Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Our own Evaluation

(I have had a slight problem with blogger and its layout throughout the year. That is why some of the sentence structure maybe slightly out of sync as well as lack of imagery)

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

In our pop promotional package we have had to increase our understanding from what we thought we knew of the music industry to so much more.
Instead of challenging previous conventions of media products such as pop promotional packages, we followed suit, to a degree and created our own from previously developed promotional packages that had been researched upon.
What is meant by this is by following previous examples of marketing and promoting of new bands we were able to use this as a foundation to build ours upon.
With this the individuals of the group and I had to research into a pop promotional packages in which we all found interesting.
With this we tried to maintain as much of a likeness to the genre. Due to this, matches could be made with typical stylistics that kept creeping up in the pop punk genre.
For instance, themes of pop punk videos tend to be about having fun by incorporating nudity, pranks and getting into trouble with police whilst stylistically there would be
either facial bruises from the extras in the videos, skulls, motiffed t-shirts of rock legends and others.
All of which was making continuous appearances in pop punk videos.
Similar to the humour of music videos so too were the CD covers and magazine adverts/ flyers that were distributed to promote the band. These varied between cartoon illustrations to dark, destructed locations as back drops for the band.
This genre was made possible to portray so that it would be recognisable to anyone who enjoyed this type of music, also taking into account how the band members wanted to be portrayed which was fun and carefree….A perfect description of what pop punk videos usually are.
So with that in mind we made an instantly recognisable pop punk video with certain aspects that challenged the usual conventions of pop-punk.
From the background research of other bands promotional packages such as the one I did on HURTS and NEWFOUND GLORY we as a group were able to approach the task of promoting our band with different aspects gained from one another. Firstly we chose a typical audience that we would catering for and drove to meet that, obviously fans of the genre but the age range of fans were vast due to pop punk being around for a while so it was only right to make the promotional package favour everyone and not just a typical age.
Certain examples would be adding kissing couples to the music video adding a touch of reality to the narrative as well as a sentimental aspect to it. This I felt catered for couples and older fans of the pop punk genre as well as bringing a different more natural feel to pop punk that hasn’t been seen before. With the thought of usual Editing, cinematography, mise en scene, and stylistics that have been associated with typical pop punk videos we chose to Use jump cuts as our main source of editing style to move from shot to shot. Not only pop-punk use this but also every other music video made except the few made from bands such as ‘ok go’ and others.
Another reason for not using a singular shot is lack of funding to do so as well as time and planning that we just didn’t have. The jump cuts also increased in speed, transitioning between different shots at a quicker pace during the chorus to match the beat of the drums to aid in a more interesting music video.
With the choice of shots, again we were limited because of the shooting of the band performance was done inside a studio but this didn’t hinder the aesthetic look we were all trying to achieve.
With the energetic band performance and certain shots we used such as the ‘handheld’ shot with the singer, this helped to cater to the younger fans as well as those who love an energetic band performance and ‘mosh’ when around like minded fans.
The band performed up to 5x which allowed us to take 3 different angled shots and types of shots on each performance.
In the end we had 15 different shots (some where not possible to use) ranging from close ups of the band members and some wide shots which allowed zooming and panning possible.
I liken it too ‘arctic monkeys-I bet that you look good on the dance floor’ which primarily was just different shots of the band performing which was how I wanted it to look.
Clothing was the bands own due to them wanting to stay comfortable and making it a realistic portrayal of themselves and not a fake one such as making them all wear ‘three piece’ suits.
Also during pop punk music video’s bands are rarely portrayed to wear anything but casual clothes.
With the CD cover and MAGAZINE advert we blurred a picture of a couple in love that we had shot to further increase the romantic aspect of the song which is about kissing your loved one!
Certain type fonts that we chose in the colour red with a black background played homage to where pop punk integrated from which was punk Connotations of the colour red is usually partnered with blood and the colour black with death. These connotations maybe slightly ‘darker’ than pop punk. This shows a slight challenge to the former conventions of pop punk fonts. We also chose font type ‘times new roman’ to add a more formal approach, different to the usual titles cd/mag advert covers that pop punk bands usually use.
With the CD cover the blurred kissing couple was blurred to such an extent to make it into a kaleidoscope effect. This was chosen to do because of the album name being kaleidoscope in the first place.
With the magazine advert we took aspects/ideas from former print ads that weren’t necessarily form the pop-punk genre. For instance I analysed HURTS and used idea of having the cd cover as the magazine advert. This gave an instant connection due to being the same image which for promotional purposes was great. By using both images a quicker recognition of the band would be possible either when buying the CD and or checking for live performances in magazine’s or the internet.
Areas that challenged forms /codes and conventions of pop promo’s as mentioned before would definitely be the handheld shot by the lead singer as this is one shot I feel I haven’t seen before. Reason of using this was to give the effect of a POV shot in which the lead singer was swinging his partner.
With the addition of the kissing couples narrative this helped to challenge the conventions of the pop-punk genre by changing up the typical acts of their music videos. This narrative gave a more natural realistic feature to it by having random couples kiss/hug and show what love looks like. This idea was second to the former split screen idea that we had planned but due to lack of equipment we couldn’t make this work which to some degree I am glad that had happened. The narrative we used changed the tone to a more emotional feeling which is what the song is about, just with a more rocked up version of the original.

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

The pop punk music video we created as a group worked well with the ideas that we had chosen to use such as the POV handheld shot with the lead singer. This helped to portray him spinning his loved one which I feel was easy to see being portrayed.
As mentioned before, using the studio had caused a few small problems such as lack of space but this was soon overcome. I think that even seeing the light rigs on some of the shots helped to increase its grungy appearance.
The energetic band performance helped to create the incisive decisions to be made that pop-punk was what was being seen alongside the sound of the music as well as how casually dressed we had allowed our band too look. The long hair of our lead singer also helped to incorporate a rock like theme due to the stereotypes of long hair equally rock!.
The narrative which we introduced as a performance/conceptual basis included the use kissing couples and friends/family embracing and showing love to one another. This definitely provided a more natural un-acted feel to the production. These types of narratives are hardly seen amongst music videos and with this I feel will help our music video stand out from the rest.
With these types of moments it helps to enables a happy content feeling to be felt by the viewer when ‘real’ affection is shown by others. A process that usual cannot be achieved until something of enjoyment has happened throughout the day. This again is another point which I feel will help to increase popularity of the pop promotion that we as a group developed.
The CD cover and PRINT advert together helped to further add the development of unusual art with slight meanings behind them, such as the handheld shot with the lead singer has done as well as other shots feaured in the music video. The main picture of the cd cover is a couple kissing which had been blurred to such an extent that time to look at it would have to be taken.
This would cause a longer time reading to be spent on who the band are which thus creates an intrigue to develop. All great promotional benefits for the band as well as the companies distributing their work.
With the choice of blurring the couples together, this gave a slight kaleidoscope effect which was something subconsciously had been achieved, as we had the idea to call the album that very same name. also, by intergratig the couple as ‘one’, the reason behind it is that once in a relationship a lot of things that are done are done together such as decisions/ choices, going out, being together are all done as ‘one’. true essence of being in love which is what the song is about.
Choice of type font and size of font helped to differentiate ourselves slightly from the usual magazine advertisements and CD covers that are usual seen.
The size in which we wrote was large on the information we wanted to get across to the viewer such as the name of the band and the name of the new album. With this a red colour was chosen and a black background which created a vivid contrast between the two, again something we hoped would stay in the viewers mind once they read it.
All three placed together created different representations of the genre that is pop-punk.
Firstly, with the music video you have a typical energetic band performance, one that is seen throughout most pop punk music videos but with certain aspects such as those already mentioned that has helped to challenge some of the usual forms and conventions that are usually seen. In essence adding a softer touch to a harsher genre of music. In some sense creating conflicting scenes from an energetic, ‘punky’ performance which then also moved to a softer more realistic narrative with our kissing couples.
That softer touch, helped along by the narrative was used to cross over into the CD cover and magazine advert, portraying the bands newest songs as romantic rock songs which is something the band had explained to us that they were. Quoted from James once he viewed the music video “ We feel that pop-punk has always been about having fun and jerking around but the more romantic meanings in the genre’s songs has been something that has been missed out. This is where HOUSE hopes to change this stereotype upon the genre”
In essence the ‘star power’ that has been created by us as group has been towards constructing a typical pop punk band into something different from the usual that is seen within this genre.
Their ‘star image’ has been meticulously broken down and rebuilt, adding in aspects that have been missed from other like-minded bands, helping HOUSE in the long run to last a lot longer then their competition. Currently they are seen as a new upcoming band making they’re way into the music industry, hoping to make a difference to the genre and keep it growing with the times but as changes take place, so too will they to keep on top of the competition.

3. What have you learned from your audience feedback

From questionnaires to general research the feedback and personal decisions enabled an overall belief that our music video catered for the age range of anything from 14 upto 30.
Why I have chosen so young is due to the age of adolescence and that one begins to find themselves and start to make their own choices and actions at this age.Typical pop punk bands such as newfound glory play on the immaturity and having fun factors, not only in their songs but also the music videos that they make. Being the age of 14, newfound glory may appeal more to younger ears and to those who have grown up listening to other pop punk bands such as NOFX and Blink 182.
Why I have chosen to 30 and possibly past 30 is down to the fact that the genre pop-punk has been around for quite some time now. If you have grown up listening to that genre, even to the days of punk then you are more likely to continue listening to newer bands of that sub genre that is pop-punk.
If needed to be categorized then our potential audience would be classified to be of a social grade C2 and their VALS to be between strivers and experiences as this covers more of what our believed audience will be, which is a young age with expendable money to buy new clothes, food and in general enjoy what life has to offer but also want to achieve something as well as emulate those that they admire such as the artists of the pop-punk genre. Both of these have definite aspects that were easy to use and relate to the followers of the pop-punk genre.
The main audience attraction we focused on as a whole was use of style and dress attire of the band. This definitely helped to initiate the denotations of band motiffed t-shirts, musical instruments and long hair styles followed by their connotations as a majority of ROCK/POP PUNK.
Certain examples of attracting all of our audience types would be adding kissing couples to the music video which added realism to the narrative as well as a sentimental aspect to it. This I felt catered for couples and older fans of the pop punk genre as well as bringing a different more natural feel to pop punk that hasn’t been seen before.
To start with on our final showing of the finished edit to the band as well as an audience of random participators the overall appreciation of the media text was high. Many believed it to have promoted the band, sub genre pop-punk and the romance of the track itself very well. Due to the narrative of the kissing couples mainly.
This was the feedback generated from our band during their final viewing of the music video.

Are you happy with how you are portrayed?

Yes, it was awesome! I honestly didn't think it would be like that - I really liked it." (Lead guitarist)
"Yeah I've never made a video before so that's really cool, we look like a proper band - Do you have this on Youtube? I wanna show people (laughs)" (Drummer)

What did you like best about it?

Well I really liked the shot with the camera tied on the end of the guitar with the close up of my fingers playing it, it's such a cool shot - I've never seen that before! It looks like I'm actually playing it...but honestly, I liked all of it" - (Lead guitarist)
"Yeah I liked that shot, I also like how you have so many different shots - there was loads" (Guitarist)
"To be honest I cant even remember making that video (laughs) but yeah it's quite good isn't it!" (Alex - Guitarist)
"I like the shots of all the people kissing, the narrative bit. I didn't realise you were going to do it but it works well, it would of just been boring if it was us playing the whole time" (Drummer)
"Oh, and that end bit - where you zoom into my hand after the last strum of the guitar, that's pretty cool" - (Lead guitarist)
"I really wasn't expecting the quality of the cameras to be like that either" - (Guitarist)

Is there anything your unhappy with?

"Hmm I'm not sure really, I think there was too many close up shots of the singer James if I’m honest - there's too much of that" - (Lead Guitarist) (All agree)
"I'm not too keen on that hand held shot of James either really" - (Alex - Guitarist)
"I can't really think of anything, but as a musician, I could tell we wern't really playing live - you can tell I wasn't hitting the symbol" - (Drummer)

"Yeah I noticed that too - the same with the guitars that weren’t plugged in. You notice these things and it didn't look professional. I guess that’s not your fault though!" (Guitarist)

What do you think of the pace and rythm?

"Yeah it worked really well with the song, it was quite fast and there were loads of shots so there was so much to look at. How did you do that?" - (Guitarist)

"Well I wish we could have chose our own song because I'm sure we could make a better rhythm! - but yeah, I like what you've done with it" - (Drummer)

What would you have done differently?

"I'm not sure really, I would probably use more props, make the set more interesting I reckon" - (Guitarist)
"Yeah I probably wouldn't want to do it in that same set, It would of been good to have a proper location" - (Alex - Guitarist)

What about outside?

"Yeah, yeah outside! that would have been good" - (Alex - Guitarist)
"Yeah outside would be good, but I suppose it would be hard to take all the equipment out wont it, plus it was winter!" (Lead guitarist)

Would you make a music video again?

"Yeah definitely! it was quite tedious at the time having to do it over and over - but now I've seen how it turns out, yeah!" (Lead guitarist)
"Yeah I would, it was fun - I feel like a proper musician now, I wish I could do more! (Alex - Guitarist)
"I wish we could do it again, I wasn't feeling well at all that day so I wish I could have put more energy into it" - (Drummer)

Would you hire us if you become famous and need a music video? (laughs)

"Ha-ha, yeah I don’t see why not - you done a good job!" - (Alex - Guitarist)
The ancillary texts did have some backlash with the band mainly due to the fact that they were unsure what exactly the picture was meant to be, once described that it was a kaleidoscope effect complementing the integration of a couple as one and trying to relate to the album name then it was understood.
This was a bit frustrating as promotion of the band HOUSE might be hindered by the confusion fans may have on looking at the CD cover and Magazine advert and not knowing what it truly is. This was something we hadn’t thought would occur.
Overall a lot of what was said during the meeting was great although some constructive criticism helped to sum up the overall idea of what may have been done differently and what aspects were truly enjoyed.
I personally would have liked to have gained more time during which it would have been possible to have re-thought the first narrative that was had in mind, the split-screen effect. Also the group including me may have been too lenient towards the whole promo package to begin with and didn’t take the ‘bull by the horns instantly‘, taking too much time over the ideas we had created ourselves.
Secondly I’d have moved the band performance to a much larger venue, allowing more movement and a more diverse range of shots.
Being media students within the 6th from you are limited to resources that are available to you in the sense of technology. Due to this reason, ideas whether they are conceptual or performance based just couldn’t be used because of lack of newer technology and instruments such as the budgeted steady cams that we had.
Due to this we had to scrap the split screened narrative which would have looked aesthetically pleasing to the eye if had been achieved.

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

With the accessibility of pretty much any knowledge that you require allowed research to be carried out with great precision. With this, myself and the others in the group were able to research, in depth enough about promoting the band as possible. With our own separate ideas we could integrate them into one therefore achieving a remotely successful package.
The research underwent was made possible with the access to the internet! It made things a lot easier but not as easy as I’d have liked due to the arduous tasks of trying to gain the correct information such as where and who promoted bands like ‘newfound glory’ and not just repeats of the information that wasn’t needed such as who ‘newfound glory were’ sites such as homepages of the pop-punk bands that I had looked at enabled extra knowledge to be learnt of the bands backgrounds, what made them want to play in bands, past interviews, pictures of the styles that portray them such as in what they wear, how they wear their hair in certain ways. All of this information was taken on board and certain aspects were used with our band HOUSE.
Some of these aspects were the certain style of questioning the bands during our first meeting, developing a good rapport from the very beginning. Checking if what they all wore was along the same lines as the bands I’d researched.
The use of YouTube made the analysis of music videos possible. It gained insight into how bands (not just pop-punk) portray themselves when in front of the camera, the certain shot styles and framing that they use, what are the possible messages/meanings behind the music videos, the dress attire they wear and what possible links to their chosen genre of music that may have.
Through our planning stages the main source of technology used was the animatics on the Apple Macs. These were great in placing your band members into positions that may look acceptable for the end result of the music video.
Though nothing beat the standard A4 storyboard sheets that truly allowed the group free reign of what they believed some of the shots and narrative should like.
The research that was completed was compiled onto our individual Bloggers allowing coverage to be kept of the process I was undergoing in learning what it took to make it in the music industry from the likes of Madonna to the new band that I analysed-HURTS. With Blogger the options it made possible were certain things such as placing certain music videos that had been fully analysed onto them. This was great as you could now refer back to these if in doubt of an aspect that you had chosen to use from them.
Within the actual filming of the music video we had an entire studio to ourselves which meant getting used to the ( two way system from sound booth to studio unsure what that is called)
The camera’s that we used to film the music video were large panasonic studio camera's mounted on to tripods with the ability to move diagonally, laterally, horizontally and turn a full 360 degree's allowing very fluent shots to be taken.
The handheld camera was a panasonic hd/dv which was mainly placed onto a small steady cam which allowed as much shaking to be cancelled out as humanly possible when using a very cheap version of a steady cam.
Once all had been shot it was logged and captured using a firewire on to an Apple Mac pro using the editing software Final cut pro. The editing software was great as it allowed the shots to be placed on top of one another in layers similar to a ‘cake’. The layering process meant that seeing a certain shot, all that had to be done was to cut either a section of the shot above or below it, making it very easy and less time consuming and monotonous. Once the editing had been completed and we had a our final edit it was then compressed into a QuickTime file. This could now be placed onto our individual blogs as well as you tube to try and gain some more feedback into what could have been done differently if given the chance again.
During the print production of our CD cover and magazine advert, the
majority of the technology that I felt was used was mainly Photoshop. This was mainly down to my other team mates to complete the cd cover and magazine advert as I had the job of editing but I definitely felt that the ancillary texts they created definitely helped to develop a wanting towards who and what the band HOUSE were actually about due to the strange smudged effect that had been used to submerge our kissing couples into one.
With this evaluation that I have written, the use of technologies that have allowed me to complete this are Microsoft works word processor- this is what my writing was done on. The writing was then spell checked and placed onto my blogger account.
Images that I have used are mainly stills taken from the final edit of the music video but there are some that been included which I have simply copy and pasted from Google images whilst using the internet.
Prezi has been a source of presentation that I have used in some of my main earlier posts but not during this evaluation but Blogger was.
This was so helpful by allowing cross referencing to occur from previous work that had already been written. This helped by gaining access to work that had been completed during septewmeber, allowing information to be taken which I had forgotten about as well as being able to see other members of the groups work and what they may have mentioned that I haven’t about the promotional package or if any of the information was conflicting to others from the group.