My name is Ella Budgett and my candidate number is 8120. The other two candidates I am with in Group 1 are Eleanor Lynch (8450) and Pru Carter-Phillips (8128). Our group photo can be seen on the right. To see my portfolio evidence, please click on the three labels on the right named A2 Research and Planning, A2 Construction, and A2 Evaluation.
Thursday, 26 January 2017
Monday, 9 January 2017
Evaluation Question 1: In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?
One of the main theorists I looked at to see whether our music video either conformed to or challenged existing media products is Andrew Goodwin. I explain his theory in the Prezi below and then go on to apply it to our own music video.
When making our video and deciding if we wanted to conform or challenge the conventions, we had to look specifically at music videos of the same genre as ours and see which characteristics they adopted.
An example of an existing music video that follows the studio convention is La Roux's song 'Bulletproof' as seen below.
In this GIF, the camera pans around MiraJax's heads whilst Mira sings the lyrics 'like a map of my brain' to indicate a literal interpretation of the lyrics as the camera movement implies looking around their brains.
In this GIF, Mira and Jack stand outside the station and we edited the clip to make it sped up. This shows a literal illustrative interpretation of the lyrics 'too many voices drown the ones that need to be heard the most' because the people in the background act as the voices that are surrounding them.
In this GIF, the visuals show an amplified interpretation of the lyrics because as a group we understood the lyrics to tell a story of a girl breaking free from restrictions, remaining sweet and true to herself. The balloons on set were our way of indicating a celebration of freedom, the flower petals show the destruction of expected femininity and the heart lollipops show that she has a sweet heart and wants to love herself.
Another convention we followed from Goodwin's theory, is the record label demand for a reoccurring visual motif. We used the beat on the chorus to edit beauty cutaway shots which show Mira's face/body parts in close up shots which draws attention to her style. This also follows the convention of an illustrative relationship between the visuals and music as we edited on the beat. However, we didn't include any voyeurism or intertextuality because it didn't fit in with the storyline we created. Below is a clip form our video that shows our visual motif that has been edited on the beat.
Another theorist we looked at is Carol Vernallis. She bases her theory around four concepts that determine how a video is constructed; narrative, editing, camera movement and framing and diegesis. I explain her theory in the Prezi below and then go on to apply it to our own music video.
Judging by the forms and conventions highlighted in this theory, our music video is appears to be equal in it's levels of conformity and challenge. I have purposely picked out one point from either the conform or challenge column for each concept. The points I have picked out are then demonstrated with an example as they are the most important/obvious points.
We didn't want our music video to conform fully to the forms and conventions that both Goodwin and Vernallis highlighted because we felt this would subtract from the uniqueness of our video and would therefore be less interesting to watch. It was a key factor for us that our video had lots of narrative to engage a UK, urban audience, but also lots of studio to reveal our artists' style and aura.
The conventions of an electropop artist website can be seen in the diagram below.
With our website, we conformed to conventions on the basis that they are key for promoting an artist well and there are important requirements to think about such as all the necessary pages, however, we were able to then further developed some conventions by adding even more interactivity on our website in order to make it more entertaining and engaging.
On the left is an image that shows one of the conventions we conformed to for artist websites of the same genre. We wanted to include a home page that promoted the album because this is ultimately a huge source of income and a lot of the website revolves around songs on this album. Many artist websites have this on their home page, with links to buy the album and listen to the song on iTunes (we also included live links to allow our audience to do this) because it gives their fans purchasing opportunities, enabling them to feel engaged and connected with the artist on some level.
On the right is an image that shows how we developed conventions as we included the chance for our audience to enter a competition, as well as a meet a greet where fans can meet MiraJax and get the new album signed. We wanted to include these opportunities because we felt it added a new dynamic to our artist and fan relationship, showing our duo to be very connected with their fans. Other websites of the same genre only make use of merchandise and subscribing pages, along with social media links. This may be because they are tailored to an older target audience. It seemed that a lot of pop artist websites had more interactivity such a quizzes on Little Mix's website and this could be because their target audience is younger (a similar target audience to ours).
Below is a table that highlights the most important conventions of a debut album cover. As is clear, we followed all the conventions mentioned. We did this because ours is a debut album and so in order for it to sell and get MiraJax's name out there, it had to appeal to our audience. If our duo were bigger and more well known then we would be able to experiment with our album cover more as we would have already built up a big fan base who know our music well and so they would buy our album regardless.
Roles of Media Products
- Serves as the promotion for the new single
- Clearly emphasises duo's genre and the way in which duo interact with each other
The photo on the left is a still from our video that promotes the new single 'Best Be Believing' and also shows how Mira and Jack interact with each other on set, which is reflective of how they interact in real life.
- Acts as the 'hub' for all other media products and platforms
- Links to music video and social media accounts as well as promoting the new album
- Can be seen as a visual promotion for the debut artist
- Draws attention to the duo's style and image
On the left shows the front and back panels of our album cover, giving the audience insight into the style of our duo and in turn promotes their image as a debut artist.
For a debut artist, it is important to follow these roles of media products so that our whole branding of the duo works synergistically and there is lots of repetition across all the products and platforms, as to create a strong image and style for our duo that people will eventually recognise. I went on to look at the synergy across our media products more closely, to see how effective the combination of our main media product and ancillary texts is in this aspect. We have included lots of synergistic features in order to make our duo recognisable by our fans and to tie all the products together to create a strong duo brand and image. A diagram of our synergy can be seen below.
Below, I have made a case study for how Jorja Smith (also a debut artist) has created a strong branding for herself using music videos and album. She doesn't have a website yet.
I also looked at the duo 'Disclosure' to see how they were marketed and what the relationship was like between their media products.
I used some of Dyer's ideas about personality and ideologies when researching Disclosure, who is a theorist we looked at in order to gain some insight and inspiration for how we could create the best star identity for MiraJax. Richard Dyer's 'star' theory is outlined in the Prezi below and will then go on to apply his ideas to our duo.
Stars as Constructions
- We wanted to create a duo that people could look up to and relate to, despite the fact that they are a construction made to fit in with the emerging UK electropop industry
- It is a priority that we presented both Mira and Jack as very real and down to earth people as this the kind of thing they promote in their music
- Ultimately we do want our audience to be spending money on buying tour tickets, merchandise, etc so we had to create the perfect star persona and we did this buy going down the authentic artists route
- There is a gap in the market for upcoming UK electropop artists, as there are already many formulaic artists, and so we recognised the need for variation
- We packaged MiraJax as a fun and vibrant duo who love their fans and love making music - as can be seen on the right, the shop page on their website is a way of making money from their audience buying the merchandise, but behind the products is a video of Mira and Jack laughing together, promoting their star persona as authentic, laid back and fun which is what entices the audience to buy their products in the first place
- MiraJax are a duo that want to promote happiness and individuality, something that other people can also achieve
- They talk about the issue of restraints which is an issue that most young adults (MiraJax's target audience) struggle with - under the category of restraints comes parental pressure; friendships; and any other freedom issues)
- MiraJax address these topics through their music ('Best Be Believing' is a good example) and also through their social media platforms, particularly Twitter, which allows the audience to comment on their posts, like and retweet, meaning there is good communication between the duo and fans - an example of this can be seen on the right
- MiraJax's individual characteristics shine through in the way in which they present themselves both though social media and by interacting with their fans - real characteristics which have been further constructed and emphasised such as; loving, outgoing and funny
- Their character traits have been moulded by the 21st generation like their fans - societal values and current events help them grow as people and their fans can look up to them and the ideologies they support
- Below, MiraJax's behind the scenes video can be seen which allows for their personality to be seen as well as a clip of them interacting with fans and signing autographs
I will go on to explain our target audience, secondary audience and tertiary audience in the diagram below.
In order for our target audience to gain anything from our products in the first place, we needed to look into a theory of how to appeal to audiences. One that we found particularly useful is the 'Uses and Gratifications' theory which is explained and then applied below.
Whilst constructing each media product, we decided we would get audience feedback throughout so that we could make the changes suggested by our target audience in order for our final products to be as appealing as possible. Audience feedback and the changes we made for our music video, website and album are listed below.
We asked a member of our target audience to watch our rough cut video before we went on to film and edit the real video so that we were aware of all the improvements we needed to make. The member we chose is a 17 year old female who enjoys listening to electropop. Our rough cut video can be seen below.
We then asked her to give us feedback on it, stating some of the things she liked but mainly focusing on the improvements that we could make. Her feedback can be seen in the video below.
We took on board the improvements that she mentioned and worked on making our argument scene clearer. In our rough cut, the argument lacks continuity and seems a bit rushed. We worked on this by trying out different camera angles in the real shoot and sticking to the editing rules. We also focused on coming up with a scenario that could be improvised, so that it didn't seemed staged or unnatural. The rough cut and then the changes we made in the real video can be seen below.
We also worked on adding more movement to our studio shots because as our target audience member mentioned, the shots were to static and looked dull and boring, however she was able to gain entertainment as mentioned in the uses and gratification theory, by watching the colourful studio set ups. We used a dolly in the real shot to add variety to the shots and make them more visually interesting. The rough cut and then the changes we made in the real video can be seen below.
We then created a survey using 'Survey Monkey' to collect some final data and see if our music video was successful overall. Ultimately we wanted to know if people liked the video and whether or not it promoted our duo well. Alongside this, we wanted to find out if the target audience we had in mind is the audience that our video actually appealed to.
The link to our survey: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/NMSM5GT
We asked the following questions:
- What is your age? (Multiple choice)
- What is your gender? (Multiple choice)
- What music genre(s) do you listen to? (Multiple choice)
- Having watched the music video, which genre do you think this song falls under?
- Having watched the music video, would you like to know more about MiraJax?
- Having watched the music video, is there anything you would change?
- What message do you think the music video is trying to portray?
- What would you rate the music video out of 10? (Multiple choice)
- How well do you think the music video works with the song track? (Multiple choice)
- Did the music video make you want to buy the album? (Multiple choice)
Analysis of final feedback
Overall, we are very pleased with the final audience feedback as it proves that we made a successful music video which appealed to many people aged 16-24. Audience feedback played a huge role in the process of making the video as it enabled us to listen to what our audience thought and then make adaptions according to their opinions. When thinking about the uses and gratification theory, it is clear that our music video incorporated these elements. Our audience were able to gain entertainment from the studio shots (as seen in Flo's interview), and they were able to relate to the artist or feel some kind of connection to them (seen in the survey results as many people wanted to know more about MiraJax).
We aimed to create a website that is easy to navigate, has many purchasing and interactive opportunities and allows for the audience to gain insight in MiraJax's style and brand as whole. Throughout the process of making our music video we took audience feedback to see what people liked and what we could improve upon.
One of the main things that things that people liked was the behind the scenes video which allowed for them to see Mira and Jack acting like their normal selves and how they are together when not filming. Another thing that people liked was the visual idea - lots of different colours and photos which made the pages more interesting. An example of the background across two different pages can be seen to the right. On the top page, the background is neon lights and on the page beneath, the background is our logo in monogram print.
Improvements we made
One main thing that kept coming up in our audience feedback is that they wanted quick links to our social media accounts and so we had a bar for Twitter, Instagram and Facebook that remained on the right side of our website across all the pages - can be seen on the left. The idea that they wanted social media links could be due to the surveillance and personal identity aspects of the uses and gratification theory - our audience may want to see what MiraJax think of certain issues, as well as gaining further understanding of them as individuals because the audience view them as role models.
Our Instagram page that the button links to from our website can be seen below.
Analysis of final feedback
Analysis of final feedback
Evaluation Question 4: How did you use new media technologies in the construction, research, planning and evaluation stages?
Research and Planning
Below is a prezi explaining how and why we used some of the technologies we did in the research and planning stage.
As we had already used blogger to post about our research and planning during AS Media, I already knew what was expected and how to use the tools that blogger provides. However, during AS we didn't need to create a steal-o-matic so this was new to me. It meant my research was a lot more thorough and I was able to gain lots of reference points due to the amount of existing music videos we had to watch. Using Adobe Premiere Pro to collate all these clips together wasn't too difficult as we had used this software during AS, but it took a while to refresh my memory. For the steal-o-matic, we only used basic editing tools such as cropping the video length so it was quite simple, however, one thing I did learn was how to alter the framing of the video so that the clips all looked roughly the same size, making it more visually pleasing to watch.
Below is a prezi explaining how and why we used some of the technologies we did in the construction (production) stage.
I had never used the studio lights before, so our media technician had to teach us all how to use them. The most difficult part of this was remembering how to select certain lights and then change the colour filters for them. However, once we got the set up we wanted we were able to record the lights on a computer software, meaning we wouldn't have to waste time in our next session getting the rigth set up again as it would be saved on the computer. In our preliminary task for A2 Media, we filmed in the studio and used the monitors to get up Taylor Swifts lyrics so I already had an idea of how these worked and was able to use them when shooting our real video. As I was performing the whole time, I rarely did the camera work, however, we had a sessions with out media technician who should us how it worked and after this it was quite easy to get used to.
Below is a prezi explaining how and why we used some of the technologies we did in the construction (post-production) stage.
I had never used Wix before we started this coursework project and so i was excited to learn how to use it as it may benefit me in the future. It was a very easy way to create our duo's website as it consisted of all the tools we needed and was quite self explanatory. However, it was frustration to use at times as the site often crashed and was slow. Yet despite this, it was ideal for holding all MiraJax's info in one place so that it could act as a hub to all other platforms. Making social media accounts was an easy task because as a teenager myself I have my own social media and use it regularly, so know how everything works. Photoshop proved to be the most difficult part in the stage as it took the most time and we all needed to refresh our memories on how to use it. But due it to being a key part of our construction, we had to use it a lot and now I feel positive that I would be able to use it again without assistance.
Below is a prezi explaining how and why we used some of the technologies we did in the evaluation stage.
Most of the online tools I used in my evaluation I had already used before for other subjects and tasks. However, GoConqr was a new one for me and I found it very useful for presenting information quickly and effectively. It is also something that I can go on to use for other areas of my education when presenting something to a class for example.
In conclusion, I feel very lucky that we have access to all these old and new technologies and can use them all to our advantage. It is clear from the technologies I have highlighted that Web 2.0 plays a massive a role - it is what many other technologies derive from, e.g. social media and websites. One theorist, Tim O'Reilly says that Web 2.0 is what allows for mass collaboration and interactivity which is clearly seen through the huge communities on social media, for example Twitter. We benefited from Web 2.0 greatly as we created both social media accounts and a website for our duo, allowing us to reach our audience easily and leading to our duo being a success.
Tuesday, 13 December 2016
The pages we have are:
- Videos + Photos
We found a template that had all of these pages and so we used this as our starting point for our website, but changing the layout and images as we went along.
|Landing Page 1|
On the first landing page, the debut album is being promoted and there is an iTunes image that links the viewer to the iTunes store page allowing for interactivity.
|Landing Page 2|
On the second landing page, there is an image of Mira and Jack at 'God's Own Junkyard' showing the lights behind them to keep to to motif of lights.
|Landing Page 3|
On the third landing page, there is an image of Mira and Jack with our Instagram feed next to them, allowing for the viewer to keep up to date with MiraJax's social media.
|Paint bucket tool|
Quick view for item.
Cart for item.
For the background of our shop page, we wanted to use a moving image and so we took shots from our rushes that we didn't use and merged them with cross dissolves. This make the page more engaging and exciting.
This page was difficult to add because it wasn't a part of the template that we used and so we had to put in a link that opened up another page.