How did you use media technologies in the construction and research, planning and evaluation stages?
Technology was used throughout the making of my A2 product. From the very start I used technology, in terms of the internet when I created my blog. The blog is where I have been (and still am) documenting my journey throughout this year. From my first digipak and poster draft to the real things. I decided to use WordPress as I was familiar with how it worked after last year’s coursework. I set up the on the internet so that it can be easily accessed by both myself and my teacher. I set up different categories to make it more specific where things were. This helped my work feel more organised which was key when I wanted to find and edit or improve previous work. I used links to make it easier to navigate around the website from post to post. WordPress was also good to use as I could easily upload hyperlinks to my work as well as pictures with a link on them to improve the look of the blog rather than just uploading a link.
After the blog was complete, I did the planning and research tasks, these helped me to prepare for the production stage. Before filming I did a lot of research into different cameras and lighting equipment. This helped me out a lot as this was my first time filming something properly and so I didn’t have much knowledge behind the equipment or how to use it. Doing research into this helped my hugely when it came to filming.
For the actual making of the video, I used a canon 550D to film, I was comfortable using this as I used it last year to take pictures with for my music magazine. It is a digital SLR camera which would cost around £350. Although there are better cameras out there, I feel as though the quality of this camera, when both recording and taking pictures is excellent for what I was making. The auto focus is really good as well as the sound quality, not that I necessarily needed it. The camera films at 720p which is higher than the standard HD of 480p. I chose to use a digital camera as I think that they are the best available option at this point in time. As they are still being developed and produced I know I have the best possible camera for this type of work and was happy to use it. Although the analogue cameras are a cheaper alternative I know that the quality isn’t as good as, for example, the analogue lens zooms in on everything slightly which loses some of the width of the shot. Overall, I just felt that the analogue wasn’t as good as the digital which is why I preferred to use the Canon 550D. To film I used the Canon 50mm F.1.8 lens as I know that the quality is good enough for me to achieve the look that I want to.
For the location filming I went to Ruislip Woods, for this I just used natural lighting because I wasn’t able to carry the big red head lights with me, and I didn’t really need to. I also liked the effect the natural lighting and the trees had on the artist in the shots. However, for the filming I did in the black box indoors I used three red head lights which lit him up well. I positioned one light behind the artist to create a lens flare in some of my shots as I moved the camera to pan, I am really happy with how this turned out.
For editing the video, audience feedback on the video and feedback on both the advert and digipak and some part of my evaluation, I have used Adobe Premiere Pro and InDesign. Premiere is a complicated software to use at first, but after my first few tries I was able to understand the basic tools and my skill came with more practice. I also completed a preliminary task of a walk around school demonstrating different camera angles and shots. When editing this I gained the most basic idea of how to use the software. When editing the first real video draft, I became more comfortable with using shortcuts and then editing using effects. On a few shots I used the warp stabilizer effect to make it look still as I didn’t have a tripod when filming and so some of the shots are slightly bumpy/wobbly. Also in terms of after effects, I used the colour grading tool to make the picture have depth and look more vibrant.
Another piece of software I used was Adobe Photoshop, this was used more in the editing of my pictures from my Photo-shoot. As I did the Photo-shoot on location outside, some of the images were quite dark. This is where I used Photoshop to edit them to make them look a bit brighter using the contrast/brightness tool, I added more depth using the hue/saturation tool and to add more detail I used the sharpen image tool.
Q1. In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of a real media product?
As stated a lot throughout my blog, my main aim for my coursework this year was to create a video, digipak an advert that looked professional. To do this, it was extremely important to follow the codes and conventions of real media products, which first required me to find out what those were. In doing research into this, I found that C&C are the different techniques used to construct meaning in videos, divided into 2, technical and symbolic. Technical refers to the camera angles, genre, pace of editing and the sound, whereas symbolic is the mise-en-scene, facial expressions, gestures and poses the audience sees. The whole point of codes and conventions in music videos is to allow the audience to become familiar with the genre, it provides structure which the audience can understand and also, to make sure the lyrics of the video match with the visuals which is what is expected by the audience.
The song I chose is in the indie genre. Codes and conventions of this genre are that they usually include references to life events, usually negative ones. When looking into this I decided I didn’t want to create something that revolved around death or loss and so instead tried to tell the story of an individual who is lonely and perhaps trying to find himself or find his path in life as the lyrics suggest, when he is referring to himself at different ages. Indie music genres are typically narrative style as they tell the story of the subject they’re talking about. However, I couldn’t portray my artist at the different ages he mentions in the video, as he talks about being 7,11, 20, and 60 years old, so instead I decided to show him as lonely thinking about his life rather than being those ages. I chose a performance style to make it more personal, to help the audience feel more of a connection with the artist rather than to tell a story using visuals. I think this is one way my video challenges conventions as it doesn’t really follow a ‘normal indie video style.
In terms of technological conventions, the way I presented the artist to represent the isolation he sings about was through the use of camera angles/shots. I include a lot of close ups to allow the audience to feel close to the artist, hoping they will be able to understand his emotion more. The editing style I chose also helped get the indie genre across as the cuts were slow and long, which worked with the pace of the song, some cuts were even in time with the music which helped the visuals and the lyrics work well together, which can be pleasing for the audience to watch.
Symbolic conventions were something I didn’t really think about when filimg however,since learning about them after filming and re watching my video ive discovered that they happened naturally. For example, my artist turned up to the shoot wearing a brown jacket which I didn’t ask/tell him to, I didn’t have any preference for clothing. However looking back at my final products ive realised that the brown jacket he wore really goes with the autumnal theme of the woods, as I filmed in November/December, all of the leaves were orange and brown and that is what is seen in the background of the shots. In fact the clothes the artist is wearing do make him look slightly indie which fits in with the codes and conventions of indie bands having their aritsts looking ‘indie’. The actor I chose to be in my music video is also an A-Level Drama student, and so the more and more we shot the video, the more he got into the meaning behind the words, which then came out in his facial expressions and gestures. Hand gestures become more and more exaggerated as the song builds up before the final chorus, the same goes for facial expressions too when he sings. I think this really helps getting across the emotion behind the song.
From listening to the lyrics, the main thing inferred from them are of the artist’s isolation and loneliness. This is then what I decided to portray through the mise en scene. Both of my shoot locations helped to show the idea of the artist being alone. For example, location 1 was in the black box room at school, with the help of red head lights, all you can see in the shot is the artist. This infers to the audience that he is alone in a dark place, leaving them to guess his emotions, which could be sadness, fright and loneliness. The second shoot was at the woods. In this location you can always see the trees and vast land in the distance, with no other person in sight the whole time except the artist. This allows the audience to infer that the artist is lonely, which is the message I want to get across, as well as linking nicely with the lyrics of the video.
Overall, I think that following codes and conventions when creating music videos/adverts and digipaks is important as it keeps it on the right path, it helps you to stay on top of what youre trying to get across without doing something wrong or different, something that shouldn’t be in your style of video. I think that it helps a video seem more put together and professional if it follows a specific style and the codes and conventions of the genre.
Feedback is a critical part of the process of not only making a music video but in everything I make/[produce on the journey to creating a video. It helps me personally gain a clear idea of the positive things about the work I have produced and the negative things/things I could improve and adjust to make it more successful. To help myself gain the most effective and helpful feedback possible, I wanted to gain feedback from people both in my target audience and not. The people in my target audience will have more of an idea of the aim of the video and the making process behind it. They therefore may be able to give me more developmental feedback as to how to film/edit. I want to also gain feedback of people that don’t necessarily know the aims of the video but I would like their ‘mutual’ feedback on how it looks and what can be improved in their eyes.My target audience is ages 17-25. I have focused on the demographic group ABC1 as these are middle/upper class people. To help me get the most accurate and effective feedback possible I chose two people in this age group. I chose my friends Harry and Cian who are also in my media class. I feel that as they are in my target audience age range and the fact that they also do media mean I can rely on them for the best and most helpful feedback possible. As they are making a music video themselves, they know the aim of this project and how to make/edit the videos, the types of equipment and camera shots, erefore how to make a successful video, which will help me a lot.
I conducted a video of audience feedback which was quantitative data. I feel that quantitative data is more specific as the people giving me the feedback can elaborate on their points as well as me being able to ask them questions to help guide them to give me the kind of feedback that would be useful to me. I feel that although helpful in some aspects, qualitative data is less specific and doesn’t allow feedback to be elaborated on unlike quantitative. That’s why I wanted to do a mixture of both to help me gain an all-round idea on feedback. My first type of feedback is a video of Harry and Cian. I decided to film them as they watched my video and they were then free to comment on whichever parts they liked, didn’t like and how I could change them. This helped me because I could see exactly which part they are talking about from the time of the video.
The feedback I received was mainly positive, there wasn’t any major negatives mentioned so I was able to keep the majority of the shots/ideas I had already portrayed. At one point, Harry mentioned that he liked the black background I had included in the majority of the shots in the video, he said that it really shows the character more. This is something that initially I was worried about it looking too boring and dull, however the positive feedback on this made me feel a lot happier with including these shots. It was also mentioned that the cuts were in time with the music. This is something I hoped to achieve and so I’m really pleased that they noticed this. The main constructive criticism I received was to include more of a variety of shots, as my draft only had shots in the black box room. I took this into consideration knowing that I had booked my next shoot where I would be filming at a location rather than in the black box, so I knew that I was going to be adding more variation to my shots shortly. Receiving feedback was extremely helpful because I can hear from other people their interpretation of the video to see if they’re getting the message that I want to relay or if I need to change it to make the message more clearly to audiences. Personally I think that using ‘experienced’ media students to give me feedback is helpful and I feel that I can trust their opinion more knowing that they know the aims and making processes of the video. Also, from these people I can receive more technological feedback of things like the way I positioned the camera, editing techniques and special effects which someone who isn’t involved in media may not pick up on. Overall, the feedback I received was very positive however it helped me to gain an idea of the ways in which I can improve my video and the things that I should keep the same as they fit well with the theme of the video. The feedback helped me hugely in making my final product the best it can be and I am pleased with how it turned out.