Monday, 7 March 2011

Monday, 28 February 2011

Evaluation - Question 4: How did you use media technologies in the construction and research, planning and evaluation stages?

The image below is a photograph my partner Matt took while I was holding the piece of glass in front of the camera. This is an example of use using our initiative to enhance our use of technology.

Evaluation - Question 3: What have you learned from your audience feedback?

I used an array of techniques to to gain some feedback from my target audience.
Feedback from an audience is significant in creating a successful piece of work, so I appreciated the positive comments and learnt from the negative ones.

I contacted my audience via Facebook, texting and phoning them, showing my work to my class and getting them to write down feedback and also asking a couple of friends to watch it in person and we recorded what they had to say.

Below are some written comments me and my partner collected as a result of our whole media class watching our video.
We got around twenty written replies back which is obviously a valid amount, I then scanned in a few which I felt were most relevant.

I then picked out the key points from the written comments...
We gained a lot of positive feedback on the whole, which could suggest our video was successful and enjoyably to watch.
Something I found from my whole range of audience feedback, was that almost everyone praised the editing and the way the footage was put together.
Some comments included - "Professional", “All the different shot types – really creative”, “The editing is excellent”, “Good use of editing”.

This is a good comment because one of my aims was to make the video appear "redundant" in a sense of it appearing like a real media product. For example, I avoided using hand-held camera techniques and jumpy editing because I wanted to avoid the audience taking an aberrant reading.
So this feedback has reinforced my confidence in my music video appearing professional and real.

I mentioned previously how I tried to be entropic with my video, and added effects such as the gun shooting out sparks and our actor spitting on the camera, these were highlighted by a few of my audience as successful moments in the video.
I'm glad the audience enjoyed this, because as it was quite entropic, it was risky as to whether people would enjoy it or not.
"The gun was cool" & “Love the toothbrushing bit!”

Interestingly I got a couple of comments that give the impression the visuals and audio work well together, "Video suits the music" & “Although the music and visuals aren't suppose to fit, they do. The music implies streets, crime etc. And this is illustrated in the video."

Even though these comments are positive, they are contradicted by a Facebook comment I got from someone directly in the target audience...

This comment is limited in detail I know, but because this person is genuinely the target audience in every sense, the comment is extremely valid - even more so than some of the more detailed comments by people outside the target audience.
This relates to Pierre Bourieu's theory on Cultural Capital. David Poyner in a sense has more knowledge on the subject of our song than other people who commented, this effected his reading on the text, and he highlighted how the audio doesn't quite work for him.

David's comment is quite simplistic yet it does make me think that maybe our song wasn't "hard" enough when considering our target audience. This is obviously a major issue as the song is the basis of where all the work escalates from.

Furthermore, some slightly negative comments I gained from the written comments were...

“Possibility of match on action at the end of the video”

“Could have been faster cuts – closer to the tempo of the song”

These comments were not focused on major issues which does not make me doubt the quality of my work too much, on the other hand if I had another chance to make the video, I would pay attention to these comments.
I am especially referring to the comment that talks about using "faster cuts", this is something I agree with. Using faster cuts would have made the video more appropriate to the style of the song, and essentially more attractive to the target audience.

This video shows two people commenting on my music video, interestingly, one of them is in the target audience (the young male) and the other is not (the young girl)

Firstly I looked at what the girl (Chloe) had to say, even though her comments are somewhat less important compared to the male that is in our target audience.

Chloe obviously likes our video - which is a good sign - "I thought it was really good!"
And she specifically likes the point where our actor is followed by the masked killer and he appears behind him momentarily.
"My favourite bit is when he's walking along and then the guy appears behind him in the mask"

This is our intended effect, and I think the fact that we have reached out to people beyond our target audience could be seen as a good thing.
In a business sense it could be seen as attracting more customers, hitting two birds with one stone.

Aron, the male in our target audience also liked the video.
He said... "I thought the angles were good, The timing of it was good, The storyline was good"
This is positive news, and the fact that he understood the storyline proves that we were able to relate to our target audience in a way they were familiar with.

I would say that from our audience feedback we have learnt that on the whole, our video was successful and enjoyable to watch to our target audience and even to an audience outside our target area.

Evaluation - Question 2: How effective is the combination of your main product and ancillary texts?

Having passionately studied graphic design for a while, I was looking forward to making my print work appear professional and up-to-date, but most importantly - attractive to my target audience.

I concentrated on making my work have an apparent "house" style, I wanted my print work to connect visually with my music video, so that all three products could be sold together as a "promotion package for the release of an album".

I gave my advert and digipak a running theme, with a controlled, limited colour scheme.
You will notice the colour palette consists mainly of blue, white, yellow and black - (subtly connoting danger signs).

I ensured the colours were strictly controlled by paying attention to the CMYK codes.
For example, the yellow on both pieces of print has the same code of - C-2% M-4% Y-77% K-0%

In order to fit in with the genre of my song, and to attract my target audience of fashionable teenagers, I gave my print work a modern, fashionable appearance.
I focused on visual themes relating to my song such as money, fashion and street-crime.
Once I had created all my relevant images, I edited them so they appeared clean and bold against the intended white background.

Both the advert and digipak use a white background, but this was a little too plain and boring in my opinion, so I applied a small amount of detail to both pieces - yellow and black running in straight lines through the products.
This not only made both pieces more interesting, it made them fit together visually adding to the house style.
The yellow lines were supposed to denote double yellow lines on a road, relating once again to the street genre of the overall promotion package.

I spent a fair amount of time browsing to find some typefaces that I felt would "fit in" with my work.

As you will see from one of my previous blog posts, I found a handful of fonts that seemed "grimy" and "urban". Ones that were sans-serif and bold were the most successful.

Check them out by following this link -

I applied the relevant text to my print work and ensured the same fonts were used across both pieces.
I chose to display the text in varying sizes depending on it's purpose and its "importance".
All the text was displayed in black, once again to maintain the bold, hard-hitting appearance against the white background and could even give the impression of a newspaper heading.

The text within my print is sharp and has quite an imperative mode of address, it seems quite "bossy"; once again relating to the visual themes of the whole project.

When I was photographing my baby brother with the weapons, I chose to put a hooded jacket on him to fit in with the generic themes, and to match the imagery of the main character in our music video.

In contrast, to emphasise the innocence of the child, instead of him wearing a plain hoodie, I chose to put a hoodie on him with a playful image of a truck on the front.

The weapons that my brother holds were especially selected to look realistic and dangerous, this imagery matches imagery within my music video, strengthening the connection between all three products.

Something quite entropic of my print work is that it could be assumed that in order to fit in with the "dangerous" genre of my song, my work would have to be dark and gloomy.
Whereas I chose to create mine with a lot of lighting on the subjects and bright, contrasting colours; I did this to make the products stand out.
Swamping my work with a large range of colours and making the products too crowded would result in them being visually untidy.
Whilst designing my print work I tried to imagine the digipak on a shelf in HMV, and I tried to imagine the advert on a wall somewhere, this is what made me want to use bold, eye-catching colours.

I really wanted both my pieces of print work to connect with each other, and when producing our music video, I tried to relate this with the print.
Synergy occurred in my work, you may have noticed the sly product placement of my album advertisement on the wall.
The inter-textual reference is on the wall in the main character's bedroom, a subtle way of reminding how all three products are from the same package, all aimed at the same audience and essentially all bringing in the same profit together.

So in answer to question 2, I do feel the combination of my main product and ancillary texts is very effective.

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

It is fair to say that my print work and music video follow fairly redundant styles through using "real" forms and conventions.
On the other hand, my work also develops and challenges "real" forms and conventions in some cases, making my work individual and original.

My work derives from a popular genre of music (Grime/Dubstep) and therefore me and my partner were constantly surrounded by influences of popular media which closely related to my work, (being a teenager and our chosen song being aimed at teenage culture).
Despite this I was always trying to keep an open mind and incorporate an element of entropy within my work.
I suppose this relates to Steve Neale and his theory on genre, and how it is "instances of repetition and difference".

I didn't used to completely understand this statement, yet now through creating my own media product, I understand how Neale is correct. I have essentially copied other pieces of media, yet added my own personal touch, which makes it suitable to the genre yet still different and interesting.
I tried to ensure my own creative input was apparent within my work, I gained original ideas from my own imagination and thought processes, and tried to make these have priority over stereotypical influences.
But I also know that I was inspired by the surrounding environment as well as the media I was purposely and subliminally exposed to.
My media products uses conventions of those in real products. This is probably because of the large amount of research I did on existing products, especially those in the same genre of my chosen song.
I was inspired by films such as "Kidulthood" and "Adulthood" which I didn't study, but I enjoyed and felt were relevant to my work.

The themes and imagery within these films were reproduced within my music video.

Plan B's video for the song "Missing Links" had a large effect on my work, me and my partner found this music video both successful and entertaining, and as we wanted to follow the style expected of the genre of our music, we were heavily influenced by it.

Our main character, like Plan B in his video, wears a hooded jacket, with the hood hiding his face. Both characters in the two separate videos walk the streets and perform in a way expected of characters in their context.

I created these split screens using Photoshop to give an idea of how our video was similar to Plan B's.

So because of this, my video could be seen as very redundant and typical of the genre. I do not believe this is a negative thing entirely, because our chosen song has no lyrics, our video is quite disjunctive, so I think it is successful that we managed to make our audio and visuals appear as if they were "meant to be".

I didn't want my print work and video to be completely predictable, so instead of "copying" the relevant videos I studied, we chose to develop elements and ideas from them, such as the violent connotations and dangerous atmosphere associated with our chosen song's genre.
I kept elements within my work which were redundantly related to the style of our song, such as the fashion, the hooded main character, murder, drug deals, street life etc.
Doing this meant that to our target audience "understood" the audio and visual within my music video and therefore it connected successfully, and my print work connected to the music video in the same way.

In contrast, I also tried as much as possible to give my work subtle twists in ways you wouldn't expect of hip hop/grime/drum and bass culture; such as the killer wearing an ironically happy mask and the unnecessary, unexpected bathroom scene where the character spits on the camera and is filmed going to the toilet.
Other entropic factors which develop and challenge "real" forms" and conventions are the actual killing scene itself, the melancholy, artistic ending and interestingly there is no use of women displayed as sexual objects or "voyeurism".

I blended themes you would expect from my genre of music, with aspects you wouldn't expect.
I am mostly referring to my print work, where I illustrate a very young child holding a weapon and appearing violent and dangerous.
Weapons and violence are typical of my chosen song's genre, yet when they are juxtaposed with a stereotypically "innocent" child, the original meaning is flipped and the audience is left confused, but most importantly - interested.
Because of this I could say my media products challenge "real media products".
The way I portray a child holding weapons in my poster and digipak could be seen as politically incorrect; and as I found out myself, even within my college it was frowned upon.
I didn't do enough research into the subject, and it effected the grade I got for my print work.
This itself is interesting, because it proves how society are expectant as well as unprepared for certain imagery and when something they don't expect is shown, they feel it is unnecessary or problematic.

In relation, it can be problematic if forms and conventions are too closely followed, as opposed to challenged or developed.
If "genre" was always followed without an original creative input or "auteur" style, media products would be constantly predictable and would become unpopular because "the target audience" would get bored of seeing and hearing the same thing over and over again without any alterations.

In addition, previously on my blog I showed how I was going to act as the killer wearing the mask, but because of the clothes I was wearing, I was inappropriate for the task.
This is an example of how me and my partner avoided being entropic purposely in order to fit in with the intended genre of our video.
We needed our killer to be wearing clothes "expected" of a killer to wear on the streets, which is why redundantly Matt ended up acting the killer because he was wearing more "stereotypical" clothing.

Overall I would say all my media products use conventions and forms of real media products, mainly through the influence of my research on existing products.
However, In alot of cases I develop real forms and conventions, and in a few cases I even challenge them through my own imagination and ideas.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Production Update...

We completed our last filming session on Tuesday (8th of February).
During this shoot we shot all the remaining clips we needed, including some interesting shots from a "birds eye view" and also the final scene where our main character is murdered by the masked killer.
We have spent every day editing, and will continue to do so tomorrow afternoon ( the deadline).
I am happy with the progress we have made and tomorrow will consist of simply making sure everything is perfect and every cut is accurate etc.