Tuesday, 24 April 2012

A2 Advanced Portfolio Evaluation

In many ways, I have developed my advanced portfolio and my advanced subsidiary portfolio to follow the codes and conventions of the rock music genre. I have done this by researching the genre, planning the ways in which I could use these within my own media texts and producing texts which resemble real media products of the same nature.
The brief specification for the task was to produce a promotion package for the release of an album, to include a music promo video, together with a cover for its release as part of a digipak (CD/DVD package) and a magazine advertisement for the digipak (CD/DVD package). In order to maintain consistency, I decided to continue with the rock music genre following on from my subsidiary portfolio so that I could develop the conventions and by comparing the use of these conventions I can identify my improvements.
By researching the conventions of the rock music genre and writing an essay outlining these conventions with examples, this helped me to plan what I needed to include in my products. Throughout my research, I found that the most significant convention of the rock genre is the formation of a ‘band’, as most rock music is performed by band of three or more people. As I related music magazine production to the real media text ‘Kerrang!’, I decided to produce a music promo video for a track by a band featured regularly in this magazine. Through research of this magazine, I discovered that the band ‘Paramore’ where featured mostly within the magazine and I wanted to relate my products with real media products of this band in terms of style. I chose the track ‘We Are Broken’ by Paramore because it was slow-paced thus allowing me to create emotion through the use of narrative. I decided through the early stages of my planning that my video would be based around a narrative which represented the target audience and conveyed a controversial meaning which viewers could relate to. This decision was verified by the results of a small survey which I conducted on my blog. I posed the question ‘I am making a music video for the band ‘Paramore’, which of these types of music video is your preference?’ with the choice of narrative, performance, animation and abstract. The result of this was that 57% of people voted narrative. So, in order to give my target audience what they want, I was to include a narrative within my video.
The target audience of my products is young people aged between 16 and 25, as this was the age range of the people voting in the survey. I also found out that 85% of people voted Rock as their preferred music genre. This helped me to identify the audience’s expectations and how I could fulfil these expectations through the use of conventions. This was also the target audience for my music magazine, so I already knew the basic ways in which I could appeal to this group and planned to develop these skills.
A rock music video generally involves the band performing which makes it effective as it allows the viewer to see the music being performed to give them a sense of live performance which has connotations of gigs and concerts, another significant convention of the rock genre. Music promo videos that appear on music channels often blend a performance sequence within a narrative making it more effective in representing a certain type of social group as well as showing the band performing to the audience. This influence my decision to also include a performance element, as well as a narrative, in my video to make it more effective as I am able to express a particular feeling towards a controversial issue as well as showing the artist.
The message which I planned to express is based on the title of the song. I interpreted ‘We Are Broken’ and decided to relate it to ‘broken’ families. As it is a very slow-paced song, conveying a negative emotion would work well. A contemporary social issue in society is the divorce of parents and the formation of single-parent families. I decided that I would express this issue through the narrative elements in my video from a teenager’s point of view. This is because the target audience for my video is young people so I planned to represent this type of social group in order to relate, personally, to my target audience. This uses the same form of representation of real media texts as the use of narrative in most rock music videos often has a meaning which represents an issue relating to the audience.
I was particularly influenced by the style of Paramore’s promo video for their single ‘The only exception’. This is because it highlights the way in which young people are affected by divorce and similar family issues. I was particularly influenced by the way in which we are shown the character’s personal development and how it constructs a very ‘real’ scenario. The video represents the lead singer of the band as a ‘normal’ person but at the same time it includes a famous version of the artist. This shows the audience that the artist is similar to the audience, thus connecting institution and audience. I planned to use this convention by ensuring that the artist resembles a ‘normal’ person.
The costume element of my video deliberately follows the conventions of the rock genre. I decided that the main character of the narrative would wear a hooded jacket, jeans and trainers as it shows that the character is representing ‘real’ people. The convention of casual clothing in the mise-en-scene of rock music promos is often used as it shows verisimilitude. This type of fashion statement is present among the young generation who prefer the rock music genre and rock artists are expected to represent this as the most important factor in rock culture is the music, rather than the clothes which the artists wear. Therefore, I decided that my artist would also wear very casual clothing so as to follow this convention. As it is not generally expected that there be a female artist in a rock band, I researched the style of females within rock bands and found that they often wear vivid colours, such as bright purple, orange, red or green. This influenced me to dress the artist in a bright purple coat for the synchronous shots. With regards to hair and makeup, I noticed that many females wear black eye makeup and usually have their hair in a long, wavy style which is backcombed slightly. Accordingly, for my video, the artist is wearing black eyeliner, has her hair styled to look wavy and backcombed with a red tint in the colour. Additionally, the male character in my video is wearing a black and red coat. This was a deliberate feature as the typical colour scheme which is associated with the rock genre is black and either red, purple or orange. I decided on the black and red combination as it worked best.
Furthermore, the setting of my video relates to the low class group. My blog survey identified 71% of my target audience as being part of the lower social class. This influenced me to film in a suburban environment in order to reflect this social class (especially for the scenes in which the main character of the narrative runs away from home). I also decided that for the scenes in which the character is in her bedroom that I would set it up to look like a typical teenager’s bedroom (similar to that of the set in Paramore’s promo video for ‘the only exception’ http://youtu.be/-J7J_IWUhls ). For props, I placed a teddy on the bed, makeup and hair products on the dressing table and a poster in the background. The teddy prop helped to emphasise the character’s age and vulnerability which contrasts with the makeup and hair products as they are associated with mature women. This reflects upon the contrast in the narrative of the character being under strict control of her parent and the relationship between her and the male character at the end of the video. There is also a transition between the indoor scenes and the outdoor scenes. The indoor scenes convey a sense of protection and shelter (which is counterbalanced by the argument scene), whereas the outdoor scenes convey openness and freedom. This emphasises the theme of narrative as it enforces the fact that the character is trapped in a negative environment and focuses on the transition between this situation and the character being able to escape. I decided that for the synchronous shots of the video, I would shoot it in the park. This is because I was influenced by Paramore’s promo video for ‘That’s what you get’ http://youtu.be/1kz6hNDlEEg. As some of the video was shot outside, it downgraded the band as ‘celebrity’ so that the band appeared to be social and related to the audience’s lifestyle. I planned to imitate this convention slightly by featuring my artist in a ‘normal’ environment (a park). This allows the audience to be able to personally relate to the artist, as it shows a performance which seems to be being watched by the individual alone as a personal experience.
With regards to my ancillary texts, the research in which I conducted which is presented within my blog provides evaluations of real media ancillary texts and how they represent the codes and conventions of the rock music genre. The contextual factors of the advertisements which I analysed helped me to plan the conventions I would use within my ancillary texts. For example, two of the three magazine advertisements which I analysed appeared in ‘Kerrang!’ magazine. This influenced my decision to develop the conventions from this type of magazine.
The ways in which the combination of my main product and ancillary texts are effective is that I have developed an album design that represents the social issues being conveyed through my video. The notebook and crayon effect represent the child-like nature, reflecting the innocence of the subject in the narrative of my video. The front cover of my design represents broken love as it is a heart which has been crumpled up as a representation of love being rejected. The context of my main product and ancillary texts is also effective as I have developed the conventions of my products to match those of the Kerrang! industry. For example, the colour scheme which I have used is black and red against an ivory background. This type of colour scheme is often used for adverts as the light, plain background allows text and imagery to stand out.  The band name which I decided to use for my ancillary texts is ‘The Factory’. I chose this because, whilst researching the band Paramore, I found out that the band were originally named The Factory before they signed onto a music label.
I also noticed from my research that previous album designs by Paramore have featured a bright coloured object against a standard base colour such as white, ivory or black . I decided that I would develop this style through my own work, so decided that my design would be of a brightly coloured heart on a plain white background. For the rest of the digipak design, I decided on a notebook style design. This reflects the notebook style background for the double page spread of my music magazine. I decided to develop this convention because I wanted to design a cover that would look like a songbook that the artist may design themselves especially for individual people, adding to the ‘personal experience’ element used in my video.
By conducting audience feedback, I learnt how my production was effective and how I could improve on what I had produced. I conducted a questionnaire which I asked people to complete after they had watched my video and seen my ancillary texts. With regards to my ancillary texts, one person said that my advertisement was ‘bland’ but that it worked well with my Digipak design and related to the video. Two Thirds of my audience had said that my advertisement would not fit in with the Kerrang! Magazine context but may be suitable within a different ‘teen magazine’. Therefore, from this feedback I realised that the conventions would need to be changed if it were to be featured within the context which I researched.
With regards to the colour scheme of my ancillary texts, all responses that I received agreed that the colour scheme was good and that both texts related to one another. One Third of my audience said that the red colour on the front cover of my album could be made deeper to make it stand out. However, the overall view of my audience was that the colour scheme of my ancillary texts was good. Therefore, I learned from my audience feedback that although some of the colour could be improved, the overall style of my ancillary texts was effective.
After showing my audience my video, two thirds of people said that I used cinematography creatively and that my use of camera worked well with the style of song that I had chosen. However, most of my audience thought that the wobbly camera during the performance scene was a distraction. Although, two thirds thought that the performance sequences were conveniently placed and it was an effective balance of performance and narrative relating to the rock genre and all of my feedback shows that the performance element was effective. This shows me that in order to improve my work; I would need to ensure that the camera is steady. I also know from this feedback that if I find that my original idea doesn’t work, I should re-film the sequence to resolve the issue.
With regards to the mise-en-scene of my music video, I was told that the locations that I used were very effective for the specific scene and the meaning that it was portraying, two thirds of my audience said that the location element of the video was varied to fit in with the scene both within the narrative and the performance. I also discovered that, from an audience point of view, the choice of clothing for my characters suited the type of song that it was and the rock genre. They also said that the video was what they expected from a music video of this genre.
The editing part of my video was considered ‘typical’ of the rock genre and that the mixture of narrative and performance reflected the mood of the song and the contemporary social issue which was being conveyed. The general outlook on the social issue was that it represented the abuse, neglect and the negative emotions of young people within the household environment. My audience said that the narrative flowed throughout the video effectively in order to reflect this issue. This was exactly the approach that I wanted to convey through my video.
The overall view of my audience was that my products were effective. My audience thought that my video conveyed a suitable emotion to reflect the song as well as resembling real media texts of the same style and genre and that my ancillary texts also reflecting the genre and related to one another in terms of colour and style.

The ways in which I used technology in the construction of my work was first by learning to use the video camera creatively. I tested different camera angles and composition to give the best result. For example, for the bicycle scene, I tested different camera shots of the feet and face of the subject.
I used steadicam for these scenes as it emphasised movement. For the camera shots of the feet the camera zooms into the feet to focus the viewer’s attention to the movement of the feet. I alternated these two scenes in editing on Adobe Premiere 5 to give two different perspectives on the bicycle scene. I used this same technique when editing my animatic prototype, so that the convention would be kept the same based on the original idea on my storyboard.
I took advantage of the slow-motion tool on Adobe Premiere 5. I first decided to use it for the argument sceneto make it more emotional and appropriate to the pace of the song. I decided to use this technological advancement in this scene as I had seen it used in many real music videos, such as We are the ocean – runaway http://youtu.be/72wAOSj-Sqw , Professor Green - read all about it http://youtu.be/-_oLfC5Z_Ys and chase and status – time http://youtu.be/we9jeU76Y9E. I then decided to use slow-motion again towards the end of the bicycle scene, as I wanted to create tension to reflect the section of the song coming up to the main verse. When I tested the effect and watched it through, I felt it improved this area of my music video, considerably.
When filming the performance element of my video, I realise that the camera is not steady. This is because I planned to include a cross fading transition in between the shots of each line of the song (similar to that of Avril Lavigne’s Wish you were here promo video http://youtu.be/VT1-sitWRtY) . However, when editing, I struggled to make this work so I had to keep the sequence as it was. Furthermore, I realised that cross-fade editing was more effective within the narrative element rather than in the performance sequence. For the narrative elements of my video I used cross fade for the scenes of the bird’s eye view shot of my subject lying on the grass and in the opening sequence. I used this type of transition because it was more effective than a continuous shot or straight cut.
After completing the first edit of my music video, I discovered that there were parts of the song which I didn’t have footage for. I made a note of how much of the video was unfinished and posted a reminder on my blog to re-film some of the footage and referred back to it when I had completed the work.
In the construction of my animatic, I used an SLR camera to take pictures of my storyboard then uploaded them onto Adobe Premiere 5 to edit together. This helped me to plan the details of my final music video edit and to organise my footage based on my original idea. I also used a computer scanner to transfer my storyboard onto my blog to demonstrate my planning.
When filming the performance scene for my video, I used my iPod touch to play the song while my artist lip synched to the song. This ensured that the lip sync was accurate and in-time. I also got the lyrics for my song from azlyrics.com so that my artist knew the words which needed to be sung.
I made use of the Internet in many stages of my planning, production and research. For my research, I used Wikipedia.org, Paramore.com, fuelledbyramen.com, google.co.uk, Youtube.com and other websites to find out information about bands and the conventions of music videos, album artwork and album release magazine advertisements. I used Facebook and Twitter to encourage people to take part in my blog survey, this helped me to share my ideas and receive advice on my planning decisions and how the response which I received supported/changed my plans.
I used Adobe Photoshop CS5 to create my ancillary texts. For my magazine advertisement, I used ivory as the background colour and black for most of the text with the exception of the album title which I decided would be red to reflect the colour of the heart on the album cover. I then took the logo of Fuelled by Ramen (an independent music label which Paramore are signed to) from google.co.uk and put it in the right hand bottom corner of my advert. I also produced my own logo by taking the house logo ( ) from the inside cover and added the text ‘thefactory.com’ as a made up website. I then transferred it to my advertisement, ensuring that it was the same size as the Fuelled by Ramen logo.
The main Piece of media technology which I made full use of was the website Blogger. I used a variety of blog posts to demonstrate my ideas followed by the ways in which I was going to fulfil them. This helped me to organise my planning for easy reference through the construction of my main product.
Within the social context of contemporary media, the way in which the institution affects the audience and vice versa has changed over time. In modern culture, the media would represent a version of culture which the institution decides is appropriate. However, the developments of post-modern texts have challenged traditional forms of media representation. These developments challenge the hypodermic needle theory which suggests that the audience are directly influenced by what the media represents and can be controlled with regard to public opinion. Traditional conventions of media texts have been broken in order to allow the audience to develop their own perspective on the media and how it conveys its meaning. The main product of my A2 Media coursework supports McQuail’s uses and gratifications theory as it relates to personal meaning and identity. As it represents a specific social affair, it relates to many individuals as a demographic audience group allowing me to relate personally to my audience. It also gives the audience what they want as it offers entertainment and the opportunity to give their own view on the issue. The way in which I have constructed my product influences the way in which the audience of my text interprets my media construction and how it will affect their view on certain aspects of society. The audience expects to be offered a certain perspective from the institution so that they can make their own decision on whether or not they choose to accept it. I have constructed my media product in a way that the audience will accept as a true perspective of the world in which we live.

Friday, 30 March 2012

CD/DVD disk design

CD Disk
DVD Disk

Magazine Advertisement

 Photo taken of the inside of Kerrang! magazine.

Digipak Design

Front Cover

Back Cover

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Monday, 26 March 2012

Paramore Album research

Paramore's debut studio album 'All we know is falling' (2005)

second album 'Riot!' design as part of two optional front covers (other design can be seen in another post)

Paramore's single album 'crushcrush crush' from the album Riot!

Paramore's third album 'brand new eyes' (2009)

These are Paramore's previous album designs.
The important factor of these albums is that the design includes a consistent Bright colour which is usually the main focus. In 'all we know is falling', the main focus is the bright red sofa, for riot! it is the orange font and for the single track digipak, it is the black and white contrast but also the bright blue colour in the right, bottom corner. For 'brand new eyes', the bright yellow colour of the butterfly is the focus of the audiences' attention. This consistent use of colour creates an overall style for Paramore albums.

Friday, 23 March 2012

Extra Filming

When editing today, I have realised that there is not enough narrative for my video. Therefore, there are 16 seconds that I need to fill. In order to fill this I plan to film extra footage in order to develop the narrative more.