How did you use media technologies in the construction and research, planning and evaluation stages?As would be expected of a project of this nature in the industry, I used a variety of mediatechnologies to primarily subscribe to three basic ideals:1. To document, present, organise and analyse my own work and ideas, as well existing media products, in the most coherent, logical and creative way possible, as best appropriate for the task in question2. To allow me to pull together different resources, tools, techniques and ideas, incorporating them into my work and reasoning, making the final products varied, interesting and the highest quality they could possibly be3. To enable the product to run in an efficient, smooth wayAt the beginning of the project I decided that I would use an Apple Mac to complete the portfolio.Apple Macs are standard in the media industry and thus it seemed foolish to not gain furtherexperience in using one. They offer an increased range of software in comparison to a PC, such asFinal Cut, and run much faster. I knew that I would be working with a large number of video filesand so this strengthened my decision, as did the fact that I would need to multitask betweenprogrammes quite a lot. Although petty, they also offer a number of “quirks” such as the ability toscreen shot only part of the page without having to later crop the resulting image down. Thistechnique was adopted throughout the project in order to evidence my work, and to document visualreferences and inspiration from music videos. Furthermore, the fact I have a Mac at home allowedthe project run more efficiently as I was able to work in a similar frame of mind and with some ofthe same software.Throughout the project I mostly used Google Chrome; from experience I know that this is thefastest and most reliable web browser. This enabled me to watch and upload videos quickly andwithout interruption. The project was thus not as stressful as it could have otherwise been.In all stages of the project I have presented my work using blogging site Blogger. This has acted asa hub for all my work, and I love the idea of it all being in one place that is easy to access at college,at home and on the go on the iPhone app. Easy to post work in a variety of formats: either directly,or through embedded videos and documents, I could post updates and draft work which helped torefresh my memory throughout the project.Although indeed a blogging site, I have utilised it more as a website, with page links separatingwork according to the relevant stage of the project. Each page contains chronological list of workcompleted as part of that stage, each item further linking to the work itself. As such, my work ispresented in a systematic way that is easy to understand. The minimalistic template that importedfrom 90four.com and the fact that I decided to remove all of what I perceived to be unnecessaryclutter perhaps aids this. It was therefore easy to find a specific piece of work that I as looking for,and view different elements in conjunction with each other in order to gain a greater sense ofproject development. I also really liked the idea of being able to theme my blog around the project,although I kept this minimal to not overwhelm the both myself and visitors. The brand, or starimage I have created is in some ways very hectic and so this might well have happened.Blogger also allowed me to incorporate images, breaking up text and visualising the point beingmade. This was useful for showing the aforementioned draft work, particularly in relation to thedigipak.A sizeable number of the images used throughout the project were taken from Google Images. This
is an extensive archive of images that is free to use. It is simple to use. I simply needed to type insubject matter I wanted, select the image I wanted and save it to my machine. This takes a matter ofseconds and was an efficient source. I ensured that all the images used were copyright free.My own images and indeed footage were taken using my own 15MP Canon 500D SLR camera withits standard 18-55mm lens. It was important to use my own imagery in order to make my productsoriginal (and viable for marking) but moreover I wanted use this camera as it offers a very highquality picture. I was able to experiment with the focusing, adding visually interesting pull focusesto the video, and shallow depth of fields in the still images. Also the lighting; in the photoshoot Iwas able to connect the camera to studio flash using a hot shoe adapter. This gave a bright,professional quality of light to the images, making them easy to edit in Photoshop.Although less so than the main lens, in both the stills and the video footage I utilised my ad-onTamron 70 -300mm telephoto/macro lens. This was particularly useful for experimenting withfocusing and also for close-ups where it was otherwise quite difficult to not inadvertently stand infront of the lights and cast a shadow over the actor.Additionally for some shots in the photoshoot I tried to use my fish eye lens to simply add visualinterest; fish eye photography is not common on digipaks and adverts and as such I felt this wouldfit with the star image I was trying to create. I do not feel that I was as successful as I could havebeen, however.iPhoto, Apple’s own photo manipulation software, was used to import the photos from the memorycard used onto the Mac. I wanted to use this programme as it is easy to see the images next to oneanother; it was therefore easier to determine which could be edited for the digipak and advert. As aphotography student, I prefer to do this using A3 contact sheets as it is possible to see more of thephotos next to each other. iPhoto can create these with a few clicks of the mouse.After I encircled and annotated some of the images I then scanned the sheets in using a scanner. Thescanner has proved a useful resource during the project, offering an alternative to photographing myown work and elements of analysis, e.g. the storyboard and the Nicki Minaj album advert.Sometimes photographs of these things are not clear and therefore it is better to scan them formeans of clarity.However, my iPhone camera proved a useful resource also. It enabled me to capture things on thego such as things of less importance, for example when I was testing the actor’s costumes and thetest footage in the studio. This meant that I didn’t always have to carry the SLR around, which isquite heavy.My iPhone itself featured in the video, which, with reference to question one, was used to add asense of modernism to the video. Hopefully this will appeal to the artist’s audience.Further to this, I used my iPhone to book the train tickets to Newcastle, and I used the Maps app tolocate the exact position of the bridge used in the video. This made the trips to Newcastle run muchmore smoothly, ensuring that we did not get lost and booked an appropriate train. I could havebooked the tickets on my Mac but it was easier when meeting with the actor and negotiating whattime we should go.Word and PowerPoint were used to present my more detailed work, such as the full music videoanalysis and the nine-frame analysis. My familiarity with these programmes made them easy to usethem and format the documents in a simple but professional way, for example using tables. In doingso the presentation was much neater and easier to understand that it would be if I’d typed directlyinto Blogger. Additionally, PowerPoint and Prezi allowed a bit more flexibility with the
presentation, separating the microelements out in the two nine-frame analyses. Using the arrowkeys to move form pane or frame to frame, they were more interactive and helped to break downinformation that would be used for inspiration, into manageable chunks.SlideShare and authorSTREAM were used to neatly embed Word and Powerpoint documents on myblog, whereas Prezi, an online piece of software, automatically provided an embed code. In order touse SlideShare I simply had to create an account and upload the relevant item. It was important toembed all my work in order to document all my progress as mentioned earlier.SlideShare would have been used to embed all documents but a disadvantage of the website is thatit does not support PowerPoints with videos embedded into them.Lino was used to present my initial ideas in a visually stimulating way, giving the impression of acork notice board. Embedded from the website itself, I was able to add ideas as they formulatedwhilst completing other research and planning tasks. By doing this I did not forget any ideas.GrooveShark was used to stream a copy of Love Kills to my blog and create a fictional playlist formy typical audience. An online archive of music, I used this site because it offered an embed codeand by embedding the songs on my blog it allowed me to refresh my memory as ideas wereformulating whilst again completing other research and planning tasks.YouTube was used thoroughly throughout the project in order to gain ideas from other artists’videos and upload drafts and the final version of my own. Owned by Google, who also ownBlogger, I did not need to create an account and thus using the site was quick and simple. It is thelargest video website on the web and as such I had a very broad collection of music videos at myfingertips, which could be easily posted on my blog using the embed code. The fact that my videosare online provided scope for views, audience feedback, and the ability to share it across socialnetworks. Moreover in today’s society music videos are primarily consumed on the Internet.Twitter and Facebook proved invaluable resources during the project. Easily accessible on the go,through Facebook messenger I was able to easily contact my actor to organise meetings, andthrough both websites I was able to quickly attract a wide audience to complete my audienceresearch survey, and audience feedback on the final products. Microsoft Outlook was used to emailpeople around the college asking if they would be willing to participate in audience feedback andgain permission to use Love Kills.The audience research survey was created using Google Documents. This was easy do given thatthe online software package can be accessed using the same account as Blogger. Google Documentsallowed me to create a sleek questionnaire that could easily be shared. The questions were based onmedia theory and my initial ideas and by viewing the results here, I could see how my audiencewanted theorists’ ideas to challenged and conformed to. I wanted to try and reflect this in my laterplanning in order to create a successful product.Before being imported into Final Cut, MPEG Streamclip was used to convert some of my video files froma .mov to .dv file format. This was because some of the files were so large that frames were dropped; Idiscovered that this did not happen with the DV clips. By frames not being dropped, I was able to edit myvideo much more precisely. To use this software I simply had to drag the file here…Localender was used throughout the project in order to plan what I would be doing each week, ensuring thatI managed my time effectively and met the deadlines as best possible although this was difficult and issomething I need to improve upon. At the end of each week I also included what I actually did each day sothat I knew what work was still outstanding. This was again embedded on my blog for easy reference.
Before being imported into Final Cut, MPEG Streamclip was used in order to convert the file format of someof the video clips from .mov to .dv. I noticed that in Final Cut some of the clips lagged when others weren’t.This did not happen with the .dv format. To convert clips I simply had to drag the relevant file like so. File.Export to DV. 16:9 aspect ratio so that it remains constant with the rest of the video. Better blending,downscaling and deinterlace. Chose where I wanted to save it and wait for it to convert.However before importing or converting any clips I watched the majority of them beforehand usingQuickTime player. This is a fast, quick and reliable video player where files can just be dragged in andwatched. I quickly skimmed through the videos in order to assess whether they would be worth using. Inarrowed the selection down to make the editing process easier.Final Cut was used because it is widely regarded as one of the most comprehensive and semi-professionalpieces of editing software for Mac. Its interface made the process of editing accurate, precise, quicker andgenerally much more stressful overall, and the techniques it offered ensured that my video, visually, had aprofessional quality that also fits in with the pop genre and thequirky star image I was trying to create.I used two versions of Final Cut to edit the project. The more commonly used version was Final Cut Express,which I used at college. Although I prefer the interface of the edition, the product has been discontinued andthus at home I was limited to Final Cut Pro X that was used for small sections of the video and thisevaluation. It was also used for the animatic.Final Cut Express allowed me to simply drag the clips into this box here. I was then able to arrange them intovarious bins according to where they were filmed, which prevented me getting confused as to which clip iswhich and to access what I wanted easily. It was important to be organised. These clips are then dragged tothe tracks in the timeline, corresponding to where I want them tobe played in the video. Here there is a gap in the video where a clip needs to be inserted. I know this becauseI’ve used the marker tool to alert me to the gap. This was handy when I left a part of the sequence and movedon to another, with the intention of coming back to it later.Final Cut is good as it allows many audio and video tracks. I ended up with 54 of the latter in the end. I likedbeing able to utlise more than one as it allowed me to experiment by placing clips over clips to experimentwith different shot types without having to remove the already synced clip. It also prevented things movingout of sync when I tried to pull things into gaps. I want to insert a studioclip here and so I find the clip, drag it to the slug and view it to find the part that I want so that it will matchup the music in the audio track. The audio is shown in this track here. I marked the part of the clip I wantedto use with the in and out markers. I could then drag this part of the clip alone down into the timeline, whichfits perfectly because I’d matched it to the lyrics. After being rendered, the clip then plays and flows nicely.This stopped me from having to drag full clips down to a track and move it around, slice it, and then cut itaccording to the part I wanted to use, which would have taken much longer and been more confusing.I used this button throughout which enabled the audio waveforms on the audio track where shown. Thishelped me gain an idea of where there should be cuts, i.e. in line with the beat kicking in.After making a good start with the editing, I started to lock most of the tracks using meaning that when Itried to drag a clip down the programme would not allow it. However when I unlocked the layer using thepadlock button here I could indeed easily import clips. This was a very useful tool. I only unlocked the layerthat I was working on to ensure that I did not accidentally place it on another, moving things out of sync.Here I have used a blank sequence marked by these tabs here. I used several of these in order to experimentwith different techniques and processes throughout the project without messing up the syncing of the mainsequence. However this is to demonstrate another reason why I loved Final Cut. When importing clips intothe timeline they have audio attached to them – the music which was used on the day of filming to help theactor lip-sync. This is reflected by the green track. Ordinarily, using the snug, the clips would have beenimported to sync with the lyrics and thus the clips’s audio is no longer needed. I needed to delete this toprevent it playing along with the song itself and to do this I ensured that this button was “turned off”,
Sometimes the clip was too long and I’d have had to use the slice tool to shorten it down.In Final Cut I was also able to create the split screen that I had planned in my storyboard, illustrating theactor’s character being in state of limbo. Placing two clips over one another, using the earlier wireframe toolI moved them around so that the actor was placed in the middle of both sides of the frame. Each frame wasthen cropped at either side to create a tight composition with a black line running down the middle. Thesetwo clips when then copied and pasted, combining this technique with a jump cut.GarageBand was used to create the sound of the traffic at the beginning of the video. It was quick and simpleto select appropriate sounds and instruments from a whole range of choices, combine them, collectivelyexport them as an MP3 and import into Final Cut.As well as many of the technologies mentioned throughout this question my iPhone was once again used torecord my voice for this answer as it was convenient and quick. Quicktime was used throughout questions 1,3 and 4 to create a screencasts, in effect a video “print screen” of the page.I relied on Photoshop to produce the ancillary texts because it is considered to be the best photo manipulationsoftware package; it is industry standard. As a photography student I am very familiar with its inferenceusing it almost on a daily basis and it offered a number of really professional and creative features and toolswhich allowed me to creatively enhance my imagery whilst easily following design conventions.However by began the actual creation of the texts I followed a series of online tutorials to develop myphotoshop skills and mock-up a digipak as draft work. This allowed me to familiarise myself with some ofthe tools, think about layout and technique, the results being quite successful.An abundance of features were used on Photoshop. Therefore it would be impossible to discuss all of them,however I will, in a similar fashion to Final Cut, describe some of the main tools that I adopted.The Auto Colour, Auto Tone and Auto Contrast tools were used to improve, as one would expect, thecolouring, toning and contrast, making the image in question much more striking and bold. Further to this, Imanually played around the levels of the image, the contrast and the shadows and highlights, making theimage look more professional and high-key with a whiter background, what you’d expect from aprofessional industry photoshoot. The shadows were more detailed and the lighting much much dispersed.The saturation was also increased to make the actor’s cheeks appear more rosy red and feminine, and Iincreased the intensity of the bright colours in the image to make her clothes and makeup stand out more andgive the image quite a quirky feel. Furthermore the spot healing tool was used to clean up the actor’s face soto speak, softening it and removing any blemishes and spots.Additionally in the photo for the digipak the clone stamp tool was used to make the actor’s roots less visibleas this would not be seen in these type of products. Although I did want to go against convention and notnecessarily be glamorous as most pop stars, it made the image appear less amateurish. The digipak imagewas also cropped down so it could then be copied into a separate canvas which was the correct digipak size.In the case of the digipak I downloaded a template from the internet and opened it up in Photoshop. In orderto get to this stage, the finished digipak, I simply had to flatten the layers in the digipak PSD and then copythe one compressed layer using the selection tool over into the template and resizing to fit the boxes usingthe scale tool. This did not distort, pixelate or stretch the picture as I’d measured the correct canvas sizebefore beginning to create the various panes of the digipak.Because the image used for the advert had been taken in portrait format it was already the correct size and nocropping needed to take place.The ability to use layers in Photoshop was paramount in both products; by having almost every element on a
different layer I could go back and rectify mistakes and move things around until I got the perfect design /layout. For example, I had the text in one layer, the image in another, and the cracked brushes in another. Icould also hide some layers to work more precisely on a specific element without getting confused. Atseveral points I did this and added several further adjustments to the original image of the actor to keepensuring that it stood out. This is why her face is very bright.The text was created by simply selecting the text tool marked by the T, selecting a font, chosing the correctsize and colour. I could then apply several effects to make it stand out against the background and bringprominence to what it was saying, i.e. drop shadow and colour overlay. This text could then be movedaround.In the digipak the rotate tool was used to rotate text and place it on the spine in the correct direction asconvention.Images already saved on my machine could be imported into the image and would be pasted onto a separatelayer, for example the record label logo and the QR code - they could again be resized using the scale tooland moved around to the correct position.Using the autoshape tool I was able to create the stars which marked the album reviews on the advert. I couldthen group several of these together into a single layer, making them easier to copy. Furthermore theautoshapes tool was used create a green background on a new layer over which I used the brush tool to paintcracks in varying styles, colours and sizes. I could use the colour pallette in both the advert and digipak toselect similar colours using the numbering system ensuring consistency with one another, and also with thevideoI’d downloaded theses brushes for Photography last year so I’m unable to remember the website Idownloaded them from. This gave quite an urban feel to the image.This process was repeated but with a purple background on a separate layer and on the image itself. On thepurple layer half of the canvas was rubbed out using the rubber as this overwhelmed the image down the lefthand side as can be seen from the initial advert before I improved it following audience feedback.I was then able to play around with the order of the layers, producing different visual effects, by reducingand increasing opacity and changing the blending mode to the likes of Darker Colour to combine thedifferent cracked brushes together. The layers thus became more integrated with one another, the actorappearing in an amongst splashes of colour.In the case of the disk, I copied the image again using the selection tool and using the magic wand tool, wasable to paste it specially into a disk template downloaded from the internet. This image could then be skewedaround to ensure that it was presented in an aesthetically pleasing way.Font site dafont.com was used to download two fonts for use throughout the project. By not sticking to thedefault fonts offered on a Mac, Harabara and Total 90 helped contribute to a unique star image and style ofpresentation. I used this site in particular as I could view beforehand what specific text would look likebefore downloading. Downloading was easy however, simply by clicking download, opening up the file inthe Downloads folder and installing. This font could then be accessed in Photoshop and Final Cut. Both fontscan be seen in all three products for consistency.Will also need to discuss: GLOGSTER