Friday, 11 December 2009

Jon Whyte Evaulation

Question 1.
In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?
Our media product uses various different forms of communication. Our media language is conveyed to our target audience by use of dramatic effects. For example, we used black and white imagery extensively to create an atmosphere of depression associated with the loneliness and despair often felt by disadvantaged teenagers in today’s society. The raw nature of the music, and the violence expressed in the soundtrack (see our blog where “violent” and “mind” are the two most used words in the song) was expressively conveyed by our imagery. This included hand-held camerawork to impart a dynamic scenario similar to the style made famous by such artists as Andy Warhol. In a way, we wanted to revert to the raw impact of such “underground” classic films, the genre of which is evocative and forceful. We contrasted the black-and-white images with coloured text (the choice of blood-red colour was deliberate) in the dig pack for added emphasis. Our mise-en-scene had different elements. The setting was anonymous: parkland, garages, and a brick wall. This was to establish a sense of isolation from society. Our characters wore non descript hoodies to emphasise their anonymity and their isolation from society because we wanted to convey anger and frustration. The sound track is harsh and grating, and we tried to reinforce it by our use of harsh video, i.e. somewhat disjointed footage with random effects. In this regard, we used a mixture of shots, some close-up and others at a greater distance. We did this to create a sense of energy in the video. A fast pace is what we wanted to achieve. Our agenda was played on three levels, as is the usual case. This enabled us to deconstruct how both visual and text communicate – a sort of “science of signs”. As already stated, we used black and white imagery, together with coloured text, to convey a real purpose to the project. At a representational level, we used basic editing skills to try to convey to the audience the meaning of the soundtrack. Finally, symbolically, we wanted to convey the frustration, exasperation and indeed anger felt by many young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, which is manifest in the sound track. One inspiration was the YouTube video by Justice called “Stress”. However, my group felt that this was too violent and we felt somewhat uncomfortable with that. The video “Stress” reflects on anger felt by disadvantaged young people in poor ghettoes of Paris: the banlieue, which erupted in violence in 2005. Another influence was the video on YouTube “La Haine”. Our product compares with others on the market in terms of its impact. We felt this was best achieved by making our presentation non-complicated, contrasting with the stereotypes of many of today’s “slick” productions with much video and audio editing. We wanted to challenge the “X-factor” concept and provide something to which young people could relate to in their lives. This was our ideology and, although apparently simplistic, it required a lot of work to make it successful. In addition, we wanted to convey a raw energy in our product, which helped us feel that we were successful. On a lighter note, we included a postcard to help develop a “fan club”, something which is missing from many bands today, unlike many years ago when every band or singer had a fan club. In addition, we included a competition in this postcard to attract more replies because we believed that such a gimmick might help market our product. Finally, we believed that the construction of the digipack was important to help promote sales of our product. It was intentionally uncomplicated for this reason, but resulted in a high impact value, which was evidenced by feedback [see Question (3)].

Question 2.
How effective is the combination of your main product and ancillary texts?
All of our ancillary texts were produced in black and white to maintain the continuity of our music video being produced in greyscale. All texts included something related to the band itself rather than unrelated artistic designs. We took influence from the French independent film “La Haine”. The film translates to “the hate” and is set in the suburbs of Paris. It aims to show a more gritty side of the city which is often neglected from the media’s attention. As well as “La Haine” we were also strongly influenced by the music video “Stress” by the French pop duo “Justice”. The video follows the antics of a day in the life of a group of young working class afro-Caribbean boy’s. We attempted to maintain all of the codes and conventions that would be expected in an indie-rock music video. We included performance-based footage, as this is commonplace with most indie rock bands, we also thought that this would provide some diversity in our music video and help to break up the narrative. We included many close up shots in the performance as well as an establishing shot and various other shots panning from left to right.
We received a large amount of constructive feedback on not only our music video but on all of our other ancillary texts (Magazine Adverts, Competition leaflets, digi-pack cover etc. They were almost all positive, praising our work on the digi-pack cover and competition leaflet and how well they fit in with the convention of the music video itself. We did however receive one criticism about our music video claiming that shots 1 and 2 were too “shaky”. However, we did explain in a response afterwards that this was a deliberate strategy in order to obtain an aggressive tone about the video. Whatever the criticism, positive or negative we took it all on board and used it to better our final project.
The digi-pack contained photos of a variety of angles of the band members standing in isolated settings such as a field. Our inspiration for the digipack was derived from the cover from the Arctic Monkey’s debut album “whatever people say I am that’s what I’m not”, which also contains very minimalistic photograph of a young man smoking a cigarette and smiling as if he was making a statement to one and all!
The competition leaflet and the magazine advert both contained photos of the band members. We made sure that no stone was left unturned and even included the official “HMV” logo together with the “parental advisory” label. We copied the layout of the completion leaflet from a DVD of an unknown band and in the competition leaflets we included a subscription to our monthly music newsletter together with all the backstage gossip from the band and inside view of our band.
When we came to edit our music video, we did not need to add any specific effects on Final Cut. We did however use greyscale, to add an aggressive feel. Some of the performance-based footage was filmed under a Flood light; this gave quite a nice natural effect which radiated on the face of our lead singer. We used the internet for much of the research process. We used Google to get some initial inspiration and then we other websites such as YouTube to post videos on the blog. We collected all our ideas and posted them on the website “”. As part our evaluation we had to produce a DVD commentary explaining the codes and conventions of music video and why we did certain things in certain ways. This was beneficial as not only is does to add realism to our project, but it also allowed us to gather all of our thoughts collectively and analyse our music video properly.

Question 3.
What have you learnt from your audience feedback?
Although we did not receive a huge amount of audience feedback, the advice we did receive was helpful and constructive. Mostly the feedback was positive, and the only criticism was of one of our misspellings! It was very beneficial to receive audience feedback as it allowed us to gather a set of fresh set of ideas and perspectives on our music video project. We are especially grateful to Groups 14 and 17 for their comments (thanks guys!). The black and white imagery was highly praised, with one comment even stating “beautiful photography”. The use of panels on the inside of the digipack was described as a “great idea” to create an image of a wide shot. Someone even thought our whole package was reminiscent of the Arctic Monkey’s first album. All comments agreed on the effective impact of the package, including the novel idea of including a postcard with a competition.

Below are examples of some of the feedback concerning the music video itself.
“Good camera shots and mise en scene. Excellent performance, enthusiastic”.
“Gritty in its tone and its presentation so suits the music you've chosen.
The switch between narrative and performance is solid, but it would have been better to see the singer with the band during the performance to build up the idea of being gang.
It's odd that the band are the hooligans so that could break with conventions.
The depiction of youth is good Daily Mail baiting content so you could get publicity from the controversy”.
In the first comment, the audience commented on the shots being too “shaky”. However, we deliberately wanted to achieve this effect, to give the video an aggressive edge, but I can understand how this might have been construed as looking a little amateurism. It was also criticised, as we did not include the singer with the band as a whole group. Whilst this was true, we did not have any good enough shots to include in our music video. The media project proved a learning experience for all of us.
As well as receiving feedback from our official music video we also were given feedback on the other ancillary texts which we produced. We had to produce a CD cover, DVD cover and magazine advert as basic requirements. However, instead of producing a CD cover we produced a digipack. We included such features in the digipack as a postcard to send off for a monthly newsletter, a competition leaflet to win a chance to meet the band, and finally a magazine advert. We included these items as we believed it would add more realism to the digipack as bands do occasionally offer competition leaflets.
Below are a few examples on the feedback of those ancillary texts.
“Beautiful photography that's consistent with the mood, quality and tone of the video. Again there's a focus on the band and an attempt to develop their image as edgy and dark (ish).
The use of the panels on the inside to created a 'wide shot' is a great idea.
It's a very appropriate style for the music and band type and reminds us a little of the arctic monkeys first album”
“Really nice idea with the postcard, simple and basic design but effective. Consistent colours look good, nice contrast between orange of band name and black and white image”.

Question 4.
How did you use new media technologies in the construction and research, planning and evaluation stages?
“New” media technologies primarily involve a digital format, rather than the older analogue technology characterised by use of tapes. It is hard to believe that it is not yet 30 years since the PC (Personal Computer) was launched by IBM in 1981. The rapid advance in technology since that date have led to the development of the internet, rapid (broadband) downloads, and digital technology. The last has allowed storage and transmission of huge amounts of data in high-quality audio and video formats. Video cameras today do not use magnetic tapes as used as recently as 10 years ago, but record either directly onto DVD (Digital Versatile Disc), or more recently, SD (Secure Digital) cards. The latest SD cards, SDXC (Secure Digital, eXtended Capacity) will allow storage of up to 2 TB (2000 MB) of information. This is impressive, as CDs typically can “only” hold 650 MB of data, and even multi-layered DVDs can only achieve this amount of data storage.
We used new media technologies extensively in our project. Our target audience (young adults) would be highly IT (Information Technology)-literate, and would download music directly from the internet (World-Wide Web, hence the WWW abbreviation) onto iPods (using iTunes) or onto mobile phones (using Bluetooth or wireless technology). They would want the product to be high quality but easily downloadable (i.e. not too large).
We used a Sony video camera with an MB SD disc to record our video. We recorded in colour and edited it to black-and-white using the video-editing software. For the digipack we used a Sony SLR (Single Lens Reflex) Digital Camera. Again, this uses a digital format on SD cards. A few years ago, SLR cameras used photographic film, which is now almost obsolete; such is the pace of advance of modern technology. For the audio track, we used a drum kit and a Gibson electric guitar. We wanted to advertise our album through modern technology such as downloadable formats (such as high quality MP3 files on iTunes) and MPEG-4 on a dedicated website ( Digital technology allows easy image manipulation using Adobe Photoshop and similar software. Recently, such image manipulation was performed in darkrooms by technicians who were highly skilled in such arts. Nowadays people who are more adept at electronic manipulation tackle such artistic interpretation differently. This is what all modern audiences, including our target audience of young adults, have now come to expect.
Blogs, twitters, Facebook etc. These are the modern means of communication. Even politicians, now renowned for their “techno-saviness”, use PDAs and Blueberries to keep in contact. Media has technology provides a high-impact presentation which imparts its effect much more efficiently than text alone.advanced in huge leaps in recent years, largely as a result of advances in technology, rather than any increase in sophistication of journalists or their skills.
We made extensive use of new software packages to help present our product and our blog. Adobe Photoshop and the free package Irfanview were used for manipulation and adjustment of the still images, whereas Final Cut Express was used for the video editing. Microsoft Word 2007 was also used for text, as were sites such as to create word clouds for our blog.

Jonathon Whyte

Rob Cooper Evaluation

Evaluation of our music video for Ash's 'Shark'.

At the start of the planning process, we took into consideration that we need to, in some way, think about conventions; whether we used them at all, developed them or challenged them entirely. The process began by researching similar style videos from music of the same genre and taking notes of the conventions they displayed, and how they should be put to effect. We selected a particularly lively rock song – Ash’s ‘Shark’. We then looked at some of their work and found an underlying theme – they balanced performance-based footage and narrative-based footage extremely well in their products. From this, and with help from other existing media products, we gained an insight into understanding conventions of classic rock videos. We found that the majority of rock videos include a large performance-based part; either in front of a crowd, or depicted in a ‘jamming session’, the look that we agreed that we would do our best to portray. Our main inspiration was the video for the song ‘Stress’ by the French Electro House and Disco House group, Justice. So when filming began we tried our best to convey the feelings that we thought should be felt upon viewing the final product; anticipation, excitement, vulnerability and an element of fear.

As well as using other music videos as inspiration and concentrating all of our attention on this, it was suggested to us that we watch the dark French film ‘La Haine’, directed by Mathieu Kassovitz in 1995. This too decided for us the direction we would take. The main conventions that we noticed were from all elements of mise-en-scene; editing – we noticed that more impact could be felt it, after shooting, we converted our decent footage into black and white (we in fact ended up converted all of our final footage). This effect also adds drama and creates a somewhat sinister feel. The length of scenes and cutting style help massively to change the pace; either quick or slow – for us it was quick. The main advantage was that the cutting added an element of suspicion. For example, in our product we used very fast cuts throughout, mainly to increase the pace, but also to add that element of tension. We noticed that, in the direction and target audience we were aiming for, there were two main groups of people; antagonists – the younger generation who, as we stereotype or label in society as ‘rebels’, we built upon. The other group was victims – the vulnerable including the elderly.

I feel that, on the whole, we developed rock video conventions successfully in our product, therefore giving us somewhat of an advantage to create a, hopefully, professional-looking final product. Saying this, there were certain drawbacks that did not allow us to create a perfect mise-en-scene. These included props and actors. We had just enough props to film the narrative-based part of the video, but we struggled somewhat on the performance-based part. We only had a drum kit and electric guitar, along with the vocalist, but we ultimately needed a bass guitar but this was not feasible, so we persevered the best we could. We were even able to find a fairly decent venue for the shooting, so we had nearly enough ingredients for the performance. Another non-material aspect we lacked in slightly was confidence in the performances. The singer found it difficult to appear genuine, and along with having no accompanying soundtrack, very difficult to produce.

Along with our music video are ancillary texts so that the buyer doesn’t get only a CD; they get more which assures them that their money has gone further than they initially thought. These comprise of a postcard, which is used to the band’s advantage as further promotion, a competition offer with an added incentive to win tickets to see Standard Meeting live, and a magazine advert; again, extra promotion with information on the band and where to locate the product.

In my opinion the main product, along with these extras work very effectively together for a number of reasons. Appearance; text, colours and format matched, thus maintaining continuity and ultimately allowing the audience to familiarise themselves with the band. This too ties in with the images used, which were taken by myself. They have an element of exclusivity to them and display the style of the band – almost like a trademark of Standard Meeting – a black and white contrasty appearance. Choice is another appealing aspect. We offered as a band, a postcard and a competition offer which appeal to potential buyers as the band are giving something back to them. I think all in all, a decent package that a prospective buyer would think twice about putting back on the shelf.

We chose these texts as the majority of bands use them, and we were familiar with how they worked, and how to create them.

We were given very helpful constructive feedback on our blog through comments made on our planning, final product and ancillary texts. The majority of feedback we got was positive and focused on how fitting the video was to the song, the quality and content of the photographs and finally the effectiveness of accompanying ancillary texts. One comment, though constructive, I did not agree with in a way. It was said that a fair few shots were shaky; this was deliberate. We could easily have captured all still, sharp shots as we had access to a tripod at all times, but this was not the aim. We felt it appropriate to include shaky handheld shots as this creates a point-of-view effect, thus allowing the audience to feel more involved, and heightening the feelings of vulnerability and suspense. As a group we learnt from this and plan to improve upon a few points, to make our intentions clear in future projects. We also plan to, if appropriate to our next project, find better actors to make the production feel more sincere, and more realistic.

We also used new media technologies in every stage of the process; construction, research, planning and evaluation. When planning we used websites such as Vimeo and YouTube, to watch videos to gather an insight into how to attain what we wanted. YouTube is extremely useful, as it is updated constantly, and allowed us to watch specific and up to date videos. Using this, we watched existing media products including Ash’s earliest to latest videos, and other band’s music videos for inspiration. We also used other websites to research previous singles and albums, which in effect allowed us to create certain ancillary texts. This meant planning and research was combined altogether, and the use of these media technologies halved the time it would have taken to do it separately. Furthermore, this was effective in creating a schedule for creating all parts of the product; it broke up time into planning, filming and editing. Equally, other software aided us to get the product finalised. ‘Final Cut Express’ was very instrumental as this is where all of the editing was done. Final Cut uploads both the audio and visual properties of footage, and allowed us to edit them separately, making it extremely easy to completely change the mood and feel of our product. Cutting up our footage to re-order and such was hugely useful, and yet again easy. The best part of Final Cut, is that it is extremely easy to use, and anyone can use it.

Not only did we use technologies for construction of our music video and planning process, we took advantage of it to use it for our ancillary texts; the postcard, magazine advert and competition offer. I created the DigiPak, which I created using a number of my photographs. Using Adobe Photoshop CS3, I was able to import the images and rearrange and edit them to create the effect we were going for. I encountered a problem with arranging these images, as I wanted them to create quite a contemporary look along the length of the inside of the DigiPak. This was not due to the technology itself, but because of the properties of the image, and a slight lack of knowledge of how to attain certain effects using CS3. The software also allowed me to work in layers, which made it easy to correct mistakes without starting from scratch and lose as little time as possible. The other most important technology we used was the video camera. The simplicity of the controls made it easy to shoot the exact footage we wanted, and along with the tripod, was practical.

Overall, we found these media technologies highly instrumental for our project, and helped us create a half-decent product. We couldn’t have done any of the project without using any form of technology.

Matt Flack Evaluation

Music video evaluation, ‘Shark’ performed by ‘Ash’.

In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?
For our music video we have used the aggressive tone and styling of `shark` by ‘Ash’ to come up with the final product. We took most of our inspiration from Justice’s `stress` video, as this too used the same aggressive approach we decided on using. In our video we conformed to a stereotypical look at youth society in Britain, for example most of the characters in shot either lead singer or other members of the band are wearing dark cloths typically with ‘hoodys’. This tells the audience they don’t want to be recognised for the activities they are taking part in because they know what they’re doing is not perceived as the right thing to do. We enhanced the dark nature of the video by editing the video to be black and white as we thought this was pleasing visually and our audience is able to see the depressing, restricted and rebellious view the band members have making it easier to identify with them and discover the type of characters they are. This was also done by conforming to stereotypes as this makes it quicker and easier to identify type of music involved with this particular band.
By looking at previous ‘Ash’ videos we were able to research how they view their own music and genre. Videos such as ‘Polaris’ and ‘Burn baby burn’ showed us they concentrated more on instruments rather than themselves and had a mix of narrative and performance based scenarios, so we incorporated this in our product. This is us conforming to previous rock videos but developing the ideas behind them. ‘Blur’ ‘Song 2’ also has the aggressive alternative rock genre and we tired to emulate their use of lighting in to the new video we created. ‘Just a day’-‘Feeder’ was another video we looked at but decided it wasn’t the forceful intimidating video we had in mind, so we decided not to use any aspects involved in shooting this video but proceeded with the editing, through the fast paced action they have executed. Other inspirations came from ‘Linkin parks’ ‘What I’ve done’ we hoped to recreate the dynamic angles used through out the fast action in this video also scene in the ‘District 9’ film trailer. We could not however recreate a riot scene which we could have used in a way that would work with our product. We also researched the lyrics of the song by Ash and found the line ‘Violent Mind’ repeated several times this added to the strong hostile video we wanted to create, conforming to lyrics and other conventions already set in place by the music. All these factors would point us in the direction of our target audience of mainly males in their late teens to early twenties and others interested in other rock/alternative groups such as ‘Feeder’ or ‘Linkin Park’.
The editing phase was used to design short fast clips that fit with the music adding to the rushed effect and begin the build up to the main chorus and verses of the song, these types of shot are meant to build tension and in our music video it makes it feel faster and more energetic. We feel we have addressed the audience and have captured a music video they will enjoy strengthened by our conventions used in the making a rock music video in the aggressive high tempo manner, set in an average working class scene.

How effective is the combination of your main product and ancillary texts?
We have set up our band to be an Indie rock alternative genre this allows it to be open to a wide market audience with different aspects of the music. The video contains younger people making it easier for that part of the audience to identify with the band. This will also be helped by the distribution of the record through ‘Hmv’ a well known music institution making it accessible to most people and ‘iTune’s allows for global selling of the album through at least two recognisable distributors. We have incorporated a competition to attract a new audience to the band and genre this gives them more of an incentive to by the album and hopefully enjoy the music and continue coming back for further albums through this unique selling point. Again we have used black and white on the cover and advertising goods but I feel we have used it in a different way instead of having aggression it’s softer with more meaning and brings out the ‘indie’ side of the band. It could also become their trade mark of having the black and white effect in certain videos or just one song from every album to remind people of how they started and could become the bands unique selling point. The bold orange colour for text stands out really well on this background making the words eye catching and unmissable. The images themselves are also very different, more of a rural setting which makes you feel relaxed apposed to the working class urban background depicted in the video playing on more stereotypes and changing the entire mood of the album. The name ‘standard meeting’ is random much like the music on the album by using it as the first album name its making sure people know who we are through this simple act.

What have you learnt from audience feedback?
As a group we have received feedback both for our ancillary texts and our actual music video. Firstly the feedback was all positive and constructive to help further development in the production and post production areas. Our magazine advert, competition and CD cover received comments fro our peers suggesting we should take more time, as we have made simple spelling areas but also informed us that they were impressed by the photos and also they colour combination that is seen through out the promotion of the band. Another aspect was the postcard competition leading to members joining the fan club. This was well received and peers seemed to like and enjoy the simplistic but affective strategy of enticing people towards the artists. As for the CD cover/ digipak its self observations again suggested an overall positive review with comments touching on the impact of the shots, the professional look and visual hierarchy of the photos drawing your eye towards this product. ‘Beautiful photography that's consistent with the mood, quality and tone of the video. Again there's a focus on the band and an attempt to develop their image as edgey and dark (ish)’. This was one comment posted on our blog which really shows what we were aiming to convey to the audience and how it has been interpreted. I feel this phase of the project went really well and this is backed up by the feedback collected. Continuing on to the main product (the music video) the responses were mixed on the negative side we were told some scenes were to shaky due to the hand held effect we used through out the video. On the plus side however opinions state the quality of camera angles, enthusiasm and good use of real media conventions applied during the filming process, allow the true aggressive nature to come to life through these visual aids.
Gritty in tone and presentation is what we wanted to get through to the audience and this again supports the ideas we wanted to put across to any potential market. The feedback acquired is useful in the sense that we are able to understand our work from an outsiders point of view taking away any bias opinions or self gloating we may feel towards the project. In conclusion we can use this evaluation to adapt and hopefully raise the quality of any future projects we may under take. This will give the viewer more enjoyment and raise our own feeling of achievement furthering our development in the media industry.

How did you use new media technologies in the construction and research, planning and evaluation stages?
With out ‘youtube’ this would have been a very difficult task as it allowed us to research the band, find ideas, show our ideas and present our work in a way that could give us feedback from anyone at any time. We were also able to find pictures that served as inspiration through out the research phase on various internet sites and in magazines and other albums. Google Earth eas another technology used to find locations as it gave us the geographical position but also enabled us to view the setting and background to any potential sets. We used final cut express to edit the video allowing us to create the desired effect and flowing sequence we aimed for. This is the building block for the rest of the project knowing and understanding it gives us the control to do what we want with our footage. To create the Album design and format we used a ‘digipak’ and ‘photoshop’ to edit and change the photos we had taken allowing us to insert the track names build the competition entry from and advertising to make our product sellable. We have also used a blog to keep track of everything we have done which has made it easier to put everything together and look at how we wanted to create our video and other aspects of the project. Altogether I think we have created a solid piece of work by all means it is not the greatest video we have could have created, but it covers all conventions it needs to. With all the stereotypical codes you would associate with this genre and form of music video and advertising goods.
Some things we could have improved on are; better preparation and planning such as learning the lyrics of the song so we could have used more performance based shots and just spending more time on shots making sure we have enough of what we need. I feel we done a brilliant job on designing the ‘digipak’ and made a product that looks professional and eye catching to an audience, through technologies I have already addressed.

Matt Flack

Ali Hunter Evaluation

1. In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?

My media product (a music video for the single ‘Shark’ by Indie-rockers Ash) used and developed forms of real media products but struggled to challenge conventions of music videos and short films within its genre. But before we even started the researching and planning phase of our project, we asked ourselves if we would make a video that would be alternate to the mainstream videos, in other words, challenging conventions. We didn’t hesitate in deciding that our video would use and emulate ideas that we gathered from researching existing videos. From then onwards we set about gathering research in the form of similar media products to the one we had planned. This ranged from similar music videos to just similar music, films on the theme, still images, short YouTube clips and even album covers and lyrics that accompany the song. After listening to the song a couple of times the group acknowledged the tone of the song as to be very aggressive and quite a tough gritty rock song. We also acknowledged that the target audience for our song and band would be mainly male rock fans aged between 15 and 30.

It was this that made us start researching the rock genre and looking into gritty songs that we felt were similar. The lyrics of ‘Shark’ (particularly the words ‘Violent Mind’ and ‘I Go Where I Want To’) suggested to us that the music we were making a video for was quite rebellious and rough. Particularly instrumental throughout the planning and researching process, Justice’s video for the song ‘Stress’ jumped out at us as inspiration. The group knew of it before we even came up with the idea for a rebellious youth narrative, and when we viewed it together we knew that the original idea of having a performance and narrative based story of young boys causing trouble was the idea we were going to stick with. Although the music of Justice’s song was pretty dissimilar to that of Ash’s it still gave us a chance to base ideas around conventions in the video. For instance, we planned to keep the gritty tone in our music video by making the whole video black and white, which developed the form of the ‘Stress’ video as that was shot and edited to look dull and grey monotonous. The work we started on the ‘Stress’ video propelled the research process and it helped us onto our second set of research, the film ‘La Haine’. ‘La Haine’ and Justice are both French so we could work out the link between the two styles. ‘La Haine’ is a film about a French estate in which 3 young lads find themselves in the grip of a gun war. The film was very similar to the ‘Stress’ video and we gained valuable camerawork and mise-en-scene techniques that we emulated later in the shoot.

It is evident in our music video that the tone and the vibe of our final product used and developed the conventions of the music videos and the films we looked at. Secondly we looked at the mise-en-scene of our research. We gathered that the youths wore ‘hoodies’ and jeans a lot, generally dour attire, so we matched that in our video too. Finally we decided to develop the people in the video and the way the people in our music video acted. We decided that it was going to involve ourselves as we were the sort of age group we were targeting. We also planned to match the way they walked and reacted to others and even the way they sat and hung about. Overall, we developed and used conventions of real media products but struggled to find a way to challenge the conventions of our research.

2. How effective is the combination of your main product and ancillary texts?

On review of our final ancillary texts (A magazine advert, a membership postcard and a competition leaflet) I am very pleased that they match with our music video. We were concerned after shooting the music video that we wouldn’t be able to match the gritty and rough tone of the video, with ancillary texts that could provide our audience with the same sort of quality. The music video, in its entirety, was shot in black and white and was fairly aggressive. Scene upon scene and location upon location we planned to give our video an edge, and an underlying social commentary. We planned to make a competition leaflet, a membership postcard and a magazine advert. This wasn’t a hard choice to male as we wanted to stick with the conventions of normal rock bands, not challenge them by making stickers etc. This is because we felt we needed to connect with our target audience as much as possible to ensure that the final product spoke to our fans. So after looking at some more existing ancillary texts, 3 of the group headed out for a photo shoot. When we uploaded the images from the shoot, we were all delighted to find a set of professional shots. With the DigiPak in mind, Rob took images of Jon and Matt (two of the band members in the music video) and strategically made the final shots black and white. However, there is some confusion as to whether our images are in contrast to our video, as the photographs are set in a rural location and the video is shot entirely in an urban location. This maybe the only downside to our photographs. But on the other hand, the images combined well with each other, and when we overlaid text the images really stood out.

Our main product involved ourselves as the band members and as a group we decided it was only usual for the band to front their own advert and DVD DigiPak. From this we decided we’d have a competition leaflet and a membership postcard to go with the DVD case. We landed on this after studying several DVD Digipaks and seeing that a constant for Indie-Rock bands (who targeted the same target audience as ourselves) was chances for buyers of the product to see them live or get involved in the band in some way. We also gathered that every band had a signature font or logo, so we set about making our own for the name Standard Meeting. We finished producing our logo just before we set about taking our shots and we realised that the bright orange font we used to create our logo would stand out very well against the dull black and white images, so that was a major plus for us. And when we produced the ancillary texts the orange did stand out extremely well. After this we started to plan what we’d say on each of the DigiPak products.

We planned every little detail to make it more professional, this meant choosing the correct form of language (informal), how we’d set out asking the question for our competition and even the price for joining the band’s members club. We chose to ask a question anyone could answer correctly, making it multiple choice, and making 2 of the 3 answers seem ridiculous. This would allow the competition to seem easy to win, therefore attracting as many fans. We also decided that the prize for winning the competition would be to win tickets to see the band (only proxy to existing ancillary texts). When we chose a suitable photograph for the background of the competition leaflet, we moved onto making a membership postcard. We felt the postcard should be devoid of a photograph, making white and stylish. It was also choice to make the logo of the band orange, every time it was mentioned in large print, to make it clear who it was for. I feel in general the ancillary texts partner the music video extremely well, and keep a constant check on who the target audience is and what the tone of the video is as well.

3. What have you learnt from your audience feedback?

Fellow Media Studies students took the time out to comment on our music video and partnering DigiPak and gave us numerous feedback on what they thought of the products. Given that the video was aimed at males aged between 15 and 30, we were happy to hear what some in that bracket thought of the video. We were happy to hear that most of the feedback was positive and that we were praised for keeping within the tone of the music, picking our narrative and performance well, a task we had thought of as a tough one before we started to plan. One set of individuals had this to say; “Good camera shots and mise-en-scene. Excellent performance, [it was] enthusiastic. [We feel] 1 or 2 shots are a tad too shaky.” The group were happy to hear that we got some good camera shots and that the mise-en-scene was good because we worked hard researching these things and we were also pleased to learn that they liked the performance side to our music video. However we were displeased to hear that they thought some of the shots were ‘a tad to shaky’. Although we agreed with them that this was the case, we felt the handy cam type approach to the video was in keeping with the video and we learnt that although it may look adequate we should have checked every shot for how shaky it was and what was on shot, to provide a strong form of continuity.
Another group had this to say about our music video: “Gritty in its tone… so suits the music you've chosen. …It would have been better to see the singer with the band during the performance to build up the idea of being gang. It's odd that the band are the hooligans so that could break with conventions…” From this reaction to our video we learnt that although we felt we cast who was in our video appropriately, we should have asked more people to be in the video, so band members from the performance didn’t have to double up as gang members later on. We were glad to hear from this individual that we had got the tone correct as we tried our hardest to match the music and the video appropriately, which according to this comment, we did.
We were also given comments on our ancillary texts, which partnered the music video. Rob was highly praised for his photographs as many groups commented that the shots looked “professional” and was “effective”. One group even commented “Beautiful photography”. It was extremely satisfying to hear that our photographs and the accompanying text looked professional and that it was in keeping with the tone of the video. For our DigiPak, we didn’t really receive any negative feedback which was nice, but we also felt we could improve and no one could put their finger on what was not quite right. However in general, we felt our ancillary texts, as a whole partnered the music video we made really well, and the combination was perfect in making a gritty, rough, urban product.

4. How did you use new media technologies in the construction and research, planning and evaluation stages?

We couldn’t have made our music video and its partnering DigiPak without the use of new media technologies. Our video wouldn’t have been half as good as it is without the use of Youtube and websites that helped us research our chosen genre and gain helpful advice to ignite our planning. Without the use of Final Cut Express and Photoshop we wouldn’t have been able to finish our project.

Particularly instrumental throughout the research phase we learnt the importance of the search engine Google, as without it we wouldn’t have found similar videos to that of Ash’s and also similar clips on the video sharing web page Youtube. We were lacking ideas before we used the Internet and it helped us with our planning majorly. Google Earth was useful to us as we used it to scout for locations and give ourselves a chance to pre plan where we’d go with the camera that we rented. Google Earth allowed us to scout for locations, with clear satellite images of the areas we had chosen. A subsidiary of Google Earth, Google Street View also gave us an idea of how busy the streets were and how easy it would be to shoot a video in the areas we had chosen.

Along with the Google Street View and Google Earth, we also used and other music websites to locate similar music styles, of which we found and then typed into Youtube to see the partnering music videos. From there we found ‘Stress’ and gained valuable camerawork, editing and mise-en-scene advice, which was so helpful during the shoot for the video. After finding the ‘Stress’ video we moved onto the aforementioned ‘La Haine’ film. Without this research we definitely wouldn’t have got the ideas we had before the shoot.

When we acquired the shots we needed we moved onto using Final Cut Express. Final Cut allowed us to grey scale the shots and gives it its gritty tone and vibe. We also slowed down and sped up some shots, including the shot of the bridge, which opens the music video. Also we cut and pasted some shots to combine with others either to keep continuity or to give it a fast pace. The Final Cut software also helped us edit our video evaluation, making it smooth and interlinking with clips from our research.

Finally I have learnt that new media technologies are vital in the planning and research process. As we would never have known where to go to shoot our video and of course what we would have shot. Although we would have had a vague idea, we wouldn’t of had the developed ideas that we had, with the use of Youtube and

Monday, 30 November 2009

And finally...

To complete the DigiPak and offer something else to the listeners, not 'just' a CD, we have decided to include a postcard and a competition. Below are finals of each;

Postcard front;

Postcard back;

and the Competition leaflet...

DigiPak Final

So, over the weekend the final touches were made to our DigiPak design.

Below is the final product.

Outside (front cover, back cover, and outside of the flap for the middle section;

Inside (inside of front cover containing sleeve for competition leaflets etc, middle section for the CD, and flap also containing a sleeve;

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