My Finished Video


Wednesday, 13 September 2017

R+P Post 2: Myself as a music consumer

I would consider myself a fairly avid music consumer. I mainly listen to music through headphones on my computer in my room- I don't tend to listen to it in any other configuration. I often play music in the background while I do different things, such as homework that requires me to be on my computer anyway, but when I get absorbed into the atmosphere or mood of the music, or I feel like I'm already in the mood before I even start listening and thus want to start listening, then I will definitely listen to music by itself and just enjoy it. The only other time I really listen to music is through headphones on my phone, while I am travelling or waiting for long periods of time. I don't really listen to music in social settings, because I prefer getting immersed in carefully selected tracks, and thus listening to random music through speakers while people are talking or singing along or similar isn't really optimal for me, and I don't particularly pay attention to it. Personally I listen to music for the feeling it invokes, whether that's escapism and/or 'hype,' or emotional response.

Music has meant different things to me throughout my life. In my childhood, music was mostly just background noise for events, and for the longest time I didn't really understand the concept of listening to music solely for pleasure. I still enjoyed listening to music during the holidays though- my mum would always play one of countless Halloween or Christmas compilations while we put decorations up. It could be considered a cultural thing- I was exposed to a lot of the "classics" this way, even if they were holiday-specific classics like Jingle Bells and so on.
"Monster Mash" by Bobby 'Boris' Pickett is one of many songs that I remember with a faint sense of nostalgia. I couldn't nail down one stand-out song from Halloween or Christmas, so I decided to pick a random well-known song that I still quite enjoy, while avoiding all the TOO well-known Christmas classics. Skip to 00:41 to avoid the ambient intro and jump straight to the song, if you so wish.

When I got a bit older, I started to understand that people DID listen to music recreationally and as a hobby, but I could never really get into it. I enjoyed listening to the hit of the day on the radio when it happened to be playing on car journeys, but not enough to seek out the songs myself outside of that. I missed out on a fair amount of the social landscape because of this, since I couldn't talk to people about music and artists, and never really had an answer when people asked what my favourite song was. However, in late 2013, I played a game called Borderlands 2. It had an animated intro with a music track playing, and it wasn't like anything I'd heard before. It wasn't pop, and I actually really enjoyed listening to it. I looked it up, and discovered it was "Short Change Hero" by The Heavy. To my surprise and delight, it wasn't an original stand-alone track for the game, so I had a whole album of similar songs to listen to, plus the other albums by the band. From there, I ended up exploring the rest of The Heavy's discography and looking up similar artists, and my music experience all expanded out from there.
"Short Change Hero" by The Heavy. They are an English band, and I like them enough that the only physical music release I own is the special edition of their (as of writing) latest album, "Hurt & the Merciless," so I am considering breaking out of my music and social comfort zone and seeing them live one day. Skip to 01:23 to avoid the semi-ambient intro and jump to the "real" start of the song if you want to, although in this case I consider the intro an integral part of the song, especially for immersion and atmosphere.

Nowadays, I'm a lot more into music. I have refined my tastes and collection over the past four years, and expanded my digital library. I enjoy talking about music, artists, and the industry with my friends, especially those of them that play instruments or create music or similar, although I can't do any of that myself. I have quite a few favourite songs, ones that I've always liked more than the others in my collection, but my top favourite is constantly changing. I am constantly looking for new music, and so I write down pretty much every artist and album name I come across, and then when I inevitably find something I like, it becomes my current obsession until I find something else. As a typical example of this, I present "Big Iron" by Marty Robbins, one of my current top favourites. I don't just look for current artists or confine myself to certain genres- when I hear about an artist from years past or from an outlying genre I mark them down just like any other, and this song is a good example of this, as it is a Country-Western ballad from the 1950s. I would consider it quite a personal song, as it tells a story and thus holds your attention from start to finish, and it is a good example of my preferred style of music consumption I described at the beginning of the post.
"Big Iron" by Marty Robbins. It has been one of my favourite songs since I first heard it, and it comes from the album "Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs," which is the only album which I like every song from, to the degree that I include all of them in my everyday music rotation. I would say my favourite album overall is "Melophobia" by Cage the Elephant, but even with that album I only really enjoy six or seven of the ten available songs enough to listen to them regularly, unlike with this album.

I think various media theories do apply to my music consumption. For example, Blumler and Katz' work on Uses & Gratifications. In terms of Diversion, I do indeed listen to music for personal enjoyment and to escape from everyday life as the theorists put forward- I mentioned listening to music while working also, and I would say that the music helps me escape the feeling of an imminent deadline coming up. I get immersed in the music when I listen to it, so Personal Relationships, the part of the theory which deals with your interaction with the music, also applies. I listen to quite a lot of emotional or highly engaging music, which also helps with the idea of finding myself in the music as described by the Personal Identity section of the theory, as well as the Personal Relationships part. Surveillance, or how the media connects you to the modern world, is probably the least applicable, as I listen to a wide variety of music, including music from the past which is no longer relevant- however, I mentioned feeling like I was missing out on a social phenomena when I was younger and didn't listen to music, and how nowadays I like to discuss music with a lot of my friends. I would consider this an important aspect of my music consumption that relates to the socially plugged-in aspect of Surveillance.

Audience theory also plays a part. When I was very young, I was appealed to by the humourous and upbeat music of holiday collections, such as "Monster Mash." CDs were the primary method of consumption back then, and my mother bought them as she understood I would enjoy them as I was part of the target audience. As I got older, and started to enjoy video games, I discovered "Short Change Hero" through the game Borderlands 2. Undoubtedly the game creators chose the song as it fit in with the aesthetic of the game, and the aesthetic in turn is one of the things they would have used to reach and appeal to their audience. As I was someone who enjoyed video games, and their video game specifically, I was thus much more likely to enjoy the song. Distribution had changed somewhat by then, and I ended up creating an iTunes account to buy the song digitally. Digital music has continued to be important, and nowadays I can discover music from bygone eras such as "Big Iron" from the 1950s- the distributors have modernised to reach more of their audience and make more money, rather than remaining confined to vinyl records, which is what "Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs" launched on.

All of this theory will play an important part in the creation of my group's own artist and music video and so on. We will have to look at the kind of music we have chosen, and at how and why the audience group consumes it. Do they do it for the enjoyment of a specific part of Uses & Gratifications, such as listening to the song for Personal Identity reasons, do they tend to prefer certain aesthetics, do they buy digital music to keep up with the times, etc. All of this will be important when we create our artist's image and try to reach and appeal to their audience.

R+P Post 1: My A2 Group

This is my group:


Jack, being a drama student, is the best actor out of all of us, Noa knows the most about music, and I am probably the most technically-inclined of the trio. We are all quite creative, and are all committed to the project, meaning we will all remain well-organised and flexible. This should allow us to all excel in behind-the-scenes roles such as planning and directing, while individually excelling in our preferred areas.

We have decided to meet four times in Week 1 and three times in Week 2. For Week 1, this includes Periods 4 & 5 on Monday, Period 6 on Wednesday, Periods 2 & 3 on Thursday, and Periods 1 to 5 on Friday (as we have free periods interrupted by a Media lesson, and thus we will continue right through the whole session with project work.) For Week 2, this includes Periods 7 & 8 on Monday, Period 1 on Wednesday, and Periods 7 & 8 on Friday. We have also decided that, should we ever decide we need more meeting time, we can meet at lunchtime on any day of the two weeks, as we have left those clear specifically so they can be back-up sessions.

Currently we are communicating over a Facebook Messenger Group Chat for general discussion, a WhatsApp Group that includes our teacher for when we need her guidance, and over School E-Mail when we need to share files and so on.

Friday, 23 June 2017

Evaluation Q1: Did you enjoy the main workshop shoot day? What role(s) did you take? What were your best bits and why?

A behind-the-scenes timelapse of the whole shoot day. It shows all, or at least most, of the experiences I have mentioned in the post, and is a good overview of the day to start with.

I enjoyed the main workshop shoot day quite a lot. It was a completely new experience for me, and thus it was pretty scary at first, but I think I settled into acting and so on over the course of the training sessions, so the main day wasn't too bad, and I was able to have fun.

The main role I took was acting as one of the cool kids- the actors in the music video who weren't part of the band.
Here is an image of me in costume, getting ready to act in a group shot. There is a fellow cool kid to my left, so right of frame, also wearing their costume- the cool kid costumes consisted of casual clothing. On my other side is a band member, wearing their costume- the band costumes consisted of more formal clothing.
The shot we went on to do after the preparation seen in the above picture. As you can see, the order of people is the same, as we go from the back of the line, dance up the middle, and join back up at the front. We had been trained to give it our all yet perform naturally while doing this shot.
The majority of the work I did on the day was acting work- I went into hair and make-up, acted in group shots, acted in solo shots, and so on.
A photograph taken by a friend of me at the hair and make-up station.

I also helped out on the set when I wasn't acting- as I was just one of many cool kids, and not one of the band, I didn't have as much time on camera as some others, so I used this extra time to help out where needed.
I operated the clapperboard a few times- the director and main crew had a lot of important things to worry about, so me and the other actors taking over the process of writing in the shots and using the clapperboard helped them a lot, and ensured every shot was properly marked for editing later on.
A 'behind-the-scenes' screenshot from one of the takes where I was operating the clapperboard. I had to write in the shot number and take number and so on.
I also performed a couple of runner duties, such as helping move equipment and props like desks and chairs around, for example setting them up for certain shots and then getting them out of the way, as well as helping to get the food cart at lunch time so that the crew members and other staff could have something to eat.
Another picture of me acting- as I was in all of the shots requiring these desks and chairs, I helped get them out and set them up, as well as put them away afterwards.
In my downtime I also took a lot of photos of the goings-on of the set, as well as people acting and receiving hair and make-up work and so on, for use on this blog as well as those of my classmates.
Here I am during one of my breaks- I took the opportunity to sit down for a bit, and swapped to a long lens so that I could take some good shots of what was happening on set.

I think my best bit in terms of what I found the most fun was probably the solo acting. It was generally less intense than the dancing groups shots, which were fun, but made me a bit self-conscious at times, although I think I conquered this and I don't think it affected my performance. I thought the solo acting would be scarier since the focus is just on you, but thanks to the crew it felt like a casual chat or one of the acting exercises, but still provided a lot of good footage.
A profile shot of me during some solo acting work. The lighting was adjusted specifically for this shot, and I am performing a serious but fairly neutral expression.

Evaluation Q2: What have you learnt from participating in each of the prelim tasks, 1, 2, 3, and 5? Focused on studio/technical, styling, and directing skills as well as performance.

Throughout this whole project I developed a few different skills and learnt a few different things.

From Task 1, the audition, I learnt some of the basics of a music video. I had to teach myself lip-syncing, and I edited in the style I was told to- no continuity, but lots of different angles and shot types and so on. I also had to perform physically, by doing movements and so on to go with what I was 'singing.' All of these things improved my understanding for the workshop shoot day, and doubtless will carry over into the main project.
My audition video, where I got the chance to effectively make a miniature music video and thus practice all the skills involved. This included filming, directing myself, performing, and later editing.

The rehearsals, Task 2, taught me a bit about the studio itself, as we got to see it being set up, and even had a practice in front of the camera while it was linked with the monitor. This of course helped on the shoot day, and will help in the future. However, the main benefit of the rehearsals was teaching us how to perform, and also, by observing Jasmine our 'acting coach,' how to direct as well. Seeing how she got different reactions out of us, as well as learning how to perform those reactions well, was useful to learn.

The focus of Task 3, organising costume, was a smaller part of the project, but an essential one. I learnt about the costume design and compiling process- making compromises and having as many options as possible are the golden rules when trying to use what you have to achieve the right look and thus persona for each character, and these rules will doubtless help in the main project.
An image of me in my full costume. The cool kid I was playing originally has an orange and white number jersey, but after looking through many options we compromised on this one as it is incredibly similar, and only missing the orange. The rest of the outfit, namely trousers and shoes, is pretty much identical.

The final task, Task 5, was the edit, and it was probably the most daunting task barring the shoot itself. We effectively threw all previously learnt rules out of the window, such as continuity and shot progression, and furthermore we had to follow the real video as closely as possible and ensure the lip-syncing looked right. Deconstructing and reconstructing the video was useful for seeing some of the conventions of music videos, such as jumping between scenes and close-ups on lip-syncing, and while in the main project we won't have to follow a video, it will all be original, spending time finding the perfect moment from a take and cutting it and otherwise editing it to be near perfect is definitely something to carry forward into the main project.
A ten-second .gif showing some of the things we learnt about music videos, such as no continuity, quick shots and jumps between multiple scenes, 'beauty shot' close-ups of important characters such as the singers and the band, and more.
A picture of me while I am editing my and Sayo's version of the music video remake, in Premiere on one of the edit suites. Editing involved both placing shots correctly as well as grading.

Evaluation Q3: Are you pleased with the footage and your finished edit? Is it how you expected it to look? What works really well and what would you change?

                           Echosmith - Cool Kids Remake - Emilio, Sayo from Latymermedia on Vimeo.
Our finished music video remake edit. For optimal viewing select the best HD quality you can support and use fullscreen.

I am quite pleased with the footage and our finished edit.

The footage, overall, is great. The crew did multiple takes, and they are all quite long, and this means most of the time the exact action that appears in the real video is present in our footage. However, some of the footage isn't framed correctly, and so had to be reframed using Premiere, and some of the footage doesn't have the correct lighting. While overall the lighting was great, and really made everyone look good, in the real video the background for different shots was different colours at different times, and the lighting often dims or brightens over the course of one shot. This was harder to do in Premiere, and would have been better to do while shooting. In the end though, the footage is definitely better looking than I expected- since so many of the movements are meant to be natural, I was surprised at how many of them we were able to copy, and this makes up for any small problems.
A ten-second .gif showing the fairly high accuracy of the footage we chose for our final edit- as you can see, the character and shot movements, as well as the framing and other editing, are quite similar to the real video seen in the bottom right-hand corner.

The edit looks quite good too. The lip-syncing and shot times are matched up pretty much perfectly, and the grading looks pretty good too, even if it isn't wholly accurate sometimes. Inventive grading did end up fixing a couple of the problems with the footage, such as pink and yellow tints, as well as grey backgrounds. Premiere's movement tools really helped with shot positioning, and a lot of the shots are practically identical to the real video because of this. It ended up looking very close to the real video, which is better than I expected, as I thought we would need more compromise.
Another ten-second .gif, this time showing how the editing and grading contributed to the accuracy of the video. Shots are tinted, for example, yellow and grey where needed, and various flashes have been inserted to match the ones in the real video.

I would say that the recolouration of certain shots is actually both what works well and what I would change. This is because when it works well, it works really well, but when it doesn't work, it looks somewhat strange. Given another chance and more time I would spend a lot more time tweaking the grading and so on to achieve the correct and desired effects, and I would also cut my losses a bit more than I actually did- we decided not to recolour some shots as with the recolouring they looked strange, and this compromise raised the quality of the video as a whole despite losing some similarity, but I think a few shots we did recolour should maybe also have been left plain.
The first shot of the finished video, and an example of good recolouration- original with grading on the left, and the recoloured version on the right. The grey fade we added to the bottom of the shot makes it look a lot more similar to the real shot, and doesn't negatively impact overall grading or visuals in any other way.
A shot from around one minute twenty seconds of the finished video, and an example of unsuccessful recolouration- original with grading on the left, and the recoloured version on the right. This time, while the grey fade makes the background look more similar, it makes the grading not look as good, and there is a noticeable change in colour across the singer's legs and the drum kit. We probably would have had better results by scrapping the recolour and focusing on fine-tuning the grading some more.

Evaluation Q4: How do you think your prelim experiences will impact on your approach to next term's music video coursework?

In terms of pre-production, I think my prelim experiences will really help me with my approach to the music video coursework, especially the pre-production of the video itself. While I didn't have a huge hand in it myself, I watched and learnt from the staff and crew as they organised characters, costumes, the studio and so on. It seems like a large job, and it took place over quite a long time, so I will be sure not to underestimate it in terms of the time or manpower needed when the time comes for me to do it.

For production itself, I think the experience I have gained from the prelim will help with the coursework. Again, it is a large job, with a very strenuous day of filming needed even with all the staff- there are a lot of different roles, and all of them need training. The crew, for example, were mostly professionals, and we underwent a week of practice in order to be considered good enough actors. When it comes to the production of my video, I will have to work with my group to make sure everyone is well-trained for the role they take- whether that means allocating roles based on how good each media student in the group is at camera work, acting, etc. or even recruiting and training up non-media students to fill any essential but vacant roles.
The schedule for the shoot day. It represents all the planning of pre-production and production, and commits to paper the organisation of staff, both crew and actors, with a strict schedule, with an equipment list and more.

Post-production prelim experience will likely help with editing my video, but also with analysis and so on throughout the coursework. Deconstructing and reconstructing the video in the way that we did, which mostly took place during post-production, has given me a decent idea of what actually makes a music video. This knowledge, plus the practical knowledge of how to edit to achieve the music video look, should serve me well during the entire course.

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Evaluation Post 1: In what ways does your media product use, develop, or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?

Our group's film, 'What Happened to Peter Smith?', is a crime-mystery drama, about the titular teenager who goes missing but is found dead soon after. It follows the ensuing investigation by a weary detective into the five other teenage suspects who were with him when he was last seen, and who each have their own unique relationships with the deceased and each other. We took into account form, genre, narrative structure, and style during the construction process of our film opening.

An emaze slideshow describing the form of film openings, including ours.
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The opening of 'The Usual Suspects,' excluding the titles, as extra content for the 'Form' webtool above.

A Prezi slideshow about the crime and mystery drama genre, the genre of our film.

After clicking 'Start Prezi,' please click the fullscreen button in the lower right corner for optimal viewing.

Narrative Structure:
A Google Slides slideshow on narrative structure, and how it is relevant to our film.

Please click the fullscreen button in the centre of the bottom bar for optimal viewing.

A coggle mindmap that describes the style of our opening, with examples from other films.

Please click the 'Present this Coggle.' button, represented by a projector screen symbol in the top right corner, for optimal viewing.
A GIF showing how we created a smooth flow between character transitions.
A GIF demonstrating how we used camera movements to mirror the transitions and conversations between characters.
A GIF of one example of how we used framing for effect.

As you can hopefully see from these presentations of different aspects of the construction of our media product, we have used, developed, and even challenged various forms and conventions of real media products and their construction. This includes creating a film opening with typical and expected features, adhering to the genre's conventions, building a narrative with a tried-and-tested structure, and developing our own style to both fit in with yet stand out from the crowd.