Friday, 9 December 2011

Directors Commentary

Dan's Evaluation answers

A stereotypical convention of a Hip-Hop music video involves appropriate locations, for example the hip-hop artist 'Wiz Khalifa' includes trendy, expensive settings such as parties and clubs, used to show off their wealth and power. A lot of less mainstream hip-hop is set in the streets of more urban and 'gritty' locations, shown to represent where they have been brought up and where the genre was originated. Our music video for the Nextmen 'My Way' meets the 'street look' convention as the lyrics and beat suggest quite an underground approach to the music industry.
Another convention of hip-hop videos are the props used; these include the use of alcohol, drugs and cigarettes used usually to attempt to give off a rebellious look for the artist, to represent the artists visual symbol. Our group decided to develop this convention and replace these props (in this case drugs) with a microphone, a prop that is frequently mentioned in the lyrics of the chorus. By developing this convention, we have brought more clarity and meaning to the lyrics, as well as linking the video with the song in an effective manor. We believed this also added a twist to the entire significance and understanding of the song, challenging the conventions that are expected to be feature in a hip-hip video. This also makes the video more engaging to watch as it is different and original, with an element of depth included.
We incorporated appropriate and exciting camera angles and shots to satisfy and affiliate the action that features in the video, to give the audience a clear understanding of the narrative. The conventional camera shots used for music videos are close ups/extreme close ups to illustrate feelings and emotion, and long shots to display the trendy settings. We made use of long shots and mid shots to display the scenery and setting of the characters, however generally avoided use of close and extreme close-ups as we were not looking to promote the faces and characters within the video, however to promote the narrative and genre of the song. This challenges the conventions of Goodwin's points. Our music video aims to demonstrate genre characteristics by creating a relationship between the music and visuals in an illustrative way that amplifies the lyrics. We believe that this approach will sell the artist and song in an original way which will grip and draw in the audience.
The narrative of our video follows a storyline, not a genre. This was inspired to me by the music video producer; 'Jonathon Glazer', who we researched and discovered that he makes videos that come across as a short film, which very strongly links and represents the lyrics and genre of the music through the powerful atmosphere that he creates.

Our magazine advertisement and DVD cover both display the same text font and colour which demonstrates positive continuity and a consistent theme, making them work together as a promotional package. The font and colours used are suitable to the hip-hop genre as the graffiti background symbolizes and illustrates the artist’s stereotypical background and setting they are brought up in. The graffiti background used on the Digi-pack and magazine advert was retrieved from the location where Martin (our group member) lip synched in, also creating continuity throughout the 3 products.
We have continued the urban underground theme using graffiti in the background, which runs throughout our 3 product promotional package (music video, Digi-Pack and Magazine advert). This features our 2 main props; a microphone and money, to represent and develop our storyline. However, this means that the faces of the artists are not displayed on the covers, creating a more mysterious effect and end product. This keeps the audience intrigued as the they are not having every element of the artistic talent and style thrown at them, however it is left open for them to interpret the music with their own imagination, with only the music video to illustrate the artists appearances. This also draws in the audience to research and discover more about the artists themselves. I believe this attracts the audience in a different and dramatic way, separating our style from the mainstream commercial act of the majority of modern day music.

We learnt a lot of valuable information from the feedback we received, including compliments and constructive criticism. The initial feedback from the class regarding our rough cut was positive in some areas, however highlighted certain areas that needed polishing and further development. As a group, we felt that the feedback suggested a slightly cheesy and unoriginal effort that simply followed the conventions and action of a stereotypical hip-hop video. This included selling drugs and having fights, something that conventionally occurs in a hip-hop music video. Therefore, this made our product to appear tacky and cheap, a look that we very much wanted to avoid. We also received feedback commenting on how the video did not clearly match the lyrics, therefore seeming somewhat irrelevant, increasing the risk of losing the interest of the viewers.
We made sure to address these issues immediately and developed some ideas to make them more interesting to watch, and also more original and related to the lyrics. We decided to replace the concept of drugs with microphones, creating the effect that selling microphones is also illegal which not only make the audience have to think more deeply about the narrative, but also links the lyrics well with the storyline. To ensure that we engaged the audience we also edited in various special effects and transitions such as black and white and split screens to clearly represent the genre and the storyline.

We used various media technologies such as final cut express, Photoshop and blogger. We used blogger throughout the year to blog our planning and ideas for the production of our music video. We used blogger effectively as a place to note down all our variations and changes of ideas, as well as a place to show the research we did and keep track of the progress we have been making.  Final cut was used once we had finished the filming of our music video and video commentary of the evaluation responses. I became rather fluent of the use of final cut express and managed to bring out the most of our videos to give them a professional edge and add quality and clarity throughout them. I incorporated editing effects such as black and white, slow motion and split screen, as well as professional transitions in between shots to improve the continuity of the video. Photoshop was later used once the final music video had been finished. We used Photoshop to create our Digi-Pack and magazine advert. I found this software difficult to use, and it took a lot of time to apply different effects and fonts, however I managed to get used to this after some practice and feel satisfied with the Digi-pack, as it matches the look and style of the other 2 products. However due to the time it took to get used to the layout and use of Photoshop, we did not have enough time to complete our magazine cover, which I believe to be at a satisfactory standard, however could do with a final touch some improving. We used HD cameras to capture the footage of the music video and the video commentary. The HD camera was also used for still images which were later projected onto our magazine advert.

Evaluation Questions

In What Ways Does Your Media Product Use, Develop or Challenge Forms and Conventions of Real Media Products?
The stereotypical locations for a hip hop music video are usually settings such as parties or in expensive clubs as this matches the flash image of hip hop stars. However as hip hop originally came from the streets this is often used as a location as well to emphasise the change they have made to the ‘big time’. We decided to challenge the conventional setting of a big party and instead concentrated on the gritty street culture that surrounds hip hop fans. However we decided to still include the major clothing brands that these videos usually include such as Nike, Adidas and Ralph Lauren etc as these are so commonly associated with hip hop. Hip hop music videos also often include lots of half naked women dancing with the artist. We chose to use an all male cast to challenge this and to give the video a gang like feel. We also decided to challenge the conventional music video style and structure; instead of presenting a montage of party scenes, lip synching and dancing women, we decided to make a short film using the song as a non-diagetic soundtrack. We chose to do this after looking at the work of the auteur Jonathon Glazer who does something similar in his music videos. To make sure that the video still related to the genre and song though we chose the theme of criminals in the drug world which surrounds hip hop. We originally decided that we would not include any lip synching but after some consideration we decided to include it to make the video seem more music video like and to give something fresh to the Jonathon Glazer mould. We chose to film Martin lip synching in a dark graffiti covered location to adhere to the conventional hip hop guidelines.
How Effective Is The Combination of Your Main Product and Ancillary Texts? 
Our magazine advert and our dvd digipack both include the same graffiti background that is seen in our actual film. We did this to create almost a brand and to create a theme in the three to make them easy to relate back to each other for the audience. The advert and digipack both also include the same font which is in a graffiti style to relate the hip hop genre back to it and to show positive continuity between all three products. Our digipack works as an introduction to the video as it features money and a microphone so the audience it immediately introduced to the themes they will be seeing. This also works to draw people in who are interested or intrigued by these items. The fact that neither characters faces are shown and just their bodies gives a mysterious effect and draws them in also. This perhaps challenges the usual advertising techniques as usually artists use their beauty and image to promote themselves here we are introducing the narrative of the video instead. This mystery will work to draw the audience in as they try to learn more about the artist.
What Have You Learnt From Your Audience Feedback?
After the initial feedback from the class and our own opinions we thought that centring the video purely on drugs would perhaps be inappropriate and generally not particularly clever. Instead we decided to look deeper into the song’s lyrics and try and relate them well to the video. This is when we decided that we would still tell the story of a criminal underworld but instead of following the selling of drugs we would introduce the concept of illegally buying and selling microphones as if they were as illegal as drugs. We chose microphones because the chorus to our chosen song ‘My Way’ talks about microphones frequently. We also took inspiration from the BBC drama ‘Bootleg’ which followed the black market in England after chocolate is made illegal. We were also told however that our video stayed well within the genre conventions of violence and gang culture in a gritty underworld but had a clever twist by swapping the selling of drugs with microphones. The complicated mix of camera shots was also noticed and made the video clear but we were also told that perhaps we could have made the mugging scene clearer but we were still safe and effective. People also thought that we portrayed the dangerous type of people involved in hip hop culture well and that we created a engaging video by using interesting editing techniques such as split screen.  
How Did You Use New Media Technologies in the Construction and Research, Planning and Evaluation Stages?
We used the blog throughout the process to document our progress in all stages of planning, filming, editing and creating our digipack. This worked well as a way to keep on track with what we needed to do and to see our progress as we went on. We used photoshop whilst creating our digipack and magazine advert using the different tools and techniques to make an extremely professional finished product. I particularly enjoyed using photoshop and getting to grips with the different functions. To edit and cut our video we used final cut which is easy to use particularly with the experience of last year. We used the hd cameras available in the media classrooms to film our video. These were easy to use and gave good quality picture for the finished product.

Tyler's Final Evaluation

) In What Ways Does Your Media Product Use, Develop or Challenge Forms and Conventions of Real Media Products

We have mainly tried to follow conventions of other Hip-Hop genre music videos.

- Hip-hop locations are usually one of two settings. Firstly, they are very trendy or expensive places such as parties and clubs or expensive rooms. Secondly, the streets are often used as a location. This is because Hip-Hop originated from the streets, so videos stay true to their genre. We decided to use the streets as our location, as it follows hip-hop conventions, but also is cost-free, making it the perfect location to shoot. Using Cambridge streets allowed us to create a very relevant video to suit the style of the song, and create scenes within the video the audience can clearly associate within the Hip-Hop genre.
- Another convention of these genre videos is taboo substances such as drugs (mainly cannabis) cigarettes, knives and or other weapons and alcohol. Although on discussion we felt our music video didn’tt warrant any of these, we have incorporated a shot of Harry with a cigarette in his mouth. Although the shot is brief, we felt it necessary to follow conventions of real media products, and used the cigarette to help build up Harrys on screen character into the thug we wanted to portray him as.
- Real Hip-Hop media products often contain similar branded costumes, dressing in expensive or well known branded clothes. These brands contain brands such as Nike, Adidas, Ralph Lauren, Rocawear and many more. We felt this was perhaps was one of the most important conventions to follow, as we wanted to get across strongly to the audience the Hip-Hop appearance. Harry was dressed in full Nike tracksuit, where as Tyler has Nike trainers and Dans appearance features his wearing a Ralph Lauren Jacket. We planned these costumes carefully to enable us to demonstrate to the audience through our costumes the genre of our video. Although people dont automatically relate all these brands with Hip-Hop, when seen on screen it adds to the thuggish scenes that are taking place.
-Camera shots throughout this genre consist mostly of three different camera angles; long shots, close ups and extreme close ups. These specific angles are used to promote props such as expensive clothing or assets a rapper possesses. This cements the stereotype that people in the Hip-Hop circle are generally cool people, respected and envied by others. We have chosen to develop this convention and include various long shots, close and extreme close ups during our filming stages. A particular angle we felt warranted these kinds of shots was the shot of Harry as he commits the mugging. We have used a long shot showing his running away to show the realism of the mugging scene, and his seriousness as he runs from the crime. This shot shows a vital part of the video, and again builds Harry up into an important and dramatic character.
-Often Hip-Hop music videos include very attractive females to feature throughout the video. This aims to strengthen the stereotype that these kinds of artists regularly surround themselves with these types of females. We have chosen to challenge this convention by not including any females at all in the video. We chose to do this to not make our video almost commercial, and create gritty scenes throughout the music video. We felt the song had no particular emphasis on females, so following Goodwins points of matching the lyrics to the video, didn’tt include any females.
-Lastly a Hip-Hop music video usually follows stereotypes of the genre, not a storyline. This means shots of random parties, social events and performances are used to create the video. We have chosen to challenge this convention and include a storyline within our video. This creates a music video our target audience can engage with. The idea of including such a strong narrative was inspired by two people. Firstly, videos from famous video producer Jonathon Glazer, and secondly different videos created Eminem. Although we decided to challenge this convention, we still believe we have created a music video which is extremely gripping and entertaining to our audiences.

So, although we decided to follow and develop most of the hip-hop music video general conventions, we have challenged them also In hope of exposing originality into the video, to try and separate the content of the video from the many other Hip-Hop products.

Q2) How Effective Is the Combination of Your Main Product and Ancillary Texts? 

We believe the complete package of our music video, magazine ad and DVD cover is very positive. The combination of the three creates a stylish and appealing Digipak that we believe will definitely appeal to our target audience.
We have tried to make the Magazine Ad and DVD cover link strongly to our music video. This was the basis of ensuring that all three created an effective combination.
Throughout both the Magazine Advert and the DVD cover, we have incorporated the same style of font, and also have used the same colour. We aimed to create a successful Dig pack by constantly demonstrating positive continuity, so it was vital that the two had the same style and colour of font.
The font included on both is a graffiti style font, again complying with the Hip-Hop genre. As well as this, the background of our lip-syncing scenes is a graffiti background. This directly links the two ancillary texts directly to our music video. This not only shows positive continuity again, but also emphasizes and relates the three together to the genre of our music video.
After this we decided to involve pictures of a microphone and money on the DVD cover. This foreshadows instantly to the audience that these two props will be strongly involved during the video. We thought to use these images on our DVD cover instead of using a picture of the actual artist. We chose this as we felt it more effective to introduce the narrative straight away to the audience, as they will be much more involved with the actual narrative, rather than the characters. 
These reasons further support the thoughts that our digital and Music video created a successful Media product, and one that we believe is a consistent advertisement for the video.
However, upon discussion between our groups we believe we could have possibly created a stronger magazine advert. Although we are happy with the final version and believe it meets all of the concepts we were hoping to achieve, there are certain elements we know we could improve. 
Firstly, we all agree we could have preserved more time to create a more appealing and aesthetic advert. For instance, the picture of the DVD cover we have inserted onto the magazine still has a light blue line surrounding it. This happened because we didn't leave enough time to fully edit the picture.
As well as this, we would have liked to have created a more professional outlook on the magazine advert. For instance, other magazine adverts usually contain quite wavy or subtle graphics that add to the background and help to create an all round professional outlook. If we had more time, again, we would have included more of this to improve our Digipak. 
Other than this, I believe we have created an all round successful combination for the reasons above.  

Q3) What Have You Learnt From Your Audience Feedback?

 We have learnt a lot from feedback concerning our product.
Initially, the feedback of our pitch was that the idea for the video was mediocre. The events that we wanted to include felt a bit cliché to our audience, and that it had an apparent 'teenage boy' atmosphere.  The initial storyline regarded dealing drugs, which after the regarding the feedback we decided to keep the basic idea, but try and intelligently expand upon it. 
We decided to change the idea from drugs, to people dealing microphones as if rap was illegal. We felt this was a lot more of an individual video idea, but one we could shoot in a Hip-Hop fashion. 
Also our feedback stated that we needed to keep our video related to the song, and we didn't go off track and create a completely irrelevant video, trying to 'act' cool instead of creating a real media product.   
So, initial feedback taught us to change our former idea to a more effective and intelligent video. .
After changing our idea and taking notice from the initial pitch feedback, we shot our rough cut. This enabled us the chance to receive new feedback from classmates, teachers and peers.
 We summarized the information to the following.  The  editing and transitioning were used effectively, the idea of buying  microphones not drugs was a very good narrative, better than our initial pitch or using drugs. Also that the two main characters was a good idea, instead of using one specific character. Also, short shot duration was way too long, the variety of shot types was not enough, and we needed to be included in lip syncing.
Here we learn that the narrative was effective, and the consistent cutting and transitions of the tracks was appreciated and understood by the audiences. We had tried to include various shots of the same scene, to create a more professional video, and also in inspiration from other Hip-Hop music videos. This is a factor we felt was effective, but maybe a bit unnoticed by the audience. 
Not only did we take on board the positive comments, we also took criticism on board as we felt it was vital in the editing stages of our video. From our feedback, we tried to cut the length of the shots down and insert more shots that cut quicker, but in time with the beat following good-wins points. As well as this, we tried to vary different camera angles more frequently to ensure the same shot isn't shown by one continuous camera angle. Lastly, a major point given from the audience feedback was that we needed to include lip syncing, as although we wanted our video to seem like a series of events, it played too much like a short film, not a music video. So we planned to shoot clips of Martin lip syncing throughout the choruses. 
After this we shot our final shots and last scene in accordance to previous feedback. We felt that upon using this feedback constructively, we could create a product that appealed and made sense to the audience.
The feedback we received from our final version is concluded as the following; 

We learnt that the audience feels we stayed well within the hip-hop genre, and the twist of using microphones during our narrative instead of drugs was very effective. We left the audience constantly engaged as well, although a few of our shots were a bit shaky, with the mugging scene a bit unclear in places. Based on this feedback, we have learnt that we should have switched from handheld to the tripod in some places, and perhaps edited the mugging scene so it was clearer to the audience about the event that was happening.

Q4) How Did You Use New Media Technologies in the Construction and Research, Planning and Evaluation Stages?

Throughout the construction of our music video I have expanded upon, and learnt many new skills involving various different technologies associated with our task.

 Firstly, the main program I have used throughout the entire stages of the video is the blog. The blog is almost a diary, where we can record and update with posts concerning the development of the music video and other tasks we was set to complete. Although I have regularly used the blog before, I felt a lot more confident this time around. I was able to navigate around the website easily, knowing how to directly get to our groups blog.
As well as this I have learnt how to list our blogs to edit each one specifically, which is a new skill I have used. Aside from the actual website, I have also developed my ability to constantly update and use the blog to keep our groups thoughts updated regularly. This is a skill in which I have used a lot better than previous encounters.
The next technology program I was used is Photoshop. Photoshop was a new program for me as I’d only used it a very few times before this. I have learnt a lot regarding how to use Photoshop to edit or create the digipak which we have created as a group.
The first thing I believe I have learnt is how to use layers throughout the buildup of our product. The layer tool allowed us to create graphics in stages, so we could move/ delete or edit a certain image or font, without damaging the rest of our image. We used this to test new ideas, move certain images or create new graphics to really improve our digipak.
Secondly, I have really improved my knowledge on how to use and edit font using Photoshop. This was an important factor of our digipak, as the font would somehow have to be specific to our music video. I was taught how to change/ download/ move and edit font to manipulate it to our specific requirements. This was a part of the program I believe we have used a lot, and I have become a lot more confident with.
There is still many more factors I could improve upon to become a better Photoshop user which I would expand upon if we was to make any graphics again, or for another task.
A program that we have used hugely is Final cut express. This programme is where we uploaded our footage to, to begin editing and constructing our music video. This technology allowed us to cut down clips to create short and snappy shots. This helped us to build up tense atmosphere and fast moving action throughout the video.
Next, the ability to include transitions meant we could make the cut between different shots seem more appealing. This was a concept we used a lot of.
After this I have learnt how to use the tint tool, which we used throughout our video. The ting tool allowed us to make scenes appear black and white. We used this to almost distort different shots, creating an exciting atmosphere for our audience.
There are many more tools from final cut express which we frequently used, but these few are mainly the ones I have used during the construction stages of the product. During the planning stages of our video, we each used a HD still camera to collect various still shots which could help us to plan our video. This technology enabled us to build up an idea of particular costumes, locations and props, and what they would look like on camera. The main area I have used and improved upon regarding the still camera is the ability to upload the photos quickly onto the desktop.
Finally we have used a HD video camera to actually shoot the music video. Although using the camera is very basic, using the tripod to aid the camera proved a great concept whilst filming. The ability to zoom in and out of shots also proved very efficient during our filming stages. It enabled us to capture clear and consistent footage for us to use as our video.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Evaluation answers

A stereotypical convention of a Hip-Hop music video involves appropriate locations, for example the hip-hop artist 'Wiz Khalifa' includes trendy, expensive settings such as parties and clubs, used to show off their wealth and power. A lot of less mainstream hip-hop is set in the streets of more urban and 'gritty' locations, shown to represent where they have been brought up and where the genre was originated. Our music video for the Nextmen 'My Way' meets the 'street look' convention as the lyrics and beat suggest quite an underground approach to the music industry.
Another convention of hip-hop videos are the props used; these include the use of alcohol, drugs and cigarettes used usually to attempt to give off a rebellious look for the artist, to represent the artists visual symbol. Our group decided to develop this convention and replace these props (in this case drugs) with a microphone, a prop that is frequently mentioned in the lyrics of the chorus. By developing this convention, we have brought more clarity and meaning to the lyrics, as well as linking the video with the song in an effective manor. We believed this also added a twist to the entire significance and understanding of the song, challenging the conventions that are expected to be feature in a hip-hip video. This also makes the video more engaging to watch as it is different and original, with an element of depth included.
We incorporated appropriate and exciting camera angles and shots to satisfy and affiliate the action that features in the video, to give the audience a clear understanding of the narrative. The conventional camera shots used for music videos are close ups/extreme close ups to illustrate feelings and emotion, and long shots to display the trendy settings. We made use of long shots and mid shots to display scenery and the setting of the characters, however generally avoided use of close and extreme closeups as we were not looking to promote the faces and characters within the video, however to promote the narrative and genre of the song. Our music video aims to demonstrate genre characteristics through. We believe that this approach will sell the artist and song in an original way which will grip and draw in the audience. We have also continued this theme in the Digi-Pack and magazine cover, by introducing the plot, not the characters.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Individual Response

Q1) In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?

The main conventions of a hip-hop music video were not really used as a guideline for us as we created our video. For example, the clothing we were wearing throughout the video was more of a retro style, whilst still using expensive and well known brands such as Nike and Ralph Lauren. This differs from a more conventional hip-hop video as you would normally expect to see the artist in flashy and modern clothes, with hugely expensive jewelry on show; promoting the artist in a visual way, you would also expect to see young, good looking women somewhere in the video, again, this would promote the artist visually. Props in a conventional music video would include expensive jewelry and money, showing a 'rags to riches' theme in some ways. We chose not to dress our characters in our best set of clothes as we felt it would differ from the tone and background of the song, the fact that neither the song or artist are that well known meant we were free to explore a less conventional world of hip-hop culture. In our video we focused more on the underbelly of society, with urban streets and alleyways being our main setting, rather than 5* hotels and sunny beaches. Again, we thought this suited the flow of the song better, almost due to the lack of popularity amongst the wider community.We also took inspiration from our studied director; Jonathan Glazer, who's previous music videos almost play out as a short film, with some lip syncing added in, an example of this is Richard Ashcroft: A Song For The Lovers. Clear comparisons can be made from Jonathan Glazer's work to our video, with a similar layout used as well as certain camera shots.

Q2) How Effective Is The Combination of Your Main Product and Ancillary Texts?

Our magazine advert and DVD cover both feature the same font, colours and graffiti background featured in our video, this is an example of positive continuity and is important as it makes all 3 products and themes featured more relatable to each other. The font used throughout our products is appropriate to the hip-hop genre, this further promotes the artist in a continuous fashion showing underground style throughout. Both the magazine advert and DVD cover almost act as an introduction to our music video, we introduce the basis of our video in our digipak using images of microphones and money together, this intrigues the audience into wondering why we would use seemingly basic images as such a big part in the pack. By doing so, it begins to introduce the main plot of our video in which microphones are a substitute for illegal drugs, using the props on our cover also effectively points the audience towards the narrative, rather than the artist as the video is based more on the narrative itself than the characters involved.
As a group, we feel there could have been small improvements could have been made to our products, especially to the magazine advert, although we still maintain belief that our products promote both the artist and video, a stronger magazine advert wouldn't have done any harm. For example, I feel we would have benefited from more time to edit the advert, we could have tweaked effects, such as using tools to brush over the harsh lines between pictures to make for a more aesthetically pleasing advert. Other than these small errors, I feel that we have created a very effective and interesting set of products.

Q3) What Have You Learnt From Your Audience Feedback?

We have come along way from our initial feedback, without the chance to receive the feedback I feel our video would not be anywhere near the standard we have now achieved.
The main consensus after viewing our pitch was that we had a 'mediocre' idea, which needed to be altered away from the stereotypical 'teenage boy' culture if we were to reach high marks. The initial storyline actually included dealing drugs, however after consideration we removed the profanity of drugs but still kept the same idea, expanded it, and ended up with what we feel is a much more appropriate solution with the microphones being a substitute. By doing this we were still able to keep the foundations of our original idea of which we felt really strongly, and we also made it much more appropriate to the audience whilst still maintaining a sense of realism. After creating our rough cut, a new level of feedback could take place. We could see our own ideas being formed before us and we used the feedback to mould and control it. W received notes informing us the shots were too long, with not enough variety of angles, this helped us to push our marks towards the higher bands. Planning our rough cut was when the idea of microphones and rapping being illegal came into shape, after audiences viewed our piece, they much preferred this change as it made it more appropriate whilst still being understandable. Our peers also thought the video would become a better, more rounded piece if we added lip syncing in, to make it more like a music video rather than just a story with music over the top. WE decided this would be a good idea and so added lip syncing to the choruses. This made it more like a music video, whilst still enabling us to continue with our original idea of focusing on the narrative.
After working with the feedback and using it constructively, we feel we have collaborated to make a well rounded, engaging music video, which uses and also challenges typical hip-hop conventions in relation to the music played. The audience was particularly positive about the subtle twist using the microphones, but said some shots were a bit shaky and the mugging scene wasn't very clear. In hindsight, we could have switched from handheld shots to the tripod in places, as well as selecting clearer places to shoot the mugging scene from.

Q4) How Did You Use in the Construction and Research, Planning and Evaluation Stages?

The foundations of our product was based around our blog, everytime we came up with an idea, whether it be about camera angles or costumes, we would write it on the blog. Even out of college hours we were still able to access the technology and brainstorm ideas individually, whilst still allowing the rest of the group to see. If we didn't blog our ideas and progress, the whole process would have been allot harder to move forward with out altercations along the way.
Another piece of technology we couldn't have lived without, especially in the construction stage, is Final Cut Express. This was used from the moment we uploaded our first clip, to the last adaptation of contrast. My skills on Final Cut Express have developed more so this year than any previous, I have learnt how to fine tune every detail including transition length, colour control and play speed. All these new skills combined with basic shot cutting made this video a much deeper experience than previous projects, with a free flowing and quick cutting tense watch as the intention.
Photoshop was used to create the digipak. Before this year, we had very little experience in using it effectively so we were thrown in at the deep end. However, knowing that we had to work quickly and effectively in order to create a worthy digipak enabled us to knuckle down and take full advantage of the opportunity for more available marks. The chemistry of the group grew as we were all to the technology, and so all helped eachother in finding the best nad most suitable tools and effects for our pictures. We quickly found a font appropriate for the pack and set to work manipulating its colour, size and even some aspects of its shape in order for it to compliment other aspects of the cover and advert.

Day Plan

today we are filming our group responses to the evaluation questions. Our responses have been developed through a combination of the best parts of all of our answers, creating an overall answer from the best ideas and conflicts. This makes our group answer a good conclusive response that should satisfy the demand of the questions as we thought in depth of the different conventions we met, developed and challenged.
Our task is to put the answers into the form of a video, making it more media related.

Friday, 18 November 2011

What should be included in a magazine advert and DigiPack

Magazine Advert

  • Pictures of the 'artist'
  • Age Ratings
  • Information about artist and song
  • Release Date
  • Matching Themes 
DVD Cover
  • Bar Code
  • Matching Themes
  • Age Rating
  • Possible pictures from video
  • Pictures of scenes and/or artist
  • Artist and song name
  • Reviews

Analysis of Eminem DVD cover

not eye catching
simplicity at its finest, doesn't need to cram the cover with information due to his standing fame and popularity.
pictures from music video for each song, shows the audience the genre and feel of what the DVD is about
age rating
Dark, representing his lifestyle

final music video

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Feedback of final

genre- visuals and costume link with conventions of rap genre.

editing techniques- the triple split screen worked really well because it was really ironic. Lense flare made it look professional.

camera angles- a good variety of camera angles were used- this worked really well. The anlges in the fight were really effective.

selling artist- the artist was promoted well.

evaluation s1-27

-The video met the genre conventions because it was mostly based on the street which is a stereotypical location for a rap video.
-The editing techniques were good, we liked the split screen. We also liked the parallel editing in the video however, it did make the storyline hard to follow and times.
-The camera angles were good. 
-It sells and promotes the artist as the storyline is clever and unique. 

group 28 evalutation

- Black and white tint was used effectively.
- The editing kept continuity most of the time however it did slip a little in some places.
- the costumes helped represent the genre effectively.
- there could have been more camera angles.
- good use of split screen.
- could have learned the words better.
- good use of locations.

s1-29 music video feedback

genre conventions:
The music video follows the conventions well they're dealing drugs(microphones/illegal) they wear appropriate clothing e.g. tracksuits ect. Some of the props like the microphone for rapping, cars as general hip-hip prop, and set in a urban location for when the lip syncing of the rap scenes occur.

editing techniques:
Good contrast between the black and white scenes and the colour scenes. Good use of split screening that fittet in with the narrative.
 We think you could of put in more editing techniques in to the video such as fading, more filters and transitions.

Camera angles:
The use of camera angles are effective for example when the male actor rapping in the chorus was really effective (good variety). Also point of view when the guy gets mugged is really effective.


Group 30
Stayed well within its genre conventions and portrayed a gritty reality and had a subtle twist with swapping drugs for microphones. This worked well as rap music is often publicised as being related to drugs.
There were a good variety of camera angles but a few improvements to the close up when the mugging could have been more clearer but managed to make it safe and effective.  The camera angles at the rap were also pretty good but when the camera went close up the camera went really shaky so this could have been improved.
portrays the actors within the music video as dangerous people however, the way the music video was edited kept the audience involved with the video the whole time. The song worked really well with the video and it was a very successful piece of work.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Background of our story

When planning our video we decided to try and represent the culture that surrounds hip hop which is the genre of the song we chose. We thought we would try and include violent and drug culture but then we decided we could be more clever and try and link it more to the song. We decided to make our video about buying microphone's illegally like a drug deal. The background to the story is that rapping is illegal in the UK and there is a black market for rappers to get hold of microphones. This is similar to the BBC children's drama 'Bootlegged' which was about the government banning chocolate and the black market that emerged after this point.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Ideas for magazine and DVD cover

These are some of the ideas for photos we could use for the magazine/ DVD cover. We decided to capture this whilst filming our music video footage as we were in the appropriate setting for the genre of our music track. We thought it would be effective to use the same setting as featured in our music video as the audience will be able to relate to the video and characters. We have used one of the antagonists form our music video as the character on the front of the DVD/Magazine cover as this allows the audience to relate to the characters in the video.

We captured a range of pictures so we could choose from a variety of poses/backgrounds that fit most appropriately when we come to publishing/developing the Magazine/DVD.

Editing Ideas

After going through some of our footage, we have thought out some potential knew editing ideas.
Firstly during the scene where Harry does a robbery, we have shot a POV shot from the victims perspective. We have slightly slowed this shot down to emphasis the shot, creating an effect that this shot is shocking when it is viewed.

Another idea we have had, is to re-wing and re-play the shot where Harry has his cigarette knocked out of his mouth. We will possibly include this to show a bit of humor, and also to reinforce that this action has sparked an instant hatred between Tyler and Harry. This is an idea we are not yet settled upon whether to use it, or not.

Lastly we are aiming to include a split screen when Harry and Tyler are composing their texts. This has been done to cement the fact that two different people are sending text messages to the same person. This is effective as it aids in creating a narrative that is easy for an audience to follow

Ensuring Camera Safety

As the weather was rainy, we have used an old t shirt folded and laid upon the camera to make sure that we didn't get the camera wet and create a problem for the camera

Props We Have Used

We have included a few props throughout our music video. We have used these to make our footage seem more realistic.
Firstly we have used a mic through out our video. This is because it is very necessary as the video narrative strongly involves microphones.

Secondly, we have used a fake cigarette that is slapped out of Harry's mouth. This is played out like this to give Harry a further motif to mug Tyler.

Lastly we have included a Car within the video. We initially didn't want to use a car, as we thought it quite cliche. After discussing the matter, we thought we would include the car but use it not to make a huge 'gangster' 'show off' effect, but just to assist the footage in trying to achieve the clear narrative we wanted.

Continuity That May Appear

We have discussed any issues that we may have during the editing to make sure that we know of any discrepancies that can possibly occur.

Firstly, the weather is different over the different days of our shooting. Although they wasn't hugely dissimilar, there was much more rain and puddles during day 2 of shooting. This is an issue that may be spotted, but cannot be helped by us as a group. Martin has tried to edit the colours in the two different shoots to make them seem more as one.

As well as this we recognize that Harry has had a hair cut between the two shoots. To try and overcome this, we tried to include shots that would require Harry's hood to be up, so audience members wouldnt spot it as a major difference as the music video has been played out.
During editing, we will continue to check for continuity to ensure it doesn't occur.

Continuity Prevention

As we have shot our footage on separate days, we have focused a lot on ensuring we keep any continuity as UN-noticeable as possible.
As we have filmed, we all used the exact same costumes that we originally wore on the first day.
This ensures that no blaring differences will appear when the footage is viewed.
As well as this, we have checked that shots don't over lap EG the same thing happened in two different shots. This adds to our narrative as well, to make sure that no differences will corrupt the final version.

Making Shots Realistic

When filming we have ensured we have acted as professional as possible.
We have checked each shot to ensure we have no issues such as leaving unwanted props EG the tripod in any of the films.

Whilst filming we have made sure no direct eye contact has been made with the camera, no faces have been pulled, no laughing and no talking during shots have happened. We have checked for this, as in previous projects we haven't checked thoroughly and shots are unprofessional, hence the reason for double checking.

Deciding on New Locations

During our film, we have decided to change locations as we went along.
This is because we found more suitable locations, and also ones that would better suit our needs eg; not enough people.

We have swapped the original cashpoint for a LLoyds TSB cashpoint which has a more urban setting surrounding it.

Also we have used Cambridge City car park also to shoot our car scene instead of the original setting of a known car park from one of the members of the group.

We believe the change in locations have made our footage better, and suit the genre of the footage better than the original ideas.

Issues That We Faced Whilst Filming

We faced many issues whilst filming.

Firstly when we first shot footage, our camera battery died. This meant that we could not continue filming after we had initially planned to film more in one go. To get around this, we planned another filming session to enable us to shoot the missing footage.

Secondly, we didn't have enough members to film the shots we wanted to shoot. We used the tripod to our advantage to shoot when we thought we needed another person. By shooting the clip when we was getting ready, we got the camera into position and are planning to cut the unnecessary clips out that we don't need.

Lastly when shooting there was a downpour of rain. As we needed to shoot using the tripod, we constructed a cover from a t-shirt to completely protect the camera from any rain, , meaning the camera stayed in good working order, but also no rain interrupted the lens of the camera

Creating a Narrative That is Easy for the Audience to Follow

During filming we constantly thought out how to try and make the narrative we have created easy to get across to the audience.
We have constantly tried to link shots together as we change scenes, meaning we have allowed a story which is easy to follow when viewed by the audience.
By constantly viewing recorded film, we saw how we could effectively link scenes together to therefore create an effective narrative.
We believe by constantly thinking about our shots, planning them and constructing the shots to play smoothly together we have created an effective narrative that any audience could follow. 

Monday, 7 November 2011

The Autuer Theory

The Auteur theory is a way to analyze a film or other media forms.

This theory was created by Andre' Bazin, a French

Andre believed and held that films should reflect the personal vision of a director.

Andre was a film critic

If a director is an auteur, they are known to have full control and authority and will be left to be the leader of the production of the film or music video.

The auteur has connotations of the power that an author has of the writing and publishing of a novel.

If a director is an auteur, there will generally be a resounding theme within other works in their portfolio and similar shot types, cuts and special effects being used.

Goodwin's Points

The main points that are used to analyse music videos according to Goodwin are

  1. Music videos demonstrate genre characteristics (e.g. stage performance in metal video, dance routine for a boy/girl band)
  2. There is a relationship between the lyrics and the visuals (either illustrative, amplifying or contradicting).
  3. There is a relationship between music and visuals (either illustrative, amplifying or contradicting).
  4. The demands of the record label will include the needs for lots of close ups of the artist(s) and the artist may develop motifs which recur across their work (a visual style)
  5. There is frequently reference to the notion of looking (screens within screens, telescopes etc.) and particularly voyeuristic treatment of the female body.
  6. There is often intertextual reference ( to films, TV programmes and other music videos etc.
This is an important element of music video analysis and helps when considering points while watching a music video.

A Digi Pack should include

  • A picture of the artist or group 
  • The title of the album, single or DVD
  • An age rating, film classification
  • Track listing
  • Bar Code
  • Some additional photos
  • An insert within the digi pack, CD or DVD - Information, Lyrics and some background on the album or DVD
  • Duration of DVD
  • Copyright information

Target Audience

The target audience for any music video depends on the expectations of the audience. Depending on the type or style of the music there are different expectations and conventions. The conventions of a pop music video for example are female dancers, lip syncing and they also often include stage sets with professional lights.

If you had a rock and roll song you would expect a lot of band shots and a group to be performing as this is a strong element to that genre and the attachments that go with it.

These would all be examples of the target audience.

Viewing habits would be habits the audience get into. They're quite like expectations, however these are more to do with seeing the same thing over and over again due to the elements within the video that cause the viewers to become obsessed in a positive way.

Goodwins Points

Possible additional shots to our film

We re currently discussing as  group whether to add various shots of random people not associated with the film, dealing microphones. this adds to the subject of our music video, but also adds a bit of flare and adds to the idea that we are trying to pursue; that the world is mainly just themselves with their microphones and the lyrics from the song suggests

Album covers

We are researching past album covers from the next men to use as inspiration for ours. So far we have only found one proper album cover, deducig that they have only realeased one album/mixtape.
They are quite  complex hip-hop partnership using complex and educated lyrics throughout their raps. Their album cover is quite the same, taking a picture of themselves or their colleagues in a recording studio, merging them together and then obscuring the view using colour editing. This is similar to their lyrics as they are taking an ordinary subject/ photograph and giving it a stylish appearance/sound. This is the album cover we have found from the next men:

When making our album cover for the project, we will look to follow similar conventions discussed above. Although we aim to make it individual so not copy the original.

final cut express effects inspirations

We were inspired to produce our music video in black and white, as this would contribute to the genre and mood of the old school theme hip-hop track. We researched on you-tube how to get the most of this effect and how to make it look neat and professional, in order to maximize the potential of this special effect.

Editing Roles

After capturing our video, we have decided upon editing roles that we will follow, although we will not stick just to these roles, they will be roles we will stick roughly too.
We have decided to make Martin and Dan our main editing guru's. Tyler and Harry will be researching other videos and products relating to our video to inform Martin and Dan of potential editing techniques or shots that we can incorporate.
As a group we will look to blog together concerning lessons plans and discussions we have held