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Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Week beginning 13th December - Joe Jones

This week, we started to bring the image you see below to life, and design our Digipak.
Firstly, we got a camera and ventured out to take the still shots we needed for the Digipak. We had intended to leave the school grounds to get these shots, but as time was running out, we managed to get the shots done effectively in the school and the surrounding areas.
Secondly, we uploaded the images and started to edit them with the 'Adobe Photoshop CS3' tool. In using this we encountered a number of difficulties:
The dimensions of the images - We had strict dimensions set as the Digipak must be a certain size and shape to fit into a standard CD rack. However, we found that every time we tried set the Height to 5, the Width would be automatically set, and vice versa. We eventually discovered this was due to the dimensions of the camera we used, which produced images to a certain ratio. To get around this problem, we had to get as close as possible to the correct height and width, and then crop the image.
The image size- Also, whenever we tried to set these dimensions, the picture looked incredibly small, which lead us to believe that there was a problem with the software. It transpired that the zoom setting was low, which caused the tiny image, however the dimensions were correct.
Appropriate font - We had a particular kind of font in mind, a sort of street style 'graffiti', in order to convey not only the genre of music, but also to emphasise the 'ghetto' attitude the boys take in the video. In using that kind of font, with the comical images of us attempting to recreate 'gangter' poses, we effectively put across the crux and concept behind our video, which hopefully the public would want to see more of. However, the school laptop had no font which we felt would be appropriate, so we started to search the internet for some. Most sites seemed to want some sort of payment for the font, which we couldn't do on the school computers, and so we tried sampling the fonts and then copying and pasting the results. However, a white background was always behind the words, which looked sloppy and amateurish on out front cover.

Monday, 13 December 2010

Planning Our Digipak - Ned Keating

For our digipak, we wanted to continue the theme of "white-boy gangsters", To do this, we thought we should mimic some iconic rap poses, such as NWA.

Instead of the buildings seen behind the heads of NWA, we will show trees. This shows immediately that the group are from suburbia rather than a tough area, where gangsters are stereotypically from.
We also wished to pose "hard" in some image, again to convey the idea of the group failing gangsters.

Dimensions of a digipak - James Wilson ft Martin Woodhatch

When creating our digipak it was important that we knew the correct dimensions so that we could create the correct sized images and fonts to match. By doing this it gave us a guideline to follow, and acted as a great template to create our ideas. The dimensions of a digipak: 5" x 5 1/2" x 1/4". The dimensions of a digipak are universally the same, so that they can fit into rack stand.

Licensing Update - Ned Keating

Above is a copy of the email we received from XL Records regarding the use of "Fix Up, Look Sharp". We were quite impressed when we saw that Dizzee Rascal himself would have to approve the use of the track once we had got permission for the sample used in the song. We were also told to email Tonya Puerto at EMI Capitol, the company who own the rights to "The Big Beat" by Billy Squier, which is sampled in "Fix Up, Look Sharp".

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Tuesday 7th December - Martin Woodhatch

In Tuesdays lesson we went over and reaffirmed the conventions of a typical digipak. We did this by collectively as a group deciding upon which conventions are usually used in a digipak. We then decided to select which conventions of the digipak related to are music video and which would fit in best to our own digipak. After this we decided to start planning our digipak, we did this by drawing out what we were going to put on each of the six sides of the digipak. To do this we had to sketch our potential digipak and decide on what pictures we wanted on each page. We also decided that because we were doing a rap song we should include the lyrics on one of the pages.

Monday 6th December - James Wilson

In today's lesson, the objective was research digipaks and understand what they are and what there purpose was. To start we had to research what a digipak was and the conventions within a digipack. What we found out was the common conventions of a digipak were;
-the artists name
-colours chosen
-track list
- pictures

From learning what the conventions of a digipak are we then research other digipaks and analysed the conventions they used. By doing this it has helped us as a group think about how we are going to produce our digipak.

Monday, 6 December 2010

Digipak - Ned Keating

Above is an example of a digipak for "Myth". This digipak follows the standard convention of digipaks by including a track listing on the back cover of the digipak. This digipak also includes several photographs of the artist on the all of the slides. This could help further promote the artist as the audience can recognise the artist once they see the digipak cover. Like most digipaks, there is also the artist's current logo on the front cover of the digipak. However, there doesn't seem to be any newspaper reviews on the digipak. This is an example of Myth's digipak subverting the conventions of traditional digipaks as they generally have some form of newspaper review on them

Digipak Example: Michael Jackson (ultimate collection) - James Wilson

An example of a digipack used by an music artist is Michael Jackson's (ultimate collection). The Michael Jackson digipak uses all other the main conventions that a digipak acquires;
-The band/artists name
-Basic information about the artist and the album
-Colours which portray the artist in a certain light.

Firstly the album cover consists of an iconic picture of Michael standing there with his hands up, and the picture it self is a different texture and is slightly printed into the digipak, giving it an authentic feel to the consumer. As well as the picture being the center of attention of the digipak, the colour choice is crucial and its shows the audience what Michael thinks about himself. Using the gold letter on the black cover stands out and shows the pubic that this album is the gold standard with it standing out and oozing class. This particular digipak contains a vast number of Cd's which are well package within the digipak which helps reduce size making it small and compact. The advantages of the digipak are that they are different from normal stardard cases and usually relate to deluxe or a significant album.

Licensing - Ned Keating

For our coursework, we had to make sure that we had the right use the song within the music video. To do this, we had to contact the record label who held the rights to "Fix Up, Look Sharp", which is XL Recordings. It was easy to contact them as there was a message box on their 'About' page.

At the bottom of the box, there was a link to a licensing request page, which I clicked on as I wanted to ensure that we had the right to use the song for our coursework.

On this link, we had to fill in several pieces of information regarding our reasons for needing the use the song.

Digipack Conventions - James Wilson

A digipak is a type of packaging for discs which folds out like a book rather than open out like a conventional case, made from cad instead of plastic however the disc itself will sit within the digipak in a thin plastic tray. The design of the digipak it self is in fact cheaper and easier to produce than a normal jewel case. It is usually used for special edition Cd's and DVDs, and due to the way it is packaged it enables a multiple number of discs to be held within it.

Digipak is a registered trademark of AGI media who originally developed the packaging style, however the term digipack has come into common use for any similar style packaging. Even when produced by other companies or with varying materials. Digipak weaknesses include the plastic trays used to hold the disc are brittle and liable to snap, or loose teeth, more so than jewel cases and the softer card materials used for the outer packaging are likely to get damaged easily although UV coating is sometimes used to minimise this. All digipaks have quite simple designs consisting of the artist on the front. All these covers have had simple effects put onto the images, this gives it a slightly stylised look.

Aside from simple design conventions Digipaks seem to be relatively simple, only having the artist and disc name on the cover, possibly with a DVD logo. Age ratings aren’t often an issue with musicians releases, however if applicable this would be on the front. Information on the back may include track and content listing, Record label information and bar code including small print on copyright information. These Digipaks shown have chosen to show logos and or artwork as the front cover, this is more in keeping with these bands styles. Also both artists are quite famous and do not need a photograph of themselves on the front for self-promotion.

In conclusion a digipack has a number of conventions;
-The band/Artists name situation somewhere on the outside (normally front cover)
-Basic information about the band either on the inside or the outside of the the digipak
-Song lyrics are occasionally on the digipack dependant on the reputation of the song
-Digipacks can also include newspaper reviews of the album/song (Normally positive)

Examples of DigiPak - Martin Woodhatch

This is the Cd digipak for Curtain Call. The outside cover shows The Album title and the artist name with a warning label. The background suits the genre of the album by depicting Eminem's strong star image. The connotation subvert the genre as Eminem is standing in a theatre whilst wearing a black suit. This therefore is not a typical convention or the rap genre. However the image of the gun does depict the conventions of the rap genre.

The black cover has a similar image, including the track listings for the CD. Also included is some small print about the record company, the record company logo and a barcode. The spines have the cover text and record label name written as well as a code in small print at the bottom.

The inside cover has a black and white picture of Eminem being interrogated by someone. This therefore fits in with the perceived nature of Eminem's songs as most of them are about bad experiences that have happened to him. Under the discs both images are black with a border in the corner. One shows Eminem's logo, with a dictionary definition of the album title. the other shows a picture of the artist pointing a gun towards the viewer, this is another typical rap convention and shows the audience the theme of the album. These two images are very contrasting as one is quite shocking whilst the other is informative. The two panels work well together as they show contrast.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

FIlming: My Personal Role - Joe Jones

Over the course of the filming process, I felt I was a valuable member of the team, contributing ideas and suggestions throughout. Specifically, the things that I feel I was strongest at were:
- Acting - I do Drama and love performing, so essentially acted as director and held responsible for all performance aspects, giving my peers a rigorous acting lesson in the process!
- Creativity - I am generally quite a creative person, enjoy writing and as i've already stated drama and theatre, and so I came up with a number of the ideas and storylines.
- Finding Locations - I was able to find and suggest appropriate locations for the action.

However, there were some things I found difficult:
- Exacting my vision - What I found perhaps most difficult in the filming process. Often I would have an idea, but when it came to filming it, achieving exactly what I desired was incredibly difficult. If I were to do this again, I think once I have an idea i would have to develop it more and check its viability.
- Working co-operatively - This is something I never usually find difficult at all, but in this instance I did. You have to respect everyones ideas equally and work democratically in order for it to work, but sometimes I felt that some ideas were better than others, and we made wrong desicions. Ultimately, I feel we worked well as a team but it was hard at times.

Creativity and The Filming Process; An Evaluation - Joe Jones

We made a late decision to change the concept behind the music video, from a tender love story to a rap 'spoof'. Creativity was essential in coming up with a whole new set of ideas and shots and events.
We started to watch a mixture of serious rap videos from 'classic' gangster rap groups such as Public Enemy and N.W.A and also a a number of spoof videos, from artists such as The Lonely Island.
But this videos could only take us so far, and we embarked upon a sort of 'devising' process, where basically there was an open discussion and all ideas were entertained and thrown into the melting pot.
We managed to condense down the vast range of ideas thrown in and eventually arrived at an idea we all agreed on. The video would follow a day in the lives of 3 posh, middle class lads, and their attempt to act 'gangster'. From here, we just started to think about things that would make us laugh personally, and so we hoped would make our classmates and hopefully yourself feel a similar way. But from this we had to think about the following things:

This was fairly straightforward, we decided we would sport some ghetto clothing, but in a more modern sense of the word. We were going to perhaps wear clothes from the 90's period of rap like the videos we watched, but eventually we decided a more modern approach to the costume would be more relateable to Dizzee Rascal's target audience, which is teenagers and young adults.
We needed to create the effect that of course we were not in fact actually gangster. Luckily, we could not have looked more ridiculous in our new clothing, and as this sort of clothing is not something we would wear often, the comedic effect is created effectively.
Also, when we put forward the idea of playing golf in one of our scenes, we talked about wearing a golf glove, as a signifier that we belong to our gang. In America, gangsters would often sport a certain colour to represent the gang the belonged to, so we felt that using a golf glove would be appropriate as it communicates an attempt to be 'street', but also denotes wealth as golf is considered a rich mans game.

We also started to think of the events that would take place in the day in the lives of the three boys. We needed to come up with things that would create comedy, but also convey the message of the middle class. We wanted to draw clear parallels between our video and the quintessential idea of a rap video, so we wanted lots of loitering with our gang, rolling out in the 'pimp wagon' etc. But we also wanted to juxtapose these events with ones that would show us being about as gangster as Prince Phillip. For example, we came up with the ideas of playing bowls in the park and wine tasting etc, so as to reiterate the boys as Middle class and thoroughly 'ungangster' as it were.

This is the part of the creative process that we found most challenging. In the creative process, coming up with ideas for locations was relatively simple, we put forward the idea of filming in a local public school, typical middle class settings and parks. Also, as myself and Ned work at Waitrose, this was an easy location to use. It is also regarded as a very 'middle-class' supermarket, so we felt it was appropriate.
However, in this field, we suffered a lot of setbacks. Practicality delivered some blows to our creativity, For example, as Martin has mentioned in an earlier post, the famed English weather delivered some setbacks, as a great deal of our shots were planned to be outdoors. Also, the local public school prohibited us categorically from filming on their grounds.
Consequently, we had to think on our feet on a number of occasions, and draw from our creativity to come up with some new locations we could film in.
However, another problem we faced was that every time we came up with a good new idea, people were often reluctant to let us use their property or land to film. We tried Woodford Bowls Club, Prezzo's, and a local Wine Bar, all to no avail. This was incredibly frustrating, as coming up with ideas was often difficult, and so when we did come up with a good idea it was extremely annoying to be told you were not allowed to film.
But, ultimately we did come up with some new locations, like the driving range and the very first location in the video was one we found in Chigwell after Bancrofts declined to let us film.
In conclusion, creativity was vital in the process of making a music video.

Software/Equipment/Techniques used - James Wilson

Throughout the process of creating a music video we have used particular software imovie HD the type of computer that allowed us to use this great piece of software was an imac pc. This software has allowed us to successfully to upload all of our clips and with relevant ease, allowed us to choose the clips we wanted and get all our shots in time with the song. The software was a simple drag and drop system which definitely made the editing process quicker. When making the music video we used suitable filming equipment, which included; camera,tripod,tape and our own props and vehicles. By using this equipment it allowed us to get the steady clear shoots, which is what we were aiming for. When filming there were a number of techniques of which we used; firstly the types of camera shots for e.g close ups, panning shots, high angle and low angle shots. Using these different number of shots allowed the video to have a variety within it. For a example a panning shot allows us as a group to set the scene within the video. Using imovie HD enabled us to use the 'slow-motion' feature which made the video have something different to other music videos, which showed a creative element.

Monday 29th November, Final Day of filming - James Wilson

Last Monday we as a group made a decision to put editing on hold as felt we needed a more variety of shot so we took the opportunity to head out and gain some more footage. The aim of our video was to portray the image of posh school boys being rude boys, so we wanted to get shots which represent that. Firstly I decided that we should have a drag race between two of the gang members so we headed to the local car park and got a variety of shots. These shots acted as the filler of the video and played an instrumental to keep the video moving at a good pace. Secondly we went to a play area and used the different apparatus to get a variety of shots. These shots had comedy value and make the video light hearted and funny which is the exact type of approach that we anted the video to take.

3rd Day of Filming- Joe Jones

As we had some decent weather on this day, we decided it was an appropriate time to head out and get some of the footage we had planned to have outdoors. Firstly, we had planned to have some shots outside some gaudy and flamboyant houses, to effectively convey the idea that were a couple of middle to upper class lads who were trying to act as though they were in the 'ghetto'. So our first destination was outside the house of none other than Lord Sugar! Unfortunately, you can't actually see the front of his house, only the garden, and the idea was that we would rap in front of a large, posh gate. We wanted to do this as we felt a lot of rap videos featured Prison (in the lyrics or the video itself) and we felt it would be an appropriate ironic twist to have us rapping outside some ostentatious gates, although it were a prison. A problem we found was obtaining permission to film, as many residents did not wish their house to be viewed, but luckily once we had stipulated that it was purely for educational and not recreational purposes, one man let us film outside his house.
Next, we decided to film some of the 'car shots' we had planned. Rap videos often feature a blacked out 4x4 with flashy rims and a cream leather interior, but we decided to use a Toyota Yaris, in order to create comedy, as there is nothing much 'gangster' about it to say the least. We needed a secluded area to do these shots as we had a number of close ups of the wheels and the numberplate etc which would need a few takes and we didn't want the distraction of other cars. So we went to the carpark of Chigwell School, and filmed our shots there.
Finally, when we were at the carpark, a large field was situated next to it. Perched on this field were hundreds of Seagulls. James jokingly remarked that we should chase after them, and purely on a whim, Ned suggested filming it. When we uploaded the footage, the shots looked incredibly funny, as it looked as though we were trying to intimidate the birds, and then we ended up running away from them. So, although most of our footage was created through extensive planning, if an idea came to us whilst we were filming we would at least film it and then take it back to the editing suite.

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

4th Day of Filming - Ned Keating

On our fourth day of filming, we ventured into our local branch of Waitrose to film the 'gang' in a supermarket. Waitrose were more than happy for us to film. We wanted to film in a supermarket such as Waitrose because of the contrast between the high-class connotations of a supermarket like Waitrose and the low-life view of 'gangsters' in Britain. Myself and Joe also wanted to use Waitrose as a result of our experiences of working there, where we have rarely seen any 'gangsters' within the year we have been working there.

In Waitrose, we intended to originally shoot just a few shots, as this was planned within the storyboard. However, we decided to film a few other shots whilst there in case we needed extra shots when we came to editing.
We had to film after hours within Waitrose so that we could not offend or upset any customers during our filming, which could damage the reputation of Waitrose We also needed to use a member of staff in the video to act as a love interest. The girl we asked was happy to take part at first, but became reluctant when she realised what she had to do. Despite this, she still agreed to star in our music video.

Ultimately, I believe the Waitrose shoot was a successful shoot as we filmed what we needed and more. This will help us when we come to editing the footage as we now have more footage than we need, so we can place the extra footage into the music video if required.

Adverse Weather Conditions - Filming - Martin Woodhatch

Whilst we were filming our A2 Media project we encountered some problems which hindered the production of filming. The reason that problems were encountered was due to the fact that on our storyboard we had many shots which were being filmed outside. Therefore the problem was that there was a lot of rain which meant that the quality of the shots may not be of the standard which we had expected. Not only did it rain but it also snowed which meant that we were unable to film outside due to continuity. As we didn't want to waste valuable filming time we decided to incorporate extra shots into the production. So we had a crisis meeting and then decided upon new locations which of the new locations was suitable for our project and we were able to immediately film. This then allowed us to use a wider variety of shots and gave us more choice when editing the final piece. The extra shots that we filmed were indoors so that the adverse weather conditions didn't completely hinder our filming process.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Day 1 of Filming - Martin Woodhatch

Following the previous mentioned crisis meeting we decided upon TopGolf as the location which was most suited to our project. TopGolf was chosen because it was in close proximity to our location and not only was it indoors but it also tied in with the theme of our project which was upper class kids acting like gangsters whilst still remaining upper class. Before we were able to film at TopGolf we decided to ring them to make sure that we would be able to film as the company may not allow us to film on there property. Fortunately for us TopGolf allowed us to film on the property and we were therefore able to start the filming process. Before we began filming we had to decide upon which lyrics would be lip synced at TopGolf. This therefore meant that our main actor had to memorise what he would say and the act it out whilst we were filming.We decided to film ourselves lip syncing whilst playing golf, this therefore meant that we could portray the fact that we were trying to act like gangsters but were unable to because we were playing golf. We also decided to get shots were two of us were swinging the golf club at the same time. Although at first we weren't sure of the idea when it came to editing this was one of the better shots that we filmed on the day. Another shot that we decided to perform was us walking towards the camera and acting like gangsters as if we were trying to gain the most attention. Are reasoning for doing this was that a huge percentage of the music videos from the rap genre included this and we therefore wanted to do this as we believed that it would portray our theme.

Friday, 29 October 2010

Further Planning - Lyrical Breakdown - Joe Jones

The next step in the planning stage was to breakdown the song lyrically and in doing this, perhaps find inspiration for ideas and start to get a general idea for the themes of the song and how you can incorporate this into your video. We found this exercise incredibly helpful in terms of coming up with potential material. We had already decided on a number of elements in our video, such as locations and costume. However, we found that looking simply at the lyrics gave us a lot of inspiration for ideas. For example, we decided upon a bathroom sequence for comedic effect, coinciding with the lyric 'flushin' mc's down the loo'. In addition to this, we saw this lyric:
I fight old school, bring your bat and your chopper,
And a First Aid Kit, and some antiseptic, this could get hectic
and decided that we would have our middle class protagonists reveal that whenever they go out they would carry a first aid kit, with the main character wagging his finger at the camera like a nagging mother. Again, this was a way to show clearly that our characters are certainly not 'ghetto', however much they'd like to be.

Shot List - Planning

Shot List

1. Extreme close up – Depicting Mouth saying OIIIII
2. Panning shot – Showing the middle class Suburban setting for our music video.
3. Mid close up of feet
4. Mid shot – Show back of heads, all viewer sees is hoods, sense of mystery.
5. Tracking shot – moves upwards, revealing the identity of the protagonists.
6. Mid shot – Characters walk towards the camera threateningly
7. Long shot – Shows boys next to mansion, again reiterating the rich background.
8. Low angle mid shot, boys rap aggressively into camera – quintessential rap shot.
9. Mid shot – depicts main character at golf course.
10. Mid/long shot – shows two characters taking swings.
11. Mid shot – of boys and the Toyota Yaris
12. Mid/long shot – of main character attempting golf swing and missing completely.
13. Long shot – showing James singing his heart out in a spotlight.
14. Close up – ‘I hear the sound’
15. Mid shot – James reveling in his performance.
16. Tracking shot – shows Yaris zooming round a corner.
17. Close up – Character raps inside the car.
18. Mid/close up – Rapping out of the window.
19. Extreme close up – depicting the wheels of the car, which do not have the rims usually seen in rap videos i.e. gaudy and ostentatious.
20. Close up – number plate
21. Tracking long shot – shows the car leaving, protagonist hanging out of the window.
22. Mid shot – outside yet more expensive gates, playing on ‘prison idea’
23. Extreme long shot – Shows car in the distance.
24. Mid shot – shows Joe in toilet, reading broadsheet newspaper.
25. Close up – shows his pained expression.
26. Mid shot – Man enters toilet, clearly desperate for use.
27. Mid/Long shot – depicts man wrestling with Joe for use of the toilet.
28. Mid shot – showing two characters reading classic literature
29. Establishing shot – long shot showing ‘Waitrose’ logo, showing the boys ‘middle class’
30. Mid shot - shows Joe rapping amongst some fine wines
31. Long shot – Shows boys pushing Joe in Trolley.
32. Mid/Close up – Boys rapping in the shop.
33. Low angle close ups – Boys being obscene into the camera.
34. Slow motion mid shot – James in full singing flow.
35. Low angle close up – ‘I get on down’
36. Mid shot – James dancing awkwardly
37. Close up – Tropicana
38. Mid shot – Tasting wine
39. Shot reverse shot – Joe looking girl up and down.
40. Close up of Joe walking into pillar.
41. Extreme close up – Candy sticks, ironic.
42. Mid shot – Boys ‘smoking’ candy sticks
43. Mid close up – of financial times, which is dropped to reveal the boys rapping.
44. Long establishing shot – Shows boys arriving at suburban park
45. Mid shot – shows boys playing ‘boules’
46. Close up – shows ball landing near the Jacque
47. Extreme close up – Shows James’ adulation.
48. Mid shot – Joe rapping, then showing first aid kit and antiseptic.
49. Low angle shot – boys vying for position in the camera
50. Extreme long shot – Boys playing in park.
51. Low angle shot – boys on jungle gym
52. High angle shot – Joe rapping on climbing frame.
53. Close up – Joe determined expression in car
54. Close up – James determined expression in car
55. Long shot – shows the race, where Joe stalls.
56. Reverse angle mid shot – Boys playing in park
57. Extreme long shot – same shot as before, but James falls off swings.
58. Mid shot – Final shot, shows boys leaving waitrose arm in arm.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Rap Conventions - A definitive list - Joe Jones

After compiling extensive research into the rap genre, and watching numerous videos from various rap and hip hop artists, we began to spot a pattern emerging amongst all the videos we watched. From this, we were able to identify a set of codes and conventions which appeared in the majority of the videos we watched:

- objectification of women: this is something we saw regularly in the rap and hip hop videos, which videos often depicting women in a very sexual and provocative way, often wearing very little if anything at all. This is shown clearly in 50 Cents video ' Candy Shop' which in short, is using innuendo to suggest the rapper is visiting a Brothel. The females in this video are shown to be incredibly sexual beings, shown in their facial expressions and general manner. In the screen shot below, we see this woman is dressed in a very provocative costume, also carrying a whip, again playing on this idea of sexual desire.

- Location: We found that is often varied between two extremes. Either the setting for the rap video was the Ghetto, which many rappers choose as this is an environment they grew up in, or it was quite the opposite, a grand mansion with a massive party stocked with champagne. In this first example, we see the Ghetto often depicted in rap videos. This shot is taken from Tupac's posthumous release 'Ghetto Gospel', about Tupac's experience in East Harlem in Manhattan.

Use of Vehicle - This is something that started out in the very early days of hip hop and has continued in its usage through to the modern day. In the first image, we see a shot from Ice Cube's 'It Was a Good Day'. He is seen driving a 'low rider', a popular vehicle at the time in the Ghetto's, and would often be kitted out with hydraulics and fancy paint jobs.

However in the modern day, it is usually a 'pimped out 4x4' that we see in rap videos. With tinted windows and a bass system. This seen in R Kelly's video 'Ignition' showing the party bus that is his 4x4...

However, we see that the 4x4 is often the vehicle of choice even in the Ghetto. Referring again to Tupac's Ghetto Gospel, the vehicle of choice for the gang when carrying out their killing mission is a 4x4, again with the tinted windows.

Guns and Violence - This is again another common convention in rap videos. Rap music started in the Ghetto's, and guns and violence were an integral part of Ghetto life. We see in the early rap and hip hop videos, the hint towards this lifestyle, and this carries through again to the modern day. In the song 'Straight Outta Compton' by influential group N.W.A, we see this shot of a gun, accompanied by the lyric 'with an AK47 as ma tool'. This alludes to the war of attrition between the police and the streets, and the graphic violence involved.

But we see that this theme has continued throughout the late 80's and 90's all the way through to the modern day. For example, in Eminem's video 'Toy Soldiers', which deals with the theme of gang violence again, we see the 4x4 used, and we see the gun shots fly through a man in slow motion, to emphasise this graphic violence.

Monday, 11 October 2010

Radiohead - No Surprises - Martin Woodhatch

No surprises by Radiohead was released in 1998. Although the song isn't that popular the video is far more popular due to the fact that it is filmed in on shot. The video is of the lead singers head being submerged in water.

Also the lyrics are being put up on the screen but they are being shown backwards. This therefore portrays as a script for the singer.

Also the lighting in the song changes throughout and starts off as being extremely dark and then changes and becomes bright were the singers face is fully visible.

The song is also cyclical meaning that although the lighting changes to bright it then reverts back to the beginning when there is pure darkness.

The music video is not a typical video as most generic music videos involve a variety of shots and are exciting to watch. In comparison this music video is just the one shot and although is not very exciting to watch it is intriguing for the viewer as you want to know what will happen to the singer. The music video doesn't have a narrative as the song is not really relevant to the video. Although the song is not that popular the video has proved popular nearly 2 million hits on youtube.

Monday, 4 October 2010

Conventions of the Music Video - Joe Jones

The video I have chosen to analyse is 'I'm on a Boat' by The Lonely Island. I felt this was appropriate as they are a rap spoof group, so the sort of videos they produce will be something similar to the idea we are trying to create. The video itself follows many of the conventions of a typical Music Video; including aspects of performance and narrative and also a 'hook'.
Firstly, I will focus on the performance elements. They lip sync to the music and combine narrative and performance, although the narrative itself isn't much of a narrative, its simply that they get a free boat ride. Also, they use conventions of the rap genre and parody them, this is seen in the high angle shot below, showing the two men rap into the camera, with lots of vigorous hand movements, a shot seen commonly in rap videos over the years.

Again, the idea of humour and comedy is something we are very interested to incorporate in our Video, with a view to spoofing the Rap genre. Below are shots again of this high angle shot where the Men rap aggressively into the camera lens, but they do this wearing sailor outfits, thus simply but effectively making fun of this kind of shot seen so often in Rap videos.

Also, a popular convention of a pop video is to have some sort of dance routine or arrangement. This is used in a way in the video, however they dance is intentionally disjointed and unorganised, in order to create comedy. The dance scenes show the awkward situation as the two men from The Lonely Island literally lose themselves in the song as T Pain stands there moving slowly and coolly. This contrast highlights the ridiuclous movement of the two men and helps to create humour.

'Burn, Burn' Video Analysis - Ned Keating

The video to 'Burn, Burn' by Lostprophets contains many conventions of music videos.
For example, there is a performance within the video.This is often seen in music videos from many genres to further promote the song. Furthermore, a performance includes lip syncing which could entice the audience to sing-a-long.

Also in the video, we see the band having to walk through a crowd. This is the representation of the band within the video. it shows the band as still being in touch with their fans as they follow a similar action taken by the fans, i.e. walking through a large crowd.

In the video as well, there is some form of dance routine performed by dancers rather than the band. Generally seen in pop videos, dance routines are not usually seen within rock videos. However, the reason why this routine may have been placed in the video may have been more for mocking the routines seen in pop videos rather than being a serious one.

The video also makes use of 'moshing'. This is something generally seen at rock concerts, so the use of it in the video would further enhance the video's appeal to its target audience.

Another convention seen in the video is the use of props that relate to the genre. In addition to a BMX (see screenshot), there is also a skateboard in the video. both of these are generally associated with the rock genre of music. Again, by using these, the band with further appeal to their target audience.

Shaggy "it wasn't me" - James Wilson

The video to "it wasn't me" by shaggy contains many conventions of a music video. For example narrative within the video. Having a narrative takes the audience on the journey with the artist and gives an understanding of the song.

Throughout the music video a variety of shots with a variety of locations were used which is a common convention. By doing this a the artist keeps the audience interested and engaged in the video.

In the music video, lip syncing is used which is a common convention, and the quality of the lip syncing is important is it needs to look as professional as possible.

In the rap genre there is glorification of women and in this music video it is no different. The video shows how the women go around after shaggy and being there for his every need, helping down the stairs to just sitting around him. This shows the power of shaggy and how it makes him look more powerful with lots of women around him.

The Verve - Bittersweet Symphony - Martin Woodhatch

Bittersweet Symphony by The Verve was released in 1997 and was instantly a hit with the consumers. This was due to the brilliance of the song and also the reputation of the video. The video is filmed as one man walking down the street and is perceived by the consumer as if he doesn't stop.

The music video is extremely well known within the music industry due to the fact that it is just a man walking down the street. The video is filmed on a busy street and there are many different obstacles in the band members way. These obstacles are ignored by the man as he just walks straight on without stopping.

Although the concept of the music video could be considered boring it works really well as the viewer is intrigued and enticed by what will happen next. The music videos pace is also relative to the speed of the song as both are slow paced with no quick cuts. The video also has a flow to it which means that it becomes engaging to the viewer and interesting to watch.

Lip Syncing - James Wilson

Lip syncing is a convention seen in many music videos. In our music video, we intend to lip sync the chorus of 'Fix Up, Look Sharp'. This is because we believe it to be the part of the song that is most recognisable. This way, when we are lip syncing the chorus, the audience may be enticed to sing-a-long with us. we also believe the chorus to be the part where we can further spoof the rap genre by rapping in a mocking style.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Rap Conventions - Joe Jones

We then started to observe and note down common themes and conventions to create the quintessential idea of the 'rap' video. This is what we concluded.

We traced rap and hip-hop back to its earliest forms and watched the videos of the influential groups such as Public Enemy and N.W.A. We started to notice some patterns in the videos; firstly, performance is always incorporated directly into the narrative of the song i.e. they are not separated. Secondly, there is always a headstrong gang behind the main rapper in all of the videos we watched. This is something we are certainly keen to emulate. Thirdly, there is a lot of aggression and passion with various hand movements towards the camera. We will attempt to do something similar to this, but we will exaggerate it heavily in order to create comedy, as this is our intention.

In this video by the Beastie Boys, they portray a quite hilarious narrative following the night of three geeks who decide to throw a party. The party gets gatecrashed, and the cooler, lower class citizens invade the vicinity. The idea of humour in a rap video was something that appealed to us greatly and also this idea of the suburban and the 'ghetto' clash, as this it is a humorous concept, and one we are very interested in, as residents of middle-class areas.

Finally, we looked at this video by Puff Daddy, Bad Boys For Life. In this video, again we see the stark contrast between the middle class surburbs and the 'Ghetto' so to speak. The video depicts a Bus offloading the 'gangsters' in a stereotypically middle class American suburb and they interrupt the peace and tranquility of the area and make it their own. As i've already mentioned, this contrast between the Ghetto and the Suburbs, however we are going to change it slightly in that the Middle Class are going to try to be 'Gangsters', to questionable success. This will form the crux of our Music Video.

Monday, 27 September 2010

Dizzee Rascal - Ned Keating

Dizzee Rascal is a British rappper who has been active since 2000. Originally part of the 13-strong Roll Deep Crew, who have since gone on to have their own success, Dizzee left the band in 2003 to pursue a solo career and was offered an additional solo contract by XL recordings. In the same year, he released his debut album titled "Boy in da Corner", which gained critical acclaim and peaked at 23 on the UK album chart. The album was later awarded the prestigious Mercury Prize, making Dizzee the youngest ever winner. In 2004, Dizzee won the NME Award For Innovation. In September 2004, Dizzee released his second album, "Showtime", which entered the album charts at number . 2007 saw Dizzee's third album, titled 'Maths + English", which was was also nominated for a Mercury Prize but lost out to Klaxons. Dizzee released his fourth album "Tongue N' Cheek" which contained four number-one singles and topped the UK R&B Album chart for two weeks.

The song "Fix Up, Look Sharp' was Dizzee's second song released from his debut album. It was Dizzee's second top 40 hit but the first to peak inside the top 20. It was released on 18th August 2003. It spent four weeks within the UK Top 40. It was released on the XL Records label, who release songs traversing a wide variety of genres such as indie-rock, rap, and dance. The song heavily samples the main beat and vocals from "The Big Beat' by Billy Squier.

Dizzee is signed to record label XL Recordings. Set up in 1989 by Tim Palmer, Richard Russell and Nick Halkes, it originally specified in dance and rave music. However, since the late 1990s, the label have expanded into other genres such as freak-folk, alternative rock, Uk Garage and hip-hop. XL Recordings have developed into one of the most commercial and influential record labels in the UK.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Dizzee Rascal - Fix Up, Look Sharp - Ned Keating

The song 'Fix Up, Look Sharp' was recorded in 2002 and then later released during 2003. The song was released under the record label XL videos and was produced by Dizzee Rascal. The genre of the song is grime,funk and could be considered to be very popular within the general public. The song was released under the album 'Boy in da corner'.

The current music video that is used for the song 'Fix Up, Look Sharp' consist of purely Dizzee Rascal and some song lyrics edited onto the screen. The music video at the moment shows Dizzee Rascal dancing around acting hard and trying to portray his presence of 'looking sharp'. Throughout the music video there are lines and patterns running through the background to give off an original and different style to the music video. Also the two colours that are chosen in the music video are very contrasting. These colours are Yellow and Black and they interchange between being the primary colour and the secondary colour. Another feature that is used in the current music video is that of some of the song lyrics being shown in the background. This technique is used to emphasize the lyrics so that the audience understand them better. The song lyrics being in the background also keeps the viewer watching and keeps them intrigued and interested.

The music video that was produced by Dizzee Rascal follows many conventions in the way that there is a character trying to act like a gangster. This portrays the fact that the music videos genre in grime. Contrastingly the music video only features one person acting like a gangster where as typically there is usually a big group of people showing their presence. Due to its typical and untypical conventions the video has become very successful. The music video for the song 'Fix Up, Look Sharp' by Dizzee Rascal currently has over 4 million views on youtube which shows the video and the songs popularity within the general public.

Music Video Idea - Joe Jones

The song we are covering for our coursework is "Fix Up, Look Sharp" by Dizzee Rascal.

In our music video for this song, we will attempt to parody the rap genre through numerous methods.We will almost caricature rappers in our video by taking their most identifiable characteristics and exaggerating them before adding a posh, upper-class taste to them. For example, the "ghetto" seen in our music video will in fact be a very affluent housing area. The video will see the group involved in various scenarios where they will attempt to act hard but will instead fail rather miserably. There will also be a performance element. This will involve the group performing to the camera in a "gangster"-like way, a convention seen in many a rap video. We will once again exaggerate the actions on rap stars who perform in their videos, but over-using our arms and moving our bodies excessively.

In the first chorus, we will be lip syncing to camera whilst walking out of a private school. The in the first verse, we will be wandering around the previously mentioned affluent area doing 'rap' actions with a posh boy twist. For example, we will be drinking Ribena from wine glasses instead of swigging alcohol from a bottle. Then we will revert back to the lip syncing in various locations for the chorus before starting the second verse, which will involve the group again carrying out 'gangster' actions in far from 'gangster locations'. We will use a variety of shots ranging from extreme close-ups to extreme long shots. Each shot and angle will be specifically thought out in order to obtain the maximum meaning for the video. or example, if we were looking to show some form of intimidation then their would be little point in using a neutral angle.

Working Process - Brainstorming - Joe Jones

Coming up with ideas for the music video was a very difficult process. At first, it was four boys all guns blazing, shouting each other down and effectively going nowhere. We decided a sensible place to start was to list our preferred genres of music, as we felt we wanted to know the style well in order to create a believable video, adhering to the specific codes and conventions. After listing these, we couldn't decide between Hip-Hop/Rap and the relatively new 'spoof' or 'parody' genre, made famous by such artists as Weird Al Yankovic and the Lonely Island. After a lot of deliberation, we decided that we should perhaps combine these two, and create a comedic video for a Rap song, in which we would spoof the genre itself. After this, we had to decide upon an appropriate song. We researched a number of Rap and Hip Hop artists who regularly used comedy in their videos; artists such as Eminem, Beastie Boys, P Diddy and the like. We also started to brainstorm ideas to create comedy in a rap video, and we came up with ideas such as using the elderly or middle class bourgeoisie as our protagonists, and using surburban settings.
Eventually, we narrowed it down to two songs; Bad Boys For Life by Puff Daddy, or Fix Up Look Sharp by Dizzee Rascal. We agreed to stay British and proud, and so selected UK grime sensation Dizzee Rascal's anthem.

Coldplay - The Scientist - Martin Woodhatch

The song that I have chosen to evaluate is Coldplay – The Scientist. This song has many different conventions of a typical music video. This is because it uses a variety of shots to portray the mood of the song; this is due to the scene as well. The scene of the song is very dark and depressing which is very much like the song. The song is not upbeat and exciting but is more focused on the lyrics of the song. The video matches the song due to the fact that the lyrics often talk about reversing something or rewinding time. This is in tune with the theme if the video as it is being played in reverse.

The fact that the video is in reverse means that it is not a typical music video as a generic video would be done in real time and not be in reverse. The fact that the music video is in reverse makes it compelling to watch as you want to see what will happen next. This is due to the fact that the viewers are likely not to have seen many music videos in reverse meaning that they are intrigued and interested. The fact that the video is in reverse makes it seem far more appealing to the viewer and also gives the audience a ‘Hook’. The ‘Hook’ is the part in the video which gets people watching and interested in it. This means that if somebody was describing this video to another person they would talk about the video being in reverse.

In conclusion this music video has many typical conventions meaning that it is relatively appealing to the audience. Also the viewers can see that the video very much relates to the song meaning that they can understand the reasoning behind the video further. This video is considered appealing due to the ‘Hook’ which is very generic within music videos.

Music Video Analysis- Here it Goes Again by OK Go - Joe Jones

The Music video i have chosen to analyze is OK Go's rather infamous video 'here it goes again'.
The video features the band performing a dance routine on four treadmills. It breaks a number of conventions in that:

. There is only one shot used in the entire video; a long shot depicting the band frolicking on the treadmills
. There is no dramatic lighting used whatsoever.
. There is no narrative/storyline at all

What I like about it is the sort of 'Home Video' effect it has, which makes it incredibly endearing as a video. It doesn't take itself too seriously and essentially almost mocks itself, all part of its appeal. Also, the four machines are nicely positioned facing each other so that the video has a beautiful symmetry to it. All of these factors made it very accessible and relatable for a working class audience and contribute to make a superb music video, and this is it exactly why it is one of the most watched music video on YouTube with over 50 million views!

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Do's and Don'ts - James Wilson

When creating a music video there are various factors that need to be considered.

.Know the groups limitations
.Use costumes (Mise en scene)
.Plan locations (Variety)
.Have an idea and commit to it
.Consider the audience reaction

.Go over budget
.Wear school uniform
.Stay in chararcter when filming (don't be shy)
.Forget about approoriate lighting
.Over use material(shots)

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Junior Senior "Move Your Feet" - James Wilson

Junior Senior's "Move your feet" is a music video which subverts from contemporary music conventions. The video is all animation which subverts from contemporoary music conventions as there is no perfomance from the artist himself and there is no narrative in the video which is now common in contemporary music videos. With the video being completely different to other music videos it gives it a hook, which means that the audience remembers the song for its video as it is fun and different. With it being animated it still follows contemporary music conventions. With there being fast cuts between each scene of animation so that it keeps up with the pace of the song. The video is supposed to fun, as the animation which is used is random as it doesnt tie in with the lyrics.

Monday, 13 September 2010

Kayne West "Power" -Music Video Analysis - Ned Keating

Kanye West's Power is an extremely short video in terms of length, as it is only 1:42 in length. This is half the length of many contemporary music videos. This the first of many contemporary music conventions that the video subverts.
Due to its short length, the video only covers the first verse of the song; music videos generally cover all verses of the song it accompanies.
The video mainly uses just one shot constantly zooming out to reveal the scene. Again, this is different to many contemporary music videos, which use a wide variety of shot types. Also, the video does not include either a performance from the artist or a basic narrative. Only when you research the video further do you find that the video is full of symbolism.
In terms of movement, the video is almost stationary save for a few slow-motion upper-body movements periodically. This again subverts the conventions of a typical music video as they either include some form of dancing or other form of movement, such as walking.
Given that is subverts so many conventions of contemporary music videos, Kanye West does not label the song a music video, instead calling it a "moving painting".
The video does, however, include some conventions of contemporary music videos. For example, it has a hook - "the video where Kanye West has glow-in-the-dark eyes".
It is also compelling as you are intrigued and want to keep watching as a result of the videos mysterious and unconventional nature.
The video also makes use of dramatic lighting and is aesthetically pleasing, both of which help endear the song to the audience and will hopefully let it sell more copies

The History Of Music Videos - Joe Jones

The music video originated in the 1930s and 1940s. During this period of time, the music industry suffered an almost fatal blow from the invention of the television. To combat this, there was the creation of 'soundies'. 'Soundies' showed bands and artists lip syncing their songs on a screen. The reasoning for the 'soundie' was to counteract the television and offer another form of entertainment.

During the 1950s, the world-famous Elvis Presley released the song 'Love Me Tender' which accompanied the 1956 film of the same name.

The idea of a performance within a film started to become commonplace during the decade. Also during the 1950s, there was the rise of the teenagers, which coincided with the rise of Elvis Presley.

The 1960s saw two major bands fight it out for record sales - The Rolling Stones and The Beatles. The Beatles followed the same route as Elvis by releasing a song and film under the same title - A Hard Day's Night.

The 1960s also saw the invention of 'Concert Films', which included live performances and interviews with the band. To this day, this is something bands release often as a DVD feature, or even use live footage in the music promo videos themselves.

Also in the decade, The Monkees were given their own television show as a way of launching their music career, as the music industry continued to battle with the inevitable lure of the television. Musicians seemed to be saying 'if you cant beat 'em...join them'.

The 1970s saw the invention of open air rock festivals, which were often taped. Again, these helped to promote the band and offered the audiences unlimited access to their idols. Furthermore, the decade saw an increase in the amount of bands that used concert films as a way of promoting themselves.

1975 heralded a turning point for music videos with Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody.

This promoted the band and its music in a way never before seen. At the time, it was considered a gamble as it was an untried method. However, it proved to be a successful way of promoting the song as it helped Queen to a then record 9 weeks at the top of the UK charts, thus paving the way for all other artists to begin to make these 'promotional music videos'.

In 1981, Music Television, or MTV for short, was launched in America. The main idea of MTV was to broadcast music videos into the homes of millions, which would help further promote the music of the bands and artists showcased on the channel. The first video shown on MTV was 'Money For Nothing' by Dire Straits. In 1984, MTV Europe was launched. Both of these have contributed to an increase in record sales in the past 25 years.
Michael Jackson's Thriller was a music video that subverted the conventions of a music video when it was first released. For example, at 13 minutes in length it was three times longer than some other music videos of the time. The length, along with the inclusion of dialogue and a break from the song for the narrative to continue, lead to the video being labeled by many as a short film. Another video which subverts the conventions of a music video is The Prodigy's Smack My Bitch Up, which included drug use, violence and nudity, all of which lead to it eventually being banned from television.
A video that has, however, lived up to the conventions of its era it Beyonce's hit from the noughties, Crazy In Love. In the video, Beyonce is objectified as she dresses and dances provocatively, trying to catch Jay-Z's attention. This is a typical video from the hip-hop genre during the noughties as women are often viewed as objects by the men within the genre.

Monday, 6 September 2010

Conventions of a Music video - Joe Jones

During today's lesson, our group discussed the key concepts of a music video from any genre. These included a variety of shots within the music video; deciding whether the video should contain a narrative, a performance or both; ensuring the video follows the song in terms of mood, genre and timings; and, most important of all, making sure the video covers the full length of the song. After discussing these key concepts, we as a class watched several examples of music videos that had been filmed as part of a group's A2 coursework. Whilst some of the videos were a success in terms of including the key concepts of a music video, others were an unmitigated disaster. It could be said, therefore, that music videos that contain the key concepts are more likely to score higher when marked than those who didn't. We then watched a variety of music videos across several genres and tried to identify some common themes and patterns. After doing this, we compiled a list of what we perceived to be conventions of the music video;Lip syncing - imitating saying the lyrics. Performance - lots of the videos had the band/artist performing interspersed with the narrative of the videos.Costume - often ties in with the style and genre of the music.Visually AppealingFast Cuts - synonymous with the beat and pace of musicProvokes a reaction - quite a few of the videos we watched intended to have a lasting effect on the audience, for example a video we watched by the Aphex Twins called Come To Daddy, aimed solely to shock and frighten the life out of its viewers. Lack of lyrical context - often the themes in the video do not directly match the lyrics of the song.Narrative - Most of the videos we watched had a narrative/story line.Locations - appropriate locations to match either the style or genre of the artist or the narrative of the video."Hook"- A lot of the videos had a 'hook', which is a idea or theme that makes the video memorable and thus promotes the song. For example, in Michael Jackson's 'Thriller', the hook is the idea that Michael Jackson's character is a zombie and transforms into one and dances with the other zombies. Humour - A few of the videos we watched brought elements of humour to their videos, to make the audience laugh and to entertain. One example is the song 'Jizz in My Pants' by the Lonely Island, which is a spoof. The video is, I think, hilarious, and helped greatly to promote the song, with over 8.8 million views on YouTube.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Evaluation of Practice Music Video - Joe Jones

Identify the task as well as the song/artist
The task was to create a music video for the song "Sunny Afternoon" by The Kinks.

How have you used digital technology during the construction of the video?
We used iMac computers before the music video in order to view videos of songs from a similar genre to that of "Sunny Afternoon" so as to gain an idea of the conventions involved with this genre and general conventions of a music video. We also used iMac computers to edit the footage we had filmed using a program called iMovie.
Also, we used digital cameras in order to film the footage we needed prior to uploading it for use in iMovie.

Discuss the planning stage of your production and details of the steps you have taken
In the planning stage of our production, we looked at the original music video and the music videos of similar songs to understand how we should portray the song within our music video. We then printed off the lyrics and and tried to deconstruct them to find any hidden meanings behind the words. After both of these steps, we then started to think of ideas that could work for the music video and tried to expand upon each idea before settling on our main one. We then returned to the lyric sheet in order to work out the timings of our music video as accurately as we could so that we knew how long each shot we were going to film would take.
How did your research into music videos contribute to the development of your production?
Our research into music videos contributed slightly to the development of our music video as we were able to see that an element of irony and eccentricity would be required in order to make the video fit the music. We had viewed the original video to "Sunny Afternoon" and seen that The Kinks were singing about a lovely, sunny afternoon whilst in the snow, hence the irony and eccentricity.

What are the main strengths/weaknesses within your production?
The main strength of our production is its originality, as I doubt there are very many music videos that include a clown being followed everywhere he goes by a guitarist. However, we do believe the main weakness to be our lack of footage as some of our footage had to be used twice in order to make the production long enough for the song.

Audience Feedback?
The video has been posted on YouTube, whereby it has garnered negative reviews from the two people that have commented on it. Having said that, the majority of our peers have said that the music video is funny, which was what we were trying to achieve.

In conclusion, the completion of the practice music video proved to us just how difficult it is to firstly come up with ideas, but then also use the technology available to bring those ideas to life. After this, we realised that the main task would be incredibly challenging, and that it would take weeks and weeks of planning.

Practice Music Video