Thursday, 15 December 2011

Student video - JLS - PCD?

 As I was scrolling through the Long Road Media page, I randomly clicked on a group and I found that the group I clicked on also did a music production on JLS - PCD! I therefore decided to evaluate their video and compare it to our finished product.

The group took a very different approach to ours and featured a female character in their production. The female character worked well, it gave the music video an aspect of voyeurism and the lyrics matched the visuals very well because of this. The "bridge" location where one member of the group was in the spotlight was also really effective. They obviously knew the conventions of "Hip-Hop" and, much like ourselves, added lighting to enhance their overall product.

The video does, however, have many setbacks. The first major one being that the lip syncing isn't all intact. There are many scenes where the lyrics aren't in time with the performer. Another big issue is the lack of variety in their locations. They only used two locations and each clip went on a little too long, therefore dragging their production down a little. As a viewer, the video seemed too repetitive and wasn't conveying the genre well at all. Also, the first few seconds of the music video seemed to have a second of a clip that wasn't intended to be there - this makes the production very unproffesional right from the start. A final critisism is the lack of effects. Had they of added some cross dissolves or maybe more fade in/fade outs, it would've enhanced their music video that much more. The final piece seemed too much like a "student video" and it wasn't reminiscent of a JLS video at all.

Overall, without sounding too negative - their production was OK. They could've tweaked it a little bit more to enhance it further, however. I believe our production is more successful in conveying the "Hip-Hop" genre and whilst we didn't include a female character, it just proves that our production didn't actually need one to make it successful which was one of our initial fears.

MTV Task

Before we started constructing our music video, we had to analyse five nominees videos from MTV and see which one we felt were deserving winners. Whilst watching, we stuck closely to Goodwin's Theory and overall we felt the winner should  be Katy Perry with her song ‘firework’ - the choice that actually won the award.

The Mise-en-scene reflects the genre of pop due to the bright colours shown and the carefully chosen outfits that coordinate to the visuals. There is a strong link between the lyrics and the visuals for example when the lyrics state ‘there’s a chance for you’, we are shown a boy suffering from cancer, so it’s as if she’s singing to him to give him self-confidence and to give the audience something to relate to as cancer is a global tragedy. Another strong example was when the lyrics stated ‘come on show ‘em what your worth’. This is shown in the scene where a boy is trying to stop the violent argument between his parents so it’s as if she’s telling him to stand up for what he feels.  Katy Perry's video stuck closely to Goodwin's Theory so we felt the production was a deserved winner.

The lighting is bright and bold which helps to put strong emphasis on the artist. The pace of the song highlights the pop genre as it’s upbeat with lots of cuts to different scenes. There were also special effects within the video when the fireworks are shown - the fireworks illustrate a connection between the title of the song and the visuals. Not only this, but it shows a link between the character also. Katy Perry is a very up-beat, strong person and the scene represents her as a person, again one of Goodwin's points. The music pace always matches the visuals. Within the verses the pace is much slower so it puts the point of the lyrics across which is emphasised because the chorus of the ‘fireworks’ is uplifting. Within our music video, we also assured that the music matched the visuals, especially in the "hands-up" scene, each scene of the hands change which coresponds to the music.

There are quite a few close ups to put across Katy Perry’s facial expression as that portrays the mood of the lyrics - this gives the artist the publicity they require and also meets the demand of the record label. There is also a vague amount of intertextuality. especially when the dance routine is shown at the end as it crosslinks to the film "Fame"- something of which the audience again can relate to if they've seen the film. Using Goodwin's points within the production has made the music video a fundamental success, and this is why I agree with the verdict of presenting this production as a winner.

Storyboard for Final Cut

 Above is the timeline of our music video - it illustrates the time and effort we've put into our production.

Reflection of first storyboard

As mentioned before, all of our footage got deleted before the editing process of our music video, we therefore had to improvise and shoot all of our footage again. Obviously, because of such restrictions such as time, we weren't able to fully stick to our original ideas.

We couldn't get access to any female characters, and, as you can see from the image above, we thought about centring our production on females, as most "Hip-Hop" boybands centre at least one of their scenes with a suductive female character. We did, however, stick to the first few scenes of our storyboard as we started our production with our band walking out into headlights, something of which we believe works extremely well.  We also included a dance scene of which our group practiced and learnt specifically for our music video. We didn't include a car in our scenes like we planned too, however, instead, we had a location of a "carpark", something of which we found worked very well as after research noticed that many artists, such as 50-Cent and Wretch-32, have locations such as carparks in their productions whether they were infront of a number of cars, or on the rooftops to portray a sense of superority. We too included rooftop scenes so that we could also portray a sense of authority. As we were trying to conform to the genre, and amplify JLS' videos, we mimicked this idea into our design and believe it worked extremely well.

u1-44 Final Evaluation

Below is the commentary for our final music video. After evaluating other students' past commentaries, we thought that a "interview-based" production would work extremely well. We are happy with the outcome - we've used appropriate scenes where we are talking about specific aspects of our music video and digi-pak. We have used each member a sufficient number of times and believe we have answered the questions fully with enough detail to meet the demands of the exaiminer. We have covered aspects of Goodwin's Theory, themes and concepts and believe the final production is successful.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Individual Evaluation

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

Our final production, featuring 'PCD' by JLS, conforms to that of a typical 'hip-hop', boy-band music video as we have ensured that all our costumes, the locations, the lighting and props all convey the genre. As we were aiming to convey the genre and not contradict the conventions, we presented ourselves with bright, bold costumes so that the main attention was the boy-band themselves. We featured four different locations in our video so that we could alter between them which, after researching numerous JLS videos and other artists from the same genre, we noticed that the locations varied in order to keep their audience engaged. Artists such as “Example” and “50-Cent” are two of many artists who use multiple locations in their productions. They also used many ‘close-up’ and ‘medium shots’ so that the artists get the publicity they require and meet the demands of the record label. We too focused mainly on these types of camera-shots in our production. 

We believe we have incorporated every aspect of Goodwin’s Theory as we've included scenes such as an intertextual reference to the 'sugarbabes' so that our audience can recognise and associate with them, as well as including scenes that match lyrics and visuals. For example, the 'hands-up' scene. After research, JLS seem to use lighting to enhance their image. We therefore included artificial light in the drama studio to reassemble a traffic light as we created more publicity for ourselves. The ‘traffic light’ was also used as a main theme for our ancillary products as JLS too focus on colour to promote themselves. 

We had established that the majority of JLS’ locations were urban environments to create a feel of an ‘alive’ city with an under-lying party life that we feel we mimicked in our video with the drama studio-scenes. Throughout JLS’ videos they always try to convey the emotion of lust, male dominance and seductiveness.  They tend to do this by using suggestive dance moves along with very tight clothing. We incorporated this convention massively into our products, with tight clothes, seductive gestures and finally a dance routine that we all learnt specifically for our final production.

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

Whilst our group created different ancillary products, both sets of products combine fantastically as we have ensured that the main theme and concept of the products are the band-members themselves. As we were trying to conform to the conventions of Hip-Hop and after researching the fact JLS focus mainly on themselves as artists, we incorporated this into our designs - featuring the band on every image. We included every convention you'd expect from a magazine advert and a Digipak such as the barcode, price, Production Company, website, tour dates and the release date. Even with all of these elements included, however, it still doesn't take anything away from our main theme which was the band themselves and the link between them - again one of Goodwin’s points. As we lost all of our footage, we had to completely re-orginise our concept and ideas for our products. We believe the final images, however, greatly convey our aims of amplifying the "Hip-Hop" genre.

A second theme that brought our products together was the use of colour. We incorporated the colours red, yellow and green into some shape or form. The colours resemble a traffic light and represent us as a boy-band. ‘PCD’ mentions cars and vehicles a handful of times – so early on we decided to focus each member with a specific colour. We have continued this trend within our ancillary products which provide a clear connection to our main music video.

For our ancillary products, as previously stated, we had to create different products as the other members of my group didn't put any work into the productions I produced. I was, however, very please with the images I had created. We used green-screening so that we could disfigure ourselves from Cambridge, and into a scenario that compliments JLS’ image. The front cover of our Digipak was simplistic after researching JLS' front covers and featured our band placed over a colourful JLS logo to compliment our theme of colours. Our back cover wasn't featuring the band as the main focus as after research, realized JLS' back covers tended not to focus as much on the group - I took this into consideration as I ensured the main focus was the text, contrasted with a design of our group as the background. The final design worked extremely well and I personally believe the designs were the main contributors to the success of our over-all production. Our magazine advert again featured the colours red, yellow and green as a theme - and featured the band as the sole attention on the front cover - the advert was very contemporary after analyzing professional adverts such as “Heat”. After researching past student-ads, the majority of the magazine adverts focused entirely on one image, with a few conventions located around them. We decided to instead incorporate one or two images that were complimented by a vast amount of text, as this is again something that was evident within magazines such as "Look" and "Karrang". Our production featured every convention necessary for a magazine advert such as the price and reviews and combines extremely well with our music video.

We felt that our combination of ancillary texts and our final production was highly effective and we felt we were well in-tune with the current conventions of the genre and its surrounding stereotypical images and ways of filming.

What have you learnt from your audience feedback?

The initial feedback was positive, however we were advised to increase publicity with a range of effects such as colour -corrector to enhance our production and make it more effective. We were also told that it looked too much like a "student" video - so adding effects, such as split screen - made our production that much better as it presented the audience with something different.  

We had managed to coincide with the popular conventions as intended and that our camera work and editing had worked very well and was fluent. We were told the overall narrative of the video matched the boy band genre. There was a wide variety of shots including lots of close ups to meet the needs of the record label also. However, we did also have some rather significant criticisms that needed addressing urgently, some of these issues being that, at times, the camera was too shaky and could become distorted, this and the fact that some of our shots within the video were very dark and were not reminiscent of a JLS music video at all. 

We discovered that almost every band we looked at seemed to base at least one of their music videos around some sort of story frame, whether it is about a heart-felt love story or running through the events of a night out a club. Unfortunately, as our original footage got deleted, we couldn’t add a subliminal-story that focused on the love of a girl. Though this would have enhanced a few aspects of our video, we believe we haven’t suffered greatly from not including a female character. Whilst some JLS music videos do present a female, there are also quite a few that don’t – we therefore turned our attention to the band themselves and focused primarily on them. 

Thankfully we were able to take these criticisms on-board and began to painstakingly reconstruct our video using Photoshop and Final cut. We were able to amend the shakiness of our frames and mix around with the colour corrector to get the desired effect for our video. We incorporated most of these ideas into our final video as we greatly enhanced our music video. We were happy with our final product as our sole intention was to present the band as the main focus - something of which we achieved within the video and the ancillary products themselves. 

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

The technologies helped us develop our music video greatly. Photoshop enabled us to create a magazine ad that could easily be distinguished as a recognisable advert. Using features such as multiple layers it allowed us to include a range of images as well as the main conventions such as reviews and pricings. Photoshop had many great features that enabled us to create products that we were proud of. Using the "Adjustments" on the tool bar, we were able to change the colour duration, along with much more so that we could make our images that much sharper. Again, with multiple-layers, we were able to place more than one image over another. We incorporated this aspect into the magazine advert as we had two images of the band fixated at the top and middle of the product. We believe by using two images rather than one, which after research, many students adapted into their production - created a more temporary feel and can be recognisable to the public as a proffesional piece of work.

For our physical equipment, we had a HD camera and a tri-pod. Without these, we obviously wouldn't be able to film our music video and therefore loose a considerable amount of marks. The HD camera was fully compatible with the college's Macs, so syncing the footage wasn't a problem. The tri-pod gave us the option to have a still-camera, something of which we were greatful for as, after feedback, comments were made about the shakiness of our production. Unfortuantely, as we had no more time to film, we tried to use the effects of Final Cut to amend these faults. 

Final cut enabled us to edit our footage and take the ‘student video’ factor away from our production. The program allowed us to use the "green-screening" effect so we could enhance our ancillary products. Without this, we wouldn't have been able to convey the genre quite as well as we would have hoped. We were also able to piece together a range of clips so that we could have varied shots and locations so that we could conform to the conventions of 'hip-hop'. We would have liked more voyeurism however with maybe a shot of a female, though, as previously stated, we still believe it works well without. We used effects such as "wipe" and "fade in/fade out" which greatly enhanced our product. We took away the "student factor" by using these effects and believe it makes our music video look that much sharper. As previously stated, we used colour-corrector so that our shots could be made brighter - something of which was a main convention of the "Hip-Hop"genre. Colour-corrector was a great aspect and great feature to use as it really enhanced our production, without this, we don't believe our music video would standout as being a success.

We were able to use “Blogger” to post our research on JLS, music videos and other necessary information to make our production a success. Prior to our music video, we had numerous preparations and in groups, we had to choose a genre and create a "Magazine Advert" that would show a relationship between the genre whether that was with the visuals illustrating, amplifying or contradicting the genre. We created an Ad. Which presented the “Gothic genre” and greatly increased our awareness of what was expected.

Throughout the construction process of our video, digipak and advertisement, we always wanted all of our products to have the ‘JLS’ feel. We feel that we were able to accomplish this with a mix of all of the conventions we had discovered and adhered to throughout our project. Using final cut express we were finally able to put the finishing touches to our products and Through the entirety of our music video project we were constantly uploading our thoughts, ideas and progress to blogger so we were aware of what we still had to include or whether there was any new material that could have been added to improve our products.

Overall, we believe we were successful in our aim to convey the "Hip-Hop" genre and we stuck closely to Goodwin's Theory in order to make our production a success. We stuck to our main themes and ambitions and as a result have produced products which represent our initial aims. We have ensured we haven't contradicted the essence of "Hip-Hop" and have used Goodwin's Theory within our production to ensure that our final music video is a fundamental success.

Friday, 9 December 2011

beat again

location- rather uncoventionally there is only one location in the video which is the studio. But in the studio there is alot of spot lighting and the typical jls colours in the back ground.
costumes- simularly unconventional only one costume, the costume is also grey and doesnt make them stand out as much. But the costume is modern fashionable and appealing to the target audience.
Dancing- its a very energetic video lots of dancing a moving going on to keep the audience entertained, to keep there eye focused on the screen.
editing- fast cut rate to match the fast song.
lyrics, visuals- As there is only one location there is no exact link between lyrics and visuals but what they do; do is dance what they are singing e.g. beat again the make a beat from there chest.
camera shot and angles- again very quick lots of close ups and mid shots of them dancing to engage the audience. also some long shots so you can see the whole group together.
As Jls are already very well known one of there best selling points is themselves that why the whole way through the video is just them. That is what there target audeince wants to see and they dont need anything else to engage there audience.
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