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A2 Media Evaluation

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This is my evaluation for my A2 Media coursework.

Text of A2 Media Evaluation



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

Conventions and challengesThe song I have chosen is Escape (The Pina Colada Song) by Rupert Holmes this song fits with the pop genre, typically Pop bands/ artists create a star image for themselves by starring in their music videos which are mostly performance based videos and they usually star in all their videos with an item of clothing or item of some description which creates their star image and will make people recognise their work. In my music video I have challenged some of the conventions as I wanted to create a star image for my character but I did not want to plaster their face across everything as it would have taken away from the style of the song as well as the story it told. I wanted to make my character more indie, rather than a popular mainstream artist.

Appearance(Conventions and challenges)As I wanted to make my character more indie I didnt want to have him wearing designer labels or casual clothing so I went with a smarter more professional look with a shirt and tie and waistcoat which made him look quite traditional which fit with the song as The Pina Colada Song is a 70s song. I also had the character with a guitar throughout the music video which created his star image. Originally the star (James) was just meant to be the bartender for my music video which is why he had the shirt and tie and I hadnt really planned for much performance based footage in my music video but on the day there was a guitar at hand so I got James to play around with the guitar a bit for fun and I ended up filming him and he showed great displays of charisma which I loved, so I decided to use it in the music video and I created the star image around him due to him being so charismatic. James playing the guitar made up all of the performance sections of my music video which didnt really feel like a separate part to the story of the video as I filmed him in the same costume as he had for the bartender role and in the same locations as the rest of the video and even included him in the foreground while the story continued in the back ground.

Narrative and performance(Conventions and challenges)I challenged this convention as I did not want to include performance massively in my music video and wanted to focus more on the narrative as The Pina Colada Song has a story which continues throughout the whole video and by diverting to a performance based scene would have disrupted the story of the song which is why I have kept the performance to a minimal and even included it in the foreground of one of the shots rather than having to switch between shots. As I mentioned above I did not originally plan to have a star of the video or have any performance based scenes in the video but I ended up including some anyway due to James showing amazing signs of charisma and how I incorporated it into the rest of the video didnt actually feel like a separate scene and did not disrupt the story as James was part of the scene and wore the same costume as he did when being the bartender so his appearance was more like a cameo rather than being a main part of the story. I took some inspiration form the music video for It wasnt me by Shaggy which is a reggae fusion genre rather than pop, however it showed more of a narrative than most music videos in the pop genre and the artist featured in the video as well, but just like my own product the artist was part of the story so it seemed to flow more and didnt seem to be a separate part of the video.

Editing(Conventions and challenges)With the editing of most real music videos that I watched the editing was in time with the song, to give a smoother transition between shots. I wanted to follow this convention with my music video so that the story will flow better and so that it looks more like a real media product. With my music video I had the song in time with the visuals that are seen on screen as I was focussing on the narrative rather than performance, so when you hear a lyric there is a visual that links to that lyric such as the line Like a worn out recording, of a favourite song I included a record spinning on a record player, which gave the video a more mature theme and helped to make the video look more like a real media product.

Aspects of TheoryIn the pop genre the artists typically are famous and have a name for themselves however I did not want to go down this same route as I didnt feel it would fit with the particular song I had chosen so I adopted a more indie genre characteristic for my artist as they just want to make music and not necessarily be famous although I still did create a bit of star image but a more of a toned down star image rather than an in your face one.

Textual analysis of my final videoNarrative and PerformanceMy music video uses the song Escape (The Pina Colada Song) which follows the story of a couple who have grown apart from each other so when the man finds an ad in the paper for a date he writes back and goes on the date but it turns out the woman is his partner which leads to them falling back in love. The narrative of the video follows the theme of love which is a common theme in pop songs however they also tend to have a large amount of performance in the music video where as I have roughly 90% narrative and 10% performance which is included within the narrative and not a separate scene so the story flows better and the artists is an extra in the video so he is taking a more of a back seat role in the video rather than being the main focus of the video.

Mise-en-scene For the artist of the song I wanted to challenge the conventions of pop music artists as they tend to wear labelled, designer clothing or what is currently trending however I wanted to make the artist (James) look more traditional and indie by making him wear a shirt and tie and waistcoat, this was also his outfit for his role as the bartender as I wanted him to take a more back seat role in the video and allow the narrative to be the main focus of the video and not the performance. For the other characters in the video I wanted to make them dress smart casual as in the narrative the characters are going on a date so I didnt want them looking scruffy or too smart so for the male character (Myself/ Charlie) I went with a smart shirt with jeans and a black overcoat, for the female character (Emma) I went for a black and white dress as it suited the character well and looked like the type of dress someone might wear to a date, I wanted the female character to look like theyve made more of an effort as the narrative focusses more on her when she walks into the bar so I wanted her to look nice and dressed for the occasion which would then help to make the story look more spontaneous as she is dressed up nice but they end up dancing in the rain being playful which shows they have been taken in the moment and are falling back in love.

In the music video there are several locations which feature in the video, the first location is the main location which most of the video is set which is in the bar, In this scene it is all performance based just to get the song started as it was an instrumental section, it is all narrative based from here and you see the two main characters in their house lying in bed as the song starts with the man reading the paper in bed while his partner is asleep once he gets up to write a response to the ad the location is still in the house until the story leads them to the bar which the audience will already be familiar with from the opening scene. Once the couple meet on the date and realise its each other the setting changes to the thoughts in their heads like them thinking about being at the beach and being caught in the rain which is represented by photos of the couple doing that stuff and then the couple are actually doing the stuff they were thinking about like watching the stars, which represents the line, making love at midnight but due to the nature of the song I felt it would be more appropriate to just have the characters star gazing at midnight. The next scene is then the artist performing the instrumental section in the rain in the foreground of the shot and once the lyrics start again the couple run into shot and are seen playing in the rain, by having the artist and the narrative continuing in the same shot it helps the story to flow better and it seem like its not a separate part which would disrupt the narrative instead it makes it look like the artist is more of a narrator of a story rather than a musician this also makes him seem voyeuristic as he is watching the couple but they are unaware of his presence and he is like their guardian angel who has rekindled their love.

I used a few props in the video as more of a symbol to represent the lyrics either directly such as the use of actual Pina coladas or indirectly like with the photos of the couple at the beach as I was unable to travel to a beach for filming so I had to use photos that I previously had. Another way I used props was with the final shot which was a panning shot which panned around the room showing items which represented each of the lyrics being said and ending with a red ribbon being cut as the last lyric was cut through all this red tape.

I didnt really play around with lighting at all in my music video as I wanted it to be natural lighting so it represented the ordinary lives of the characters, especially in the house location, which I just used the main lights so that it was not too dark to film but also made it look more cosy and intimate. In the bar location I used a bright lamp which again helped to make it more cosy rather than having a main light on so that it fit with the theme of the song more.

EditingThe song I had chosen was Escape (The Pina Colada Song) which is a fairly slow paced song so I wanted to make the scenes quite slow but include a few shots for each scene so they fit with the narrative but do not go on for too long. I also wanted to cut to different shots in time with the music so I usually changed the shot on a new lyric so that the lyrics and the narrative and symbiotically linked.Some shots I had to time map so that they lasted longer or so that they were slower and fit in time with the music such as the shot which pans across the newspaper to show that it is being read but the camera was too fast so I had to slow the shot down so that you see the new line when it is being spoken.

CinematographyIn my music video I used a good variation of camera shots. As I wanted to focus more on narrative I used shot which are more typical with films rather than music videos, using mid shots, two person shots and close ups as well as using some shots with a few creative angles like when I filmed the record player. As I was telling a story which had mystery to it I wanted to obscure the identity of the female character until the reveal at the bar so I held the camera at a slight angle when she is putting make up on so that the shot looks distorted and makes the audience feel a little uneasy, it also helped to represent the mystery in the story and at the bar when she walked in I used extreme close ups, showing her smile and the curves of her face before revealing who it is with a mid-shot, I also used a few over the shoulder shots which are more typically seen in films and are not common in music videos which further demonstrated that I was focussing more on the narrative over performance. I then also used a pan shot at the end depicting the items representing the lyrics, which is not usually seen in pop music videos.

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

How well does our video and print work link together?It was important that the main product and the ancillary texts linked well although I wanted the album cover to not just focus on the one song but be representative of the whole album so I selected a screenshot from my main product which was of the record player, so it provided quite a generic cover which just represents music as it is of a record player and although featured within the video it isnt specific to the song, I then played around with the effects in Photoshop to alter the image so that it looked more like an album cover rather than just a plain image of a record player. The reason I chose the record player for the front cover and not the artist is because I didnt want the star image of the artist to be over whelming so I included his name on the front cover but wanted to feature an actual image of him on the album cover just not on the front so I had him on the back which I then also played around with in Photoshop, posterising the image so that it slightly obscured his image, along with the titles of all the songs in the album which I made up so that they fit with the title of the album Escape which is the sub title of the chosen song so there is a definitive link between them but it still links with some of the other songs on the album. By using screenshot from the video itself there is clearly strong links between the video and the ancillary texts but the images I selected are not necessarily specific to just that song.

Front coverBack cover

For the poster advertising the album and the artist I used the same image I used for the back of the album cover which was featured with in the video as it helps to create more of a star image for the artist and shows the charisma of the artist which he displayed so well in the video. I then played around with the effects in Photoshop again till I was happy with the outcome. This poster helped to increase the star image of the character by featuring himself as the main focus of the poster so people are aware who the album is by and who they could be seeing on tour which is why I then also included some tour dates along the side of the poster.

Analysis of my CD cover

For the title of the album I have chosen a font that looks quite indie and as if it were a self published album as it looks like hand writing, which is what I was aiming for as I didnt want the artist to be like a typical pop artist who has a signed record label.I have included the artists name on the front cover so that the buyer is aware of the artist but it doesnt plaster his face across all the merchandise. I used the same font as I did for the title as I didnt want it to stand out massively and just be part of the image which is why I had it on the edge of the record.The colour scheme for my front cover was inspired by the album Music from the edge of heaven by Wham! which featured a cool colour spectrum ranging from green to purple, which I have included in the bottom right corner of the front cover so that people will be familiar with the colour scheme. I also wanted to add my own ideas into this by using warm colours as well because the connotations of the colours are passion and love which goes with the theme of the song.

To get this effect I played around with the hue and brightness and the saturation to create the range of colours and to give the cover a retro kind of look.

Analysis of the back of the CD cover

I have kept with the same font for the back of the CD cover as I used for the title of the CD cover on the front. As it keeps the theme going and it looks more professional as it is the same font throughout.For the image I posterised it as I felt it fit the genre best as it makes the image look more abstract and stylised. I also played around with the brightness so that the image looks faded which makes it look more like a background image which is what I was aiming for.The image I used was taken from the music video it self so there is some link between the main product and the ancillary texts.I even made up a production company for the album so that the album cover will look like a real media product and I created a logo for it in Adobe Illustrator.

Analysis of my poster

The image I used is the same that I used for the back cover of the CD, so that there is a clear link between them, although I didnt give this image a faded look by adjusting the brightness. Instead I adjusted the saturation of the image so that the guitar looked more vibrant and so that it stood out more.I included the name of the artist along the neck of the guitar so that it stood out as it is centred and as it is along the guitar it draws your attention to it. I used the same font as I used for all of the other text so that it all links with each other.I have featured the front CD cover on the poster so that it can be advertised by the poster along with the artists tour. I even included a twitter and Facebook account to raise the star image of the artist.I have off set the words and included scribbles above and below the words in order to fill the blank space and to make the poster look more sketchy and give it an indie look..

What have we learned from our audience feedback?

What have we learned from our audience feedback?

Questionnaire resultsFirst I gathered results from a survey which I made on Survey Monkey, which helped me to create a focus group so that I could ask them more questions regarding my video and their opinions of the song and what they think I should include and their opinions of the finished product.Focus group suggestionsI gained feedback for my music video by asking the focus group what they thought of the song Escape (The Pina Colada Song) by Rupert Holmes in which they advised that I created a visual representation of the story that the song told and also suggested that I include a bit of performance in the video like a band playing the song, which I mostly followed as I did go with the idea of using the story that is already told in the song rather than trying to find a hidden meaning in the song although I didnt want to include the performance part and I actually planned to not really include it at all but I ended up creating a star image for the bartender after I filmed him playing around with a guitar and the charisma he showed made me want to use him more in the video.

Focus Group FeedbackOnce I had then created my finished product I got the same focus group to view the finished video and look at the ancillary texts and to give feedback on them. The feedback was mostly positive from them, saying that they really enjoyed the artists charisma and he added a comedic element to the story which is what I was aiming for, they also mentioned that I managed to capture the cheesy element of the song by having bad dancing and with the interaction between the bartender and the male character along with the artist who couldnt actually play the guitar but just strummed the strings to make it humorous which made the audience laugh which was the main aim of the video, to be a bit silly and funny as its not a very serious song. However there were parts which they said I could improve like maybe including a few more shots, which was understandable as some of the shots did go on for a little too long. And that the performance part could be better if James could actually play the guitar, however I felt it just added to the comedic element which is what I was aiming for. They also felt some of the cuts seemed a little bit jumpy and I could have worked on them which in places I did notice too. One of my focus group also noticed that the continuity is not correct in places which is because I had to reshoot some shots on a different day and the bed lining had been changed and I was also filming at day whereas before it was night, but its not too noticeable, they also managed to spot James reflection in the window grooving to the song which I feel just adds more humour to the video if the audience manage to spot it.I also got my focus group to look at my finished ancillary texts which they felt were very good and the front cover could be mistaken for an actual album art cover as it was very mature and professional.

What I leantI think if I were to make the video again I would change some of the aspects which the focus group brought up as some of it could have been better like the length of the shots and some of the editing could have been better but I think I would still keep with the comedic element and have a guitarist who cant actually play the guitar so that its more about his charismatic facial expressions, which is what people enjoyed.

How did you use new media technologies in the Construction & Research, Planning and Evaluation stages?

Programmes and Websites that I used in my courseworkAdobe Premiere Elements 11:I used Adobe Premiere elements 11 to edit my music video, as I had previously used this software last year with my AS media project it made it easier when editing this year.Adobe Photoshop CS5:I used Photoshop to make the ancillary texts which at first took a while to get used to as I had not used it much before, but I soon got the hang of it.Adobe illustrator:I used Adobe illustrator to create a logo for a record company to place on the back of my CD cover.Microsoft Office Word 2010:I used Microsoft Word to make a lyrical timeline and to write up the consent form and risk assessment, as well as writing up most of the evaluation and other written work before collating it on here or posting on blogger.Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2010:I used Microsoft PowerPoint for my evaluation of the whole project as it was an easy method to use where I could write and easily include images as references. It also allowed me to easily split up the evaluation into different sections as I can have a different section on another slide.Survey Monkey:I used Survey Monkey to create a questionnaire which I used to find a focus group by narrowing down the target audience.Facebook:I used the social networking site Facebook to distribute my questionnaire in order to reach the widest amount of people possible to gain representable results.Blogger:I have used Blogger to post work that I have done for my coursework so that it is all in one place and provides an easy way to gather all the information as well as providing links to the different topics in my coursework.YouTube:I have used you tube as a source of research so that I can view real media products as inspiration for my music video.

Media Technologies used in the Research and Planning stagesIn the whole process of the course I have been using media technologies to aid me; this has helped in the research, planning, Construction and evaluation of my music video. In the research and planning stages of my project I used media technologies to gather research on conventions of music videos using the internet and being able to view other media products with the use of you tube. I was then able to construct and publish a survey on survey monkey and then distributing it on social media like Facebook this made the research stage simpler and reduced the amount of time it took to complete due to the instant wide spread distribution and collecting of results. The construction of the survey was made simple with the easy to use site however it was limited to only 10 questions which meant I was not able to go in to too much depth with questions, although this survey was just to form a target market group and a focus group which I then asked more detailed questions and made a record of the responses. For the planning I used media technologies such as Microsoft word to easily write up a lyrical timeline.

Media Technologies used in the Construction and Evaluation stage

With the construction stages I used media technologies such as video cameras to be able to film the music video and then I edited the video using Adobe Premier elements 11 which allowed me to cut and arrange footage as well as use effects like time mapping which allowed me to slow down and speed up footage, this helped to make the shot last long enough for the lyrics and fit in time with it, for the example the chorus I was able to slow down the footage so that the reading of the lyrics went in time with when the line was spoken. These media technologies are essential to the construction of my music video as I needed to use editing software to be able to edit my music video and actually produce a media product which entertains and promotes the song.I have also had to use media technologies for the evaluation of my media product as I have documented all of the work leading up to the production of my video as well as documentation of the making of it and a critical assessment of the video in Blogger which is an online blog and has allowed me to access and edit my work whenever and wherever I am.

Media Technologies used in the construction of the ancillary textsFor my Digi-pack I have used Adobe illustrator and Adobe Photoshop to design and produce a CD cover to go with my music video. I used Adobe Illustrator to create a record company logo to go on the back of the CD cover, and In Adobe Photoshop I adjusted photos by playing around with the saturation, vibrancy, brightness, exposure, and the posterize tool until I was happy with the results. I then selected a font to use throughout the CD cover, deciding on Annie BTN in the end. I also had to make up a record company and create a star image which I used the bartender/ guitarist character that was in the music video as he showed excellent displays of charisma, so I then made a name for the character and created a list of tracks for the album. Although I created a star image I decided not to plaster his face across the front of the CD cover and instead placed him on the back as I did not want him to appear like a big pop artists and instead more of a quirky pop artist. So for the front I wanted to make the album have a retro look about it so I used a photo of a record player and only had the artists name on the cover along the edge of the record, so that the artists name is still present. I then decided on Escape as the name of the album which is the sub name of The Pina Colada Song which I used for my music video and also fit with some of the other songs in the album. I then designed a poster to promote the album which I used a picture of the character I had created and given a star image and had his name along the strings of the guitar, I then added the album cover at the bottom of the poster so that you can see which album is being promoted and I made a list of tour dates for the character, I included the record company along the bottom along with a twitter and Facebook account for the artist so people can find out more about the artist. For the poster I wanted to put across the star image more than I had for the album cover because I was focussing on selling the artists work and to promote a tour so I felt showing the star image was more important here than it would have been on the album, this is why I made the artist the main focus by having a large image of him covering the whole poster and had his name centred in a large font and featured social media accounts on the poster to advertise the artists star image.

Editing tools used in the construction of the productFor the music video I used Adobe Premiere Elements 11 to edit all of the video files that I had filmed. This software allowed me to delete the audio and add in a backing track, I was then able to cut the footage down using the trim tool so I could make the footage fit in time with the music. This new technology made it very easy for the construction of my music video as I was able to easily play around with different outcomes of my music video by changing the timings of cuts and rearranging footage, it also allowed me to add new footage in between clips easily which was very beneficial.

Problems I facedWeather:As I wanted to film a section of my music video in the rain I wanted to wait until it was raining in order to film this however there was a very large dry spell which meant I had to compromise and find a different solution which ended up being a water hose, sprayed in the foreground of the shot which did give a quite authentic look.Organisation:Another problem I faced was organising a day for everyone to be available on which was an issue as people had upcoming deadlines for coursework and had other plans which meant I had to do a lot of rearranging. Casting:I had a problem with the casting as there was not a lot of people who were available at such short notice and who would be quite widely available, which meant I had to star in the video myself along with two of my friends, who may not have been the best actors however as I did not want a very serious video due to the chosen song, the unprofessional acting worked quite well. Especially with the bartender role who ended up being the artist of the song as well.

ConclusionIs this how you imagined your final product?This is almost exactly how I imagined my final product to be as I had a clear image of what I wanted to achieve as I wanted it to be almost all narrative based so I wanted to have an image that represents the lines of the song throughout the video which is what I achieved, I had mostly planned everything that appeared on the screen as I had a clear plan and I knew the song well, however I did make a few changes as I originally planned to film a part of the video at the beach however I was unable to get there in time to film there which meant I had to make a few changes, but I was still happy with the outcome. I also included a little bit more performance than I had planned for which was due to the charisma portrayed by James when he was playing around with the guitar. Overall I was happy with the outcome and it was very close to what I had originally planned with only a few minor changes.

What I would do differently?There isnt much I would change about my product other than possibly trying to film at the beach and maybe include a few more filler shots so that the shots dont go on for too long and the audience get bored. I also would have started the filming a lot earlier than I did if I did this again so that I wouldnt be pressed for time and so that I would have more time for the editing process and the ancillary texts.