Thursday, 25 October 2012

Group: Concept Development

So far we have drawn the frames for the 30 seconds before the music starts. Today we are aiming to complete our filming schedule as well as story boarding more frames for the main section of our video.

We will also be creating our call sheet and risk assessment for the two days we aim to film over during the half term break. We are also planning the logistics that go along with our two shoots and are thinking about actors, equipment, props to bring etc.

We also discussed that we want to to use Adobe After Effects CS.5.5 to create an interesting graphic that animates into text (see storyboard for details) - This was inspired by the video we analysed 'Love and Oxygen'.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Group: Concept Development

By the end of the week, we need to create a filming schedule for the time we aim to film over half term. For this, we need to create a call sheet and a risk assessment and also send an email to book the equipment we intend to use for filming - such as the track, tripod, steadycam and green screen.

We also need to find some actors for our video before we shoot as without these we cannot film all of the shots we intend to film.

Group: The Pitch

Below is the link to our pitch created on Prezi.

After we delivered our pitch we had a feedback session with our target audience and teachers. This revealed the weaknesses and targets for our video but also highlighted the strengths.

- 30 seconds of visual
- Well planned and thought through
- Location ideas
- Concept and visual ideas
- Detailed, clear layout of the pitch using Prezi

- Actors... Where will we get them from, and who?
- Constant tracking back shot... How will we ensure a steady track every time we shoot?
- Is the whole concept too boring or uninteresting, due to the slow cutting rate?

Sunday, 21 October 2012

HCT: Concept Development

I have found a 1 minute short called 'move' that I feel will enhance out production concept. 

'Move' is a short 1 minute video that was created for a travel company, and is not a music video. However despite this, the visual techniques used in the video are relevant and similar to those we are considering using for our music video.

Friday, 19 October 2012

JP: Concept Development

To develop the ideas of the 30 seconds of visual before the music begins, I have found a video which has inspired the concept and techniques we will use for the visual.

'Ships in the Night' is a music video that takes a similar approach to 'Move' - a video Henry is commenting individually on.

The main feature/technique used in 'Ships in the Night' that we want to adopt for part of the pre-music visual is the technique of changing location seemlessly. In this video, the subject (the lead singer) doesn't seem to change place at all while the background changes to completely different locations all around the world.
Obviously we could not shoot as many locations as in this video from across the world, however it is an idea we will consider using for when there is the CU on the boys eyes and the background changes with a fast cutting rate (as seen in this video too).

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Group: Audience Feedback

We held a focus group at one of our youth groups in order to get some initial ideas from our target audience when listening to the track. In this focus group we got our audience to have a look at the questions before listening to the track we have chosen. They then answered the questions on the sheet and gave some general spoken feedback at the end of the session.
The first question was: Does this track convey any type of story line/narrative in your view?
The majority of the people that answered felt that there should be some sort of story line regarding flames. This could be in the form of a relationship or a physical fire. A common answer involved teenagers having fun around a fire. This was relatively positive as it conforms to our original ideas
The second was: How important is it to show the band performing in this track?
Some of the answers given explained that a band performing was quite useful if it’s a popular song, however some said it could be quite boring as the lyrics are quite repetitive. One answer expressed the fact that there would be little to no relation between the band performing and the title 'Up in Flames'.
The third was: What kind of props and costume design would you expect to see in a video for this track?
There was a very concentrated response on this question to normal casual clothes, however one or two expressed the fact that they would not like to see any large branding or symbols on the items-leaving them blank and plain. There was a common interest in darker clothes as well. In terms of props, one or two said fire whilst individuals recommended glow sticks, flares and sparklers.
The fourth question we asked them was: What location ideas come to mind when listening to the track? (Fields, urban areas, rural areas…)
The answers for this question were primarily all based upon a rural areas with fields or deserted buildings/barns/warehouses, whilst one or two noted ideas such as a deserted park, a garden, interior of a house and a couple suggested urban areas or London at night.
The last question was: What kind of emotional mood do you feel the track portrays?
There was a mixture of responses with this question although a majority concluded that the track portrayed an angry feeling and mood despite the calm, relaxed acoustic sound. Some of the answers involved people seeing a happier side where children could be enjoying themselves in slow motion where another response showed the same feel but with destruction and people smashing objects for enjoyment.
In conclusion, the audience questionnaire worked very well as it gave us some additional ideas that could be incorporated into our final video such as sparklers in slow motion and the destruction for enjoyment. A large proportion of our initial ideas were backed up by people’s thoughts and generally through props, costume, location, mood and narrative, our ideas were similar to our target audience’s initial ideas.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Group: Six Important Frames

HCT: Advertisement Analysis

I have chosen to analyse the advertisement for the Album 'Mylo Xyloto'. This is because firstly the song we have chosen is from this album and it is also their most recent.

By glancing at the advertisement of this album it is clear through certain codes and conventions the genre of the band. The advertisement as a whole is relatively unconventional in that it does not show any band members or large attractive images of the iconic aspect of the artist. however it does show a different spin on this with a more arty feel. The use of an image made form spray paints and paint is attractive and works just as well. If anything this method increases the bands meta narrative through the use of art. This picture is used throughout the construction of this album with it being central to their tour and theme. It not only acts as a marketing tool of interest but also a snapshot of the upcoming albums main genre. The colours and vibrant feel given is both mature and lively creating the perfect backdrop for so many of the songs and cold plays main genre titles of alternative pop and fast paces electric music.
Through the use of iconography and signs, we can use the advertisement to analyse how cold play have constructed a way of increasing their meta narrative. They have included small clues in the form of symbols in the background that relate to specific song titles in the album. Specifically an example would be the butterfly in the top right corner-relating to the song 'paradise'.

Visual techniques  and media language such as breaking the rule of thirds by centring the text reaches out to the audience by seeming unnatural however it is brought back to normal viewing cleverly through the breaking up of the words 'Mylo Xyloto' as they are paragraphed to align in the centre. The visual colour is effective as it pops out and grasps the audience due to the crafty construction of bright colours splatted across the page relating to the faster more vibrant songs on the album whilst the flat background and curvy text could be seen as relating to the slower, calmer song. This may be worth noting when looking at texts for our video . The effect is visually stunning and works as an art form as well as a marketing tool.

There are a few linguistic devices used in this advertisement. Firstly there is very little text. Only a large title covers the centre reading 'myloxyloto' whilst the bands name and date of release are shown. The only other strap line is an advertisement based offer regarding pre-ordering. This simplistic approach avoids from clouding the main essence of the album and only gives the minimum essential information. The offer is a useful device as it works towards giving the audience reason to pre-order the album.

JP: Digipak Analysis

I have chosen to analyse the digipak for Coldplay’s fifth and most recent album – ‘Mylo Xyloto’. Below is the front album cover and the back of the album cover too.

Firstly, it is important to consider how the genre of the artist is evident through the codes and conventions used in the digipak. The album cover is fairly unconventional, in that it is more of a work of art as opposed to a cover that exposes the band’s genre through the use of costume, lighting and facial expression. This is primarily due to the fact that the band members are not present on the cover, and instead there is just a wall covered in different coloured graffiti.

However it is possible to look into iconography and how certain signs and symbols create meaning in the text (semiotics). We can use Roland Barthes’ framework to analyse the album cover for semiotics. On the back of the album there are 14 small symbols, each representing each individual track on the album. We can see that the symbols sum up the song into a small icon, hinting at the lyrics or the meaning of each track.

The colour on the digipak gives a deep insight into the genre of music inside the album, with bright neon/electric tones used in order to portray an upbeat, loud and electric genre of music.
Aside from the genre, it is vital to look at the media language used in the digipak and this includes the visual techniques that are used in the artwork. Seeing as the cover for ‘Mylo Xyloto’ is artistic and conceptual, camera techniques such as the rule of thirds, angle and framing are very hard to analyse, but it is possible to examine the texture, colour, tone and special effects used.

The texture of the background that the graffiti is sprayed onto is smooth and urban, reflecting the slower, calmer tracks in the album that are more stripped back and acoustic (such as Up in Flames). However, the colours and tones used for the graffiti and paint are bright and neon-like, which contrasts to their other album covers (Viva La Vida, X&Y, A Rush of Cold Blood to the Head and Parachutes) which are very naturalistic and organic in tones. The artwork/covers for these albums are shown below.

The text for the album name 'Mylo Xyloto' is very bold and rounded, and is simply an outline of each letter. The text is in white which stands out from the colourful, chaotic background and could be seen to represent simplicity in a world of chaos.

There is meaning behind these visual techniques, and Chris Martin believes that ‘Graffiti often has its critics, but it changes something that’s really drab and oppressive into something else… That’s the idea of the record too, is to be trying to find colour within darkness and depression and all the terrible things in the wold. It’s trying to find the light in them, and that’s what I think a lot of graffiti does, is put a lot of light into darkness.’ From this quote we can see that the meaning of the album is to create light and colour in a world of darkness and oppression, and the visuals mirror this message too.
There is a certain amount of enigma in the album title ‘Mylo Xyloto’, and there are linguistic devices used in this. The two words are unknown to the English dictionary and were in fact coined and created by Coldplay themselves. In an interview, Chris Martin (the lead singer of the band) was questioned about the meaning behind the album name ‘Mylo Xyloto’ and why they used it for the album. He replied ‘You’ve got to have an interesting name…’ and did not explain much more of the meaning. Online forums have speculated about the meaning of ‘Mylo Xyloto’ some claiming it is to do with a graffiti artist named Mylo, and some believing that it was created to ‘just sound good’, however we will never know.
Coldplay are represented in an interesting way through the digipak artwork. The colour, paint and graffiti add to their ‘meta-narrative’ and connect the audience to the stars. The band’s meta-narrative portrays them as loud, vibrant, colourful, unique, authentic, interesting, and bright and reinforces their stardom. This helps to sell their product because the audience feel happy and excited when they see the colour and urban feel of the artwork and therefore somehow feel connected to the meta-narrative of Coldplay.
The fact that the Coldplay have adopted the urban aesthetic for the album and have chosen to use graffiti as a symbol reveals a great deal about the target audience and the demographic that they are aiming the album at. It suggests that they are targeting ‘Mylo Xyloto’ at teenagers and people of a younger age (young adults too), and this is reflected in the electric-indie/alternative genre that the band has created. The electric samples, synths and riffs or chords used throughout the tracks in the album are evident in the digipak and the cover appeals to the younger audience members which increases sales. It is vital for the record label and institution to get this correct in order to maximise overall profits of the album.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Group: Concept Development

Today we had a group concept development meeting at the begining of the lesson. We talked about the progress we have made so far along with the skills we will need when in the production process of our coursework.

During the planning process we have progressed our concept in many different ways, including:
- The idea of creating 30 seconds of visual before the music starts to establish the scene and expose the character
- This will compose of establishing shots such as a railway, the boy's home, landscapes and other urban areas
- At the end of the 30 seconds we will create a fast-paced montage edit with a CU of the boy's eyes in front of different locations
- We will need to use the green screen for this and then we can overlay the locations much more easily with the boy staying centrally framed
- This is a skill that we have already rehearsed and practiced in the Drama Studio
- To be conventional and reinforce the band's meta-narrative, just before the music begins, we will use similar text and graphics to display the band's name (Coldplay) that is already being used in their current music videos
- However, to make our video creative, authentic and original, we will create our own text to display the name of the song (Up in Flames)
- Aside from the text, we will take inspiration from the music video for Love and Oxygen, and overlay heavily colour-corrected footage inside various different shapes
- These shapes will be the symbols that Coldplay have created for the album Mylo Xyloto such as the flames, teardrop and possibly the butterfly
- For the main section of the video, rather than shooting the boy in front of green screen and then overlaying the footage of children playing in the background, we have chosen to shoot both clips at once
- This means we cannot differentiate time remapping in Premiere (the boy in slow motion and children in real time), so we have decided to shoot all footage in slow motion at half speed

Our targets:
- Find an actor to play the part of the boy
- Find extras to play the parts of the children playing in the background
- Start to experiment with overlaying different footage in unique shapes

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Well done Joe and Henry, you have worked hard to make improvements. Please read all my comments carefully and carry out instructions - they are mainly to do with the look of the blog and the multimedia criteria. You should also be using the comment facility on the blog, you could start by replying to some of my comments, ie informing me when you have made changes so I can go back and remark. There is high quality analysis from both of you which individually should ensure a level 4.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Group: Brighton Footage & Location Reccie

Above is our footage for our Brighton location reccie.

We travelled to Brighton in order to take various footage alongside completing a location reccie. We spent the majority of our time filming around and on the pier, with shots featuring the ferris wheel and the buildings on the pier.

We practiced taking ES (establishing shots) such as the time lapse of the ferris wheel at the start of the video and also completed CU (close ups) of the seagulls in Brighton. We experimented with the tempo of different shots for example using time lapse techniques, and used various equipment such as the track and dolly to achieve shots with some subtle movement in, whether it be tracking a character or adding movement to timelapses.

We encountered various obstacles and problems throughout our reccie. These included:
- Weather problems (heavy rainfall), and we had to therefore protect the equipment
- In post-production we found it difficult to colour correct the footage due to the drastic changes in weather and lighting when shooting on the day
- The memory on the SD card ran out halfway through the day, however we managed to overcome this by carrying a second SD card with us

By completing this location reccie we can then apply the problems on the day in Brighton to our shoots for our final music video.

Group: Location Reccie

In order to assess the practicality of locations in terms of camera, risk assessment and other difficulties, we need to carry out location reccies wherever we are thinking of filming.

We carried out a reccie in Pembury Orchards around some disused warehouses and barns to assess where we could place the camera, dolly and track for filming. We looked around the surrounding area and fields to see if it was dangerous or to view any potential hazards.

- Roads nearby (road safety)
- Dangerous and sharp objects in the area
- Old scraps of metal and corregated iron lying around

Despite these risks we believe that this is a suitable location to film in because it is aesthetically correct for our concept and it is an old, empty, desolate urban area.

Below are some photos that show the suitability of the location.

JP: Costume, Props, Lighting & Location Ideas

For the boy...
- Dark clothes
- Slightly old/worn
- Shades of grey and navy
- Dirty, messy face and hair
- Small drawn on symbols like tattoos under his eyes in black
For the children behind...
- Brighter, colourful clothes
- Newer, more stylish items
- Well-groomed, clean face and hair
- Bright wellies and coats/macintoshes

- Football
- Tennis ball
- Fire
- Toys (wooden train, old chess pieces, small dolls without heads)

- Railways (such as one that we filmed in our Brighton footage)
- Desolate houses
- Old, disused barns and warehouses
- A small, cramped house
- An empty park with a swing swinging with nobody on it

- Strong, front-on artificial lighting, but making it look natural
- Little/no back lighting to avoid highlights
- Soft overall lighting to make the video seem naturalistic and avoid an artificial aesthetic
- No spotlights
- Overall desaturation of colours to give the video a realistic, dull cinematic feel

JP: Concept Development

Today we had a meeting to develop our concept after reading the reflection on our blog from our teacher. The reflection said we hadn't created blog posts to illustrate our blog development, and therefore Henry and I discussed how we could break up the shot that tracks back gradually from the young boy.

Our ideas...
- 30 seconds of visual before the music begins
- This will show our artistic flair and skill and create a more complex video
- The footage will include establishing shots and tracking shots of locations
- We will intercut these establishing shots with footage of the young boy arguing with his parents and being shouted at and punished by his parents
- This footage before the music kicks in will show character exposition and give the young boy prevalence so that the audience are positioned with him and feel sympathy
- It will show the gradual downfall of his parents' lives and how the boy slowly felt outcast from society
- When the music begins, we will intercut the single track back of the boy with B-roll footage of destruction and toys or objects being set on fire in slow motion
- The devil side of the boy will be shown through sped up shaking of the head which may look like he is having a sort of fit
- This will be intercut between the tracking shots of the boy in the urban location

Group: Location Reccie - Drama Studio and Brighton

Drama Studio
We used the drama studio in one of our lessons as there was a green screen set up available. We filmed Joe lip syncing to the song whislt steadily tracking backwards. We sped up the song to 200% using Audacity so that when slowed down he would be in slow motion. We then went and edited the footage together deleting the flat green background from around Joe and replacing with an urban setting.
This was a positive shoot as it allowed us to gain an idea of what needs to be altered when when we film for real.
Some problems that we encountered included a perspective difference between the background that was static and Joe who was slowly moving backward due to the track we did. This meant that we needed to scale the background out slowly in time with the track of Joe to create a seemless visual. Overall the effect worked well however when filming on the day it will be hard to organise timings and speed of tracks when taking into account slow motion aspects of induvidual shots.

The Brighton trip gave us a great opportunity to carry out a location reccie as well as giving us a chance to test some camera techniques and visual ideas we have been thinking about. We can turn them into practical video and see wheather they work well. The saturated feel we gave had a very nice impression and a dull atmosphere that we are going to be aiming for. We carried out several landscape ES (establishing shots) - ideal for the 30 seconds of visual before the main audio track begins. These worked well in time-lapse or slow motion and we may use some of them for out actual video.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Feedback on Research and Planning

Some good analysis and attention to detail reflected in blog content. However a lot of tasks are unfinished and/or missing and as a result the blog is not showing adequate development and progression of ideas. You should be publishing concept development ideas each lesson and reflecting on skills and work completed. Currently the blog is a low level three (12/20) and is not demonstating the standard that you are both capable of.

Friday, 5 October 2012

HCT: Technical Analysis - Clocks - Coldplay, Leung (2003)

  From looking at the video of 'clocks' in more detail it is clear that over 90% of the shots are 'meat' shots - featuring the lead singer and band. Also, the cutting rate is very fast paced. This is quite conventional for this type of music that is of a relatively quick tempo.
The costumes they wear are very dark and dull, fitting in with thier surroundings of a dark studio. The flashing strobe lighting they use helps to portray the bass line. The rule of thirs is almost alwasys used to create equalibrium within the frame and looks aesthetically sound.
Sometimes the lead singer is centralised in the frame which creates a very refreshing and direct approach. This reaches out to the audience, breaking the fourth wall and allows us to feel the characters emotion. This is something that is most definetly worth regarding in the design of our video as we want to portray our boys message to the audience as best possible. 

Shot Number
Duration (seconds)
Mise en Scene
Low angle, medium close up, static, lens flair
Man walking past the camera, trousers, drum kit.
Worms eye view, zoom out, mid shot. Silhouette
Same man on piano. Dark clothes.
Low angle, medium close up, Silhouette
Backlit. Dark shadows
Mid Shot, Static.
Band playing, dark clothes, flashing lights
Mid shot, pan up.
Man playing guitar, pan up to blue lighting
Low angle, static, mid  shot
Band playing with guitarist central. Dark clothing and shadows. Blue lighting
Mid shot, slow motion, handicam
More lighting on the artists. Dark clothes, blue lighting.
Medium long shot, low angle. Slow motion
Blue lighting, dark jacket. More front lighting
Close up, handicam
Left side of singers face lit up. Shadow on right side.
Over the shoulder shot to long shot. Handicam
Band playing. Blue lighting. Dark feel and clothing.
Mid shot, static. On the left hand third
Dark backdrop, microphone with lead singer.
Handicam, medium close up. Right hand rule of thirds, pull focus at end of shot
Bright light on singers face, contrasts dark background
Medium long shot, smooth handicam.
Blue lighting casting shadows, guitarist
Zoom out, Mid shot
Blue lighting, strobe, drummer
Static Medium close up Singer on right third.
Blue/ yellow lighting shadowing the face. Microphone, band in backdrop
Medium close up, singer on right third swaying, slow motion. Handicam
Blue neon lights, microphone, dark clothing.
Handicam, Mid shot
White lighting casting shadow’s and silhouettes of heads.
Hadicam, Medium close up.
Silhouettes cast by blue lighting strobe.
Mid shot, Low angle, static, singer on left third of the frame.
Blue lighting, dark clothing, lip syncing
Static, Close up. Singers head central in frame. Shallow focus.
Yellow, blue and orange lighting cast over the face and backdrop.
Mid shot, steady Handicam
Band playing, dark clothes, yellow/ white lighting strobe.
Mid shot, Static
Drummer, wide angle, blue strobing
Medium long shot, bassist on right hand third.
Bassist playing, drummer in background.
Medium long shot. Guitarist on left third. Static
Blue lighting flash, blue/black feel.
Mid shot, Slow motion smooth handicam
Blue lighting microphone
Medium long shot, handicam. Slow motion
Blue/ white strobing. Singer dancing
Long shot, static. High angle. Wide angle
White/ blue strobe
Handicam, pan left/right
Singer dancing, microphone. Strobing white and blue lights. Microphone.
Medium long shot, low angle at feet.
White/blue lighting band playing. Only lower halves shown.
Over shoulder shot. Shallow focus. static
White/ blue strobing, band playing, slow motion.
Shallow focus, static. Slow motion Medium long shot/close up
Close up of silhouetted head with singer in background out of focus. Blue/ white lighting
Close up, slow motion, singer on left hand third.
White/red lighting casting shadow over face. microphone
Pan right, mid shot.  Handicam, slow motion.
Red strobing. Guitarists centred with drummer playing
Handicam, slow motion. Mid shot
Red/blue lighting in backdrop. Band playing singer central.
Track from right to left. Long shot. Slow motion
Red/ white strobing black clothing and shadows.
Smooth handicam, close up.
Red lighting cast over backdrop and face. Microphone seen.
Mid shot, low camera angle.
Very red, high contrast man playing bass guitar.
Smooth handicam, close up.
Red lighting cast over backdrop and face. Microphone seen.
Crane up. Mid close up.
Light yellow/red light. 
Handicam, mid shot.  Slow motion, low angle
White light through flooring. Slow motion walking