Friday, 15 September 2017

R+P Post 2: Myself as a music consumer

I have always been a massive music consumer, as I have grown up in an extremely music-oriented family. My parents met through saxophone playing and jazz, my brother works at a record store, and we all play various musical instruments. I found choosing 3 songs to sum up my whole life so far really difficult, and I honestly don't think it's possible to just choose 3. I have never had a favourite song at any time in my life, as there are too many genres of music that are appropriate for different situations. For example, I wouldn't play a pop song on my trombone, but I would play a jazz song, and I wouldn't listen to jazz at a party with my friends, but I would listen to a playlist of fun pop songs. I believe that music is one of the biggest parts of life, as it can set a mood, be used as background music, help people through hard times, make memories, and bring an intense feeling of nostalgia.

CHILDHOOD:

I chose this song because I remember listening to it on an MP3 Happy Meal toy at McDonald's, and I remember everyone telling me it was really good music. I was about 4 at the time so I didn't really know anything about music or have my own ideas about the type of music I liked, so I pretty much just took everybody else's word on what made a song good. I personally enjoyed this song because it told a story about some lads and a time machine, which I found really cool because I could just imagine the whole scenario while listening to the small sample of the song I had on my Happy Meal toy. This song definitely fills me with nostalgia every time I listen to it, and even though I know now that it rally is a trashy song, I still love how it brings me back to that moment when I first really listened to music while eating 6 chicken nuggets.

Year 3000 - Busted

The target audience fro Busted at the time was definitely not 4-year-olds at McDonald's, although this did help them promote their song amazingly well to a new and easily-influenced audience. The target audience was teenage girls, and they appealed to them by having the "lads" image. They had really cool hair (at the time) and were dressed up cool so the fan girls would fall in love with them. This song appeals to that audience because it really portrays their laddish personalities andshows them off as a typical boy band.

EARLY TEENS:

This choice was particularly difficult for me, as this was the stage of my life I started listening to music for myself and not just listening to what my friends and brother said about music. That being said, most of my music has stemmed from my brother's old selections anyway. When I was around 9/10 I really got into Avril Lavigne, as my brother had listened to her music briefly, and once he was done with it he gave me the old CD - the album Let It Go. I listened to it and she was immediately my idol. She was so angsty and so cool I just wanted to be like her (I even went to a fancy dress party dressed as her). This was easily my favourite of her songs, as it told a story, similar to the Busted song. I also really liked the music video because it was about these cool teenagers that I aspired to be like but Avril was having a hard time. It really showed me her emotional side and I admired her for that. Eventually I got an iPod nano for Christmas in 2009 and I could finally buy all of her albums n iTunes! To this day, there is not a single Avril Lavigne song I don't know all the words to!

Complicated - Avril Lavigne

Avril Lavigne appeals to her target audience of teenage girls by representing herself as a very rebellious girl, which is a person they admire and aspire to be. Additionally, the audeince is gratified by the use of very personal emotional lyrics in this song about her and her boyfriend having hard times.

NOW:

This was the most difficult choice for me because these days I listen to so many different genres of music. When I got my first smart phone in 2015, I realised that the music world had moved on from just borrowing CDs from the library, and I had to catch up! Finally straying from other people's guidance, and using the help of the internet, I was able to find new music that I finally enjoyed listening to for the sake of listening to music. I listen to so many genres now: jazz, hip-hop/rap, rock, alt-rock, indie-rock, etc. I was tempted to choose a hip-hop song as my present day song choice because I really love how it incorporates jazz, which I am a huge fan of. However, I chose this song by Savages because I found out about them when I was around 14, and I have liked them since. They are a good go-to music choice in any situation, and I especially enjoy listening to them on the bus. I also really like that they are an all-girl band, because I have always found the music industry so male-dominated, other than in pop girl groups, which I find quite tedious. Savages are not girl band stereotypes and they don't try to be for promotional purposes, which I really like about them. This is why I am often dissatisfied with jazz, as there are so few famous female musicians that I could name them in a short list.

Husbands - Savages

This band is appealing to the audience of alt-rock listeners by using heavy guitar lines, rough singing and prominent bass riffs and drums. They also appeal to girls by being a non-stereotypical girl band in their image that girls aspire to be like or admire. Also, their music video contains lots of imagery of bugs and creepy-crawlies that fit the style of music, so the alt-rock audience are immediately gratified with this conventional music video feature for the genre.

Thursday, 14 September 2017

R + P Post 1: My A2 Group

I am in a group with Emilio and Jack. We all get on very well together and we are all really looking forward to this project! I think our range of skills will work well together as we all have really good general media skills, but Jack is especially good with performance, and Emilio is very good at aesthetics and camera work, and we are all full of ideas that fit together well!

We have decided to do 3 scheduled meetings a week so we can make sure to stay on top of things and still have time for fun, and we are going to share the work load evenly. We are also using a Facebook group so that we can stay in touch and share any new ideas/other texts for reference.

Friday, 23 June 2017

1. Did you enjoy the workshop shoot day? What role(s) did you take? What were your best bits and why?

video
A time lapse showing the whole shoot day. It shows the transformation of the studio during the day, including putting up the cyclorama, lights, and all the actors and camera.

Me (2 from left) getting my make-up done.

I really enjoyed the shoot day and I felt really excited to be immersed in such a new environment. I particularly enjoyed working with the industry standard equipment for the first time, as well as working with industry professionals. This gave me a better understanding of how media works on a wider scale, as I saw how all the different roles tie together, from director to runner. It also allowed me to realise how every role in a shoot is important. For example, the director is important as they give the creative input into the shoot, and the seemingly small role of the cable basher is important, as it allows the camera operator to take the best shots possible without the cable getting in the way.

Me cable bashing.
Clapperboard:

  • Really got my day off to a great start. 
  • The thing I found most interesting when taking charge of the clapperboard, which I had never considered before, is what Robin told me about marking the shot correctly. He said that the clapperboard should always enter the shot open, rather than to enter the shot and then open. This really intrigued me as I had never thought that there would be a correct way to mark a shot using a clapperboard. 
  • Another thing I learnt when using the clapperboard was when I asked Amy about industry standard clapperboards, and I found out that in most simple shoots, simple clapperboards like the one we had are used, but in feature film production, the use digital clapperboards that have a timer and are sometimes linked to the camera to make them start recording.

Cable Basher:

  • I did this when Robin was shooting the handheld shots of Laith. I really enjoyed this role, as it meant I virtually got to shadow Robin as camera op, which is the sort of career I would like to have when I am older. 
  • However, I did find it very difficult to keep the cable at the correct length constantly.

Me acting with the flag.
Actor:

  • My final role was as an actor, playing the part of "cool kid 7". This allowed me to gain insight into a role I do not usually take, and it made me think about what to say/what techniques to use when trying to get an actor to do something.


My favourite parts of the shoot day were:
  • Watching Robin and Dom adjust the focus of the lens when setting up the shot. I found it interesting to see how a subtle difference in the lens can cause such a deep or shallow focus, and I could apply it to things I have watched/ read about outside of school.
  • Getting my make-up done. It was really exciting to enter a new world (sort of).
  • Watching everyone do their own jobs when I had a free moment to sit down. For example watching assistant camera operator (Tom) doing cable bashing with a very skilled technique which I was able to try myself (but was not very good). However, he was not there for the full shoot day, but instead just the practice sessions.

2. What have you learnt from participating in each of the prelim tasks 1, 2, 3, and 5?

Task 1: Complete an Audition Video

I auditioned for Cool Kid 7 or 8, and ended up getting the part of Cool Kid 7. I found this task particularly challenging, as it was very embarrassing and I'm not a very good singer, so it was very strange for me to record myself singing. I ended up making most of my video alone, with Jack helping so that I had more confidence, and the other parts with Sian, Meera, and Aysha. I think I could have made a much better video, but I had a lot of fun editing it, as it didn't need to look professional and I could just make it a bit silly. I think this task was the most helpful in teaching me how to be confident in front of camera, and it set me up well for the task of learning and practising my performance...

Task 2: Learn and Practise Your Performance
Me practising and performing.
We spent 2 weeks practising our performances with Jasmine during and after school. I found these really fun, but it was very difficult in some of the rehearsals to not be anxious and laugh in front of the camera. I have done acting in front of camera before in a workshop when I was younger, but this was the first time I had ever done it with industry standard equipment with light, a director, and lots of people watching me, so it was a very different experience. The most important thing I learnt during this process was how to work in front of a camera, and to just get past nerves in order to get a good performance.

Task 3: Help to Plan and Organise Your Costume

We had a class costume meeting during one of our lessons to discuss costumes and props with our teachers to make sure we would be ready for the shoot day. We decided that my costume would be a 'hippy top' and some denim shorts, with white trainers and white trainer socks.I bought some denim shorts from Primark, and other people brought in tops for me to try (I ended up wearing Emilio's mum's top). Also, I already own white trainers and white trainer socks, so I wore those to the shoot. I think the biggest thing I learnt during this task was how important costumes and props are in portraying a character/ style. I think this will be very useful in our music video project next term, as it will help me to think about the artist I create, and it will help me portray their personality and identity better.

Task 5: Complete the Remake Edit


I made my remake edit with Jack. I really enjoyed this part of the project, especially when grading the shots to look similar. My favourite part was seeing the before and after for all of my grading. I learnt a lot in this task, because I was able to learn new techniques on how to make the grading look better and more professional, as I could compare it with the actual product. However, in the film opening project, I found grading more difficult, as there was no finite end point, so I found it tricky to know what sort of style I wanted from a particular shot. Additionally, I learnt the importance of editing in the conventional beauty shots to show off the artist. For example, the close-ups of Sian singing are edited in a very pink light, to emphasise her femininity and beauty and sell her to the audience.


3. Are you pleased with the footage and your finished? Is it how you expected it to look? What works really well and what would you change?



My finished remake edit.

I am very pleased with our finished edit. I think that we got the cuts right, and that the grading was particularly subtle  but good.

Shot before grading (notice colour difference
with original shot in the bottom right hand corner).
Shot after grading (three-way colour
corrector is most noticably used tool here).










It pretty much looks the same as I was expecting, although some of the movements our actors do are different from the ones in the original video. Additionally, most of our shots had slightly different lighting to the ones in the actual video. For example, in our close ups of all the cool kids, our lighting is coming from the wrong side of the face, which created a very different type of shadow to the ones in the video. Additionally, a lot of our shots were much darker than the ones int he actual video, which made it difficult to grade sot hat it looked like the actual video. However, I am glad they were too bright rather than too dark, as grading dark shots to look lighter would have made them very grainy. I was really impressed with some of our shots, that ended up looking almost identical to the actual video.


Shot after grading (lower contrast used
in ProcAmp).
Shot before grading (too bright).










I think that Sian's lip syncing went very well, and we matched it up very well to the music. We did this by putting the full length unedited shots in separate tracks and then lip syncing those. We then made those tracks invisible so they wouldn't get in the way of the video, and then we used the razor tool to cut out the bits we needed and dragged them down onto the visible tracks. This meant we didn't have to keep spending ages syncing Sian's lip sync with the music in the video. I think that if I were to do this project again, I might have graded all of the singing shots before dragging them down into position, as it would have been much quicker, and it would have given me more time to be able to get the grading perfect. However, I think that could end up going wrong if the lighting in any shots changes during the video.

4. How do you think your prelim experiences will impact on your approach to next term's music video coursework?

Pre-Production:
  • It has helped me to think bout how a singer's identity is created through costume, props, lighting, framing, composition, etc. This will help me as it will mean I work more on trying to portray our singer's created identity through our music video when planning the music video. Doing the costume arrangement meeting in particular has given me the incentive to do the same for our project next year to be prepared.
Production:
  • I will probably think about visually representing the song lyrics for our music video next term, as this video has made me realise how much of an impact it makes on remembering the song and music video, and keeping it engaging for the audience. This means I will need to think more about the choreography of the performance and making sure the actors are doing all the right moves.

    A perfect example of this would be the lyric "ever bring them down", which she sings while pointing down and looking pained, illustrating that nothing could ever make them sad. Moments like this are very important in this music video to illustrate the juxtaposition between what she thinks of the cool kids (they are cool and care free) and who the cool kids really are (sad and troubled).

Post-Production:
  • I have learnt that not only planning and performing are important in creating the singer's identity, but editing and grading is too. For example, in this shot, the lighting is very cold, the band members are acting very distant, and Sydney is looking at the camera and clicking. This creates an almost "too cool" persona for the band, while Sydney is represented as very cool, but till in touch and personal with the audience.

  • I have been able to see the impact of fast paced editing in a music video, so for ours I will probably use that technique in order to keep the audience's eyes moving. Similarly, I will think about using lots of colours and fun visuals (for example, Echosmith's feathers/snow) to appeal to the audience's visual expectations of music video conventions.

    Here is a gif of a moment in the clip that uses fast paced editing to go through a shots of each of the cool kids.