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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.