Wednesday, 30 November 2011

WS - Sample Footage 2 and our second Vodcast

As school was closed yesterday, we thought it would be a good opportunity to attempt some more sample footage and take advantage of this by also making our new Vodcast in a different setting to where we normally would.

Due to changes in our idea following our first edition of sample footage, we needed more footage to reflect what we now want to include. Sample Footage One showed the main character been bullied around Ilkley (the town where some of our video will be filmed). This is still part of our idea, although we are going to try and represent the character as isolated and rejected by a number of people rather than just a couple of people bullying him. This isolation extends to his family and his home-life, which is where this second edition of sample footage comes in.

We filmed the footage at Rob's house and this is a planned setting for part of our music video. The shots we have taken were supposed to make the character look isolated and alone, but with a real love for Muse and their music. We attempted this through the mise-en-scene, but also through the framing of shots. Posters, magazines and DVD's make up most of how we are trying to portray the character as a 'Muse nerd', but the framing of the shot and positioning of everything within the shot is vital to making him look like a 'loner'.

We filmed quite a large range of shots yesterday which has allowed us quite a lot of freedom when editing the sample footage to 'play about' with it and try and find things that may work for the actual music video. An example of this is showing the character selecting our chosen song on the iPod and turning the volume up to full. This is when we plan to introduce the song to the video. The whole idea for this came about while we were filming which emphasises the importance of practice filming and sample footage.

In total we recorded around twenty-five minutes of sample footage, the majority of which will probably not be used but we felt it is always good to experiment with footage. We will have to await feedback to see what fellow students (people who will be within our primary target audience) think and see what improvements they can suggest.

As well as sample footage, we felt it seemed like a good time to make a vodcast. We decided to do this to keep the Vodcasts different, and the fact that we could film it in a setting where the music video will take place seemed like a good idea.

The Sample footage and the second vodcast will be evidenced on our blogs when we have finished editing them.

Monday, 28 November 2011

RS - Track/Artist Record Label

Origin of Symmetry along with two other Muse albums was released by "Taste Media". Taste Media is a very small indie record label formed in Cornwall. Muse only stayed with them because they were also small and unknown at the time and could not get a deal with one of the big 4. However when Absolution (2003) was released by Taste Media and Muse started to get more into the mainstream scene they departed with Taste Media and formed their own record label named Helium 3 which is now a subdivision of Warner Music Group (one of the big 4 record labels). Muse are still releasing content from the Helium 3 record label.
US music market shares (2005)

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

SP - Feedback on our First Sample Footage

Today we finished editing our first peice of sample footage that we filmed at the weekend. We exported it and gave it to our Media Teacher so he could screen it in front of the class. Once they had watched our footage we listened to any feedback our class mates had to give. Our Media Teacher also gave his thoughts on our progress and this is what they all had to say: 

  1. The major point that came up frequently was regarding our acting. In our first sample footage our class mate thought that our idea meant that it might be quite difficult to act in. This was highlighted in our footage because people thought that it made our music video look unproffesional. This was not our intention so we had to change our idea slightly which meant there was less acting involved. 
  2. What people suggested was that instead of having a particular social group we should have individual people picking on this 'Muse nerd' at different locations. Another thing that we are considering is instead of this particular person being bullied like he was in our first sample footage, he should be isolated from everyone else. He is going to be left out from what everyone else is doing just because he likes Muse so much. 
  3. Another location we will be able to use with this changed idea is this 'Muse nerd' is that persons house. We will be able to shoot in the teenagers bedroom and in the living room of the house. We will be able to show how he is becoming isolated from his own family as well as people at school and around town. We will also be able to show this 'Muse nerds' obsession with the band by having shots of posters, magazines, CD's / DVD's, clothing and on a computer with iTunes etc. There is alot more scope with this new idea to really exaggerate how much this teenage adores Muse. 
  4. However the good thing about this changed idea is that we can still use all of the locations we were going to with the original idea. We can still film at school as there are a few places we intend to use including in the 6th Form Centre, in an empty coridoor, by the 'Muse nerds' locker and on a lonely table. We can also film in Ilkley town centre by the river and skate park as we have just done in our first sample footage but just slightly change what are going to happen in these locations. 

Once we have a firm idea of what we want to film we will shoot some more sample footage and repeat the feedback process. We will edit, export and upload to YouTube and again use the class to give us some more suggestions on our changes. 

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

ALL - Sample Footage

We recorded a sample version of a scene which will be featured in our music video for our media coursework. Unfortunatley most of the footage was unusable due to the Macs at school not reading the footage properly and causing huge pauses. However with it only being sample footage we gathered all we could and assembled it together to end up with this. We did not need the actual cast/props/clothing for this task because it was just to give a sense of what will be expected to happen in the video.

WS - Lyrics and Timings

Lyrics Timings

Monday, 21 November 2011

ALL - Conventions of Magazine Ads

Magazine adverts are placed in media related products, normally music magazines including Q and Kerrang. These adverts gain awareness of a new album, single, digipak, special edition disc, or several tour dates, etc

The main Common Code and Conventions are:
  • Artists Name (in large font)
  • Album Name (usually the same size font as the artist name)
  • Album Cover
  • Bold writing
  • Web Address of artist, record labels and ticket retailer
  • Colours compliment each other
  • Twitter, Facebook and Youtube pages
  • Tour dates (if any)
  • Record Labels
  • Says the format it is available in - CD and download
  • Font Variation, framing and colour
  • Theme of the artist - fits with the lyrics and albums
  • Information about the album (usually says "Including" followed by the singles released from the album)
  • QR Codes
  • Introductory sentence to grab the audience's attention 'the wait is finally over...'
  • Thumbnails
  • Photo of the CD/Product/Merchandise
  • Format (CD, CD + DVD, CD + Vinyl or Digital)
  • Either release date, out now or pre-order
Other conventions we found as a group
  • Album artwork is included in the advert (all)
  • Says 'new album' on the ad (3/6)
  • Tour dates (2/6)
  • Release date (all)
  • Social media links - twitter/ facebook (no longer myspace for newer releases)
  • Tickets website (2/6)
  • Artist website (all)
  • Artist name positioned top, central on the page (5/6)
  • Tour sponsor advert and website (1/6)
  • Phone number for ticket (1/6)
  • Name of hit single included in the album (2/6)
  • Image of the band (3/6)
  • Thumbnails of the album (1/6)
Other ideas
  • Label it as limited addition to increase sales
  • image of digipak spread out

RS + SP - Treatment

Treatment – Swillob Productions

SP - The New Idea

After our re-pitch on Friday we have gained some vital feedback from not only our Media teacher but also our class mates. We have decided that our original idea will be quite difficult to film and to act in. We would need to use some very experienced actors/actresses to make our music video look to a good standard. Otherwise, as we had planned to, when we were to act in it we might of made it look quite unproffesional. This meant we had to change our idea in some way or another to make sure we knew exactly how we could film it and that we could actually act in it.

After we had gained this information we asked our class mates how we could change our idea, not drastically, to make it better. Here our the ideas that our Media teacher, our class mates and ourselves came up with:

  1. The main change to our idea is that the focus will be on a 'Muse nerd' who is being bullied by a social group. This 'nerd' will not be trying to get in to this social group like our original idea but he will be getting grief from a very popular group of three instead. 
  2. Another advantage from our feedback is that we now have an idea for our ending to the music video. Having all watched some coursework music videos from lasy year, our class mates recommended we took inspiration from the 'Joy Division' video by Colborne Joel,Moreman Callum and Jonny Hughes. Their ending involved their main character contemplating suicide and this sort of idea would definately woek for our music video aswell. 
  3. The good thing is that we will be able to use all of the same locations as our original idea but just flip the idea so the 'Muse nerd' will be getting bullied instead of him trying to become one of the group members. This means we will still be filming all of our music video in an around Ilkley.
  4. We will still be using the same band 'Ice Cream For Activists' for our performance footage and the props and target audience will all be the same as our original idea.
  5. Our initial idea hasn't actually changed that much it is just a simple change to the narrative that means it will be much easier for us to film and allows us to act in it aswell. 

Sunday, 20 November 2011

RS - Facebook and Twitter Pages

I created a Facebook fan page for Swillob Productions which will contain all the recent updates on the coursework as well as any feedback needed. We can also arrange events for filming which will be published on the fan page so everyone will know what time to meet and when! You can see the fan page here.

I also created a Twitter page for very much the same reason as the Facebook page. I have linked both of the accounts together so everything should be posted on both for both social networking sites. You can follow Swillob Productions here.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

RS - Directors going against conventions

A perfect example for bands going against their typical codes and conventions would be the recently released video for Mein Land by Industrial Metal band Rammstein. The video was directed by Jonas Åkerlund who also directed the very controvesial video for P*ssy (be warned, it's very explicit!) by Rammstein. He has also worked with artist such as Lady Gagaand Christina Aguilera showing that he has a wide understanding of different genres of music. Akerlund is known for making mock forms of movie trailers or films which can be seen in the Mein Land music video.

Rammstein are known for using huge flames live and causing fans to go home from heat exhaustion, as well as having very explicit/controversial and daring videos. Despite all this they went ahead with having a video based on a 1960's Tv show. They are wearing 60's beach attire along with cheesy "surfing" shots all the way to having 60's instruments worn very high as an intertexual reference to The Beatles. They use beach-boy type titles on the screen for some of the lyrics along with the song title, band, director etc. However in the last quarter of the music video the conventions all switch and they go back to their over the top performances with all their instruments on fire, topless women and scary contact lenses!

Its all very different to their usual videos however it is a perfect example of showing that you don't have to follow the typical codes and conventions. One of Industrial Metals biggest acts ever has done it and they made it work meaning even we could do the same with our genre.

Here is a typical Rammstein music video with multiple explosions/flames to show off what their live perfomances are like:

Here is the music video for Mein Land. Be warned this video contains some brief nudity!

Rammstein - Mein Land from Rammstein on Vimeo.

Friday, 18 November 2011

SP - Directors In Music Videos

Chris Cunningham:
Chris Cunningham made his directorial debut in 1997 with the music video for "Come to Daddy" by Aphex Twin, which was instantly praised, banned, and raved about by many people in the business. He followed up by making the music video for "Windowlicker" by Aphex Twin, and the astounding "All is Full of Love" video by Björk. Recently, he made his short-film debut, "Flex,". His incredible style alone makes him a director to watch out for in later years.


Michel Gondry:
He grew up in Versailles with a family who was very influenced by pop music. When he was young, Gondry wanted to be a painter or an inventor. In the 80s he entered in an art school in Paris where he could develop his graphic skills and where he also met friends with whom he created a pop-rock band called Oui-Oui. The band released 2 albums ('Chacun tout le monde' and 'Formidable') and several singles until their separation in 1992. Gondry was the drummer of the band and also directed their video clips in which it was possible to see his strange world, influenced by the 60s and by his childhood. One of his videos was shown on MTV and when Björk saw it, she asked him to make her first solo video for 'Human Behaviour'. The partnership is famous: Gondry directed five other Björk's videos, benefiting by the huge budgets. This led to commissions for other artists around the world, including Massive Attack. He also made a lot of commercials for Gap, Smirnoff, Air France, Nike, Coca Cola, Adidas, Polaroid and Levi - the latter making him the most highly-awarded director for a one-off commercial. Hollywood became interested in Gondry's success and he directed his first feature movie Human Nature (2001), adapting a Charlie Kaufman's scenario, which was shown in the 2001 Cannes Festival. Although it wasn't a big success, this film allowed him to direct Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004), for which he again collaborated with Charlie Kaufman. The movie became a popular independent film and he and his co-writers won an Oscar for it.  


Spike Jonze:
Spike Jonze made up one-third (along with Andy Jenkins and Mark Lewman) of the triumvirate of genius minds behind Dirt Magazine, the brother publication of the much lamented ground-breaking Sassy Magazine. These three uncommon characters were all editors for Grand Royal Magazine as well, under the direction of Mike D and Adam Horovitz and Adam Yauch before the sad demise of Grand Royal Records. Jonze was also responsible for directing the famous Beastie Boys: Sabotage (1994) (V) short film as well as numerous other music videos for various artists.

Anton Corbijn:
Anton Corbijn (born 20 May 1955) is a Dutch photographer, music video and film director. He is the creative director behind the visual output of Depeche Mode and U2, having handled the principal promotion and sleeve photography for both for more than a decade. Some of his works include music videos for Depeche Mode's "Enjoy the Silence" (1990) and Nirvana's "Heart-Shaped Box" (1993), as well as the Ian Curtis biopic Control, George Clooney's The American and theA Most Wanted Man based on John le Carré's 2008 novel of the same name. 

Mark Romanek:
Mark Romanek (born September 18, 1959) is an American filmmaker, whose directing work includes feature films, music videos and commercials. He wrote and directed the critically acclaimed 2002 filmOne Hour Photo starring Robin Williams. His most notable music videos include "Hurt" (Johnny Cash), "Closer" (Nine Inch Nails), "Criminal" (Fiona Apple), and "Scream" (Michael & Janet Jackson). His music videos have garnered 19 MTV Video Music Awards, including Best Direction for Jay-Z's "99 Problems" in 2004. He has also won three Grammy Awards for Best Short Form Music Video - more than any other director.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

ALL - Vodcast 1

ALL - Conventions of Digipaks

Digipaks typically consist of a gatefold (book-style) paperboard or card stock outer binding, with one or more plastic trays capable of holding a CD or DVD attached to the inside. Since Digipaks were among the first alternatives to jewel cases to be used by major record companies, and because there is no other common name for Digipak-style packaging made by other companies, the term digipak or Digi-Pak is often used generically, even when the media holder is a hub or "Soft Spot" rather than a full plastic tray.

Source - Wikipedia

Codes and Conventions of a digipak:
  • Front with the album artwork accompanied with the artist name and the album title
  • Back cover typically with the tracklist including time of the songs. The back cover also typically contains:
  • Bar Code
  • QR code (becoming more common)
  • Smallprint with copyright laws written
  • Website for the artist
  • Twitter/Facebook sites (becoming more common)
  • Usually the bands record label logo can be seen
  • Inside the digipak there is sometimes text displaying the names of the composers for each song in smaller print than the song title
  • There is sometimes a small handout which contains further artwork, maybe some images of the artist playing live or possibly lyrics
  • The actual CD can usually be found in the main part of the digipak in a plastic holder with two panels to each side
  • Some digipaks have two cd's within the card case. One for the actual CD and another for behind the scenes or some sort of DVD
  • Stickers are usually found on the front of the digipak saying "includes "...." in this album!"
  • The outside of the digipak can use very bright and inviting colours to make it attractive on the shelve and then use darker colours inside the actual digipak.
  • Digipaks are seen as the LP's of this century and can be seen as a collectable like LP's as they are much more interesting than a standard jewel case. 
  • The spine of the digipak usually has the artist name, album name
Advantages of a digipak rather  than a standard Dual Case
  • You can recycle the material used to make the digipak  as it is cardboard not plastic
  • A digipak is cheaper to produce, making the distribution cost cheaper.
  • A digipak is a more up to date version of an LP which is basically a 12'' square cardboard, showing a resemblance to a digipak. 
  • They cannot crack like Dual cases can, however they could rip or eventually over time fall apart.

From research online I found a wide range of bands using digipaks in our genre showing that there is a market for them. 

However most notably Muse's most recent album "The Resistance" had three versions of the album for sale. 

The standard one was just a CD.

then for slightly more there was a CD+DVD 

Then finally there was a "deluxe edition" for a high cost which contained:

- CD+DVD in foldout softpak including The Making Of The Resistance DVD (43 minutes 53 seconds)
- 180g Double heavyweight vinyl
- Muse USB pre-loaded with WAV, Apple Lossless and MP3 320 files plus bespoke audio player
- 12" Art Print

This shows that there is a clear audience that is interested in buying the high budget collectables.
The Resistance - Deluxe Edition

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

WS & SP - Muse + The Alt. Rock Genre

Before we can start to really plan our idea, we need to get a very good understanding of the genre and sub-genres for both Muse, and our chosen song in particular.

The main genre that Muse come under is Alternative Rock. We feel we need to get an understanding of this genre, in addition to looking at New Prog and Space Rock, the two genres that "Bliss" comes under. 

Alternative Rock
Alternative Rock is a sub-genre of Rock and can also be known as 'Alternative music','Alt Rock' or 'Alternative'.
"At times, "alternative" has been used as a catch-all description for music from underground rock artists that receives mainstream recognition, or for any music, whether rock or not. Alternative rock is a broad umbrella term consisting of music that differs greatly in terms of its sound, its social context and its regional roots." [Wikipedia]
Typical and common instruments used in Alternative Rock include: 

  • Electric Guitar
  • Bass Guitar
  • Drums
  • Key Board
Here is a quote from a blog we have found on Google:
"In alt-rock videos there is usually a narrative within the video that either tells a story that follows the lyrics of the song or the story will completely ignore the lyrics and be something random or something that still holds a meaning behind them but not necessarily what the lyrics have to say. As well as the narrative there is also a live a performance of the song by the band lip syncing and playing their instruments. The videos always have many cuts between the actual performance of the song to the narrative which usually stars the band as either portraying themselves or fictional characters."
As well as the above quote, we have also found an excellent 'Prezi' on the Alt. Rock genre and what the conventions are for this kind of music video.

We have now looked into the Alternative Rock genre, but there are also more specific genres for our actual song that we need to look into.

Space Rock
"Space rock is a subgenre of rock music; the term originally referred to a group of early, mostly British, 1970s progressive and psychedelic rock bands such as Hawkwind and Pink Floyd, characterised by slow, lengthy instrumental passages dominated by electric organssynthesizers, experimental guitar work and science fiction or astronomical lyrical themes, though it was later repurposed to refer to a series of late 1980s British alternative rock bands that drew from earlier influences to create a more ambient but still melodic form of pop music." [Wikipedia]
Space Rock is one of the genres of the song 'Bliss'. As the above quote states it is a sub-genre of Rock Music. In addition to the quote from Wikipedia, I have also found the below quote:
"Space rock is largely an extension of psychedelic rock (and/or krautrock) and shares many of its similar mind-altering and atmospheric features. Its main features include the recreation of atmospheres that correspond to images of both outer and inner space. Some of the modern groups in this style also incorporate influences of reggae/dub." [The Guide to the Progressive Rock Genres]
These two quotes provide us with a clear view of what this genre is and where it comes from. Due to the references with space and astronomy aspects discussed in the first quote, it is clear why this particular video fits into the genre.

New Prog
 "New prog (also known as Nu prog, Post-prog or Post-progressive) is a term used to describe a number of recent alternative rock/experimental bands who incorporate elements from progressive rock. "New prog" has connections and overlaps with the post-rock movement, whilst frequently diverging with the indie scene." [Wikipedia]

The above quote is taken from Wikipedia. The reason this is interesting is that on there is a list of notable bands who have music associated with the genre. Muse are included in that list along with the likes of 'Radiohead' and '30 Seconds To Mars'  

A useful website with a large amount of information on Prog Rock can be found here. The site includes definitions, musical and other characteristics.

Common instruments in the genre include:

  • Guitar
  • Bass
  • Keyboard
  • Piano
  • Drums

Sunday, 6 November 2011

WS - Casting, Characters, Costumes and Props

From the outset and our original idea we have had an idea in mind that we would need one male, teenage protagonist that would feature throughout the video. This is still the case and has been throughout every sample footage we have filmed. We have also had other potential characters that have featured in sample footage, though these were not included in the final product due to changes in our idea. We also needed a band to cast for the performance side of the video.

Casting for our protagonist was actually relatively simple. Rob Shaw, a member of Swillob was willing to play this role of the protagonist and is the owner of quite a lot of Muse products, such as magazines, music and most importantly, clothing. It is of quite vital importance to our video that the protagonist wears the hoodie with 'Muse' on as well as the suit fitting when the protagonist gets dressed in the likeness of the band. As well as this we knew we would have to film on a number of occasions and this has turned out to be around ten times over the process. For this reason we needed somebody who would be available whenever needed and Rob was confident he could accurately portray the character. Obviously he is not a professional actor, but without a budget we were always going to have to find someone who wasn't professional and in the sample footage we filmed originally we felt that Rob portrayed the character well.

As well as casting for our protagonist we needed a band to perform in our performance aspect to the video. This has proved to be extremely tricky throughout filming. There are a few people who play in bands who we know. The tricky thing has been finding an appropriate time for them and for us to film. The current performance footage that we are using is by the band Ice Cream For Activists.

As touched on in the 'Casting' section of this post, we have always had the idea of a protagonist who is obsessed with Muse. This has been the center for all of our ideas so far with minor details changing and ideas changing about any other characters that we intended to include, until we reached a decision to get rid of any other central characters to signify isolation and loneliness for the 'muse nerd'. Sample footage, for example 'Sample Footage 1', shows that we tested out including other characters who bully the muse nerd about his loneliness and degrade him. However feedback suggested that this didn't work effectively and that we would be better using the idea of isolation rather than bullying. For these reasons we decided that a better option would be to exclude these additional characters. 
As well as a protagonist we obviously needed people in the background in certain shots, for example the time lapse scene in school would really have lacked verisimilitude if there was nobody else about. For this we simply needed people to be acting as they would normally be and so no casting was required, although we did need to ensure that nobody who didn't want to be was caught on camera.

The costume aspect has been referred to in the casting section of this post, although it wasn't discussed. 

It was key to our idea that the protagonist can display constant reminders of their affiliation to Muse. This is simple when they are at home for example as you can see posters and magazines around the characters bedroom that show this obsession. When out of the house and in different locations, which is also important for our idea and genre, we needed a link to this obsession. One simple and obvious link is the hoodie that we used. This keeps the link present throughout all locations in the video, but in a realistic way that doesn't look forced onto the screen/frame.

Another important aspect to costume in the video comes when the main character is getting dressed in the image of the muse band while stood in front of a poster. This idea came about as a result of us looking for more links and ways to portray the obsession and we got this idea during a feedback session. Whilst we have received further feedback when we screened the footage people thought it was a good idea but needed to be edited better (ie. faster paced).

There were a number of props that we required for our music video ranging from magazines and digipaks to park swings and an iPod. A large part of our idea was to zoom into magazine covers/digipaks and then cut to a similar setting. This was the main use for these objects in our video, however there were other reasons for including them in different parts of our video. Even though some sort of sic-fi aspect (and therefore not real life/realistic) would appeal to our target audience, we wanted to keep the parts of the narrative with the protagonist realistic. To do this we needed to create a setting that would look appropriate for a person who is obsessed with a band and music. Magazines and CD/Digipak covers were a good way to do this, therefore creating verisimilitude. 

Origin of Symmetry cover
Another prop that has had significance in our idea and planning from almost the start has been the iPod. This can be seen in the scenes on the bus. Another potential idea that we are still thinking about is using the iPod as a diegetic opening, though this is not certain yet. As touched upon in the costume section, we needed constant links to the music obsession and so when the character is out the house, this is a realistic way to show this. It also signifies that he is shutting himself off from the outside world and not socialising with other people.

Props that we used around in the outdoor settings were in some cases spur of the moment things and in others planned. For example when filming scenes on the moor side we saw the telephone poles and the wires stretching across a field. This reminded us of the front cover for Origin of Symmetry so we decided to film some shots of this. Examples of planned shoots and props are the scenes in the park with the swing and down by the river when the protagonist is throwing stones.

Whether we planned certain shots or not the props and miss-en-scene is of vital importance to each setting we have used and has been thought out carefully. The same can be said for the framing of shots, which extends to props and the miss-en-scene as they are all linked closely.