Friday, 16 March 2012

CO - Evaluation Question 4 [DRAFT]

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

  • I will include a large comprehensive list of all the difference types of technology that we used throughout the construction of the texts, including software too, and discuss their effectiveness.
  • Similarly, we will talk about the use of sharing websites that utilise media platforms to share our music video with the online community, and gainn feedback through comments regarding our video.
  • I will also discuss the implementation of websites to help research the common codes and conventions of the music videos we were studying so we could use them in our video; in addition, we used websites like Wikipedia to research various theories, record labels of the genre, so we could help streamline our research and our ability to apply it to our video.
  • In addition, the use of social networking sites and their clients; Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, YouTube, Soundcloud, MySpace, Bebo and more, and also the impact they had when being used for our video. 
  • Tools used for editing will also be included, such as Final Cut Express, iMovie, Photoshop and how we used them.

CO - Evaluation Question 3 [DRAFT]

What have you learned from your audience feedback?

  • For the feedback evaluation question, I will start by talking about the main target/primary audience and what they would expect, but also discuss secondary target audiences as well.
  • Discuss in depth the means of communication we employed to help gain software from a number of different people; talk about new media technologies, integration of social networking such as Twitter, Facebook, SoundCloud, MySpace and more (comment on effectiveness of these platforms) 
  • Discuss the usefulness of the feedback; not all of it was constructive or good in any way, talk about how we didn't use some of it judging on what was commented on.
  • Similarly, I will also talk about how we felt about the feedback we were given by people, and whether we took it on board or rejected it. 
  • To summarise, we will discuss the usefulness of the feedback on a whole.
The main feedback for our music video focused on these points

  • We took out all the shots where the houses were noticeable by either erasing the shot entirely or editing the scaling of it and cropping it until the houses were out of shot, creating a mis-en-scene.
  • Edited out some of the effects and layering styles we included when creating the video, due to the fact that they didn't fit in or looked bad/not in keeping with the text
  •  Similarly, feedback caused us to add a lot of varied yet subtle effects to help give our video a bit more of an edge, and incorporating new media technology
  • We tried to integrate a four-shot into the performance but our feedback told us that it didn't really work with the other, faster and quicker shots of the section
  • Another big point of feedback revolved around the diegetic introduction being too long and not needed, we reduced this a significant amount
  • We included more shots of Sam in the performance after getting feedback stating that he wasn't in enough; we changed this by increasing the scale and cropping.
We also got quite a bit of feedback regarding our digipak;

  • Our first design for the front panel featured a vector Flash trace of a stage on a celestial background; while all of us within Sublime Transcendence liked the design, some others thought the vector gave the digipak cover an unwanted cartoon-y feel, so we revamped the design totally.
  • The designs were favourable afterwards, yet we had incorporated some found images in the creation of the digipak and we were trying to avoid doing this; to remedy the possible plagiarism, we went out and took the shots we wanted ourselves, in a similar style to the found ones.
  • Another point brought up during feedback was that the first drafts of the digipak didn't integrate many elements from the other texts, though this applied to our first design only.
...and regarding our magazine ad;

  • The main point of the magazine ad's feedback was that the background apparently had no relevance to the video, even though we all thought it did, so we compromised with this feedback.
  • Similarly  the digipak,. the first magazine ad designs didn't involve much integration with the other two texts.
  • The first designs, according to our teacher, didn't fit in with the common codes and conventions of the target audience, such as magazine adverts that would be found in Metal Hammer/Rock Sound etc.

CO - Evaluation Question 2 [DRAFT]

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

For this evaluation question, I will mention a few important topics; the themes, codes and conventions that are coherent throughout the digipak, the magazine ad and the video in relation to other texts, the task's relation to the real world (as all three texts would've been created by separate companies) and also brainstorm examples of digipaks, magazine ads and music video's that don't have any form of integration, going against that convention.

Below are some of the combinations of key themes that Sublime Transcendence have incorporated throughout the texts we made;

  • Inclusion of isolated, rural, eerie setting; occurring throughout the digipak's panels, the mag ad's background and the performance and narrative of the music video. 
  • Similar shooting style and mis-en-scene are combined in both the music video and the mag ad; they both feature bloodied-up band members and instruments in a rural setting, though the framing is different.
  • A degree of image and layer manipulation through all three texts, eg; black-and-white filter in magazine ad,  the layering and opacity manipulation in the music video, and the colour correction and filters within the digipak. 
  • We did actually have a few binary oppositions too, a few aspects that go against the convention of integrating all the themes into every single text; these included the fake blood being present in all texts apart from the digipak, some of the photographs that were intended to be shot having their location taken out of the final product due to their inability to access, amongst other reasons.
  • The unseen, enigmatic antagonist of the video is only seen in half of the video; we will explain this in a lot more depth later in the evaluation but we wanted the creature to be as unseen as possible, whilst retaining a presence, so we decided to depict what it had left behind in the magazine ad, and its location in the digipak, though no shots of the creature itself.
  • The time of day also differentiates throughout all three texts, for the panels of the digipak, dusk, dawn and midday are all featured (we wanted to avoid the night cliché), there is dark and light within the music video, and total darkness in the magazine ad. 

CO - Evaluation Question 1 [DRAFT]

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


  • Discuss question, and possible problems and other interpretations of the question 
  • Define the conventions of the format that we have incorporated into our text
  • Compare what we've done with said conventions
  • Compare the genres; our chosen one with other ones and discuss conventions 
  • Summarise

Within the answer, I will discuss in depth these points concerning our video/videos of the genre;

          Conventions overall and conventions we ended up using

  • Goodwin's theory; narrative and performance concepts and the integration of the two in our video
  • The use of lip-synching throughout our video, how and why we did it etc, and it's place in the metalcore video spectrum
  • Close-ups of instrumentation throughout the performance side of the music video 
  • Quick paced editing
  • The lighting of the video, high-key, low, artificial etc
  • Focus on the lead singer of the band, explanation as to why that is an apparent convention 
          Conventions of our digipak used
  • Strong, coherent point of intertextuality between the digipak's panel designs and the music video text itself
  • Bonus features within the sleeve and disc itself
  • The aesthetic layout of the digipak; the colours, the tones, the effects...
  • The credits of who was involved in the mastering, engineering, recording and production of the album
  • The lyrical booklet containing all the vocalists' songwriting material 
  • Copyright information for the digipak
  • A barcode and possible QR code
  • Label logos and information
          Conventions of the magazine advert

  • Plenty of detail concerning the band's upcoming digipak release, yet a tasteful amount, not overdone
  • A vibrant and noticeable background, dominating yet not too overbearing
  • A sizeable band name heading the top of the magazine ad
  • Screenshots of the product
  • Tour dates
  • Internet directories

Monday, 12 March 2012

RM - Research in Music Video Directors P. R. Brown

P. R. Brown is a graphic designer, photographer, and music video director. As well as being well known for directing music videos he is also known well for designing album covers. Some of the album covers he has designed are for Mötley Crüe, Korn, Godsmack and Marilyn Manson. However he has directed music videos in a range of ranges. Bands he has directed music videos for include Bullet For My Valentine, My Chemical Romance, The Smashing Pumpkins, Slipknot and many more.

Click here to see his full filmography

Sourced: Wikipedia

Each time P. R. Brown produces a music video he either tries to follow it on from the previous music video produced, an example of this would be My Chemical Roman's "Sing" with their music video following on from their pprevious single "Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na)", or tries to create something a little different compared to the band's previous videos. He has also known to take inspiration from films including The Road. The following extract is taken from an interview with VEVO talking about Lamb of God's music video for “Ghost Walking” which he produced.

P.R. Brown: I got a basic brief from the label as to where the band was going with its visuals and message for the whole album. And we made a teaser for the album a few weeks ago. It had snippets of one track, and a lot of the imagery was around Armageddon. It’s from the band’s perspective of there being no one left to save. It takes on this found-footage feeling of an underground movement that’s just about the end times, basically.

VEVO: Something that would parallel the film The Road?

P.R. Brown: Perfect call, yes. That’s the vibe of the album. So with that in mind, it was “how to do we make a lyric video with that kind of sensibility?” It was kind going into the notion of found archives and redacted text that the lyrics could come out from. The band has redacted text in their album art work as well. So that was the backbone for creating the lyric video: what would it be like if I found all these hundreds of documents with cryptic messages in them.

The full interview can be read here.
This is a similar approach to the music video we are producing as the main inspiration for our music video is the film "An American Werewolf In London".

Sunday, 11 March 2012

CO - Digipak's relationship to video and original images

I created the digipak's designs with the same idea that I'd had with the magazine ad, and that was to create a recurring theme through all three media texts. The main idea I wanted is that of the location and surrounding area that we shot; this involves Ilkley moor, stills from the wood where we shot our video and other varying areas of greenery. Our original plan was to shoot at the 12 Apostles on Ilkley Moor, but this soon became problematic as we could not get the equipment up there, especially in the snowy conditions we had.
The 12 apostles credits section background.

Still, we used an image of the 12 apostles anyway because of the foreboding and isolated appearance of it, and also due to the aspect of intertextuality it had with Stonehenge, i.e the Spinal Tap-esque feel, but not as tongue-in-cheek.We used quite a lot of pictures from this area, and used Adobe Photoshop to edit them subtly, I decided to go with black and white undertone.
Another shot we used, for the back panel.
This is the front cover; featuring a forest
canopy, edited with instagram. 

Magazine Ad - relationship to video & original images

Another shot I played around with.
When I was creating the magazine advert for our group, I thought it should have a strong theme that echoes through both the advert's layout and also links in with our music video, forming a sort of contextuality through both media texts. I had done a series of drafts before the final one was completed, and those also related to the video, and included pictures, stills and more, but the backgrounds needed work and were not prominent and detailed enough.

Here are the original images that I took for the advert's background. I created these by lying my guitar down in the grass and covering my arm in food-colouring (the colouring was blue, so I had to make the image black and white instead) to give the impression of a bloodied band member, a theme obviously recurring throughout the whole music video.

The final image used for the advert.
One of the runner-up ideas, I liked the torch
aspect on this one.

Friday, 9 March 2012

SB - Relationship of Artists to Genre

Miss May I
Metalcore is a very formulaic genre with many bands falling under the same sound. This is very typical of bands who fall under the Rise Records label, they're often ridiculed and parodied because of the similar musical style and influences and the majority of them sound very 'cut and paste' examples of bands like this are Attack Attack!, Miss May I and Make me Famous. These bands stick to the formulaic conventions of the genre heavily and don't really try to differ from the conventions, and follow all the rules, such as incorporating multiple breakdowns, dischords, clean vocal passages and dowtuned riffs.

The Devil Wears Prada
However there are bands who challenge the rules and can still be classed as a metalcore band. Examples of this are The Devil Wears Prada, letlive (to a certain extent) and Underoath. These bands are seen as changing the genre and often disregarding some of the common conventions. The Devil Wears Prada are famous for starting off like a typical Rise Records band. (regarded as the first band to start that trend off) They quickly left Rise Records and joined Ferret who are a more hardcore orientated label and started to incorporate more of the hardcore elements in their music. Gradually over time the band has got heavier and heavier while other bands (normally on Rise Records) have got less heavy and started to become what TDWP started out being. letlive. are a band that have incorporated many genres into their music they can be labelled as hardcore or metalcore but really they oppose genre and don't want to be caught under the same net as typical metalcore bands.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

CO - Using Final Cut Express

As a way of incorporating the use of new media technologies, classes this year and the year beforehand have heavily advocated the use of Final Cut Express, a variant of Apple's hugely successful Final Cut Pro. This rather fantastic utility allows users to import footage in a variety of formats including .xml, .mov, .mp4 and many more and use a whole host of different tools, appliances and devices to edit whatever you want. We all thought that the use of Final Cut Express helped us extensively throughout the video's creation, and still is. It was of course a huge step up to being restricted to iMovie '08, which was the program that a majority of us used last year for our film openings, as we got to use so many more features; notable examples on our video include (or will include when we're done with it) various "hot colour" tints such as deep red and sepia, glows, fades, possible dazzles, the earthquake effect (which obviously shakes a chosen focal point to simulate a tremor) and a lot of fade in/fade out/cross dissolve transitions. However, the main effect that we used in FCE was the use of the bezier brightness and contrast slider, where we darkened and lightened shots we needed, which we couldn't do before. To summarise, the use of Final Cut Express has greatly helped Sublime Transcendence achieve all we wanted by using effects and precision within the post-production stages of our video.

CO - Role of Audience Feedback

As we near the end of our production stage of our music video, we can safely say as a collective that audience feedback has been an extremely important and significant part of the creation of the video. Without it, we would not know what to expect from a wide demographic or a second target audience, let alone a first one, and each session of feedback has helped us strengthen both our performance and our narrative as we worked on it. The audience feedback ranged from smaller points such as "This person could be wearing this instead of this to create a better mis-en-scene" etc. to much larger points such as "I recommend you film in an entirely different location", both of which we took into account and used to help better our production. Similarly to that we also took into account more technical aspects, such as improvements that could be made using Final Cut Express, and also utilizing parts from its large palette of effects to incorporate the use of new media technologies into our music video.

CO - Representation of Gender in our video

To begin with, it would be important to note that our video roughly features the gender-based conventions of most metalcore/metal, as the most predominant feature is the fully male lineup of Sunburnt In December. Most bands of the genre have this gendered approach, such as August Burns Red, The Devil Wears Prada, The Acacia Strain, Periphery and more, just off the top of my head. Going against this convention however, are bands such as Kittie, Arch Enemy, Aliases, Eyes Set to Kill, iwrestledabearonce! and more all feature female  
Leah from ALIASES, a prog-
ressive metalcore band, a subgenre near
our own one, defying the convention
of all metalcore bands having all-male members.
vocalists or members. We realised that we had the all-male set that the target audience for our genre would recognise, yet within our actual video's narrative, we tried to break away from convention a little bit, because of the reason that it is often a final girl/scream queen that is obviously chased by an unseen being, inhuman or other, and all of us in Sublime Transcendence agreed it was a good idea to have an all-male cast, not just for practicalities, but so we could link it well to the performance whilst forming a binary opposite to the more conventional female leads.

All - Budget

Whilst creating our music video we have had to work with a very limited budget, like all groups which across the year. The only time we needed to buy items was creating the fake intestines and fake blood.

The items we bought to create the fake intestines, and there prices follows:
Tights - £3.50
A lot of kitchen roll - £1.25
4x Strawberry Jelly (125grams) - £0.37 each

The items we bought to create the fake blood or as follows:
1x Golden Syrup (454grams) - £0.99
1x Red Food Colouring (38Ml) - £1.05

We also bought and used some fake blood however we feel that the fake blood we created is of higher quality.

Here is our vodcast on how Sam created the fake intestines:

Sunday, 4 March 2012

All - Final Digipak Designs

Here are the main panels that we are using for our digipak, all have gone numerous feedback-induced changes along the way. We plan to use some images of the landscape for possible additional panels too.

Front panel.
Back panel.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

CO - Latest Magazine ad edition

I have just completed the latest edition of the magazine ad, this time including all the feedback we got from the last effort I made. It includes aspects of layering and a whole new design, focusing on a still from the music video, a bloodied band member with a discarded instrument. To see the image in its maximum resolution (the filesize is massive), click this link.