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.
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.
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.
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.