Media Studies A2 Advanced Portfolio Music Video Evaluation Megan Gallagher
My media product uses conventions of real music videos, CD digipaks and posters. By analysing music videos, I was able to include as many forms and conventions that are used in real media as possible. I was able to see which were successful and which weren’t, and this enabled me to make my music video as successful as possible.
I knew which genre I wanted my video to be – and that was pop. So when I started researching, I first thing I did was looked deeply into pop genre and what conventions are used in real media pop genre products, and therefore I was able to make sure my music video related to real media products as much as possible.
Characters in Pop Genre
I discovered that characters in pop videos are usually good looking and/or cute and therefore they will easily appeal and represent the age of the target audience. There is usually just one main character featured throughout the video, this keeps the audience entertained
and because it’s a simple story to follow, so that’s what I did.
I only had one character in my video. Because there was only
story going on throughout the video and because of the outfits
and mis-en-scene I used I felt that it would be more successful
just to have one character throughout, and because the girl in
my video is representing different characters in herself it is easier
for the audience to understand and follow what's going on.
1) In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?
I included the many of the conventions of pop genre that are used in real media products in my music video, starting with lip sync/miming and specific focus on the artist . I used a different character, who was not the artist, in my video, but as there was only one thing for the audience to focus on, it let them really engage with her. She didn’t lip sync all the way through, I chose a few shots to use when she did on various occasions, but the main thing that was so successful the way her actions fitted perfectly with the song lyrics AND tempo. Surprisingly, this was a complete coincidence, as I go on to explain later on in this evaluation. Along with this, I made sure there was a simple narrative/story during my production. Because I had a simple narrative, it enabled the audience to easily relate with the character and because there was only one story to follow this was easier for the audience as it stopped them getting confused with various different stories that could be going on; when I was analysing other videos I found that sometimes there was too much going on in the video and it was hard to follow, and therefore I stopped watching it. I didn’t want this is happen during my video, I wanted to audience to stay interested in my video, I wanted to audience to stay focused and interested in it, and therefore I tried to make it as successful as possible. There is also a direct link to narrative/meaning of song . To do this I used specific shots and actions that related to the lyrics. For example, there is a lyrics of the song; “you've got everybody going, and you've got everybody acting crazy” and for this line, I included a shot of my actor ‘going crazy’. I edited to the beat of music and shots repeated and the editing of my video is very in sync with the beat of the music. The shots that I have used are sometimes repeated and sometimes not, but all the shots are very similar as they were shot in the same room, and the camera is shooting the same frame all the way through, quite close up to face allowing the audience to view the actors easily and clearly, and they are able to engage in the story well. Although this sounds boring, it worked really well as it was so simple yet complex at the same time.
Throughout my planning and the actual production period of my music video, I kept in mind the 4 videos that had really influenced me. I had also analysed them thoroughly. They were: - Rockstar – Nickelback - Dirty Little Secret – All American Rejects - First Day Of My Life – Bright Eyes - Cornerstone – Arctic Monkeys What I really liked about these videos are the stories they told. None of them were necessarily ‘pop’ videos. All of them, except Cornerstone, flicked from different character to different character, telling a story. Us as an audience, see different people in different outfit/at different scenes and telling different stories, but the are all linked together in the way that they are all in sync with the music. What I liked about the Arctic Monkeys video was the simpleness of it, the way he is also telling a story, but by himself. I really like both these ideas and tried to link it into my video as much as possible, and I think that work very successfully. I somewhat merged the idea from the Rockstar video and First Day Of My Life video, and although I only had one character in my video, I dressed her in 3 different outfits – each representing a different character, telling a different story, and you can clearly tell the ‘personality’ of each character when watching the video. When I asked my audience for feedback, their opinion was split. Some thought that I should have included different actors and different scenes, and some thought not. The majority thought not so I continued with this idea. Nickelback – Rockstar video Rockstar - Nickelback
Challenging conventions A backup dancer is a performer who dances with or behind the lead performers in a live musical act or in a music video. Their movements (especially where there are many moving together) provide a visual symmetry and rhythm to accompany the music. My music video didn’t really challenge many conventions, it pretty much stuck to conventions that are usually used, except the fact that we didn’t use any choreography or and backup dancers. Although pop choreography is a vital component of the music business, instrumental to music videos and tours and it is often used to tell a story. It is a main convention used in music videos, although I decided not to used any because after analysing many videos, I decided wanted Evie to be the one telling the story. The actor I used is quite young and not very often are backup dancers used for someone under 16. Another reason I didn’t use choreography is because I was using the same location for the duration of my video and it would have looked very strange, and because of the videos I was focusing on, none of those had back up dancers and therefore I felt that it wasn’t necessary for me to have them either – it simply wouldn’t have fitted in with my theme.
Mis-en-scene Mis-en-scene is an expression used in theatre and film to describe the design aspects of a production and refers to almost everything that goes into the composition of the shot, including the composition itself: framing, movement of the camera and characters, lighting, set design and general visual environment, even sound as it helps elaborate the composition. Mise-en-scene is very important in all aspect of the media. I think it was fairly successful in my production. Again, I researched mis-en-scene that is used in pop videos and used them in my own. To start with, I focused on camera work and the choice of different shots . Although all my shots were the same, I think it was successful because it told a story. All the cuts fitted perfectly together and because of the smoothness of it it worked well, although some people may think that it would have been better if I had a more select number of shots, but I think that it works well because it’s different to a typical pop video, Also, all the actions fitted with the lyrics of the song which, again, made the video flow. With sound , all the sound is non-diegetic. Non-diegetic sound is sound whose source is neither visible on the screen nor has been implied to be present in the action. So for example, non-diegetic sound is in my video because you can’t hear the actor or any of the background noise, the sound has been muted and sound has been put over the top. Along with this, the length of the video is the same as the song. The length of the song is 3m23sec, and therefore my video is the same length. In real media products, the music video length is usually the same length of the song, but often with a little added at the beginning/end. Sometimes laughter, speech, narration or music is added. I played around with sound at the beginning and end of my video but I decided not to go along with it as the final product seemed much better when it went straight into the music, and cut straight off when the song finished/faded out.
Using real media conventions when recording Whilst filming, I played a loud song on repeat in the background, which helped both me and the actor in my video because it gives you a basic outline to play with when recording. Although it was helpful when recording, I found that it when it came to editing, having the studio version of the song over the top is really useful because it is much more clear and specific, rather than a faded out song in the background. By playing music in the background, this enabled my actor to become familiar with the song. I played the song about 4 times and filmed without stopping, just letting the actor get into the role, and to let her get a feel of the song.. At first I was playing “First Day of my Life” by Bright Eyes, which is the song I had planned to use all along. I thought that it would be successful but when it came to editing I muted the sound on all the clips and dubbed the studio version of the song over the top, but the actions didn’t really fit with the words, they were too excitable and fun, whereas the song is more slow and mellow. I also felt there wasn’t enough variation in the video, the actor was wearing the same outfit and we hadn’t filmed enough footage, so we went back and filmed some more. We did the same in the same location but we played “Here comes the sun” by The Beatles in background and the actor changed outfits twice. In total I had about 20-25 minutes of footage with both sets. But again, when I came to editing it still didn’t feel right. I searched high and low in my iTunes, experimenting with a lot of different tracks, trying to find the perfect song to use. That is when I came across “High Life Scenery” by The Rocket Summer….and it was perfect! I started to edit with that track dubbed over the top and the actions fitted perfectly, it’s such a fun and happy song and so is were my actions. It fitted with the character well too as she is young and the young has a young, poppy feel to it. I also managed to make the actions fit in the lyrics – it was as if we had been playing High Life Scenery in the background all along!
2) How effective is the combination of your main product and ancillary texts? I feel the combination of my main product and ancillary texts is very effective. By using screenshots and photographs from my actual music video is enabled the two to link together and match very well, and because of this it will be easy of the audience to recognise my product as it continued with the same style, theme and character. There is a clear link between the video and the CD cover – the character and font is the same, and the same shots are used which are seen in the video, which will enable the audience to recognise it immediately; this will help with promotion and the selling of the product. I have tried very hard to link all my products together and I think it works successfully. I know, from my point of view, that I would much more easily recognise a CD cover if I had seen a poster for it in a magazine or a bus stop, for example, and because I am the age of my target audience, I think I can relate to this very well and use my own thoughts with production. Research shows that other artists do a similar thing to what I have done, and I found that only rarely a different theme and/or design is used between an album cover and a poster. Synergy enables target audiences to recognise the product very easily – and that’s what they want, convenience.
3) What have you learned from your audience feedback?
My audience feedback was very helpful during the process of my production. The basis for my product were questionnaires. By creating 3 throughout my production, one at the beginning, one after the first draft and one at the end of my production. They gave me clear information about what the audience liked and wanted from my music video, what could be improved throughout my production and it provided me with knowledge about ancillary products; which ones were good and which ones were my audiences favourites.
By posting drafts of my production on my blog, it therefore enabled me to receive response on how to
improve on my product which was very useful. Both teachers and classmates were able to view my drafts online and give me response on it and let me know what I could improve on.
Some of the feedback I receive included:
to improve on a variety of shots
add some small effect
they said that the video told a good, clear story – which was my intention, the video is different and a good sequence which is exciting for the audience.
4) How did you use media technologies in the construction and research, planning and evaluation stages? During the construction period and post period of my production, I used many media technologies. The internet was the most important technology that I used. It was key to my research as it let me look at real media products - accessing, analysing and evaluate them. There were 3 main websites that I used that helped with the main construction and research period. The first was: www.google.com . The second website that I used most was www.blogger.com . Blogging on the internet let me deliver research, plan the construction and the overall product. It let me present my work to teachers and other classmates as I went along. The third most important website I used was www.youtube.com . By using youtube, I could analysis lots of other music videos – seeing what real media products were successful and which weren’t. Also, by using youtube, I was able to upload the drafts of my video online and therefore it let my audience see drafts etc, and this was also a good way of getting audience feedback. Another very important program I used during my production, and during my post-production period was PhotoPlus 11. Photoplus was vital to putting together my ancillary task as it enabled me to experiment and design a digipak and a poster for my production. On top of this, I used Microsoft PowerPoint to present my evaluation.
I used iMacs a lot during my production, and a program called iMovie which was probably the most important thing in both production and post production. To start creating my video, I plugged in the camera I had filmed on and imported my footage. I watched all my footage through and selected my favourite by dragging my the clips into the project area and then dragged in a song from iTunes to create the soundtrack. I used the pop-up menu to replace and fine-tune editing to make sure I had clip snap to the beats of my song. iMovie