Friday, 7 February 2014

Dear Examiners,

I hope you enjoy browsing through my blog and tracing my progress. Although tough at times, I really enjoyed this project and I hope you like my final products. I made a short bloopers video to round off the coursework. Bye!


Wednesday, 29 January 2014


My final music video

 My final digipak with pullout

My final magazine advert

Evaluation question 4

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


 - Adobe After Effects is the program I first used when editing my footage. As mentioned,
I chose to incorporate masking into my music video. Masking in terms of footage, is essentially
covering something up with something else. For each scene that was going to be masked, I had to 
record that scene three times, one for each character. I also had to record a background track to
mask the footage onto. I used After Effects to do all of my masking as it was the method that I 
thought would produce the best results. I was not familiar with the program before so had to learn
all the basics before I could even consider tackling something as complicated as masking. After
some lessons on how to use it, I made a preliminary masking video (see below) to familiarise 
myself with what I had to do, and also to see if I liked the outcome, which I did! I was,and in fact
still am amazed with the process of masking and what the final product looks like in comparison
to the original footage. To mask, I firstly had to import the footage into After Effects and layer the 
clips in accordance to how I wanted them to appear in the mask. The background track usually
went on the top, and then the remaining clips under that in order of sequence. Once this was done.
I had to draw a mask around the section of the clip that I wanted to use, which would then appear 
on another layer, next to whatever was in that shot. In this case, my masking was of Nikita, so I
masked her from one shot, into another, and did this again with the third character, so there was
three of Nikita in one scene. This process was particularly monotonous and overall frustrating on
motion shots as if the timing was out or the camera moved even slightly, the whole shot was 
ruined. Moreover, unlike with the static shots, the motion shots meant I had to create a mask path,
whereby the masked character would move along the screen on the new layer I placed it on.It 
turned out that the process of masking would become the most time consuming part of my
editing, with a single 3 second shot taking over 5 hours to mask. After I masked all my shots, I
then exported them as complete new pieces of footage, which made it easier for me when I came
to importing all my footage into Final Cut Express, as I could simply place it on the timeline for the
desired length and in the right place, and that shot was pretty much done. Although I find Final Cut
Express easier to use as it is generally more simple and I used it last year, I am very pleased that
I incorporated After Effects into my editing process, as not only am I satisfied with the results
of the work that I edited in there, but I am now familiar with yet another program, that without 
studying media, I would probably never learn how to use.

This screenshot shows some of the masking that was made using After Effects, here I was playing around with the colour of the footage.

Here, I was brightening the shots by adding in a blue sky. This helped with the overall feel of the video as it needs to be bright and happy. These is the before and after shots

- Final Cut Express is the program that I used to edit my music video together. I am familiar
with this program as I used it for my coursework last year, so the initial use of it did not set me 
back and I could start my editing with ease. However, unlike last year, I did not have to cut to the
beat, which became a challenging part of my editing. I begun by using the markers to signal 
where the main beats were in the song, as well as having the waveform showing on the music
track to enable be to be able to visually see the beat as well. After importing all my footage, 
I started to select the in and out points on the footage for the parts I wanted to use, and then
placed them on the timeline in sequence. This was all okay, I just had to ensure that everything
was to the beat. One thing I personally found particularly difficult was the lip syncing part. Some 
of this was due to the actor not singing in time with the music, and some trouble was caused by
other shots being off. Although, at long last I overcame this hurdle and started working on the
effects that I wanted to include as part of the 'gag' video. I also played around with effects such as 
'flop' which moves the footage from one side of the screen to the other; I used this for parts of my
base track to make it more dynamic. I also changed the speed, some to slow motion and some 
I made faster, whilst I found the reverse tool quite appropriate too as it added humor to some of
my shots. Something I also used on Final Cut was the colour correcter tool. This helped me to 
ensure that I added warmth to my footage, which supported the 'gag' aspect of the video, as it 
helped it look light hearted and happy, rather than dreary like some of the white skies had 
previously done. Moreover, this tool aided me in the sense that I could add consistency to the 
footage and either lighten or darken them depending on what needed to be done.This  particular 
editing process  has definitely made me aware of how many shots you need in order to create
an interesting music video, as they tend to have a great deal of quick shots as oppose to a few
longer ones. Furthermore, I realised how using different angles would benefit the overall look of
the music video, and that cutting to the beat takes a fine eye in order to get it 100% spot on.
Finally, I think I can appreciate just how difficult it is to edit together a music video as not only
does the lip sync have to match, and the shots be cut to the beat, but it has to contain a diverse
mix of shots and different footage, all things that I have learnt how to do during this process.

This is my sequence on Final Cut. Here, the RGB effect can be seen in use, which I edited in Final Cut. Moreover, the sequence an the music can be seen on my timeline, where I have been editing together my video.

- Photoshop is another program that prior to this coursework I did not know how to use. Initially, 
I found it really frustrating as I knew what I wanted to do, but I had no idea how to do it. We started
with a lesson into the basic features of Photoshop, and even then I struggled to keep up. I found
that as I was finding it particularly challenging, I would discover how to use it for myself. I began to
watch tutorials to help me use it, from watching videos as basic as showing me how to create a
shape and adding in text, to videos that taught me how to make my work black and white with 
certain parts in colour. I found this easier as I could figure things out at my own pace, and this
worked, because after a little while, I was able to complete my digipak and magazine advert
to the standard I wanted, and they turned out how I had hoped. Of course, I had help and
guidance from teachers along the way, but I found that once I got the hang of it, I was able to work
independently. As well as using Photoshop for my ancillary tasks, I went back to it during my
video editing for a particular masking shot. Here, I needed to remove a rose that Nikita was
holding, to make it appear that it had been snatched by a second character played by Nikita.
This was tricky as it began to look fake and literally looked like I had coloured over Nikita's skin
with a paint brush. I was using the clone stamp tool so that I could clone parts of Nikita's neck 
and use this to hide where the rose was being held in front of her chest.

This is the original photo that I imported into PhotoShop to make the back cover of my digipak. 

This shows a more developed version of it. I changed the star from blue to green to fit the colour scheme, which is a convention of digipks, and then started adding information such as the track list and the bar code.

Here, I am making the panel that will contain the cd, which was more difficult than the other panels. I had to place my image, but then make sure there was a circle in which the disk would be placed. I decided to use the cow image to continue the motif from the video, and it was the perfect shape.

This is me starting to make my magazine advert. By this point, I was far more familiar with using PhotoShop, so it did not take me as long. 

Evaluation question 3

What have you learned from your audience feedback?

1. Class and teacher feedback on your initial idea:

Positive initial feedback

Negative initial feedback:

I was really happy with my positive feedback, as the general gist of it was that I had a new and unique idea for my music video. The negative feedback didn't concern me, it motivated me. I had the idea in my head and I was going to do it, no matter how many hours it took. I did face problems along the way, but that was inevitable. It was time consuming when it came to editing, and it was difficult and frustrating at times during the masking process, but I set out to learn a new skill and do something different and I did. Changes made as a result of this feedback was the amount of shots that would be masked. Initially, there was a large amount of shots that I intended to mask, but in order to stay within the given time frame, my partner and I shortened the list so that only particular shots were masked. In the long run, this benefitted us as the masking took a lot longer then expected.

2. Rough cut, class and teacher feedback(See prezi)

3. Class feedback on your digipak roughs:

This is an early draft of my digipak. The feedback I received suggested I need a stronger image for the front cover, as the paper does not look realistic, and that I should also look into other ideas for names. Moreover, the image behind the cd panel was not popular and I also needed ideas for my final panel. Lastly, I voiced that I was unsure about it in colour so it was put forward that I should experiment with it in black and white.

I took on board all my feedback and this was the outcome. I reshot photos for the front cover, as my teacher Mr Malloy said it would look more authentic with cardboard. Also, after discussing the name 'On The Road' with him, I decided to change it to something that suited the theme of the album better. This is where StoneHaven originated from. As it turned out, I much preferred it black and white, and I also found an image to put behind the cd panel - I continued my cow motif! Finally, I removed the image of Tom by the tree as this was not popular with my peers, and instead, made a pull out with images of the cow chase at the end of my video. I then decided that I wanted to enhance the green to continue my colour scheme.

Here, I enhanced the green like I wanted too, and this is a version of my final draft. The cow was a hit as people found it funny, but also it fitted the shape of the panel perfectly.

I put this image of my magazine advert and digipak on my Twitter to get feedback, and this is the results:

My magazine advert was fairly easy to create once I had finished my digipak. I continued the colour scheme and used the front cover of my digipak as the image on the advert. Initially I had no negative feedback on it so I didn't change anything. However, on later inspection, it was noted that the green writing was not legible, so I began to experiment with alternatives. These are the drafts I put forward for feedback. The first one is the original, the second and third were improvements.

This is the feedback I got on my magazine advert experiments:

4. Part two (ancillary tasks - part one is in the prezi) - Final version of everything with class feedback and feedback from anyone else 

Final digipak:

Final magazine advert:

The overall feedback for my final drafts of my ancillary tasks was that they looked professional, they met the conventions of a digipak and a magazine advert, they linked with the theme of the video and finally, after changes, they were now legible. The idea of the pull out on the digipak went down well as I was the only person who did this.

Monday, 27 January 2014

Evaluation question 2

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

Evaluation question 1

In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products? (i.e music videos)

Frame 1: This image shows one of the characters holding a bottle of alcohol, in the actual video, all three characters appear one after the other with a bottle. This footage is on screen, with the lyrics 'If I get drunk, well I know I'm gonna be, I'm gonna be the man who gets drunk next to you'. This provide evidence for the fact that I have linked the lyrics of the song to the visuals, which happens on numerous occasions in my video.

Frame 2: This image typifies the way the record company would want their artist to be represented as it depicts a young, fun and carefree artist that would be a breath of fresh air in the industry. Moreover, as a young man, he would attract a considerable amount of female attention, which ensures record sales would be high, which is what every record company seeks, thus resulting in a successful artist. Finally, he does not appear to be someone who will have a bad influence on fans.

Frame 3: The representation of genre can clearly be seen through the use of the guitar. The genre of the artist is Folk Rock/ College Rock (otherwise known as alternative) where instruments, particularly guitars are a common convention. Thus the guitar was featured with the artist, however there is a slight twist, as the music video is a gag video, the guitar seen is an inflatable one. Moreover, similar male solo artists also commonly have guitars, such as Ed Sheeran, Jason Mraz and James Morrison.

Frame 4: This shot shows intertextual reference and is one of many shots featuring the cow motif. The use of cows in a music video can also be seen in The Prodigy's 'Baby's Got A Temper'. In my video, the cows randomly pop up on numerous occasions and add to the sense of it being a gag video. In  'Baby's Got A Temper' the band are seen coming onto stage and performing to an audience full of cows. Like in my video, there is no real purpose to the cows, they are just unexpected and add humor to the video.

Frame 5: This shot shows camera movement, in which the artist can only be seen from the shoulders upwards. The low angle was used to continue the theme of the sky which is prominent in my magazine advert and on my digipak. Also, it is a close up as this is a common feature in music videos, as it is the artist who is selling the song.

Frame 6: Instead of having both sides of the face equally lit, I positioned him so that the sun lit one side of his face, whilst the other has a shadow. This avoided flat lighting and made the shot more dynamic and interesting to look at.

Frame 7: This shot demonstrates my use of mise-en-scene through the use of costume, make up, and positioning. This character is a slut, which can be seen through the heels, minimal clothing, red lipstick and seductive pose whilst sat in the tree.

Frame 8&9: Shot 8 demonstrates that I have watched other music videos, as that is where the idea of masking came from. One in particular that was of inspirational was Ben Folds 'Rockin The Suburbs', where he is playing all of the characters and all of the instruments. This idea can be seen in my own video, where Nikita is playing multiple characters, and through the use of masking in various scenes. Shot 9 also shows that I have watched other music videos, as it is evident that videos my current artists also feature modes of transport, such as a scooter. This can be found in Chris Brown's music video for 'Beautiful People'.

Frame 1: A shot that shows a link between lyrics and visuals can be seen in Owl City's 'Fireflies'. As he sings the lyrics 'if ten million fireflies', the word fireflies appears on the type speak machine. This is an example of an illustrative relationship as it visualises the lyrics.

Frame 2: I used Rizzle Kicks as an example as they are similar to my artist in the sense that they are young, fun, and carefree. This would mean they are represented in a positive way, which is essentially what a record label wants. The song 'When I Was A Youngster' emphasises this and shows their young and fun side which would in effect make them popular, another attribute that a record label would want in an artist.

Frame 3: James Morrison is a similar artist to mine and thus he was a good example for showing how music genre is illustrated in a music video. The genre Pop Rock has typically guitar based songs, with the guitar being an iconic feature. The guitar is also seen in my music video to represent that genre, other than the fact that it is inflatable as part of the gag.

Frame 4: Intertextuality is common in music videos, and Oasis are famous for constantly having references to The Beatles in their songs, album covers and even lyrics. In the video to 'Shakermaker' there is a scene featuring Liam Gallagher in a record shop, holding a Paul McCartny and Wings 'Red Rose Speedway' record.

Frame 5: A similar use of camera that I used, in the form of a low angle, can be seen in Outcast's video for 'Ms Jackson'. The low angle shot makes the man appear powerful and more important.

Frame 6: Like the split lighting on Tom's face in my video, I found another music video where this has been done. The video is for Slash and Adam Levine's song 'Gotten'. The purpose of doing this in their video is that when the abusive boyfriend walks into the room, he casts a dark light over her face.

Frame 7: I chose 'Boulevard of Broken Dreams' by Greenday as the mise-en-scene is very distnctive. As a punk rock band, it is expected that the video will contain low lighting, and that the costumes will include leather jackets, dark or black clothing and heavy make up. These elements are clearly seen in the video and as a result, clearly emphasise the genre of the band, and make for an effective and obvious use of mise-en-scene.

Frame 8&9: This shot is from Ben Folds 'Rocking The Suburbs' which I mentioned earlier as the inspiration behind the idea to use masking in my video. This shot distinctly shows more than one of Ben in the shot, which is something I am fascinated by and found it really interesting when editing my masking shots together. The second shot is from Chris Brown's music video for 'Beautiful People', again, as mentioned before, this is one of the videos I looked at when finding out what transport I could include in my video, I liked the idea of a scooter as it was not as conventional as an expensive car which is something featured in many music videos.
Music video analysis:

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Magazine advert feedback

 1.                                  2.

- I prefer three because of the selection of colours and by having the rating stars as green it looks less ''in your face'' than both one and two. -Nicole Spriggs

- I like number three because of the contrast between black and green, it doesn't look to over crowded or to bright. I dislike number 1 as the green is very bright and number 2 because of the gradient at the top. - Nikita Petralia

- I prefer magazine advert '2' as it stands out (eye catching) more because of the colours used. It is laid out neatly and professionally and matches the genre well through the use of bright green colour. It is clear what the album name and artist name is - Magazine advert 3 looks professional however it is colourless and it is hard to identify whether it is a book advert or album advert. - Romina Nejad

- I prefer the 3rd magazine advert because I like the colour scheme and the contrast between the black and green colours. The reason I don't like the 1st magazine advert is because the green writing is not as legible as the black writing. For the 2nd magazine advert I think that the green gradient does not look appealing on it. - George Schena

-I prefer 2 because of its contrast between the colour and the white. It is also eye catching because it caught my attention first.  - Jesal Joshi

- The third advertisement strikes me as the most suitable as opposed to the previous two incarnations as it has a good balance between legibility and simplicity that the others clearly don't exhibit. - Mr James

- I favour the third magazine advert mainly because it is simple and minimal. The green acts as an accent colour which is very nice. It is different to other magazine adverts but this is a good thing! - Lisha Gorasia

- I prefer number 3 as the black font is bold and eye catching. I think number 2 looks really cool but the green highlight at the top of the page distracts from the main image at the bottom, the first ad is also effective but the green writing is easily lost on the white background. - Leon Dominique

After numerous changes and reading the feedback from peers and teachers, I have decided that magazine advert number 3 is to be my final draft. I am happy with the result and think it is more legible and professional without everything written in bright green,  yet the colour scheme is still present.