In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products? Before we begun to make our music video, or select our song, we researched existing music productions such as videos and print work. We all knew that we wanted to create a rock video, so we started looking at magazines such as Kerrang! to research what the typical conventions of the genre. Then once we had a list of bands we wanted to look into, we used websites such as Youtube to watch the following: · Theory of a Deadman – Nothing Could Come Between Us. · Theory of a Deadman – By The Way. · Hinder – Born To Be Wild (cover). · Shinedown – Second Chance. · Nickelback – How You Remind Me. All followed certain conventions. Not all the videos followed every one, in their videos, yet incorporated most of them. Some of the conventions were: · Through the use of mise en scene, the dress codes helped to reflect the mood of the song · The pace of the editing fits the pace of the music · The lyrics influenced the narrative of the video · The artist is shown performing the song, either on stage, or on the street. sometimes both These can be linked to Andrew Goodwin’s music video theory (1990) in that he stated that there are relationships between the music and the visuals, and that the visuals illustrate the music. He went on to say that there are a wide range of close ups of the singer or the main character in the story, and finally that the mise en scene of the video reflects the genre style. By the time we had picked the song, we began looking at the print work that was required to go with it. We started noticing that many of the CD covers were just one image with the band name and title of the album on, such as Good Charlottes ‘The Young and the Hopeless’ album cover so in order to make our product seem as real as possible, we had to follow this convention. The video follows most of the conventions of the music videos of today, with some success, to incorporate a narrative for the characters in the video, not just have the band playing on a stage or in a house – which are also becoming more and more consistent in rock music videos we see; this was another aspect of music videos that Andrew Goodwin spoke about. I personally found this to be quite challenging, because with songs that have no music videos we all have different interpretations of what the artist or band are trying say. Joe Salzman (2000) also recognises this, ‘ they now provide pictures for the songs in our heads. Goodbye imagination.’ We have also used realistic settings and styles in the video, and have not made it too uncommon of a story for the target audience to believe. Another convention of rock music video is to have the lead singer as one of the main characters in the storyline. This is evident in videos like: · Papa Roach – Scars · Bowling For Soup – Girl all the bad guys want Because we all thought this works we did not see the need to challenge this convention in any ways. I modelled my advert from a HMV one advertising a similar product to the ones I was creating. The typical conventions of adverts include: · The use of only two or three fonts/sizes · Only using two or three colours, which often contrast to make the advert stand out. · Having the store’s logo, name, colour scheme and slogan in clear visibility · Advertising the stores website and other websites that we can find their products on. I have also included the HMV dog on the top of advert. I believe our video fits perfectly with Todorov’s theory of every story having five stages. This would be the same for films, television shows, music videos, and books. The five stages are: · Equilibrium – Everything’s going great for our main character. · Disruption – Something happens to spoil it. In our case he receives a text message from another woman. · Realisation – he tries to put it right again but fails. · Struggle – He gets another text message, and she storms off. He explains to her that its not what it seems. · New equilibrium – a new order is created. Sometimes the narrative does a full circle. In an attempt to keep the audience interested all the way through the video we have used a large range of locations, and a mixture of slow and fast paced edits. For example, at the beginning of the video we see the main character walking down a long path, as the music has a slow pace, we only use one clip in the first ten seconds which would normally never happen in the real world as ten seconds is a really long shot. We also thought it would be a good idea for him to walk slowly, as if he ran it would look out of place. If we look at the shot in terms of mise en scene and lighting, you will notice that it is mostly in black and white. To get this effect, we deliberately filmed looking towards the sun, to help reflect the dull mood of the narrative. In terms of our print work, as I have previously mentioned, when we were looking at album art, we recognised that most of the time the page was covered with only one image, either of the band or the band logo. I believe that this works effectively and therefore did not see the need to either: A) Develop it more – terms of changing the image on the front of the album cover, and changing that font/sizes and the positioning of the text B) Challenge it in any way As we can see from this cover, there is only one image used, which is of the band and there is not very much text covering it. There is just enough for the audience to see the name of the band. Also, the logo of the band is on there. When we look closely at it we can see that it dominates the other text. This is because their fans will be able to recognise their logo from a distance without first seeing the band name or the title of the album. Also, on the back of the cover there is only one image used, with text about the record producers on, the websites of the band and of the bands record label, and the record labels logo as well. The adverts have only three fonts and three contrasting colours. The connotations the cover gives off can have an effect on the potential audience as well. For example, if we look at Hinders ‘Take It To The Limit’ album cover (above) we can see the big, clean house, the sports cars, and all the women behind the band. For me, the connotations they are giving off are that they are a modern rock band, who have produced a fast past, bouncy, up beat album. This is also stressed by the clothes they have on as well, as we can see they all have some form of denim on, whether that be jeans, or a jacket, and some have leather jackets on, along with sun glasses, which give the connotations that they are hiding their identity from the audience, and to see who they are, you would have to listen to their music. In some senses, my album cover challenges these connotations, however, in a rather subtler tone; I have shown them as well, due to the fact that in my front cover I have not shown the audience who the band is, but not included that fancy house and the fast cars etc. What have you learned from your audience feedback? In the real world of music production, audience feedback is key to making profits, because if you don’t have an audience you will get no money back, which is the primary objective, so our decision to target our video to the age group of 13-25, was based on the research that we carried out, as this audience held the majority of interest in this genre and similar artists to our band. To find the average age group that listened to these bands, we went onto each of their websites and viewed some of the fans profiles, to see if they were male or female and what their age was. Because this was crucial to the success of the band and the album, we decided to film some audience feedback, which we could review and expand our video upon, if there were any areas needing to be changed. Because of this we assumed that they will have a disposable income, and have a general interest in rock music. Because of their income being from either part time jobs or pocket money from their parents they will be able to spend it on: · Music downloads · Going to gigs · CD’s · Band merchandise such as clothing, posters, wallets, key rings etc. Our audience research allowed us to gain valuable knowledge into what teenagers want to see on the shelves. For instance one person argued that there was not enough heavy rock bands in stores. “We need to see more bands like Nickelback, Theory of a Deadman, and Halestorm in stores, or just more gigs to go would be nice.” Another person questioned whether or not the songs that they listened to, actually carried some meaning. “I just really wonder if the bands are singing about experience or just wanting to make money.” When we were talking to this person, it inspired me to make the best video I could which shows that the singers actually mean what they are talking about, and not just trying to make money – which is what they are aiming for mostly. How did you use new media technologies in the construction and research, planning and evaluation stages? During our planning stages of the production, we had to use various pieces of new media technologies such as: · The internet – generally for blogs, Youtube (to watch the videos), and band websites. Throughout our blog you will be able to find analysis of the music videos. · Questionnaires – The reason behind this was to make a product our audience would like to see on the shelves, not just what we want to see. To represent the results to our audience we made bar graphs so it was easy to read and posted them on our blogs as well. · HD stills cameras/ HD video cameras – Before we started filming, we needed to see where would be the best for places for our production. We took the digital cameras out and took some photos, so we could go back and decide where looked the best. In the end we decided to film in about 6 -8 different locations. When we carried out our audience feedback, it was filmed with a HD movie camera. We then be posted it on the blog, and becoming a producer, with a potential audience of millions. Nowadays, film and music producers use viral marketing to promote their new products. So, they will use the likes of Facebook to target people with similar interests they have on their profile. Through the use of mobile phones they can send you messages and related promotions such as two for one cinema tickets etc. Other viral marketing campaigns include: Sending messages via Bluetooth in shopping centres, and online shops such as Play.com send customers emails about their new offers etc. A popular campaign used by music producers is sending their fans text and email messages about gigs, new albums and new band merchandise, once they have signed up to the band website. So, if our product was actually a real video to be sold online, and in stores, we would have had to do this too, in order for us to make the most money possible. When we started the editing process, we reviewed the first minute of it to see how successful and how long it would take to finish. When we were doing so, we realized that we did not have an equal amount of close ups to what we had long shots. So, after doing this we decided to go back out, film more of the storyline in case we did not have enough to portray how we wanted the story to look, but we also recorded the lead singer singing the song all the way through, however this time we filmed it three or four times, all in different locations, with a mixture of close ups, mid shots, and long shots. This supports Andrew Goodwin, 1992, who said that there is a demand on the part of the record company for lots of close ups of the main artist/vocalist, which are presumably used to appeal to the audience. I believe that we have managed to successfully do this within our video. We also used different angles in the filming this time. For instance there was a shot in Jesmond Dene where the singer is on a bridge looking down into the river. We positioned the camera on the river bank to try to capture how he was feeling, as the camera was underneath him. In the end this shot just didn’t work as the camera moved, and the singing wasn’t as clear as we wanted.
We filmed some of the video on Tyne Bridge to tell some more of the story and because we wanted to give the connotation that the world is moving on, even though the main characters relationship is not. The weather helped create an atmospheric mise en scene, reflective of the narrative. However, we originally wanted to film this on a sunny day and have the camera pan around from side of the bridge to the other, so that we got a shot of the quayside in it. However on the day of filming it was wet and miserable and we couldn’t get across to the side of the bridge we first thought about filming on so we just had to make do. It turned out that both the weather and the amount of traffic gave us the opportunity to strongly reflect on what the character was feeling. Also, the main emphasis was put on the cars going past. This was done by not having the character in the centre of the shot, because if we did, the audience would see more of the side of the bridge and less of the cars. So it would always be to your advantage if you had the time to be flexible when filming in order to maximise the opportunities you can have.
Another point to make about the way in which we used different camera angles and movements is that; when they are in the pub at the beginning of the song and Sorrel walks out, we notice that the camera looks up to her when she takes the phone from her boyfriend. This was to make sure our audience knew that she had the power to walk away from her boyfriend. As she did so, the camera then cut to a high angled shot, looking down on Warren. Also, we made Sorrel walk past him at this point. Again, this was to make her look like the stronger of the two characters and confirms his passivity. Towards the end of the production, Warren sees her walking at the bottom of bank, to where he is at the top of. Because the camera is looking down on her, we managed to give Warren some strength and show that he wanted to get her back, and that he is doing something about it, as she is tired, alone and wants him back, but can not allow herself to make the first move.
Steve Archer, 2004, argues that, ‘music videos will often cut between a narrative and a performance of the song by the band. Sometimes, the artist will be part of the story, acting as the narrator and participant at the same time.’ In order to make our production seem as real as it could, we followed this idea of mixing up some performance shots along with the storyline in the video. We have done this as it is a common feature in particular with rock music videos. In terms of lighting throughout the video, we used a mixture of natural lighting and interior lighting. We also managed to mix moderately dark shots, with light shots to follow on. Using this mixture gave the connotations of loneliness, and unhappiness, with fun happy times with each other. This was more the case when we used performance shots. During all of the performance shots, there is a blue light that is constantly becoming bigger and bigger. This was to get bigger as the song got louder and progressed, to add to the emotional impact. In my opinion, I believe we have done a good job with minimising the continuity errors. For instance, when we first started the filming process, we noticed that there was a reflection of me in the windscreen of the car, then in the mirror. Also, because we did not use a steady cam to film it, it was all over the place when we looked at it on the computer.In terms of mise en scene, if we look simply at what the vocalist wears, we can see he uses different items of clothing throughout the video. For example: · Jesmond Dene bench – White t-shirt, gives the connotations of innocence and that he is being true to himself at that moment in time. Also because he is in front of a dark background, this gives the impression that he has something on his mind. · Also, when Sorrel is walking under the bridge, she has a pink umbrella. We specifically bought this one to show that not all of her feelings are gone for Warren, and that she just wants to be loved. Likewise at the end when she gets in his car again, he has a red t –shirt on, to give the idea that they are back together. Also we waited for a bright, dry, sunny day to film this, as this helped create the mood we wanted to show. We tried to reflect Warren’s feelings, not only with by the mise en scene, but also with the locations we filmed at: · South Shields beach – show that he is alone · A cave on the beach – shows that he is alone and the weight on his shoulders, as his girlfriend has left him and he wants to get her back. · Newcastle town centre – also to show that the worlds just moving on. · Tyne Bridge – to show that everything continues, whether his relationship does or doesn’t. · A pub – show how good their relationship was. Effectiveness of major and ancillary products To go with the music video, record labels often make a promotional campaign in order to make the most money possible from the band. So, I produced a digipak front cover, and a magazine advert. It is often also the case that record producers bring out a special edition of the track, so I made a special edition front cover to go onto the advert. However, I was unable to buy a slot on the TV to advertise my product, which often what they do in the industry. In real life the artist would have a website nowadays, with posters, competitions, trailers, video extracts and song samples on. To counter this problem, as we couldn’t make a website either, we have posted our work on our blogs with some video entries, and songs by similar bands we were inspired by. In real life and today’s world of the media, our products would be definitely have been promoted virally on the internet and via mobile phones, more so as my target audience is in with all these kinds of technology. For the music video, we could also show it on the likes of YouTube, and have links to the bands main site, Facebook pages, and band members blogs etc. we could have also posted live performances on YouTube as well as interviews with the band. However, on our scale of things, the adverts and the blogs we have produced would only constitute as part of a larger campaign. We all know that there are loads of people who now download their music, but there are people who still make good use of the album art. In terms of my poster and album art, I feel as though I have reached a high level of quality, so that my audience believe its real. For example I have used several conventions such as having a large, and clear to read font for my title of the advert. I have also only used about three fonts in the whole of the page, with only a few different colours. For instance I used a white background and had pink and black text on the page. In the real world, I would then go on to post an official video on YouTube with some links to the bands site, also you would have interviews and competitions, and most likely a campaign in print media ahead of the songs release. Then there would be interviews on YouTube and music channels such as Kerrang! and Scuzz, along with radio interviews and podcasts, and the band would have articles in magazines like Kerrang! By posting the whole product on the blog has seen us all becoming ‘prosumers’, consumers of media texts that has become producers in the age of web 2.0 . We haven’t just produced a video for our A level Media Studies course work, we have produced it for a potential web audience of millions who could comment on our products.