This course has given me access to a number of media technologies, allowing me to create, develop and challenge skills at each stage of the production process.
Initially I began with my research exploring technologies such as YouTube, Vevo, Screenshot and PowerPoint to collate analysis of music videos within my chosen genre of original acoustic music. This process guidance on the strictures of my genre using artists such as Sam Smith, Ed Sheeran and Birdy to inspire my own experimentation. I studied each artist’s most popular video in detail selecting the most poignant moments for later analysis on locations, actors, props, camera angles, postproduction, narrative and performance. I collated the images on a Microsoft PowerPoint and analysed for thematic similarities and differences between artists in order to establish the realm of original acoustic music and exactly what it would take for my own video to sit within the genre’s parameters.
Using the artists I believe firmly represent the acoustic music genre I conducted further research on their image and online presence using media technologies such as Instagram, Facebook, twitter and Google to access their websites. I used screen recording to capture the experience and feel of each artist’s page copying the file again onto PowerPoint for subsequent analysis to be applied to my own webpage and social media accounts.
This research led me to investigate narrative and performance. I felt the original acoustic music genres intimacy and personal lyrical content meant capturing the raw emotion of performance was going to be difficult. Therefore I conducted a short Pre-liminary task in which I performed and recorded the first minute of Birdy’s song- People help the people, for this task I used DSLR camera, tripod, YouTube download to obtain the narrative aspects of Birdy’s video, Adobe Premiere CC to adjust and insert my performance elements and creative effects on adobe using ‘Monochrome Kodak’ to replicate the effect on Birdy’s video.
In order to gather an understanding of audience expectations for the music videos genre I conducted target audience interviews, this involved the use of a printer to print the images that accompanied my questions, DSLR camera and Adobe Premiere CC however I also used moving text, flashing text, motion crop, manipulation of clip speed and duration, musical timing and automatic volume adjustments as well as ITunes to download and import sound effects.
In order to generate the creative process after finding out what my audience expects I attempted to create a narrative that ties closely with my lyrics. I analysed my own lyrics using Apple Pages, I used annotation and image that prompted the generic acoustic music video narrative that follows the lyrical content as my artist searches in her past at an old home for where she lost control haunted and followed by a demonic self.
I realised the complexity of my narrative meant the filming and post-production would be a great task. Therefore I conducted ‘practice’ sessions at my location in which I filmed myself twice in two different outfits using the DSLR camera, tripod and lighting. I again used Adobe Premiere CC to produce the short clip however I experimented with the crop feature and created a split screen, taking this further on my second experimentation giving the split screen animation so the two versions of the artist could interact, passing an object from one to the other. I developed my skills further with the use of video tutorial on YouTube to insert a photo over a video using the media technology of a mask to crop and feather my own face over a photo above myself on the wall, in this way the house appeared animated as I sit below using moving opacity that gradually revealed my own face over the hanging photo.
After establishing how I could create a duplicate self and animate the house I composed a storyboard planning each shot and the progression of the narrative. For this I used the printer scanner of my drawn images importing these into Photoshop to compile my images chronologically and annotate exactly what was taking place within each shot.
I then came to designing my Digipack. For this I used Photoshop and adobe’s webpage consisting of a number of online tutorials. I experimented with simplistic designs importing images and overlaying text before advancing onto masking the image to create the light effect from the candle. I experimented further creating a number of alternate designs using technologies such as colour effects, font experimentation (downloaded from DaFont), inversion and removal of aspects/sections of an image. However this drew me to my final Digipack manipulating shapes, individually selecting and altering colours of the eyes of the images in contrast to the black and white effect before playing with the central image to create a Digipack that ties in with my artist image and lyrical content in the precise and controlled ordering of Dominos. I then used the InDesign software to place my images within the standard template before a CD could be printed. This involved the adjustment and alteration of the images I had created to fit the parameters of a standard CD.
The 1-minute performance task allowed me to further my use of Adobe Premiere CC, I used technologies such as inserting text over a clip, creating multiple layers of text and video as well as musical timing of text, transition and lip-syncing. The use of multiple audio and video that I went on to use in my final music video I found was extremely effective in order to balance the multiple performance elements and narrative.
I used the Wix website to create my own webpage for my artist, using a template I inserted all of my own original content of artist information, images and links to social media such as Instagram, twitter and Facebook. I also noticed the videos of performance on acoustic artists pages such as Sam Smith, therefore I filmed and recorded an acoustic live performance of my song ‘Control.’ For this I had to use a Neumann KMS105 microphone to record the audio input and time the audio to the video feed. I then used Vimeo to upload, publish and embed the performance film onto my website. Furthermore I used Photoshop to create the printed version of my CD on the ‘shop page’ of my site and uploaded my single ‘Control’ to my iTunes account to allow audiences to listen directly on my webpage.
Finally I would not have been able to complete my final product, my music video without the use of multiple adobe software, especially Adobe Premiere CC as this is what I used to produce my finished product. I also used Garage band, Neumann KMS 105 microphone and Apogee ONE converter to record the audio of my evaluation questions and used Equaliser, clip cutting and vocal effects to remove the background buzz and any mistakes. The site word press has been extremely useful allowing as it has allowed me to upload all my work, the site has been a simple and effective way of keeping my teachers up to date with my progress.
Media products rely on audience appeal in order to receive views, purchasing, profit and popularity. Therefore through the A2 course I have used audience feedback as a source of direction, inspiration and focus for my media products of the website, Digipack and music video.
At AS I used the website survey monkey to collate audience expectations prior to producing my crime drama film opening, however I found this was ineffective in truly understanding what the audience wanted from my product as it collected simplistic quantitative data and audiences often misinterpreted the questions. I therefore conducted in depth audience feedback at A2 prior to producing my original acoustic music video using target audience interviews. This allowed me to gain qualitative data and fully explain and understand what my audience want to see. I learned that although audiences expect certain conventions of the original acoustic genre such as the piano prop, mansion location and vintage looking dress they also appreciated diversion from the genre through experimentation such as the supernatural narrative I proposed. In this way I learned exactly what audience expected from my chosen genre but also what would attract them to my media product. Therefore I developed a supernatural narrative in the demonic self that haunts the artist and altered the simplistic use of the prop (piano) as it linked my narrative and performance as the artist finds the answer to her quest, where she lost control, in the prop, in order to develop audience interest. This influence of audience feedback allowed me to learn how audience expectations and wants can be used to increase the popularity and viewings of my music video.
A second thing I learned from audience feedback was the impact of collecting information from my targeted demographic. Mainly young teenagers listen to acoustic music. Upon finishing a brief 1-minute clip of my music video I published a link on my social media site Facebook to ask for feedback on how to proceed and what to correct. The majority of responses I received were older relatives and my parent’s friends recommending I remove the stuttering effect that transitioned between the white and black dress, as it was distracting. However upon bringing my clip to my peers (who are the age range of my demographic) I found that they really liked the visual complexity, therefore this audience feedback influenced my postproduction as pursued with the disorientation theme for the duration of my video. I therefore learned from my audience feedback the importance of sourcing the correct feedback from my target audience in order to ensure my media product is successful and appealing.
A third way I have learned from audience feedback was the importance of attraction and recognition for my product. I designed 3 Digipacks based on my research of the acoustic music genre, I found the genre typically uses simplistic colour schemes such as black and white; I therefore mimicked this and decided upon my final design of a plain black and white image. In order to ensure I had made the right decision I presented a target audience sample of 10 teenagers with my 3 Digipack ideas asking them which album they were more likely to buy. To my surprise all 10 chose the same Digipack with the red and blue eyes as they said the bright colours attracted their attention. In this way I learned from audience feedback that sticking to the mundane strictures of my genre are not always the most successful way of creating a marketable and favoured product.
A final way I learned from audience feedback was the importance of audience attention. Upon the upload of my first draft to Vimeo my teachers watched and gave me constructive criticism on how to improve. Although my video consisted of a number shots I found when presenting my video to audiences they quickly lost attention after the first chorus. My teacher explained this was due to lack of narrative my video had little direction. Therefore I worked on developing my storyboard to slowly introduce the second self of the artist and gradually incorporated less footage of the mansion and more of the artist exploring. In this way I learned from audience feedback how to structure and develop my media produce in order to maintain audience attention that it critical to its success.
Through my foundation and advanced portfolio I have used Vimeo which has been a great tool to allow audiences to watch my product anywhere, allowing for instant feedback, however if I had the opportunity to attempt the music video making process again I would like to upload it to YouTube as this would allow me to reach a broader range of not only my demographic but people in general. Furthermore this would allow audiences to comment feedback on improvements to the video instantly and discuss openly suggestions they may have that I can easily refer back to and engage with.
The intimacy and personal nature of the acoustic music genre means the public are attracted to artists based on the feeling of knowing who they are. Therefore I believe combination and continuity of texts for an acoustic artist is the most important aspect and selling point for their career.
The starting point in combining my products was developing my artist identity. I delved deep into my own lyrical content and discovering the messages I wanted to convey. I found running themes of emotion, depth, mystery and struggle. In this way I attempted to tie these thematically through all my products.
I noticed the use of logos, a visual representation of an artist that allowed for instant identification. Using real artists such as Lorde’s logo on her album I began experimenting to create my own logo that incorporated a number of the messages that represent me as an artist. I came to the final image of the triangular image of the eye surrounded by my name; this stressed the importance of my identity as well as alluding to deception, mystery and secrecy. This allowed for audiences to instantly identify products with my artist, therefore combining my website with the Digipack and the beginning of my music video through the use and creation of an artist logo.
The lyrical content of my music and haunting atmosphere of acoustic music videos, such as Birdy- Skinny love, prompted a visually dark and mysterious tone. Therefore I added black and red vignette as well as Gaussian blur to a number of shots within my product. After analysing successful acoustic artists websites, such as Sam Smith, I noticed the serious and muted colour schemes as black and white images were displayed on the home screen. I therefore mimicked this on my own site with the large black and white image to demonstrate my artist’s honesty and depth of identity. Again my analysis discovered the simplistic nature of acoustic artist’s products as Gabrielle Alpin’s cover consists of a large Black and white image highlighting small amounts of colour, while Lorde’s album ‘Pure Heroin’ is completely Black and White. I too used minimalistic colouring highlighting only blues that tie in with my logo and artist identity, my blue eyes and lyrical content of exploring demons with red. Therefore I can identify continuity through my products as my video, website and Digipack use simplistic colouring, black and white with small hints at colour (blue and red which draw consumers to the CD as it visually stands out). Therefore my products all combine to create a similar minimalist aesthetic that not only represents the complexity and struggles of my artist but is also typical of original acoustic music as artists try not to take attention away from the personal meaning and depth of their music with extreme colour and visual distractions.
I found this minimalistic visual approach to products expanded to all aspects of design. Even the font of acoustic artists tended to be plain and simple, again referring to the focus on music and its emotional content. Lorde uses the same print of her name across all merchandise, website and Digipack. The simplistic capitals become almost a symbol in itself. I therefore tried to recreate this visually simple but impactful design with my own name on my Digipack, website and the beginning of my music video. In this way my name ties in with my logo and becomes a point of reference and symbol to audiences of artist identity and continuity. I chose the font as it creates a ‘brick-like’ effect that implies confinement developing my running theme of struggle. I increased the distance between letters to create space similar to Lorde’s. My font has become almost a second logo and the simplistic text through my products is representative of acoustic artists minimalism and focus on music which allows audiences not only to identify my artist within the genr
One of my A2 media products was an original acoustic music video. In this way I am able to identify how my music video not only uses but also develops and challenges the conventions of the original acoustic genre.
In order to experiment with conventions it was necessary to gather an insight into the world of music videos. This consisted of weeks of research on sites such as Vevo and YouTube analysing the forms of music videos, not only acoustic but also a range of genres. After in depth analysis of performance and narrative to specific shot angles and colouration conventional to the acoustic genre I was able to begin.
Due to the personal nature of original music and its lyrics the majority of videos focus on the artist, creating a narrative that is intimate and mirrors the lyrical content. In this way my media product uses such conventions, as the video is oriented around my artist, making up the majority of the shots, while the narrative traces a personal journey of self-discovery in which the female attempts to find where she lost ‘control.’ This can be seen in artist’s videos such as Birdy in which I have visually used the conventional ‘following’ shot of the camera following the female on her journey discovery.
However, it must be noted I have challenged the conventional narrative in my post-production. My narrative features a demonic self that haunts the artist, I used video overlays, cropping and feathering to create a duplicate of myself. Not only does this add a supernatural element to the genre but also develops audience interest as it subverts the typical acoustic conventions of the emotional journey of the artist. Instead I explore the artist’s metaphorical demons in a visually compelling way that reverts conventions of original acoustic music.
I was instantly aware of the atmospheric nature of acoustic music videos. I distilled this gothic feel down to the use of location, typically an abandoned home or mansion, and colouration, creating a visual obscurity and mystery. Therefore, again, I am able to identify my use of conventions to mimic the atmosphere of acoustic music videos, through my choice of location of the Victorian Mansion in the UK and furthermore my postproduction colouration and effects in the use of black and red vignette as well as Gaussian blur. This is evident in music videos such as ‘Gabrielle Alpin’ and ‘Tori Kelly.’
From my research I noticed the generic form of video transitions, typically falling ‘on beat,’ especially in genres such as dance when rhythm is prevalent such as ‘+1- Martin Solveig’ I experimented with off beat transitions however found the musical timing created a sensually pleasing experience, as visual and auditory queues were symmetrical. Therefore I decided to develop the conventional transition while challenging the subdued atmosphere of original acoustic music videos. I musically positioned each of the tracks creating an overlay and cut smaller sections of each clips in time to the music, this slicing and overlays created a flicker like effect that disrupted the solemn and gothic atmosphere conventional of the genre while developing the lyrical theme of loss of control and using musical form of tied transitions that was sensually appealing.
The performance aspect of the video is predominant in original acoustic music as often the artists unique selling point is their authenticity and emotive performance. Therefore acoustic videos tend to feature instruments, more specifically pianos, such as Tori Kelly, Sam Smith and Gabrielle Alpin. This conventional prop leads to generic shots such as side angle piano, face on at the piano and close up of the piano. Not only did I make use of the genres conventional prop but replicated such shots in my own media product.
Yet my use of the prop was not conventional. Music videos are composed of 2 clear-cut sections: performance and narrative. I decided to blur the distinct lines of performance and narrative through my use of prop. I placed images of the artist amongst the strings of the piano, not only did this develop the typical close-up shot of the piano from the keys to the strings but also challenged the separation of performance and narrative as the instrument served a lyrical purpose in highlighting the answer to the artists emotional pain is metaphorically in her music.
Although my choice of original music seems obvious in my choice of actor, however my initial thought was to select a second person to mime my song. After exploring the genre I found I was visually similar to a number of the original acoustic artists as a young female, at 18 years old with long hair similar to Birdy, Gabrielle Alpin and Tori Kelly. Therefore I used myself as a convention of acoustic original music as I represent the typical acoustic artist. I furthered this representation through my use of make-up and costume. Appearances can be easily manipulated, therefore I spent time studying the visual similarities and differences between artists, I found longer flowing dresses were typically used to fit in with the vintage location aesthetic while minimal make-up was worn to highlight the exposed and natural content of the music. Therefore I used the conventional costume and make-up of original acoustic music in my styling of my artist. In this way my artist is conventional in appearance and style similar to Birdy, Tori Kelly and Gabrielle Alpin successful original acoustic artists.
My second A2 product was my website. I am again able to note the use of the conventions of original acoustic artists webpages. Once again I conducted extensive research into the web pages of the artists that I believe truly represent original acoustic music such as Sam Smith, Ed Sheeran and Tori Kelly. I used screen shots and screen recordings to actively capture the interaction and feel of each page. I noticed the focus on artist image and the simplistic colour schemes that fit in with artist identity, such as the large Black and white image of Sam Smith and standardised text across each page on Ed Sheeran page. In this way I replicated such features on my own page with the Black and White image of the artist on the home page and regular text throughout. Furthermore acoustic music, unlike other genres, tends to appeal due to the raw and emotional feel of the music, therefore artists often have web page play and video links to live performances so that audiences can experience the true performance of the original music. In this way I have again used the conventions in my own recording and embedded video of the artist singing the debut single ‘control’ that audiences can watch on the website as well as listen to the single on the home and ‘music’ page.
However as a new artist I felt analysing established musicians websites were unrealistic and I therefore decided to develop the convention of the acoustic music genre in getting to know the artist by creating a selection of performance and behind the scenes images of filming the video, this allows audiences to identify with the artist as they can appreciate the ‘real’ person behind the production.
My final product at A2 was my Digipack. As with the other products my initial research was into existing media products that allowed me to gather an in-depth knowledge of conventional acoustic music Digipack. The personal and emotive lyrical content of acoustic music is often reflected in the Digipack design. Artists such as Lorde and Gabrielle Alpin use minimalistic colouring of Black and White with small touches of colour. I too used black and white colouring to highlight the importance of my music reflecting the dark content of my lyrics rather than creating visual distractions with bright and confusing patterns. However I challenged the conventions through the hints of colour used to accentuate my artist’s image with blue eyes and logo as well as colouration of the second images eyes, red, which connotes to the demonic self that haunts the artist in my music video narrative. Therefore I have developed the conventions of acoustic music Digipack in my creative use of colour that instantly promotes my artists image and creates a tie between my products.
The Final details of my Digipack too conformed to the forms of acoustic music Digipack as the minimalistic approach expanded to font type too. Artists such as Lorde use simplistic and spaced font to create a ‘Logo’ like name on the front cover, in this way her artist image is instantly recognisable, as the simplistic name becomes a symbol of identification. I too created this on my Digipack through the font and increased the spacing between letters to create greater visual impact. However the brick-like font I chose challenged the mundane fonts typically used by artists as it implies a depth of meaning such as prison and confinement running with my lyrical content of struggle. In this way I challenge the mundane font types used by acoustic music Digipack developing a greater sense of meaning and artist identity, however maintaining the conventional simplicity that makes the artist name a symbol of identification.
The final stage of the Digi pack design process required the use of a new software ‘InDesign.’ by using the template of the CD, inside cover, front and back of the packaging we had to insert our designs, however the exact measurements required further manipulation and altering to ensure to cover looked visually ‘balanced’ and was not cut off by the safety margins when printing the DigiPacks. Therefore I duplicated the outline layer into the Photoshop files and altered my text and images so that the eyes and text were not cut off by the red edge and all was contained within the blue safety margin that can cause slight alteration when printed. inside the Digipack I maintained the minimalistic colour scheme with my black logo over the grey coverage mirrored over the simplistic white CD similar to the L printed on Lorde’s CD and the blue ‘eye’ promotes aspects of colour like the umbrella on Gabrielle Alpins CD. Overall the Digipack minimalism emphasizes original acoustic musics stress on the importance of the music as oppose to visually bombarding audiences with colour and images, as the music speaks for itself. In this way my Digipack sticks to album conventions such as Lorde’s logo, colour scheme, as well as thematic elements and hints at my artists lyrics, image and music video narrative through subtle detail, colour manipulation, image choice, font and logo development.
Using my research of other artists within acoustic original music such as Lorde and ed Sheeran I noticed the typical columned listing of 10-12 songs in handwriting font. I used 10 titles of my own original songs and placed them uniformly below one another, tying into the controlling link of obsessive compulsive disorder and further lined my logo at the top similar to ed Sheeran’s ‘divide’ logo and Lorde’s circular sketched logo. I used the standard font and copy write text that is used on album covers manipulating the text inserting ‘Jersey’ music where relevant. I added the bar code to the bottom left corner and the universal music logo to the bottom right as typically management companies demand recognition and visual display on the album cover. Over all I maintained the dark sinister and emotional atmosphere of my album cover to keep its relevance to my writing and also imply the colour and interest to be found within the music itself rather than displayed visually on the outside, enticing audiences to purchase and listen.
I researched a number of artists websites similar to myself. I studied Sam smith, birdy, ed Sheeran, Tori Kelly and Gabrielle Alpin. This gave me an understanding of the over all aesthetic created by original acoustic artists which gave a me a basis for my own site and allowed me to become critical of my page in its realism, professionalism, function and in its entirety.
The first thing I noticed was the overwhelming presence of an image that allow fans to identify the artist, these were typically close up, intense and emotive shots lacking colour. I replicated this for my site as shown below with the black and white effect and plain text and menu above, while creating interest as the menu text changes to red when hovered over.
The second feature I noticed among acoustic artist was their ‘bio.’ this included a brief overview of themselves and their career, this is typical of the genre as such artists create an intimate relationship with fans through emotive, personal lyrics, therefore the insight into their past allows for affiliation and understanding. on Birdy’s site she provides an in depth description of the events leading to where she is now and her career so far however I decided to keep my description brief as a new artist releasing a single the career is brief and also creates mystery and entices audiences to read into my back ground and find out more.
After establishing an image, identity and background the music became apparent on all sites, therefore the next information browsers would scroll across would be the album, as seen in Sam Smiths album there is on-sight listening and simplistic image/title that maintains musical focus but visually attracts audiences. I mimicked this on my site as the same font was used and black and white image of the album cover was enhanced by my image of the bright blue glaciers aesthetically linking to the enhanced blue of my eyes. Furthermore I developed my artists image through the use of the triangle logo above the ‘basic info’ that ties products and image together.
One of the most important parts of acoustic music is performance, due to its emotional content its full potential can only be appreciated when performed. For this reason I mimicked artists similar to myself, such as Tori Kelly, as they linked videos of live performance on their site. I recorded my single ‘control’ live at home and uploaded the video to Vimeo putting a link on my site. I visually maintained simplicity through the constant font and wording that automatically attracts audiences to ‘watch.’ I experimented with auto play so that the video plays automatically when the page loads however I found this annoying and forceful, not giving audiences the chance to explore the site so I left it as Tori had.
As discussed above performance is a key element of acoustic music therefore many artists priorities tour promotion/dates, such as ed Sheeran as his site presents a list of dates and locations of performances before allowing fans to proceed to his site. Although this was a good tac-tic to selling tickets as a new artist I do not have any gigs lined up so this would be a pointless attempt. Therefore I created a smaller section linked to my events account that allows audiences to follow my account and the site becomes updated as I add future performance dates. I decided to maintain low visual complexity in this area as to attract little attention to the small amount of upcoming performances.
I found a convention of ‘new’ artists was a representation section at the bottom of the home page. In this way businesses or fans can get in touch regarding deals, booking or promotion. I found this was only relevant on newer artists as ‘big-time’ stars such as ed Sheeran would be inundated with fan emails that are nothing to do with business. Therefore I too created this section as a new artist but used it to further brand image and unity as I imposed my logo above the contact details.
After working on the home page I moved onto the conventional ‘other’ pages of the site. Social media is arguably the key to success in modern music and for this reason I placed this page second, I provided links and web play of my videos on YouTube and Vimeo as well as Facebook, twitter and Instagram links. I furthered my artists social media presence through the constant presence of the iconic symbols in the lower right hand corner of every page, I animated the images so that when the page reloaded the icons ‘swiped’ on screen drawing audience attention to these accounts increasing their likeliness to open the link and follow.
The next page was music. As a new artist I did not have the same array of music to display on my site of previous albums such as Ed Sheeran. However I created a similar visual presentation and allowed for website play of my single.
All artists have a ‘store’ section of their site, however I noticed unlike pop musicians acoustic artists only have their music for sale, they avoid tacky caps, t-shirts and other merchandise. Therefore I only created multiple versions of my debut single similar to Birdy’s in Vinyl, CD and download for sale, I created a link In the more details to the iTunes website as obviously there are none for sale, however I used this link to demonstrate how it could work on a fully functioning site.
The final page offers audiences the chance to sign up using email to receive latest updates and information on the artist. I used this page to tie in my logo and further brand image leaving the lasting impression while maintaining typical acoustic simplicity to demonstrate a focus on music and hint toward later development of the artist, their music, updates and the website as their career progresses.
After looking at the narratives of artists similar to myself like birdy and Gabrielle Alpin I noticed their dependence upon themselves to guide and feature solely within their narratives. I noticed the focus on self and emotional struggle/turmoil as a motive and drive for narrative as well as performance in this way I will stick to my genres conventions as I will solely feature in my narrative following my personal search for clues and emotional journey in recovering the past while being haunted by a demonic version of myself in a metaphorical ‘overcoming my demons’ which features heavily in the lyrics. Furthermore the lonely lyrical content and settings used in original acoustic music videos such as the mansions in Gabrielle Alpin and Birdy’s videos imply lack of human contact and interaction and allow audiences to focus on their emotional performance, personal music and lyrical content. For this reason I will cast myself as the only actor and person to feature within my setting of the old antique mansion of my music video to stick to my music genres video conventions in terms of casting and narrative.