Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Main task

Ancillary tasks

The loud noises website

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

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

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The school computers are very outdated.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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I receive my Gmail emails straight to my iPhone, and my Youtube account is connected to my Gmail. This convergence of technology allowed for me to be instantly informed when someone had provided feedback on our video. This was very useful in the evaluation stage as I was able to write about the feedback people had given just as fast as I had received it.

In conclusion, it would have been impossible to get the projects done to the standard they are with out the use of the aforementioned technologies

Monday, 2 May 2011

evaluation question 2

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

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


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

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Evaluation question1

In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?

Throughout the production of both our main and ancillary tasks we have aimed to develop on and take the conventions of electronica music videos and productions further. During our research into other music videos and products within the electronica/bass genre we realised that alot of the videos have similar themes running through them (drugs, violence etc etc). This informed our own video as in order to develop the convention we found it necessary to first work with convention and then begin to work on taking the stereotypical ideas further.
This is the Chemical Brother's video for "Believe". throughout the video the main protagonist is hallucinating about completely normal objects (namely factor machinery) chasing him down. This has a strong link to our own music video because our own narrative also focuses on a main protagonist being pursued by his own clone which is equally as improbably as being chased by machinery. I think that our video is just as effective at portraying this sense of the improbably coming to life in someones mind, our use of quick cuts to frames of a white mask or of a person being where they weren't a single frame before create a confused feeling throughout our film which i think helps to contribute towards this. I do, however, think that our narrative could have been slightly better constructed to allow our film to move through a passage of time more obviously as i feel that at points our film gets a bit "stuck" on one scene (for example the bathroom scene) and this sometimes slows the pace of our film down. This is an issue with our music video because a fast moving narrative seems to be integral to quite a few other videos in the same genre as ours, for example the Chemical Brothers video. On the other hand i think that the reason that the bathroom scene drags on for a bit too long it because it is the moment that we introduce the audience to the main characters alter ego so it was important for us to show this moment clearly.

Another convention that is shown in many other electronic videos is rhythmic editing and quick cutting. this can be seen in the videos below:

                                                                                 Aphex Twin's Rubber Johnny

                                                                                Aphex Twin's Window Licker

                                                                      Square pusher's Come on my selector

Throughout all of these music videos editing is used to increase the pace of the video whilst also giving the video brilliant continuity with the music that it is based on. For instance in the Come On My Selector video there is a fight scene between 4:04 and 4:39. Throughout this scene the video is cut exactly to the music. Also in the Window Licker video after 1:17 the video follows the pace of the music with the pace of both the footage used and the editing on the footage. In our own video we have used this idea throughout. We tried to cut our video as closely to the music as we could whilst still allowing the film to flow from one scene to the next. I think that this worked well in our video, however we struggled at times to make our rhythmic editing fit the footage as well as some of the examples above. This can be seen in our video right at the start where some of the cuts were slightly out of time with the footage and i think that this is a bit of a short fall of our video. Having said that, the over all "feel" of the editing on our music video is very much in keeping with the conventions of the other videos above.

Ancillary tasks.

I think that our digipak that i created both challenges the conventions of other album covers and artwork but also works with some of the ideas that i have seen in similar products.
For example it was very important that the digipak stood out and i spent alot of time changing the look of it to achieve this (see "creating the digipak"). I think that the work i put into making the images "pop" payed off as i think it makes my product stand out clearly. A couple of examples of existing CD covers that work really well in this way are below:

Even though i think that the Loud Noises digipak fits in well to other artwork in the genre i also think that it challenges the same conventions. For instance, there are not many other album covers that i have come across during my research that use black and white images so strongly. In fact, with the exception of the two examples below, i found that most other album covers were very preoccupied with strong colour.

On the other hand, im not sure how much this usage of black and white helped towards the overall effectiveness of our digipak as a whole. I think that using a bit more colour in the main panel at the top would have helped to link it into the rest of the artwork better as the pink face doesn't seem quite enough to link it all together. Also, the monochrome of the dog image makes the text harder to read which in some ways defies the point of having text there in the first place. To improve the digipack overall i would have liked to work a bit more on the grading and contrast of the images a bit more to make it all fit together better. 

Our other ancillary task was to create a website. As soon as we started to research existing band websites it became clear that the main focus of these websites was to promote the band image and current releases:

For instance the chase and status website uses the same colour scheme as the one in the album cover shown within the website itself. We therefore decided that it would be important for our website to follow suit:

I think that this matching of colour works really well with our website and album cover, it helps the band image to become more defined because all of our products fit together and have a similar look to one another. However there were some issues with our website in that the aesthetics of it are not completely in keeping with other products, an example of this is that the text on the loud noises website isn't as big as those on the websites of the other bands this means that our website doesn't quite have the initial impact that seems to be quite important in the other example below:

Overall i think that our website is a good match up to the existing websites from band in the same genre. I do, however, think that given more time and work we could have made the website have a better, more professional feel which would allow it to align itself more closely with the current conventions for websites in this genre.

Monday, 31 January 2011

the website

We created a website for our band to make it seem more professional and also enable the band to accessible to everyone around the world. We used a website called, it set up a template for use which we then could change and develop it as we pleased. with colours, images and extra tabs for links to other pages.
This image below is the main page, it shows three pictures of the band and the bands name in the top left. Below the name is 4 tabs which are Home, Discography, tour'n'Gallery and Comntact'n'comment.

This image shows the discograpghy area of our website. It shows the tracks on our CD and also gives background information on how the band got noticed and the band members themselves. Plus the audience have a chance to listen to a track of our album. Also the speakers move with the music, giving it a more professional feel.

This is a screen shot of the Tour'n'Gallery page, this contains information about when the and where the band will be touring. Also shows all the bands photo's so the audience can feel closer to the band. Keeping the audience up to date will help keep the ticket sales as high as possible maximising the bands profits making us huge rock stars :)

This is the last page of our website, it enables our fans to get in contact with the band and this makes them feel valued. Also it helps the band make decisions on where to tour next in relation to fan demands.
This website was relatively easy to use and we soon got the hang of it and managed to produce a convincing official website for our band. We looked at other similar bands websites to try and get a feel for what the norm for this style of music is, and then add our own unique twists to make it individual and original to us. We were advised to ignore the prodigy website as we are already using a prodigy song and need to keep as far away from copyrighting their merchandise as possible. So we there for we looked at the websites of The Qemists, Pendulum, Chase and Status, Example etc.

Below is the link to our website, please take a look :)

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

shooting diary

Day 4- Tuesday 18th January.

Today we got the final parts to our chase sequence with ben the main character running through some alley ways we found around the local area. Today we stole Dan Norris away from the other media group to appear in our film. He wore a white mask like Sam did and they both appeared at random intervals throughout the film. This almost subliminal tactic should keep the audience’s attention throughout the film and keep them engrossed. Whilst filming Sam got on the roof of a garage to get the effect of CCTV footage watching Ben running to add a twist and some variety to the film. Jack will turn this footage into a black and white effect and then and a digital clock in the corner to make it really seem like a CCTV camera. After this we all had a short team talk to refresh ourselves of where we are and what still needs doing. After this we realised that there was a jump in the film and that we needed to film more footage of Ben being chased by Sams dog. Therefore we drove to mine and used my dog and my front gate. We set the tripod up in the road outside and then got the dog ready. However working with animals leaves nothing certain so to ensure that the dog pursued Ben we gave him a slice of ham that dog was very much interested in. The shot worked perfectly first time and filled the jump in our film sufficiently. Unfortunately after that scene was finished Dan had to be back in school and so we called it a rap and headed back to capture what we had filmed onto the computer. But after reviewing the tapes we noticed that we had accidently left the camera recording and managed to film a lovely 20 minutes of Dan’s shirt. Which meant it took longer to capture and then to edit the footage. Next week we aim to complete all of our filming by getting the final scenes with the clone and the Wild West style shoot out, and also any other little shots we need along the way.

Day 3- Tuesday 11th January.

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

Day 2- 4th January

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

Day 1- 3rd January

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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