Wednesday, 4 May 2011

This is our final video for our media course!!!

Finished Ancillary

Tuesday, 3 May 2011
Evaluation Task 1
Evaluation Task 1: In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?
With our music video we aimed to develop on the well established conventions associated with the dance/DnB genre. many other media product try and do the same ending up pushing the boundaries of the genre and expanding the audience.
Whilst researching by looking at current artists and pioneers of the genre, such as The Prodigy, Pendulum, Chase & Status, Deadmau5, Squarepusher and Netsky (to name but a few), we learnt that all the aforementioned artists had a lot more in common by means of presentation than they did with artists of radically different genres.
For example and are two different genres, and you realise that instantly as you arrive each one. I don't want to get too into websites just yet as it was one of our ancillary tasks that I will be talking about later, but the two websites fit into their gerne stereotypes.
Music Video

The video above is one I found after we had made our video, but just goes to show how well we did with creating a video that fits into the Dance/DnB genre. A person awakes after a night of partying, goes about his day as a music producer, takes (what we assume to be) an mind altering substance, notices the effects and goes to another party.
The moment I saw this video I was stunned with how similar it was to ours and to “The Prodigy- Smack my bitch up”, this is probably because they were clearly influenced by The Prodigy - Smack my Bitch up and so were we. Whilst the above is almost a complete copy of The Prodigy's, ours deviates away more to the effects of the hallucinogenic I have supposedly taken.

The first video I watched to research the conventions of the genre was The Prodigy - Smack my Bitch Up.
This video was amazing at challenging gender stereotypes whilst at the same time perfectly conforming to dance genre stereotypes with a great final twist where the audience find out that the main character is female.. You go through the whole video not realising it was a female lead role right until the end, but the video is full of alcohol, bars, bright colours, partying and drugs. I wanted to create this sudden moment of realisation in our own music video, and did so by having him regain consciousness on the snooker table we see at the start. I didn't want this to be an "it was all a dream" type ending, so we included some flash ups after it had all finished to give the impression that although all he had just been through was a "trip" he was still under the effect of the drugs.

We have 4 members to our group, Jack, Louis, Sam and myself. This would be unusual in the Dance/DnB genre as most artists are males in their 20's and 30's. This is very much a niche in the market. Most bands that consist of young males are ones in completely different genres, such as The Wanted, or JLS. Most artists in our genre are solo, so that the music they create is their own and not influenced by anyone else, by being a band in this genre we are breaking one of the biggest conventions that confine the genre.

With our video we decided to incorporate the hallucinogenics as it is commonplace in the genre of (although not limited to) dance music to have drug references.
Along with the Deadmau5 video and the Prodigy video there are these:

The Shamen - Ebeneezer Goode 
This video gave us the idea to use unnatural movement and camera angles to show my state of mind isn't quite right.

Pendulum- Crush

Although this video doesn't reference drug taking, it does show an altered state of mind where the lead role can't come to terms with what he has done (killed his girlfriend for possibly cheating on him) and believes he is still seeing her when in actual fact she isn't there. We incorporated this into our film by means of the clone. Only my character can see the clone of himself which is bent on killing him and it represents his inner self who knows what he is doing (drugs) is wrong, and the clone (imaginary/mental) trying to destroy the actual physical presence (Ben) of doing it.

Squarepusher - Come on my Selector (edited in

This music video shows brilliant use of editing to the beat, something we incorporated in our music video. Most of the shots are no longer than a second or two, which gives a very fast, lively, exciting and action-y feel, perfect for the break beat genre (a subgenre of dance).

The idea for Sam and Daniel to wear a mask came to me from our original plan to use costumed characters, as Louis found a video by Aphex Twin (Richard James) called Donkey Rhubarb where Richard is dressed in a huge bear suit.another infulence is the film 'V for vendetta' where the main character V always wears a white mask. 

When we tried to make a matching shot film form Example- Kick start we all looked into the remix of it. This  music video by Example - Kickstarts (Dubstep Remix), in which a man and woman are being chased relentlessly by a gang. It was these two concepts that I merged together to get our idea of giving Sam the mask and my character being chased by his clone.

Additional Points and Theory 

Loftus's Theory - Weapon Focus
One of the theories we encorporated into our film was Loftus's theory on weapon focus. This theory stated that when a weapon was in the scene, people would focus most of their attention on that, rather than looking at the scene as a whole. The scene this effect is most noticeable in is the POV shot from Ben's perspective when the clone is walking in through the door. During filming we had accidentally filmed Ben a certain distance from the camera, and in the next shot, he was standing a lot closer. I hid this with an effect where he "fuzzes" out and then back in, as if he has teleported closer. This was a very quick job on the effect as I didn't have time to mask all the way around Ben, I just drew a garbage mask around him. But with people looking mainly at the gun, the shoddyness of the effect goes un-noticed. 

Todorov's Theory of Narrative Equilibrium
Todorov stated: "Stories begin with an equilibrium or status quo where any potentially opposing forces are in balance. This is disrupted by some event, setting in chain a series of events. Problems are solved so that order can be restored to the world of fiction."

If we apply this to our story, we begin with a natural equilibrium. Ben wakes up from the party but isn't any worse for wear. He then takes the hallucinogenic (the disrupting event). The chain of events that follow is Ben being chased by his clone. Then equilibrium is restored when the trip finishes and Ben regains consciousness on the table.
By using visual effects we were able to make it easy for the audience to suspend their belief. We could show Ben, and a Clone of Ben at the same time without it looking fake, just by using After Effects to layer two separate videos and create one video with a high level of verisimilitude.

Goodwin's Theory - Music Videos as a form
With knowledge of Goodwin's theory that the lyrics of a song should be represented in a film, we incorporated this by every time the word "Piranha" was heard, a cut was made, either to the dog or the mask. With the song having very few other lyrics other that the aforementioned and "teeth rip razor sharp, vice like power, tear you apart", it was nearly impossible for us to link any more than we did.

How effective is the Combination of Your Main Product and Ancillary Texts?

The combination of our main product and ancillary texts work to a great effect as it has been our aim to keep a sense of consistency throughout all of them. This is because we have tried very hard through this course to keep the continuity through everything that we make. Our front cover on our digi pack is the white mask with the pink effect on the brick wall background. This combined with the white mask which is very elusive throughout our film, but still very much a part of our product, has a great effect because throughout the film the mask is very hard to spot and is almost subconscious to the audience. So by putting it as our front cover it proves that it is apparent and also helps keep the consistency throughout our products.
This is also put to great effect as we combined it with our internet site, keeping the consisntancy throughout to maximise the effect of this white mask, which we have almost taken to be our own individual trade mark. Which every band needs, such as the prodigy have the ant logo on all of their newer work. This helps us create and maintain our own brand across all of our work and any future work we would create, by placing this white mask in all of our work our audience can instantly recognise it and know that it is a product of ours. This sense of branding that we have created is very individual to us; however we did take a lot of influence from two bands, Slipknot and Hollywood Undead. Both of which are popular for wearing masks in all of their video’s and other media products such as websites and posters. This hampers our individuality a tad, but the plain white mask that we have used throughout all of our media products has become our own. However at the same time we try and keep with in our genre of music which means that we can not break away from all conformities to much otherwise we will not be resembled with the genre that we aim to be in. So our branding is individual but yet at the same time it fits within the conformity of our genre which limits our individuality.
Also we tried to keep the colour scheme throughout everything to also aid with the consistency, as you can see from the images below that we have kept the same colour scheme throughout our digi pack and our website as you can see. The font style, size and colour are all the same throughout.  This combination works well and to a great effect as it helps to make our work look professional and consistent.

In conclusion I believe that the effectiveness of our combined media products is great as there is a noticeable and consistent link between all of the work we have produced. This aids in the creation of our own unique and distinct brand and therefore helps create a professional and well planned feel to our work.
Which is what we aimed to achieve overall.

Evaluation 3
Evaluation Task 4: How did you use media technologies in the construction and research, planning and evaluation stages?
Websites, Software and Hardware

Jack and I have mentioned about the equipment we used in this post: also made presentation on the technologies which added my project and its development.

Hardware we used included:
-The school computers
-My Laptop
-The two Standard Definition Mini DV Cameras
The school computers are very outdated. They have only (what I estimate to be) 2GB ram. When running powerful software such as the Adobe Suite 3GB ram is the bare minimum for optimal performance. For this reason jack used his Laptop (Acer Aspire 5332) which has more Ram and Adobe CS4, so it was faster and post production was easier. However I wasn’t so fortunate to have the soft wear which would have allowed me to do the same. I completed the post production part of the project/ editing on the school computers using Adobe Premier pro CS3  .
The cameras we used were only SD, but had we been filming on HD I believe the file sizes and compression would have been to much for the school computers and even my laptop at some points. After weighing up the costs and benefits, we decided to use SD.
Our iPhones were very handy at keeping in contact with each other, sending images of locations, being updated with facebook alerts from members of the group (the free alternative we used to texting). They also allowed us to get access to the internet when on location, so we didn't have to leave set to get the information we needed.
Software we used included:
-Adobe Premier Pro CS3
-Adobe After Effects CS3 + CS4
-Adobe Photo Shop CS3
-Microsoft Outlook
Microsoft Outlook allowed us to communicate with each other within school, send files and links.
Adobe Premier Pro was the non-linear editing software we used to cut footage to the music and get basic effects and transitions completed.

Adobe After Effects was the 2.5D motion graphics and compositing software jack and I used to create all of the advanced effects in our film such as the clones and gun fire.
Adobe Photoshop was mainly used by Louis in order to create the Digipack and alter the photos from the photo shoot. It has a huge variety of photo editing tools that Louis was able to use to get the look just right for our Ancillary task.
Websites we used included:

We were able to use facebook to talk to one another, share links, images, ideas, videos and create events for when we had to film. This was essential for getting everyone organised. This is also useful because it is completely free and we all used it prior to the music video. We were also able to use it to get our finished products out to an audience of 1000's who (most) are our target audience.

Youtube gave us access to hundreds of music videos of the same genre that we were able to analyse and get inspiration from. We were able to look at what worked and what didn't work from other videos and incorporate our favourite bits and make them our own.
Youtube was also what we used as a sounding board for our own ideas. We uploaded an early scene we had recorded to get some audience feedback.

We were able to then get feedback from a wide audience. We gathered from the "likes" it received and a comment saying: "Looks great but must have taken an age.", that people thought it looked good. We therefore kept it in our end product.

Vimeo was used much like youtube, however the videos on vimeo are a lot more "semi-professional", it is mainly full of people who have made their own videos and are using it as a professional video hosting site. This enabled us to look at music videos made on a zero budget, unlike the ones we had been watching by The Prodigy and Chase & Status.

Blogger was used in order to keep an up to date diary of everything we had done in relation to the projects and also evaluate it.

I receive my Gmail emails straight to my iPhone, and my Youtube account is connected to my Gmail. This convergence of technology allowed for me to be instantly informed when someone had provided feedback on our video. This was very useful in the evaluation stage as I was able to write about the feedback people had given just as fast as I had received it.
In conlucsion it would have been impossible to get the projects completed to the standard that we have without the use of all the technology.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Track Listing

We were running out of time to finish our final edits and the digipack in time to meet the deadline, so we decided to cut as many corners as need be, so we decided to use a random band name generator and use the ones that sounded half decent as our track names.You simply click a button and a randomly generated name will appear and we used those. This saved many pointless minutes that we would have wasted trying to imagine these track names up ourselves.

Monday, 28 February 2011

• How is your research into institutions responsible for the production and regulation of the media influence your production work?

In the music industry, a record label is a brand and a trademark associated with the marketing of music. In the industry of music, a record label is a brand and a trade mark associated with the marketing of music. When choosing a label you have to think carefully about what genre that label is associated with, what audience follows that label and how they distribute the tracks. There for we had to find a label that represented us and our style of music and kept us independent and original. As a small new upcoming band we aimed to get an independent label such as ‘XL’ which is based in the United Kingdom and they started off with the prodigy before they grew and became famous. The prodigy our now releasing a new album under their own label, as they have outgrown other labels and this would be where we would hope to achieve.
Many bands similar to our style stick with their first independent label to keep their music original and not to sell out to popular demand as bands such as ‘green day’ and ‘lost profits’ have over the years.  To the major labels such as Universal records, whose main aim is more money orientated rather than the music. So an independent label would be ideal for our band. Our whole style breaks against conformity and we would need a record label that would fit in with that, so if we were to sign for a major label we would be selling out our beliefs and that’s not right.
After researching these labels we decided to go for a small independent label we found called Breakbeat Kaos. A British independent record label based in London, UK that specializes in drum and bass. Starting in 2005, Breakbeat Kaos has released studio album debuts from Pendulum, Fresh and J Majik & Wickaman. The label has also released singles by artists including Baron, Chase & Status, D.Kay and Future Prophecies. Since its foundation, Breakbeat Kaos has released thirty one singles and four albums from more than thirteen artists, in addition to fourteen singles released through its sub labels, Under Construction and Dogs on Acid.

How did your research into audience contribute to your production work?

My research into our target audience did not contribute a lot to our final production work. We are all in the target range that we are hoping to become our audience. Therefore we didn’t have to research to much into what our target audience wants and likes as we all influenced our production work and therefore is already aimed at the correct target audience. However I did conduct a lot of research to solidify our point, for example I researched how many people are in our target range, what their background is like and what other music they are into. This was made easy as we had only to ask our friends as they are all in the target range and there information is perfectly valid for our research. So therefore we did not need to conduct much research as we had all the information we needed from within our group. So our research did contribute into our production work to a small extent, but we did not need much research so therefore there was not a lot of influence from it.

How did your research into genre contribute to your production work?

Research into genre contributed to our production work to a great extent as we had to make sure everything we created fitted in with the other styles within this genre, this influenced the album digipack that we are making for our auxiliary task. The influences came from other albums such as Pendulum’s album ‘In Silico’ which at first glance seems like just a colourful circle within a circuit board, however when you look deeper into the image you begin to notice that it is in fact an embryo not a circle and the circuit board around the outside transforms into sperm cells. This album greatly influenced us as we then wanted to create a similar style album cover with almost hidden images to catch the attention of our target audience. Because of this influence we decided to create a circuit board style cover which would then enable us to create subliminal album artwork.
However after researching further we decided that was not the path we wished to take and were then influenced by the album artwork of chase and status’s album ‘No More Idols’, which consists of just the tittle of the band and album and a full scale picture of a bulldog’s head. We were going to use the same style but exchange the dog for mine which features in our film, keeping it consistent, meaningful and slightly more original. But after many group discussions we decided that this was too similar and changed it yet again.
This time were going to keep it simple and concise. We wanted it to fit in with our music video and therefore decided to use stills from our film and previous band photo’s we took as the artwork, Louis would then use the skills he has on photo shop to edit the pictures to give them an edgy feel. For example one image is totally black and white except for my shoes which are purple. This brings the image to life and attracts the attention of any potential customers who would wish to buy this album. This way it would be totally individual and original to us, and could not be done for any copyright. Also it would be consistent as there will be continuity between all of our products which will make it all seem more professional.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Group Discussions - Digipack Alterations

After calling a group meeting we discussed everything that we had been doing and all decided to go against our original plan of using a circuit board theme throughout our digipack. Instead we chose to use new photo's we took and stills from our music video. We were then greatly influenced by the album cover of Chase and Status's album, No More Idols (shown below).

From this we used a still of the dog in our film and got a still image of it barking and incorporated it as the cover for our digipack. Then Louis took some photo's of me in the white mask and walking about, altered the images, changing the contrast, colour scheme and many other effects to give it an edgy feel. However only one of the images is in colour and the rest are in black and white.

However after further discussion we reviewed that our cover was to similar to the chase and status album, therefore meaning we had to start it all over again. This time we were thinking of using the white mask in our album cover, as this is totally individual and has not been done by anyone that we are aware of.
Later after further group discussions we decided to have to the inside of the digi pack all one image, using only the feet of our abbey road fake.
From this point we manipulated some of the band photo's we took at the beginning of this course, using Louis' photo shop skills to  turn the main cover, which consists of me standing against a brick wall with the white mask.  
After many trial with pictures, text stlyes we came up with a rough outline of what we wanted our digi pack to look like. With a consistant colour scheme throughout, which is linked with our website. However after gathering some feed back it was clear that it needed more colour to really engage our audience and to hold thier attention. So from here will work on bringing the pictures to life with colour, whilst still keeping the consistancy throughout our work.
This is our final and finished digi pack, we removed the image of the feet as it had no real resemblance to anything within our film. So instead we added an image we took a while back of a finger with what is ment to be an LSD tab, which helps keep the continuity through out all our media products.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Shooting Diary

Day 4- Tuesday 18th January.

Today we got the final parts to our chase sequence with ben the main character running through some alley ways we found around the local area. Today we stole Dan Norris away from the other media group to appear in our film. He wore a white mask like I did and we both appeared at random intervals throughout the film. We are never the main focus and so do not take and attention away from Ben (the main character). Yet we are still very noticeable if the audience is paying attention. This almost subliminal tactic should keep the audience’s attention throughout the film and keep them engrossed. Whilst filming I got on the roof of a garage to get the effect of CCTV footage watching Ben running to add a twist and some variety to the film. Jack will turn this footage into a black and white effect and then and a digital clock in the corner to make it really seem like a CCTV camera. After this we all had a short team talk to refresh ourselves of where we are and what still needs doing. After this we realised that there was a jump in the film and that we needed to film more footage of Ben being chased by my dog. Therefore we drove to mine and used my dog and my front gate. We set the tripod up in the road outside and then got the dog ready. However working with animals leaves nothing certain so to ensure that the dog pursued Ben we gave him a slice of ham that dog was very much interested in. The shot worked perfectly first time and filled the jump in our film sufficiently. Unfortunately after that scene was finished Dan had to be back in school and so we called it a rap and headed back to capture what we had filmed onto the computer. But after reviewing the tapes we noticed that we had accidently left the camera recording and managed to film a lovely 20 minutes of Dan’s shirt. Which meant it took longer to capture and then to edit the footage. Next week we aim to complete all of our filming by getting the final scenes with the clone and the Wild West style shoot out, and also any other little shots we need along the way.

Day 3- Tuesday 11th January.

Today we spent almost all of our time focusing on the chance sequence, which is the main part of our music video. We went to an associate’s house which was free and were granted permission to use their garden. Whilst there we filmed Ben (the main character) appearing through a bush and then running around the house and out onto the street. Then we took around thirty minutes to film the important scene of Ben sending a text to his mate saying ‘Meet me in ten at the bridge’. He then walks round the corner to find his clone stood in the middle of the road staring directly at him. We then had to film the beginning of the chance scene which proved more difficult than we first thought because it required a great deal of concentration and patience as we had to remember when it was the clone or not, whether the glasses should be worn, whether the camera is in the exact same position. All at the same time as trying to get Ben to play two characters at the same time in the same shot, almost like in the Austin power’s movies where Mike Myers plays multiple characters in the film. However soon after finishing filming we realised we needed much more angles, close ups and cuts all of the exact scenes we just filmed, so this will have to be done either next week or the week after. We then went to they fly over to film our bridge scene where the main character is supposed to meet his mate, but runs past as the clone is chasing him. Yet no one else can see this ‘clone’. This scene proved more and more difficult to film as I had to play the part of the mate and turn to watch Ben run past, but then do it again but this time before Ben passed me as he was playing the clone which I am not able to see. This was tricky as the timing had to be just right or the whole scene wouldn’t work. Then we encountered another problem of pedestrians and cyclists wishing to use the bridge, proving ever more why a set is useful. We managed to take two cameras with us today so we were able to gather twice the footage in the same time and from different angles. Which proved very useful when it came to editing as we had a lot to chose from, enabling us to get the best out of what we got. Today was by far our most productive day of filming.

Day 2- 4th January

 After our failed attempt on making the opening seen in our chosen location jack, Ben and I went back to re-film the footage we lost. Again we encountered many problems before we even started we had to return to school and pick up a tap. We made the location, character, costume and mise en scene, including the pool table to be kept the same to save any new complications arising. The only difference was that we included an extra actor/ character not originally in the script to make the opening flow more easily and show the audience that the party the night before did have others there. This resulted in me lying on the floor in a passed out pose with an empty bottle in my hand. Throughout our filming we tried to keep the continuity flowing as clean as possible this proved difficult because we had to film the same scenes over and over but from different angles. I had to remain extremely still in order to not ruin the continuity of the shot unless needed to. We decided to film two sides of the story shown through my character. A white mask appears, hopefully getting the audience more involved, this was all in hope to create a choppy effect when editing. We got this idea from “fight club” when Brad Pitt/ Tyler Derden appears and then disappears from the shot. On the receiving end of this technique we felt that this was a clever and almost freaky effect, the same effect we hope to create later in the film. 
We started off filming using a camera which chewed up the tapes. A quick change of camera meant that we could continue, however again only filming with one camera meant that we would have to change the camera angles and re-act the scenes over and over until we felt that we had enough to use and more, which lead to issues with the continuity as everything had to be exactly the same second time round.
We filmed exactly the same footage however this time we didn’t have my grandparents this time round to star in our film. The second day of filming was after a brainstorm and run trough of the script, all these changes effected what we filmed. The things that we changed were after the opening scene within the pool/ party venue. From there we filmed the first “clone” scene. This was again hard to achieve and unfortunately we weren’t successful when filming, breaking the 180 degree rule and also making us unable to film our clone.  This scene took place in my bathroom because of the shower (to make the psycho shower scene) and a mirror in which I was to be reflected in. Outside a window is a landing area which we used to show the character jumping from to escape.
Because we unfortunately were unsuccessful again with the filming of a scene we will re-record what we can and use previous footage which we can edit into our film. This is not a loss however we have not filmed what we wanted.  We hope to re-film this scene to how we envisioned it and begin to film the dog scene, running scenes and possibly the final scene in order to have more in editing. 

Day 1- 3rd January

 Jack and Ben had an attempt on making the opening seen in our chosen location. We chose the costume, location and Mise en scene, including the pool table. Throughout our filming we tried to keep the continuity flowing as clean as possible this proved difficult because we had to film the same scenes over and over but from different angles, in hope to create a choppy effect when editing.

After setting up the scenery (scattering bottles, to create a previous drunken night illusion), cameras and actors, we were set to film. We have chosen to use a free hand approach when filming; we intend to do this as much as possible to create an effect that the audience is following the character and experiencing his episodes first hand.  We have inherited this idea from “Fear and Loathing from Las Vegas”, in this film the majority of the footage is with moving scenery, noting is still, stable or structured. This makes the audience and the characters seem unstable and the film edgy. We want to use this effect because we feel that this would be a good technique to involve the audience and make the enjoy it. It also fits in with the fact that the character is still recovering from a drug and alcohol fuelled party the night before.

Because of our creativity and improvisation we only had a rough guideline to what we were expecting to create, until I finally drew up a structured story board. With this we were able to play around with different use of shots. We felt that this was a good way to film because it meant that we got a lot of footage captured in a small space of time and with the weather slowly closing this was important to get as much as possible before the weather turned on us.  

We had filmed our first scene. Around 10 minutes of footage for 30 seconds worth of film. We felt that all of the footage could be used, and would look good with a hard cut from shot to shot. This is cleverly done in “Alfred Hitchcock’s psycho”, he uses different angle of the same action to create an edgy build up to the famous shower scene, some extremely subtle. 

The next scene we filmed was again spontaneously. We decided together that a running scene filmed from outside of a car would be a great way to film a chase scene. Films use tracks and from the sides of vehicles but because of our lack of equipment all we had was a car and a camera to film with.

We filmed a running scene but encountered a few problems along the way. This included the car moving the camera accidently jogging it and a few times making the car become in the shot.  Another problem was the pedestrians; a few times bystanders would suddenly appear in the film and look directly in the camera or get in my way whiles I was running.  This proved one of the most difficult scenes to crack however one clean run meant that we had a complete footage of which we could use and clips of good footage from other takes from which we could edit into the film.

They were at the location at the time and so we decided to see if we could use some effect that we researched and incorporate this into our storyline. We had a rush of creativity and came up with using a warp effect that could make my grandparents look evil. This effect is used in “” to scare the audience and hopefully this will be the same effect when audiences watch our film. We justified using an old couple to become devilish and demon like was to show  the audience that even kind innocent people are effected by our main charters trippy experiences, we expect to use this effect again later on in the film when a dog a kindly dog walker change into vicious, scary beings.

Unfortunately all of the footage captured on day one of filming was unable to be downloaded and put onto a computer. The 30+ minuets worth was useless and so we would have to film again using a different way of capturing our footage. The 30 minutes were the equivalent of 30 gigabits and so was pointless to download. We were disappointed with this however we decided to use our experiences and so on day two of filming we will be able to quickly and efficient capture all and more.