Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Question 4

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

New media technologies are and were vital in the research, planning and evaluation stages of our product, many were ones that we had used before but some were ones that we had to learn how to use.

Research and Planning
When we first began this project, we were looking for a song that was suitable for us to create a music video for we browsed websites such as Hype M and YouTube as well as our personal music libraries on iTunes. After gathering a list from everyone, a YouTube playlist was created so that everyone could access the songs and listen through them in more detail.

[screen shot of our YouTube playlist and Hype M]

In between our meetings during school we communicated through mobile phone texts and platforms such as Skype and Facebook. Texts were the ideal method of communication since not all of us had smartphones, but when the group was online we used Skype since it also had the webcam option and that way we were able to show each other costumes and props that we had.

[screen shot of Skype and FB chat windows]

For the research of our target audience we used YouTube's statistics option which allowed people to see the demographics of the viewers. This was particularly useful to us because it meant we could see just who had listened to the original song in terms of age and gender and base our target audience off this information. We researched real artist's websites online, picking up on what was conventional for artist's websites, how they were marketed and what ideas we could use for our own artist website. After we had decided on our concept, a moodboard was created using images found online and Photoshop CS5.1.

[screen shot of YouTube's statistics thing and artist's websites and Photoshop making mood board]

Music Video
to complete

Album Cover
We shot our promotional photos for the album using a Canon 5D camera MII in a Media classroom using four floor lights, two with soft boxes lighting the the front of the artists and two lighting the white paper backdrop in order to minimise shadows.

The main new media technology required for this stage was Adobe Photoshop CS5.1, which both of us the group were familiar with, however there were some feature that we had not used before. We used a skin smoothing action tool, the patch tool and the refine edge tool in order to touch up the photos for the cover.

[screen shot of photoshop working on album cover]

Here is a short screen recording showing how I smoothed the skin. I did this since real celebrity photo shoot photos would be edited to make the person's skin look smoother and to remove any imperfections.

Here is another screen recording I took to show how I cut the background away from Tasha, ready to digitally paste another background behind her.

Using a free HTML5 based website hosting site called Wix, we were able to create an interactive artist website. Although I had some experience with HTML coding, I had not used Wix before so this was a new experience for me. Despite this, we picked up the process quickly because Wix was very simple to use and there were many options available, such as embedding videos, images, hyperlinks, sound files and more onto our website, as well as being able to customise background, titles, fonts etc to suit our artist's needs. Although there were some problems that we encountered when using §, such as work not being saved if more than one person was editing a site at a time.

[screen shot of Wix opened]

Our artist website became the hub of everything related to E.G.O., it had links to all the other platforms that they were connected to, an online store to buy E.G.O. products, a gallery with photos from the promo shoot, all the tour dates along with links to purchase tickets, a page telling the story of how E.G.O. came to be and a fan page where fans can interact with other fans as well as upload their photos showing support. It aimed to make E.G.O. easy to discover and learn about so that the audience would buy into the lifestyle that E.G.O. promoted.

Since we decided that we wanted to market E.G.O. across multiple platforms, we created not only a Wix website, but also a Twitter and a Facebook page. The Twitter feed posted similar news as the newsfeed on the website, but shorter and less formal, targeting the 16-24 year old fans that used the site.

[screenshot of twitter + FB page]

In order to get our video out there for friends, family and the wider web community to see, we uploaded it onto YouTube, but we knew that wouldn't be enough so we promoted it through multiple platforms, the main one being Facebook.

[screen shot of promoting on FB]

In addition to asking friends and family to watch the video, we also asked them to answer a short survey hosted on a website called SurveyMonkey. We did this so that we could see not only what sort of people were watching our video but also what they thought about it. Overall we gathered over 40 responses and thanks to the global nature of the internet there was feedback from all over the world coming in through SurveyMonkey. Another very useful feature of SurveyMonkey is that it could draw up rough visual representations, such as bar charts, of the information it was given.

[survey monkey screenshot]

WhatIsMyIPAddress.com is a website that pinpointed where a survey response was answered from and we discovered viewers from Ghana, Uganda, Kenya, Colorado and Michigan in USA and from all across the UK.

[Screenshots of whatismyipaddress.com with responses typed in]

Thursday, 3 January 2013

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

By researching debuting artists in the music industry I found they all had a very strong link between all their products. One particular artist was 'Little Mix' who's first original song was 'Wings', their album cover, website and music video 

Aesthetically, we had the website and album cover use similar photos, the photos inside the album were on the website gallery and we kept the same outfits. For the inside of the album pack we chose a similar multicolour split screen effect design as the split screens in the music video. The E.G.O. logo was used for the end of the music video, on the front of the album pack and all over the website. The website and album pack also featured our ‘Snapback Records’ logo and purple Warner Bros. logo as well as the continuous use of purple and blue, E.G.O.’s trademark colours.

Our artist website was the hub for everything, it featured the music video, the album cover, but also news of the artists, a fan page for comments and photos from supporters, a online store selling products with E.G.O.’s logo covering them, tour dates and a lot more. On the back of the album cover there was a link to our artist website.

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

(this is an extension of what Tasha has written on her blog. I've sorted everything into 
sections so that writing the script will be easier and added my own points)

Our music video, album cover and artist website all use some forms and conventions of real media products whilst developing or challenging others.

Music video
The music video incorporates features commonly found in music videos which were identified by Andrew Goodwin and Carol Vernallis.

Andrew Goodwin
The genre of our chosen song is Pop, R&B and Hip-Hop and we took this into consideration when deciding elements of our music video which demonstrates typical Pop, R&B and Hip-Hop genre characteristics through the choice of performance (dance moves), gestures, costume, hairstyle, jewellery, concept and lighting. The chorus dance is very hip hop styled with strong sharp moves and grooves. The clothes chosen gave vibrant R&B stereotypical character but were also very glamorous. Hair was long and flowing, girly like pop music artists. Also the way females are normally represented, is sexually, by adding props that are associated with boys, boxing cars balls, we dismiss this. But also by movement which are strong for instance the dance routine, is fun not sexual, neither do use close up to the female aspects. 

The relationship between lyrics and visuals as well as music and visuals are either illustrated, amplified or contradicted. In this case we made it so that it was illustrated through gestures and movement. When she says hold her breath she holds her neck as if she is chocking. Also through the beat of the music, you see, the artist moving to the beat, enjoying the music. As it has an upbeat tempo.

As this is going to be the debut single, there would need to be a lot of close ups of the artist to create visual hooks for the audience to almost fall in love with their beauty. Their faces are the main iconography of the band creating the visual trademark. They are repeated several times, so the audience recognises the artist. They show what is popular, such as clothes, hair. Also how females are seen as today, competitive doing things males would usually be seen doing.

Most Pop, R&B, Hip-Hop music video concepts are about love, especially by female artists, partying, or break up. Our music video was about friendship and competition which opposes the stereotype.

There are many references to the notion of looking within our music video. Pointing at 00:20 (Tasha to shoes), 00:24 (Tasha pointing at herself), 00:30 and 00:33 (Tasha pointing to viewer), 01:26 and 01:28 (Vicki pointing to herself), 02:19 (Vicki pointing to audience then to self) and 02:26 (Tasha pointing to audience) directs where we want the viewer to be looking, which is at the artist. The split screen effect creates many frames within frames and therefore there is more going on and more for the viewer to focus on, as a result they may watch the video a few times over in order to catch the detail which means more attention for the artist.

Our artists have certain gestures that are similar to the way other Hip Hop artists like Jessie J and BeyoncĂ© act, such as Tasha pointing to her shoes at 00:20 similar to how Jessie J did in her Price Tag video. There is also an intertextual reference at 01:24 of our video when Tasha does “Oh Oh Booty Shake”, an R&B dance move made popular by BeyoncĂ©, while Vicki looks at her disapprovingly. The pair both wear lots of gold jewellery which is associated with gangsters, for example, the ‘WHATEVER’ necklace. One of the outfit changes includes letterman jackets, which are popular with Americans and also sports fans.

Carol Vernallis
Vernallis’ theory is all about the four key concepts that are related to the way the music video is constructed, the narrative, the editing, the camera movement and framing and lastly the diegesis.
This music video is mainly performance, with loose narrative and loose concept. The song drives the concept of doing you yourself, don’t follow others. Narrative is about enemies, competing in many differences, but they bring them together at the end, however to audience it is an open interpretation. Performance is mainly of the artist, and how they perform, dancing and singing, entertaining the audience, get a sense of the artist themselves how their relationship is between the two artists.
Our video had to be a visual response to the music. When we listened to it we thought about how children are put down a lot because they do their own thing, where their own fashion and where a different hairstyle, and this excludes them from getting friends. We thought our artist should show how people can have many differences, but can still be friends like our own artist. That’s just the loose narrative and since the song is upbeat and fun, we made it more performance for it to be pleasing to the audience eyes. The structure is disjointed, like many other music videos, such as my case countdown. There is a development, as at the start we have them bullying each other, it’s not a structured story but you see clips of them showing of in one way or another. Then when the rap comes in we see them united being the best of friends. We use the change in the music, and built up performance establishes the changes and development also.  The video has a simple meaning leaving no pondering on questions, as we want the audience to simply enjoy the visuals, feeling complete at the end with a happy ending of them together.

Our video incorporates many music video editing conventions; editing to the beat (it cuts mostly after every line as well on impacting words and split screens move in time with lyrics or music), using a distinctive style of editing that runs throughout the video (split screens), having an uneven pace (editing slows during verses and quickens at rap)
There are cuts from long shots to extreme close ups, cuts from say a blue background to a red background and split screens which all made the editing very obvious and also disrupted the continuity of the video, these are both clear conventions of music video.
Although our music video mostly followed Vernallis’ music video editing conventions, we did have a few match-on-actions at 00:14 and during the dance routine in chorus which goes against Venallis’ theory.

Camera Movement and Framing
The camera movement in our video revolves mostly on how the artist moves, and how the artist moves in time with the music, especially on impacting words or beats. Many close ups and long shots were used throughout the entire video, especially long shots during the chorus dance routine and close ups for the opening of the song.

The first 8 shots used for the opening of the song were all close ups, this was done in order to not give too much away. As soon as anything other than a close up was used, the rivalry between the two friends was revealed, introducing the audience to the concept of the music video. As the general concept was rivalry we split the song, giving parts to each group member as “their time to shine”. The first verse and chorus was Tasha’s, the second verse and chorus was Vicki’s and the rap and final chorus were for them to share, during which they show their friendship that has overcome their rivalry.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Album Cover Vision

'Do My Thing' will be the name of the debut album by E.G.O. and the song 'Do My Thing' will be the title track of the album. 
  • The album cover will show the full bodies of both of the artists in the group, seeing as their fashion style is a very important part of their artist identity and must be distinctive. Their style is also a signifier of the genre of music that they produce.
  • The background will be plain white in order to draw the buyer's eyes to the titles and the group members. 
  • The titles 'E.G.O.' and 'Do My Thing' must be in bold, unique font and will be central to the album cover, with the two girls standing on the left and right of the words. 
  • On the back, the track list will be on the right hand side, with clear numbers and song names while next to them, the two girls will be there, I imagine them standing side by side, but pushing each other slightly, hogging the limelight and trying to get ahead of the other. The whole body will not be shown, probably just from waist upwards seeing as the front has the whole body and it would be boring to see the same type of shots on both front and back.
  • The barcode will be in the bottom left corner along with pricing, 'Snapback Records' logo, Warner. logo and copyrights.
  • On the inside of the album, we'll have close up beauty shots of each of the girl's face, their make up should be very glamorous and exaggerated, with long eyelashes and glossy lipstick.

Friday, 12 October 2012

'Lose My Breath' Video Analysis

Lose My Breath, Destiny's Child, 2004

This is Destiny's child music video for Lose my Breath. In Godwin's theory this is performance video, it has them constantly dancing. You could say its a literal interpretation that they are losing their breath as they are in a dance battle, seeing who is better. are dancing they are losing their breath and, its a dance battle. However the song is about boys and if they can keep up. We see three different looks of the group, all giving it their all showing everyone is equal in their style.

That is the similar interpretation we want to get with our artist, as they will have two different looks. We want the whole feel of dance battle but at the end they are all equal, everyone wins. We like the scene with the circle battle when one guy goes in and performs.

Gender representationThe movement is highly sexualised as their explicit movements and close ups of curves makes men drawn into them and objectifies them. We however we like the idea of bringing males into the music video and using them as props.

Mood Board

Initial Pitch