Media studies – written evaluation
1. In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?
Our media product uses quite common conventions for the theme and genre of our song and the artist. Our music video uses common conventions that are also displayed through most other music videos, these would be the obvious features like keeping the editing in time with the beats of the song so that the music video flows better. A lot of music videos nowadays also have quite a strong narrative as well as a strong connection to the lyrics as well. Our video however does not have a strong connection to the lyrics but our video has some kind of narrative story using a mix of both animation and live footage, this challenges a lot of other videos because most music videos have either complete animation or live footage, we included a story which shows the transition of the band members going from live footage into the animation. This challenges music videos that use either full animation or live footage, for example, Gorillaz for all of their music videos use all animation. This is a specific theme to this artist but a lot of artists stick to one or the other. We also used 4 different animated locations which also challenges common conventions as for a lot of artists they only stick to the one animated location with a similar animated theme. I think that a lot of music videos include live footage of the artists playing instruments, for example, in most of Mcfly’s videos they generally feature footage of the band all playing the instruments, we have some of that though through audience feedback and an overall group decision we decided to cut most of it as it seemed out of place in comparison to the animation and to the rest of the music video. We chose the song ‘Random firl by Late of the pier’ ,the genre of our song is electro-indie, this gave us quite a bit of leeway as to what we could do, the music sounds quite upbeat with room for no particular style and quite free to make a music video. As for inspiration for our music video, because of the limit we didn’t really have there were a lot of different videos as well as artists because this genre of music doesn’t have any set expectation for a music video. We more decided that we would look into quirky artists and videos that we enjoyed and looked further into them. We looked at ‘Weird al yankovic – Amish paradise’, we looked into this artist because they don’t take themselves seriously this is also showed through this music video as it is branch off some other artists song. This music video along with the lyrics I think is made for a humorous effect and it is quite a unique video, we looked here for some inspiration in our music video. Comparing this to our video they are both very different, neither video have very much performance involved. ‘Amish paradise’ is shot quite a lot like a film, as he is playing a part in the video. As I have said he is represented as an outgoing artist who doesn’t really take himself seriously. His video is much darker compared to our music video, ours is full of vivid colour whereas his music video is mainly filmed either at night or late in the day or he is being shot in a dark room. His video connects more to the lyrics than ours does, but both include a narrative story but both stories are completely different in every way. We used similar things in our music video similar to his, like our music is quite funny in ways, say the giant gummy bear chasing Eloise and the giant ugly doll chasing Josh. We added these into our music video for a comical effect. We also didn’t take ourselves very seriously when acting for the music video as it is far from a serious matter and it would be easier to over act and over dramatise the whole sequence, our expressions are very over the top but used for a comical matter. The animation is 2D and we used only primary bright and colourful and attractive colours to catch the viewers eyes, this helps add to the childish kind of sequence and the help to make sense of the over the top expressions and so called danger of our music video (Giant gummy bear, Giant snowball etc.,). It wasn’t hard to work with this kind of genre as we had not really heard of any songs quite like it giving us quite a bit of freedom as to what to put in our music video. I have looked at a couple of bands that are of the same genre as us, one that stood out to me was ”PuppetBox” and there song “Everything”. This band has a very similar music video style as us, this video is all about the story and they also have a wacky and quirky story where they too don’t take themselves seriously. There costumes are very childish and it’s like a special uniform for like a play, one is dressed up as a robot, ones a warrior and another is a monster. They follow the same theme as having no connection between the lyrics and the visuals but they do have a narrative to their story. They also have the band playing instruments in the video, this is a difference to our music video as ours didn’t have a need for a band performance and it was unnecessary.
2. How effective is the combination of your main product and your ancillary texts?
I think the combination of our music video and the ancillary texts is great because we chose to follow the same theme of colours, pictures also used in the music video and the same kind of images and important props we used in our ancillary texts. The basic design for our Digi-pack was just to use images of each of us as the band members, we wanted to keep the theme coherent with the video so we used a similar vibrant colour scheme as well as the same images used and we also used the paper which was an important prop in the video as a highlight of our Digi-pack as well. These ideas all came directly from the video, also we had to take into account along with the video how we wanted to represent the band and we wanted follow the theme of vibrant colours, bold expressions and body language to show a unique band who is fun and quite out there. A lot of the context that we used in the video we transferred onto our Digi-pack and the CD cover so that we could have the band being represented as unique but with a very eye-catching style that when you saw these people would go that’s their style and that’s how they are recognised. We achieved the same kind of style as our video by through using Photoshop actually taking clips and pictures from the actual video and putting them in our ancillary texts. We used the same style and theme through all of our pieces of work, the magazine advert is no different, we used images that took specifically for the advert and we used the same common colour scheme as the Digi-pack and the music video. We hope through the use of a vibrant colour scheme and with the similar appearance of all three products we are hoping this combination will catch people’s eyes through the colours and the unique look of the band and we are hoping the overall look of our three products will keep this band in people’s heads so that they won’t forget and when they see the products they will instantly recognise the style of the band. We chose on the advert to put the logos of iTunes and HMV, we chose these two specific stores because they are two of the biggest and most famous music retail stores in the world, also ITunes has the online access where you can purchase the songs online and download them straight to your computer. We did this so that people would go and download or purchase the song or album as soon as they can from two recognisable retailers. We also included the URL of the website that we made for the band, this is so that people can go and see what the band is like before promptly buying the single, and it also lets them know of other things the band have done. We chose to call our band ‘Parrot Disco’ because we wanted to keep the band unique and parrot disco is not a name that you’re likely to forget as we hope for the reaction that the name is unique and quite memorable. We just thought that there would be no other band out there like this one so we wanted to keep with their unique and quirky style to give them more attention. I would describe the representation of our band as unique, quirky and fun, I think this band will shine out to a wide audience because it’s interesting to look at so we wanted to represent them as interesting and eye-catching which I think we did quite successfully.
3. What have you learned from your audience feedback?
We have had quite a lot of feedback in the form of both criticism and praise. The two main ways that we received feedback was when we showed our rough cut to our peers and they gave their opinion. We also made two Facebook questionnaires about our music video and the ancillary products. Here are the results to the one of the questionnaires:
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We got quite varied results by some people but we also got quite a few agreements between the people. We used Facebook to get the questionnaires out to what we chose as our target audience, which is teenagers mainly but we think the video can get the interest of an older and a younger perspective. The questionnaire helped us a lot in changing our video to make it better, the main help was advice that they gave us on our music video and what they like to see in music videos and it was interesting to see people’s responses about their favourite videos. A lot of the results we got were really helpful because when they told us what they would like to see from our music video, a lot of their ideas were also ours so it helped us to create a solid plan for our video. They also said that most of them download there music online so that is why we chose ITunes as one of our retailers. We also made a questionnaire for the ancillary texts; the answers were similar to that of the music video and that they would like vibrant colours and a unique style to represent the band. We also got feedback from our peers on our rough cut. We overall got quite positive feedback with little bits of criticism. The main criticism was that the live footage alongside our animation was out of place and unnecessary this aided us in the decision of cutting most of the performance part and the singing part. We got quite a lot of positive comments about the animation, though they thought that the video didn’t make a lot of sense and we need to make a stronger narrative. We used these comments to make our video much better and more professional we are all very impressed with the outcome. “The timing on the first animation is great but on the second one it's a bit off. I'm sure you know that. Some of the editing is a bit weird in the band scenes. I'm talking about 1:24 of course.
“Still that was pretty awesome. Potential and whatnot. Can't help but think all of that effort you put into the animations will go unappreciated though. Shame.” This is a comment that we got about our rough cut from YouTube. We understood his point and worked on our music video to fix the error.”
From the research that we did it helped to assure some ideas that we had already discussed and thought about, the main impact our research had on our music video was the eventual decision to drop our performance part and the singing part as it really didn’t go with the rest of our music video. They also helped to help us decide on the best style we could use for our products. Because of their opinion on the vibrant colour and what they would look for from a band like this we chose to stick with the same vibrant colour theme through all of our tasks.
4. How did you use new media technologies in the construction, research, planning and evaluation stages?
We used many new media technologies through all processes of making our music video. In the research and planning stages we used the internet for most of our sources. We created a blog where all of our research went onto so that we could look back on the information that we had found. We did research such as looking at other artists that were similar to what we were looking for to gain some kind of inspiration. We also created storyboards; timelines and a shot list so that we had planned everything for when it came time to film our footage. We each had to play a part into doing research so the blog collectively was made up of many posts from all of us each doing our own separate research into the band. We also had to evaluate our target audience, we used a website called find your tribe, this is where you could answer questions how you think your target audience might answer and you can find a description about a particular tribe of music that they could be into. This helped us to figure out sort of music they might like. We chose to aim our video at teenagers but it could also appeal to an older and a younger audience. For the design process we used mainly Photoshop for the design of out ancillary texts. This proved effective as Photoshop had everything that we needed to make decent ancillary texts, it also helped us to take certain shots from our video and apply them to our ancillary products. For the designing of our actual music video we used a program called Final Cut which allowed us to edit our video and to apply effects and transitions to our video to make it flow better and look more professional. We also had problems with Final Cut. We had to use Adobe Flash to create the animation and the file was not compatible with Final Cut so whenever we had to move a clip or add an effect we would then have to render the whole video which took a long time. Though we had all the technology to use we still used quite a lot of paper as it was easier to work on for the storyboard and shot list that doing it on a computer and we then scanned in the images. We also used the internet to access facebook so that we could get out questionnaires out to the target audience to learn firsthand what they think. Our blog was extremely crucial to our planning and research because all the research we did inside lessons went on the blog and all the work we did outside the lessons could also be put on the blog for all the group members to view from home. This helped us all work as a group to pull together ideas to see all our personal opinions on what the music video should be like. It helped to pull together a strong collaborative effort from all of us.