Monday, 17 September 2012

Group Picture: Marcus-cus, Matty, LooLooCindyBoo and Stu-Mu

Friday, 11 December 2009

Stuart dutton evaluation sorry late explain why at college

Stuart Dutton

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 new media technologies in the construction and research, planning and evaluation stages?

Evaluation – Long road music video group 41

Our media product was originally designed to be conventional but not to a specific genre. We used many techniques used in the industry and some used were improvisations made up on the spot that we surprisingly found to be quite effective so in a way our video turned out is non conventional. An example of non-genre specific conventions used is the synchronised dance in our video which is usually seen in Boy band pop videos rather than indie electro videos. We took a risk including it in our video but we feel it paid off as we managed to establish the shots and capture it in an effective way. However we did conform to certain forms and conventions of our genre; our song chosen was of an indie/electro theme. We used whiteboard background, coloured lights, and silhouettes to achieve vibrant, colourful yet abstract shots similar to shots you would find in a professional electro music video. On the contrary a way we challenged the convention of our genre was including a close up guitar solo shot as this type of shot would usually be found in a rock video. To conclude our media product partially used and developed real media conventions but we stayed away from heavily conforming to styles of the indie electro genre.

We represented the artist of the song in our ancillary text in a vibrant indie fashion. The Band members are on the front pasted on to a rainbow striped background doing so we have promoted the artist through use of art creating a certain atmosphere for the product. Our cover has a similar colour palette to pink Floyd’s dark side of the moon a black background with abstract light spectrum art. However our cover is done in a much more light hearted way. I feel our ancillary texts closely link with our main product quite well. We kept the lyrics and the general feel of the song lights and music in mind while constructing the ancillary products. Therefore we used the conventions to give the texts a similar feel to our music video. We use bright vibrant rainbow colours on a black background to achieve this. Other ways our ancillary products linked with the main product is the information and images on the packs. Our DVD cover and poster are both entitled light and music (the name of our song). The DVD cover has multiple images of us as a band which was extracted from the footage of our main product which I feel is another effective link. Another strong link between the two products is the torchlight effect image in the top right corner of the front of our DVD cover. This is because it relates to a memorable and key shot in our video near the beginning when the camera is zooms in on the sun and then zooms out on a torch in the night time.

I learned a great deal about our own media product through peer feedback. It is interesting and insightful to hear the perspective and opinion of people who haven’t been involved working on the product. Peer feedback on our rough cut had a huge influence on what content we included in our final cut. Important criticisms highlighted shots and ideas that didn’t fit and work effectively which we took on board in order to make decisions for our final piece. For example one student commented on the irrelevance of our daytime shots in relation to night time shots which led us to scrap most of our daytime footage. The feedback from our final cut was mostly positive and I have learned what techniques/shots work better than others. We were praised for our use of close up shots so I learned how to capture an effective close up. There wasn’t a great deal I could learn for my final product feedback as the comments were similar and positive but I learnt how effective certain shots were as they were the ones mentioned by peers meaning they were memorable. I learned from feedback for the digipack what worked and what didn’t. I learnt the image on the inside cover wasn’t as effective as I thought as the image was of low quality and we tried to hide this by putting smudge effects on it. The image was criticised as it looked too smudged and out of focus but the colour stripes around the world were praised. We received feedback on our actual blog also. Again the majority of this was positive and criticisms were mainly on our messy tagging of pieces of work. Instead of sticking to 4 specific tags we all had a multitude of nicknames in the tagging as we had a light- hearted approach to our blog. I learnt this is not necessarily the best idea as it can become silly.

New media technologies have completely revolutionised the industry. Especially for amateur filmmakers like us, YouTube New media technologies were essential to every part of our project. In the research side of our project websites used predominantly were; YouTube and Google images. YouTube was used to look for conventions of real media products similar to ours for inspiration and ideas. Google/Google images were used also for ideas and inspiration from real media products. However Google images were also used closely with Photoshop in terms of construction as we cut from many existing images to make our own. The construction of our project involved mainly final cut. We uploaded our footage to final cut and used it to edit footage and add the audio for both our rough cut and final project; this was an essential piece of media technology. Planning for our project was not done on paper. Instead we used We regularly uploaded a comments, images, and videos. This allowed us to continuously add to our planning and background content of our product and the way the site is structured allowed us to look back at our own ideas with ease. For evaluation of our product Microsoft word and final cut were used. I used Microsoft word to create our evaluation and final cut will be used to record my commentary.

Louis Warwick's Evaluation

Our group devised a Music Video and supplementary products for the Indie song 'Lights and Music' by Cut Copy. Throughout the entirety of this project our group thought it was integral to maintain a certain image. This would help towards keeping continuity to a high standard; as well as making sure no shots seemed out of place or irrelevant. We tried to include stereotypical boy band elements within our music video, such as our devised dance routine and close-up miming into the camera. This was to establish our boy bands necessity to be linked with other, similar bands surrounding the indie music genre. It also helped that out chosen track had a rather rhythmical sound to it; inevitably dancing in the video seemed natural, as it is displaying the feel-good-factor that the artists would wish to get across in the viewing of the video. I feel that our product really compares with forms and conventions of real media products. By using Goodwin’s analysis of imagery and sound we can see that our video does indeed demonstrate characteristics of genre, our band’s indie clothing and style of dancing and general movement all linked to the genre of the song. Although the lyrics and visuals only related on a couple of occasions (during the walking at the beginning being one example) the music and visuals where constantly correlating. We had futuristic shadow effects during the more electronic music and a guitar appearing throughout the sounding of a guitar being played. All band members faces were captured within the close-ups and the four-way split screen image incorporated all band members individually whilst simultaneously retaining the groups boy band representation. This as well as the miming and dancing performed helped towards making our group in becoming relateable to current artists.
After looking back at our final, finished video we realised that there were several moments which could defiantly been improved upon. Had we filmed a wider range of locational shots we may not have been so hard pushed to include some of our weaker footage. Certain transitions from shot to shot were slightly too long and could have been interrupted with an entirely new shot. However, the pace throughout was consistent and the normality of an over-busy music video was not portrayed which, I believe, enhanced our video as it was easy to focus on the action taking place, each individual shot also gained greater significance which additionally worked to our advantage. In my opinion the day to night transition was one of our most powerful shots and was extremely effective, zooming in on the sun, only to zoom out and the audience is left staring down into a flashlight. At this point our mise-en-scene transformed into night time imagery and was the introduction for our boy band’s entry. The message that was connoted was that this boy band only comes out at night, to party.
Our boy band look needed to be established; hence keeping all of the band in similar costumes and including our iconic ‘sunglasses at night’ helped us create a unique image. We displayed a neon, partying persona which, in turn, related to the song ‘Lights and Music’, but also allowed us to use edgy effects, incorporating our new age boy band. Using devices such as filtered lighting allowed us to create a shadow effect which we used to recreate a nightclub esc feel during shots of dancing. These lighting effects continued into the creation of our digi pack, where we used outlining of rainbow coloured beams to boarder our textual info and band member faces. These coloured lines helped highlight key information on our digi pack, making it standout, which is inarguably what is required in such a competitive industry. With our shots all occurring at night with bright lighting emphasising our band during dance and miming shots, as well as the filtered lighting within the video, we thought to maintain a clear representation of our group as an artist it was vital to preserve these features within our poster and digi pack. The night time video needed to be incorporated within our digi pack; hence, we designed black backgrounds for all parts, as well as presenting rainbow lines which relates to the filtered lighting within our video. All of the following helped make sure that any theme or motif our band displayed would not look alienated from the rest of our products. Another group’s feedback on our ancillary tasks claimed they liked the vibrant colours on the digi pack and the silhouette of the guitar. The colour strips that lead from the front to the back show good continuity in addition to the group member’s faces being shown on the cover; this all is imperative in making the band distinguishable. They also thought the shooting star effect on the inside of the cover and the colourful stripes being used again were effective. Most probably due to the fact that this added feature was in keeping with the overall outer-worldly fashion in which we clearly designed the digi pack. They also approved of the colour stripes outlining the world, again, these related to the rainbow lines featured on the front and back of the digi pack. With all elements linking to one another our band has a particular image and brand in which we can move forward from and become a recognisable product.
We decided to scrap the majority of our footage, as it was shot during the daytime; this was due to the fact that it contradicted our initial idea of a partying boy band on an energised night out. The daylight shots didn’t seem to correlate with the darker, night time shooting; consequently this took away from our various differing locations we would have included had we incorporated both day and night filming. Although, I believe, we managed to include a range of camera angles within our final piece, the foremost example of this was during the dance routine. Some of our feedback included comments on the relevance of dancing in relation to the song, however, I believe the dance routine was a simple way of merging the group together, making them appear as one boy band rather than four individuals. Nevertheless, I feel our lip syncing could have been varied, as the same location was used to capture all group members miming. Possible lack of continuity could have been perceived as there was only one person singing the vocals to the entire track, whereas, our group decided to divide the miming between all band members in a boy band esc fashion.
Our group constantly added to our blog, keeping up with our progression. This planning was important to aid us with keeping up to date with our work, and as we had all suggestions up in writing it enabled us to merge ideas together, thus, creating the finest outcome to our work. Incorporating other professional products of posters and music video’s from current artists helped spark inspiration for ideas guiding us to create a proficient looking piece of work. Using software such as Photoshop and Final Cut allowed us to design a much more professional outcome to our finished products. Such resources can often overcomplicate tasks such as these; this may have been the case within our video, as certain effects which were used appeared as somewhat supplementary and possibly unneeded. We could have used the time we had to our advantage to enrich our video if we used the editing time allocated to film differing shots, although these shots would not have been dark enough, consequently appearing out of place. Finally uploading our work onto YouTube meant our video sat along side thousands of other recognisable artists; a place that, in my opinion, was well deserved.

Matt Jones Evalutation

The song ‘Lights and Music’ by Cut Copy is of the electro-pop genre and therefore stereotypical ideas such as a colourful vibrant set and characters that interact through dance or a fast paced tempo such as the night of a party. An appropriate theme which was used in our music video was a dance, this develops on conventions in real media products because it is what fans of this genre would expect and enjoy. An example of a well executed dance in a real media product is the music video for ‘Beat Again’ by JLS, however our product differs as it is not solely of a boy-band dancing. The reason for this is that we felt it necessary to add other elements in order to seem original. Other conventions used include the mis-en-scene, the band members were in matching outfits and the setting complimented the song as it was heavily lit in darkness, playing on the theme of light in the song. Having matching outfits, for instance the iconography of the grey hoodies and sunglasses enables the audience to immediately recognise the performers and give them a trademark look which viewers can associate with. Another theme which is relevant to this genre is a slight narrative aspect. At the beginning of the video there is daylight, there is then a transition from sunlight to torchlight which signifies the time of day. Beginning in the daylight enabled the music video to begin with introducing shots of the setting and reveal to the audience where the music video took place. The setting is urban and therefore relates to the song and genre of music because it is a dance which could be played in social settings rather than a contrasting song which could relevant at any occasion.
At contrasting convention to real media products is the comedy element. The use of humorous shots such as using a shopping trolley enables the band to cover other elements of the industry, because using comedy allows the band to attract new audiences which may not have been interested in a normal dance video. Also a genre characteristic that was not featured is a stage performance; this is because individual shots of instruments are shown as well as lip-syncing and a dance performance. Therefore the elements in the video could be seen as minimalistic. However, by maintaining the use of simple shots but editing them in an intuitive way, for instance, the four-way split screen capturing all band members in a close-up shot. This close up shot enables the record label to use the artist as a product and develop motifs of the bands visual style.
Different locations and shots also help to keep the video interesting and engage the viewer. In addition, the amplifying relationship can be seen in the dance that is shot several times because the moves/actions in the dance relate to the lyrics.
The ancillary task compliments the music video well because they contain similar conventions and continues themes featured in the music video, such as the use of colour and striped lighting. On criticism could be that the font on the digipack cover and magazine advert differ and mat not be clearly linked. However, the band and album are clearly labelled as well as the features of the digipack. Although this could be beneficial as ait highlights the products contrasting elements such as the conventions it doesn’t follow. The screen grabs from the video onto the front of the digipack work well because they introduce the band members as well as linking the video. The use of varied colours and fonts on the magazine advert relate to the different location and effects used in the video consequently enabling the consumer to make the link between the two media products.
Receiving audience feedback allows for a higher level of media product the next time. In our feedback the general theme was complimentary, for instance; appropriate lighting, good variety of shots, interesting location and well executed lip-syncing. However criticisms included; the need for more locations and costumes, whether the dancing was needed and a general need for more variety. This criticism is useful and relevant and with more time we could have implemented these changes. However, some elements would remain the same in order to maintain the feel of not conforming throughout the video.
Different media technologies that were used to create the video and ancillary tasks were Photoshop and FinalCutExpress. Websites that were important for our research and ideas were YouTube and blogging sites. Such sites are proving very influential in the current market of music videos, this is because aspiring amateurs are able to create their own portfolio of work and then post it on the internet with the hopes of being noticed. By using the latest technology we were able to enhance our media product and take it to another level, for instance after importing our footage it was evident that some effects were needed. This is clearly apparent in our rough cut, the lack of unusual effects and slow editing makes each shot drag and become almost annoying for the viewer. We avoided this in our final product by taking interesting effects and experimenting with them. Although at times it was clear that too many effects can become just as irritating. By achieving a balanced proportion of simple and complex shots we were able to engage the viewer without excessively using the tools of FinalCutExpress. Also, by maintaining our own blog we were able to note down ideas and reveal how progress was able to be achieved throughout, this was important as it was a way of recording pices of media that inspired and that we could relate to in our final piece.

Marcus Howard Evaluation

A music video is a visual representation of a song. They usually include the artist singing or a band performance. On top of that, they may have a narrative or moral to the images. On the other hand, the video could be totally random and have no relation to the artist or band. There are also videos where the video relates to the song but not the artist. They do this by either adapting around the lyrics to create picture or tell a story over the lyrics. The song lights and music is an indie-electro pop song therefore it would make sense to conform to the dance video conventions. The dance video conventions are bright colours, odd locations, dancers, clubs, girls and outfits. A good example of this is “Now your Gone” by “Bass Hunter”. It doesn’t only use all the conventions but it has lyrical relation to the video as well as a narrative. Our video would generally follow this theme of dance but we didn’t want follow them completely due to the quirky mix of genres. We have tried to adapt on these conventions by following the odd genre. For “bright colours” we used a shadow dance in the break part of the song. We used a car park roof as our “odd location”. We did our own dance to fit in the “dancers” category. We couldn’t find access to any clubs or girls but we did use outfits. We created a boy band that all had their individual roles. This challenged what usually happens in dance videos because the focal point would either be on a DJ or a single singer. It hasn’t just been down to the outfitting that defines our video, the location time and editing plays a massive role.

We made sure that the location somewhere open and out of the ordinary again following the theme of dance. An obvious time to choose was night as the general nightlife music is dance. The editing had to be very clever to gain what we wanted. After looking at different videos and seeing their conventions, we noticed that they used a large variety of shots and used a lot of effects on those shots. We used this technique when we did our dance routine because it was the unique selling point of our video. It also made the dance seem more interesting with low angle, high angle, and close up and long shots. Artists in dance videos generally look “cool” so we tried to portray this with matching uniforms and sunglasses which weren’t needed as it was night but the artist wear them in night clubs. The sunglasses where also an idea for a hidden identity look as if we were doing something we weren’t meant to be, this could be our back icon as they are our only props. The other reason for them was that we all had the same uniforms but very different sunglasses so it gave us all a sense of individuality.

Our ancillary products have a very obvious theme to them which is bright colours and a “rave” atmosphere. Our digipack related more to our video as it has a street feel to it. We used a brick wall and street lighting to relate to the video being on the street. We ran coloured streaks of lights along our faces which was a suggestion that we were part of the music. This was also another relation to the video as the pictures were taken from the video. On the magazine cover we tried to follow the same theme but didn’t include the band as again we wanted to keep some sense of hidden identity. Although we stuck to the theme of dance, we gave a different look to the advert. We made it a lot brighter and made it more informative about the digipack. We tried to use a variety of different styles in our products to keep things out of the ordinary. This was done by not throwing off the audience making them think they were getting the same video no matter what product they have seen.

Generally we thought the feedback was useful. We knew there were things we had to touch up on and with further time we would have completed them. Our peers just stressed how important they were to them as an audience. The most common comments were on the length of shots and variety. This was a good example of things we thought look good but clearly weren’t letting us know how to change it in the future. Another main criticism was the inconsistency of the video. There were a lot of “random” shots that weren’t conventional to the video. The overcome this we scrapped most of the rough cut footage and stuck to 1 location and 1 time zone. One of the main things we knew was missing was the amount of lip syncing. We had such a small amount that it made it really hard to fill up the time for our video. Other than criticisms, we did get good comments. For example they thought the costumes, dance routine and “non-conforming conventions” were all good which helped us to reach a decent final product. Our ancillary products were mainly praised. They thought the digipack looked very professional and noticed there was a strong relation between it and the video. They liked the faces on the front but weren’t too keen on the full body shots on the back as they were too blurry and didn’t fit in. We could have chosen another image to take this place but we thought it would be a good group shot to show the band. For the magazine, there was mixed views from people thinking it was too bright and too much going on. Then again people did agree with what we were trying to get across with that it’s different but not too different. They thought it really complimented the digipack. I thought the comments were very fair and definitely useful if we were to change our products. I would say the main thing we have learnt from peer feedback is not the get caught up in what you think is good and look at it from the audience’s perspective.

The technology that we used for the video was really useful. In the research stage, the internet was a huge help. The first pages we looked at were previous blogs on similar projects. This gave us an insight on what our blog needed to look like and what to include. Following that, Youtube was a good source of video information and useful for putting on the blog. It also showed us a variety of dance videos made by professionals and amateurs. The amateur videos gave us a good idea of what our final product would look like. We used photos and I-photo to create a storyboard of our ideal music video. We used the internet again as a main source of information for the evaluation stage by looking at other similar magazine adverts and Digipacks on Google. For the video we used software such as final cut express and Photoshop. We used final cut to edit the video in the way we needed. It was very useful as it let us have an easy to use piece of software with a versatile range of effects. The layout of final cut was very good with the editing process. It let us move videos, cut them down and edit individual clips. We used this in our video all throughout. We had to cut down every clip that we had and mix them around to make sure they made sense. A good example of moving clips to make them fit with the song was the lip syncing. We had to shift the clips over and over again to make sure they were exact on the timing of the lyrics to look as though we were singing the song. A good example of putting effects over the top of a clip is in the second verse where the shadow is lip syncing. We put an overdrive effect on to make it stand out more and this gave us the ability to make it the colour we wanted. These technologies aren’t only useful to us but help amateur producers get noticed. With these types of software you could produce a piece that looks very professional. To help this gain interest, site such as Youtube are a great help to get these videos made public and recognised. The site allows the video to be viewed world wide.

Thursday, 10 December 2009


Current Situation

We are currently writing our evaluations after receiving feedback. We generally need to add more information on past feedback that we received on our video and also add feedback we received on our ancillary tasks. Also we need to add how our media product might relate to real media products, such as the videos that we posted on the blog earlier in the term.

We're also completing out commentary, such as inserting select pieces of our evaluation where they are relevant. For instance, Matt has inserted his analysis of the four-way split screen on top of that actual transition.
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