1) In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products? As our chosen artist’s music is of the acoustic genre, I started to look atexisting music videos of the acoustic genre. I studied, analysed and took note ofrecurring themes that could be conventions of music videos. As I have a keen interestin music anyway, I already had a basic understanding of conventions of differentgenres from watching music channels and watching music videos on Youtube. I alsocarried 4 music video analyses, 2 of the acoustic genre, and 2 of different genres.From these analysis’ I developed my knowledge and expanded my awareness ofconventions of existing music videos of both the acoustic genres and other musicgenres. I have written about some of these conventions below. Goodwin’s music video theory consists of a number of features applicable tomost music videos. These are as follows: 1) Music videos demonstrate genre characteristics: In our music video we included several aspects that associated our music video with the characteristics of acoustic music. (More detail about how we did so in the convention breakdown below). 2) There is a relationship between music and visuals: As we wanted our music video to be able to tap into this convention of music videos we decided to include some matching lyrics and visuals. For example one section of the song’s lyrics is “ And I’d take my time, to show you that I care”. During this part the visuals are of the narrative couple walking and holding hands in slow motion to match the lyrics and the themes of time and caring. However we did not want to overuse this convention as a literal music video where visuals consistently match the visuals looks unprofessional and tacky. 3) There is a relationship between music and visuals: When there is the guitar playing in the track, quite frequently throughout our music video we showed clips of Lewis playing the acoustic guitar. Also we edited out music video in a way that matched the beat of the music to the beat of the cut of visuals, again enhancing the relationship between music and visuals. 4) The demands of the record label will include the need for lots of close-ups of the artist and the artist may develop motifs which recur across their work: In our music video we included many close ups of Lewis singing and close ups of him playing the guitar to abide with this criteria. We also had Lewis wearing his key chain necklace, which is a reoccurring theme of his as he wears it during live gigs and promotional photographs. 5) There is frequently reference to the notion of looking and particularly voyeuristic treatment of the female body. We included clips of Lewis looking around and looking up to the sun as he sings to represent him looking for his loved one. The only female in our music video is of the narrative actress, however in the casting process we thought that as she is an attractive woman she would fulfil this feature. 6) There is often intertextual reference: As previously mentioned we planned for Lewis to wear his key chain necklace as it is a reoccurring theme of his as he wears it during live gigs and promotional photographs.
Camera Shots From studying existing music videos of the acoustic genre, it was madeapparent that the use of close ups are quite conventional. James Morrison’s musicvideo of “Broken Strings” and Joshua Radin’s music video of “Brand New Day” areboth of the acoustic genre and both consist of close up shots. In order for my musicvideo to be able to tap into thisconvention I decided to use severalclose ups throughout both theperformance section and thenarrative section. It would alsoenable the audience to see what theartist looks like, which could help toincrease his popularity andawareness. An example of one of theclose ups we used can be seen to the right. This is a close up of Lewis who is sittingunder a willow tree playing the guitar and singing. Having watched music videos of other genres such as rock music I found thatthe use of tracking shots and pans are very common. For example in one of the musicvideo analyses that I carried out was that of Francesqa’s music video of their single“Ghosts”. In this video tracking shots are used several times, mainly in theperformance section of the music video. From watching rock music channels such as“Kerrang!” “Lava TV” and “Scuzz”, I have found that the use of tracking shots inperformance sections of rock music videos is very popular. Hence I drew theconclusion that the use of tracking shots is a convention of rock music videos. Despitethis when it came to storyboarding, a few of the panels we constructed included theuse of a tracking shot. As I knew that this was a convention of rock music videos andnot used commonly in acoustic music videos I was a bit apprehensive in using one inthe music video. However we it came to shooting we tried out the tracking shots andwe thought they worked really nicely. Hence we decided to leave the tracking shotsin, which could challenge the conventions of an acoustic music video. However I feelthat despite challenging the conventions of an acoustic music video I think it fits wellinto our music video and acts as an interesting shot. Many acoustic music videos including Jason Mraz’s music video of “I’mYours” and Never Shout Never’s music video of “I love you 5”, consist of handheldcamera movement. As we got the opportunity to use a Sony HDV-100E video cameraas apposed to the smaller Sony HD Handycams, we decided incorporate somehandheld shots into our storyboard. When we shot our music video with the SonyHDV-100E video camera, we were able to use handheld shots in the music video andcome out with reasonably steady and interesting shots. It is difficult to do a handheldshot using a Sony HD Handycam as when viewing the captured footage back you canreally notice the shakiness, which looks unprofessional. By using handheld shots wewere able to incorporate this conventional camera movement of acoustic music videosinto our music video. On a different note we felt that the use of static shots mightchallenge the camera movement convention of acoustic music videos. Also we feltthat repetitive use of static shots could make a very dull music video so we tried tominimise the use of static shots.
Location and Setting One important issue we had to face was the choice of location to film ourmusic video. From studying existing acoustic music videos we found that the majorityof them were filmed outdoors in beautiful scenery. We wanted to develop thisconvention in our music video and also film in beautiful scenery. Hence we came to the decision of filming in “The Walks”, a park in West Norfolk (see picture to the right). The park consists of a river, a huge amount of trees and plants, a bandstand, a castle, hills and fields, all of which would benefit the mise-en-scene of the music video by making it visually appealing. A typical convention of acoustic music videos is to include shots of either the narrative actors or the performer walking across grass, so we decided to include this convention in our music video. Thisconvention is also made apparent in Colbie Caillat’s music video of “Bubbly”, whenColbie and a male actor are shown lying down and walking across the grass. We alsofelt that we could use the sheer size and variety within this location to our advantageand create some interesting shots, emphasising on the beautiful location and tappinginto this convention. Another possible location was tofilm at the beach as this location provedquite conventional of an acoustic musicvideo. For example Jack Johnson’smusic video of “Taylor” (see the screenshot to the right) is filmedpredominantly at the beach and againthis reinforces the natural feel to themusic video that is also shared withmany other music videos of the acousticgenre. However we felt that taking expensive equipment to the beach could be a badidea with risks of sand getting in it. Studying existing music videos of other genres such as rock also helped ourdecision when it came to choosing a location to film at. For example one possiblelocation that we came up with was an abandoned warehouse. However after watchingseveral rock music videos I discovered that this location was very typical for thisgenre as apposed to acoustic music videos, so if we filmed our music video here itwould challenge the conventions of an acoustic music video. In contrast, fromstudying existing music videos of the pop music genre, I found that the locationchoices were typically dance studios. We decided to avoid this type of location as itholds strong conventions of pop music, not acoustic music.
Lighting Another typical convention for an acoustic music video is the fact that verylittle artificial lighting is used. As the majority of existing acoustic music videos areset in the daytime, typically in the summer, studio lighting is not necessary. I thinkanother reason why the use of artificial lighting is rationed is so it does not ruin thenatural feel to the music video that acoustic music videos typically consist of. As weshot our music video towards the end of summer at midday, we did not need to useartificial lighting. We also felt that by not using any artificial lighting in our musicvideo, our music video would use the convention of natural light that is featured inmany existing acoustic music videos.On the other hand pop music videos often havebig studio lighting of many bright colours that tend to flash in time with the music.We felt that having this approach to lighting would be unsuitable for the genre of ourchosen artist’s music, so we avoided this pathway.Costumes When it came to deciding on a costume for both our actors and our chosenartist in our music video we wanted outfits that were conventional for acoustic musicvideos and also fashionable so they would appeal to our target audience. As our targetaudience is made up of males and females aged 13-24 we understand that fashion isquite an important aspect for them. We wanted outfits that were fashionable so ourtarget audience could relate to them and find them visually attractive, enhancing ourmusic video. Artists of the same genre such as JasonMraz and Jack Johnson are often seen wearingcasual clothing in most of their music videos. Thismade me think that perhaps casual clothing is aconvention of a music video, so we applied thisconvention to the outfits that we created for ourmusic video. Our chosen artist wore a light green t-shirt, which looked summery and enhanced thetheme of summer time in our music video, whichis also a convention of acoustic music videos.Along with the green shirt he also wore jeans,which reinforced the convention of casual clothingin acoustic music videos. Our male actor Thomas wore a red shirtand jeans throughout our music video. Again bywearing jeans it holds the convention of casual clothing in acoustic music videos. Thecolour red has connotations of romance, and this could represent the theme of love inour chosen artist’s song as well as this theme that is shared in many existing acousticmusic videos. Red shirts are also quite popular in acoustic music videos, (see pictureright of acoustic artist City and Colour), which also influenced our decision when itcame to choosing the costumes.
Props After watching acoustic music videos such as Jack Johnson’s “You and YourHeart” and Jason Mraz’s “I’m Yours”, I found that quite a common feature is to include footage of sport. For example “I’m Yours” includes footage of skateboarding (see left) and “You and Your Heart”, includes surfboarding footage. Other acoustic videos I watched included sports such as volley ballon the beach. Seeing sports in acoustic music videos has led me to believe that itcould be a convention. Hence we decided to include some kind of sports in our musicvideo. We thought that logistically having extreme sports such as surfing orskateboarding in our music video could be difficult to film, as well as having healthand safety issues. We decided that an appropriate sport to include in our music videowould be a bat and ball game between the narrative couple in love. This taps into thisconvention, as well as also showing that the couple are having fun in the park, beingin love and playing games. Another prop we included in our music video was the use of an acousticguitar. We found that many acoustic singer-songwriters play their acoustic guitar inthe performance sections of their music video. We thought it would be a good idea toincorporate performance shots of our chosen artist playing his guitar so we could usethis convention and make our music video more like a professional acoustic musicvideo. We also thought that by includingshots of our chosen artist playing guitar itwould help with his star persona and allowthe audience to recognise that he playsguitar as well as sings. You can see a shotthat we used in our music video to showLewis playing the guitar and singing to theright.Music Video Structure The majority of acoustic music videos I studied have a structure that includesboth performance and narrative sections. As we wanted to use this convention in ourmusic video we created a narrative that we could use and incorporated that andperformance shots into our storyboard. We also felt that a music video consistingpurely of a performance would make a boring music video. We felt the same wayabout having a music video based purely on around a narrative. We also thought it isimportant, particularly in unsigned acts to include performance sections so theaudience can start to recognise the artist and associate their music with their face.
Editing When it came to editing ouracoustic music video we decided totake a similar approach to that of themusic videos of “Hey There Delilah”,by The Plain White T’s. In this videothe footage is shown in sections splitacross the scene. As we thought thismakes an interesting editing technique,as well as using this convention of anacoustic music video we decided toincorporate this editing technique into our music video. An example of the sectioningcan be scene in the screen shot above from the Plain White T’s music video. Another editing convention found often in existing acoustic music videos isthe use of cutting to the beat of the music. The pace of the editing is quite slow pacedand the shot changes are matched in time to the beat. We also decided to use thisconvention in our music video as we think it is effective in making our music videomore generic to the acoustic genre. Another editing technique we decided to include in our acoustic music video isthe use of a colour filter in our visuals. We felt that the filters enhanced the summerycolours such as the yellows, and greens, which help to reinforce the genericconvention of summer often associated with acoustic music videos.Conclusion In conclusion I think that I have been successful in applying certain typicalconventions associated with an acoustic music video and think I have made correctdecisions when it came to choosing which conventions to use, develop or challenge.
When it came to creating my digipack and music magazineadvert I first looked at existing products of the same genre as mychosen artist. I looked at digipack designs from artists such asJason Mraz and Joshua Radin. I also did further research intosimilar artists digipack designs by creating written analyses of JackJohnson’s “In-between Dreams” and Plain White T’s “Wonders ofthe Younger”. From these digipacks I was able to create a roughidea of what conventions were typical for acoustic artist’s digipacks. I also looked atmagazines that feature acoustic music such as NME to see the conventions associatedwith acoustic magazine adverts. One of the conventions I found common to acoustic artist’s digipacks was theuse of showing the artist on the front cover, as seen in the picture to the right ofacoustic singer-song writer City and Colour. As I wanted to use this convention in mydigipack design and magazine advert I decided to include a photograph of Lewis onthe front cover. I also think that as Lewis is an unsigned artist it would be a good ideato include a picture of him on the front cover so the audience can get a rough idea ofwhat he looks like and create a sense of star persona. In conjunction to this conventionthe most typical framing of the digipack photo was centred. As my photo wasoriginally rectangle and I had to edit it using Photo Shop to make it the correct squareshape, I was unable to use the centred photo convention. Instead the artist waspositioned to the right of the photograph, slightly off centred. I thought it would be agood idea to use the same image in both of my ancillary products so the audience canrecognise the reoccurring theme and associate the advert with the single release. Studying existing magazine adverts, particularly of theacoustic genre I found that having the release date quite big andinteresting is a typical convention of a magazine advert. This is whyI decided to include my release date on the sign that Lewis washolding up. I think this acts as an interesting and quirky way todisplay the release date but also it is quite easy to read. Another convention I decided to use was to put the artistsname towards the centre of the digipack and magazine advert.From studying existing products of the same genre but also different genres such asPop music and Rock music I found that the artists name tended to be in the middleand generally the biggest text. Also as the artists name is probably the most importantpiece of text of the digipack cover and magazine advert so by having it towards thecentre it would be likely to focus the audience’s attention to it first. The font choiceused in many acoustic digipacks I looked at were quite simple and easy to read. Iwanted to challenge this convention by using a more fancy font choice, so I used aswirly font. However I made sure it was still easy to read. As acoustic music holdsconventions of love and romance I decided to colour the text in red as the colour redconnotes these themes. In my digipack I also decided to include the artist’s website as this wouldenable the audience to view more of the artist’s work and increase his awarenesswhich is important, particularly for an unsigned artist. Another convention I includedon my digipack was the use of a barcode. As well as using this convention I feel thatthis little feature makes my digipack look more professional. In conclusion I believe that despite taking a more challenging approach onexisting acoustic product conventions, I have created a interesting and innovative
design which can still be linked back to the acoustic genre, but with a moremetaphorical approach.