In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?
How effective is the combination of your main product and ancillary texts?
What have you learnt from your audience feedback?
How did you use media technologies in the construction and research, planning and evaluation stages? </li></ul>
Introduction <ul>This is the evaluation of my a2 media music video project. I have enjoyed working on this project, more than I thought I would at least. Though I didn't get to choose the song we ended up working on, it was an exciting project that learnt me new skills and improved upon old ones. My skills in Adobe Premier are much more advanced, for example, using effects far more proficiently and effectively. It also proved interesting given that I was in a very mixed group, all possessing different tastes and ideas, but I feel we came together to form a product we can all be proud of. I much preferred hosting our work online via the blogs as opposed to the printed work of last year. It made it easy to work together, track each other's progress and so on. </ul>
From the research I have done into the media sector of music videos, I have learnt that each genre of music holds its own codes and conventions as to the idea of what will be appealing to fans and to convey a certain image of the band to their target audience. Some directors choose to subvert these codes and conventions, and in doing so create unique videos that can challenge their audience’s perceptions of the band and maybe even draw in a different crowd altogether. Even after minor analysis of various genres, the conventions of each became clear and obvious. Metal videos usually feature the band performing on a stage, cut with dark imagery that may follow a loose narrative (e.g slipknot - “left behind). Within the pop genre, which our chosen song is a part of, dance routines are rife (e.g Beyonce - “Crazy in Love” and/or a narrative often shoulders the majority of the video (e.g Kelly Clarkson - “Because of You”). Videos act as a companion piece to the song, and so they have the power to give the song a very different feel to one you may have had listening only to the audio. We chose the song “Teenage Dream” by Katy Perry to make a video for as we felt it was a prime example of contemporary chart pop music. The official video conforms to genre conventions in that it features performance by the star and a light progression of a story spliced together. We wanted to create something that echoed the official video in terms of theme and narrative, as it was totally appropriate and within our means to create a low grade version of. We decided against challenging pop genre convention as we did not want to risk alienating the core audience, or end up with a salad of bizarre and pointless images. Now that we had decided upon the skeleton of the project, and that we were going to play with conventions, we were able to flesh out our ideas for the video. Firstly we took a close look at several of Katy Perry’s previous videos, such as “California Gurls” and Hot n’ Cold”, and noticed though obviously utilising a hefty budget and studio backing to create either lush fantasy worlds or exaggerated reality, they shared the form of performance and light narrative. With this in mind, it reinforced our desire to stick to genre codes at the risk of letting overblown ideas fall flat and end up with a poor video. The official video for “Teenage Dream” holds hands with the song’s lyrics and we wanted to do the same, as the lyrics provided an excellent mould for a pop video, talking about falling in love and the carefree life of a teen in love. The basic story within our video is that our Katy Perry actress is dreaming of running around having fun with her true love, living a “teenage dream” like the song talks about. She then wakes up from the dream, gets ready for the day, walks outside and bumps into a familiar stranger (boy from the dream), and they then begin talking, hitting it off and leave together. This borrows ideas from the lyrics and the video, but creates something individual. This individuality is almost indebted to our low budget and short timeframe, and gives the video a “home-movie” aesthetic which works well with the song given it’s theme. One idea that we implemented to inject some fantasy into our video (a la Katy Perry style) was to edit the “reality scenes” into monochrome and the “dream scenes” in full colour, followed by the final reality scene (in which she meets the boy) in colour to show that the dream may have just become reality In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?
Following in the tradition of our video, we decided to create a simple yet eye-catching digipak cover and advertisement to promote our video with. What we learnt from our audience research, is that our presumptions about the typical katy perry fan were correct. Our main audience rested between 16 -25 years of age and were majorly female. This also helped shape the concept of the video in that it doesnt feature any racy imagery (as opposed to Katy Perry, a convention we didnt keep) and it tells a story of romance that typically, girls enjoy more than men. We filmed our video in various locations around the village of Dunnington, specifically my bedroom, the local playpark and the woods. This helped to make the premise of the video relatable to our target audience. Overall, I feel that our video and ancillary products adhere to the conventions of the pop music genre in that they are what the audience would expect and seek out based on past experience. Having said that, i feel we managed to inject our own stamp on the genre by bringing it down to earth, featuring relatable and plausible characters and locations, rather than jumped up, over-exaggerated visions of reality.
We wanted there to be a feeling of unity between our products because it creates a more effective selling point in combination with a much more attractive aesthetic, rather than a jumbled mash up where each product looks unrelated to each other. For our digipak, we wanted to use images of our katy perry actress because firstly, we felt the photos we took were too effective not to use, and secondly, it emulates katy perry's album covers. We kept the theme basic, letting the colourful hair and bold outfit of our actress take centre stage. The blank backdrop encourages this, and also allows the audience to visualise their own background, coinciding with the “dream” aspect of the album’s title and the theme of the video. One way in which we could have potentially improved the coalescence between the digipak and advert, would have been to take photos on location of video shoot, to include on the inside of the digipak. This would have lent a feeling of intimacy with the artist, and is more visually exciting as it would be in contrast to the aesthetics of the outside of the digipak. Evaluation; How effective is the combination of your main product and your ancillary texts?
The advert follows suit similarly in that it lends focus to the actress and avoids clutter, which though can be eye-catching, is often negatively so. We thought it more effective to let the single image, which is bright and full of life, to do the talking. Included on the advertisement naturally, is all the relevant information about where to purchase the album, the title of the single etc. We used the same font on both the digipak and the advert to reinforce the sense that these are two related products, the advert being used principally to sell the single. because of using this font, the same as katy perry's official logo, that adds another layer of recognition in terms of established fans as they will instantly recognise that is is Katy Perry affiliated before they have even read the words to make sure.
Evaluation; What have you learnt from your audience feedback? <ul><li>This is the questionnaire we produced in order to gain an insight into the mind of our target audience, and what they would like to see in a katy perry music video </li></ul>
Interview After we concluded work on the production of our music video, we interviewed a classmate, India, to ask her opinion on the piece. <ul><li>Do you think the storyline fits well with the song, and why/why not?
Yes, I do, because the main focus is a dream and I like it how it is in black and white when she is alone and in colour when she is with her dream man.
I also liked the transition to colour at the end when she bumps into him in reality, it was an “aww” moment.
Do you think the transitions/cuts worked well?
Yes, I think they work very well. I like the bit in the woods where they are walking around and it cuts to the same place, throwing leaves at each other.
I love the part when she opens the curtains and the video slows down with the music, very effective.
What do you think about the juxtaposition of black and white in reality, with the dream in colour?
I really like it. Without it, it would be difficult to interpret the difference between the dream and reality sequences, and the video wouldn't make sense.
I probably wouldn't change anything. I love how natural the acting comes off between Freya and Scott
Did you enjoy the video overall? What would you rate it out of 5?
Yes, I did enjoy the video. It is a cute story and I would give it 4 out of 5 </li></ul>From this concise interview, we can see that the idea of bleeding the dreamworld into the real world was successful, as we had not told India anything about the video, and it was interpreted just right even so.
How did you use new media technologies in the construction and research, planning and evaluation stages? Throughout this project, I have utilised a range of new media technologies in order to achieve my goal of creating a fluid and exciting media package, consisting of a music video, with accompanying digipak and magazine advertisement. The first thing we had to do in the genesis of this project, was to gather research about our chosen artist and genre (Katy Perry, chart pop) in order to gain an understanding of the market and audience expectations. We used magazines such as Q and NME to a degree, although their input was limited as the material concerning our artist was not prolific. Mostly, we made use of the Internet, with sites like Wikipedia and various Katy Perry fan hosted sites (e.g www.katyfan.com). This provided us with a vast scope of contextual information and gave us an insight into the kind of aesthetics fans would like to see, and showed us how dedicated some of her fans really are. We also made use of Youtube and Google Images to analyse Katy Perry’s music videos and get a feel for her vibe and her look, so that we would be able to emulate it to a degree for our own products. This stage of the project would have been very difficult without the use of the internet, though it was not an experience without any flaws. Wikipedia, though reliable, is not infallible as it is a shareware source, meaning it can be edited by anyone and not always with correct information. Also, whilst several of the Katy Perry fan sites were very well constructed and brimming with useful information, some were half-finished affairs that lacked the same punch as their compatriots. Once we had gathered sufficient research, or at least began amassing a credible amount, we began to upload this work to the blogs that we created for this project. I chose Tumblr (as opposed to a site like Blogspot, Wordpress etc) because I have an existing blog with them already and am familiar with its workings and layout. The use of blogs to maintain and present this project is a good idea, as it provides a visually pleasing and concise cloud platform that is easily customisable, quick to update regularly and provides a new facet of media technology to incorporate into the project. If a new piece of relevant information is found or a previous post requires an overhaul or edit, it’s a simple matter to achieve when using a blog. It also allows the hosting of different visual and audial mediums such as embedded videos and photos to bulk up the work, rather than blocks upon blocks of raw text. Finally, it makes it easy to check up on the work of your group and make sure you havnt missed anything, share information or provide them with any missing data.
The production of the video likely holds the most use of different media technologies to accomplish it’s potential. We used DV cameras to film the video itself, which were intuitive, compact and gave us a high fidelity piece of film. The fact that the camera was handheld was a massive bonus when having to travel to the location of the shoot, in the village of Dunnington. To keep in contact with one another, we made use of mobile phones, which may seem trite to mention, but it made sure we kept to our shooting schedule and were all able to converge efficiently and make our video. Once we had finished shooting, our video required editing to make it an effective piece of media. For this, we used a computer program called Adobe Premier. This program allows for vast experimentation without permanent repercussions should anything be cut or placed wrongly, as with analog editing equipment. It is a simple but expansive program that allows for much dabbling to achieve different cuts, effects and frames, transforming raw footage into something that can look semi-professional. Once the video was taken care of, we needed to get to work on the ancillary products; the digipak and the magazine advertisement for said digipak. The digipak was to hold a CD and DVD combo, and be presented as a new single for Katy Perry. We analysed her previous album covers via the Internet, and also noted the theme of the title song (“Teenage Dream”) and the ideas we had already incorporated into our video. We wanted the products to feel united so that they would be an effective media package as opposed to standalone products. We started by taking our actress to the photography studio for a photoshoot with a digital stills camera. We set her against a white background, which constrasted beautifully with the colours of her outfit and hair, connoting the exciting visual impact of Katy Perry herself. The digital camera provided us with hi-res images to work with, and gave us a professional looking set of photographs to choose from. We then needed to add elements to the photographs to make it appear like an album cover, and subsequently, an advert. To do this, we used Adobe Photoshop which is an excellent photo editing suite once you have grasped the basics. It is basically as deep as you want to explore it, but great things can be achieved with only small knowledge of the software. We downloaded Katy Perry’s official logo font (www.1001freefonts.com/KatyBerry.php) to use on the album cover, as she does herself. We also downloaded images of the logos of brands such as iTunes and Amazon mp3 to place on the advert, showing the potential audience where the song can be purchased online, as this is another facet in which media can be experienced. We didnt feel it necessary to list retailers that would stock the item as most people are fully aware of where they can purchase such products. Once our 3 products were completed, we needed to upload the video to the internet in order to gain feedback from our target audience. We uploaded the video on Youtube and also a Katy Perry fan site, to try and broaden our spectrum of comments. As of yet, we have recieved no feedback but it is important that we have utilised a platform in which we can be praised or slated by the general public. A negative factor to uploading to Youtube is that it is such a leviathan, hosting so many videos, it is hard to get your head above the water and anyone manage to even come across yours. Finally, this project required an evaluation. Rather than drone on too much by uploading text straight to Tumblr, I decided to present my evaluation in the form or a Powerpoint presentation and upload it to the site Slideshare. Slideshare is a free presentation-hosting site that is incredibly user friendly and free to join. Utilising this medium to present my evaluation helps boost the visual factor and provides another use of a different media technology. In conclusion, many products were used during the creation of this relatively simple project, both software and hardware that would not have been available to us 10 years ago, so we are very fortunate that we were able to make use of it all here.