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A2 Media Evaluation

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My completed evaluation for the A2 Media Studies course, where I was asked to create an original music video for any song I choose.

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A2 Media Evaluation

  1. 1. A2 Media StudiesEvaluation by Bella King
  2. 2. In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products? A form or convention of a real media product is something which is recognized by the costumer as symbol that the product is real, ‘official’ and professional. There are guidelines that people feel represent what a true media product should be; for example, the barcode of a product should go in the corner at the bottom, a movie should be about one and half/two hours long or that a magazine is A4 sized. It means that if a product fits the mold, a costumer can trust it and spend money on it; if the product doesn’t fit the mold it might be a fake or forgery. Successful media products both challenge and develop existing form and conventions, to create a sense of safety and excitement around the product. I’ve used silhouettes of the actors in my video (using images form the stop-motion sequences) to make a sort of identity for the band; the images act as a visual link between the music and the musicians. In the same way that bands use the same font through their advertising campaigns, the images will help people to recall and remember The Cave Singers; the idea is that if this were a real media product, these images would become a sort of trademark of the group and create a brand for the music. It also means there is continuity between the music video and print media, which shows a form and convention in terms of how real artists aim to create a brand themselves to build brand loyalty. I aimed to create a album cover which represents the artists and also challengesused a barcode, record label symbol and compact disk symbol conventions and stereotypes linked to folk music. The muted colours in theo convey conventions of real media products. It gives it status background give a indie, alternative feel; it represents a sensitive side of thend conveys a sense of authenticity and credibility. As a product, music and is very different to, for example, rap music, where the artist is oftenhe main aim is so sell and create revenue, so by using real shown clearly in the best light, as a way to show their ego and confidence.orms and conventions it means the customer is able to Whereas in my cover, my artist is approachable and likeable and trustworthy; asecognize an official product which they might want to buy. an audience, you are made to feel on the ‘same level’ as the artist and the mise en scene and setting is literally made to make you feel at home with the band. My research showed that people used words like ‘homely’, ‘earth song’ and ‘soulful’ when describing folk music, which gave me the idea of setting it in a home environment.
  3. 3. In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products? Looking at certain album covers, produced by actual artists has helped me to produce a more successful product and evaluate my own work. I came across this after looking for further research after I finished my album cover. I was surprised at how similar they were; the vivid red colours on covers, the circular frame of the image that I used on my video and the setting being in a household. I wonder if subconsciously I had seen images much like this; obviously to have created something so similar I have used techniques I’ve either seen before, no necessarily just through research for this particular project, but simply by being a person who consumes the media. The circular frame around the image makes the artists stand out and uses a point of view camera angle. In this particular image the positioning of the Dylan and the woman in red is very important. Dylan’s raised eyebrow and slightly sarcastic expression combined with the woman’s relaxed, proud position has conations that he literally brought her home. The muted greens and browns creates a vironment which is dark, mysterious and slightly dull; its connotes ideas that Dylan is in the home he grew up in, since his fame suggests he would somewhere much more splendid, and is supposed to make you feel safe, at home with the artist. ‘Bringing It All Back Home’ is, of course, anotherason for the homely environment and possibly the circular frame which could represent the lens of a camera, taking a photo form years ago, or theea of looking back in time or remembering or feeling nostalgic towards the past. Like in mine, the homely setting is also supposed to suggest thate band is quirky, original, eccentric and confident in their way of making music. In short, this album which characterizes the idea that folk music is out music form the heart, something real which is set around real people show the success in my owninking. It shows that my album cover conforms to forms and conventions and, although there areght differences, since I like the way folk music is generally represented through the music, haveade a media product which shows real conventions of a media product. When continuing research I also found this iconic front cover which shows an entirely different way of viewing folk music. The image is posed and edited, which both makes the artists look artistic and unusual, but also revealing in their vanity the true nature of making music; to make money, present idols in music and make a product etc.. Obviously people enjoy album artwork, but my research has led me to think that generally, people feel that folk artist’s aren’t supposed to look manufactured. This particular image, in some ways, looks particularly framed, their clothes match and it looks like a photo shoot. That said, although the set up of their photo might not be considered ‘humble’ or ‘folky’, it reveals their personalities and opens them up as people through the eye contact with the audience and as an usual cover, challenges forms and conventions. It shows how my product might conform to the idea of what is folk music art about, and develops my understanding of cover art in general.
  4. 4. In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms andconventions of real media products? My poster, advertising the release of the single ‘Dancing On Our Graves’ was made with the intention of coming out the day before valentines day. I think that my poster develops forms and conventions of real media products in that it promotes itself (using the star ratings), and the key-hole effect is used to visually link it to the video. Moreover, the colours and outfits are earthy and ‘real’, which all links to the idea of what folk music should be about. The tattered wallpaper in the background also connects this idea of music which is ‘home-grown’, since the images isn’t overly edited and doesn’t show the artists ego. The Blackberry code and links to internet access to the band are all ways to promote the band and make a connection to the audience. In this way, my poster again conforms to conventions of real media products. The images used don’t actually address the audience and in this way, challenge forms and conventions. However, the fact that the combination of images show movement and dance, does conform in that it looks creative, a perception people have about folky music. The inside of my Digi pack acknowledges who helped in the making of the video etc., which obviously is another example of conforming and doing things which shows authenticity, makes the band look ‘nice’ and helps to make the music sell. It shows a convention of a real media product.
  5. 5. In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms andconventions of real media products?For me, lyrics such as ‘But oh Lord, I know what I’ve done’ are emotive, thoughtful and reflective. This emotional aspect of the song inspiredme to create a sense of darkness and isolation around the artist. The pinhole effect around the camera (which I created by attaching card tothe lens) and choosing a nighttime setting throughout most of the track were intended to create a sense of intimacy between the artist and theaudience so as to enable a story to be told in a personal way. This challenges a stereotypical view of folk videos, in that they normallyincorporate lots of people to create a sense of togetherness; I wanted the connection to be between the viewer and the artist, but in a moreexclusive way.However, in the scenes where I have used stop motion, I have developed existing conventions of real media products in that in my chosengenre, there is often a focus in the music (rather than the artist in a visual way, which is something generally found in hip-hop or rap, forexample), and so by using stop motion, gives a sense of the music, focuses on rhythm and the creation of the sound. By combining ideas of asolitary figure, an artist telling a story, and the actual playing of the music I hoped to develop ideas of folk music being about honesty in thelyrics and making of the music, as well as offering a more indulgent, emotive side to the song.How effective is the combination of your main product and ancillary texts?Creating a sense of harmony between the video and ancillary texts was crucial to making a product that made sense and was successful.The sort of things the research helped me decide on where costume (because I recognized how important the initial impression of the band are);also, costume is a visual way of connecting people, since if you look like someone who are more likely to like them or feel you have something incommon, so by knowing my audience I was able to judge who I want my artists to look like. I achieved this by using costume like the checkedshirt and the hat; the hat in particular has significant cultural references to being poor (and therefore a ‘better’ person with bettermorals), possibly it tells you that the individual wants to stand out and shows a rebellious, individualistic way of thinking. All these traits, in mymind also link to a stereotypical view of folk music.
  6. 6. How effective is the combination of your main product and ancillarytexts?The poster in particular is effective in bringing together the themes in the video and in the ancillary texts. Thekeyhole effect I created was to not only bring focus to the artists and to give it a personal, point of view feeling, butto link it to the camera angles and effects used in the video. I think the link is clear and gives a sense that the bandare band are established (because this link makes them seem organized and professional).Before starting the project I had in mind how I wanted things to be, how to look and how to feel.By creating a sort of colour pallet that I was able to use through the video and ancillary texts, Icould make sure of a clear visual link and in doing so, make sure of a feeling of continuity andharmony. My research showed undoubtedly that for listeners folk music was not so much aboutescapism and other genres, say hip-hop, which often talks about unattainable wealth andsuccess for the ordinary person. Instead, people liked to think that they could be involved withit; I interpreted this as being something to do with being ‘real’. So I decided to use earthycolours, browns and greens; I dressed my model in a checked shirt because the patterns hasconnotations of the genre, and focused on using colours found in nature. The video itself if dark(so brown, black and green), and set in natural places (a home, the woods, on mud); so theoverall conclusion is that the ancillary texts look like they ‘fit in’ with the video. The combinationof the video and the ancillary texts help to create an image for the band and in extension, brandloyalty.The use of stop motion focuses on movement and gives a sense that the band are in time, out oftime; creating an image that they are creativive and being able to move to the beat. I took this ideaand used it in the inside of the Digi pack, where I used various shots from the stop motionsequences and focused on how movement in the video creates a feeling for the genre of the music.The ancillary texts help to support an image created for them through the video. I think that looking at all the ancillary texts and video separately, you could recognize them being part of the same projects. Ultimately, this means that I’ve created something which has properties of real media products and could work in the real world; as an idea, it would succeed in marketing a band and by showing continuity, create am image marketable to the public.
  7. 7. What have you learned from you audience feedback? My initial audience research before undertaking the project helped me to recognize my target audience; by seeing this potential audience as a sort of collective identity, I was able to make educated judgments on what I could create that would be attractive to the audience. My feedback has helped me realize if I have actually targeted the right audience and if I have branded the musicians visually in a way which attracts the right sort of peoplewho ultimately, would be willing to spend money. I asked a range of people what they thought about my music video and print media, some of which I would consider to be the target audience, and others a range of people to get general feedback about successes and accomplishments and possible areas which didn’t work so well. I asked people 1. if they thought the video had a good storyline, 2.does the video ‘match’ the song?, 3. does the video keep you interested throughout the song?, 4. do you have any general feedback? I asked these questions and talked to each person individually to get a feeling for what they thought about the video. The general response was firstly, that they got a feeling for the artists and the storyline, although not necessarily that clear, did depict a eccentric, unusual sort of relationship between the two people; moreover, people generally thought that the video suited the video well. Most people said that the video’s fast pace did keep them interested throughout the music but one person commented that there could be a more varied range of settings. The general consensus was that overall the video was a success and when I asked for things that I could work on, people commented on making certain scenes lighter and possibly making the storyline clearer. The lip syncing looks really good and the hole-y The guy looks just right for the part bits look cool. but I don’t understand who the girl is, but she’s cool. It’s different and really original looking.Audience feedback has taught me that making it clear who the people are is probably the most important partof making the video. Making something weird is cool, but doesn’t always translate to everyone. Overall I am
  8. 8. How did you use media technologies in the construction andresearch, planning and evaluation stages?To present my research and planning I used blogspot.com so as to extend my use of media technologiesand display my work in a visual way. I meant that I was able to construct a clear way of presenting myideas, as well as using a technology which is relevant to the subject and shows my ability to use variousprograms.I began my research by simply browsing the web to find websites that might help me find out aboutwhat I need to be able to complete the task. I realized that to create something successfully, I wouldneed to use Photoshop CS5 (for the ancillary texts), and Premiere to make the video. I later used iStopand Storyboard Quick in order to complete the video.When I decided to actually begin filming for the video I began by shooting the scenes for the stopmotion scenes, for which I used my digital SLR camera. Uploading them from the camera to thecomputer was simple enough (because I was able to use a Mac), and I them imported the completedfiles onto premier. I had trouble making the stop motion files large enough to fit the screen buteventually was able to stretch the images. I then began to look at the task a whole and began makingthe ancillary texts, while making the video to make sure that I was able to edit both sides at the sametime (so that neither totally depended on the look of the other), both were flexible.In terms of actually shooting the video, I knew already in my head (and through planning it anddocumenting it on my blog) what I wanted it to look like. I recognized videos that inspired me and all Ineeded was the tools to enable me to carry it out. I was creative in making the images; for example, Ihad no way to light the scenes outside at night, because the lights we had available at school wereheavy and I wasn’t able to mount them onto wheels, which an extension cable long enough. Therefor Iresulted to using either a torch, which I help while filming, or car headlights which I used to light up mymodel. Ultimately, I don’t think this hindered the look of the video, in fact, it enhanced thecrafty, homely, hand-made feel of the video.Using the blog to store research and present ideas meant that when editing, I could quickly refer backand make more educated decisions. Overall, using the Macs has meant I’ve been able to used advancedtechnologies which has resulted, in my opinion, in quite a professional looking product.

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