Lighting

After analysing a couple of music videos, I realised how important of a factor lightning is and I feel it is something I need to improve on, as in my AS project we relied heavily on natural lighting, and never really explored any other type of lighting or techniques.

To start off my research into lighting, I went on YouTube to find a video that explained the basics of lighting when filming. The video below is from the YouTube channel “Film Riot”, one I am familiar with and have used before.

This video was very beneficial to me as it covered how to use lighting in filming and also included many useful techniques to set different tones and atmospheres in a scene.

broad sideFor example, broad side is when the light is hitting the broad side of the actors face. This works well if the actors face is at an angle as most of the face will be lit up. This gives a more high-key feel, which is the type of lighting usually used in Hip-Hop music videos.

 

short side

Opposite to broad side there is short side. This has the light hit the side of the face that is in the minority of the shot, leaving a darker more shadowy look the the shot. This would be used for darker more low-key lighting scenes or films.

 

rembrandt lighting

Another lighting technique I found very interesting from this video was Rembrandt lighting. Named after a painter who used this lighting in is portraits, This lighting creates a triangle under one of the actors eyes, done by moving the light lamp left or right a bit from side light. This creates a very effective low-key look to a shot.

Back light is another technique showcased in the YouTube video. Yes this would give a low-key feel, however I believe this would be a good shot to use in a Hip-Hop music video, as it fits in with the connotations of a Hip-Hop artist being intimidating, as with this shot the identity of the actor is not know.

back light

 

Obviously my music video is going to be low budget, so it is fair to say that I will not have access to the lighting equipment showcased in that video. However, I found another video on Film Riots channel which provided help on how to film with only one light.

This video was a big help as it allows me to keep my budget low whilst still being able to make the music video look professional.

Digipak Analysis 2: Finally Famous

“Finally Famous” is Big Sean’s debut studio album released in 2011.
big sean frontThe front panel of this album is very conventional of Hip-Hop as the main image is of the artist, showing his importance. This is supported by the artists name being placed in the centre of the panel, and in the biggest piece of text on the panel. This was probably done, not only to show the artist as being important, but also due to the fact this was his debut album, implying he may not be have been that well known, so making him the centre of attention on the album makes him look important and boosts his brand image. The clothing Big Sean is wearing is conventional of Hip-Hop as he is wearing what appears to be very expensive jewellery and black designer sun glasses. Even the title of the album is conventional of Hip-Hop, as a stereotypical trait of the genre is fame and fortune, and both of these traits are apparent on the front panel of this Digipak. The title also links to the idea of Big Sean’s brand, as the title “Finally Famous” suggests that Big Sean is in fact famous, enticing people to buy his album as they’d think they should of heard of him because he is “famous”.

The inside panels contain background images of Big Sean, with text next to him telling the names of the songs and a little bit about them. The inside cover sticks to the conventions of Hip-Hop again through the expensive clothing and jewellery, and the repetition of images of the artist, linking to his brand.

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The back panel of this Digipak differs to other more conventional Hip-Hop Digipaks, or any Digipaks in general as unlike most, it does not contain a list of the songs on the album. Instead this is a thank you to all the people who helped in the creation of this album and all the people who have been there for him. Following the thank you text a line is inserted to separate this from the information about the production of the album.

big sean back.jpg

I think that this is a very good Digipak, especially for a new, debut artist such as mine will be. The idea of repetition of the artist and making them look important for brand recognition is something that has inspired me and that I will use when the time comes to make a Digipak.

Music Video Analysis 2: Straight Facts

Last night Dappy released his first music video for a while, so I decided to analyse it for a blog post.

The video starts off with an establishing shot, quickly showing the location of the music video. The audience see that the video is going to be taking place in a recording studio. This denotes that perhaps the lyrics are very important to the song, as emphasis is being placed upon the artists voice, due to the microphone being placed front and centre in the frame. The artist then proceeds to walk into the shot and puts on headphones, signifying he is blocking everything out focusing heavily on the music. The focus on the lyrics and music is also evident due to the background being blurred, and the only objects in focus are the artist and the microphone. The artist does not make eye contact with the camera at anytime, and his mouth is always in the centre of the frame, again showing the significance of the lyrics.

It becomes apparent throughout the video that the images behind the artist are plaques regarding his achievements, and link to the lyrics of the song of what he achieved before going broke.

There is not much variation in camera work in this music video, as the video is portraying the intimacy between the artist and this song, due to the heartfelt and honest lyrics. What camera work is used is close ups or medium shots, with both the artist and the microphone in, showing their connection.

The room is well lit and colourful, resembling the connotations of a hip hop music video. However the lighting and colours may not be expected due to the subject of the song, or in contrast the lights and colour could symbolise hope for the artist.

Oasys MiniHollywood

I am currently in Spain on holiday and yesterday went to a place called Oasys MiniHollywood. I decided to do a blog on this as it was the capital of the production of many of the Spaghetti Westerns made in the 60’s and 70’s, linking very nicely with my interest in media.

Oasys MiniHollywood is now a theme park in the Tabernas desert in the south of Spain. However due to its natural aesthetic, it made for the perfection location to film Spaghetti Westerns as the scenery is almost a replica of areas such as Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico in the USA, where the Spaghetti westerns were set, and due to its location being in Europe, film companies could save money as it was cheaper to film here than in the states.

The Western Town

Oasys MiniHollywood is now primarily a theme park, equipped with a zoo, aquatic park and an all-you-can-eat buffet restaurant. However the park also has the “Western Town”. This is a basically a film set town of the wild-west.

As well as walking around and in the sets, the western town has a wild-west shoot out show, a can can dance and also a cinema museum.

img_0938 This was the entrance to the Museum. inside contained loads of filming machinery, some which where gigantic, and showed just how quickly technology throughout cinematography history has moved on. Also aligned at the top of all the walls in the museum are movie posters for all the films filmed here. These movies include “Lawrence of Arabia”, “Cleopatra”, “The good, the bad and the ugly”, “Death had a price”, “Indiana Jones and the last crusade”, and many more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advert Analysis 1: Wretchrospective

This is a magazine advert for Wretch 32’s Album, “Wretchrospective”.

wretch-32-retrospective.jpg

On first look, this advert contains many conventions of an album advert. for example, it has the name of the artist, the album, the release date of the album, who features on the album and where it will be available to purchase from.

One of the first noticeable factors of this advert is that it relates to the album cover its self, as it has the same image of the artist on both media products.

wretchrospective album

This helps with the recognition of the artist and the album, as the artist is recognised by an image of him and so is the album.

The typography of “Wretchrospective” is modernist, portraying that Wretch 32 is a modern artist. However the typography for the artists name is urban, and in the style of a graffiti tag.

This urban theme is consistent throughout, as following the urban typography the advert also has the artist in urban clothing. The artwork also represents an urban theme as it contains images of tower blocks in the background. The artist has ink crawling up his neck and his arms are filled in with this ink, showing he is apart of the artwork and apart of the urban setting. The urban theme is so predominant throughout as it links to the genre of grime the artist produces. Also, it is likely that a lot of the artists listeners are too from an urban background, as in 2008 when this album was made, grime was not as mainstream as it is now, so it only really had listeners from inner cities, hence the urban theme as it was relateable to its listeners, therefore attracting them to the album.

 

To help me with my analysis of this music video poster, I used an analysis that has been done before on this poster. I found this on slide share.

 

 

 

 

 

Digipak Analysis 1: Abbey Road

Front Cover

The front cover of the album consists of one image that covers the whole front side of the Digipak. The photograph on the front side of the Digipak related to the band as it is them crossing Abbey Road, the location where the Beatles recorded most of their songs.

 

abbey road

The shot of the photograph is a long shot of the band. This conveys that there is no leader or hierarchy in the group. In fact, half of their faces cannot be seen, supporting the idea of equality, a very big theme in the 60’s and 70’s, and a theme heavily associated with the band, and they wanted to portray this through their album cover.

abbey road title

The name of the band is not placed in a generic location (such as the centre) instead situated in the top left hand corner. The reasoning behind this is because The Beatles wanted to make sure the focus of the album cover was on the image. This was a successful marking ploy as the picture became very popular, with many fans recreating the image, and meant that The Beatles were recognised without the name of their band.

 

Back Cover

On the back cover of the album there is the bands name, the album title, the 25 songs included in the album, text at the bottom promoting the production and at the top right hand corner the production companies logo. This is a relatively generic layout for the back cover of an album.
back of abbey road

The image of the lady walking contradicts the front cover, as rather showing an identity like on the front, we are presented with a mystery. The image of the brick wall solidifies the genre of music, as the hardness and strength denotes the genre of rock. This entices their target audience of rock fans. The titles on the back cover draw connotations to that of road signs found on brick walls, portraying the theme of Abbey Road.

 

Inside Panels

abbey road inside panel 1

abbey road inside panel 2

abbey road inside panel 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

The inside of the Digipak contains three images of the Band. This is for fan appreciation as they like to seem images of the band. The images are also used to promote them as rock artists. The denim clothes and their posture connote their ‘musicianship’ and is stereotypical of the rock genre, this too is done to promote the band.

 

 

Although this band does not make the same genre of music as my product will be, I still decided to do an analysis of this Digipak due to the popularity and iconography of this Album cover. I aim to make a cover for my digipak that is iconic as is this one.

Music Video Analysis 1: Otis

The first music video I will be analysing is Jay Z and Kanye West- Otis ft. Otis Reading

The style of this music video is a hybrid of narrative and performance. The video opens up with an establishing shot of a luxury car, keeping to the conventions of the hip hop genre. This shot also establishes the narrative aspect of the video, as the two artist appear in the shot, with manufacturing equipment. The following shots set up the narrative, as it shows people performing work on the car.

A low angle shot of both artists is then shown, portraying the performance aspect of the music video. It is significant that both shots the artists have low angles for the first 30 seconds of the video as it is a common convention of hip hop, as it gives the artists status and power.

The lighting throughout the video is very high key, denoting the up-beat nature of the song.

The effect of slow motion is used multiple times throughout the video. This effect makes the focus on the artists longer, giving them high status.

Music Video Styles

There are multiple different styles of music videos, these are:

  • concept
  • narrative
  • performance
  • Interpretive
  • Parody
  • hybrid

 

Concept

Conceptual music videos are usually based around a single idea or concept. The concept is usually quite unusual or strange for the audiences viewing. This can be an intriguing factor for many consumers.There is not really any common features of this style of video, apart from that it can include unusual elements and be pretty much anything. Concept videos tend to use a lot of symbolism.

The music video for Sia’s song ‘Chandelier’ is a conceptual music video. It consists of a young girl dancing around a rather baron house. The video does not link with the lyrics, and also does not contain the artist. The video is cleverly filmed as apart from a view establishing shots of the location at the start, nearly the whole video is in one shot. This can be done because of the engaging nature of ballet dancing, and knowing this the cinematographers link the camera work with the audience as it is as if, like the audience, the camera cannot take their eyes off the dancing.

 

Narrative

A narrative music video tells a story throughout the video, usually in the form of a short story or film. The video will usually link with the lyrics of the song. Narrative videos are usually very popular, as it engages the audience in the story. This can be because many narrative music videos deal with situations the audience may be in, for example the loss of someone, a break up, etc.

Narrative videos are popular among artists, as it allows them to express my feelings on a topic they may feel strongly for, e.g. Drug abuse, gang culture etc.

Although the genre of music is different, these two videos have a very similar narrative. They both tell the story of a crazed fan, and both artists, Eminem and Ed Sheeran appear only briefly in their respective videos. Also in both videos, the actors lip sync the songs lyrics.

 

Performance

A performance music video contains a live performance or footage of a live performance of the artist or band in the video. There are generally 3 types of performance music videos, these are; band, dancing and singing.

Beyonce’s song ‘All The Single Ladies’ is a dance music video. Dance music videos are usually made when the song is a feel good song, as dancing endorses the up-beat nature of the song, and also appeals for it to be played in clubs, as the song already has an associated dance with it. A lot of shots are used in this video, and a variety. There is a range of long, medium and close up shots, showing off the dance moves. The shots are also quick, showing the pace of the club style dance.

Green Day’s ‘American Idiot’ is a band performance music video. Again a wide range of shots and angles are used. Notably many low angle shots are used to portray the band as big and powerful and that they are not the common ‘American Idiot’.

Chip’s ‘Peri Peri Sauce’ music video is a singing performance video (however he is rapping). Again many different shots of the artist are used in this video. The artist is always in the centre of the shot, whether it be a long shot or a close up. This is to emphasise he is singing. Also a lot of low angles were used in this video too. This was because this music video was a ‘diss-track’ to another rapper called Yungen, and the use of low angles would enhance his intimidation.

 

Interpretive

Interpretive music videos are made for the audience to have their own interpretation of what they think the music video is about.

 

Parody

Parody music videos involve changing or coping existing (usually well known) musical ideas or lyrics. The intention of musical parody is humour.

Both music videos mock the official music videos and lyrics of both songs with the intention of humour for the audience.

Hybrid

A hybrid music video mixes multiple styles of music videos into one music video.

The music Video ‘No Love’ by Eminem featuring Lil Wayne is an example of a hybrid music video as it involves two styles, performance and narrative. It follows the story of a boy who is getting bullied, linking to the songs title- “No Love” and also includes performance from both rappers. I believe hybrid videos are very effective as they combine multiple styles, meaning they can cast more impact and be creative.

Film Noir

What is it?

Film Noir is a style or genre of cinematographic film marked by a mood of pessimism, fatalism, and menace. The term was originally applied by a group of French critics to primarily describe stylish Hollywood crime dramas, particularly such that emphasise cynical attitudes and sexual motivations. The period that Hollywood’s Film Noir was genuinely excepted to be made in was 1944–54 and popular Film Noir’s were the work of directors such as Orson Welles, Fritz Lang, and Billy Wilder. Film Noir of this era is associated with a low-key, black-and-white visual style that has roots in German Expressionist cinematography.

After finding out the basis of what Film Noir is, I decided to do futher research into the genre. I went on YouTube and found a couple of videos from the same channel, one explaining the origins of Film Noir, and another explaining the all important lighting in this unique style of cinematography.

These two videos were very helpful in aiding my understanding of Film Noir and I will be sure to use what I have learnt when making the 20 second Film Noir clip in class.

The channel I found these clips on was ‘Filmmaker IQ’. They make tons of videos on everything to do with film making, and I will be sure to revisit this channel next time I want to research a filming style.

Filmmaker IQ- https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSFAYalJ2Q7Tm_WmLgetmeg

 

Top Film Noir Films

These are the Top 10 Film Noir films ranked by The Guardian:

 

Film Noir Directors

18th_highlight_director_billy_wilderBilly Wilder- (June 22 1906 – March 27 2002) was an Austrian-born Jewish-American filmmaker, screenwriter, producer, artist, and journalist whose career spanned more than five decades. He is regarded as one of the most brilliant and versatile filmmakers of Hollywood’s golden age. With The “Apartment”, Wilder became the first person to win Academy Awards as producer, director, and screenwriter for the same film.

Fritz Lang, circa 1937Fritz Lang- (December 5 1890 – August 2 1976) was an Austrian film director, producer and screenwriter. In Lang’s early career he worked primarily as a screenwriter, finishing film scripts in four to five days. Lang went on to direct popular films of the silent era including ‘Metropolis’ and one of the first important German sound films ‘M’. Lang went on to direct some of the most important crime and Film Noir film of the American studio era, such as ‘The Big Heat’. Lang’s final film work was an acting role as himself in Jean-Luc Godard’s ‘Contempt’.

 

Modern Day Film Noir

A good example of a morden day Film Noir film is the film ‘Memento’. Amnesia has always been common to Film Noir, and this breakout feature from Christopher Nolan carries on the tradition to its maximum potential — taking us on a backwards journey alongside a memory-impaired man investigating his wife’s murder.

The 2011 film ‘Drive’ Directed by Nicholas Winding Refn, is alos another very popular modern day Film Noir. Armed with a neon-lit Los Angeles and an infectious soundtrack, this film tells the neo-noir tale of a stuntman (Ryan Gosling) who moonlights as wheelman, ferrying crooks from job to getaway in record time. In between bursts of bloody violence, this critically-acclaimed film finds plenty of meditative character beats to make Drive one of the best slow-burn entries in the genre.

The 2004 thriller ‘Collateral’ embraces its L.A. Noir roots while playing with more conventional movie tropes, as contract killer Vincent (Tom Cruise) forces cab driver Max (Jamie Foxx) to drive him from hit to hit. Their violent and compelling crime-filled trip through Los Angeles makes the city more than just a gritty backdrop for the action – it turns L.A. into a character.

 

My Film Noir

In class me and some classmates took what we had learnt about film noir through our research, and made our own Film Noir clip.

 

 

 

 

Initial Ideas

Now I have decided I will be doing the music video brief, I need to get some ideas together for my video. Here is a mind map I made in class of my initial ideas for my chosen brief:

IMG_0663

As you can see from my mind map, the two ancillary texts I have decided to create along with the main product the music video, are the CD packaging (Digipak) and a magazine advert.

Hip Hop mood boards:

Looking at several different mood boards online allowed be to see common conventions of the Hip-Hop genre. What stands out to me most in the mood boards is the idea of status and confidence. All the artists in the mood boards look powerful and the objects such as cars and jewellery represent the idea of high status. This signifies to me that the type of video style for a Hip-Hop music video would be performance, as it allows the artist to show of their status and confidence in the most explicit way.

Main Influences:

Below are some Hip-Hop music videos that showcase a hybrid music video style of performance and narrative. I will go into more detail about music video styles in a future blog, however currently this is the style of music video I plan to create.

My Chosen Brief… Audio

So after research into all 4 of the available briefs I have decided to chose the audio brief. This is because I believe it requires the largest skill sets out of all the tasks as it requires the same camera and editing skills as a short film, it could result in a lot of locations like a trailer, and focuses heavily on audio, another aspect of media other than just primarily visuals. For these reasons I believe choosing this task will help me develop the most amount of media skills out of the 4 possible tasks.

I also have an interest in music and the videos that supplement it, and I think it will be a lot of fun producing one.

 

Evaluation of AS Media Product

For the AS Media coursework our brief was to make the opening title sequence to a thriller film. We were put into groups and had to produce a 2 minute title sequence, and all had to independently do research into thriller, documented through our blogs.

 

Here is the title sequence we produced:

Here is the evaluation I did on my product during my AS course:

 

 

Brief 4: Film Trailer

This brief requires you to make an promotion package for a new film, this includes a teaser trailer, along with two of the following:

  • A film magazine cover, featuring the film
  • A poster for the film
  • A website homepage for the film

 

 

What is a Film Trailer?

A trailer (also known as a preview or coming attraction) is an advertisement or a commercial for a feature film that will be exhibited in the future at a cinema, the result of creative and technical work.

Movie trailers have now become popular on DVDS and Blu-rays, as well as on the Internet and mobile devices. Film trailers are ranked third of the 10 billion videos watched annually on the internet, after news and user-created video. The trailer format has also been adopted as a promotional tool for television shows, video games, books, and theatrical events/concerts.

 

Professional Examples of Film Trailers

Above are 3 trailers for films coming out this year. They all do a good job of  showing what the genre of the film is and what the storyline is, but don’t give too much away and don’t spoil what happens in the film.

If I was to do this brief a key factor I would bare in mind would be to have plenty locations, as a trailer promotes different parts of the whole film and if my trailer was only in one or a handful of locations, it would not look very professional.

Brief 3: Advertising

The advertising brief is the production of an advertising package for a new product or service. For this you have to make two TV advertisements, and two of the following ancillary texts:

  • A TV program sponsorship sequence
  • A radio advert
  • A web pop-up

 

What is Advertising?

Advertising is an audio or visual form of marketing communication that employs an openly sponsored, non-personal message to promote or sell a product, service or idea. Sponsors of advertising are often businesses who wish to promote their products or services. Advertising is differentiated from public relations in that an advertiser usually pays for and has control over the message. It is differentiated from personal selling in that the message is non-personal, i.e., not directed to a particular individual. Advertising is communicated through various mass media, including old media such as newspapers, magazines, Television, Radio, outdoor advertising or direct mail; or new media such as search results, blogs, websites or text messages. The actual presentation of the message in a medium is referred to as an advertisement or “ad”.

Television
Television advertising is one of the most expensive types of advertising; networks charge large amounts for commercial airtime during popular events. The annual Super Bowl football game in the United States is known as the most prominent advertising event on television – with an audience of over 108 million and studies showing that 50% of those only tuned in to see the advertisements. The average cost of a single thirty-second television spot during this game reached US$4 million & a 60-second spot double that figure in 2014. Virtual advertisements may be inserted into regular programming through computer graphics. It is typically inserted into otherwise blank backdrops or used to replace local billboards that are not relevant to the remote broadcast audience. More controversially, virtual billboards may be inserted into the background where none exist in real-life. This technique is especially used in televised sporting events. Virtual product placement is also possible. An infomercial is a long-format television commercial, typically five minutes or longer. The word “infomercial” is a portmanteau of the words “information” and “commercial”. The main objective in an infomercial is to create an impulse purchase, so that the target sees the presentation and then immediately buys the product through the advertised toll-free telephone number or website. Infomercials describe, display, and often demonstrate products and their features, and commonly have testimonials from customers and industry professionals.
Radio
Radio advertisements are broadcast as radio waves to the air from a transmitter to an antenna and a thus to a receiving device. Airtime is purchased from a station or network in exchange for airing the commercials. While radio has the limitation of being restricted to sound, proponents of radio advertising often cite this as an advantage. Radio is an expanding medium that can be found on air, and also online. According to Arbitron, radio has approximately 241.6 million weekly listeners, or more than 93 percent of the U.S. population.
Online
Online advertising is a form of promotion that uses the Internet and World Wide Web for the expressed purpose of delivering marketing messages to attract customers. Online ads are delivered by an ad server. Examples of online advertising include contextual ads that appear on search engine results pages, banner ads, in pay per click text ads, rich media ads, Social network advertising, online classified advertising, advertising networks and e-mail marketing, including e-mail spam. A newer form of online advertising is Native Ads; they go in a website’s news feed and are supposed to improve user experience by being less intrusive. However, some people argue this practice is deceptive.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advertising

 

Examples

Here are two popular TV advertisements. Both were successful as they engaged with the audience and made them laugh, which is what I will try to do if I chose this brief.

Brief 2: Short Film

The short film brief involves making a short film in its entirety, it should last approximately 5 minutes. It may be live action or animation or a combination of the two. The ancillary options are:

  • A poster for the film
  • A film magazine review page for the film
  • A website homepage for the film

 

What is a Short Film?

A short film is a motion picture not long enough to be classed as a feature film. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences defines a short film as “an original motion picture that has a running time of 40 minutes or less, including all credits”.

A short film is slightly different from a “featurette” this term is given to films too short to be a feature film but too long to be a short film or a “short subject” (basically the same as a short film, however usually shown along with a feature film).

History

In the early days of film, short films and full feature films received about the same amount of popularity. Short comedies where the most popular and were produced the most. Short comedies usually came in series such as the outing of Charlie Chaplin’s little trap character.

Animated cartoons came principally as short subjects. Virtually all major film production companies had units assigned to develop and produce shorts, and many companies, especially in the silent and very early sound era, produced mostly or only short subjects.

Present

Now a days a not as many but still a decent amount of animated shorts continue within mainstream commercial distribution. For example, Pixar has screened a short along with all their feature films since its initial theatrical run in 1995. Since Disney acquired Pixar in 2006, Disney has also produced animated shorts as of 2007 with the Goofy short “How to Hook Up Your Home Theater and produced a series of live action short films featuring The Muppets for viewing on YouTube as Viral Videos to promote the 2011 movie of the same name.

short films generally rely on film festival exhibitions to reach an audience. Short films can also be distributed via the Internet. Websites such as YouTube, Snoovies and Vimeo encourage the submission of independent short films and have attracted large communities of artists and viewers. websites like FILMSshort and Vimeo and apps such as Snoovie focus on showcasing curated shorts.

Short films are a typical first stage for new filmmakers, but professional actors and crews still choose to create short films as an alternative form of expression. Short film making is growing in popularity as equipment becomes cheaper. “Prosumer” or semi-professional cameras now cost under US$3,000, and free or low-cost software is widely available that is capable of video editing, post-production work and DVD authoring.

The lower production costs of short films often mean that short films can cover alternative subject matter as compared to higher budget feature films. Similarly unconventional film making techniques such as Pixilation or narratives that are told without dialogue, are more often seen in short films than features.

Tropfest claims to be the world’s largest short film festival. Tropfests now take place in Australia (its birthplace), Arabia, the US and elsewhere. Originating in 1993, Tropfest is often credited as being at least partially responsible for the recent popularity of short films internationally.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Short_film

 

Real life examples

I decided to look further into short films by actually watching some to see the styles and conventions and how they differ from feature films (aside from the duration). I found the following videos on YouTube, as I mentioned earlier this is one of the main platforms for short film promotion.

This video brings attention to the issue of teenagers self harming. This is what is good about short films as it allows for people to raise awareness for an issue close to them or one they really feel strongly about and can do this with out having to have a big budget.

The next short film I watched was an animation. This film probably had a higher budget compared to the last one I watched as it would have to use specialist software for the animation. However it still does a good job of getting a very simple but important message across about jealousy and does it in a very effective and engaging way. It also reaches a wide audience as everyone has been jealous before and the fun and cute animation makes it appealing to children, whilst teaching them a lesson.

This short film is slightly different to the others as it contains a lot more dialogue than the previous videos. However it still does an effective job in getting an important message across.

Using short films to get across messages to do with controversial topics can sometimes mean more to the audience rather than from a big feature film. This is because the feature film is made by a production company with many voices and opinions, which can end up making it very hard to get a point across in the as there will be people who don’t agree and the film ends up sitting on the fence or the message gets dimmed down. Whereas independent film makers like of the short films above can easily create their film and get their message across explicitly with out anyone questioning them. However this can be a negative too as the message that an independent film maker could put across could be socially wrong.

 

Examples from my School

Next I decided to look at some short films that previous A level students from my school have made and see how they compare to the popular independent ones I found on YouTube.

This short film made by a previous A level media student from my school is overall very good. However the problem I noticed with it was that although the protagonist was very good, all the other actors were too young and weren’t very good actors, which made it obvious that it was a school project. A side from that the cinematography is good and it has a message showing a very extreme case of what can happen if your a nasty person.

I personally did not like this short film. Again there was the issue of teenagers playing adult roles however the main issue was I did not really understand it. I think the message that was trying to be put across was women keeping quite about being assaulted, however this was not very clear. The sequence of the calendar and the filler shots in between became too repetitive and boring.

My Thoughts

The short film brief sounds very interesting, I think it would be a lot of fun coming up with and idea and then making it into a film. If I do chose this brief there are a couple of things I will make sure to take into consideration when making the film after conducting my research today.

  • If my idea contains adult roles, I will try and get adult actors
  • I will make sure my film has a message, as the top short films all have a message

Brief 1: Audio

The audio brief is essentially a promotional package for the release of an album. The main task is to make a music video and the ancillary options are:

  • An album digipack (CD package)
  • Magazine advert for the albums release
  • website homepage for band/artist

 

 

What is a Music Video?

To begin my research into music videos, I decided to do some research into the history of them. First of all, a music video is basically bringing a short film and a song in alliance for promotional or artistic purposes. In the era of web 2.0, it is almost compulsory for an artist to create a music video to compliment the song as YouTube is one of the main ways to promote music, and through this the audience expect to watch a video as well as listening to the song, instead of just a blank screen with the song playing. The origins of music videos date back to the 1920’s, however they were more music short films. Music videos really came into prominence in the 1980’s. This was because MTV based their format around the medium. Before the take off of music videos in the 80’s, music videos were more commonly referred to as  “illustrated song”, “filmed insert”, “promotional (promo) film”, “promotional clip”, “promotional video”, “song video”, “song clip” or “film clip”.

Music videos use a wide range of styles of contemporary videomaking techniques, including animation, live action filming, documentaries, and non-narrative approaches such as abstract film. Some music videos blend different styles, such as animation, music, and live action. Combining these styles and techniques has become more popular because of the variation it presents to the audience. Many music videos interpret images and scenes from the song’s lyrics, while others take a more thematic approach. Other music videos may be without a set concept, being merely a filmed version of the song’s live performance.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Music_video

 

Professional Music Videos

Next I decided to look at some real life examples of different genres of professional music videos to get an understanding of the conventions of music videos in general.

The first music video I looked at was Taylor Swifts “Shake It Off”. This song belongs the genre of pop. The video is more of a performance video rather than a narrative as the video does not particularly have a story, it just contains a lot of people dancing, relating to the sons name, “Shake It Off”.

The next music video I looked at was Nelly ft. Kelly Rowland “Dilemma”. The genre of this song is R&B and this video has more of a narrative, as in the video it follows the story in the lyrics about the relationship between Nelly and Kelly.

The third song I looked at was Soulja Boy’s “Crank that (Soulja Boy)”. This is a Hip Hop song and this music video blends a narrative and performance. The narrative is that a school Principle wants to know what this new trend is, and the performance is all the dancing in the video. The narrative however is only included to make out that Soulja Boy is well known and current, it does not really tell a story it just makes him look extremely popular, which is one of the conventions of the Hip Hop genre.

Eminem’s “Rap God” is as the title would deduce is a rap song. This too is performance based however a lot of the video relates to the lyrics, for example when they lyrics “got a laptop in my back pocket” is played the audience see Eminem walking with a laptop hanging out his back pocket. He also refers to himself as a “rapbot” which divulges the robotics through out the video.

Skepta’s “Shutdown” is the up and coming genre of Grime. This video is completely performance and it sticks to the genres convention of street culture in the UK, predominantly London, where this video takes place.

The next music video I looked at was from the indie rock genre. I looked at Joy Divisions “Love Will Tear Us Apart”. One thing I noticed straight away was that the the quality of the camera footage is very grainy. This is done purposely to fit the alternative stigma and audience associated with the genre.

Indie music is not a genre I am particularly familiar with so I decided to look at another Indie music video so I could give a correct analysis of the genre.

Next I looked at the Indie band the “Gorillaz”. The music video for “Feel Good Inc” and all of their videos I looked at are animation. The animations seem to tell the story of the lyrics in their videos, making their music videos narrative music videos.

Lastly I looked a Deep House music video. Tchami ft. Kaleem Taylor “Promesses” is a narrative music video as a story is being told whilst the song plays in the background. This is common in House music as in a lot of the songs there is not many lyrics, so a narrative video that links with the lyrics or a performance video linking to with lyrics can be difficult to do.

 

A2 Music Videos

After looking at these professional music videos by real artists with a record label and production company, I thought it would be a good idea to look at previous A2 media students work to see how they made it look as professional as possible.

This music video was made by a student from my school. As you can see has gone for the rap genre and made it look very professional. He has chosen a performance video however some of the lyrics do in fact link to the actions in the video. The mise-en-scene is very well done as he is made to look intimidating, a very common convention of the genre. There appears to be only two locations in the whole video, one being just a plain black back drop and the other appears to be curtains. This differs to most rap songs as they tend to have multiple people and multiple locations in the videos, however this is not the case in YG’s “2015 Flow”, as this rap music video takes place in one location and the whole video contains only YG and at the very end DJ Mustard.

This music video “Wake Up” was made by an A level student. This too is done very well as you would not know it was an A level media video if it did not say so in the title as it follows the conventions very well. It is a narrative music video and shows the struggle of trying to get a job and the feeling of wanting to break free. Multiple shot types are used to give a very professional feeling. The multiple locations is a big factor that makes it look so good, especially the fact that the locations take place in different countries as it makes the video look like it was made by a production company, as a viewer would think that an A level student would not have the equipment or budget to do this. However the student may have just gone on holiday and decided to get some footage to put into their music video.

 

My Thoughts

Although I have not yet researched the other briefs (which I will be doing in future blogs), I believe I will be choosing this brief. This is because I already have an interest in music videos and believe it will be fun and challenging. It will also develop in my opinion the greatest amount of skills compared to the other briefs, as it is a mixture of two mediums, music and video. I have also decided that when I go on holiday to Spain in the summer I will bring a camera and get some footage as looking at the “Wake Up” music video by an A level student, having multiple locations, especially ones in different countries makes the video look very professional. As for the genre of music I will be doing, I believe it will be Hip Hop. However I am not yet sure who will be preforming or creating the song.

Introduction to A2 Media

How it Works?

This course is split into two sections both worth 100 marks.

A2 media

G324 is the coursework element of the course, which will be documented through this blog. I have to chose 1 of the 4 briefs listed below which all consist of a main task and two ancillary texts. Through the blog I will document all the planning, research, the main task, the ancillary texts and the evaluation.

The portfolio (blog) is marked the same way it was for AS, with 20 marks awarded for the research, 60 for the construction (main task and ancillary texts) and 20 marks for the evaluation.

G325 is a 2 hour written exam which we will prepare for in class.

 

The Briefs

I get to chose 1 of the following 4 briefs for the basis of my product. Each brief comes with 3 options for the ancillary texts, however I only have to do and complete 2 of the 3 available ancillary texts.

brief 1

brief 2