How did you use media technologies in the construction and research, planning and evaluation stages?
Throughout the course, I used a variety of media technologies, all of which have led to the creation of my final products. These technologies include a broad range of software, as well as equipment.
The entire course has been placed onto one blog, WordPress which has facilitated my need to embed videos, images and text. As well as letting me structure the order chronologically, and neatly. For my research and analysis phase of production I used youtube to find 8 songs of similar styles and genres to my intended genre, usually using the ‘recommended’ tab to find up to date music with interesting music videos to analyse. I then took screenshots of these and compiled them into a pages document, along with annotations, commenting on the use of editing, camera angles and mis-en-scene to further understand the conventions of the genre. Before again screenshotting this to make a smaller, easier to embed JPEG file for my blog, alongside the original embedded video, allowing me to recap on the song all as well as look at my specific screen-grabs and annotations. I then similarly researched 4 websites, and 4 digipaks, commenting on the use of colour, font and common conventions such as the different tabs present on websites, and what different copyright and studio logos were present on digipaks. Again using screenshots of the different pages and this time annotating directly into WordPress. To help find good quality images of my digipaks I used googles ‘search by image’ feature, placing a low-res version of my desired album cover into the search bar and letting google give me every available size of the image so I could better analyse the covers. After this I then choose my song, ‘Ben Howard’s -Oats In The Water’ and analysed the lyrics, using ‘lyric genius’s’ website to first find the lyrics then copy them into a ‘pages’ document annotating them, using different colours to distinguish between themes and moods and shot ideas.
In conducting my target audience interviews and actor auditions, I used a Nikon DSLR camera on a tripod and photography lights to better light my subjects. I then edited this video in adobe premiere pro. This condensed the important information and easily portrayed the conventions that my audience related to my video and therefore what I should consider filming in terms of structure, location and mis en scene of my music video. This also helped me compare my actor auditions as I conducted them over two days, allowing me to better compare the auditions without having to remember how good/bad they were. In addition to this, I also made a ‘Target Audience Video’ which involved filming my target demographic answering the questions put forward within my survey. This put the interviewees’ on the spot, and forced them to answer the questions truthfully.
Listening to my song on repeat and reading the summary of my target audience videos I was able to then construct a shot list in pages of what shots I wanted to include in my video that was very helpful when it came to filming as I already had an idea of what I wanted from the majority of the video. I then again used my DSLR to take pictures of my locations to best choose which were more suitable and showed them to peers to allow them to pick their favourite locations.
In creating my digipak I first used my DSLR to do a photoshoot at night with my actor, using both a flash aswell as making making him hold a portable light facing the ground infront of him to create a nice glow. I then used photoshop to create a background, downloading splatter brushes off of brusheezy’s website to layer different coloured splatters to create the background. Then placing my image onto of this, adding a low opacity diamond, inverting the colour of the image and then changing the hue and lowering the saturation to create an interesting image. I then colour corrected the image using a photo filter, using existing albums to copy the copyright text, barcode and studios logo and compiling them as different layers onto one photoshop file. I also choose a font off of adobes font collection and downloaded it for further use in my website and music video. I also created my CD art in photoshop, using an existing image, desaturising, gaussian blurring and finally colour selecting the black to overlay the design onto a CD template with my desired font. I then finally compiled all sections of the digipak into a new photoshop file with the digipak template download.
In creating my video I again used a DSLR onto of a monopod and tripod to film my entire music video. Filming in a higher frame rate to allow for slow motion in post. Using the Camera attached to the monopod upside down and then later flipping the footage allowed for low angle follow shots of my actors feet and a steadier shot due to the weight being below my hands, allowing for less wobble. I then compiled all my shots into premiere pro, using this software to fully edit my video, with time remapping allowing me to slow my footage down and key framing allowing me to add the album cover at the end as well as fade in and out the titles at the beginning. I also used Magic Bullet effects to create a black and white filter to go onto of each clip to allow me to colour correct each clip individually with the curves feature, rather than creating 1 adjustment layer. After exporting I then used Vimeo to allow me to upload all my videos onto the internet so I could embed them into my website and blog.
For my website creation I used WIX website designer to create my site. Using the same font I downloaded from my digipak for the majority of the website. I again used my camera to take many new pictures for my pages and in particular gallery, using photoshop to edit them and add the titles. I then used the photoshop shape tool to create a logo for my artist and export it onto a variety of different products, also in photoshop to create merchandise as well as create more photos as posters. I also took images of vinyl disks and a CD case and photoshopped these into extra images so they can change when hovered over on my website to look more professional.
In creating my evaluation questions I have used quicktime to record both my screen and my own very annoying voice.
What have you learned from your audience feedback?
I have used audience feedback consistently throughout the course to attempt to adhere to my target audience and ultimately better my work and make out more appealing for an audience. To start with in the planning phase of my coursework I collected data on what to film through the means of a target audience survey in which I interviewed members of my target audience on what they would expect to feature in the music video from costume to location aswell as what they thought the overall mood and meaning of the song was so that I could better relay this when filming and in post production. This was a very effective way for me to take into account my target audience and make sure the video would fit their expectations and therefore make it more appealing to watch. This is because I could re-word questions or re-ask them if they didn’t understand what I was trying to ask. It also meant I could ask follow up questions if I felt I needed more information.
This helped me decide to do a mainly narrative based video, choose the locations of cliffs, beaches and water as my locations as they related the most with both the lyrics and aesthetic the audience wanted. It also helped me choose to put the video in black and white, the costume of relatively generic teen clothing and the lack of props as they would take away from the isolation of the main actor that I was trying to create to relay the themes of loneliness and sadness that were also identified in my target audience survey. Once the initial research was completed, I used the ideas gained from my interviews to create a shot list for my video, listing the types of shot that I wanted to achieve for specific lyrics and instrumental parts of the song. This on its own, although helpful to me wasn’t helpful for anyone I attempted to show it to and therefore I continued to explain the reasons behind each shot. This was then read by some of my target audience who helped me add other specific shots such as many of the follow shots where my actor is silhouetted to further hide his identity and focus more on the lyrics and meaning of the song. After creating a first draft for my music video, my peers were able to help me choose the speed of the mapping for the album cover at the end with feedback making me change it from black and white to colour to better make it stand out, aswell as making the transition slower and more central as to create a more seamless and dramatic, professional exit to the song. Further to this I was advised to add more reverse shots of shorter length at the end of the song to further fit with the video as a whole as none of my shots lasted long in the main section. I was also told that the end, although interesting became monotonous very fast and therefore I added the flash of my actor to the beat to add more interest into this end and keep the audience watching until the end fade out as I felt this was an impressive feature of my video.
During the creation of my digipak I created 3 digipaks and then asked my peers and teacher to pick the one they thought best fit with my song. I then created 3 different versions of this pack and got them to pick from these to end with my final pack, before colour correcting to fit the digipaks aesthetic. I also learned about the placement of the barcode and studio’s logo from my audience feedback. I leaned that with a border aswell, that centralising my actor was better for my album cover as it created perspective drawing you into the centre of the cover that is then accentuated by the addition of an extra diamond closing off more of the negative space around my actor. After the first revisal of my website I gained feedback on my choice of imagery for the front page and changed it to further fit my promotion of the latest album rather than just an image of the artist, aswell as the creation of a logo to further help full my store with branded merchandise aswell as give a central brand to the website other than just the font and imagery of my artist. I also got feedback on my font choice and therefore altered it in the about page to separate the quotes, their writers and the block of text to make them more distinguishable. Further on the store I was advised that only 1 image of the products was not very fitting to the conventions of real artist stores and therefore I added a feature where you hover over the image to get an alternate view, be it the back of the apparel or the view of the case with the CD/Vinyl inside.
Post production I have learned that including my artists logo at the beginning of the song before the song and artist name would have better introduced the brand and identity and further linked my media products, aswell as perhaps featuring this on my album covers however I personally feel that this would take away from the very minimalist style of the digipak.
All of this feedback through the creation of my products allowed to me to produce industry standard products. And therefore making it an extremely important tool in the overall success of my media product, as the constructive criticisms — as well as the positive responses — I have received over the progression of the course have ultimately enabled me to produce the best possible outcome.
How effective is the combination of your main product and ancillary texts?
I believe that as a whole my music video, digipak and website work effectively as a collective, as overall each of these products contains the same base aesthetic, images, fonts and colour palettes. Firstly, on my website, both at the top of each of my pages and in my gallery there is a variety of photos of both my main actor and the scenery from both my digipak photoshoot and the shoot of my actual music video, therefore immediately linking the three together. The fact they are all from the same locations, wearing the same costumes and are consistent of my shooting style, framing the actor usually centre or left of centre, with the majority being mid or high angle shots, allows for continuity and relation between the three. On top of this the main page of my website shows the shots from my album cover shoot with “NEW ALBUM OUT NOW”. This links to my digipak as it has the same cover and also directly refers to it therefore linking my products effectively.
Having researched popular artists, I saw that it is important for a brand identity to be established when trying to promote yourself. I therefore chose the font -Orator Std- in the adobe font package; due to its simplicity and cleanness that related to the music; and used it consistently throughout my three media products, in the titles of my video, the text on my album cover, and as the main font on my website. To further create a sense of brand I then used this font as well as imagery linked to my video and the lyrics of my chosen song to create a logo for my artist of a bird, the artists name and a wave. This can be seen as the main logo on all my merchandise and thought my website. I have however not used this in my video or album cover, but instead rely on the font alone to relay the brand in these products. I have alternatively ended my music video by fading into my album cover and use the font to relay the brand. The main page of my website – being to promote the album; has a hyperlink to my music video, directly linking my website and video when the album cover is clicked. I have also created extra album covers for my website that link with both with my original digipak; as it has the same border around the centre image, and my video as it ends with my original album cover. In returning to the same location in my digipak at the end of my film shoot to try and make a seamless transition between the two. The locations in the digipak and video can therefore be seen to be similar and in this case the same, effectively linking the products and making them more of a collective.
For my digipak I used 2 images I took on the same day at the same location but from different angles and the same time of night where it was pitch black. To further colour match them I used photoshop photo filters of a low opacity orange to to help them flow. I also carried on the design of the ink border to the inside covers of my digipak. This helps with the simplicity and cleanliness of the pack as a whole however also helps to contrast the CD on the inside which has the same background colour as the two front images as well as the same font. In the two images on my digipak there is the essence of isolation that can also be seen in all the images in my websites gallery and the two extra album covers I made but also in the majority of my shots including my actor in the music video. With my overall idea in creating my video being wherever paused the still would make a good stand alone picture.
In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?
I believe I have created media products that both use and further develop forms and conventions of real media products, featuring many of the stereotypical traits of an indie genre music video. Firstly my choice of song ‘Oats In The Water’ draws on themes and conventions of the genre, making it more identifiable; with the themes and emotions of sadness, loss and despair in my song being features of many other indie songs such as ‘Glasvegas – Daddy’s Gone’, and ‘Bear’s Den – Agape’. This can be shown to hold true to my song with my target audience picking up on these themes in my interviews. I have therefore related these themes to my video, using techniques such as slow motion to relay the sad tone that I have achieved by slowing down my footage in Premiere Pro after filming at a higher frame rate, like other indie videos such as ‘Bon Iver’s – Holocene’. However, using the technique of reversing my footage when the songs tempo increases to change the flow of the video and take away from the seeming monotonous footage before to spark interest in the peak of the song. In this way I have therefore further developed the conventions of real media products as I have not found such a drastic change in technique before. With other indie videos sticking to the same shot style and technique throughout, however instead using the main actor’s movements to relay the tempo of the song; usually having the actor running at the peak of the song. For example ‘Bon Iver’s – Holocene’ and ‘Rag’n’Bone Man’s – Skin’
My development of such forms is further evident in the fact that, like the given examples, my song is very emotional and as shown in my target audience survey; in some cases depressing, immediately indicating to the audience the overall message of the song which is about an individuals pain, regret and guilt and his desire to forget about it. To further portray this I have conformed with the common theme of isolation and rurality in my music video – which can be seen in both aforementioned examples. But with my video in particular I have tried to portray the individual trying to ‘escape reality’ to be with his thoughts and attempt to get over his guilt, consequently I feel my chosen locations reflect the conventional indie genre; with cliffs, cliff paths and waves, all locations that are isolated with no other people in shot. It can also be read deeper into, with many shots that include my actor also including occupational bunkers that can arguably also be linked with the themes of regret, pain and guilt.
In addition, I feel that my videos conformity can be seen through the use of black and white, monochromic all the footage – which I achieved through creating an effect layer over each clip using magic bullet effects and using the curves to colour correct each shot. I feel this also develops conventions of real media products — as monochromic is usually used in addition to an older look in order to age the video for example in the indie song ‘Jim James’s – Just A Fool’, but also due to the contrast this creates at the end when fading into the very vibrant and colourful album cover I have made, making it stand out and remembered so that the album is memorable and in theory sells more. Overall I feel that the black and white look is very fitting with my song and speed of my video and also portrays my deep themes of sadness as we relate black and white to emptiness and loss. The over elaboration of the music videos is very rare in the indie genre with very little editing used other than just simply cuts, instead using dramatic locations and interesting camera angles to create intrigue. This is due to the simplicity of the music being translated into the video, with over elaborate editing in fact distracting the audience from the overall essence of the music video.
In this respect, my music video certainly parallels forms of real media products. Furthermore, my shot compositions are also very similar to that of ‘Ben Howard’s – Esmerelda’ and ‘Bon Iver’s – Holocene’. Where the main actor is isolated and often framed in centre-shot so that you can see them overlooking the dramatic landscape they are often set in. In this same way though my media product challenges the conventions of the genre as my video also features lip syncing and the artist. The mixture of both performance and narrative, especially based in the same locations is very rare with a lot being a band based performance in a studio and then the scenic narrative separate; and the majority being just scenic narrative following a main actor on their journey to overcome their emotions. I feel that the performance being in the same place however further isolates the artist and connects the narrative and performance and clearly identifies his pain more as it is him feeling it, singing it and trying to get over it.
My chosen shots also reflect the mood of the song with the majority featuring movement in some way, be it inside a car, birds flying, waves or my actor moving. I have tried to make movement a key part of the video as this relates to the lyrics and theme of the song of moving forward and trying to get over past regrets and guilt. This is why I went for the simple mixture of shots of my actor from behind and then scenic shots of waves and cliffs as when cut next to each other it can be assumed that this is what he has been looking at and puts you in the shoes of the artist, emerging you more in the video. I have however tried to make the lyric shots more static so a difference can be distinguished that partially separates them. Otherwise many of my shots are extremely stereotypical of indie style music videos that use an actors journey on foot to relay the narrative, using low angles, follow shots and mid shots of the back of the actor.
Finally, like mine, similar indie genre music videos are usually set in the evening / end of the day to accentuate the light-darker and less light hearted ambience of these various locations. I therefore shot my scenes on darker windier days aswell as foggy days where the waves would be bigger, aswell as some shots in the rain that matches the lyrics “When the weather comes tearing down” aswell as the references to loss. Furthermore, in post-production, I have enhanced this environment by increasing the darkness of the shadows on the curves when colour correcting in magic bullet. Also, in order to try and link my video and song further and give a sense of progression and speed in a rather slow song I made the timing of my cuts coincides with the beat of the music. This also makes my video seem more professional and makes it easier to watch. This can be shown to conform to the genre as other videos such as ‘Ben Howard’s – Esmerelda’ also shows this
Similarly, the costume worn by my actor in my music video also conforms to the conventions of real media products. As the star in my music video is meant to be portrayed as just a normal person and that anyone can be in his situation and therefore he is seen to be wearing normal clothes of just a hoodie and joggers, all colours of which are dark however to further reflect the whole atmosphere of the video. This ‘ordinary persona’ is seen in many music videos of the same genre as my song such as ‘Ben Howard’s – The Wolves’, as the theme of many of these is that it can be anyone even you and therefore further draw you into the video.
I believe my digipak both uses and further develops forms and conventions of real media products. Firstly it features both a barcode and copyright text I found every digipak has when I was doing my research, secondly it also has the record companies logo that I found was present on the majority of digipaks aswell, with the particular one I used ‘Island records’ being from my songs original album and consequently will be linked with the indie genre of music. I felt that a picture of my artist was fitting with the conventions of real indie digipaks as the majority of indie artists use themselves as their cover to further get themselves noticed and recognisable; my media product however therefore challenges media conventions as my artists face isn’t actually present on the cover and therefore the main focus is on the text and rural isolated location. This location however does fit the conventions as, taken at night and then inverted it allows for a slow fade away of the background, giving an isolated feel to the image and therefore playing on the themes and emotions of the song aforementioned in my video analysis. The text also fits with media conventions, being simple and easy to read it fits with the simplistic style of music that indie artists create, and this can be seen to also be used in many other digipaks e.g. ‘Ben Howards – Every Kingdom’. The album itself is shown to only have 4 songs on it, typical of an indie LP where the artist doesn’t record many songs but instead still focuses a lot on live music (as shown by my live page on my website). Conventionally the indie genre usually either uses bright imagery on the front cover, such as … or black and white such as ‘The Arctic Monkeys – Whatever People Say, I Am, Thats What I’m Not’ however I have challenged this convention using de-saturised photos with a low opacity orange filter applied, with a very vibrant border that also isn’t usually a convention of indie genres, but can be seen in some such as ‘The Wombats – Glitterbug’ album cover.
I feel that my website conforms to real media conventions, using photos of my artist as the main pictures at the top of each page to further create the sense of brand and identity. This is further conveyed by the presence of my artists logo both when you load up the homepage, where it fades in on a delay making it stand out; and permanently at the top of the screen near the tabs, so it is visible whenever you change to a different part of the site. This can be seen other artists websites such as ‘Mumford & Sons’ who also happen to have a similar font to mine, further proving my conformity to the conventions of the indie genre. I also have the typical tabs featured on the majority of artists websites; such as their live tour dates, with the ability to buy tickets for them, their music and music videos, about the artist/band and a store, in particular featuring records as these are very popular at the current time however also featuring apparel. I also have a gallery of photos of the artist that is also popular on many websites, with many artists linking their page to their instagram accounts to get the latest photos. Also related to social media, I have links to all of my artists social media available at the top of the page aswell as itunes and spotify so that you can easily find ways of purchasing his music. This is very stereotypical of basically every artist in the now very media based culture where social media is very prominent and is therefore an important marketing tool for artists. Lastly, the first thing seen when loading my page up is an image related to the artists latest album cover with “NEW ALBUM OUT NOW” written. Thos promotion of the latest album is a very common theme in artists websites with ‘Ben Howards’ website being a good example of this.
For my website I had to make lots of images related to my ‘artist’ going out for a few nights to try and get different shots for the websites gallery. I also used some of my images from my location scouting and stills from footage that wasn’t used.
For my store I also created some more albums and photoshopped them on top of vinyl records and CD covers to create some stock for my store.
I also designed some clothing wear for the store with a logo I created to make the brand more marketable.
In creating my CD art I made 3 different designs and then chose my favourite, to see whether I preferred a white or black text and a lighter or darker design.
To create this I loaded up a new photoshop file and drew 2 shape layers of the cream colour to create the CD.
I then loaded up my selected image into photoshop, duplicated the image and set the new layer to colour dodge, I then inverted this layer and added a new Gaussian Blur layer, choosing a blur that looked like a drawing. I then did a colour select of the white and inverted this selection to select all the new drawing style lines and copied this onto the CD template.
I then created a clipping mask using this drawing over the CD so that it avoided the holes and fit perfectly, and scaled it to size leaving room for my Artist and Title.
The pictures themselves were taken in pitch black and then inverted and their Hue changed to get a white sky with a colourful person, their saturation was then lowered to get a more dull image and a photofilter was applied to make them this cream colour.
The usual bar code and record company logo were taken off an existing album on photoshop by selecting their specific colour, recolouring them with the brush tool and then cut into my album – this is so that there isn’t a white border around them so they don’t stand out as much; whereas the text was just typed and scaled to size.
The colourful ink pattern greatly contrasts the cream of the front and back (and CD), making them stand out more as well as fits the and also fits the simplicity of the genre I am trying to represent. With less distractions as the artist is based on their music therefore 2 simple pictures with the titles of 4 songs (again showing the focus on the music as there is only 4 tracks) doesn’t take much away.
This very vibrant and colourful border then both contrasts the pictures in the borders and the video/music of the artist. It is eye catching, however the people buying an acoustic guitarists album with only 4 songs on will have heard the music before hand and know they want it and therefore random people are unlikely to be misled by the vibrant border.
The Finished Album art with the bottom 2 being the front and back cover and the top 2 being the inside covers. I decided to keep the inside covers as an extension of the outer covers to make the album flow better.
This continuation of colour has been seen in many digipak’s that I have found while researching as it helps make the digipak flow and allows for contrasting CD’s.
I started by creating a background of colours by downloading photoshop ink brushes from ‘Brusheezy’, changing the colour and opacity and gradually layering them to create a background.
Using this background I then mirrored it horizontal then vertical to get 4 of my original image and then used photoshop content aware fill to get rid of the most obvious lines and make slight differences appear in the sides.