos that the video should reflect the lyrics, I think our video mirrors the lyrics, for example, the song is called ‘Cake’ and we have used cup cakes in the video to reflect this. Fast paced editing is another common feature of media products such as music videos, in the scenes on the stairs, we use a lot of fast paced editing and made good use of the fast cuts.
(Question 1 continued…) I feel I stuck to the codes and conventions when creating my ancillary tasks, I used the correct titiles, barcodes, track-listings etc. where necessary and with the magazine advertisement I produced, I included the available formats which the music is available on, for example : CD, Vinyl etc. Album Art
Question 2: How effective is the combination of your main products and ancillary tasks?
When initially planning and discussing the brand image, we wanted to portray Joe (the band’s singer) as quirky and in a bohemian style, we knew that an artist’s brand was an essential way of advertising and promoting the artist and earning profits and recognition for themselves and for the label which they are signed too. Music videos and the band’s CD covers are the best way in which they can sell themselves to audiences, we wanted to convey a vivid colour palette and I feel we were successful in doing so after seeing the mise en scene/costume used in the video.
For the ancillary task, I chose to use a simple, clean, handwritten, white font to use as the title for the front CD cover, I felt this stood out very well against the chosen photograph background and that it would be successful in catching the eye of the audience. I had chosen various designs to use as the logo (as displayed on the blog) but settled with one of the best handwritten fonts which were taken from the website www.dafont.com
As there are many bands and artists in the music industry it proves hard to compete with album sales, therefore it is very important that the artist must clearly stand out to the chosen target audience which is what I have had in mind when creating my products.
Below are a selection of well known brands relating to products:
There are 8 elements to creating a brand identity, the Brand Slogan, Brand Personality, Emotional Benefits, Brand Appearance, Brand Essence, Brand Heritage, Brand Values and the Hard Benefits. Over an amount of time the idea of a brand is to create loyalty to its customer/audience, the producers of the brand want the audience to keep buying it .
We were able to maintain the same brand image throughout our products, colours, fonts and photographs were all clearly linked and established our brand image, with the video we kept the performance side of the video (the half of the video were Joe is singing in a back alley) linked to our brand image, we did this by using a similar bohemian themed costume to the one worn in the photo shoots that were used for the ancillary task.
As we have created a music video, we may need a Label to fund it; after researching various record labels I came to the conclusion that a label such as EMI or Sony BMG (which are two of the biggest record labels in the world) would be appropriate choices to use. EMI is a record label which were founded in Britain, so I feel this could be a factor that could help our band Funnel as we are also British, they would successfully distribute the album world wide as they have done with previous bands such as Coldplay, Gorillaz, Hot Chip and The Verve. Our targeted audience would already be fans of this mainstream pop music so therefore would take interest in our band if signed to EMI.
Bands such as Franz Ferdinand, Kings of Leon, The Strokes and The Script who are signed to Sony BMG also have a similar target audience to the one in which we are aiming at, although our product might be a little different in terms of music and lyrics this could be a way in which it could catch the audiences’ attention as it is something new and refreshing.
I feel the front cover of the CD is particularly effective, mainly due to its simplicity which was inspired by the front cover of the Oasis album Definitely Maybe
Inspired by Oasis The back cover was loosely inspired by the Streets’ album art, A Grand Don’t Come For Free. As I have used a kitchen for my back cover and they have used the a fridge with a shopping list styled track listing. Above is the magazine advertisement, again I have used the handwritten font which was inspired by the Oasis front cover. The composition of the photograph and the way the blonde singer (Joe) is looking up towards the heading is effective.
Question 3: What have you learned from your audience feedback?
With every type of media product, there always needs to be an audience which is targeted by the institution so that the product can be constructed and manipulated to appeal to them. The majority of media texts are made to make money and generate revenue for the studio/channel/company that has created them, using the G.R.A.S.S method we can successfully define a target audience:
S ocio-economic S tatus
Socio-economic Status essentially means which class you belong to depending on your occupation, our media product is aimed at both males and females aged 16-24, we would then be aiming it at the “E” section of the Socio-economic Status because our target audience will mainly be students, our product would appeal to all races and is not aimed at any specifically, because of the poppy, punky and bohemian styled genre I feel we are aiming it at quite a niche audience.
Before creating our music product and starting our initial research for the blog, we were asked to briefly look into the ‘Project Phoenix’ Case Study which was set up by Emap (a UK based research company) in 2003 and they went and looked specifically at the attitudes and behaviours of the different groups in relation to the way audiences consumes the music which they purchase. Emap then identified four main degrees of interest in music after their survey, these four groups were:
Salvants - who basically live for music, and everything in life they do is tied up or linked to music.
Enthusiasts – this is where music is definitely a key part in life yet it is balanced out equally with other interests.
Casuals – although music plays a fair role in their lives, there are many other important things in life.
Indifferents – these people would not at all be concerned if there was no more music or if it ceased to exist.
After realising there were specific groups to label our target audience with, we were left with the question ‘which group will our target audience fit into?’
Immediately, we saw the Indifferents group as pointless and would be of no use to us, if we did select this group as our target audience we would not have many album sales whatsoever. However, the other three remaining groups were all possible target audiences.
Our target audience (who were aged between 16-24) would be able to afford our album, as most people who are this age have part time or full time jobs and the younger end of this scale would still be living with their parents so bills and tax would not be a financial issue. The older end of the targeted audience might be students coming out of university so they might not be able to afford the entire album yet these could simply buy a single from a shop or off internet stores.
If there was a secondary target audience, it would probably be an older audience aged 30-50 as these people can still enjoy music of this genre yet are not as serious about it as younger people as they could have families and full time jobs.
I created my first questionnaire , which helped as we knew what our target audience was looking for in a music video, with questions such as “"Do you feel a music video is important in creating a brand image for a band/artist?“ This was a good example of how we used audience feedback throughout our project, they helped our product in the long run as we found out what pleased the audience and then incorporated it into our media product.
When doing this media project and the ancillary task, we used different technologies, as explained on the blog post that I created, we used an Apple Mac to edit photographs, create our CD Covers and Magazine advertisements and also to edit our footage for our music video. The software that was used included programs such as Indesign and CS Photoshop, these helped when editing photographs and also when creating our CD Covers/ Magazine ads. We are also documenting all research and progress for the project on our blog, which is a very popular form of technology used worldwide.
The technologies we have used are an effective way to do this project, for example, the blog is easy to use for group work and manageable between three of us, the only tricky parts I felt were when adding photographs or scans to a post, they took a considerable time to upload and then when you begin to write a description, the image that was added frequently seems to space itself in between paragraphs and break up the posts.
The audience influenced our planning and construction of our final products, and without the feedback the music video and ancillary task would not have been as effective as it is now.
Here is an example of my (second) scanned in Questionnaire which I created, this person clearly states that the reason for our media product being creative is the fact that we used “original shots” in the video. I have learned that this person also thought that we needed “more variation” with the locations, although we did use three different locations (back alley singer performance, long set of steps, outdoor tennis court) I can see what this person means.
www.youtube.com/user/stmarysnedua#p/u/3/buZXEMTkNPs - Our audience feedback video (I have also embedded this into one of my blog posts so you can watch from there)
www.youtube.com/user/stmarysnedua#p/u/20/fizIPVGFICU - Cake by Funnel, the music video (Again this is shown on the blog)
Here is our audience feedback video, it is clear that the vast majority of the group enjoyed our music video and everyone was keen to express their enthusiasm. People rated it because “it looks quite experimental and different” and “it put us in a good mood” and also “makes you smile” due to the “energetic (music) track and matching video” The average scores out of 10 were 7 and 8 which displays that we had an overall positive outcome. However, a couple of people found the lip synching to be a little off/ out of time and said it was clear that she was miming the words.
Question 4: How did you use media technologies in the construction, research, planning and evaluation stages?
In order to create the final product, we used a series of creative technologies, as previously mentioned, we used Photoshop and Indesign, but we also used Final Cut Express which at first is quite hard to get to terms with yet after practise it becomes easier and I realised it is one of the best types of editing software available. I learned how to add sound to clips, edit sequences and parts, make different cuts and also how to speed up/slow down clips. I found that Final Cut Express has many advantages and without it the video would not have had the special effects or the colour grading that was used.
We made good use of the digital cameras that were offered to us through college, a Panasonic Lumix was used for the ancillary task photographs, it was easy to use and created decent quality photographs which was all that was needed for our ancillary task.
The handheld DV cameras (Canon MD235) were a very important part of our project and again were easy to use, the quality of the video that it produced was of a good standard and looked good when played on a large screen in class when we did our audience feedback.
The website Blogger was easy to use, as we could go back and re edit posts and add photographs whenever needed which I found particularly useful, also we could access the website from any computer with internet access, this was a lot more convenient rather than having a file to document your project in as it would need to be carried back and forth. Although sometimes it proved to be challenging, especially the layout of the blog, it was a necessary for this project.
As part of this evaluation, the Powerpoint document that I have used has been a lot easier than typing straight onto a blog, it has a cleaner lay out, is less time consuming and can also be uploaded to the blog using the Slideshare website.
All of the technology used has definitely helped my creative skills and IT skills for when I use a blog again in the future, one of the best skills I feel I have achieved is the ability to successfully edit photographs using Photoshop and also creating a CD Front/Back Cover and a Magazine advertisement on Indesign.
In conclusion, I feel it is clear that the initial research and planning that I did at the beginning of the project enabled me to produce an overall better final product, through the group discussions, we were able to each contribute to our project then document our planning our ideas on the blog, I learned to listen to other people’s opinions and allow their ideas to be contributed.
I feel our products are very successful considering the amount of time given, and the bad weather (the snow, which affected our filming times) . If I was to do this project again, I would have maybe spent more time learning how to use the software which was fairly new to me when I was introduced to it; overall, the project went well and I have learnt new skills which can be applied again, I have also learnt about sharing the input to the group and our blog. The final were time consuming yet I feel they were produced to a good standard.
I also feel that we successfully created the brand image , so the audience will be able to make a clear link between the album cover/artwork/magazine advertisement and the music video that we created, this is the key to branding as you want to familiarise yourself with the audience so they will be able to recognise any other products from the band or artist in the future.
The clear brand image that we created through our combined media products.