Friday, 11 December 2009

Music Video Project Evaluation by Claire Millett

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

My media products developed the conventional Indie-Rock ideas behind real media products. For example, Indie-Rock videos are usually performance based to emphasise the importance of a ‘real musician’ in today’s music industry that is continuously undermined by reality television stars. However, our performance was not particularly conventional as we created a band by duplicating the mime character which featured in our video as a link to our narrative which gave the video more depth and interest for the viewer. We made the opening sequence eye catching by using a split screen to introduce the instruments of the song. The singer of the band was focused on through her appearance being bright, colourful and individual which made a strong contrast to the black and white of the mime’s costume. We decided to duplicate the mime character to add to the surrealism of the narrative as it linked to the lyrics “and this ain’t real like the girls on TV”. This factor reflects the lyrics as instead of using a typically dressed boy and making a fairytale romance as found on TV we used the confusing motif of a mime to highlight the singer’s confusion and anxiety. This type of scenario is that of which many listeners are able to relate to which the production group thought was ideal because music is commonly used to influence and inspire its listeners creatively.
Another reason for including a narrative within the video in order to create the image of our band as unique, abstract and avant garde. This is due to the fact that the image of musicians does remain as an important factor as it can be used to market the band and also influences the fans with several artists of today also being known for their personal and often controversial style such as Katy Perry and Lady Gaga. Whilst researching we found several bands such as The Gossip and Paramore influential with the image and style that the videos portrayed. This is because Paramore also feature a woman lead singer making the focus of several of their videos on her and also the band used conventions of live performances and then developed them to create an edgy and unique style. The image of the Gossip was also influential, particularly in the video for ‘Heavy Cross’. The iconic clothes and make up of Beth Ditto made the song powerful and it also featured elements of a live performance. The ideals of the two bands were similar to that of what the group aspired to create.

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

The two products were designed to compliment each other well and this aim has been achieved. From planning well in advance the group was able to have a photo shoot on set of the music video, this helped with timing later on in the project as it gave us a longer opportunity to edit the images. It also meant the photographs used were of higher quality and the image that was created of the band made the ancillary texts bold, edgy and vibrant. The car, which features in the music video, was also used in the ancillary texts as an iconic and original prop in order to create a link between all of the products for the audience. The digi-pak used similar images to that of the magazine advert which meant that audiences could easily find the album recognisable from seeing the advert. We put an image of a television on the male band member, rather than the female, as a link to the music video of it not being a fairytale romance as seen on television and that the obscure mime character was the lead singer’s own version of that in reality. We also included an ‘out now’ banner on the advert with the HMV symbol so that audiences would be encouraged to go and find the album within those stores.
Usually in the industry, the release of a new album results with a tour to promote it. Because of this, we added tour dates to our magazine advert in hope of creating the image of a realistic and modern Indie-rock band. The competition which features within the digi-pak is given authenticity from the sponsorship of the popular social networking website, Myspace. The website is regularly used by many music fans as well as artists making it an ideal feature for the band to be involved in. Also, the support shown to unsigned bands is designed to create popularity, publicity and success for the band within the industry. In addition to featuring Myspace, we also used references to NME music magazine which we knew to be popular with our target audiences as it is popularly read by Indie-Rock fans and the magazine is renowned for their annual award shows - of which Apollo Station had been awarded best newcomer and four stars for the album – with these factors making the magazine ideal. The font we chose reflected the image of the band as edgy and messy and we found it to be a good symbol of the band which would be recognisable in the industry.

What have you learnt from your audience feedback?
Overall, we received very positive feedback for example “the overall design lets me know exactly what kind of band we’ve got here” (ex-art editor of Future Music Magazine). This was what we wanted to achieve: the image of a band, rather than just a video, that would please the eye of the public and the industry. The feedback we received on the rough cut edition of our video highlighted that our video did not have enough cuts throughout making the pace a lot slower than it needed to be to create an authentic video. For our final cut we made a strong effort to correct this and made the video quicker and also added in a new sequence throughout the instrumental section which we cut to fit the beat – this had a lot of positive feedback for the final cut. Another issue that we had with the rough cut was the split screen looking too obvious due to change in light quality in between takes. For the final cut we corrected the colours to the best of our ability and made the effect much more subtle. Also, for our final cut we included more close-ups of the singer to add more focus onto her as requested from the feedback on our rough cut. Other feedback we received led to rethinking the layout of the magazine advert and also how we would use the features within the ancillary texts such as NME and Myspace to effective but realistic use. For example, we made the text on the NME award headline smaller to put more focus on the band name.

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

Predominantly, the Internet was our main source for researching the conventional music videos that fitted our genre. This meant that YouTube was particularly useful in addition to the production team’s online blog. The blog was used for analysing other media products, planning production meetings and also documented our progress and changes to the plans we originally made. We also used the blogs to receive peer feedback; this was particularly helpful for taking our first draft to a higher quality for the final edition. Final Cut was the editing programme we used to put together the music video by using several techniques for example, by using a split screen to help make the clips dynamic and punchy. In addition to this the overlapping footage we used to duplicate the mime character played with the conventions of a performance based video. We also used Photoshop to compose the ancillary texts and to create the TV image of the mime’s head. The fonts used were downloaded from the internet using the website as the fonts we found on a typical word application were not what we wanted and the effect of the downloaded font was much better for the image of the band. Digital photography was also used to document the filming progress, photographs of which we entered onto the blog and also for the photo shoot that took place on set for the ancillary texts. We also used a camera phone to get images quickly and conveniently to other members of the group, something we found particularly useful whilst planning the video shoot. Final Cut was also used to bring the entire video together as we brought together the audio and video using this programme to create our final product and achieved from this an authentic and good standard of video.

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