Critical Reflection Essay

Charlotte Green
Critical Reflection on Component 3
COMPONENT 3 BRIEF COMPLETED:
A promotion package for the release of an album, to include:
– A music video (major task).
– A social media page (minor task).
– A digipak (minor task).

Contents

  • How do the elements of your production work together to create a sense of ‘branding’?
  • How did your research inform your products and the way they use or challenge conventions?
  • How do your products represent social groups or issues?
  • How do your products engage with the audience?

 

Branding is a set of values. All of the elements work together to create a sense of branding because of the use of representation and star image to portray my star as charismatic. De Saussure talks about language to be a collection of signs, signifying something. I did my digipak shoot in a ball pool so the balls are the sign which signifies my artist being carefree. Dyer uses the metanarrative of the star to say that a star is ordinary yet extraordinary, present yet absent. I did this by using ordinary locations yet extraordinary editing. My mission statement highlights this saying “using classic pop with her vintage tones and unique performances” because it shows she is pushing the boundaries and daring to be different through living her life to the fullest.

Colour Scheme of my Instagram Page.

I have used the same colour palette to show branding in the music video and the Instagram page. I have used pink to reinforce cohesion. This will help my products gravitate towards my demographic because my artist is young and female like my demographic, showing unity. My mission statement says that “Using classic pop with her vintage tones and unique performances”. This manifests itself through the products because I have gone for a vintage look on my Instagram page and music video with a filter to add detail while I have gone for a modern look on my digipak. Hall talks about a producer encoding and the audience decoding a media text. This reflects my products as the audience can decode that my social media page is vintage.

“Living life to the full” in my music video.

Furthermore, my elements of my production work together to create a sense of branding because I have used the same theme throughout all three products: living life to the full. The ideologies of my star and product are making the most of every moment. My audience relates to it as a normal feeling. My artist is relatable as there is a connection amongst all of my products. This is demonstrated in the music video where I have portrayed three friends having fun on the beach.

 

I did some research before I created my music video as then I knew what conventions to include and which to challenge. Conventions of pop include the same artist in the narrative and performance as well as handheld shots making the narrative more intimate. I analysed Jess Glynne’s Thursday music video and saw that the conventions were an authentic music video in monochrome and natural make-up so the video looked raw with a strong link to the narrative. Altman talked about blueprints in media. Lacey talks about a repertoire of elements, so I can appreciate that all genres have specific ingredients.

My actresses.

I used my research to inform my products as I used different people to my artist in my music video. My music video challenges conventions as I have confused the audience and made it seem unique. For pop, it is conventional to have the artist in the performance and in the narrative. I challenged Lacey’s theory of genre as well as Altman’s idea of blueprints because I wanted to make my music video stand out. My music video is more relatable because the actresses don’t have any star image so it is accessible. My research informs my products because it is unconventional so the audience can enjoy it more. Through challenging conventions, it makes my artist seem daring.

 

Intimate, handheld shot.

Another example of how I used my research to inform my products is how I used handheld shots in my music video. An example of this is some close up shots of a kite. This highlights that my music video has a home movie look which everyone can relate to. I have used pop music video conventions so my audience can recognise what kind of video it is and don’t reject the text with it.

My digipak represents my female pop star the best, I have used lots of conventional and stereotypical mise-en-scene. As Barthes suggests, the balls use symbolic code to symbolise the fun and carefree feelings in childhood so representing my star as relevant and typical. Barthes talks about the semic and cultural code seen when my artist wears a white dress to convey her purity and angelic qualities. Dyer’s star image makes my artist seem ordinary and present as she is in a ball pool which everyone has experienced.

My front cover, where my artist wears a tight dress.

One example of this is through the costume. I have used a sophisticated dress which my target demographic might wear out to a party. This reinforces that my demographic can relate to my artist, therefore seeing her as ordinary. It makes my artist look youthful and confident. Making the audience think, if she can wear a dress like that, I can too!

My shoot was in a ball pool.

Additionally, I have used my digipak for representation through the setting as the shoot was set in a ball pool. This makes the audience think back to their carefree days as a child where they played in ball pools. My artist is having fun, like my target demographic. Everyone can relate to this and connotes my artist as a fun person who is relatable. My star is represented as cheeky, not afraid to let her hair down. This is something I think it is really important to convey to my target audience because it helps young people not to worry as much. My digipak represents my young female pop star because it focuses on the representation of a young female pop star through colours, images, typeface and photoshop.

It is important my social media page engages my audience because it draws them in and fulfills the audience’s desires in an Instagram page: entertainment, personal identity, social interaction and information, spoken about by Blumler and Katz. The audience consumes media for these reasons. Through this, they gain satisfaction having achieved these goals. This links to the producer encoding a media text and the audience decoding that media text (Stuart Hall) to get a preferred reading.

Design coherence.

My social media page engages my demographic because of the design coherence. It includes some of the same images and fonts used in my products. For example, I have used the same pink colour that I used in my other products. It allows my audience to see the cohesion and relate back to the music video and the key message from it, therefore gaining personal identity. – Making them feel like they know my artist. It engages my young, female demographic in a stereotypical way but a commercially viable way.

A sneak peak teaser video I made.

My social media page absorbs my audience’s attention by there being lots of teaser content like videos. I have done this because it leaves the audience wanting more and then they can go onto my artist’s website to buy merchandise. It reinforces a call to action therefore my artist makes money. It engages my audience’s attention as a sneak preview makes the audience feel special, making them want to see more. This links to the Uses and Gratifications theory because it provides opportunities for my audience to interact with each other in the comments. It gives entertainment as the audience can enjoy watching the teaser content, and provides opportunities to socially interact and reaffirm personal identity.

Design Skills 2

We have now started filming our narrative, so with that in mind here are some editing tricks we have been using.

Firstly, there is the colour adaption tools. We have used these to make the sunsets brighter and the sea to look more blue. This has really enabled us to make it look like the weather and the filming conditions have been amazing even when they have not been. The colour correction has really enabled us to use all our shots, even if the lighting or conditions were not great because we can adapt it so it looks like our ideal scenario.

In this screenshot you can see a colour wheel, which we have used to change the colour ratios of the pictures. For example the sunset you see below, we wanted more oranges and reds in it so we stretched the colour wheel in that direction. (That is why you can see dots in that area of the wheel.) This has really impacted our music video because it makes the summer look more idealistic and perfect. This matches our star image as an audience perceive a star to be extraordinary and ordinary and this is portrayed through the perfect conditions in the shots.

Furthermore, in this screenshot you can see the difference the colour wheel made for this shot. What was quite a weak orange colour is now bright and filled with life. In addition, we also added more darkness and shadows to the rocks to create more of a comparison.

In making all these editing changes, it has really helped us to improve and connote our star image as like the shots are perfect, so are the star. We have also gone for quite a naturalistic vibe with our narrative so I believe that the sunsets and florals we are going to put in with bright colours will really help us to show this.

Design Skills 1

I have used lots of different skills when editing my music video in Premier Pro. Editing takes a long time but once you get it right, it looks really effective. Here are some examples of transitions and effects we put on our music video to try and enhance star image, our genre and our music video in general.

Here is a screenshot of a cross dissolve transition we put in:

We put in several cross dissolves because it creates a fluid transition between the shots. We mainly used this between two shots from the same shoot. So, for example, a lighting shot to a different angle of a lighting shot. This really helped us to add variety and so the shots would look less plain. This really enhances star image because it creates an effortless transition between shots. It portrays the star as elegant and unique. With our main theme being discovery, this also reflects the themes because it is like you discover the second shot within the first shot. This really makes the music video more engaging for the audience. Cross dissolves are not very conventional for our genre so we are testing conventions by doing this showing that our star is pushing the boundaries and discovering new things.

Here is a screenshot of some of the colour correction we did:

We edited a lot of the videos with colour correction as we wanted the lighting to be a lot stronger than it actually was. This enabled us to use a wider variety of colours without actually purchasing more gels. We mainly used it for our long shots as the further away we got from the lighting, the weaker the lighting got. This really helped us to add variety and difference to shots that looked originally quite similar. It portrays the star as unreachable and unique. With our main theme being discovery, this also reflects the themes because it is like you are discovering more colours (and more sides to the artist) as you watch the video. This really adds lots of variety to the music video and makes it more engaging.

Here is a screenshot of the saturation editing:

We played around with saturation a lot during editing. In some of the shots, the colours were not as bright as we wanted them to be. This meant that we used the saturation editing to make some of the colours brighter and more vibrant. Personally, I think this has really helped our music video as if we did not get the lighting quite as we wanted it, we have managed to change it with editing the saturation. This has impacted our star image because it has made the star look brighter and more unreachable. It makes them look like a mere fantasy to the audience as it does not look natural with the lighting, In addition, it has impacted our genre because conventionally, pop music videos will be very brightly lit and vibrant, so we have tried to recreate this in real life and with the saturation editing tool.

Furthermore, between 15-17 seconds we do lots of quick straight cuts as the music gets quicker. This really emphasizes that as the music gets quicker, so does the filming. It reinforces cohesion and fluidity between the editing, filming and music. This impacts star image because it makes our star look more professional and into the music. It gives the illusion of her being skilled as it is effective as it goes the same speed of the music. This impacts our pop genre because it is very conventional for the genre, lots of pop music videos have multiple straight cuts making it look clean and modern. The fact that we have stuck to conventions symbolizes that it is recognizable as a pop music video and our star also tries to fit in.

Overall, I am pleased with the editing we have done for our music video. We have used a variety of different techniques and effects to get the look and aesthetic we want for our music video. The editing has really helped to enhance our star image and create a professional and engaging first draft of our music video. When we do some more editing, (once we have our narrative in) we will work hard to try and learn some new techniques for Premier Pro to enhance our music video further. We will do this by, over the summer, watching YouTube videos on how to use Premier Pro and new techniques on how to add in different effects and filter. But, as a first draft, we are more than happy with our first attempt at editing.