Skills – 1a

Lesson 1 + 2

Big Fat Skills Quiz

Fully Complete your Skills template in classroom. In particular focus on RP (this will be your mock question).  Remember some of the stories you have already done for PP and DT could be used here – don’t make work for yourself.

Do not complete the Conventions section yet.

Always remember the skill needs a starting point and a finishing point.  This can be anywhere in the course but each skill story needs to show progression.

The most important aspect is that you evidence how the skill impacted specifically on the product i.e. not just that it made it nicer, more professional. What do you mean by that. How did the colour filter directly impact on the anarchic, grungy star image? How did  the transition develop the narrative disruption for the story?

Remember to use the name of the tools, techniques.

Revisit your essays for excellent examples and revisit classroom for exemplar paragraphs that others have submitted.

Write like a media student: use terms from across your media learning.




Genre – Concepts 1b

Lesson 1

First of all – try and write a definition of Genre in one sentence.  This could be your opening sentence for your concepts essay, if Genre comes up.  Share your ideas with the class.

Just to recap – how much can you remember about Genre and the theories, theorists that accompany this concept?  Take the quiz.

Big Fat Genre Quiz – to recap on structure and basic theories

Revisit Genre

Victoria Sponge

Read this presentation on your own for 10 minutes & familiarise yourself with its contents.

It has everything you need in it for the Concepts section of the exam.

Genre Framework – you can use your Thriller, Music Video or Digipak.

Concept Essay Structure

  • Think about all the work you have recently done on Conventions for your Evaluation Questions.
    • The answers and ideas are all in there.
    • So revisit your blog posts about Genre.

And now revisit the quiz. How much more do you remember, know now than at the beginning of the lesson?

Lesson 2

Now that you have revisited and refreshed your memories about Concepts and in particular Genre, you will write up an essay in this class.  You can use your notes or refer to the blog for ideas but you will only have the allocated 25 minutes. So the first 15 minutes of the lesson you can prepare as well. Those of you who have extra time can have the whole of the lesson so do some prep before or you can complete the question at home.

The question will be:

  • Apply the concept of genre to one of your coursework productions. – June 2014

Digipack Hand drawn Mockup

Please use the next lesson(s) to produce a hand drawn mock up of the digipack you are going to make in the next 2 weeks.  Collate the best ideas from your moodboards.

You should:

  • Drawn, mock-up design of digipak – 4 panes on A3 paper.
  • Annotated with conventional and technical features.

dp mock updp mock up 2

Annotate the designs with the conventional technical elements (barcode, song titles, publisher etc) but also label the designs with how the Media Language of print will help encode the star image and metanarrative of the performer – font, colours, design, graphics, illustration, framing etc. What are the conventional design features for your genre that you will be including? What are you using to encode meaning – what media language will you be employing – font, text, colour, images etc?

In your introduction remember to use the terms for genre, star image, encoding, decoding, preferred readings etc. The more you use the terms now, the easier it will be in the exam to talk about the DP in the Concepts section 1b.

PDF the design into your blog.

DP – Genre and Moodboard

Genre & Digipack

  • After considering how genre is reflected in the design of a Digipak, you will now have to create your own individual moodboard to collate ideas for your Digipak cover.
  • As a group you will then reflect on your own ideas and choose aspects of them to follow through to a Digipak mock up as the next task.

Remember you are creating an album cover for the band/performer – not just the song you have done your music video for, although this will feature in the song list.

You should consider all of the following and find images, ideas to illustrate the feel of the Digipak design.

  1. Images – MES, locations, characters, designs, graphics, illustrations, photos etc
  2. Typefaces
  3. Colour Schemes
  4. Inspirational Digipacks – something similar?
  5. Logos
  6. Copy Ideas – text etc.

Inspiration for your moodboard on publisher, Pinterest or any other app you want to use:

Here is an example Moodboard for a Music Magazine

Example 1 on Pinterest


LOOK AROUND FOR INSPIRATION – DON’T JUST GOOGLE! and add in BUZZ words for a busy, brainstorm of exciting ideas.

  • Colour Scheme Designer (Mixes colours and find complementary ones)
  • Colour Lovers ( a brilliant site with pallettes hex codes (copy and paste in Photoshop)
  • Flikr (great images)
  • Pintrest (good for typefaces, textures, design ideas…)
  • Behance (Lots of portfolios of work from inspirational creatives)
  • Typography to inspire (100 great pieces of typography to feed your inspiration)


LOOK AROUND FOR INSPIRATION – DON’T JUST GOOGLE! and add in BUZZ words for a busy, brainstorm of exciting ideas.

Digipak analysis – conventions

We now need to have a look at how digipaks and adverts are designed to work alongside videos to support the promotion of a new album.

Consider digipak covers. What do they have in common? What are the conventions?

Here are our notes on the conventions of a digipak. Read them when you get stuck.

Now you must find a digipak cover from the same genre as your music video and annotate it for the design conventions. This must be uploaded to your blog. Make it detailed and use the terms from the sheets below. If you can find the back of it too, that would be great for some of the technical conventions i.e. barcode, publisher logo etc.

Here is an example analysis

You should focus on: images, graphics, illustrations, font, colour, technical conventions (barcode, parental advisory, album title on spine, tracks on the back), register of copy, mise-en-scene, composition, intertextual references, how does the cover communicate meaning, denotations and connotations, image manipulation, filters, generic conventions, how can it be ‘read/interpreted’ by an audience, star image, metanarrative, representation?

This is a textual analysis – decode it!  Use connectives like connote, infer, imply, represent. This is another way MEDIA LANGUAGE is used to communicate an idea, message, image etc.

In the introduction to the blog post we want you to do a bullet point list of the conventional and technical features that are common to digipaks too – include the spine, inside covers and back cover – what is commonly featured? Bar code?  Parental advisory?  Name of the album and performer on the spine?  Song list on the back? etc

Genre (1b Concepts) Research

Genre is simultaneously an act of similarity and difference.

Two of the theorists you should understand and be able to quote, apply and analyse for the Concepts 1b section of the exam are Lacey and Altman (Page 13/14 of the Theory Booklet). You may get a question on genre and how one of the products was ‘generic’ i.e. it followed set patterns, conventions and ideas to fit the genre of music in order to appease its fans.

Lacey’s ‘Repertoire of Elements’ (recipe of ingredients) contribute towards the following ideas of how genre is classified according to Altman.

  • Blueprint 
  • Label 
  • Contract 
  • Structure

TASK (this is collaborative so you can submit the same document but you all have to equally contribute).

Create a Slideshow with a voice-over or a Voicethread focusing on the Repertoire of Elements necessary for your particular band /artist to be generically conventional.   You could also use Screencastify to record your narration. You can then embed it in your blog. You should also mention print design.  You can probably already use a lot of your ideas from your song pitch but be careful not to just copy this but instead use it as a foundation for exploring the genre of your song and how this will impact on the video and the digipak design.

Some of the suggested areas to cover are on the sheet provided but you should consider too: iconography, camera and editing, sound, narrative, star image, performance and Digipak designs.

Find generically similar artists.

  • Discuss who they are, what do they wear, how do they style themselves, where do they perform, who are their fans, how are their digipaks / videos similar, what common features are there in their music videos (fast paced editing, hand held camera, filters, locations, authentic/live performances, produced performances etc). Use your performer too in amongst the analysis.

Ensure you get the following terms in to your PRESENTATION and also your introduction and reflect on the value of the task in the blog:  

  • Repertoire of elements
  • Conventions
  • Blueprint
  • Predictable pleasure
  • Contract
  • Label
  • Target audience

Consider ‘genre’ as you produce your video and it will be so much easier to talk about if it comes up in the exam in Section 1b. 

This is an exemplar from last year: look for Genre Analysis in the Music Video category

Victoria Sponge! One way of remember what ‘genre’ is all about.

MV – Your music video ideas (Synesthesia) – links to music sites – INSPIRATION

Synaesthesia is a way of generating ideas from music – effectively ‘seeing sounds in your head’.

It is a really helpful technique to use when listening to music in order to come up with visual ideas.

When listening to a piece of music you should concentrate on each of the following features in turm:

  • Sense of subject matter
  • Grain of voice
  • Arrangement
  • Suggested Stories
  • Cultural references

Here is a Prezi which explains and illustrates these ideas:

Task 1 (done collectively)

  • You will listen to two songs and write down the images, ideas, colours, adjectives, themes, subjects that come to mind when listening to the lyrics, beat, grain of voice, tempo etc.
  • Then we will watch the videos and see how close you were to how the music was interpreted in visuals.

Task 2: you have @ 5 lessons and independent study to complete this.

Independent Study – Develop and present a music video idea for one song.
You need to short list some songs (see below the guidance on choosing songs) and, using synesthesia, develop some tangible ideas for one of them.
You should present your ideas as a inspiration board of found images / videos. It should include:
  • The genre of music & repertoire of elements associated:
    • The look of the band / lead singer
    • Locations for performance / narrative
    • Style of Performance
    • Costume / Make Up / Hair
    • Instruments
    • Colour Palettes
    • Narrative Events
You may use whatever digital format you like: Google Slides, Prezi, Pinterest, Photoshop, InDesign…or something else…(please check with your teacher)
Choosing a Song
  • Start with thinking, ‘Who will perform this?’ and work from there.
  • Perhaps opt for a solo performer to make organisation easier
  • Don’t choose a song by your favourite band/star.
  • Don’t choose something that is well known.
  • Don’t choose something too long, 3 – 4 minutes is plenty.
  • Album tracks or cover versions are useful options
  • Beware of Warner Music Group and its associated record labels

Please listen to music on these site for inspiration:

This presentation should include:

  • a moodboard – to encompass genre and star image
  • annotated lyrics (like you’d annotate a poem – with visual / thoughts / themes)
  • an embedded mp3
  • extended step outline in terms of a description of the narrative
  • Introductions of your ideas for narrative and performance to include key terms for genre and star image and narrative (use the terms in context and refer back to previous blog posts for theorists, ideas, concepts).

MV – Dummy Mash Up – Genre analysis

Your group will now have been allocated a specific ‘generic’ section of the Dummy Mash Up that you need to research, plan, film and edit.

Taking your ‘genre’ (acoustic, pop, rap, indie rock, girl band etc) you must now research what are the conventional features that are associated with this genre of music video? This ‘repertoire of elements’ (recipe of ingredients) is something you will need to research in your own video and be able to write about and analyse in the exam, so the sooner you start thinking in media term and focus on genre, the better.

Conventions are Crucial. Why? They give predictable pleasure to the audience who will have certain expectations that they want satisfied – the music producers will follow a pre-established ‘blueprint’ (map) that they follow which will form part of the ‘contract’ (mutual agreement) with the audience. However, audiences demand novelty and in order to be creative and to ensure that the video is watched again and again, there has to be something that goes beyond conventional boundaries in order to make it watchable, entertaining, intriguing – new.

Genre document – terms and theorists

Task 1:

Create a collage of images taken from music videos of similar artists of the same genre. Find conventional features – what style of costume, narrative (themes), location, performance style, cinematography (camera & lighting), editing regularly feature in music videos from this genre of music? A clear understanding of these conventional features will inspire you for your Dummy Mash Up section.

Annotate your collage with appropriate adjectives, nouns, adverbs that relate to that genre – edgy, rebellious, emotional, romantic, canted angles and any other words that you associate with the genre I.e. Bass guitar, ripped jeans, festivals, live performance, cover versions, countryside  etc.

Once you have done this, discuss your findings with the group so that you can start to iron out and focus on how to make your section ‘conventional‘ yet ‘contemporary‘ or in other simpler terms, ‘the same but different’?

Here’s an example:

Elements of punk, grunge, indie & rock.