My Introduction

Hello! My name name is Alistair Price (candidate number 9137) and this is my A2 Media blog. As a member of group 1, I am working alongside Amber Mota (candidate number 9114) and Shayam Utting (candidate number 9164). To see my work, please use the labels on the right named "A2 Research and Planning", "A2 Construction" and "A2 Evaluation".

'Trip Switch' by Come What May

Our Album Cover

Our Album Cover
Outside Digipak Panels

Our Album Cover 2

Our Album Cover 2
Inside Digipak Panels
Our website navigation bar: please click on it to see the website

Monday, 4 January 2016

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

The media products I have created use, develop and challenge the traditional forms and conventions of real media products in several ways. Each product uses different methods to interest and appeal to a specific audience by utilising these established conventions.

Music Video:
In order to support the decisions which influenced the the development of my music video. I considered and incorporated the ideas of many different theorists.

Simon Frith:
In his theory of popular music, Simon Frith suggests that popular music is a construct of three categorisations: performance, narrative and concept. Every music video can be organised into one of these three categories, though often it could be a hybrid between two categories. This is an idea had a major impact on our music video; which would be catergorised as a performance-concept hybrid.
Radiohead - Just
The ideas of performance, narrative and concept are demonstrated quite well in the music video for Just by Radiohead. The video is edited so that the band's performance scene is crosscut between a conceptual narrative scene in which a conversation is presented through subtitles.

The performance element of our video was edited in order to fit the themes of the indie genre. We were able to use a rooftop as the setting for our music video and we chose to do so as it is a very conventional and recognisable setting for rock and indie-rock music videos, such as Rooftops by Lost Prophets. By using this location for our video, we were aiming to address our primary audience; fans of indie rock music, immediately.

There were two key ideas driving our performance scene. The first was that we wanted to show a visible progression throughout each stage of the song and the second was that we wanted to integrate our performance scene with our conceptual scene. I decided that this integration was important, as not only did it add to the progression in our video, but it was also common in other indie-rock music videos such as When You Were Young by The Killers. In this video, the characters from the narrative scene pass enter the setting of the performance scene.
Our conceptual scene utilised two main components: the white backdrop and the jump-cut editing. Our white backdrop created a heavy contrast with the performance scene and created a more surreal image. This, in conjunction with the spontaneous editing, allowed us to create a more disjointed dream-like scene. Including a conceptual element to our music video was one of the ways in which we developed the forms and conventions of the indie-rock genre, as a performance-narrative hybrid is one of the most common structures an indie-rock music video would normally use, as evidenced by the music video for Last Orders by Nothing But Thieves. However, we used our lead singer in both the performance and conceptual scenes, which differs from most indie music videos which do use a performance-concept hybrid structure.

Carol Vernallis:
The style of editing we used for our conceptual scene closely follows the theory of music video editing outlined by Carol Vernallis. She proposes that the pace of a music video shifts rapidly and breaks the conventions of continuity editing. Due to the theme of technology in the lyrics of our song, we used this idea during our conceptual scene and edited our sequence to seem jarring and disconnected. These jump cuts allowed us to display the frustration and confusion of the singer in a more creative way. The music video for Fear and Delight by The Correspondents was very influential to this editing technique, as we thought this use of jump cuts would be effective in our own video.

Additionally, Vernallis insists that editing on the beat is the conventional way of structuring a music video. Whilst we did demonstrate this style of editing during our performance composition, we also tried to challenge it through our performance scene and the contrast between the two compositions. As the pace of the song picks up towards the end, we crosscut these clips on the beat to add to the sense of pandemonium: this sequence can be seen below.
Lastly, Vernallis asserts that extremes are the most common type of shot in music videos. In our video, we experimented with this idea of extremity through extreme close-ups of our band's instruments. We had seen this used in many other music videos such as Ban All The Music by Nothing But Thieves. (around 40 secs)

Andrew Goodwin:
Goodwin makes several proposals to the theory of music video editing.

Goodwin argues that music videos are a visual demonstration of the music genre's characteristics. This idea runs throughout our own video through our black and white colour scheme; which is a typical feature of indie-rock music videos.
Chocolate by The 1975 was one of the music
videos which influenced our black and white
colour scheme.
However, the use of a performance-concept hybrid as mentioned previously challenges the characteristics of the indie genre, as they traditionally use a performance-narrative hybrid to illustrate real scenarios.

The most crucial characteristic of indie music videos is the emphasis on the band and its music. Indie music is a genre in which the quality of the music and reality of the artist are the defining features, so we examined several existing artists to influence the way we represent our band.

The following Padlet explores each of our band member's personas as well as the references we used to construct these personas.

Additionally, this research ties in with one of Goodwin's proposals: that the needs of the record label demand a consistent number of close-ups. This is due to the expectations of the audience that there will be 'beauty shots' or 'visual hooks' of the artist. This influenced the representation of our band greatly, as We included several of these visual hooks for our lead singer, but also included some of our other band members: this is not always the case, as many music videos of bands tend to put a huge emphasis on the lead singer. However, we decided that we wanted to provide a more equal representation of each member of the band, though our lead singer did still have the most close-ups. 

Finally, Goodwin's theory suggests that there is a relationship between the visuals of a music video and the lyrics. This is particularly common in pop music videos such as La La La by Naughty Boy, though we decided to use this theory in our own video too. Below is a comparison of the ways in which this relationship has been used.
This shot plays during the line "I'm covering my
ears like a kid".
In our own video, this sequence plays during
the line "Down, down, down, down, down".
Our use of bokeh allowed us to develop this idea of the relationship between the music and visuals. We illustrate this relationship through the motions of our band members and camera, as there are clips with a downward motion on the line "Down, down, down...". However, we also reveal the word 'down' from the lights, which provides another visual element to this relationship.

Summary of Indie Conventions:
Overall, our music video utilised a lot of common indie genre conventions:
  • We incorporated a black and white colour scheme.
  • We included lots of typical shot types such as close-ups and mid-shots
  • Our performance scene used realistic mise-en-scene by including the instruments
  • Our fast-paced editing is quite typical
  • The setting of a rooftop is very conventional in the indie genre 

However, we also developed and challenged these conventions:
  • Our music video uses a performance-concept hybrid structure. Most indie music videos use a performance-narrative hybrid structure instead.
  • We did not use additional actors to explore a story or narrative. This is often used in indie music videos to create something quite relatable to the audience.
Album Cover:
One of our primary influences to the album cover was the album Ramones by The Ramones. A comparison of this album to our own and an explanation of the influential features can be seen below.
The album cover for Minutes to Midnight by Linkin Park was also influential to the front panel:
The inside panels of our album cover also had their own references. The first panel was influenced by the album covers of Blur and Gorillaz:
The biggest difference between our own inside panel and these album covers is that we chose to use real pictures of our band members rather than drawings of them. We made the decision to challenge these album covers as the indie genre is entrenched in realism, so we thought it more fitting to include real pictures.
Our other inside panel was influenced by the album cover of Joy Division:
The Joy Division album references lots of different media: this cover is
a collage of different words and phrases. We believed that this was a
good idea for connoting our indie genre, though we chose to take lines
from the songs on our album instead of random phrases.

The website which had the biggest influence on our own website is that of the Arctic Monkeys. Below is a comparison of their website and our own:
Our website primarily used the conventions of indie artist websites. We included several opportunities for the audience to interact with the more personal side of the band through the band page and the several social media links.

Additionally, we chose to develop the conventions visible on the Arctic Monkeys website. We decided to include more opportunities for purchasing through the addition of a 'Tour' page as well as a greater emphasis on social media; which has strong presence on the front page.

We also included much of our institutional information at the bottom of the page. This is conventional of most artist websites:
We also included interactive opportunities at the bottom of the page:
we have links to the band's social media pages as well as a newsletter
This institutional information is very common: the following image
is taken from the website of the band The Killers
Below is a summary of how we used website conventions across our entire site:

2) How effective is the combination of your main product and ancillary texts?

When we were producing our music video, digipak album and website, we were consistently including various features in order to create links between each product. This use of cross-platform marketing and synergy is crucial to a advertising campaign, and we looked at several different existing campaigns to influence our decisions. The combination of our main product and ancillary texts allowed us to create a clear band identity and a strong brand image.

Nothing But Thieves - Marketing Campaign:
The following Prezi presentation provides a comprehensive overview of the marketing campaign of Nothing But Thieves. This campaign was very influential to our own due to the similarities in our band's genre and identity.

Band Identity

Our primary objective when constructing our band's image and identity was clearly connoting our band's genre of indie-rock. We compared the signifiers of this genre in our own band to those of other bands, such as Nothing But Thieves and The 1975.
Nothing But Thieves were one of the most influential bands we found.
Their identity is quite typical of an indie rock band, but their lead
singer appears a little more clean-cut to appeal to a wider audience.
Though The 1975 were less influential, there were several elements in
their music videos which were replicated in our own.
Richard Dyer's 'star theory' had a great impact on our constructed band image. He proposes that bands and artists are presented as a 'package', which is able to cater to the needs of both the target audience and the culture they immerse themselves in.

The main features of our band's image and identity which we wanted to promote were:
  • Defined characteristics within the representation of each band member.
  • Typically indie, but accessible: dark colours such as black and grey are signifiers of indie rock, but different costumes allow for a more accessible image.
  • Intense passion for music and a strong sense of realism: the band takes pride in its music above all else.
  • Strong, personal relationship with fanbase.
It was difficult to include all of these principles in each of our texts, but the use of a cross-platform marketing campaign and the synergy between our products allowed us to achieve these aims.

Band Identity in the Music Video:
In our music video, we tried to connote each band member's character through their costume and their actions in the video. We made this decision in response to Richard Dyer's theory that "a star is an image that is constructed". However, as the indie genre is reliant on a strong sense of realism, we ensured that each of our band members had a genuine persona.

Luke is represented as the quirky, yet cool, lead singer. His hair style
and dark clothing connote the indie genre, whilst his shirt is a more
eccentric reference to modern culture.
We represented Shay as the fun-loving member of the band. The
features of her costume; specifically the checked shirt and the highlights
at the tips of her hair, connote a more joyful image, but still conform to
the conventions of the indie genre.
Additionally, this shot of Luke singing into Shay's ear has flirtatious
implications, but her expression reveals the commitment to the
music which is typical of indie music videos.
Amber's character was constructed to be serious and passionate about her
music. This shot was one of our ways of representing this: by showing
her close in around the guitar, it connotes the sense that she is fully
immersed in the song.
One of the last shots show Amber kicking one of the cymbals. We
included this shot because it immediately portrays a rebellious
aspect of her personality, which is conventional of indie representations.

Seb's personality is that of the reserved, cool-headed drummer. This
was difficult to portray in our music video, but this shot makes him
appear quite cool as he appears immersed in the song.
Band Identity on the Website:
On our website, we included a page containing a short bio on each member of the band as well as several pictures. This page allowed us to provide more substance to the personas exhibited in the music video:

Band Identity in the Album:
Each member of the band shares a similar identity in the album cover to create the connotations of unity. All of them wear dark jackets or other clothing and have a moody expression on their face. Our lead singer is a minor exception to this as we wanted him to stand out a little bit more.
Band Logo:
Another synergistic aspect of our marketing campaign was our band's logo: we tried to incorporate it into as many elements of the online campaign as possible.
We decided that the first page of our website should be an 'enter page' with our band's logo as the button to take the user onto the home page. This was something we found used on several different existing website. We made this decision as it immediately pushes the band's logo as a part of their identity and anyone who visits the website can immediately associate this logo with the band.

Additionally, we included this band logo on our navigational bar:
As this bar is visible at the top of every page on the website, we thought it would be a suitable place to put the logo as our audience would see it very often.
The logo was also used as the main picture on social media sites such as Twitter and Instagram. As these pages were closely tied to the website, including the logo here allowed us to create a stronger brand image.
We included the band's instagram feed on our home page.
As such, the logo can be seen here as well.
The last major inclusion of our logo was on all of our merchandise:

Putting the band's logo on all of the merchandise was a decision made by looking at existing merchandise stores. This is done very often as it allows the band to spread their image and the audience can choose to use the band's image as a part of their own identity.

Black and White Colour Scheme
This was easily the most synergistic element of our entire marketing campaign, as it was used prolifically in our music video, album and website.

Black and White in the Music Video:

We were able to use the black and white colour scheme in our performance scenes to create a contrast with our concept scenes. This made the visuals of the music video more striking and interesting.

Black and White in the Album Cover:
We were able to utilise the contrast between the black and white in our colour scheme not only within our panels, but also between the inside and outside panels themselves.
Our outside panels use the black and white colour scheme
consistently. The panels of this side are primarily black.
Our inside panels use the black and white colour scheme
more subtly. This side's panels are primarily white.
Black and White on the Website:
We used the black and white colour scheme on every major page of our website. As the official website acts as the hub of the campaign, we deemed it necessary to use this colour scheme consistently.
On social media pages, we used the band's logo to promote the black and white colour scheme, as that too utilises it.

Audience Feedback:
When gathering our audience feedback, one of the questions I wanted to ask was whether members of our audience recognised this use of synergy between my main product and the ancillary texts. These are a small handful of the comments we received:
From this feedback, I believe we have been quite successful in creating a strong brand identity for our three products.

Summary of Synergy in our Marketing Campaign
The Prezi below provides a summary of each synergistic component of our marketing campaign.