Individual Evaluation- Sabina White

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

When beginning the process of producing my music video myself and my group decided to first look at established music video forms and conventions. The first video I analysed and derived inspiration from was Maroon 5’s video for ‘Makes Me Wonder’ which was surprising considering the genre of this track differed from that of our chosen piece but I found this video effective and entertaining which is obviously the desired effect I want the audience to have when watching our music video. The combination of the strong visual and lyrical relationships a result of a series of close ups in the video enhanced the meaning of the words being sung and made the concept of the video easier for me, and the audience, to grasp. After observing how successful this technique is I hoped to use it in our coursework but our track contains few lyrics; the repetition of the title ‘Rescue Me’ are the only lyrics in the track. Although when Natasha is transported into the different dance world we encouraged her to look stressed/confused therefore emphasising her desire to be ‘rescued’- we showed this lyrical and visual relationship through numerous close ups of Natasha. Goodwin has a six point analysis theory for music videos from Dancing in the Distraction Factory and through this lyrical and visual relationship  and close ups of the protagonist we are conforming to one of these points. The next video I looked at was ‘Lost’ by the artist Michael Buble, again the genre contrasts to that of our chosen track which is considered a dance track but initially we were intending to go with an acoustic piece our friend had presented us with so a lot of our preparation took into consideration the possibility we would go down the route of a ballad style.

Our video is conceptual and the idea is that the box prop used in all the scenes and different locations transports our protagonist Natasha to numerous contrasting dance locations; ballroom, hiphop, ballet and a club scene. Though we were concerned that this concept would be difficult for an audience to grasp from a 3 minute piece our feedback showed otherwise. Creating a conceptual video, we felt, offered us many opportunities to conform or oppose the genre conventions of a Dance video as the idea of the transporting box offered any location or scenario. For instance the inclusion of the strobe lighting (style) and club scene is a location choice and element of mis-en-scene that is associated with the dance genre. Our ancillary texts include colour schemes and styles that further emphasise our choice of music. The choice of costumes challenged the conventions of real media products, especially in the ballroom scene as it is rare for a dance video to contain this style of costume but we felt fitted in with our groups plot line and emphasised the diversity in the different styles of dance. Although this varying from the ‘norm’ for this genre can actually be seen as a genre convention in itself as we an see it in numerous other music videos of this genre, such as Kanye West’s video ‘Runaway’ which is also the video’s element of intertextuality as it is after viewing his video that we gained inspiration from and filmed our ballet scene.

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

In all of our ancillary products we used some form of branding that make them recognisable to one another and when looking at them all collectively they all have similar themes, for example the colour scheme in both our digipak and magazine advert is the same. I found, after having particular input in the production of the digipak that its creation was quite difficult and as a result of our lack of experience regarding photoshop we made numerous drafts to achieve our desired effect;

The first draft I made was very plain and only involved a lasso-ed image of Natasha. I found the editing of it quite hard as you had to be very particular and ensure that the images matched so her facial features were balanced. To cut the two individual images out and join them together I used the magnetic lasso tool and them pasted the images together and saved it as one single imageAs our ideas progressed we started to form a significant style for both the CD cover and the Advert that make them identifiable to our brand. Our final pieces for both the digipak and magazine advert followed a purple style with strobe lighting on a darker background with separate pictures of Natasha as the main focus, both can be recognised as for the same brand of Lipgloss Productions. Both the central images we used, despite being different have the same colour tint to them, which again is a purple colour which we hope will appeal to both the males and females of our target audience.

As you can see from draft one we had yet to decide on the background of the CD cover and only on what the central focus would be and as a result one idea that was brought forward was that we could use an alley way as a background as the alley way in our video is essential as it is there that video begins and starts. At this point we had yet to decide which alley way we would actually use from those available locally so found a copyright free image off the internet and used that as a background. The text we used for the title we chose to be a purple colour because we felt it appealed to both genders and due to the fact its quite a bright and vibrant colour matched the tone of the music.

Our fourth draft defiantly began to look significantly more professional in comparison to the other drafts. We continued the colour scheme of purple text/font and furthered this with the purple, shaped border on the right side of the CD cover which we felt made the cover more interesting and again the colour made the image not very gender specific, it appealed to all. The black background not only enhanced the colours in the text and border, making them more eye-catching but gave the overall product a more professional look.

There are not many branding elements involved in our video as none of the trademark characteristics, for example the colour scheme evident in our digipak and magazine advert, that are associated with Lipgloss Productions are present for numerous reasons; for example we couldn’t have the protagonist wear clothes in the colour of our colour scheme Natasha changes her outfits throughout the piece to emphasise the diversity in the different dance scenes. As is evident from observing the two ancillary texts when combined, they work well together and are identifiable to one another due to their similar characteristics but how well do they work with our main product? This is harder to compare as obviously our whole 3 minute video cannot be compared to a CD cover and poster, unless we use specific still shots. But the image we used in our CD cover is Natasha dressed in the costume she wears at both the beginning and the end of our music video, the point when we gage the audience’s interest and end the video thus will be the most memorable to the audience therefore should be easily recognisable that the video and CD cover are related. Furthermore the colour scheme of a background increases the professionalism of our brand and is therefore included in all ancillary products and the purple allows for no gender isolation, it appeals to all.

Our digipak’s use of bright on dark colours is a dance genre convention for its CD covers and the use of the shapes that imitate the effects of strobe lighting as a background piece further emphasises the dance genre through following these conventions. For instance we saw this eye-catching technique used in CD’s covers for ‘The Black Eyed Peas’ singles who also attract just the target audience we are hoping to appeal to. The font used for the title is contemporary and up to date which will appeal to the audience that would be listening to the genre of music. We have also used this font for the magazine advert and is, again, in the style of disco signs and flashing lights and therefore conforms to the genre conventions and also increases the brands conformity to conventions too.

3)What have you learned from your audience feedback?

One of our first actions when creating our music video was to try to establish a demographic, an audience whose needs we would try to meet and as a result make our music video more entertaining. Through websites as ‘Find Your Tribe’ , our own questionnaires which we presented to our friends and colleagues, and research into music channels we were able to establish a demographic and audience profile, which we have presented on the blog.  Audience research showed us that channels such as MTV Dance and Smash Hits both reached our demographic and had high ratings (for instance MTV Dance has 571,000 TV sets tuned in every week) and therefore we chose would be ideal to broadcast on. This was also included in our audience profiling that our fictional character ‘Lola’ would watch these channels.

Several weeks into the production of our video we carried out a quiz that we asked some classmates and members of our sixth form to fill out for us to establish how our video was being received by members of our demographic and target audience. One concern we had during the editing was that the concept of the video was quite hard to grasp as we couldn’t explain it through the lyrical and visual relationship as there is only was line of lyrics repeated in the video and visual we, as a group, found it easy to understand but worried this was because we created it. Although the audience feedback showed us that 9 people out of the 9 who participated in our questionnaire were able to understand the concept thus eliminated this concern for us.

Another element of concern that plagued while filming was that, because we had originally been considering filming for an acoustic piece during the research stages, it was not obviously a dance video and did not conform to many of the conventions. Again the audience feedback showed us that, according to the participants, the “dancing scenes and club location” explained to the viewers the style of music.

After enquiring about the logistics and minor details of the video we asked more general questions. We received very positive feedback for the general questions asking about the entertainment value of our video. Questions 5, 7 and 10 ask about if our video fits the genre conventions of the dance style, if the song lends itself well to the concept of the video and if the song ‘Rescue Me’ is a likeable track and all three questions received positive 9 out of 9 results. We did want to discover if there were any parts of the video that the audience didn’t receive well or felt were unnecessary so question 15 posed “Overall, what was your least favourite aspect of our branding/music video?” and the majority of the participants highlighted the ballet scene as their least liked scene in the piece. As a result we evaluated the scene after the audience feedback and found that the choreography for this scene could be considered the least realistic in comparison with the other scenes and the shots don’t flow as well as wed hoped but after realising the problem we proceeded in trying to correct these faults in the video by spending a few hours after school editing. We used different shots of Natasha’s dancing and made them shorter using more camera angles so the best clips of the dance were used.

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

In regards to the construction, research and planning stages of our coursework our school equipment meant we had few limitations. When approaching the research and planning stages we were able to use search engines and websites to gather more information about video production and genre conventions and we used social networking sites such as ‘My Space’ and ‘Facebook’ to try to uncover any artist that were not mainstream or signed. We also used ‘You Tube’ when looking at other artist’s music videos for inspiration and ideas.

When producing we had a Canon digital camera to work with which had; automatic and manual focus; exposure and wide-screen capability; on camera mic and a trip pod which ensured that while filming we could tilt and pan and a Nikon D40 camera to take stills while filming. When filming the ballroom scene we decided to experiment slightly and try to include some shots using a dolly and we filmed around the two dancers while they were performing. But after looking back on the shots in the editing stages we felt unsatisfied with them as they were very shaky and unbalanced, we’re not sure whether this was a result of the flooring of the location we  were filming in, simply human error or a combination of the two. One significant problem we had on shoot was when filming the last scene of Natasha’s return to the ‘normal world’ from the ‘dance world’ when she re-enters the alley. On this particular day we walked from our school to location only to find that we had forgotten the piece of equipment that holds the camera to the tripod so as a result had to film the majority of our shots handheld which as a result came out very shaky. One of the things we did lack and at the point of preparation had hoped to have access to was strobe lighting, as one common genre convention for our genre type was to include a disco scene, we still have included this scene but instead of strobe lighting we used a stand alone green filter light that we manually turned on and off which seemed to have the same effect. While editing our filming to prepare a final cut we used Apple’s Final Cut Pro Express. Using this software was quite complex but we all had practice at the use of markers and music inclusion from previous project and practice tasks our teacher has set. The creation of the digipak and magazine advert was done on Adobe photoshop. It took us a while to master the edit suite controls and techniques after some time adjusting to the new software. Photoshop enabled us to do a lot more in regards to the digipak/magazine advert compared to the software that was accessible to us at home but again it did take us a while to adapt to the change.


March 31, 2011. Sabina White.

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