My planning documents:

After having made a mind-map exploring my initial ideas for my music video, I made a mood board, as displayed below. This was created because through the use of colour, imagery and the photography style, I was given me an overall feel to how my music video will appear. As through these selected illustrations, my diverse concepts and thoughts are best displayed.

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I created a storyboard as this will be used as a foundation for my music video because it is almost like a draft copy of a visual representation of my video. My ideas can then be conveyed through sketches of the artists, the actions they complete, various props used, and the staging of events through a sequence. I can essentially illustrate my ideas before I actually begin shooting the music video, my storyboard can be viewed below:

 

storyboard 1

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I also made a script for my music video because I could then give directions to the artists performing, so they would then be able to know exactly what they are doing. This will make my time filming more efficient because I will be able to keep on my time management schedule for when recording the footage. As I would follow the script accordingly, in order to know what exactly I need to film in each scene/location for my music video.

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Through the creation of a shot list, the time actually filming, as well as editing will become more efficient and thus keeping me organised. For the reason that shot lists are usually used by someone who assists the director whilst filming because they can keep track through the log of particular shots needed to be recorded on set.

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I also had created an animatic for my music video because it adds to the establishment of the visuals, through the way in which I could watch the flow and momentum of the particular shots I want to include in my music video. My animatic can be viewed below:

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Ideas:

My music video initial ideas include those described below in my mind map I had created. This visual style/format was chosen because mind maps enable me to explore my thoughts in a way where I can link ideas together.

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I have also decided on various locations to include in my music video such as this described below with various test shots:

Settings/locations:

  • Scene in Hyde park with various groups of people sitting together and getting involved in the song.

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  • Scene on the train with the artists standing up and getting off the train; clear with the train stop displayed.

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  • Scene in Trafalgar Square on Nelson’s Column statue with a low angle of the artists standing looking down at the camera.
  • Scene in leciester square with the dancers for the brief montage of the song at the start.

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  • Scene in Camden Town with the graffiti walls and street art to get an urban feel for the rap verse of the song.
  • Scene in Piccadilly Circus with the billboard lights and the artists walking in front of it.

In addition, I researched top filming locations in London and discovered two absolutely amazing places including this Leake Street Graffiti Tunnel, which appears as displayed below. I like my music video to have a scene, particularly for the rap verse of the song, set in this tunnel which is near the London Waterloo train station. This is because from my research I have noted a convention of the rap music industry is involving the graffiti style to the music video. For me the best way to conform to the convention is to have, arguably referred to as the best of London’s street art, as the background of some shots.

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Plus whilst searching on the internet I found another location in the Kings Cross tube station, which is known as the light tunnel. I instantly had ideas for my music video containing a scene set in there because of the amazing light effect with colours of pink, purple and even blue.

Kings Cross Light Tunnel

Analysis of My Target Audience Survey Results:

I received feedback from my target audience through a questionnaire I had created on SurveyMonkey; which is web-based, so it enabled me to distribute a link to my survey over various social media platforms. This way I collected over 100 responses from referencing the link and asking people I know on Snap-chat and Whats-app, as well as emailing the survey around school.

The link to my survey: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/3RD3BYZ

As the survey contains 10 questions, with my chosen music genre of contemporary R&B in mind, I could obtain results form my target audience about their thoughts and ideas to a music video being created in this genre. Therefore, I will use this to help me develop a best possible version of my music video. As I can follow the expectations of the audience, to create an appealing music video for my target audience; which through the survey I gained an understanding of my target audience profile.

But I won’t be able to conform to all of the audience’s expectations as I want to challenge particular ideas as described below.

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For my very first question, I simply asked if the audience member was male or female. This is because arguably each gender have different perspectives on particular ideas and the differences can vary.

I want to acknowledge which gender my music video will be aimed at, since the largest percentage of those who completed the survey was in fact female with 64% in comparison to only 36% of respondents were male. So because the respondents were mainly female, I can note how the responses from this survey are mainly based on the opinions of the female gender. Although I did attempt in receiving equal responses for both genders because my results will then be fair.

But as I have received more female responses, it is still beneficial to me because the music artists themselves are female and I will be representing their sense of female empowerment and aspect of feminism in the music video.I believe the female audience will most likely listen to the song and watch the music video, over male audiences because they can relate to these ideas conveyed.

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Then my second closed question demonstrates how my target audience is teens to young adults because it’s a close call between the age range of 13-16 year olds, with the age range of 17-21. As 45% of respondents were between the age of 13-16 in comparison to a slightly higher amount of 49% for the next age range.

My primary target audience is thus young adults because the majority was in the age bracket of 17-21. This is good because my target audience are stereo typically known as the age where they consume the media type of a music videos on social media platforms such as YouTube. Teenagers/young adults can watch music videos on YouTube, which is in fact the platform I will be releasing my video as it can then be shared by various people globally, since it is a widely used medium.

I had also received answers from all age categories I had set out which include the five categories of “under 12” years old with one response, “21-25” age range with two responses and “25+” with three responses. I created the different age categories because age is one factor that can reason for why people have different tastes in music styles. Furthermore, I wanted to collect opinions from a wider audience.

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This question was more in general for music videos, as the audience could select their own preference of how much they like a video to follow a narrative. Surprisingly these results weren’t what I imagined, because the majority is 58% who like the music video to follow a slight narrative, in terms of wanting the music video to contain parts of a story-line.

Only 9% of respondents wanted a hybrid music video to be centred around a narrative, in comparison to a much higher amount of 27% for the video to not follow a narrative at all. Therefore, I will take the respondents thoughts into consideration when creating my music video.

But what had interested me the most was how some had even selected the “Other” category and entered their own personal thoughts such as:

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This then gave me an insight to how my target audience would like the music video to contain a narrative style, but “not too much of a story” as the audience evidently reveal their interest rates will decrease. One intention behind creating music videos is to captivate the audience and I wish to to exactly this. Therefore, I will consider  applying the respondents ideas for my music video to contain scenes which will follow a narrative up to a certain extent.

 

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As the producer, it is extremely important to know what particular elements the audience dislike in a music video as I can then work to produce an appealing video for the audience to consume.

The feature scoring the most was a complex story-line, as it was ranked by 48% of the respondents. This follows on from the previous question in my survey because the audience want the music video to follow a slight narrative. Furthermore, meaning that they would be confused when watching the video if it had like a 90% rating in the hybrid style, as the story would then be considered as “complex” by most.

I could identify that having unique ideas is just as important as the fact that the music video must be captivating for the audience; 24% would simply not like the video to have an aspect of un-originality. This is because the audience feel as though they are essentially watching copies of other music videos which share similar ideas.

My results also revealed 3% of the respondents had added in their own beliefs about the least appealing element of a music video:

“If the video gets because it repeats the same thing.”

“Having no story-line.”

This exhibits how the audience rely on a music video’s ability to stand out from other in the sense of uncovering unique aspects such as the cinematography in particular to not appear repetitive. This is the case for videos that seem to hardly have “no story-line” and simply repeat shots to fill the duration of the video. So I will definitely take the respondents comments into consideration because I want to acknowledge the importance of conforming to their expectations in order to create an appealing product.

 

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For this question, I received a fairly balanced set of results; in which the majority of respondents (34%) like the motif of friendship being integral to the music video. I am happy with this response because I originally had the idea to create the music video based on this theme because of the lyrical content conveying friendship.

But also, how it is still relatively high in 29% of the audience liking a music video to uncover the theme featuring a “teenage experience”, means that some would like to see a representation of their late teenage years, as in fact the target audience is in the age range of 17-21. This means they can then personal connect to the meaning of the song which is conveyed through the music video.

Therefore, I will definitely consider combining these two themes in my music video because not only do they relate most to the lyrical content, as well as conforming to audience’s expectation of these motifs in a video.

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Receiving answers for this question will help me produce a text, which will suit the needs and expectations of the audiences as I will shape my music video ideas around how the audience most likely want the video to relate to the lyrics. For the majority, about 60% of respondents said that it is necessary to an extent for the video to relate to the lyrics.

Therefore, in some sense I will conform to their expectation but in other ways I will subvert. For the reason that the least amount of respondents being just 13% believe it is not important at all for the visuals to relate to the lyrics. I had thought that the audience would have not found it important at all for the music video to relate to the lyrics and thus liked a disjuncture type of music video. As the abstract imagery creates many new meanings and I quite like music videos that relate in small ways to the lyrics whilst revealing different ideas.

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I had also used my survey to ask open questions so that the audience could share more of their thoughts to music videos, than a simple one word answer from the previous multiple choice questions.

However, with my open style questions, I costumed it so that it was possible for the respondent to skip. This was because I didn’t particularly need to know about what they expect in a music video because I have already done research of the conventions. But I  have sufficient results despite 50 respondents skipping the question, to receive enough sample answers to gain the impression of my target audience’s expectation through the repetition of the comments such as:

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Several of the comments had indicated that my target audience like to see a contemporary R&B music video uncovering people dancing, having fun together with an atmospheric and lively feel. In my opinion I like these ideas and will conform to their expectations, as well as following one particular comment of “the music punctuating or emphasising each scene”. This simply means to use the visual to a amplify the lyrical content; I was deciding on using that style for my music video. So it’s good to know that some of my target audience would like to see it too.

Particular elements I noticed and what I like:

“Lots of scenes of the singer”

“To see the artist for all the music video”

“The artist not other people acting for them”

“De-saturated filters, slow progressive story, depressed/relaxed kind of setting”

I am very happy with the feedback because the comments in the open question revealed how people knew the contemporary R&B music genre. I particularly liked the comments which relate to the cinematography of the music video. This is because I have acknowledged how the audience like close up shots of the music artist themselves because some had even said “you don’t always get to see them, so in the video it is the chance to see them”. I want to apply this to my music video as it is a good way for the audience to get to know the artist through the choice of close ups.

In addition, the respondents shared their thoughts which related to the mise-en-scene elements of clothing including wanting “trendy outfits”“wild, different styled clothes” and “street clothing”. Conventions I noticed of music videos was that they offer the audience a representation of the music artist and I believe that giving an original representation is through a unique dress style of the artist.

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Plus I liked the respondents’ comments of wanting the major theme of “Love and Heartbreak” to be uncovered in the music video. I want to expand on this because conventionally the audience would expect a sad “depressing” music video as some had commented on. However, I want to challenge this by showing the music artists’ ability to represent females as having the emotional strength to move on from a past relationship, As will be displaying them being happy, rather than carrying a sense of sadness in the music video.

“Fashion”

“Flashy cars”

“Celebrity features”

“Expensive cars and big houses”

“A lot of money being show off”

“I want to see expensive cars and the artist partying”

Elements I have chosen to subvert the audience’s expectation include those mentioned directly above, for the reason that I want to present the artists in natural ways to represent them as real people. This is what I want to achieve more than to give a false image of the artists having “expensive” and “flashy” cars.

I will try to attempt to conform to the expectation of including a big house and potentially celebrity features as these are elements which are rather appealing for the audience.

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Most of my questions were costumed so that I would receive an answer from the respondent, meaning that they couldn’t skip the question. As these questions were significant to me in finding out what exactly the audience expect in the music video. Therefore, knowing the location my target audience expect the contemporary R&B genre to be set in showed 55% being in the street. I want to conform to their expectation because I had also noted this is in fact a convention for the setting of a R&B video to be in the street.

The next highest score was 21% of respondents for wanting the video to be set at a party location and then 12% had selected the setting to be in a park. I want to combine these ideas because I quite like the idea of a music video being a montage of events; the scenes being set in a variety of places.

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My second open question was not entirely necessary because I didn’t need to know my target audience’s favourite contemporary R&B music artist. But I chose to ask the question because I thought it would be helpful to see what music artist’s name appeared the most. The repetition of the name Drake, Tinie Tempah, Chris Brown and Beyonce was most prominent. Which I have understood that overall as there was more male artists mentioned than females, it suggests how arguably male artists are the more established gender in this music genre. However, I want to use my music video to give the impression that female contemporary R&B artists are just as good as the male artists.

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I also gained comments about how the audience still like the older R&B styled artists including Mary J Blige as “she is still well-known today” and Craig David because of the energy and vibe feel to his music videos. Therefore, I believe many artists are influenced slightly by these older styled ones.

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Also the respondent who wrote:

Drake because his lyrics can relate to thousands of people in so many ways”

This comment caught my attention as this is exactly what I am aiming for the lyrical content to convey a message which is in fact relatable for a wide audience. But I also liked the comment:

“Beyonce because she is unique in comparison to other female R&B artists”

As Beyonce was a popular answer, I liked how one respondent had commented on why they liked this female R&B artist, since only a few responses on the open questions gave reasoning to why they liked the particular artist they had mentioned. I agree with this particular comment because for an artist to be successful they must have a sense of difference compared to other artists in that genre of the music industry.

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My final question of my survey allowed me to found out the audience’s thoughts on conventions of the contemporary R&B music genre. This is through the question where I obtained the most results of 53% of respondents for wanting casual clothing to be in the music video. I have decided to conform to this convention because I had also noticed that the music artists in the contemporary R&B genre wear casual clothing rather than a smart outfit. Which my survey had supported the convention of the audience’s expectation of the least amount of only 7% wanting to see smart dress. Therefore, having casual clothing in the music video will also add to the desired relaxed mood of the song.

Furthermore, the profile for my primary target audience is females aged 17-21 believe in the music video containing a hybrid contemporary R&B music video with 50% of it following a narrative. Overall, this survey has helped me to develop my ideas on my planning documents such as my storyboard, due to the feedback being used to make slight adjustments in my ideas. As a result, my ideas for my music video has been shaped through collecting these responses.

Creating my “Portugal 2017” Short Montage:

I had decided to develop my understanding of editing through the use of the editing software called imovie; I began creating a montage of my summer experience this year, through the various recordings I took during the holidays.

Firstly, I opened up imovies on the mac-book and created a new “movie”. The new project appeared with a blank timeline as displayed and anotated by me below; where I could then begin creating the short film.

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I imported my first footage clip through clicking on the downward arrow and selecting the footage from my documents. All my footage was stored in the media display; in which I had to drag and drop each individual piece of footage onto the timeline.

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To then insert a title that will appear at the start of the video by overlayering the footage of the Portugese flag, I selected the title label and began to chose a style I wanted to use. My favourite one I came across was the one where the text appears after a series of brief light flashes. For the reason that I wanted the video to directly capture the audience’s attention from the very start.

By double clicking on the display screen, I was able to edit the typography text to read “Portugal 2017” with a new chosen style of Bastonville font type. As well as choosing the colour of the text to be in white so that the title appears in a bold way since it contrasts against the black background. Which I added a fade in from black edit effect through clicking on “Transitions” on the menu bar as this edit is often used to singnify the beginning or end of a video.

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Also by experimenting t=with the range of icons that are presented above the display screen, I came across one that enabled me to change the filter of the selected shot. I decided on the filter called Hard Light because the effect made the footage appear brighter as well as heightening the quality of the footage.

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Then by importing my second clip through the same method of selecting the downward arrow, I began to create a sequence of events which in a way follow on from the previous shot. For instance the establishing shot is in fact a long shot of the Portugese flag that introduces the viewer to the location of the video and then by adding a wipe edit, meant the next dolly shot of the villa I stayed in linked together.

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I also stabilised the footage because the next dolly shot I had taken appeared rather shaky and I wanted to maintain the viewer’s attention on the beautiful scenery and landscape of Portugal, instead of them being distracted by the hand-held camera wobbles.

Plus, using the menu I selected the icon which looked like a timer/scale; this was so that I could adjust the speed of the footage to either make it faster in pace, slower or customise it to my own desires. For this particular shot I had filmed during a journey in a car, the footage already seemed in quite a fast pace, therefore, I had no need to adjust the speed. But for the first shot of the flag blowing in the wind, I wanted to customise the speed of the shot so that it was in slow motion, as the original clip was a fast take. Subsequently, I wanted to extend the length of the shot to make the flag blow in the wind, almost seeming in slow motion. From the below screenshot, the iconic symbol of a turtle represents the slow speed of the opening shot in comparison to the iconic symbol of a rabbit on the next shot to represent it’s fast pace nature.

 

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In the timeline I could hover over the footage and at the edge of each clip I could crop it to a chosen length by using/dragging the crop arrow which appeared vertically across the timeline. Then afterwards I decided to rearrange the order of the clips displayed in the sequence by holding onto the specific one with the mouse and dropping it further along the timeline.

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I had also decided to import my favourite photos I had taken during my holiday in Portugal. To include them in my video I had plug in my phone to the mac-book and select several of the images I wanted to use. This was quite simple because I could then click on them when they appeared in the My Media section display, to drag and drop them onto the video timeline. But because it would like rather weird for there to be video footage and then a random picture, I used the swap transition between the pictures uploaded. As displayed above, resulting in the video seeming to flow between the various shots.

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I had also wanted to change the filter of the footage to create more of an effect rather than the plain and simple look without a filter. Therefore I clicked on the three overlapping circles icon, which meant I could then select a filter from a wide variety. I chose Western for this particular two-shot of me and my friend because I thought that the beige and pastel tone almost connected the previous shot of the sunset sky. This then adds a sense of continuity through the colour for the short montage video.

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Then as I had continued to add in footage and cropping to meet my desired outcome, I began to listen through the variety of free audio samples given on iMovie. I came across many I had liked, in particular the soundtrack music of Travel because it suited the style of the video as it is bout my holiday in Portugal. I dragged and dropped the audio onto the timeline underneath the timeline of footage. I had to do this several times in order for the soundtrack to be playing throughout the whole of the video as it one audio was very short in duration length. However, I had to ensure that the soundtrack blended well together by simply overlapping it, as well as selecting the part of the song it had finished on with the same sounds of the following one.

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Finally, I hovered over the soundtrack in the timeline section and dragged down the pointer so that the song would fade out in time with the video drawing to an end. This was because otherwise the audio would just have a straight cut and being quite sudden/dramatic for the audience. I didn’t want to create this effect, so I faded the soundtrack. Also, I added in the fade to black edit transition, which I think works well with the audio fading out, as well as signifying the end to the video.

Plus, I inserted the final title which reads The End by dragging the same styled typography onto the last shot. By double clicking on it I could change the font type, size and position so that it was centre framed.

Overall, I liked using the software called iMovie because it is rather simple and I could begin to experiment with a variety of features that is only available on it.

Focus Group Session Results:

I also held a brief focus group, with some people to discuss what they thought about the chosen soundtrack by playing the instrumental to them once and asking them a series of the following questions:

1.) What is your initial thoughts about the soundtrack that was just played to you?

“It was relaxing.”

“A very chilled style of music.”

“I like the flow of the instrumental although it is a bit repetitive. But it consistently makes me feel relaxed, I like it!”

These comments I obtained from the focus group gave me an insight into how the audience would first react when listening to the soundtrack. All the comments were positive in suggesting a chilled and relaxing nature of the song; which I noted these are in fact characteristics of the artists. Therefore, I like the idea of how much videos represent the artists through the visuals as well as the mood of the song. I aim to portray how the artists are carefree in the music video, this in fact follows the audience’s initial thoughts on the mood of the song.

2.) If you could make up the lyrics of the song, what would be the main theme for this instrumental?

“I would say chilling in the sunshine.”

” A lazy sunny day”

“It is definitely a summer song.”

“The theme would be about youth and beauty”

“The power of words is important for this song”

I gained the impression that most of the audience would expect my chosen instrumental to uncover the themes of sunshine, which symbolises a sense of happiness and optimism. Furthermore, the music video will be set in lovely sunny weather that will be present in the background of the shots. In addition, it is particularly good that the music artists are teenagers so they can reflect the themes of enjoying our teenage years. The message conveyed through the lyrical content will also be meaningful, as I have noticed how the audience believe in the “power of words” being almost integral to any type of song.

3.) What genre of music would you rate this instrumental?

“It is definitely contemporary R&B”

“I get the impression it’s like the old Jazzy Blues”

“The Hip-hop genre “

All the genres mentioned related to the instrumental is helpful because I then get to know what style the audience associate it to. For instance many were assured that the instrumental was contemporary R&B or even some though of the Hip-hop genre; which was in fact created as almost like a sub-genre of R&B. But also, I picked up on how one person had said they believed it was like the “Jazzy Blues” in terms of the simple rhythm and thus would expect harmonies from the music artists. I liked knowing this alternative interpretation of the instrumental as it stood out from the others and I will definitely keep it in my mind for when writing the lyrical content with the artists and in creating the music video. I already have an idea to now display a sense of togetherness and connection between the music artists during their harmonies of the song through particular shots, like two shots for example.

4.) If there was one negative criticism you could give of the instrumental, what would it be and why do you feel like this?

“It is a little bit plain, but I like the overall tune because of this type of simplicity.”

“There was no progression in rhythm of the instrumental from the verse to chorus which I would have expected there to be.”

“It seems quite slow”

It is almost expected that not everyone has the same music type, that’s why there are several different genres and even a wider variety of sub-genres. So because some of the audience had picked up the slow rhythm of the instrumental, this perhaps suggests how they may not like the soul or contemporary music genre. But as we will be using this simple beat, it means we will have to concentrate on creating meaningful lyrics which will overpower the soundtrack. Subsequently, the audience’s attention will be taken off of the “plain” soundtrack as some say. As the music artists have already shared a few of their ideas with me, I know that the chorus can easily be distinguished by the audience because it stands out from the verses through the use of repetition.

5.) In a music video for this song, how would you expect the artists to act/behave?

“They should reflect the chilled mood of the song.”

“I could see them go with the flow and not caring about anything.”

“Swaying and chilling with scenes of them dancing, but nothing like it is choreographed.”

“Set somewhere like outside in a garden scene”

Asking this particular question enabled me to note particular mise-en-scene elements such as the body language of the artist the audience would expect. Many of which had noted that they would like the artists to reflect the overall mood of the song that is the chillness and loosened feeling of just taking it easy. This then means that as dancing is one convention of the contemporary R&B genre that I will be conforming to, the audience don’t expect extreme choreographed style dancing. So I will ensure that the artists appear in the dancing scene of the music video to almost be free-styling, messing around when dancing and not taking themselves seriously.

Furthermore, this method of a focus group enabled me to acknowledge other people’s thoughts, feelings and attitudes to the instrumental. As I was not just going with what the two artists thought and my own personal feelings, I wanted to obtain other responses as well as.

Also as my music video is made with the intention to increase the supporters of the artist, since they are in fact just starting out in the music industry, holding a focus group allowed me to see the expectations of the audience themselves. For the reason that I know it is important to receive information from the audience’s perspective, as in the 21st century the audience’s expectations are continuously changing and evolving. Therefore, acknowledging some of their comments before actually writing the song means that I can combine their ideas with the artists to form a hit contemporary R&B song.

Chosen audio soundtrack…

As I’m in the process of creating my R&B song with my friends, we sat down together and searched this genre for instrumentals on YouTube. This was where we came across a variety of songs that instantly caught our attention and made us fascinated in whether we could create the song by using it.

As a group, we had narrowed down our selection to just three/four tracks. But to make sure just before I ensured that in the description of the YouTube video, the instrumental was copyright free/royalty free. For the reason that it could then mean as a group we had permission to use the songs for purely entertainment purposes (school) rather than to make money. However, one song had stated that they would need money from the product if the music video I made was designed to be used for revenue. But as the instrumental will be used for my A2 coursework, I have permission to use the song for free.

Below are some of the instrumentals we came across with a few of mine and my group’s comments:

“Nicki Minaj Freedom instrumental”:

I found the beat of the instrumental simple yet beautiful. But at the same time, it seems rather repetitive in the nature of the chorus appearing as though the intro is simply extended throughout the soundtrack. This means that if we found it difficult to distinguish between the introduction, verses and chorus of the song, then it would be even more difficult when filming because we will struggle with matching the lip-syncing of the footage to the song.

Artist’s comment: “The instrumental gets quite boring…”

Also it’s important to note that the instrumental is in fact a remake of pop/rap artist Nicki Minaj and I don’t want the artists for my music video to be associated or compared to other artists like many often are. I believe each music artist should be known for who they are and not because of how similar they are to someone else. Therefore, I want to find a unique instrumental which will give a representation only made for the artists themselves. Quite simply I want the artists to be known for who they are and the music they create rather than them being compared to other artists.

 

“HexBeatz-Black moon”instrumental:

The dance styled beat attracted us the most to this instrumental because we thought of visual elements for the music video. As we could imagine the energetic feel and exciting atmosphere created from the artist’s and actors throughout the music video.

However, the genre wasn’t right at all because the heavy and fast tempo of the beat classifies the instrumental in the Grime genre, where rapping is most prominent over the soundtrack. We are combining one artist’s vocals for a verse, the chorus and the rap artist also features in the chorus as well as having a rap verse.

 

“Chill Rap Beat Too Much” instrumental:

This instrumental is best suited to our genre because it is specifically classified as a R&B/Hip-hop song and the relaxed atmosphere of the song definitely supports the genre as typically songs convey these ideas.

Plus, the artists’ intention of portraying the theme of how life should be spent relaxing and living each day as it comes is evidently reflected through the sense of calmness in the beat of the instrumental. I particularly liked the ending of the instrumental because the drum beats are added to the chilled soundtrack.

 

“Dreams slow piano r&b” instrumental:

The lovely beat of this instrumental can convey a sense of inspiration, which the artists want the lyrical content to be considered meaningful by the audience. Therefore, the instrumental evidently portrays this when we first listened to the track.

Artist’s initial reaction: “I like it because it’s slow enough for emotions but has a nice beat to it so it doesn’t get boring.”

But then listening it to a second and third time we found out that it seemed too slow and doesn’t feel like it progresses to the rap artist in particular. Thus she found it wouldn’t suit her rapping style. Whereas, the vocalist artist preferred this slow styled instrumental in comparison to the heavy beat of the grime instrumentals. Furthermore, it means we must find an instrumental which will make both the artists happy and content in making the song. This particular instrumental called “Dreams” was not the one.

 

My chosen audio instrumental:

With this particular track, I instantly had several ideas come to mind for how I wanted the video to visually look like, as described in my following posts.

As a group we liked the way the instrumental continuously flowed with the addition of beats during the chorus, fading out to the slower styled rhythm of music. Also, we had then decided on what messages and meaning that will be conveyed in the lyrical content; in which we had come to an agreement that this instrumental was best for the contemporary R&B song.

The artist commented on: “I want it to kind of be emotional, where people will read the story as this is the best type of music, when it gets to you.”

Therefore, with this selected audio and one of the artist’s main intentions/meaning of the song in mind, we were content in choosing this one.

The other artist said: “I would like it to be slow [tempo] with a slight upbeat part because slow songs can most often get boring…”

The “Gone Down” instrumental suited both the artist’s needs because the tempo gave the impression of a relaxed feel. As well as, the drum styled beat having the potential for the artists’ to uncover their enjoyment through the almost dance influenced style of the song we had also interpreted. So having the song convey calmness with a sense of exultant joy led us on to creating the lyrical content that will express the themes of the importance of spending your younger years, having fun with friends.

Contemporary Director X inspiration:

Canadian Director X, Julia Christian Lutz, creates high-budget music videos which are visually distinctive; his career spans from back in 1998 to 2017/present day. Director X  is represented by the Tv and Music Video production company called Lutia Media but in 2015 he independently founded Popp Rock which “Specialises in popular culture storytelling”.

He first started assisting the more experienced and older music director Hype Williams through his support in Hype William’s film “Belly” that was released in 1998. He made connections through this line of work and the hip-hop/R&B record labels Def Jam Records and Bad Boy Records was the first to offer him the chance in creating music videos.

The variety of artists Director X has worked with include:

  • Usher
  • Sean Paul
  • R. Kelly
  • Nicki Minaj
  • Justin Bieber
  • Rihanna
  • Fifth Harmony
  • Aleshia Keys
  • Nelly
  • Plus many more…

According to the Director himself, his favourite music video was Drake’s 2016 “Hotline Bling” as the choice of bright illuminating colours, with the artist’s iconic dance movements made the music video instantly go viral. Over Director X’s 15 years, he collaborated with Drake on numerous occasions such as shooting the music video for “Worst Behaviour”, “Started From The Bottom” and “HYFR”.

It is Director X’s style to have the artists appearing in boxes and within these boxes the significance of music videos containing a dancing element is expressed. As he conveys the idea of having fun through dancing, much like Drake is evidently representing in this music video.”

The artist’s vibe is different in comparison to other music videos which stands as a reflection of different cultures engaging in a variety of ways. For the reason that Drake’s dancing isn’t choreographed, making him stand out and reveals how he isn’t bothered about what he looks like, instead he is sustained upon having fun.

The graphic style music video for “Hotline Bling” can be viewed below:

The Director X we know today, was once called “Little X” which his old music videos are traditional R&B styled. Many of them uncovered the narrative storytelling style as the mood of the song is conveyed through the fact that it follows a three part structure. As Director X applies Tzvetan Todorov’s theory of narratives beginning with a sense of establishment and equilibrium, to then progressing into disequilibrium and ending the narrative is where the equilibrium is restored.

Director X takes a while to produce his music videos because he concentrates on structuring the narrative so that the audience will easily be able to understand. So he follows Todorov’s theory in the making of his music video.

For Director X, this makes a music video visually appealing for the audience to continue to watch due to complete difference in the story expressed. As a result, each music video will be different in comparison to one another.

A collection of these types of music video directed by Little X is displayed below:

Screenshot (97).png

Whereas his music videos for contemporary R&B artists are associated by his more recent name of Director X to signify how his other work has made him the real Director he is today.

Within these music videos, Director X incorporates the urban/graffiti style through the mis-en-scene elements in particular. For instance he changed the lighting, costume, hair/make-up, setting and props used to give a more moving feel to the music video. As Director X wanted to represent each of the artists he worked with in completely different ways; therefore, he continued to experiment with the mis-en-scene which was best to distinguish these differences.

Directors X’s main message conveys how: “Music videos are street. This is where you will learn the new dance, see the new fashion, and the new ways. It is the voice of the people.”

A collection of these types of music video directed by Director X is displayed below:

Screenshot (98)Screenshot (99)

The “letterbox” post edit effect was enhanced by Director X who used the bars on top and bottom of the frame to vertically introduce the start of the music video and vertically close the ending of the video.This has arguably influenced other music directors to this present day to utilse the effect. For instance: my previous analysis of British rapper Santan Dave’s “Wanna Know” music video where his director Lx incorporates the editing style. This is so that the audience are introduced to the first setting of the music video as displayed below:

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But Director X has not just created music video throughout his whole career because he has expanded in creating short films such as “Rhythm City Volume One: Caught Up” dedicated to R&B artist Usher. The 20 minute film features his live performance of hit tracks such as “Seduction” and “Take Your Hand” from the highest number of copies, being 1.1 million in the first week, for his R&B debut album “Confessions”; it was released in 2006.

usher film poster.jpg

In addition, most recently, he directed the Gypsy-sports themed music video appearing on an episode of America’s Next Top Model Cycle 23; indicating his expansion into other media texts, as well as within the music industry.

Overall, the fact that Director X uncovers how directors have the opportunity to create freely and express their unique ideas through a conceptual and abstract style is influential because I know my creative ideas will be revealed through my music video. Plus, what inspires me the most is how he constantly “pushes for excellence” in order to better the music videos and further his directing experience.

References:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Director_X

http://directorxfilms.com/biography.html

http://www.thefader.com/2015/10/21/drake-hotline-bling-video-director-x-interview-toronto

 

Experimenting with the camera:

Recently, I used the Legria Canon HF G25 camera just so that I could begin to understand how the camera worked, as well as knowing what the various settings/icons mean. This then could mean when I would actually be using the camera to film my music video, I would already have an understanding of the camera. Subsequently, I would be more efficient and not waste time trying to figure out how to use the camera.

Brief details/notes I have discovered:

To change the filter/colour of the recording footage, on the camera:

  • Click function
  • Click white balance
  • Then select then desired camera effect from- Vivid, cool, black and white, sepia, old movies, plus a couple more.

I may decide to use this particular setting because I could potentially film in a selected filter so that I wouldn’t have to edit in the effects on every recorded footage in the editing of the music video. But I would have to make sure that I like the chosen filter or it would mean that I would spend a great deal colour correcting the footage.

To set a timer on the camera:

  • Click funtion
  • Click menu
  • Select self-timer to turn it on or off

This may be the case in the instance where I want to actually appear in the music video since my idea is to have the music video based around displaying friendships. So I would like to have a variety of shots of a group, including me, in the video which will mean that I need o know how to put the self-timer on. As then I could set the camera up on the tripod, with the setting generating a countdown to prepare for the shot to start recording.

To focus control the camera:

  • Click function
  • Click focus
  • When the subject is positioned in the frame uop to your standards, click the MF button on the left hand side of the camera itself
  • The to start recording click the usual red button

This is because I want to make sure all the shots I use are in focus as I don’t want the audience to feel or be in a state of distraction from the music video itself. As the audience may pay close attention to how the subject appears blurry, rather than the meaning of the iconography and cinematography presented.

However, if I wanted to film with soft focus, where the foreground is out of focus and a subject close to the screen is in focus, then I would not activate this setting. This may be the case where I want a particular shot to create an atmospheric effect. Also, I may not know at the time, but in  the background of the shot there may be a distracting mise-en-scene element and I would want to blur this as the audience should concentrate on near objects over distant ones.

To pre-record 3 seconds before:

  • Click the Pre-record button
  • Then select start/stop recording

This feature is especially important because footage can continuously be recorded despite even starting to film from clicking the record button. Therefore, the additional footage means that I won’t miss out on anything important as I can capture the exact moment such as during the party scene of my music video; the best action may happen before I select record.

To white-balance control footage:

  • Click Function
  • Click Rec.program
  • Click Portrait
  • Then click the desired recording programme such as-
  • Low-light setting for recording in low-key shots
  • Portrait for entire focus on the subject
  • Sunset to record vibrant and high-key shots
  • Snow setting is for underexposed subjetcs

I can therefore use the Night-scene or Low-light feature as I will film some scenes at night time when it’s quite dark. Therefore, adjusting the settings will adapt the aperture of the camera so that the footage obtained is just as good without having to change the colour temperature of the shot.

To select the main subject:

  • Click Function
  • Click Menu
  • Click the icon of a recording c amera
  • Then select the Face Detection & Tracking
  • Click turn on/off
  • Then select the icon which appears as an X

I will want to activate the face detection setting because the artist must be recognised in the shot and will help with assisting the grid composition, as in some instances I want the subject to be center framed. So with the white squared frame appearing around the subject means I can see more clearly the subject’s composition within the shot.

There are several many other features including:

  • Grid composition as this feature can be used to help me to conform to the Rule Of Thirds, where the essential technique aligns the subject on the intersecting points of the shot as the audience will naturally follow to these areas. But I may decide to center frame to signify the artist’s importance within the shot; so the horizontal/vertical grid lines aids in composing the shot accurately.
  • The video snapshot feature almost acts like me print screening the footage whilst recording, as I can then document behind the scenes in the making of my music video. I can then create a short film with a selection of my favourite clips/shots.
  • The lens hood/eye cup shuts out other light sources which effect the recording footage. I can then attach the lens hood to the camera when filming during scenes with extra light present in the shot.

 

 

From the Director’s perspective…

I recently watched a YouTube video where a current music video Director called Dontell Antonio talks about the intentions behind his choice in becoming a director. He also distinguishes between the various job roles of those involved in creating media texts such as videos.

From this particular video, I have acknowledged his message, which conveys how the importance of music videos can take the audience to a whole new world through the Director making a creative video, not a typical/basic one. This is in the sense that the video must contain another element that makes it different and thus stand out in comparison to appearing like other videos.

Dontell Antonio discovered his pure passion for directing music videos and photography in general, through studying at the Art Institute in Atlanta. He now uses the Cannon 5D Mark II to produce the video-graphy for main stream/independent music artists.

This directors aspirations to be one the greatest black director of his generation, is extremely inspirational. For the reason that, he shares his advice to upcoming music directors about how the most significant and main thing to do is to “stay true to yourself”  and to “never get comfortable”. I interpret this as meaning to always think of better ways to create something, if the footage to I want isn’t as good as I imagined, then I should re-shoot until I reach the desired goal. Therefore, the final product will be much more better and quite simply ambition can drive you to achieving success; as Dontell Antonio says “if you keep these fundamentals you will grow and be successful”.

The Director Dontell Antonio’s passion stems from his belief in the actual song, that then allows him to be able to add his creative mind in creating the music video.

In addition, as he was a previous hip-hop artist, it means that he understands entirely the artists’ desire in a music video. So as I am currently being involved in the making of the contemporary R&B song for my music video, I feel like I am able to understand what the artists want. For the reason that I gain certain impressions from their ideas expressed in the writing of the lyrical content.

 

“The Director’s life” behind the scenes video-shoot of the most popular song Dontell Antonio has directed, can be viewed below:

Then after watching this video, I have decided to reflect on some of the ideas expressed. For instance how it can be extremely stressful to be a director of a music video because in creating what the audience have high expectations of in this day and age is extremely difficult. This is mainly because the audience want a video straight after the songs release, but the audience don’t know how much time and effort goes into not just the process of filming, but also in the vision of how it will look like/turn out.

Moreover, Dontell Antonio stated that because music videos are a visual product which promotes the brand associated to the artist, the artists themselves have high expectations. For the reason that the music video will give a representation of who they are and what they do to the mass audience; so the artist sometimes have unrealistic ideas which provide an element of challenge for the music director.

But the steps taken to make the video a success involves tackling these obstacles on the way, such as the challenging artist/actor and how in some cases the lighting may not be perfect. However, having the positive attitude and mindset to overcome difficulties will in fact result in a positive outcome.

I also like his positive attitude in believing that he will be successful one day as he grew up from nothing in Chicago, where young men like him are either in jail, dead, or doing nothing with their achievements/degrees from school and university. Although he dropped out of school when he was quite young and has only been a director for 3 years, and has his directed videos described as “high-end, quality creative visuals”  means a great deal. As anyone can have the chance to be a music video director and create successful media texts from their own self-belief as Dontelle Antonio has demonstrated.

Overall, I am inspired by his empowerment of others, since he goes to prove how he made something out of nothing. Also how he understands that there is always room for improvement, to not just better yourself, but the media text (music videos) will increase in quality as well as.

References:

http://www.dontellantonio.com/about.html

My new favourite TV advert…

Recently, whilst watching TV I came across a new promotional advert which was in fact celebrating the 57 years of the hit British TV drama Coronation Street. The must-watch advert, in my opinion, can be viewed below:

The nostalgic tone of the clip uncovers some of the iconic scenes including Vera Duckworth throwing her husband’s clothes out the window taken from the episode released in 1987.

The slightly rapid dolly shot takes the audience’s attention from being an observer of watching the scene like they would have done on their TV. To then feeling as though they are involved in the making of that particular episode, through a wide angle shot displaying the various camera equipment.

image5

Although some of the old scenes were recreated, the audience are still enthralled by the overall production as the mise-en-scene of the costumes match the previous episodes entirely.

The history of the show is contrasted with recent clips from the programme such as the dramatic death of Kylie Platt premiered just last year. As in the advert, a tracking shot with the very subtle cut to the close up shot of a cameraman makes the scenes flow together nicely. But then a jump cut with the sound effect of a police siren is added into the soundtrack. The synchronous sound connects to the visuals of the wide angled long shot of the character David, holding Kylie in his arms on the street. As a result, the audience get an insight to how they produced these classic moments through the behind the scenes perspective of enabling the audience to see the equipment as well as the authentic scenes in the making.

Executive Producer, Kieran Roberts said “It’s a brilliant marketing campaign celebrating Coronation Street’s past, present and future.”

Furthermore, I enjoyed watching the advert on my TV because I thought the unique idea of the montage of historic and recent episodes from Coronation Street offers a great way for the audience to learn how the footage was recorded. As well as informing the audience of the various measures the production team in terms of the Directors, cinematographers plus many more, have to experience in order to create these episodes we still watch up to this very day.

References:

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/coronation-street-nostalgia-moments-video_uk_5996f050e4b01f6e801e1b3f