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Evaluation
 

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A2 Media Studies music video evaluation

A2 Media Studies music video evaluation

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    Evaluation Evaluation Presentation Transcript

    • Evaluation
      Natalie Walker
    • In what ways does your product use, develop or challenge forms, codes and conventions of real media products?
    • Before we began our video we did some extensive research into the forms and conventions of the genre of music video we intended to create. We watched clips on YouTube and did some in depth analysis of the methods that had been used. By doing this we were given a good view of what our music video should include and how it should appear to its audience.
    • The first thing we noticed about our genre and chosen artist was that a theme tends to be used throughout, as well as some form of narrative. Where a heavy metal video, for example, would contain a large amount of live performance, our genre tends to focus more on a storyline or narrative. It was for this reason that we decided on a circus theme as we thought that this would be very suitable for our genre and chosen artist.
    • We looked further into videos with a circus theme, including "Said It All” by Take That and “Circus” by Britney Spears. This allowed us to see the ways in which they were shot and the different interpretations that were used. After watching these videos we decided to turn our video into more of a gothic theme, as it fitted with many of the videos we had watched and seemed to be quite a common theme for some of the videos we had watched. Once we had decided on this gothic theme we began to look at some of the conventions that were used.
    • Camerawork
      During our research we studied the different types of camerawork that were used, including the use of camera shots and movement to create effect. In order to challenge the regular conventions of using a steady camera to film, we decided that, in the forest, we would use shakycam to represent the fact that we were being chased. Usually, a camera would remain steady and would perhaps track through the forest after us but we decided that the shaky camera action gave a more convincing look to the video and the fact that the ringleader was clearly running.
      We also used the shakycam approach in the bedroom scene at the start of the video. We decided to do this to show that someone was creeping into the little girl’s bedroom. We thought that it would give a creepy feel as the audience didn’t know what was going to happen at this point but they could clearly see that the camera was working from a first person point of view and was creeping into the bedroom.
    • Camerawork
      As well as the shakycam we also chose to use a lot of close-ups of our faces as it allowed the audience to see our expressions more clearly, which, in terms of professional music videos, is a convention that is usually followed as it gives more coverage of the main artist of the song.
    • Editing
      When we came to edit the video, we again looked at existing products and picked out features that we could use and features that we could challenge or change. One thing that we noticed that happened in the majority of videos was the idea of cutting the edit in time to the music. The song “Dog Days Are Over” has a very strong beat running through it, which we picked out and chose to take advantage of. In a way, we were also challenging this idea at the same time as, instead of cutting to something related to the narrative, we used cuts of random parts of our bodies or costumes. We thought that this would give an odd and perhaps eerie feel to the video as there was no explanation in the narrative as to why those shots were there. Following this we moved back into the narrative.
    • Editing
      When editing we also used effects by slowing down, speeding up and reversing shots. This again added to the creepy and odd feel of the video. We realised that fast and slow motion are effects that are used quite regularly in music videos, particularly in the slightly more odd ones like the one that we were aiming to create. However, we realised that it was very rare to play clips backwards in a music video, which is why we chose to do it. We thought that it added a sort of unhinged effect to the video, to make the audience feel uneasy in a way as it is not something that is normally seen in this way.
    • Editing
      When editing the start of the video we decided that we would show some shots on top of each other, e.g. the clown’s faces over the little girl’s. To do this we changed the opacity of the shots so that they were almost transparent over the top of the little girl’s face. This showed the audience that the clowns were in the girl’s dream, so they weren’t quite a real image, hence why the image itself wasn’t entirely complete. We had noticed in several videos, including Britney Spears’ “Circus” included transparent images like this to put across an image that isn’t entirely realistic, which is why we chose to use this effect in our video.
    • Mise-en-scene
      The mise-en-scene was the topic that was most related to the theme of the video as it had to fit with the theme or it wouldn’t have made a successful video. Once we had chosen the circus theme for the video we began to decorate areas of the barn and the forest with bunting and balloons. This gave the audience more of a sense of the narrative. The fact that we did this in quite a naturalistic way uses the conventions of the theme and the narrative quite well as it is a convention that the audience expect, i.e. that the video will have a storyline and an underlying theme.
    • Costumes + Make-up
      In order to fit with our theme, we had to decide on some costumes that would compliment the ideas that we had chosen. We drew up some plans and made a list of everything we needed. We then went on a collective shopping trip to buy our materials and made our costumes ourselves. We also had to decide on some make-up. We searched the internet for some designs and came up with our own so that our make-up artist would have a fair amount of detail to work from.
    • Sound
      In terms of sound, the video was mostly dominated by the music and we didn’t use any added sound effects over the top as we didn’t want to ruin the feel of the video fitting the song. However, in contrast to usual conventions, we didn’t start the song at the beginning of the video. We chose to start with a circus theme, which would not only indicate to the audience that this was a theme that was going to run throughout but it was something that linked the video together by the end. In order to make the sound more eerie, we edited it and distorted it so that it sounded broken. This is something that isn’t very often done in music videos, as it can easily be seen as something that has gone wrong. However, our intention was to show the odd feel that the video had.
    • Performance Elements
      As we found out during our research, at some point, a music video will usually have some form of performance in it. However, the style and type of performance differs depending on the genre of music and video that is being created. For our video we chose to challenge the conventions slightly as, instead of using a live band or one particular singer, we used some slightly more unusual approaches to the performance aspect of the video. For the singing parts, we used extreme close-ups of only our mouths singing the lyrics. This meant that the characters couldn’t be recognised and that no live music artists were actually used, which tends to be relatively rare in music videos.
    • Performance Elements
      For the musical instruments needed, we again used close-ups of only my hands playing the piano, for example, or simply a drum stick hitting a drum. Not all of these shots were used in the final edit but the unusual nature of them added to the effect of the odd genre whilst managing to challenge the regular conventions of performance in music videos. In the final edit we decided that we wouldn’t use the drum as it didn’t look right in the video and looked too natural for the eerie feel we were trying to create.
    • Narrative Structure
      We decided that our narrative would follow a loose storyline which could be followed, but wasn’t particularly naturalistic. As a rule, music videos will use a storyline that is linked to the lyrics of the song, for example, a love song containing a man and a woman in a relationship in the video. However, by using such an unusual theme for our video, we opened ourselves up to a range of narrative options as it was a little girl’s dream so it wasn’t confined to being entirely naturalistic and could afford to be more of a fantasy than reality.
    • Narrative Structure
      We used the lyrics as inspiration in a very loose way as we began to run through the forest at the point when the music said “run fast for your mother…” In retrospect the narrative may be slightly hard to follow for audiences that are unaware of the genre of the video as certain ideas are hard to grasp but, in a way, this fits better with the artist as Florence is a very unusual character with a unique style, which is accentuated in this way.
    • Layout - Advert
      Once we had created our video we began work on the digipak and magazine advert. Again, our first task was to research existing products and analyse the conventions and ideas that they contained. When looking at Florence’s previous adverts, we realised that they were relatively simple and used the main image from the album cover as the focal point of the visual image. In order to fit with this convention, we used the same technique.
    • Layout - Advert
      We had taken many photos whilst filming our video and had decided on our front cover image long before we had started on the digipak. This included an image containing the words “Dog Days Are Over” written in tape on the bails in the barn. This, in a way, challenged the convention as it is rare that the title is within the image as opposed to typed as a title on the page. However, in doing this, we specified the album to the one song a bit too much instead of focusing on the full album.
    • Layout - Advert
      The layouts that we had looked at also contained the name of the band at the top, the title of the artist at the bottom, the image in the middle and the special features and record companies located at the very bottom of the advert. We followed this layout quite specifically for our advert as we wanted it to look like it could have been produced by Florence and the Machine.
    • Layout - Digipak
      In terms of our digipak, most digipak layouts are the same, similar to the adverts, so we did some research and came up with some plans. Although the shapes of all of the digipaks were the same, we were given some freedom in the layout of the images themselves. Although we had based most of the digipak on existing layouts and templates, one part of it was very different to the usual idea. We decided that, instead of using a single image for the inside panel, we created a collage of images from the stills we had taken during filming. These were mainly photographs of odd objects such as a lava lamp or a top hat but when they were placed together, they created a pleasing image, albeit an odd one, which fitted well with the other images that we used.
    • Images
      Whilst filming we took many still images of our characters on location. Some of these were posed pictures, as we had seen during our research. These involved the characters looking at the camera, i.e. they knew that they were in a photograph. We also took some more natural photographs that involved us not necessarily being aware of the camera’s presence. These images tend to be rarer for publicity shots as they don’t necessarily show a good view of the artist’s face, which is usually the selling point of the whole album.
    • Images
      The posed images that we took were all fairly odd, and not taken in a studio but against a hay bail. Although this doesn’t fit with the usual images taken for albums etc. we decided that it fitted well with our video to have a straw bail in the background. It also meant that the images were reflective of the video and the imagery that we had created during it.
    • Fonts
      The decision about our fonts was made by studying some of Florence’s existing adverts. We chose to use the same font for the band name that Florence uses as we thought that this would show that we were sticking to the themes that she uses. We used a different font for the details of the poster as we wanted to make it more readable, and it also stuck to the layouts that we had researched as it was very rare that the same font was used for everything but, usually two were used instead.
    • How effective is the combination of your main product and ancillary texts?
    • Our main themes
      When we were creating our product we had decided on some themes that would run throughout. In order to make a successful combination of main product and ancillary texts we had to make sure that the themes were consistent. These themes included the theme of the circus and the ever looming presence of the ringleader. In order to portray these we used powerful images in the digipak and advert showing the presence of the ringleader and used costumes and make-up, as well as mise-en-scene to show the theme of the circus.
    • Synergy
      When thinking about our products we had to think about the synergy involved, i.e. how our products were going to come together and reference each other. This is why we looked at our products as a whole and not as individuals. By doing this we ensured that the products were well matched in terms of imagery, style and themes. One thing we made sure was the same throughout the pack was the use of fonts. We ensured that our fonts remained the same for the digipak and the advert as it allowed the audience to cross-reference them and see a link between them.
    • When creating our products we realised that we had to make them work as a set, not just as individual products. In order to do this we had to decide on a theme and some motifs that would run throughout. We decided on the theme of the circus so, because of this, we used balloons, bunting and red and white stripes, as well as our red and black costumes. Once we had established what our theme was, we then had a good starting point for what our set of products would look like and how they would fit together.
    • When creating our products, target audience was a crucial factor that we had to be considering at all times. When we had conducted our audience research we constructed an image of the typical fan and what they would be interested in etc. We also had to think about whether the combination of the products would encourage people to buy it or put them off.
    • The fact that we used the same main image for both the advert and the front cover of the digipak helped to show that they were connected. The image is also quite a poignant one that is featured in the video as one of the main images is one of all three of the characters sitting on the bails in the barn. This means that the audience would be able to recognise the fact that the products were linked and part of a package. We also added some red and white tape to the bottom of our advert using Photoshop. This allowed the audience to associate with the motif.
    • When thinking about the package and the combination of products, we had to think about synergy and convergence. The fact that we had used several different types of technology during the video showed the convergence that we had used. For example we used both a still camera and a DV camera. This allowed us to create very similar images to fit into the package, the only difference being that one is a moving image and one is still.
    • What have you learned from your audience feedback?
    • Before creating our product we conducted some audience research into what typical fans of Florence + The Machine liked. We chose to conduct 2 interviews via video, one male and one female fan. We thought that this would provide us with an unbiased view as we chose to use both genders so we could have an equal opinion.
      By asking these questions we felt that we could grasp a view of what the typical Florence + The Machine fan liked and didn’t like, which would help us to create a product that was suitable for them. After analysing the video feedback we found that not all of Florence’s songs were popular, neither were the videos. As a rule, the videos that were the least popular were the more simple ones that lacked a theme or narrative. It was for this reason that we chose to have an underlying theme and storyline for the video.
    • Something that we found was popular about Florence’s existing work was the extravagant costumes, which can also be seen with other artists, such as Paloma Faith. This was the reason why we decided to create costumes that would stand out and add to the aesthetics of the video a great deal.
    • We also chose to do another set of audience research once we had storyboarded our idea as we wanted to see some outside opinions of the storyboard that we had created. After receiving the comments, we altered it accordingly. For example, one of the comments that we received was that we had used too many close-up shots so, after receiving this comment, we reduced the amount of close-up shots that we had used to suit what the audience required. We also received a positive comment stating that the idea was very original and contained a lot of unique ideas.
    • The next set of feedback we gathered was after we had created our product. We posted our video online to YouTube so that we could receive worldwide comments as well as comments from our peers. To make sure our video got more views, we added a large amount of tags so that it would be more widely available. As well as this, we showed our digipak and advert to our peers and received comments about them, some positive and some negative. This allowed us to look back and reflect on what we did well and what we could have done better. We also asked for one piece of detailed feedback from a peer and fellow media student. This allowed us to gain opinion from someone who has experience in the topic.
    • Detailed video feedback
      I enjoyed it so much. I liked the beginning music because I thought it fitted well with the genre of piece and liked the fade-ins of the faces. The setting of the barn wasn't clear with the genre. I like the lip close ups, they engaged more with the audience. I liked how the music sped up and so did the characters but there could have been more emotion there to interact with the audience. I liked the positions in the barn, you all looked trapped. The close ups matched the music well and the ringleader’s positioning added more status. I didn't think the piano fitted because it almost went into another performance, although it did attract audience attention. The genre fitted with the ringleader’s back to the audience, didn't know what was happening. I liked how you all reacted but could have done this more immediately. I like the alley setting, the colour and you all acted very well in your posture and facial expressions here particularly. It all works well to the music and the camera shots in the trees build up suspense and show the unknown. Could have done more POV shots but I liked how the key symbols were repeated, like the mouth. It was an easy piece to understand, and all emotions were clear with great camera technique at the end as it looked as though it were stalking prey. The end slowed down well, good close ups before showing the girl, it felt dream like. Great costumes throughout. It all worked realistically to engage with and felt fairy-tale like.
    • Detailed feedback analysis
      We were very grateful for the detailed feedback that we received as it allowed us to see clearly what the audience liked and what we could have improved in order to make a more successful product. Again, the audience member appreciated the close-ups of the lips that we had used. This seemed to be a popular concept with the audience as it fits with the conventions of the genre we were using. They also commented on the fact that they didn’t think the piano fitted with the piece. When we filmed the video, we had shots of several different instruments that we intended to use. However, when we came to edit the video the shots weren’t very successful and didn’t fit very well so we removed them. This is perhaps a contributing factor to why the piano looked out of place. The audience member appreciated our performance and acting and said that our facial expressions engaged with the audience, but we could have done it more. They liked the way that motifs were repeated throughout, which we appreciated as we had worked hard to make sure our motifs ran throughout the video and fitted well together. They liked the locations used, other than the barn as they didn’t think it fitted the genre. When we decided to use the barn we thought it fitted well with the genre, whilst also challenging conventions. Perhaps we misjudged this and it could be something we could improve on if we had the chance to do it again.
    • Comments and responses
      “Really good use of costumes and location in the video – it really fits Florence + The Machine’s image – the circus theme is colourful, but a bit dark at the same time. The narrative’s good too: enigmatic but a bit hard to follow/understand. There’s good links between the video and cover – but maybe it ties the whole album to one track”
    • Comment analysis
      After reading this comment, we were very pleased with the positive aspects of it. The theme we had aimed for was a gothic influenced circus so the fact that the audience picked up on that was very pleasing. The more negative parts of the comment were what we suspected. We realised that the narrative was a bit far-fetched but, in retrospect, we could have perhaps made it clearer so that the audience could respond to it better. We also should have thought about the fact that the title of the album wasn’t “Dog Days Are Over” as that was then written on the album cover, which, as the audience member said, ties the album to the one song.
    • Comments and responses
      “Unique and good concept. Lots of cuts made the editing more effective and timed to the fast-paced song. Possibly add a change of location to break up the video.”
    • Comment analysis
      We liked the fact that the audience appreciated the uniqueness of the video, as that is what we were aiming for. Also, we had planned the editing so that it would fit the fast rhythm of the song so we were pleased that this was picked up on. In terms of location, originally we had planned 4 locations but, after shooting in the 4th location and moving onto the edit, the shots didn’t look at all successful and, if anything, made the video worse. This wasn’t because of the location itself necessarily but they didn’t fit in with the video so we chose not to include the 4th location. Perhaps we should have thought more carefully about this and planned more locations to include.
    • Comments and responses
      “I think the choice of outfits and location was good and fit in well with the song used. It was bright and colourful and made the video memorable.”
    • Comment analysis
      We put a lot of effort into making the costumes and locations successful and were not satisfied until the aesthetics were just right so we were pleased when we received this comment. The bright colours were aiming to be similar to Florence’s usual videos whilst still fitting in with the darker, more gothic theme.
    • Comments and responses
      “I really enjoyed the narrative, it’s very original. Also the costumes were very unique and work very well and the make-up is interesting and well thought out. I really like the video and would expect it to be a huge hit.”
    • Comment analysis
      This comment contrasted the previous one as this audience member enjoyed the narrative as it was original. However, if the video doesn’t cater to all of the target audience that we had intended it to there may have been some things that we could have altered in order to make the narrative more understandable. Again, we were pleased that the visual elements of the costume and make-up were picked out specifically as we spent a lot of time researching and creating the costumes and make-up.
    • YouTube comments
      “I like the shakycam at the beginning and the fast cutting during the forest sequence. It's a good interpretation of the song.”
      We appreciated the fact that the shakycam had been picked up on as we broke the conventions in order to put it in and we were hoping that it would pay off. In fitting with the conventions, the fast editing has again been picked up on. This could be because it is expected or that it was unusual because of what was being edited, i.e. the body parts so it was unique to the audience.
    • YouTube comments
      “I like the video. Good interpretation of the song. Who edited it at 2.37 to 3.00? Fantastic edit on those 20 seconds!”
      When we received this comment we watched back through the stated times and found that it was the fast cuts whilst we were running in the forest. This section was the part with the most edits as it was very fast paced.
    • How did you use new media technologies in the construction and planning, research and evaluation stages?
    • During the research stages we used the internet to search. This mainly included two websites: Google and Wikipedia
      We used Google for many purposes including searching for information, images and existing products. We also used Google Shopping to find the items that we would need to shoot our video so that we could create a budget. We used Google Maps to find our locations and directions to them and we also used Google StreetWalk to view our locations before we went to them. This gave us some idea of the type of places we were looking at before we arrived.
      We used Wikipedia mainly for research. This included gathering information on the artist, genre, song, album and record company. Through Wikipedia we also found the contact details of the record company so that we could contact them via email and request permission of the song that we wanted to use for our video. Wikipedia was very useful in helping us find our background information that we could then use to create a successful and professional video.
    • During the different stages of the creation of our product we used many new media technologies. The first of these was the use of www.tumblr.com which is the site that the majority of us used to blog our progress. Personally, tumblr was something I had never used before so this was very new to me but, once I had posted several items, I began to get more comfortable with it. This meant that I could post things more quickly and successfully and that I was more confident embedding videos, audio, pictures amongst other things to my blog.
    • Blogging has only been used as a mainstream product within the last 10 years so this is a relatively recent concept which is now being used by millions of people worldwide and was very useful in terms of creating a running commentary of our research and planning stages. Tumblr also allowed multiple drafts to be possible, as well as editing previous posts to improve them or add information that had been missed. If this was a written communication, rather than being online, it would have been much more difficult to do this and would require multiple print-outs and drafts.
    • We also had to use several forms of communication within the group. These included mobile phones to arrange meeting times and the internet to send work, links and messages to each other, allowing us all to work as a team without actually being in the same room. This also meant that we could work together outside of college without transport having to become a problem. An iPod was also very helpful as it allowed us to play the song through speakers whilst we were miming to it, allowing us to get the timing right and making the editing easier and more successful.
    • As well as tumblr we also had the use of other social networking sites which again were all relatively recent. We posted our video on Facebook to gain a wider range of audience feedback, particularly from our peers as only our friends were able to see it on this site. This allowed different audiences to view the product, giving us a more diverse range of comments. Facebook is a fairly knew idea as it was only created within the last 7 years but it has changed the way we communicated our video as traditional techniques would involve us only being able to show it to people who were actually there.
    • Another site we used to distribute our video was YouTube. We posted our video to gain comments from people all over the world. Again, a few years ago this wouldn’t have been a possibility and only our peers or classmates would have been able to see the video, giving us a very small group of opinions that may have also been biased due to friendships etc.
    • There were many different technologies that had an impact on our project. These included both software and hardware. The most essential of these was probably the DV camera and the still camera. The DV camera was the piece of equipment that made the whole thing possible as it was the reason we were able to film the whole thing. For some of us, it was the first time of using a DV camera so it was a new experience but has added valuable skills to our repertoire as we now know how to use them successfully. When using the camera we had to think a great deal about positioning and shot framing. This is something we had studied but not necessarily ever put into practise until now.
    • The still camera was also essential for our product as successful photographs were what made the digipak and advert successful. The still camera also proved useful when we were filming in order to keep continuity. As we were filming for two days we had to make sure that our costumes and make-up were the same so we took a photo of each of us once our make-up had been done. This allowed the make-up artist to create the same make-up more accurately each day. Without the use of the still camera we would have had to have guessed, which would have created a serious error in continuity as we used a lot of close-ups in our video which would have been ruined without the use of the camera. We also used the still camera during the planning stages in order to scout locations. We took pictures of many locations so that we could sit down together as a group to decide on which locations we would use.
    • Another programme that was very useful to me whilst creating the product was Microsoft Office, and in particular, the programmes Word, PowerPoint and OneNote.
      I used Word for many purposes including the main use; planning my blog entries. This allowed me to have a hard copy of every entry that I’d done, giving a more reliable source for my entries without having to worry about losing them if there was a problem with the internet. I also used it to write out plans for shooting, the shooting schedule and prop/costume lists.
      OneNote was very useful to organise my work and create lists of what needed to be done. It also allows free drawing on notes pages, giving me space to jot down ideas quickly and save them to my computer where they could not be lost. This improved my organisational skills as I always knew what needed to be completed during the process.
      I used PowerPoint to evaluate my work and create an organised view of everything I had done during the process of making the product. I also used it to save screenshots that I could add to my video analysis.
    • To create our main products we used two programmes: Photoshop for the digipak and advert and Adobe Premiere Elements for the video. These two programmes were relatively new to most of us as we had never previously used them a great deal.
    • The burn tool
      We used the burn tool to burn the edges of our photos, mainly on the digipak. This gave a darker and more gothic image, therefore twisting the idea of the circus and making it more creepy.
      The clone tool
      We used the clone tool for several different purposes. The first of these was to remove a telegraph pole that was in the background of one of our pictures. We felt that it ruined the effect. There was also a shot in which a balloon had been covered in mud. We used the clone tool to remove the mud and reinstate the balloon to its normal colour. We also used the clone tool to create images that weren’t there. For example, we added bunting to one of our digipak images and added red and white tape to our final advert. This improved the continuity and compatibility of the products.
      The smudge tool
      We used the smudge tool after removing the telegraph pole with the clone tool. When the telegraph pole had been removed, the sky looked odd and streaky so we compensated by smudging it. This made it look more realistic and natural.
      We used many tools on Photoshop to create a successful product, i.e. one that looked more professional. These included the clone tool, the burn tool, the smudge tool and the alteration of saturation levels, both increasing and decreasing. We also used a superimposed image to represent the ringleader’s looming presence.
      Saturation levels
      We altered the saturation levels in our digipak and advert. We chose to make them darker for the most part as it added to the gothic image that we required but we also increased the saturation on one image to accentuate the bright colours that were included.
    • girl’s bedroom. To do this we changed the opacity of our close up shots. This allowed us to superimpose the images over the image of the little girl, giving the feeling that she was dreaming and the audience were looking into her head.
      The next effect that we had to use was a fast-motion effect to show us quickly running through the forest. We had used fast cuts in the forest to show our urgency but when we were going backwards, we used a sped up effect to show how quickly everything was moving. We also had to add a reverse playing effect in order to show our storyline going backwards.
      As well as these effects we also had to make sure that we cut the video in time to the music and that the music fitted everything we did. We used the rhythm in the video to help us decide where to cut and we added multiple tracks as we used a circus theme at the beginning of the video and the song “Dog Days Are Over” for the rest.
      We all learned some valuable new skills by using Premiere Elements as we had never previously had the experience of the programme to gain these skills.
      To edit our final video we used Adobe Premiere Elements. This was a product that most of us hadn’t used before so it was a new experience for all of us and gave us a chance to learn some new skills. As well as cutting the video there were many effects that we needed to think about in order to make our video look successful. Firstly, we had to create a dream-like image when we were in the little
    • Overall I am very pleased with the products that we created and I think they fit well with our intentions and the conventions of existing products. We worked together as a team and, although there are still things we could improve on, I am very proud of the progress that we made.