Thursday, 30 June 2011

AN - Using Final Cut Express

During a free period on Wednesday, I went to see John (the Media Technician) and he showed me how to use Final Cut Express. This piece of video editing software is the main piece of software that is used for the A2 coursework.

Final Cut Express is a much superior piece of software when compared to Imovie because it has multiple video layers, which are extremely useful for having multiple clips playing at once or to create an effect during a certain point of the video. After I was taught how to use Final Cut Express, I learned how to use some of the special effects in the program by experimenting with different ones by trying them out on a variety of clips John filmed.

The effects I used included, giving one of the clips a glowing effect and another effect made one of the video layers fade in the video, giving off that ghostly effect. In conclusion, by using this piece of software I am able to use things in my A2 coursework music video which were not originally available to me in the previous course.

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

AN - Madness - One Step Beyond Music Video Idea (Practice Exercise)

So that we can get use to using Final Cut Express and the HD Cameras, we got set up with a task for creating a 30 to 60 second music video, using one of three songs to chose from. Our group chose the song One Step Beyond by Madness because our idea involves a man started a chain reaction by knocking someone's drink out of their hands, due to this the man starts chasing the trouble maker and throughout the video, more and more begin to join the mob as the trouble maker begins to annoy more and more people. These people include someone tapping on a wall in time with the beat of the song and someone reading a newspaper on a bench.

We came up with this concept because after listening to the song, it gave us that 1920s comedy serial vibe which was portrayed by stars such as Benny Hill and Charlie Chaplin. Due to this, when we get to the editing process, the video will be in black and white to show that 1920s vibe. However, we might face a couple of problems with this idea, such as disrupting public activity and because of that, we might into trouble with the authorities. This links into another problem which involves asking for permission to use certain facilities in the music video because if we can't use those facilities, then it would be harder to find locations to film at.

I will blog in the future to talk about how the filming and editing of the video went, in the mean time here's the song we're making the music video on, with the original music video:

AN - First Practice Pitch for Possible A2 Coursework Idea

Today, I pitched a possible idea for my A2 coursework. The song I chose was I Need A Dollar by Aloe Blacc, the idea only popped into my head this morning, since it developed in my head when the song was on the radio.

As for my music video idea, the video would start with a man trying to get onto the bus, but he doesn't have enough money so he gets kicked off and due to that, he has to resort to begging. Most of the video consists of the man lip syncing to the song, while he is sitting in the street in different locations, a montage of clips will also play of man's attempts trying to get change, but he faces situations such as being given a button instead of money and the authorities removing him from these locations, meaning that the music video will take place at multiple locations.

The idea came into my head because the name of the song makes you think, why does this guy need a dollar? Is he saving up for something or does he just need bus change? Although this idea sounds like a good concept, there are many difficulties faced when filming this video. These difficulties include, getting permission for using a bus for filming purposes because other people use the buses as transport, but a response might not be received from asking. Another problem is that the song already has it's own music video from 2010 and that the song is also the theme song to a TV show broadcast on Sky Atlantic according to my older sister, this is a problem because it has to be a song from many years ago or a song which doesn't have a music video.

In conclusion, most of the feedback I received from this pitch was positive, however I was told that I might have to use a different song for the music video or I might have to come up with a new idea. If this is the case, at least this pitch has made me learn what I need to research on and what I need to talk about in the pitch itself.

Here is the video for this song:

Sunday, 26 June 2011

AN - What I have done this week from 20/6/11 to 25/6/11 Part 3: Controversy and Representation in the Music Industry

After learning of the technologies and software used in A2, we went on to learn about the controversy and representation in the music industry. A prime example of controversy seen in the music industry is the news story of Lady Gaga wearing a dress made of meat at the 2010 MTV Music Awards, due to this, she sparked controversy from animal rights protesters because they are against people eating meat and wearing their skin for fashion purposes. 

Another prime example of controversy in the music industry is in Rihanna's music video, Man Down. In which the artist shoots a rapist in the back of the head during the opening sequence of the video. Melissa Henson, director of PTC stated that, "Rihanna's personal story and status as a celebrity superstar provided a golden opportunity for the singer to send an important message to female victims of rape and domestic violence. Instead of telling victims they should seek help, Rihanna released a music video that gives retaliation in the form of premeditated murder the imprimatur of acceptability." 
In a series of Twitters via the social networking site Twitter, Rihanna sought to make her case. One of the tweets said, "I'm a 23 year old rockstar with NO KIDS! What's up with everybody wantin me to be a parent? I'm just a girl, I can only be your/our voice!"

Here is the video that Rihanna faced the controversy for:

Finally, from what I've learned about the music industry, I believe that there many different representations of people within these videos, For example, black people are usually portrayed as being the stereotypical "Black Pimps", due to the behaviour of rappers such as 50 Cent and Kanye West in these videos, however in reality this isn't the case. Another example of representation in music videos is the representation of women in music videos because they're usually shown as being objects towards men's desires hence the lack of clothing. A good example of this is in the Britney Spears music video, "Womaniser" in which during some parts of the music video, Britney can be seen laying down in a sauna completely naked. This is done to attract a male target audience and to get them to fantasize about her, so that they will buy her albums and make her music videos increase in popularity.  

Here is the video for Womaniser:

AN - What I have done this week from 20/6/11 to 25/6/11 Part 2: Shot Types and Technologies Used in A2

The next thing I learned after gaining knowledge about the codes and conventions of music videos was the different shot types used in them. The different shot types used in music videos include, mid shots and long shots which are usually used to focus on the performance of the band in music videos. However, these shots could also be used to represent the artist's power over the audience depending on whether or not, there is an audience watching the performance in the music video. Other shot types used include, POV shots and Dutch angles which are sometimes used to give a particular effect in the music video depending on its symbolic meaning and purpose. A prime example of the POV shot being used in a music video is in the video for Lux Deluxe by Cinnamon Chasers.

Besides from different shot types being used in music videos, there is a particular camera lense which is used to create an effect where particular images being shot are distorted in a certain manner, this is called a fish-eye lense. This lens is usually used in action shots and to capture context. Shake Your Rump by the Beastie Boys is a prime example for the use of this lense.

After I learned about the different shot types and the use of the fish-eye lense in music videos, I then went on to obtain knowledge about the different pieces of technology and software that we'll be using during the A2 coursework. In terms of cameras, we'll be using new HD cameras in A2, which are more powerful than the cameras that we used in last year's coursework because they have a wider angle lense meaning that the footage can be shot in HD and the cameras also have SD slots meaning that they can store SD cards, which can hold more data than a tape.

As for the software, we'll be using Final Cut Express to edit our music videos, in comparison to Imovie which we used in the previous course, Final Cut Express is twice as powerful mainly because it has multiple video layers which can be used to create certain effects, such as a glowing image or a distorted one. Many major films were made using Final Cut these include, The Simpsons Movie, Enchanted, True Grit (2010), 300 and No Country For Old Men. This fact proves that the technology we are using in this course is professional, meaning that we have access to the technology that the professionals use. We will be testing out the HD cameras and Final Cut Express in an upcoming task, but I shall speak of it in a later task.

AN - What I have done this week from 20/6/11 to 25/6/11 Part 1: Codes and Conventions

During the previous week, I begun the A2 Media course which involves creating a music video with a huge freedom of choice. Within the week, I started to learn many things about the music industry.

Firstly, I started off by learning the different codes and conventions used in music videos. In class, we had a look at three different Albanian music videos in order to find these codes and conventions. Beginning with concepts, we managed to find a couple which included, globalisation which is used to aim these music videos at different target audiences from different parts of the world. Another concept is the use of intertexuality in these videos, for example in Lady Gaga's music video for Bad Romance, there are many intertexual references to Madonna seen in the video which are a prime factor for the debate of feminism and post-feminism.

As for the codes and conventions, there are two prime conventions for music videos. The first of these conventions is narrative, which is used in most videos in our days, companies do this the music videos they create to give the company's desired target audience interest to watch the music video, due to this. The second prime convention is performance, which also used in music videos a lot these days. A combination of performance of both narrative and performance is often used in these videos, in order to give variety in the video.

Besides from the prime two conventions, other codes and conventions that are used in music videos include, fast paced editing which is used to give shot variety throughout the video and to create pace throughout it as well, depending on the song. Another example of a key convention is symbolism, although this is a convention that isn't usually thought about, it is used quite a bit in a music videos. A prime example is the Led Zeppelin song, Stairway to Heaven because if the song is played backwards, Satanic references could be heard.

Here is a link to more symbolism about the song and a video of the song being played backwards below: