Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Evaluation (Saul)

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

Our music video follows the genre of Hip Hop. We have successfully worked with and around the conventions of a real Hip Hop product. In a typical Hip Hop music video you would expect them to be set in an urban setting. We met this convention well by using the more urban looking areas of Cambridge. We used a Graffiti wall and a skate ramp for parts in our video. Another convention is 'selling the artist' this is also a Goodwin point. Our Kanye is Hakan and in the video we sell him very well as an artist by dressing him in expensive but urban looking clothing and jewellery. However the song 'Apologise' by Kanye West isn't a typical Hip Hop song. Instead of boasting about himself Kanye talks negatively about himself. In doing so, Kanye is sold as he comes across as honest. 

Throughout the making of our video we had a strong influence from a music video by Eminem. The song is called 'love the way you lie' and in the song there are 2 Eminems. There is the Eminem, in the present, singing about his story(narrator) There is also the Eminem acting out the story, in the past(narrative) This worked really well in our video and meant we could show our artist a lot without the video getting too boring for the audience.

In a typical hip hop video specific editing techniques like jump shoots are used. Moving shoots (pans, dolly shots etc) are also commonly used in typical Hip Hop videos. Because our song isn't typical to the hip hop genre and is much more mellow we have decided to change this convention. We have used the jump shoots regularly in our video but we, rarely, use moving shoots. This worked well to keep the video mellow.

One of the 'Goodwin' points is 'visual and lyrics'. In most music videos, not just hip hop videos, the lyrics match the lyrics. We decided to follow this common convention in our video. We only match the visual and lyrics when the video is in the narrative(the past). This is because the Narrator (Kanye West) is talking about what happened in the past.  We match the visuals and lyrics a number of times throughout the video. An example of this is when the song mentions weed we show Kanye and his girlfriend smoking.

When filming our video we used mainly natural lighting. We used natural lighting when outside to keep the setting purely urban. When indoors, in the bedroom, we used a couple of lamps to create strong contrasting shadows and to create a focus on what is important.  This worked well and meant the audiences eyes didn't wander. Nowadays Hip Hop videos are filmed in top class studios with top class lighting and equipment. Not only did we not have the funding to film in such top class studios but we thought it would be more fitting, to the song to keep it really urban. 

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

For our ancillary task we created 2 things. We created a 'Digipak' and an advert for a Magazine. Both of which were completed to a high standard. The combination between the 'Digipak' the Advert and the video is superb. We very successfully managed to create 3 products which would stand out from a crowd and also be recognisable as 3 products of the same thing. 

We managed this through a number of ways. One of the things that helped us create a good combination was the colouring. We used the colours from Kanye's(Narrator) clothes to match the colour of the writing. This created a well colour coordinated set of products. The yellow is the main focus of the Magazine advert and comes from the Adidas logo on Kanye's t-shirt. For the 'Digipak' we used black as our focus colour. Kanye is wearing a black jacket and jeans. The font is in black and so is the spine of the Digipak.

The main thing that creates the strong combination between the three products is the setting. The video is set with urban backgrounds. With this in mind we decided to take the most typical urban images from our video. We then made them in to still shots and create backdrops for our 'Digipak' and advert. The typical backdrops we chose were the ones with graffiti. This worked really well and kept the products matched.

The final thing we did to make our products similar and combined is to have our artist on the front of each product. Kanye is pictured in front of the graffiti background and is the focus of each product. Not only does this sell the artist but it helps the audiences to know that the products are the same thing. Kanye is wearing the same expensive costume in all 3 products. This helps to let the audience know its the same song and video.

Our music video has the age rating of 15(due to the drug references and swearing). With this sort of rating we have a lot of freedom to put what we want on our product. However if we want our product to be successful on the high street we would need it to be store friendly. This is because there will be people younger than 15 walking around music shops etc. To avoid losing high street popularity and losing a mature and cool image we made sure our products kept cool and urban but also colourful and understandable for younger customers.

What have you learned from audience feedback?

Because of technically difficulties we were unable to get feedback on our final draft. We did get feedback on our 1st draft though. We got this feedback from a number of different people. Our Media teacher, the head of Media and all the students in our group. This range of feedback was very valuable to us in reaching our finished product. 

The main problem we found was the lack of variety in shots. There was also a problem with how long these shots went on. After this feedback we quickly decided to go on another shoot. This shoot was much more efficient as we knew exactly what it was we needed to film. We filmed a variety of different shots from different angles and shot types. We also found new settings like the skate ramp and park which now features a lot in our video. This made a big difference and meant we were able to have jump shots from place to place. 

Another thing that came up regularly in our feedback was the fact that the lip syncing in our video wasn't completely crisp. The main reason for this is because the video people watched was a compressed quality version. This meant that the video was very blurry and you couldn't clearly see the mouth of the singer. The 'Final Cut' version of the video is very different and there is not much that needs sorting out. Never the less there was still room for improvement and we spent over an hour perfecting this. Now when watching the video there is no point where it isn't matched.
Whilst in the process of making our music video we also came up with a questionnaire for other students to answer. The questionnaire consisted of questions that we wanted answers to. We did this because, even though our feedback was valuable, we needed answers to certain questions like, Would you expect to see the location on the front of a 'Digipak or Advert? From this we found out that consumers would like to see this but would prefer the artist to be the focus. We managed to fulfil this by having our setting in the background behind our artist on all our products. We also found out other bits of information like the types of fonts they resemble with Hip Hop culture.

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

We only used a few different types of software for all of our products. These are Final Cut and Photoshop. We also used other technologies like the blogger to plan, evaluate and research from start to finish.

Final Cut was the main piece of software we used in creating our music video. We used it to edit the footage that we captured. We also used it to add effects and match the lip syncing. The most interesting and technical effect we created and used was a person fade out. We got the idea from a music video by Ne-yo an American pop artist. At the end of Ne-yo's video the woman he is about to kiss disappears. We did the same thing with Kanye's girlfriend disappearing from the bed room. We got some help from a media technician as to the basic technical points and then carried out the procedure to create a really nice effect. Lip syncing became a very tedious job in our video due to the fact we were jumping from set to set, meaning a lot of shots had to be matched. We learnt a lot of handy time saving techniques like marking the selection and filming the whole song(meaning you only need to sync once) then chopping up the clip. I believe we used Final Cut to our full advantage and we learnt a lot from it.

Photoshop was the second piece of software we used to create our magazine advert and 'Digipak'. For our magazine advert we gained our first ideas from a magazine called 'Hip-Hop'. The magazine created a very technical format of its image and title. It managed to slot the title between the artist in the image and the background in the image. This is a very effective technique and we decided to use it. Using the image slice tool we created 2 layers of the original photo. The 1st layer is the background without the artist, this layer is 'sent to the back'. The 2nd layer is the cut out of the artist which we 'sent to the front'. We then put the name of our artist 'KANYE WEST in between the 2 layers. This technique is simple but effective. We didn't use this technique for the 'Digipak'. Instead we created a dvd('Digipak') case with well placed info an images. We used creactive fonts with attracting colours to make this product of a high standard.

Probably the most important of all the technologies we used, and are using, throughout the project is the blogger. The blogger is an online network where you can write up planning, research, ideas and anything of any interest to you or those involved with your project. It has proved very handy when planning. This is because you can be anywhere and still find out all of the details as to where, when, what(props), etc. This is as long as you have access to the internet. The main thing is you know where all of your work is if you need any help or information and there is no need for jotting stuff down in notebooks, which could easily be lost.  

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