In a group consisting of myself, Sarah and Shauni, we worked on producing a music video as part of a promotional package for an album. Shauni filmed our music video, Sarah directed and filmed, and I co-directed and I edited the music video, as well as performing as the main character. Because of my background in dance we found it more relevant that I play the part of the main character as I knew exactly how I wanted it to look. This was also convenient as I was the in the same age range of our target audience, which is female teens and young adults. Sarah and myself as produced a storyboard and an animatic, and Shauni found the locations we were going to shoot. Our music video doesn’t categorically fit into one genre. John Hartley notes that ‘the same text can belong to different genres in different countries at different times’.
My media product uses, develops and challenges forms and conventions of a real media product in many different ways. The narrative for our music video is closely linked to the narrative of Billy Elliot; it illustrates a working class background and a young individual striving to succeed against the odds. It shows how she is rejected because of her social status and but fights to make something of herself. The narrative portrays the message of ‘you can do whatever you want despite what people think’. The girl aspires to become a success and works hard to get there. In our music video we see shots of the girl dancing in different iconic locations in the North East. This is similar to an extract in ‘Billy Elliot’ where Billy is dancing throughout the cobbled streets of the northeast. Our narrative also shares the aspect of the film ‘Step up’ which shows a young girl auditioning for a dance school but is rejected because of her social background. In terms of music videos we have used a similar narrative to Geri Hallowell’s - Fame. This music video shows a girl in a dance audition where the adjudicators are shocked, however becomes a success.
A convention we have followed in out music video is the black and white effect. This is shown in the music video ‘Breathe Slow’ by Alesha Dixon. In this video Alesha is dancing and practicing much like our music video. I feel that the black and white effect gives a level of professionalism to our product, as black and white effects have connotations of style and class.
A music video that inspired us was ‘Beyonce- Broken-Hearted Girl’. This music video has black and white effects however towards the end the colour is gradually brought back through when her mood changes. We have added this effect to our music video; throughout the audition process and the stages where the girl is dancing around the various locations we have added a black and white effect. However once she gets the final show and gets up anyway to dance we have gradually brought the colour back through. This shows the girl as she grows in confidence and achieves what she wanted to achieve. Dance brings her to life and she brings the dance to life.
To produce my print work I have researched current media products of a similar genre. As my print work is aimed to promote our music video I have used a young attractive girl. This is exploiting the uses and gratifications of the Naomi Wolf Theory which is showing someone an audience can aspire to be like. Images of attractive woman are used to sell products to woman because they have been conditioned to want to be like the glamorous woman they see by a patriarchal society.
In my print work I have used a photo with a specific mise-en-scene that represents a working class background, a subway tunnel which is full of graffiti. I have challenged the forms and conventions of a media product by having the background in colour and the girl in black and white. Having taken art design and a photography courses I have found that having the girl in black and white and the graffiti in colour shows a link but a separation of the two parts to the image. The audience can see that she is from a working class background but can and has moved on or been separated from that social status and has been accepted for who she is.
· How effective is the combination of your main product and ancillary texts?
I feel that my main product combined with my ancillary texts is very effective in successfully communicating the narrative and promoting my product. I also feel that our music video and strong photography work merged with my Photoshop skills is a great promotional product.
In the age of media 2.0 my work will be promoted virally on the internet and on mobile phones, particularly because our target audience is of an age range that favours this kind of technology. I would expect my fans to spread the video and interview links via a social networking website and blog sites. Therefore I am a prosumer as I have changed from a consumer to produce and my product has the potential to reach an audience of millions and that audience can provide feedback. The music video would be officially uploaded to You Tube which will allow the audience to watch the music video at anytime. Also the music video will be available on ‘music on demand’ which will allow and audience to view through the television.
Our music video would be promoted on television as an advert before the actually album is released as an incentive to buy the product. It will also be released to music video channels such as MTV, Four Music, Hits, and The Box.
There would also be a possibility of releasing a different mix of the song as well as a bonus track.
A website would be created by the record company or label specifically for this album which will show exclusive interviews with the main characters involved in the music video. There would also be exclusive director’s commentary along with interviews with the editor and producer. On the website there will be a ‘dance along’ which is an exclusive interview with the choreography which will show a step by step of the dance routine shown in the music video, and outtakes will also be uploaded this will attract the younger audience and inspire them.
My promotional product would only constitute to part of a larger campaign.
The poster will be reproduced and advertised in magazines therefore every reader will receive a free poster.
· What have you learnt from your audience feedback and how did you attract/address your audience?
Throughout the development stages of our music video it was clear that our target audience was young girls between the ages of 10-18 as this is would be the age range that are usually interested in the young pop and hip hop genre. Our feedback and initial research informed the construction of our product by producing the product with the audience in mind.
Our media product reaches out to this target audience and they will identify with the narrative and the lifestyle it promotes this is exploiting the theory of uses and gratifications. In our music video we have used a girl of similar age as the target audience this gives the audience a chance to dream and aspire to be like the girl featured in our music video. Again this is using Naomi Wolf’s theory of using images of an attractive woman to appeal to a female audience.
Once our music video was finished we screened it to three females as a sample of our target audience however we felt it would be useful to screen it to three males to see if they identified with the narrative and if it also reached out to an audience of males.
After screening out music video we ask the small group a number of questions.
The females found the music video very inspiring and easy to relate to. This is because out music video may reflect the lives and problems of the people they know or themselves. The females also found the narrative was very common in the area they live in and identified with the working class background they girl came from, and they related to the main character emotionally because as an audience we will the underdog to succeed. Sample 1 Said “I can relate the narrative and relate it to my dance ambitions.” They particularly liked the slow motion effects in the music video and comment on how it made the dancing shots much more effective and worthwhile as they showed a sense of determination and strength. Our females also liked that some of the shots seemed like scenery shots with he girls dancing in it, rather than the girl dancing and the scenery just happening to be there. They felt that this shows that this girl is a small girl trying to make it in a big world.
When questioned the males found the music video iconic. They found the scenery shots very effective and how we have used a lot of well know locations both locally and nationally. They feel that they can relate to the areas, and because they are in the North East it has connotations of working class background, but also of renewal, regeneration which is what happens to the main character in out music video. The males also commented on the professional look to our music video and enjoyed and the black and white conventions. They found that the overall look to our music was very well edited and extremely believable as a current media product.
Throughout our audience feedback I have realised that our audience is not conclusively one stable and identifiable group, in fact our music video has reached out to a male audience as well. This shows that although the narrative shows a girl in a working class background as a dancer, males can relate to the narrative of failure and aspiring to succeed. This was very interesting and this feedback was very important as we have learnt that a product we have designed to reach out to a specific audience has actually reached a much wider audience.
I feel the audience have reacted with much more enthusiasm and than I originally expected. I have received an overwhelming amount of praise regarding our music video and feel that we have created an identifiable music video which has a wider audience than intended.
In the early stages of construction we recieved audience feedback and it was concluded that the original judges looked to young therefor we decided to reshoot with an older pannel.
How did you use new media technologies in the construction and research, planning and evaluation stages?
Throughout all the stages of my product I have kept and online journal of my research planning, construction and evaluation stages in the form a blog. This allowed me to show the development of my product through a media product itself.
To begin our project we began researching existing media products similar to the one we were hopefully going to produce. This consisted of analysis of the conventions of successful media products. We narrowed our search down and began to look into depth at music videos that used conventions such as black and white effects, slow motions and a similar narrative. To look at the videos we found that the Internet site, you tube was the best resource. This allowed us to search directly for a specific video. However this all had to be done at home as we are unable to access YouTube in school due to Gateshead council regulations and the stringent firewall.
We also carried out audience research in the form of a questionnaire which formed the construction of our music video. We questioned 20 females aged 10-18 which was are target audience and designed out music video specifically on the results.
Also in the research stage we found it useful to look at previous A level media products, we did this by looking a students blog’s this allowed us to look at the standard of previous work produced by students of a similar ages. We also looked at the ancillary texts that accompanied the main product.
We then began to research digipacks and promotional posters; this was easily done by using the search engine Google. We also looked at a range of Digipacks and Posters applying semiotic analysis to explore how meaning was established.
In the planning stages to get used to the cameras we decided to shoot a sequence from Get Carter. We studied its construction first then we took a camera out and acted out a sequence trying to match the correct camera angles and shots. This was vital as we had never used a video camera before. This enabled us to experiment with framing and shooting.
In the planning stages we found it was useful to go out and take pictures of the locations we were going to shoot at. This helped us plan where we were going to place the cameras on the day of the shoot.
In one of our big shoots we drew up a shooting plan this was very specific and was printed out for every member of they group this allowed no confusion and let us minimise the amount of time and fuss. We had to organise 200 students into a seating arrangement and shoot various sequences in only 15 minutes. We found that the planning preparations contributed significantly to the success of this shoot. This was also pasted on my blog to show our successful planning technique.
Sarah and I also produced an animatic which was a series of images in the form of a story board where we filmed and edited in the way our final product would look. We used transitions in the editing stages just as we would in our final product and this gave us an idea on how it would look and a guide to follow. We found that this was extremely useful in the success of our product. I have also posted it onto my blog.
My blog was also very useful in showing the process and progress I had made during the project and showed the development clearly.
In the construction stage of our project we decided to use a maximum of 3 cameras during our shooting this enabled us to have shoots from different angles which would give us more variety in our editing stage. We used two tripods that were still and one tripod on wheels which allowed us achieved panning shots, this shows in our final media product as we have a rang of different shooting techniques.
To edit our final product, my role being the editor I decided to use Imovie, this is very simple editing software which had all of necessary transitions and effects I wished to use. To begin with I worked from our storyboards and animatic to produce a rough cut. I sifted through 12 hours of footage and condensed it down to 6 minutes of our best clips. After that it was my job to closely look at the sequence order and move clips around in order to make our music video as smooth and realistic as possible, whilst at the same time establishing a dramatic narrative. When filming we used a minimum of two cameras at all times therefore I had to look at the different angles of the same shot and put them together seamlessly. I then condensed our music video again now down to three minutes which was the length of our chosen track.
I decided on adding a black and white effect to all of our clips and also added slow motions to specific dancing clips to add the effective that she is determined to succeed. All of the transitions I have used are simple fades this minimises the attention drawn to the transitions and we felt it was the best way as it made our music video run smoothly and because of the high quality of footage I did not need to lots of editing applications in Imovie. To finalise our video we converted it to Final Cut express where we added our soundtrack.
For my print work I have used Photoshop to edit the photos we have taken. After spending one weeks work experience in a professional photography studio and having studied Art and Design at A level I found I have acquired many skills that allowed me to produce a dynamic piece of print work. The area in which the photographs were taken had the right amount of artificial lighting which allowed us to use just the flash on the camera to achieve a correctly lit photograph this meant that I didn’t have to adjust the levels on Photoshop.
In my print work I have used a photo with a specific backdrop that represents a working class background through mise-en-scene. I have used a subway tunnel which is full of graffiti. I have challenged the forms and conventions of a media product by having the background in colour and the girl in black and white. This shows a link but a separation of the two parts to the image. The audience can read that she is from a working class background but can and has moved on or been separated from that social status and has been accepted for who she is.
In the evaluation stages I have used a digital video camera to record the views and comments made by the audience our music video was screened to, this allowed us to show first hand how they reacted directly after watching our music video, and we were able to capture initial reaction, which was very positive. This helped us look at our audience and showed us which parts of our music video were particularly good.
I have also made my blog public which will allow people to follow my blog which allowed anyone to look at our work and comment.
Throughout this process I have worked very closely with my team members and have very much enjoyed the project management aspects of this work. My organisational, problem solving skills and ability to produce high quality media products have been very much enhanced by this challenge.