Welcome to my A2 Media Studies Blog. The brief is: to produce a music video, a digipak cover, and magazine advert for the digipak. Throughout the course we will be learning about conventions (general and genre specific) used for each of these products.

Friday, 30 March 2012

All - Rough Cut 8

Today (30th March 2012) Sublime Transcendence created their eighth rough cut. We have addressed the majority of the feedback received yesterday, which features in the last post. However we are planning to add a werewolf howl in the near future and address the issue of there not being enough focus on Sam. We will resolve this by editing clips we already have or record some close-ups of Sam vocalising. Although we will have to be careful whilst doing the latter as there isn't any snow covering the ground.

This is our latest rough cut:

All - Rough Cut 7 Feedback

Yesterday (29th March 2012) we received feedback on our latest rough cut.

The feedback included:

  • Instead of shots being cut and blank gaps being left, replace the gaps with shots. This was due to a highly fast paced editing and flashing - this could cause  strokes for people with epilepsy. Although we agreed with this issue we decided to keep it at the end as we don't think it would cause epilepsy and actually suits this part of the video.
  • Another was to cut more of the shots, especially for the quickly edited aspects.
  • We had also received feedback the the name of the band and song should be removed as they aren't necessarily a common convention of the genre. Also not many artists do this in the music industry.
  • Remove the diegetic noise from the performance aspects which overlap.
  • Include more close-ups of the Sam, the vocalist.

Thursday, 29 March 2012

All - Rough Cut 7

Yesterday (28th March 2012) Sublime Transcendence finialised a new rough cut, to Sunburnt In December's "Like a Match to an Arsonist". We have taken in feedback and it is reflected in this cut. We have also taken inspiration from other music videos which are in or lose to the genre, metalcore. Examples of music videos which have influenced this cut is Metallica's "Enter Sandman" and Miss May I's "Masses of a Dying Breed".

We are planning to recieve feedback in the near future and make the required changes.

Here is our final cut:

Friday, 16 March 2012

All - Sunburnt In December "Like a Match to an Arsonist" Rough Cut 16th March

Here is Sublime Transcendence's rough cut, as of 16th March, for Sunburnt In December's song "Like a Match to an Arsonist"

Thursday, 15 March 2012

RM: Drafting Evaluation: Question 1

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

Define general conventions of texts (format)
Compare to what we have done
Define genre specific conventions
Again, compare to what we have done

Common Conventions in Music Video
- Usually a combination of two of Goodwin’s theory (Narrative, Performance and Concept)
- If performance based there is usually lip-syncing
- Close-ups of instruments
- Faster passed editing compared to other media texts, unless deciding to go against the convention
- High key lighting glamorises the vocalist however low key lighting is used but tends to be for sub genres
- Use of stereotypes, easy to communicate with audience
- Shot variation, particularly close-ups
- Non-diegetic into, outro or breaking into the song

Music Video Common Conventions used:
- Goodwin’s theory: Narrative and performance
- Close-ups of instruments
- Fast passed editing
- Shot variation
- Non-diegetic intro

Genre Conventions:
- Fast passed editing
- Special effects
- Links to religion
- Focus on the lead vocalist
- Lip-syncing

Genre Conventions used:
- Fast passed editing
- Special effects
- Focus on the lead vocalist

Convention of Digipak
- Links between the front and back panel and a link between each of the inside panels
- Sticker
- Back panel containing songs that are included on the CD
- Colour scheme
- Barcode
- Leaflet
- Name of artist and album title
- Copyright information
- Websites for the record label and band
- Catalogue number on spine

Digipak conventions used:
- Links between the front and back panel and a link between each of the inside panels
- Sticker
- Back panel containing songs that are included on the CD
- Colour scheme
- Barcode
- Leaflet
- Name of artist and album title
- Copyright information
- Websites for the record label and band

Conventions of a magazine advert:
- Artist’s name
- Album name
- Tour dates
- Where to find the band – Facebook, Twitter, MySpace etc, also record label’s website as well as band’s own website.
-Date of release (if not already)

Magazine Advert conventions used
- Artist’s name
- Album name
- Tour dates
- Where to find the band
- Date of release

RM - Drafting Evaluation: Question 2

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

- In real world production of three products would have been done by different companies. – 1 example that creates a product.
- Think of the themes of the three products
- Think of examples of digipaks, magazine advert and music video. which don’t contain integration – just because one product has one aspect doesn’t mean the others have to. Also provide where they do.

Themes included in our products:

- Isolation theme running throughout all three products.
- Integration: Location shots of narrative and performance in the magazine advert.
- Shots of narrative aspects located in the digipak.
- Differentiates: Photographs of original intended location (Twelve Appostles)
- Narrative aspects throughout all three of the products
- Death, Limbo, Narrative enigma, Northern touch, Rural aspect, Horror and Supernatural aspects feature in all three products. Although not all shots that are in the digipak and magazine advert appear in the music video and vice versa.
- Differentials between the time of day.
- Image manipulation
- Fake blood in music video and magazine advert but not in digipak
- Performance aspects in music video featured in the magazine advert.
- Location aspects in the music video featured in the digipak.
- Beast aspect not in all three products. However would be in the texts in real world

Music video is in the public eye (but depends on age rating) as well as digipak. Magazine Advert depends on the readership – tone up for older audience whereas tone down for younger audience.

RM: Drafting Evaluation: Question 3

3. What have you learned from your audience feedback?

- Specify who the primary and secondary target audience are.
- How we obtained this feedback and what their age and gender is
   - Youtube, Twitter, Sputnick music (forum), Facebook, etc.
- Discuss specific points and go into one cut’s feedback in detail – show the differences between before and after this feedback.
- Mention that not all feedback is necessarily good – use examples and explain why group thought not to use it.
- Summarise including my opinions on how well the feedback was and it was useful or not for each of the three products.

For the Music Videos mention:
- Removed all the shots with houses in, thus improved mise-en-scene and made the location appeared more isolated and fits into the genres to a better degree. This was done by a mixture of rotating, cropping and scaling up the clips in final cut express.
- Removed the cursing and replaced with beeps again used final cut express -> adds comedy aspect which plays a subpart throughout
- Tried to have a 4 split screen shot however the group and feedback said it didn’t reflect the genre. Therefore it didn’t make it into a rough cut.
- Not all over layering suits the aspects where used -> re-edited in final cut and have got repeated feedback on these aspects where it works and where it doesn’t.
- Diegetic introduction too long -> reduced clips was 36 seconds now under 30
- Added earthquake effects -> have a sense of sound waves moving the camera
- A common convention of having more close-ups of Sam did this in the reshoot but also scaled the clips.
For the Digipak mention:
- Cartoon like imagery
- Use of found photographs and images
- Didn't suit genre
- Not in line with our target audience
- Didn't tie into other products

For the Magazine Advert:
- Too much text and unnecessary information (had a single cover for the chosen song)
- Lack of tie into the other two products
- Didn't fit into our target audience and where the product would be found Terrorizer and Rock Sound

RM - Drafting Evaluation: Question 4

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

-List of technologies used and software used.
-Sharing websites including YouTube to research common conventions in music videos generally and genre specific (done through deconstructions) but also to gain feedback through comments.
-Websites including Wikipedia to gain access to information about bands, record labels, theories and genres however websites like Wikipedia aren’t a reliable source as the majority of pages can be edited by anyone.
- Social networking sites, forums and blogs including twitter and to allow for feedback on the product(s)
-Editing software: iMovie, Final Cut Express, photoshop etc. Mentioning the tools used.

Monday, 12 March 2012

RM - Research in Music Video Directors P. R. Brown

Art director, designer, photographer
for Godsmack's album Faceless
Art director, designer, photographer
for Godsmack's album The Other Side
P. R. Brown is a graphic designer, photographer, and music video director. As well as being well known for directing music videos he is also known well for designing album covers. Some of the album covers he has designed are for Mötley Crüe, Korn, Godsmack and Marilyn Manson. However he has directed music videos in a range of ranges. Bands he has directed music videos for include Bullet For My Valentine, My Chemical Romance, The Smashing Pumpkins,  Slipknot and many more.

Click here to see his full filmography

Sourced: Wikipedia

Each time P. R. Brown produces a music video he either tries to follow it on from the previous music video produced, an example of this would be My Chemical Roman's "Sing" with their music video following on from their pprevious single "Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na)", or tries to create something a little different compared to the band's previous videos. He has also known to take inspiration from films including The Road. The following extract is taken from an interview with VEVO talking about Lamb of God's music video for “Ghost Walking” which he produced.
P.R. Brown: I got a basic brief from the label as to where the band was going with its visuals and message for the whole album. And we made a teaser for the album a few weeks ago. It had snippets of one track, and a lot of the imagery was around Armageddon. It’s from the band’s perspective of there being no one left to save. It takes on this found-footage feeling of an underground movement that’s just about the end times, basically.
VEVO: Something that would parallel the film The Road?
P.R. Brown: Perfect call, yes. That’s the vibe of the album. So with that in mind, it was “how to do we make a lyric video with that kind of sensibility?” It was kind going into the notion of found archives and redacted text that the lyrics could come out from. The band has redacted text in their album art work as well. So that was the backbone for creating the lyric video: what would it be like if I found all these hundreds of documents with cryptic messages in them.
The full interview can be read here.
This is a similar approach to the music video we are producing as the main inspiration for our music video is the film "An American Werewolf In London".

Here are some examples:
My Chemical Romance - Sing

Bullet for My Valentine - Your Betrayal

Smashing Pumpkins - Tarantula

Smashing Pumpkins - Tarantula by Warner-Music

Slipknot - Psychosocial

Sunday, 11 March 2012

CO - Digipak's relationship to video and original images

I created the digipak's designs with the same idea that I'd had with the magazine ad, and that was to create a recurring theme through all three media texts. The main idea I wanted is that of the location and surrounding area that we shot; this involves Ilkley moor, stills from the wood where we shot our video and other varying areas of greenery. Our original plan was to shoot at the 12 Apostles on Ilkley Moor, but this soon became problematic as we could not get the equipment up there, especially in the snowy conditions we had.

Still, we used an image of the 12 apostles anyway because of the foreboding and isolated appearance of it, and also due to the aspect of intertextuality it had with Stonehenge, i.e the Spinal Tap-esque feel, but not as tongue-in-cheek.We used quite a lot of pictures from this area, and used Adobe Photoshop to edit them subtly, I decided to go with black and white undertone.

Another shot we used, for the back panel.
This is the front cover; featuring a forest
canopy, edited with instagram.

CO - Magazine Ad - relationship to video & original images

Another shot I played around with.
When I was creating the magazine advert for our group, I thought it should have a strong theme that echoes through both the advert's layout and also links in with our music video, forming a sort of contextuality through both media texts. I had done a series of drafts before the final one was completed, and those also related to the video, and included pictures, stills and more, but the backgrounds needed work and were not prominent and detailed enough.

Here are the original images that I took for the advert's background. I created these by lying my guitar down in the grass and covering my arm in food-colouring (the colouring was blue, so I had to make the image black and white instead) to give the impression of a bloodied band member, a theme obviously recurring throughout the whole music video.

The final image used for the advert.

One of the runner-up ideas, I liked the torch
aspect on this one.

Friday, 9 March 2012

SB - Relationship of Artists to Genre

Miss May I
Metalcore is a very formulaic genre with many bands falling under the same sound. This is very typical of bands who fall under the Rise Records label, they're often ridiculed and parodied because of the similar musical style and influences and the majority of them sound very 'cut and paste' examples of bands like this are Attack Attack!, Miss May I and Make Me Famous. These bands stick to the formulaic conventions of the genre heavily and don't really try to differ from the conventions, and follow all the rules, such as incorporating multiple breakdowns, dischords, clean vocal passages and dowtuned riffs.

The Devil Wears Prada
However there are bands who challenge the rules and can still be classed as a metalcore band. Examples of this are The Devil Wears Prada (TDWP), letlive. (to a certain extent) and Underoath. These bands are seen as changing the genre and often disregarding some of the common conventions. The Devil Wears Prada are famous for starting off like a typical Rise Records band. (regarded as the first band to start that trend off) They quickly left Rise Records and joined Ferret who are a more hardcore orientated label and started to incorporate more of the hardcore elements in their music. Gradually over time the band has got heavier and heavier while other bands (normally on Rise Records) have got less heavy and started to become what TDWP started out being. letlive. are a band that have incorporated many genres into their music they can be labelled as hardcore or metalcore but really they oppose genre and don't want to be caught under the same net as typical metalcore bands.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

CO - Role of Audience Feedback

As we near the end of our production stage of our music video, we can safely say as a collective that audience feedback has been an extremely important and significant part of the creation of the video. Without it, we would not know what to expect from a wide demographic or a second target audience, let alone a first one, and each session of feedback has helped us strengthen both our performance and our narrative as we worked on it. The audience feedback ranged from smaller points such as "This person could be wearing this instead of this to create a better mis-en-scene" etc. to much larger points such as "I recommend you film in an entirely different location", both of which we took into account and used to help better our production. Similarly to that we also took into account more technical aspects, such as improvements that could be made using Final Cut Express, and also utilizing parts from its large palette of effects to incorporate the use of new media technologies into our music video.

CO - Using Final Cut Express

As a way of incorporating the use of new media technologies, classes this year and the year beforehand have heavily advocated the use of Final Cut Express, a variant of Apple's hugely successful Final Cut Pro. This rather fantastic utility allows users to import footage in a variety of formats including .xml, .mov, .mp4 and many more and use a whole host of different tools, appliances and devices to edit whatever you want. We all thought that the use of Final Cut Express helped us extensively throughout the video's creation, and still is. It was of course a huge step up to being restricted to iMovie '08, which was the program that a majority of us used last year for our film openings, as we got to use so many more features; notable examples on our video include (or will include when we're done with it) various "hot colour" tints such as deep red and sepia, glows, fades, possible dazzles, the earthquake effect (which obviously shakes a chosen focal point to simulate a tremor) and a lot of fade in/fade out/cross dissolve transitions. However, the main effect that we used in FCE was the use of the bezier brightness and contrast slider, where we darkened and lightened shots we needed, which we couldn't do before. To summarise, the use of Final Cut Express has greatly helped Sublime Transcendence achieve all we wanted by using effects and precision within the post-production stages of our video.

CO - Representation of Gender in our video

To begin with, it would be important to note that our video roughly features the gender-based conventions of most metalcore/metal, as the most predominant feature is the fully male lineup of Sunburnt In December. Most bands of the genre have this gendered approach, such as August Burns Red, The Devil Wears Prada, The Acacia Strain, Periphery and more, just off the top of my head. Going against this convention however, are bands such as Kittie, Arch Enemy, Aliases, Eyes Set to Kill, iwrestledabearonce! and more all feature female

Leah from ALIASES, a prog-
ressive metalcore band, a subgenre near
our own one, defying the convention
of all metalcore bands having all-male members.
vocalists or members. We realised that we had the all-male set that the target audience for our genre would recognise, yet within our actual video's narrative, we tried to break away from convention a little bit, because of the reason that it is often a final girl/scream queen that is obviously chased by an unseen being, inhuman or other, and all of us in Sublime Transcendence agreed it was a good idea to have an all-male cast, not just for practicalities, but so we could link it well to the performance whilst forming a binary opposite to the more conventional female leads.

All - Budget

Whilst creating our music video we have had to work with a very limited budget, like all groups which across the year. The only time we needed to buy items was creating the fake intestines and fake blood.

The items we bought to create the fake intestines, and there prices follows:
Tights -  £3.50
A lot of kitchen roll - £1.25
4x Strawberry Jelly (125grams)  - £0.37 each

The items we bought to create the fake blood or as follows:
1x Golden Syrup (454grams) - £0.99
1x Red Food Colouring (38Ml) - £1.05

We also bought and used some fake blood however we feel that the fake blood we created is of higher quality.

Here is our vodcast on how Sam created the fake intestines:

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

All - Feedback For Latest Rough Cut

Today we got the following feedback:
Cross dissolve from the shot of the band members walking into the distance to the shot leading to the band.
In the lead to the band being shown include more diegetic sound
Or remove the first section (the narrative introduction) and have the shot leading up to the band as the first shot
The narrative aspects need to be earlier
Need to think more carefully on the transitions used and how long
Change the line "Guys just going for a piss"
Animate shots therefore allowing for zooming in shots, especially for the vocalist
Smooth down the audio instead of dropping it harshly when there are lines in the narrative
Cut back to the performance aspect and cut the shot where two band members fall.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

All - Rough Cut (5th March)

Here is our latest rough cut for Sunburnt In December's "Like A Match To An Arsonist". We plan to gain feedback in the upcoming days. We are also planning on re-filming aspects of the narrative section this this Friday, in particular the opening scene.

All - Final Digipak Designs

Here are the main panels that we are using for our digipak, all have gone numerous feedback-induced changes along the way. We plan to use some images of the landscape for possible additional panels too.

Front panel.



Back panel.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

CO - Latest Magazine ad edition

I have just completed the latest edition of the magazine ad, this time including all the feedback we got from the last effort I made. It includes aspects of layering and a whole new design, focusing on a still from the music video, a bloodied band member with a discarded instrument. To see the image in its maximum resolution (the filesize is massive), click this link.