Sunday, 29 April 2012

Evaluation Question 3

What have you learned from your audience feedback?

Target Audiences
Origin of Symmetry
When making any product, and particularly a media product, it is vital to establish a target audience to aim your product at and then recieve feedback and seek improvements throughout the project from this target audience.

Something that we needed to put a lot of consideration into for our project was our Primary Target Audience and our Secondary Target Audience. Our idea pretty much from the outset
was to rebrand the product for a predominantly male, youth audience, with the specific age range being 15-24. The reason for this was because the song, accompanied by a video, was originally released in 2001 on the Origin of Symmetry album. With that album now being ten years old it seemed an appropriate time to try and re-brand the video with the digipak and magazine ad for a youth audience. There is also the idea that as Muse became more and more popular, their music moved further and further towards mainstream music (leading to them being branded "sell outs") and therefore appealing more to a youthful audience.

Game Footage in our video
As well as a Primary Target Audience we also wanted a Secondary Target Audience. This required a reasonable amount of consideration. We decided in the end to go with a Secondary Audience of 25-40 year old, again predominantly males although females could also fit into our secondary target audience. The were a number of reasons we chose this secondary audience. One of the main reasons was because we were re-branding a product from ten years ago, the audience who may have been interested in it originally would now be ten years older and therefore likely to fall into this age range. We felt that they may be interested in seeing a new and very different version of the original video, and so considered them an appropriate secondary audience. Another main reason was down to the gaming aspect in our video. The average age of gamers is around thirty-five, which falls into our age range. We thought that people who are interested in such a hobby, may have an interest in seeing our video for this aspect which is important throughout the video.

How we recieved feedback...
There were a number of different ways in which we looked to recieve feedback on our work throughout the project. These ways were quite varied, with each one having different possibilities as to who we may recieve the feedback from.
Classmates -  Arguably best and most influential feedback we recieved was from fellow people in our class. At regular intervals through the course we have had the opportunity to screen sample scenes and rough cuts to people in our class. This has been helpful for a number of reasons, not least the fact that they are all aged seventeen or eighteen and are therefore within our Primary Target Audience age range. It has also been very helpful as they are all creating music videos of their own meaning they understand the difficulties associated with the filming and editing phases, and have an understanding of what is possible and what is unrealistic for their suggestions.
Facebook Logo
Facebook - Social media is becoming a huge part of every day life in the modern day, in particular for youths. Therefore it can be quite a useful source for displaying our work and to recieve feedback on it. Once again the majority of people that will see the work we posted on Facebook, either personal accounts or the Swillob Production account are likely to be in our Primary target audience. Others may fall in our Secondary target audience as well, meaning we can recieve a more general view than the feedback recieved in class.
Twitter - Like Facebook, we have created a Swillob Productions Twitter page. From here we have had the chance to post our work and recieve feedback from people who "Follow" the page. Anybody who follows the page is likely to have some interest in our video and are therefore likely to suggest improvements for us to work with.
Twitter Logo
You Tube - You Tube is the tool that we used with the greatest potential for feedback. It allows us to potentially access a worldwide audience and through the use of the taggin tool when uploading the video, would hopefully appear when people search the name of the song and/or the band. This again could be exceptionally helpful as fans of the band or song may be able to view our work and give us detailed feedback. Anybody who is within our age range for our target audiences and is also a fan of the band will be very important for us and so their views, through viewing the work on YouTibe, could be extremely helpful and very hard to obtain without a tool like You Tube.

Summary of overall feedback
Through recieving feedback we have tried to alter our work to support any ideas that we agreed with from audience feedback. Over the course of creating our three products some huge changes have been made as a result of feedback, whilst other parts of feedback have been considered, but ultimately dismissed.
The main changes made in reaction to feedback have come in our music video. The original idea was to have a combination of Narrative and Performance aspects to the video which has always remained the same. The narrative idea has however changed quite drastically over the course of the project, although it still has the same basis of a protagonist who is a huge fan of the band. A quote from a post by Rob Shaw can give the foundations that began our idea:
"The narrative side of the video will be based on the songs lyrics, the protagonist is unsettled with himself and is envious of another person who is settled with himself. The protagonist wants to take away this persons perfection so that he doesn't feel envious. There will be shots of the protagonist using high angles to show his weakness and low angles on the other person to show his power. For the protagonist to be envious I want it to show him doing poor in his exams whilst the other character does better, he gets a girlfriend the the "pro" doesnt, he recieves awards in assembly whilst the "pro" doesnt and the class clap/cheer for his sucess whilst he is jealous of his sucess." [Click here to see the full blog post by Rob]
From this quote it is clear to see a huge number of differences between the original idea and our finished version. Whilst we have kept the basis with the "muse nerd" protagonist idea, a number of the surrounding ideas have changed a lot. The main alterations made to our video can be seen bullet pointed below:
  • The original idea was to have a social group which the "muse nerd" protagonist was trying to fit in with. Quite early on, following sample footage one, we received audience feedback saying they did not feel this idea worked and did not come across very well in the footage, finding it quite confusing as to what was happening.
  • This meant that we switched to the bullying aspect and put more emphasis on this, which in turn was altered due to audience feedback. Following a few more additions of sample footage being filmed, the overall consensus was that this didn't work with the actors available to us. It was also thought that this seemed quite a weak idea and that something such as isolation created a much more interesting and professional looking video. We were also given videos to look at within our genre (Jesus of Suburbia - Green Day and Jeremy - Pearl Jam) that included an aspect of isolation. This meant that we also had evidence that this kind of idea was used in the genre and therefore that there was an existing audience for the idea of isolation.
  • Individual scenes and ideas were also scrapped, altered or kept in the video on the basis of how our audience reacted. Certain scenes that we filmed at school (Sample 3 - In the corridors for example) were considered ineffective and quite poor in our audience feedback. The reasons included things such as a lack of shot variation which would have been exceptionally hard to alter due to limited space. Because it was something that we couldn't really change, and the scenes we had didn't work, this scene was scrapped from the idea. There were a number of scenes that were altered for our video. These often included the settings that we used. An example of this can be seen in the comparison between sample footage 1 and our final edit. In both versions we have included scenes at a local skate park. Feedback suggested the setting worked in sample 1, but the scenes we filmed didn't. With our new idea we returned to the same setting and filmed some very different clips showing the protagonist's isolation. This shows one example of alterations made as a result of Audience Feedback. There were also a number of scenes and idea that were kept for the final edit following the original filming as a result of feedback. Examples of this include the aspects of gaming that we used, scenes such as the protagonist waking up and once we began to look into it, the idea of isolation was used throughout.
  • During feedback early in the project we were told that our footage looked like it may suit a "a day in the life" type video. This was something we considered following this feedback, before eventually moving away from this idea again. It does however show that we considered and discussed all the feedback we received, but did reject some ideas after exploring all options available to us.
So far I have mainly been referring to the feedback that we have received on our music video. We did also need to receive feedback on our ancillary texts though. This is discussed below.

Digipak Feedback
Like with our video, the Digipak didn't simply fall into place and we didn't take our first attempt as the finished thing. Over the course we have looked at a large number of examples, deconstructing and analysing many of them to establish typical conventions of digipaks, much like we did with videos.

In the real world, the design and particularly the cover would be very influential on the number of sales that a product such as this would receive. For this reason we knew we had to create an eye-catching, professional looking and interesting product. We also knew that it needed to be appealing to our target audience and that they would immediately be able to recognise the product. 

To help with this we asked people within our target audience to feedback on our products as we went along in the course. Below I will outline the main points from feedback received for our second draft of the Digipak (Front/Back Panels and Inside Panels) :

Front Panel:

Front Panel of our Digipak (before changes)
  • Downsize the circular sticker and move it to the top right where there is an empty space
  • Make sure all logos are in line with each other
  • The wording could be improved (eg. bottom right corner box)
  • Too much orange?
Overall the feedback for the front panel was positive, with people suggesting that the design and background image worked quite well. We were happy with this as we liked the design that we had chosen and thought it worked well, was representative of key themes in our video as well as relating to examples that we had seen in real world products (the idea of a shot from in front on the front panel and behind on the back panel, such as on the cover for Linkin Park's Minutes to Midnight). The points that we were told needed improving were generally things we agreed with. As you can see above they are mainly regarding the positioning of certain things on the cover, adjustments to which are easy to make with the technology available to us. The feedback also left us with a number of dilemmas, for example some people said there seemed to be too much orange whilst others thought this worked well. In the end we sided with the people who said the colour worked well as it is representative of the mood in our video, but also because it is the colour of the Origin of Symmetry album, on which the song was originally released.

Back Panel:
Back Panel of our Digipak (before changes)
  • Try and line up the URL's with the logos for Facebook and Twitter
  • Maybe advertise as a bonus CD rather than bonus tracks
  • Include a Behind The Scenes and a Full Live Performance with venue and date on as it is Special Edition - needs to stand out from the original to sell to the Target Audience who may have the original.
  • Try the same colour scheme for the font as is seen on the front panel. Maybe ask for feedback as to which version works best
As with the front panel, much of the feedback was in reference to the layout and what was included in the writing. The design, with it being similar and linked to the front panel, again received positive feedback. We did try and make the changes suggested to make the layout of our digipak more impacting on the target audiences eye and to make adjustments to anything they didn't see as realistic. With many of the issues raised regarding what we were saying on the back cover, for example the track listing, this wasn't a massive problem and we could quickly make changes to.

Inside Panels:
  • Make the shots of protagonist larger and/or clearer
  • Try make a background image on the corridor look out of place to fit in with sci-fi theme.
  • Try link the inside panels to the outer panels more 
  • Move further away from realism, more to Sci-Fi idea
Inside Panels of our Digipak
The inside panels of our digipak didn't receive as many compliments as the front and back panels, although the feedback was still generally positive and helpful. The first point above was one that was debated quite a bit. We considered making the image more clearer, but felt leaving it as it is blended in well with how points two and four suggested we should keep the panels with it being more sci-fi and less realistic. We also felt that this really helped to signify the confusion in the protagonist's mind. For point three we considered the idea, although decided to stick with the same ideas for each panel. The reason for this was that from the examples we looked at, linking the two outer panels together and a common theme for the two inner panels was quite common. It isn't unusual to see links between every panel, but in this case we wanted different designs so that we could use different effects and showcase a whole range of skills. We also felt the contrast between the outside and inner panels worked well as a combination and didn't want to take this away by combining the two ideas.

Magazine Advert Feedback
Feedback for our magazine advert was again very encouraging, with certain things attracting attention that needed to be changed.

We began the construction of our magazine ad by designing and planning ideas on paper. We created a number of outlines and very basic design ideas for our magazine ad to get a really rough idea of what we wanted to put where on the final idea. Our decisions at this point, such as what to include and where to position them, were based on the examples of real world products that we had looked at. We could then show people within our target audience these designs to get an early opinion on whether they thought these ideas included everything they would want to know from a magazine advert. Following this stage we experimented with effects and ideas on photoshop. We then managed to create a magazine advert by using the information we had gathered and a screenshot from the game mass effect; the main talking point about feedback we received.

The majority of the feedback was very good for our magazine ad with only one real issue surrounding it. Because the background image was an unedited screenshot, it wasn't really our image and therefore wasn't acceptable for us to use for our advert. This was the main change that we were forced into making, with the rest of the advert working effectively.

Is the final version simply our version?
The answer to this question is the same for each product and is quite simply, no. Audience feedback has been hugely influential at all times in the project with a number of ideas being directly influenced and taken from the great feedback we received. From suggestions on videos to watch, to things we should alter in each of our products, the audience feedback has been behind most of the decisions that we have made through the whole product. Without the feedback we may have kept to an idea similar to the one we started with which is massively different from our final idea. For these reasons I would say that this video is not simply ours, but a reflection on our target audience and the ideas which they saw in the rough cuts and samples of works that we showed them, as well as the ideas they had simply from life experiences of their own. This is something that you would expect to see even in real world media products, with the audience and the preferred readings being vital influences in the final products released.

No comments:

Post a Comment

All comments are moderated. Please ensure all comments are appropriate.