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

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Script Complete:

I used a vast range of effective and sophisticated media technologies when both researching and constructing my personalised music production. One of the very beginning tasks I completed, towards the bottom of my blog, where the numerous research analysis posts of existing professional music videos. When completing this, i used the website YouTube to analyse/specifically breakdown sections of artist productions of a similar genre (slight mix as at the beginning I was unsure on my specific genre) in hope to find inspiration and ideas when trying to plan product of my own. The task involved taking approximately seven screen grabs of specific areas of the video that were significant/worth highlighting based on their importance to narrative, use of camera angles/effects and or performance aspects. I used the application on Apple Macs called ‘Pages’ to copy and paste the cut images along a portrait document so that I could write about the significance/effectiveness of each shot alongside. I carried this out for each and every music video, commenting and analysing on what I thought was most significant and inspiring.

In an attempt to widen my knowledge associated with my target audience and their expectation of my music video, I made a survey on ‘Survey Monkey’ which provides free, customisable, easy to navigate surveys that enables in depth specific data analysis and representation. I included ten different questions, both generic and specific to my final productions ideas, that when answered, enabled me to establish a demographic to aim for based on who answered the survey and their expectations. Closed questions such as ‘What is your Gender?’ and ‘In which age category do you fall into?’ enabled me to gain an impression of what specific age groups expect to see from certain music genres. Other questions such as ‘When listening to an emotional pop song, what narrative would you expect?’ and ‘What’s more important in a music video; The Artist, Lyrics or Narrative?’ were more open-ended and encouraged respondents to tick one or more boxes depending on their personalised opinion. This was extremely helpful as it ultimately confirmed my decision to making a narrative based music video and set my production in multiple locations e.g. beach, fields etc. I presented my data analysis effectively using an interactive, visual storytelling-esque slideshow, constructed using the website Prezi. This gave us a platform to illustrate and draw conclusions from, my data.

In addition to this, I also made a ‘Target Audience Video’ which involved filming two girls and guys answering the questions put forward within my survey. This put the interviewees’ on the spot, and forced them to answer the questions truthfully and naturally. After deciding on my specific actors and main artist (and that my video would be narrative based), I had the ability to construct a step-by-step, visually effective ‘Storyboard’ of my intended ideas and scenes within my music video. I drew the pictures on paper using bold pencil and then subsequently, scanned them onto my pen drive where I then converted the scans onto my Mac. I used the application Photoshop to add colour to my Storyboard which helped bring out the emotional aspect of the video and made it more understandable for viewers and my intended demographic.

As well as the use of a variety of other Adobe software applications such as PremierePro, After Effects, Indesign (crucial in the production of my digipak ancillary task) and Photoshop, as previously mentioned, other websites such as Wix and various Social Media links such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram proved extremely successful and useful. Wix, for example, is a cloud-based web development platform that allows users to create HTML5 web sites and mobile sites through the use of online drag and drop tools. Ultimately, it enables individuals all around the world to build their own unique, personalised, original website, either from scratching or using the thousands of templates available.

These websites proved to be specifically useful in the construction of my ancillary tasks. Within my website, as navigated in my screen recording below, I have utilised a variety of social media platforms to advertise and promote my artist and his upcoming album/song. This proved to be extremely useful as it increased the awareness/image of my developing ‘artist’. Wix was essential in the creation of my own personalised website (the platform that allowed my website to exist). The videos below show the idea/navigation through my website (also how to change a picture in the ‘Gallery’ section) and social media sites.

Adobe Photoshop was an effective software to use as it allowed us to play around with different layers and colours in order to find the most appropriate/attractive options. Furthermore, after I had applied the correct colouring and used the application to full effect, I transferred screenshots of the images onto Adobe Premiere from which I constructed my ‘Animatic’. I had the ability to make the screenshots move in relation to my song by applying different frame points at different scales and positioning throughout each individual shot. I also used Photoshop to construct my logo and my final double exposure digipak front cover. This worked effectively through altering specific blending tools and applying specific filters so that I could present two images on top of one and other (black and white). I used the platform Youtube to construct my digipak front cover development posts as I found a tutorial on the website that provided me with a step by step session on how to create the same effect. As a result, I applied this setup onto my own photographs and thus got the effect I envisaged.

In terms of equipment, in the filming phase of our music video, as well as the various preliminary tasks, I used a Canon 600D camera. This was very beneficial, as the Canon 600D is a very high-quality camera with capabilities to produce sharp videos and photos. When comparing the 600D to other accessible cameras such as my own iPhoneSE, I immediately saw obvious, rather prominent differences in quality as my phone appeared slightly more grainy, the quality was poorer and it focused/adjusted to light less effectively. The 600D was extremely effective as it produced clear, focused shots, from close and long distances, that captured the emotions portrayed by my actor and actress.

Furthermore, in the preparation, evaluation and researching phase of my production, I used the platform Vimeo. Vimeo is a video-sharing website in which I uploaded, shared and viewed videos from across the year. It’s set up in a way that allows me to post videos online for anyone to see. This meant that I had the ability to share my work with my peers and evaluative individuals so that I could received constructive and positive feedback on various posts throughout the year. I can also arrange my videos in order of my last video published to my first. This allows me to see improvements in the quality of my videos across the year (highlights development). Additionally, other social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter acted as easy links to share my work and thus gain feedback from various individuals within my intended target audience cohort (as well as other people, young and old, who’s information and feedback was also greatly appreciated).

I would not have been able to construct my final video without the constant use of iMac’s and MacBook Pros within the classroom that enabled me to access the various applications such as Photoshop, Premiere and more, throughout the year (I used other applications such as GarageBand to record my voice during my evaluation questions which is also requires the use of a Mac). Finally other websites such as Wixs’ was simple and easy to use and allowed me to create my very own personalised website based on my leading performer. Furthermore, Wordpress, an online, open source website creation tool written in PHP was an extremely easy yet powerful blogging website which I utilised in order to upload my various posts (I could edit or upload things at anytime). Like Vimeo, my most recent work starts at the top and my oldest work can be found at the bottom. Having a blog with all my work on allows my teachers to constantly keep up to date with the quality of my work. I also use “www.jcgmedia.co.uk” as a straight link to my blog and others in my class. This makes it easy for anyone to access. Another positive thing about these websites is that people have the ability to like or comment on any of my posts.

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

Evaluation Question 3 – What have you learned from your audience feedback?

EVALUATION QUESTION 3 from Iain McCallum on Vimeo.

Script Complete:

Throughout the course and the creation of my own music production, I have had many opportunities to receive feedback from various people that fit different demographics.

Firstly, my initial collection of feedback stemmed from a survey I created on Survey Monkey. I constructed a questionnaire consisting of 10 generic and specific questions that required various forms of responses so I had the ability to gain an idea of my intended target audience/demographic. I shared the link to my survey (https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/XCFLXY8) via social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter in order to get a vast array of potentially consecutive/useful responses. Ultimately, the set of responses I received shepherded me towards/provided the essential information needed to construct my ‘Actors, Props, Locations and Costumes’ post for my final construction. The feedback helped establish my prepossessed thoughts and game plan and in addition,  facilitated the development of my ideas for my final video with full self- assurance that my production would fit the needs/demands of my audience.

Once the initial research was completed, I progressed onto the specific planning/preparation for my final product. In order to distribute my finalised ideas/plan to the public and thus my targeted demographic, I designed a Storyboard with the aid of Photoshop (for specific colouring affects) which later developed/progressed into an Animatic that I posted onto Vimeo. These posts were not only affective in sharing my potential ideas and plan with my peers, evaluators and target audience, but were also advantageous in the fact that I had developed a clear image/illustration in my mind of what I expected/wanted from my final video. I shared both my Animatic and Storyboard with my friends and classmates in order to gain constructive feedback/larger perspective of opinions on my production. This was most effective because my peers had already carried out their own research/developed their own ideas on similar genres and therefore, they had a pretty good insight onto how I could improve my music video. Fortunately, I received many positive responses with a few constructive comments as well. Ultimately, it was the constructive/critical feedback from individuals, for example my teachers, that I payed the greatest attention to in order to develop/improve my final product. It was clear to many that viewed my product what my specific idea was and how it ought to develop.

Within the preparation phase of my ancillary tasks, I collected copious volumes of updated feedback from my teachers in order to hit/reach the conventions of realistic/professional and successful digipaks (thus reaching to our intended target audience) and artist websites associated with the genre I had in mind. My teacher suggested reducing the size of logos, adding in my artists signature to the inside of the digipak and moving some bits around (all of which I did to good effect). Using the photographs captured from the day of my photoshoot, I could successfully ensure effective fluidity and consistency in themes running throughout my various products. When researching the digipacks it was clear that in order to create successful album artwork, the photos needed to be harmonious. Consistent high quality photography ensured that my digipak looked professional and compelling. It was important that in doing this, I added a specific black and white filter to all of the photographs included so that the tone/shades matched one and other. Necessary logos where positioned appropriately including the Atlantic record label logo, compact disk and copyright text.

I researched and analysed various real, existing artist websites such as Charlie Puths’ Official, Catfish and the Bottlemans’ Official and many more (created a basis for my own Wix link). Thus, I strategically and effectively constructed a home, gallery, music, tour dates, store and biography page/link. Additionally, as seen just to the right of these tabs, the social media icons can be clicked on in order to gain a direct link to my artists personal site. I approached my media peers specifically in order to gauge an idea of their broad knowledge of conventions and thus find the most appropriate products that fit my specific target audience (individuals of their age and above).

Unsurprisingly, after distributing/sharing my first draft of my final production, I received countless responses that suggested that a lot of areas could be improved/strengthened in order to fit the conventions of my intended genre. After adding the black and white filter and various other illustrations, the feedback I received from my teachers suggested that my work was adequate/covered all the specific marking points to reach the top band. The feedback from my classmates constantly specified the effectiveness of my high quality photographs of my artist. My teacher for my ancillary tasks also suggested changing the positioning of my copyright text from along the bottom of the CD and positioning it along side the middle hole of the CD itself.

Post feedback associated with my preparation phase and first draft, I was able to knuckle down and focus specifically on the constructive criticism I had received and thus, improve my production. I uploaded my drafts onto my WordPress Blog and Vimeo account so individuals within my class and those of my demographic could view and comment further on my product (uploading my video to Youtube would break copyright regulations as I obviously do not own the song). It was crucial that I received constant/updated feedback so that I could develop my video into a product reaching my full potential. After the first draft, the feedback made it clear that in order to make the next draft better I needed to shorten specific shots within my video so that the audience did not lose interest into the overall narrative of the video. In addition to this, both my teachers and fellow peers suggested filling in the obvious blanks and missing sections and also suggested shortening certain clips down where my actor appeared to be ‘smiling’. However, generally, the overall feedback was great and many seemed impressed.

This constructive feedback led to the completion of my second, third and final draft, where I received only positive comments. I added in new shots that took advantage of my split screen effect, for example when my actor/actress walks from one side of the screen to another, filled in the gaps, shortened the highlighted/appropriate clips and then made my final ‘Magic Bullet’ edit. In conclusion, overall, the audience feedback I have received has helped me to produce the best possible outcome as you receive input from many people who all helped to make my media product the best it could be.

Evaluation Question 3 – What have you learned from your audience feedback?

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

Evaluation Question 2 from Iain McCallum on Vimeo.

Script Complete:

On my Wix website, I have a variety of photos that I took all on one day (ensured consistency and flow). They are all from the same day of shooting, consisting of the same individual/my main protagonist/artist and utilise numerous/a variety of positioning/angles, capturing my artist playing a variety of instruments that feature within his album, as well as shots of him alone. Some of the images may seem very repetitive, however, after researching numerous websites, I saw that it is important for a style/brand identity to be established when trying to promote an album or single (the audience will begin to make connections between particular styles of imagery and that of my performer). For example in Catfish and the Bottlemen’s website they have their album cover on the front and top, and there is a clear black and white color scheme throughout. Through researching numerous websites like this, I decided to incorporate this color scheme (with slightly lighter tones to produce a softer, more fitting image). Furthermore, the photo I made the background of my website and those found within the ‘Gallery’ section of my website, compliment the theme established by my artist found within my digipak, merchandise etc. On my Wix website, there are there are three links to other web based axillary’s (Instagram, Twitter and Facebook). I constructed a Facebook account for my artist ‘Nick Dawson’, which has his own unique logo which is his name either side of an arrow (similar to that of existing brands such as Next). The profile picture/display picture for my Facebook profile features his latest album front cover (the audience/viewer can immediately see that they’ve found the correct page as his face is made obvious/identifiable). Similarly, I did this for my Twitter and Instagram account. I captured all images, published on these social media sites, on my i-Phone so that I could easily upload different photos and post them to my artists Instagram, Twitter and Facebook accounts. Additionally, photos featuring on my website, I also uploaded to Instagram and Facebook so that there were clear links/connections between my various web-based ancillaries. As all of these social media pages directly link from my Wix, it was extremely important that I established a similar/constant style/design throughout, which ultimately, I believe I achieved by using the same/similar photos and color schemes throughout them all.

For my final digipak, I incorporated four photos that I captured during the photoshoot that are also on all of my web based ancillaries. Even though they were all taken on the same day, the lighting was different from photo to photo, meaning that when I put them together they did not match completely. To help colour match all of the images on my digipak, I used a filtering tool on Instagram, as well as ‘Adjust Colour’ Tool within the application of Preview on my MacBook. Putting a filter/colour adapter on top of all my separate images made it look more professional and eye-catching and also established consistency amongst my platforms and products. After extensive research into existing digipak products of famous artists and trying to create my own personalised cover, It became evident that colour matching was one of the most influential components to whether the digipak was successful/attractive or not. On the front cover of my digipak, there is a double exposure/blended edit of two images showing both my artist/protagonist and one of the locations that appear within my music video (gives an insight to viewers/listeners on what they should expect i.e. the beach often personifies conventions of an acoustic/indie performer). Additionally, the ‘Nick Dawson’ merchandise logo also features across the front which is the same as all of the set display images in all four of my web based ancillaries (the colour scheme of my digipak complements and connects with that of my artists website).

I also included scenic long shots within my final music production where my artist can be seen walking along the beach. This was strategically constructed in the same order as the photos I used. This creates a pattern that audiences can identify with and now expect in all my potential forthcoming productions. Although no instruments were involved within my video (as it was narrative based rather than the instrumental element), my digipak successfully incorporates a close up shot of my performer playing the piano/guitar. There are various close ups of my male protagonist, which is actually my artist, which enables my viewers to understand that the individual on my digipak is obviously the same person as within my video. I also feel that my choices of locations in my music video allowed for my ancillary texts to relate closely to that of my music video (taking the photos on the same day as the performance element established fluidity amongst my project). In conclusion, I believe that the photo-shoot I carried out was an extremely significant element in the construction of my media products as it made our ancillaries come together and made my production work effectively with that of my digipak, websites and other associated elements.

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

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

EVALUATION QUESTION 1 from Iain McCallum on Vimeo.

Script Complete:

There are many aspects of my Advanced Media Production that can be considered to be both conventions and challenge the conventions of real media products. These conventions can be seen in my final music video and digipack. One convention that can be seen in my digipack is the use of a barcode and copyrights printed on both the back of the digipack and on the CD. I used InDesign to arrange the copyright text in a circular shape around the disc and at the bottom of my back cover, this is a typical convention seen in real media products for example on David Guettas CD for the album ‘One Loud’. I felt that using tonal, black and white shades across my digipak was effective as it is a convention seen in real indie/pop digipacks. An example of this is The 1975’s “Face Down” and ‘Music for Cars’ albums which utilise a variety of black and white tones which are ultimately simple as I believe the absence of colour places the focus on the subject and emotional aspect of the photographs across the digipak. Additionally, the shades employed successfully complement the genre of their music (which is a very similar Indie/Pop genre that my own music video represents).

When researching real music artists digipacks I became aware that most artists created their own font that is used throughout all of their albums, posters, tour posters and merchandise. An example of this is Ed Sheerans’ albums, using the same font as well as creating his own logos (resembling different mathematical signs and symbols e.g. division, multiply and plus) that are now immediately associated to his form/style of music (these symbols also feature on his guitars as seen during his collaboration with Stormzy when performing ‘Castle on the Hill’ at the Brit Awards in 2017). As well as looking effective, it distinguishes his own unique, original style and brand from other artists of a similar genre. For my digipack and merchandise, I decided to use the same font called Intro Cond (downloaded off of 1001 fonts) throughout which not only makes all of these products flow and systematically connect, but also allows for a brand/image to be engraved/learnt because listeners and followers begin to recognise my chosen font as being my singer’s ‘trademark’ and can immediately associate similar styles with that of my artist. I also feel that in my digipack, posters and merchandise, just like Ed Sheerans’ various albums, the photographs I captured on the same day as shooting my final music production worked successfully as the images were of the same location and utilised the same weather conditions. Another convention I spotted when researching existing media products was to include a lyrics booklet within the albums digipak which fortuitously enables my followers/consumers to become more familiar/related to my artists music. Furthermore, it allows them to enhance their connections/understanding of the songs lyrics and therefore relate this directly to the narrative of my music video. Subsequently, I decided to include a lyrics page in my digipack, which includes many different songs that feature within my performers album. Existing digipacks also include the artists record labels and various music companies logos on the disc. An example of this, although all artists feature these logos, is Amy Winehouses’ ‘Back to Black’ album which features the ‘Universal Studios’ production logo and her production companies logo on the back cover. I felt that this is an important convention and therefore decided to use the ‘Atlantic’ record label logo across my own digipak.

Moving on to my website and other elements of my digipak, in order to make it more realistic/professional, I decided to use ‘Atlantic Productions’, an extremely successful, well-known record company, to promote my artist. A convention seen in many other websites by real artists is that the tour dates are listed under their own subheading, for example, James Arthurs, Charlie Puths’ and The 1975’s pages (to name a few). Furthermore, many websites incorporated pictures of their artists (Charlie Puth uses this as the main image across his website and the first picture any viewer sees). This lead me to pick an image with a similar convention that most importantly complements my chosen genre and the style of my artist. As a result, just like my digipak, I continued the theme of black and white tones/shades across my website and incorporated a textual landscape image of my artist standing on the beach. I believe this image works effectively with my chosen font style and colour, making important information stand out and catch the eye. I chose to put my singer in normal casual clothes that I feel would not challenge the conventions of similar acoustic videos and digipacks as it is nothing out of the ordinary. However, on the other hand my website could be seen as challenging the conventions of real websites as mine features various tabs and links whereas real life websites often include a constant, free-flowing scrolling layout which requires little tabs/links. Although this did not fit existing conventions and ideas, I believe that my setup/layout is easier to navigate, clearer and more effective when needing to find information about my artist quickly.

In my music video I feel that I followed many conventions that exist in real music videos. The first most obvious convention is that I used both a young female adult as my main actress and young male actor. This convention can be seen in Charlie Puth’s ft. Selena Gomez, hit single “We Don’t Talk Anymore” music video as well as Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You” production. The locations I used can also be considered conventions as in the existing indie/acoustic music videos that I researched during my research posts most tended to feature beaches or fields/forests. I chose to use these locations in my music video as I feel they work well with the style of music. I also noticed that the use of filming waves and birds is a typical convention of acoustic music videos this may be because it represents serenity and freedom. I chose to use these kind of shots in my music video because the lyrics of my song fit with that theme. Additionally, the use of mobile phones, particularly in the first minute of my production, instantaneously connects with todays audience (people are now immersed into technological developments and advances in everyday society). My music video was based around a double strand narrative that  focused around two main protagonists (either side of the split screen) – the narrative unfolds and finishes around my characters, usually focused around the artist in a music video, for example in Ke$ha’s Tik Tok music video, it features her doing her daily routine of partying and drinking but focused completely around her. As a result of researching similar videos like this, I decide to include my artist as one of the two key characters. This relates to the theory of a Three Act Structure. Act 1 involves introducing the main character/s and setting up conflicts which is the story of the sequence (at the end is the catalytic moment where the equilibrium is disrupted). Act 2 is the disequilibrium/climax. This is when the consequences are explored of the catalytic moment where the protagonists recognise the disruption and tries to repair the diegesis. Finally, Act 3 involves the final revelation and or the moment when the conflict the story is resolved and a new equilibrium created – the audience are told/understand the final message (this also relates to Todorovs’ theory of narrative where narrative is split into four concepts of an equilibrium, disruption, resolution and new equilibrium). My final sequence successfully incorporated elements of both theorists e.g. normality is established as the characters do their daily routines before disruption occurs as everything starts going wrong for them both.

In conclusion I feel that my media product is both a convention and challenges conventions of real media products. However I feel that when construction my digipack, poster and music video I made sure to take all my research that I had done into consideration in order to create a product that is both effective and is a convention of a typical music video.

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