Final Music Video

Album Cover

Album Cover


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Friday, 16 December 2011


I have really enjoyed this project and I am slightly saddened to think that it is my last Media Coursework. Still, I found it very exciting (yet still challenging)

I hope you enjoy my blog

* Au Revoir * Adios * Ciao * Auf Wiedersehen * Goodbye *

To The Moderator

Dear Moderator,

Here is my finished blog, I very much hope you enjoy reading it and I thank you for taking the time to do so. You will see on the right of my blog I have links to my Group 2 blog,Frank Tan's blog and Olivia Cole's blog which will hopefully allow easy navigation for you. I also have a link to the central blog, labelled Latymer Music Video Blog, which itself contains links to all the blogs in my class.

On my blog you will find evidence of Research and Planning, Production and Evaluation, ranging from initial audience and genre research to weekly production logs. You will all my evidence for my Preliminary Task is labelled Prelim.

On my group blog you will see labels for Research and Planning,and Production as well as the labels for the names of each group member. Under the label James, you will see the posts I personally was responsible for.

Thank you again for taking the time to read my blog
Kind regards
James Reader (3650)

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

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

Our media products are very conventional to our genre of music, which is Rock. We have shown the rock genre through our video, album cover and website.
For each of our products we have shown how they relate to real media products and the conventions they follow.


As mentioned in the group discussion video, to show our genre through our video we used technical conventions such as high contrast lighting, moving camera shots and instrumental close ups. We also used performance conventions with the way that the band members played their instruments and interacted with one another. The band performance in our video is similar to the performance in Misery Business by Paramore.

In the video for Misery Business by Paramore, the band perform the song in a room which is just them and their instruments. There are instrumental close ups throughout the performance, which have also been incorporated into our video.
Another convention of Rock music videos we have incoporated into our own video is editing to the beat of the song. In the bridge of our song, there are strong drum sounds which we used to cut our video to the beat.

This is also shown in the video for Misery Business, as the video is cut to the beat during the song. Our video is conventional as it follows the form of music videos as suggested by the theorists Vernallis and Goodwin.
Goodwin identified that all music videos:

  • Demonstrate genre characteristics
  • Have a relationship between lyrics and visuals
  • Have a relationship between music and visuals
  • Motifs which recur across the artist's work / 'visual hooks'
  • Notion of looking
  • Intertextual reference
This list of features applies to our music video, as shown in the table below

Vernallis' theory stated that music videos are constructed around 4 key concepts; Narrative, Editing, Camera and Diegesis.
This also applies to our music video:

Our video also uses the gender representation of females in rock videos, as our lead singer is shown to be a strong female character throughout. This is similar to another of Paramore's videos - Playing God. The narrative of this video shows the lead singer to be angry at four males, who she has tied up in the basement. This strong character is something which we have tried to replicate in our video.

Similarly, the representation of the males in this video is also something we tried to replicate. In Playing God, the males are shown to have wronged the lead singer, as they are tied up in her basement. The interactions between the lead singer and the males shows this as she is angrily singing to them. In our own video, we show the lead singer angrily singing at the tied up "boyfriend".

Paramore's video (top) shows the lead singer angrily singing at four tied up males.
Similarly our video shows the lead singer angrily singing to one "boyfriend"


Our album cover also follows the conventions of the rock genre. The front of our album cover shows the lead singer of the band holding a board with the album title on in a 'mugshot' style picture. This connotes the rock genre as it shows the singer to be rebellious and 'against the system'. The album cover for London Calling by The Clash gives an angry and rebellious feel as it shows the guitarist smashing his guitar on the floor. Similarly their single White Riot has a cover which shows rebellion. The cover shows three men standing against a wall with their hands against it, in the position for a police search. This rebellious and angry theme is what we tried to show across our album cover.

The back cover for our album is also very similar in style to that of a real 'rock' cover. There is a picture of the whole band on the back with the song titles above them in rows, as opposed to the convention of other genres where the song titles are in a column down the side of the cover. This style of cover is shown on other back covers such as Florence and the Machine - Lungs, Oasis - Time Flies and Paramore - Riot.

On the inside covers of the album we have images which promote the band both as a whole and as individual members. On the inside cover we have an edited image of the eyes of the four band members, each of them with their own eye colour. This shows the individuality of the four members within the band, as each photo has the same black and white effect and they are all separated by a purple strip. Behind the disc we have the band logo which also emphasises the band as a whole, although the background of the logo is made up of the four eye colours from the other cover. This again shows the individuality of the members within the band.


Our website has the conventions of a debut artist's site but with the 'rock' theme running throughout. On our website we have lots of images of the whole band, as well as images of the band members individually. Our website also has plenty of interactive opportunities for our target audience; there is a comments box on our Gallery page, a Twitter feed which they can 'join the conversation' on the News page, links to Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr and a Competition page. The competition page is especially interactive, as the question isn't the conventional multiple choice. Instead the audience must answer the question "Where does Xen come from?". This ties in with the band identity for Xen, but also gets the audience thinking and relating to the band. As they are a debut artist the website also has recurring opportunities for the audience to 'buy into the band', whether it's merchandise from the band shop or buying the debut single or album.

(Top to Bottom) Our Gallery page has a comments box for the audience
Our news page gives the audience an opportunity to "Join the conversation" and talk to the band via Twitter
The interactive buttons link to the band's Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr accounts
The competition page ties together the band identity for Xen, as well as providing interactivity for the audience
The shop on the website provides a 'sneak peek' at what the audience can buy in the full shop

These opportunities are conventional for a debut artist, as I learnt from my research into One Direction's website.

See the webstie post here
 On the One Direction site there are interactive opportunities for the audience such as comment boxes and being able to sign up for the band newsletter. There are also plenty of purchasing opportunities as they have a large band shop and adverts all over their page for the 'personalised gifts' which the audience can buy.

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

The combination of our main product (the music video) and our ancillary products (the album cover and the website) is very effective at building a band identity as there are band signifiers which are present across the products. Through use of the same theme, colours, logos and costumes we have constructed synergy through all our products.

Firstly, the theme of our products is a traditional rock/grunge theme. This ties in with our band's genre of music, which is rock. As mentioned in Question 1 the music video follows the form of a rock video with it's conventional use of high contrast lighting, moving camera and instrumental close ups. The album cover follows this theme as well, as the back cover has a photo of the whole band with the song titles above them in a box, as opposed to the song titles being down the side. Finally, the website follows this theme as it has a brick wall background and a handwritten font for the buttons and adverts.

Also, the band colours are present across the three products. These band colours are black, purple and white. The individual band members also have their own colours, which are highlighted in the video. Pandora wears the colours black and purple, whereas Xen wears black and blue. Although they are not shown in the video, Johnny and AJ also have their own colours, which are silver and gold respectively. They are shown on the homepage of our website and on the bios for each band member.

The general band colours of black, purple and white are present across the products, with the main costume colour in the video being black. In the website the background is black and white with purple titles on the pages and on the album cover the band name on the front cover is purple, the bars on the inside cover between the eyes are purple and the background of the back cover is made up from white, black and purple.

Thirdly, the band logo and the record labels logo are present in the different products. The band logo itself is formed from the skull in 'theDropouts' and the 'D' in Dropouts.

In the video, although it is only seen once or twice, the band logo is stuck on the bass drum of the drum kit which Johnny plays. The band logo is also present on every page of the website in the top left corner, with a purple glow effect on it (this also shows the colours synergy). Behind the disc on the album cover we have a large picture of the band logo, with a coloured pattern behind it.

Also, the record label logo (Burning Car Records) is featured on our website and our album cover, as it is the institution behind the band. There is also a link on our website to the website of the record label.

Finally, the use of costumes in our products helps to construct synergy. In the video, the lead singer wears a couple of outfits, her band outfit and her stained white dress. The band outfit that the band members wear is also the outfit they are wearing on the back cover of the album, thus promoting the video through the album cover. They also wear their band outfits in some of the photoshoot photos, which helps to fully build their individual and group characters.

Question 3: What have you learned from your audience feedback?

As outlined in the audience post in our Group blog (see this post here), the primary target audience for our band are teenage girls aged 13-20. The secondary audiences for our band are teenage boys aged 13-20, young girls aged 10-13 and young adult girls aged 20-25. In order to target our audience through our video, website and album we used our research into these age groups.
Throughout the video, the lead singer is shown as a strong female role model, as she stands up for herself and punishes the boyfriend for cheating on her. This strong attitude (and the fact her costumes aren't too provocative) promote 'girl power' and directly appeal to our audience.

Our website and album cover also appeal to our audience through their designs, as they both show the rock theme. Our website has the rock/grunge theme throughout, with the brick wall background and the handwritten font.

Our album cover also targets our audience throughout. The front of the album cover is a 'mugshot' style photo of the lead singer with the album name on the chalkboard she is holding. This rebellious theme appeals to our target audience as they are of an age where they begin to rebel against their parents and other authorities.

We exhibited our music video to a large group of our target audience originally, and then again to a 'focus group' of 11 people. The focus group filled out questionnaires and we recorded some of their thoughts after their viewing:

The questionnaires which we asked our focus group to fill in gave us some good feedback, as well as points on which we needed to improve. All of the focus group members recognised that the genre of the music and the video was Rock, which was our original intention. They also thought that the video fitted well with the song, as the it had good energy and a convincing performance. However, the group also thought that there should be a greater variety of camera angles and settings throughout the video, as it looked too similar between set-ups.
They thought that the video was likely to be shown on MTV and Viva and that it was suitable for a debut video as it established the artist well with it's close ups of the band.
The group gave the video and average score of 7.7 out of 10
Here is the questionnaire we asked the focus group to fill in:

As well as exhibiting it publicly to our audience, we also released the video online to our audience via social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook. We then asked them for feedback via an online survey, as our research showed our target audience spend a lot of time online.

Our online survey

From our audience feedback, I have learned that I should have input more variation on the camera angles when shooting the performance. Also, some of the shots should have had more movement and been framed closer to the actors in shot. I have also learned that the audience thought our shots were too similar and that we needed to differentiate the set-ups more, maybe with lighting or setting changes.
I am pleased that the genre of music came across well and that the audience thought the video was a good fit for the song.

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

We used new media technologies throughout our project, from planning to the construction and editing of our video. We used a range of technologies, from Web 2.0 in our website construction and audience feedback to the lighting and sound systems in the studio for our filming.

Web 2.0:
We used Web 2.0 a lot in our project, as not only did we create our own band website, we also exhibited our music video online through social networking websites and got feedback through an online survey.

As well as making an online website, we also made a mobile version as our target audience is very technologically minded

Making our website on Wix was challenging to begin with, as I wasn't sure of how to properly use it in order to get the website to look how we wanted it to. However I soon got the hang of it and started to add photos and widgets. Here is a short video of some of the features I used when making our website:

Here is our finished website:

Adobe Photoshop/ Premiere Pro:
Adobe Photoshop CS5.5 was another very useful tool for our project, and I used it a lot with the construction of the album cover and editing photos for the website.

Whilst editing the photos for the album and the website, I found some useful tools which I hadn't used before. The spot healing tool was especially useful, as it meant I could fix small parts of the photo (such as blemishes on the band member's faces) easily and get them looking professional. Here is an example of some pf the editing I carried out during this project:

To edit our video we used Adobe Premiere Pro CS5.5. For my AS project I used Premiere Pro CS3 and the newer version for this project was much better for me to use, even though it was largely the same. I used the 'Brightness and Contrast' and 'Three-way colour corrector' tools a lot to colour grade the video, as we had to make sure the band members (especially the lead singer) were the same colour in the consecutive shots.
Colour Correcting

As you can see, the colour grading made a noticeable change to the outcome of
the shot, although it is more obvious with the band shots

We shot the entirety of this project on a HDRV1E camera in 1080p HD. I had not used the camera before and one particular aspect which it took me a little while to get used to was the exposure and the focus settings. As we were in the studio, Ihad to set the exposure to the right level so that you couldn't see the white walls around the curtains behind the performance. However, if I put the exposure levels too low I couldn't properly see the performance and if they were too high, it picked up gain and this lowered the picture quality.
The picture on the left is a still from the footage on the first day. You can see that the exposure is
set too high and this lowers the picture quality. The picture on the right is a still from the footage on the last day.
Here you can see the exposure is much better and so the picture quality is too.
Thankfully, the stills camera was much easier to use for the band photos so I was able to take high quality photos during the photoshoot with no real problems. 
We used the Canon 550D for our Photoshoot and  Behind the Scenes photos

We shot our entire video in our school's Seward Studio, which has new light and sound systems which I had to learn in order for us to properly shoot the video.
It didn't take me too long to learn how to use the lighting in the studio, as it was quite straight forward. After being taught how to move the lights, I was able to position them so that they gave the look we wanted for our video. I had to make sure that all the band members were properly lit and that you could easily see them on the camera.
Positioning the lights

The new sound system in the studio was also very useful, although originally we didn't use it. For the shoots where we only had one band member in the shot we used and iPod and speakers to play the song (though the iPod version was full length and for our video we had cut some of the lyrics). This was a practical solution, but it didn't work for the full band shots as the drums were too loud and so the band couldn't properly hear the track.
To solve this problem, we used the new sound system in the studio during the band shots. This meant we could play the cut down version of the song loudly through the surround system for the whole band to hear.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Production Log: Week 5

So here it is, the final week of production...

From the feedback we had gathered on our rough edit, I then started to alter the sequence accordingly.
Firstly, the pulpit shots were replaced with shots of the Boyfriend and the Mattress. This worked better than the pulpit shots did and also helped to establish the boyfriend motif a bit better at the start. I also input more close ups of the lead singer during the verses, so that they provided a 'visual hook' for the audience. I cross cut the drums at the start with the lead singer walking to the microphone at the start, which added pace to the introduction and matched the pace of the song.
Finally, I replaced some of the shots which had too much black space with similar shots that had less space and took away the guitar close ups during the breakdown of the song.
Now that the shots were in order, I began to colour grade. The main thing I did was to alter the brightness and contrast of the shots so that you couldn't see the curtain in the background or any of the white walls around the curtains. Some of the shots had differing lighting so I also needed to use the 'Three-way Colour Correct' tool and edit the shots where the band members were the wrong colour.
Here is our finished sequence:

Album Cover:
From our feedback we knew that we needed to change the back cover, so I tried to create a 'pencil sketch' effect on the photo. However, this didn't work out as I'd planned and so instead I tried to create a 'spray paint' effect. This effect worked for the background of the photo and tied in well with the rock genre so it was placed in our final edit.
We also needed to change the inside cover eye picture, so we put the pictures into black and white, except for the eyes. We made each band member's eyes a different colour so that they were each individual and stood out within the picture.
Here is our final album cover:

From the feedback we got, we knew that the Gallery page needed re-organising and so I put the Behind the Scene photos and the Photoshoot photos on separate pages and created visual buttons to each page.

We also needed to add more photos to other pages so that there was less space. We added photos of the individual band members onto the competition page, and also moved some of the features around on the News page.
The carousel we had placed with a feed to our Band Twitter didn't look very good in the corner of the page, so we changed it to a HTML Live Feed from the Band Twitter instead. This looked much better and we also changed the colours so that it fitted into the website.
Here is a link to our finished website: