Music Video Update!

I thought it was about time I showed you an update on my music video, and I am happy to say it is going very well. This video below is primarly the performance shots as the short narrative part has not yet been filmed, (will be in a few days) and once that’s done all I have left to do is add that in and tidy a few shots and edits up to make it look professional. But as of now here are the performance shots, enjoy! (Password is performance)

As you can see from these performance shots the video is beginning to look very conventional of grime due the urban clothes and locations. The shots are also very conventional of grime and UK rap. Here are a few comparisons of shots from my music video and shots from other grime videos.

The shot on the left is taken from the Yungen ft Angel music video ‘Take My Number’. As you can see the shot from my music video is similar as they are both medium/long shots with buildings in the background and the same amount of the artists body in the shot.

The shot on the left is Dappy from his music video ‘No Regrets’. Both shots are similar in style and angle and the clothing is similar.

The two shots are from Abra Cadabra’s music video for his song ‘Art Of War’. The shot from my music video links well to this video as it incorporates both shots from Abra Cadabra’s music video.

I am very happy with how my music video is coming along and the next instalment you see will either be the finished product or at least very close to the final draft.

The Test!

In my first post- Introduction to A2 Media I explained how this course is set out, 50% coursework that is documented through this blog and 50% exam based.

In that blog post I focused more on explaining the coursework element as that is what this blog is for, however now I am coming to an end of the coursework I thought it is a good idea to start looking ahead towards the exam, and in class today our teacher explained it in more detail so I’ve decided to document some of my preparation on my blog.

The exam part of this course is called G325: Critical Perspectives in Media & Evaluation of Portfolios. This is a 2hr written paper worth 100 marks. It is split into two sections, Section A and Section B, both worth 50 marks each.


Section A:  Theoretical Evaluation of Production

This section has two questions 1(a) and 1(b).

In question 1(a) you need to write about your work for the Foundation Portfolio and Advanced Portfolio units and you may refer to other media production work you have undertaken. This is what should be talked about in answer to this question:

• Digital Technology
• Creativity
• Research and planning
• Post-production
• Using conventions from real media texts

In question 1(b) you must write about one of your media productions. The question could relate to any of these topics:

• Genre
• Narrative
• Representation
• Audience
• Media language

Both of these questions are worth 25 marks each.


Section B: Contemporary Media Issues

Section B is where it gets a little more interesting. You are presented with a list of questions, and you must chose to answer one (worth 50 marks). There are about two questions to do with each of these categories available:

• Contemporary Media Regulation
• Global Media
• Media and Collective Identity
• Media in the Online Age
• Post-modern Media
• ‘We Media’ and Democracy


This is where I got most of my information about the test- the orc spec. I am going to keep revisiting this for revision as it a very useful tool as it tells me what areas I need to talk about for each question.


Instagram Advert

In the summer when I was doing my research into music videos and the ancillary texts (digipak and magazine advert), I found it very hard to actually find magazine adverts of modern day hip-hop albums. This is because of the massive change the world has seen in terms of social media. In AS Media last year we studied the magazine industry and how much it has been affected by social media. Many magazines are out of circulation or circulation has massively dropped as people now use social media for what the would have once brought a magazine for, except social media is cheaper, quicker and more accessible than buying a magazine. So with magazine audiences moving to social media, so have the advertisers as these audiences are the people they are trying to reach. Using the example of music, people can now follow their favourite artists on social media to see what they are doing, so they do not need to read a magazine about it. And also channels on YouTube such as Linkup TV give up and coming artists the ability to upload their music videos the the channel to promote themselves, as opposed to having to pay for a shout out in a magazine.

In terms of album advertisement, what I see a lot of is the paid sponsorship on social media such as on Instagram. What this is is an artist will pay for their album to appear on users timelines, this is the new alternative to a magazine advert in 2017/18.

Given this, I decided as a little bonus to make an social media advert for the digipak, as I feel if this album was to be released to day and especially due to who the album is targeted at, it would be advertised through social media. Here it is…

instagram advert

To make this I took a screenshot of an advert on Instagram on my phone, and then put it in Photoshop and simply just put the front cover of my digipak over the original advert and hey presto. I then made a couple of adjustments like changing the account name and profile picture to the artist, and also added the music streaming platforms the album would be available on.

But yes that’s it, it was a nice quick and simple add on that I thought was important to include as I believe it shows my knowledge and interest in media and how I am aware it is always changing.

Magazine Advert Complete!

After completing the front cover of my digipak, I decided to make a start on my second ancillary text as I now had the necessary requirements (digipak front cover) to make my magazine advert. I managed to complete this text so here it is…

magazine advert

I believe I followed the plan I drew out very closely and I am very happy with what I have been able to create as it is what I envisioned when planning the advert.

In the planning post I showed the two adverts that influenced me the most, the layout from the Drake ‘Take Care’ advert and the text from the Stormzy ‘Gang Signs & Prayer’, and I believe my advert showcases my inspiration from these texts off well.

Digipak Front Cover Complete!

I have completed the front cover of my digipak! Here it is…

digipak cover


As you can see, I have followed the plan I made for my digipak front cover very closely, here is a comparison of the two…

As seen in my Digipak Front Cover Plan post, I made aware I had a very clear idea for what I wanted the front cover to look like, this being the popular new style in hop-hop albums of the artist being presented as a cartoon, and mixing it with a couple other album covers that had inspired me, and I believe I have managed to create this.

The text seen on the digipak are not Adobe preset fonts. I looked through and tested multiple different preset fonts that Adobe Photoshop had to offer but none were what I had in mind, especially for the Chinese style text. So what I did was use the royalty free website ‘1001 fonts’. This website gives users free access to download many different types of text, ones that usually wouldn’t be found as presets in programs.

chinese font

Here is a screenshot of the website. As you can see the user is able to use a search bar to filter the type of text they want (in my case I typed in “Chinese”) and they can also type in the word(s) they want to see the text appear in.

kingthings text

This is the text I ended up choosing. It is slightly different from what I was originally going to use as originally I was planning to have the name of the album and the artists name translated in Chinese down the side, but I am so thankful I saw this text as I think it is perfect. A quick glance and the text looks as if it is in Chinese writing, however upon further look the audience realise it is in English, just appears to look Chinese. I think this is perfect as I would not have been able to get a translation for the artists name ‘StxrKid’ but with this text I can still have the Chinese writing style I wanted. And the text being vertical was pure coincidence but meant I was lucky enough to just be able to (after simply downloading the font from the website) type the text in Photoshop and then only have to rotate it 90 degrees to get it where I wanted instead of change the text format to make it vertical instead of horizontal.

death battle text

This is the other text I chose. The reasoning for this one is simply because it looks urban and gritty, fitting grime conventions, and it is what I pictured and wanted this text to look like.

Once I have completed the whole digipak, I will get feedback from creators on a similar level to me, on what they like about the digipak and also what I could improve on and will make any changes accordingly.

New School Hip-hop

I have now completed my initial research into music videos, digipaks and magazine adverts across the hip hop genre. This research was conducted to find how the generic conventions of hip hop are represented across these mediums to give me ideas for my products.

However, noticeably, especially over the last year or so there has been quite a big change in hip-hop, the rise in popularity of the UK hip-hop sub genre grime, and also a big change in American Hip-hop. Artist such as Lil Uzi Vert, XXXTENTACION, Trippie Redd and 6ix9ine have rose to fame recently bringing a new emo-rap style to mainstream hip-hop. This group of rappers have been dubbed by the community as ‘Soundcloud Rappers’ as this is the medium they used to rise to fame.

Even though the song and my music video is in the sub-genre of grime, I would like to use some of the features seen in American ‘New School Hip-hop’ music videos as it is colourful and can be obscure, giving my video a modern and unique feel. Here are a few ‘New School Hip-hop’ music videos that have inspired me a bit for my music video.

The glitch effects and the colours in this music video are features that I want to incorporate into my grime music video, mixing some features across different hip-hop sub genres.

This music video video for Lil Peep’s song “Awful Things” makes use of the flash and glitch effects I want in my music video. The regularity of how often these effects are seen in this video will be similar to how often they are used in mine, as opposed to the Trippie Redd song where the effects are present all the way throughout.

My favourite effects done in this music video is what has been done to the sky. It has had its colour changed and been edited to show different weathering such as lightning.

The reason for me implementing these features from new school american hip-hop into my grime music video is not just to give the video a modern and unique look and for my own aesthetic appreciation, it is also because all these new school songs present love and feelings much more openly than the old school hip-hop did, and they present this in their videos through the use of colour, as colour is the closest thing to a visual representation of emotions. The song I am using for my music video deals with emotion and so I want to display this through colour.

Joyner Lucas

I just watched the music video rapper Joyner Lucas released for his song “I’m Not Racist” a couple of weeks ago.

This music video is excellent, It must be nominated for music video of the year because of how important and how well its message is and delivered.

The video is a conversation between a white and a black man. The white man represents the stereotypical view of whites on blacks, and vice versa for the black man. This is a very big problem, especially in America, and the fact that Joyner Lucas address this through music in such a fair way showing positives and negatives and the views from each side with both men in the video being equal and ending with respect, understanding and love for one another makes for an extremely powerful message.


Magazine Advert Plan

The second of the two ancillary texts I have to produce for my coursework is a magazine advert advertising the album- (the other ancillary text). Below is an image of my plan for my magazine advert.


As you can see in the plan, my digipak front cover is going to take up about one third of the page and is going to be the only image as this is what is being advertised. The only other media on the advert will be text above and below the image. The text at the top will just clearly state the artists name in bold writing and the text at the bottom will give information about the name of the album, release date and a hint at what the album includes. I will also put images of music platforms the album would be available on.

The blurb regarding what the album includes I have made into just an inter-textual reference to the actual artist and his song he has kindly let me use. I say this album includes “Layin’ Low” which is the song I used for my music video, and the other hit song I say is included in my album is “Minus” which is actually the real album the song ‘Layin’ Low’ is from. I then say the album features A.PROZAC and Sugi.wa however in actual fact they are the artist and producer of the song I used for my music video.

From the research I carried out in summer into album magazine adverts, there were two that completely stood out for me and I want my advert to be a remix of these two adverts…

As I am sure you have already noticed, my advert resembles the Drake ‘Take Care’ advert a lot due to the text and image layout. What inspired me so much about this layout is the simplicity and clearness of it, and how it is aesthetic as it is obvious it is an advert and obvious what it is advertising. What I like about the Stormzy advert is the font. As my song is a grime song, I want the advert to show this, and that dark, gritty, Gothic text is perfect to showcase the albums genre.


Before jumping into Photoshop again to make this ancillary text, I felt I needed some guidance into making a magazine advert on this software, so I resorted to YouTube to find a mass of helpful tutorial videos to help me get started. The main thing I need help with was what dimensions/resolutions to set the image size to. I used the sizes the second video did just because it was done in pixels and that is a better format if the image is going to be used on the internet, but both videos below I found very helpful to watch before I began creating my magazine advert.


Digipak Front Cover Plan

I have know begun the production of my digipak. So far I have the basic image that is going to be used. This is an anime image of my self I created on a free website.

digipakThis image idea for my digipak was inspired by 21 Savage’s digipak cover for his 2017 album “Issa”.


The stylistic choice of the artist being present as a cartoon character on the album cover is becoming a trend in hip-hop, so for this reason along with me liking this style, I decided to incorporate it. Here are a few examples of other hip-hop albums with the cartoon style on their covers.

I decided to go with a mid close up shot image of the artist for my album cover, most like 21 Savage’s “Issa” album and similar to Lil Uzi Vert’s “Lil Uzi Vert VS The World” album cover, as this is the most conventional regarding the albums I looked at in my research. Many hip-hop albums and especially the grime albums (the sub genre of hip hop my music video is) are an image of the artist. Which makes a mid close up shot perfect as it is a clear a shot of the artist as you can get, and the addition of the artist being ‘cartoon-ised’ gives the album a modern feel.

Here is the full plan for my digipak from cover:


The bold text is conventional, in terms of it being bold and its positioning at the centre top or in corners, resembling text found on albums such as…

What I am also going to include is Chinese or Japanese text placed vertically on either side of the image of the artist, this will be a translation of the artists name on one side and on the other side the name of the album. I have seen Japanese text on Scarlxrd’s album “Chaxsthexry” (a UK hip-hop artist) and the vertical text was actually inspired by Justin Biebers 2015 album “Purpose”.

I plan to give the background a purple tinge, and I will include clipart images of stars on the left side of the artist, as stars are something that symbolise the ‘star’ status of rappers. Also in my music video I have edited the sky to make it starry, so including it on the album cover sort of makes it a theme surrounding the rap artist.