Evaluation Q4 How did you use new mediatechnologies in the construction and research, planning and evaluation stages?
• Blogger was certainly the most important element of our work as it was the platform which we uploaded all of our research and planning, evaluation and our music video. It’s a great website as it allows you to upload most files on there (i.e. images and videos) and if you can’t do it directly you are able to embed it using other websites (e.g. for audio files or PowerPoint presentations). It kept everything organised and was extremely useful in giving you lots of control over the posts.• You could also upload your production logs by creating your own posts.• The only problem I experienced with blogger was not being able to upload my music video analysis, however this was rectified after I used the snipping tool to simply paste it as images into a PowerPoint presentation and uploading it. Because it is an online website I also had a scare when I thought my blogs had been deleted but it turned out to be a technical glitch.• Overall, I have found blogger to be quite reliable and be able to post most things on there.
• YouTube was another important element of my coursework overall for several reasons:• It initially allowed me to surf through different music videos when starting out to choose our genre and learn about the different conventions of music videos.• After picking my soul/jazz genre I was able to move on to looking at that specific genre of music videos and analyze their conventions, which opened up many of the inspirations of our video.• I used adobe tutorials for Adobe Photoshop/Premier and any technical things I needed help with.• I was able to upload my Vox Pop onto YouTube after having edited it.• Finally I was able to upload my own music video onto YouTube to put on blogger for marking and to use the comments section as part of my feedback evaluation.
Microsoft Word• Microsoft was great when writing longer chunks of texts during my research and planning, such as generic codes and conventions of music videos or background information on my music video analysis. I was also able to analyse my videos in an organised manner using a table on Microsoft which I could keep pasting until I had finished my analysis. I also used it when writing up my artist information and simply making lists of what I need to do and my initial ideas to save on the computer.• I could usually then copy this work and paste it onto the post section of blogger.
PowerPoint• PP was extremely useful as it allowed me to post my music video analysis after being unable to do so directly. It is very organised and easy to use and allows you to do many different things. I also used PP for most of my evaluation questions as it makes it easy to label things, add images and links whilst keeping it all organised.• For one of my evaluation questions I wanted to embed the music videos on the PP, after watching a YouTube Tutorial I learnt how to do this: after opening up the developer tab, I used shockwave player to make an outline of where I wanted the video to go. I then right-clicked and opened up properties where I added the music video link (making sure to remove any ‘watch?’ and replacing ‘=‘ signs with ‘/’ as the video had taught me). In the properties section I also had more control as I was able to switch off video loop and my video’s playing instantaneously. The only problem was that during the conversion of the video on Slideshare the embed no longer worked therefore I decided to upload the music videos directly onto blogger next to my evaluation question for easy access or by adding the links on the PP.• Tutorial link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hChq5drjQl4• PowerPoint was also a great help during my questionnaire analysis as I was able to create different forms of presentation of my results (e.g. Pie chart/bar chart etc)
Slideshare/Divshare• Slideshare was very useful as it allowed me to embed my PowerPoint presentations by converting the file to one that is compatible on blogger.• With Divshare I was able to upload any audio files I had such as my audience feedback in a quick and easy way, it also allows you to choose the audio skin you would like to put on your site or blog which means you can keep consistent theme colours of your site.• Signing up to both of these sites is quite quick and free.
Microsoft Excel• Excel allowed me to make all the data configurations I needed for my data analysis. The 2007 version of Excel is much more linked and available to Microsoft PowerPoint which makes it easier to use and see how my results looked at the same time. Everything is much more simplified and there is always an example beforehand to show you how it works incase you don’t understand.
Internet/Google• The digital online age has been the focus of our media coursework, as it is how I collected my research and planning (e.g. looking at different media theorists). It was also how I was able to Google any relevant information I needed. For example before filming I looked at websites which talked about the different filming techniques and camera shots that can be used which gave me more ideas and inspirations whilst I was in charge of the filming of certain scenes.• I also had access to anything I needed if I had any technical difficulties, not only are there online forums for different groups that can instantly answer your questions but there are also different types of software that you can download to guide you in your work. For example when I found I couldn’t upload my music video analysis I was able to download the snipping tool to help me.
Hotmail (Email)• Hotmail was an important communication tool for our group. We were able to send things to each other if we were working from home and also ask each other for any help or send each other useful sites and ideas to do with our music video.• It was good that many of our work would be sent to each other in this way as Hotmail is a trusted website and saves all documents which means work cannot be lost, when it can be if work is exchanged through a USB as the file could get corrupt or lost.• We were also able to stick to filming schedules by agreeing on a time and date through email, to see everyone was doing their bit or if everyone was prepared for the next day of filming without having any last minute arrangements. Due to new media most of us have access to the internet on our phones which means if we could not contact each other through text/call we could simply email each other and rest assured that our message has been received.
USB• It was important to have a back up of everything on a USB and not just our computers incase anything crashed or got erased. Because it was portable it was also easy to take the USB from school to home or the library to work on the research and planning. I also had a copy of Photoshop on my USB which came in handy if I was using a computer that didn’t have Photoshop and could simply save ‘PSD’ files and work on them wherever I was. For example when working on the magazine advert at school, some of the computers in the study room did not have Photoshop which meant I could simply open it from my USB. However, it’s not good to solely rely on the USB as some people did lose it meaning they had to begin much of their work from scratch and files are also easily corruptible if the USB is not ejected correctly.
Camcorder • This was essentially the most important device of our final product as without it we would not be able to attain all of the necessary footage. It was important for the camcorder to be of good quality to make the video look more professional. Through the camera we were able to film a variety of shots and angles for our music video. I also used the camcorder to complete my ‘Vox Pop’ interviews for the research and planning part of my coursework. • I also learnt that the better the initial filming of the footage the easier the editing. After filming the first few scenes we gained much more knowledge into how to go about filming the next scenes by taking into consideration the editing part of our work.
Lighting/Ring Light • When filming our performance scenes we had to have very good lighting against the green screen in order to make it easier for us to cut out when it came to editing it out. The positioning of the lights mattered and so did the intensity of the light (how many lights we used). • The ring light which was attached around the camera also helped to lighten the areas we were shooting to eliminate as much of the green as possible.
Green Screen • The green screen came in very handy as we were able to change the setting of out performance scene last minute and edit it quite easily. • When working with the green screen, the first thing we had to do it make sure it was evenly lit. We also tried to keep our actress as far away as possible from the green screen so as not have too many drop shadows which would then effect the editing process. • We then had to work to light our actress and really bring her out. • The green screen was analysed before filming started to make sure there were no creases or folds that had unintentionally been created. The only problem was that the green screen was only on the wall and not the floor which meant while filming we had to keep it a mid-shot and not too far, showing only her upper body.
Tripod/Camera Wheels • The tripod was extremely useful in making our narrative shots very professional as it kept everything still. Which meant even if the quality of the camera was not great, the stillness of a shot would still make it look good, as it is far too difficult to try and stand steady. Inevitably there will be some vibrations which will become more obvious when watching the video, this was the case with some of our park scenes as it was too difficult to place the tripod on some of the very hilly areas. However, as the tripod is adjustable on many levels in most cases it was easy enough to keep it straight and still when we needed to use it, for example in the café scenes. • For the performance scenes we also had portable wheels for our professional camera which made it easier to move around the artist and film her, making it all very seamless.
Camera• The camera was used during both our narrative and performance scenes to take pictures of the actress during the construction of the video (to use later for developments) and also to picture her with some poses to use for our ancillary products. This was important to us as we wanted the video and the ancillary products to be closely related. We took turns with the camera whilst one person would film and another would help in directing, the person with the camera had to be very creative in their shots and make sure we had plenty to look over later to pick for our ancillary tasks. On the next page are some photos which we rejected for the magazine advert.
Rejected Photos for AncillaryThis picture had far too manyshadows in the backgroundwhich meant it would have Although this picture wasbeen very difficult to simply the distance we wanted ofchange the hue and contrast of her to be away from thethe background to a more camera it was far too darksuitable colour as it would and was not as appealing ascome out all different. We also other images to be used forfound that the pictures of her the magazine advert.in a bun made her seem fartoo distant and cold and chosethat her picture should be onewith her hair out. This picture was nice composition wise. However, we felt that we didn’t want her to be looking directly at the camera as it removed any mystery of the artist and didn’t fully suit the theme of ‘floating around’.
Serif Moviemaker• I was able to use this software when editing my Vox Pop as it was much simpler and didn’t need any fancy editing tools. You are able to simply drag and drop the different parts of your footage to create your video. I was also able to add text and music to go with my video.
Adobe Premier Pro CS3• This product greatly benefited us during the construction of our music video, in fact it was one of the most crucial softwares used on the computer. This is because it allowed us to professionally edit our music video using the different tools. We would first upload our footage using ‘capture’, and then keep rendering the edited files as we went along. The software allowed us to cut out the green screen by highlighting the colour green and then using the blend/contrast tools to further blend any remnants of the colour and finally replace it with an image of our choice.• The razor tool was extremely significant as it enabled us to cut any shaky parts of the footage and get rid of any footage that we were not using. For example, in our initial filming we had filmed a scene of the actress falling asleep, after deciding that we werent going to use that scene we were able to completely erase it by first cutting it with the razor tool. It also allowed us to interlink the different footage to integrate it all in a seamless manner.• The stretch tool was also quite important, especially for our video as it had many slow motion scenes and fitted quite nicely with the song.
Adobe Photoshop• Photoshop came in handy in the making of our ancillary work, it was much easier to work with Photoshop in the construction of our A2 production work as we were more familiar with it this time round as we had previously made a music magazine in our AS work. It is also very easy to find tutorials on Photoshop on places such as YouTube or Google if any of us got stuck on anything.
Iphone/Blackberry • For my audio feedback I was able to use the ‘memo’ app on the smart ‘Iphone’. I was then simply able to email it to my hotmail account and work with it however I needed to on the computer. • Twitter, the social networking site has become very popular with the app being available on most smart phone. Using a BlackBerry others in my group were able to send tweets to gain feedback on our video which we then used to further develop our video.
Prezi • I found that for many of my evaluation questions and other work I really enjoyed making PowerPoint presentations as it put me in control and allowed me to be very creative. However at times it was limiting and did seem quite repetitive, which is why after some online research I found ‘Prezi.com’. This was a unique way of making fun and interesting presentations which could be seen on my blog. I had much more control in Prezi as I was able to manually say which path I wanted the presentation to go and choose everything from the shapes to the colours that I chose to present my work on. I had previously also had a few problems with PP in that it would freeze and crash and my work would be lost, unlike PP, Prezi would constantly auto save the smallest of changes and even if the computer were to crash you could always log back in to your account and your presentation would be safe and sound. • The website also allowed you to upload images and embed videos which was a very useful tool.
Freeonlinesurveys.com • This website was another useful tool for me to get some audience feedback, as not only did it conserve paper as I didn’t have to print out the surveys but it was much less time consuming as I was able to choose what type of question I wanted (e.g. open or closed) and if I wanted multiple answers or not. I was then able to simply give the choices and state whether a question had to be answered or not. This was another free site that was very easy to sign up to and made it very effortless for me to collect answers from.
Snipping Tool • After having troubles uploading my 5 music video analysis as they would not upload directly to blogger, I found this little tool to be immensely functional. I was able to ‘snip’ around anything I wanted copied and save it or paste it as an image. I was able to download it online and later went on to use it for my evaluation questions as it made it much simpler to simply copy and paste the things I wanted rather than using the ‘Print Screen’ button which would copy the entire screen.
Mp3 Cutter/Converter • After sending myself my audio feedback on hotmail, after opening the file I realized that I had accidentally recorded an extra 40 seconds of silence which would make it very confusing for anyone hearing the audio. Turning to the internet I found a website called ‘MP3 Cut’ which didn’t even need to be downloaded, you simply uploaded your audio onto it and cut the parts you wanted. However here I faced another problem as my audio would not be uploaded because it wasn’t in MP3 format. On the same site I found an ‘Online Audio Converter’. There I was able to convert my audio file to MP3, go back cut the parts I wanted then upload the file unto Divshare to embed into my blog. • Without these websites I may have had to rerecord my interviews and find another way to upload it as MP3, which means it saved me a lot of unnecessary time-wasting.
Facebook/Twitter• The last piece of new media technology I used for my evaluation work was the social networking sites ‘Twitter’ and ‘Facebook’ which have now been ranked the top two most popular social networking websites. These sites are not only used by young people but by people of all ages and backgrounds from all parts of the world. It has made communication much more digital and instantaneous. This is why smart phones such as Iphone/Samsung/BlackBerry have all opted to having these sites as available for download on their phones. This means people have even higher access to such sites even when they are out and about. For me I was able to use these sites for my audience feedback, I was able to attach my music video and send out to friends to see what they thought about it, encouraging some of them to comment through their YouTube accounts. It also allowed them to then share my video if they wanted to. This was a useful way for me to collect feedback as it was quick and also easy for others to simply leave a comment.• At times it was also a useful way to contact people asking them to help us with our video (For example when we were messaging people to act in out video). We were able to communicate as a group and finally I was able to stay in touch with our chosen artist who would send me the audio of her song and also tell me parts of the lyrics which may have been unclear to me and also for her to give me background information on the group.