Creative Critical Reflection 4

How did you integrate technologies, software, hardware and online in this product?

In order to best answer this question, I looked around for a suitable way to present it. I found Piktochart quite useful to present it. Mine one is right below.


Creative Critical Reflection 3

How do your products engage with the audience and how would they be distributed as real media products?

These were the questions to consider.

Target Audience

  • Who are your target audience?
    • What are their ideologies? (demographics, psychographics, audience segmentation eg tribe wired etc)
  • What is your brand identity / missions statement? (genre, star image)
  • How does the design / content of your three products fulfil your audience’s uses and gratification (Blumler and Katz but you don’t need to reference them directly – just use the terms)?
  • How do the products speak to the audience and try to create a relationship with them? (AIDA, B + K, genre, star image, Hall)

Distribution and Marketing

  • Which record label would suit your star / brand?
  • What marketing strategies would you use to create buzz around your album launch?
  • How would you reach your target audience?
  • How are you likely to make your star / album profitable?

For these questions, we decided to go an extra mile and create a vlog, with my team mate Matthieu pretending to be of the band members while I’ll was pretending to be the manager.  We discussed our audiences, their needs, how our work will conform to their needs and how our work would be distribute. The video is below.


Creative Critical Reflection 2

How do the elements of your production work together to create a sense of ‘branding’?

The best way we found to answer this question was to create a director’s commentary on all three products we made. Here’s the video below. If you prefer, there’s a script right below it.


Creative Critical Reflection 1

How do your products use or challenge conventions and how do they represent social groups or issues?

To best answer this question, I thought of using Prezi as the best way to present it. Press on the image to view to the presentation.



Evaluation of website design application

For our website production process, I have used the website editor Wix application and thus learnt a few skills while using it. Although a bit different from most of the software I have used so far, it has many similarities present in Photoshop, InDesign and Word. It has a mixture of those features present in the aforementioned software, such as changing font, placement of images and layout tools. Thanks to past experience with these kind of features, there wasn’t not much to learn, although, it did have a few features that I had to get accustomed to.

One feature that Wix has that other pieces of software don’t have is the animation tool.

With this its possible to animate any feature of the website, from simple images to the navigation bar, you have access to a lot of different ways of animating, from objects materializing at of thin air to them swooping in.

Although it does not look nice, we had to consider the effects on the website and star image. Using animations such as the one materializing would mean give a mysterious, enigmatic vibe, while a one that swooshes in from the outside would get the feel of energy. As our band is energetic, we went with the latter one, especially with the “puff in”, it would give the band image of being in front of the face, after all they want to tackle social issues.

We made sure we didn’t over do it though, as having every little thing flying and whooshing in all over the place would be distracting, and some of the instances would be inappropriate. For example, the main picture of the album,which contains an image of the band, will paint the band as energetic and in your face. However, applying that same animation to serious things such as tour dates and buying for merchandise would make the audience doubt whether they buying from a professional website, this in turn would damage the extra ordinary aspect of the band, which is crucial for the star image.

One neat thing I’ve learnt is that Wix comes with an user friendly merchandise page creation tool, where we can easily implement merchandise to sell without spending hours learning how to apply buttons and link those to checkout pages, etc.

With these tool, it was possible to create and host merchandise, which we hope will ampify the star image of the band. Sure, it does have a few conventional products, such as the album and a “pet rock” which is like a collectible figure, but one product is a joke product, as in does not exist but serves as the bands personal statement.

Everyone knows that “invisible shirts” don’t exist (we hope), so no one will buy them (unless they want to support the band), but will see it as statement about contemporary consumerism, people buy intrinsic worthless things. This should fortify the bands image as a rebellious and socially conscious, thus further convincing the audience that the band will appeal to their needs and expected genre conventions. Also this further reinforces the ordinary and extra ordinary image of the band at the same time, ordinary because they have some cheek, extra ordinary due to them voicing concerns about society.

We these new skills learnt I hope that I can design a successful website that can present the band in the right light in order to appeal a core demographic, and hopefully help to generate a revenue.


Production Skills Evaluation 3

As expected, I have learned several new things since we started to to make digipaks, as well improved my previous skills.

After learning that we could not download and install new fonts from the web as we done when we designed our music magazines, we had to improvise, as the available fonts on InDesign aren’t good enough. So we returned to Adobe Illustrator. With Illustrator one could create custom fonts by the many tools available. Another bonus is that its in vector format, meaning that the files from Illustrator won’t show up as pixelated, making sure that the digipak will look much nicer. Messing around, we created this typeface.

We achieved this by using one of the tools on the side.

Using the one on the far right end, “wrinkle”, we attempted to manipulate text to look more wrinkled, however when tried it, ti always came up to wrinkled.

After messaging around the settings, we found that the intensity was put into 100%, an overkill. We toned it down to 50%.

Turning this down allowed to create the masthead.

We feel this appropriate to digipak. Being an indie rock band, connations such as energy and rebellion need to be present. The wrinkle tool allowed us to create a masthead that’s seems to be surging up with energy (pun intended), and a one step further interpretation is that its ready to blow, just like the degenerate society they’re up against.

Gaining to grips with Adobe Illustrator again might benefit us in the future, as for the website we could create any type of font we want to, if the available font selection is poor. Having some skill in Illustrator allows more creative freedom, we’re no longer constrained by font choice if we can create our own.

During one point in making a draft, we had the idea of adding an abstract background as the digipak is from the indie rock genre and its not unusual to see one have an abstract background. As we cannot take an image from the web and claim as ours by putting in the digipak, we have to make our own. After messing around in Adobe Photoshop, I managed to do something like this.

First off, I got an image of the “band sandwich”, with the background cut out.

Then I applied the crystallize filter, and turn the cell size to a big number, I think changed it to 300 approx.

After thats done, select the empty space around the image using the magic wand tool, right click and select fill…

leave it as normal and press OK…

and voila, you now have an abstract background.

The outcome largely depends on the settings and content available. Here’s some more examples.

The second specifically is an example of using multiple layers, the background was created by an normal picture “fill” picture of the model, while the green one is just a copy with the darken option in “fill”. However, in the end, we did not use any of these images, at least in the first draft. This is because no of them really fit the themes we want to express. The crystallized abstract background, although its a convention of indie rock, the messages communicated by it does not fit the overall theme. It suggests a minimalist band due to the lack of colour and shape. This is not the case, they’re a lively, cheeky band. The third image might work though, its absurd, cheeky and abstract due to mirror images of the model. It will probably work best for a biography part of the website, with each member has a biography accompanied by a portrait shot of themselves.

Another neat thing we discovered by pure accident is the reverse eraser tool, hidden away in plain sight. Its quite useful, as sometimes the magic wand tool and quick selection tool ignores an area or acts unreasonable, thus using the eraser tool manual will lead to better results. In the past, if I accidentally erased part of the picture, I had to undo and do everything again. However, by pure accident I held alt while using the tool, resulting in erased content coming back. As another example;


Then using alt – eraser tool…

Its back, well some of it, I didn’t bother filling it back up for an example.

This will certainly help much later on in the project, I’m certain that I’ll have to cut out more objects out of a background. The major thing I’ve learnt here is that try messing around with some keyboard combinations, there’s probably more hidden tools in Adobe software that can be used.

This is a good example that with Photoshop, you can create anything, all you have to do is mess around with a lot of filters, options and layers to come up with strange imagery.

Overall, I’ve learnt a few more skills in this project so far, allowing for more creative freedom (knowing how to create our own fonts), more ways to produce abstract imagery (from messing around in Photoshop fill tools) and much more time efficiency (I’ve no longer to undo eraser mistakes). With this new skills, I’m more confident in creating a successful digipak and website later on in the digipak.


Feedback on Mock-Up and Targets

We then set out to ask our fellow students to guess which genre our digipak looks like it came from. The majority (17) had concluded its from the indie rock genre, so we’re definitely doing something right. Some have the the second biggest majority (3) had voted pop punk, so there’s still room for improvement. The reason for this is we think is the the black and white colour palette and the typeface of the band’s title, which is quite like graffiti, which is convention of the pop punk genre. As stated before, the typeface is a placeholder as we can’t use the typeface we want. Another reason is that the imagery has a lot of connotations similar of the punk genre. There’s rioting about society, hard and brittle wall and an image of an abstract shape of  man’s head filled with basic consumer needs bashing his head against a wall. These would explain the votes on pop punk. As we got to make sure that the digipak conforms to the correct audience by representing the correct genre, I think we have to do tone down some of the rebellious imagery, as some described the digipak as “questioning social norms”, as representing by the rioting and man bashing his head.

Another thing that people have commented on is the contrasting music tracks. There’s some with obvious religious denotations (“Heaven”, “Symphony” and “Baptism in Fire”), one is political themed (such as “Austerity”)  and two of them are terms straight from a Geography GSCE book (“Abrasion” and “Hydraulic Action”). The themes are all over the place, this would certainly give confusion to the audience. We should really consolidate a consistent theme in the titles of the music tracks.

In terms of positive feedback, many of the terms they used to describe the emotions and feel of the digipak are the things we aimed for. Some called it “cheeky”, “witty” and “amusing” ,two groups actually laughed when they viewed the second page! So we are doing alright with the cheek factor, so we should keep the current content. People also described it as “energetic” “dramatic”, “different” and “rebellious”, again things we aimed for, so should retain the water and the activists.

However, people described with things we certainly not aiming for. “Grungy”, “edgy” “brainwashed” and “dystopian” are prime examples. The reason for these words is the overall colour scheme, 3/4 of pages are in black and white. As the indie rock genre is not recognised for such things, we should brighten it up in terms of colour.


  • Consolidate a consistent theme in the names of the music tracks
  • Add much more colour, its too “dystopian”
  • Cut down a bit on some of the rebellious imagery, make looks like its from the punk genre



Our Mission Statement

As we’re going to make a digipak, one important thing to keep in mind that we need to keep the overall brand image and marketing strategy consistent. For us specifically, the messages communicated in our music video will need to be reflected in our digipak, and certain conventions of the chosen genre will need to be present too. As a rule, we cannot go for the shortcut of basing the design of our digipak on our music video, as the album is not devoted to the one music track.

In order to keep the brand image consistent, we were given the tasked to come up with band name, mission statement and marketing strategies, such as a call to action. The band’s name is Consurge, meaning stand up in Latin. It fits genre quite well, there’s the idea of standing up for yourself and unbridled energy (from the conventions of the word “surge”), both fit the indie rock genre. Below is the summary of the different marketing strategies and the mission statement.


USP (Unique Selling Point)

  • Consurge are new to the big time but they are ready to leave an imprint on the world of rock music.
  • As being a part of the indie rock genre, they are rebellious, not afraid to have their say, but they certainly have time for some banter and mischief, all represented creatively. They’re music will reflect this.
  • Growing up from their living room sofas, the band will be represented as ordinary average Joes, however this will be contrasted against their extraordinary sense of creativity and their willingness to help others.
  • Although seen their wearing leather jackets when in physical appearance, they like to express themselves in an abstract way in the media, such as in albums and promotional art. This goes along with the indie rock conventions and their already established creativity.
  • Living in Hull has resulted in a wide variety of music they’ll produce, from the teenage days wasted being idle to seeing the city you’ve grown up suffering from the recession, all of these will hit the emotional centers of the brain.

A Call to Action

The audience will be called to do action based on several factors. Consurge will be regularly use its social media to communicate with its audience, as the band itself like’s banter, and the audience can easily give it to them. As expected, fans will be purchasing music from several forms of mediums, from physical albums to downloads from Spotify.

The Audience 

The core target audience comprises mostly of men aged 40-54 in the C2DE social class, with a disposable income ranging from £500 -£999. They seek enjoyment and comedy, but they don’t shy away from hard hitting truths most of the time. Being generally left-winged, they strive for a general progress of society, an ideology shared by Consurge and the rest of indie rock genre.

The Competition

Being in the indie rock genre, it can be argued that all bands in the genre could be considered as competition, however, Kasabian, Kaiser Chiefs and the Arctic Monkeys are the closest competitors, due to their similar background, music and themes such as black and white media texts. The way the band is differentiated from them is that their themes of their music stems from their memories of living in the port city of Hull, resulting in divergent from the other bands.

With this all in mind, the mission statement is going to reflect the above strategies and aim to hook the attention of the target audience.

Consurge Mission Statement:

Consurge is the new and upcoming indie rock band ready to expose themselves to the world all the way from their living room sofas in Hull. Having grown up together in Hull their rebellious rough music is deeply personal to each member of the band. World, consider this your warning.


Production Skills Evaluation 2

Since the last blog post about skills I have learnt more important production skills.

One critical skill I learnt is to use the little viewer of the camera. These things only work with out of filming mode, but allow the user to see the image much better, specifically, if the objects are in focus or not. I only learnt this after the second shoot, I really wish we’ve learnt this sooner, as it helps to determine whether the clip will be in focus and not blurred. More clips after the second shoot are in focus overall compared to the clips from the first two shoots. As our video is judged on its quality, having more in focus clips does help to get the better marks.

A clip from the first shoot

A clip from the third shoot, less blurred compared to the other one

Although its a minor thing, I have been praised for my directing skills by my tutor. Instead of describing the actions the actors are supposed to do, I just do the action which I want them to copy. This certainly has saved some time, as there are less shots of actors doing the wrong action than before.

The local Adobe Pro Premiere expert, Lenny, came into our lessons and gave us a few tips in order to improve the special effects side of our music videos. For us specifically, he taught us about the existence of adjustment layers.

They are layers, when placed upon a series of clips, will apply special effects and colour corrections on all of the clips below it, meaning that we don’t have to apply the same effects to each individual clip again and again. This is reserves precious time for something else. It also allows to easily compare the difference in clips with different colour corrections as well, as we can easily move the adjustment layer elsewhere to see the difference.

Along with it, he introduced to us the colour correction and effects options available in adjustment layers. These include colour wheels, basic corrections, curves and vignette, which all apply different effects.

Messing around with these can help to change the colour of a clip to a great extent, giving us a the power to manipulate the themes and feelings in which a clip can gives us. For example, compare the difference between these two.

The one below obviously the edited one, but it communicates different things to the audience than the one above. Its much more dreamlike, suggesting its a flashback (which it its suppose to be), and of concerning nature, suggesting an internal struggle or a hint of what might come in the future, these are the connotations that are being emitted here. The dark colours and lower contrast give the feelings of darkness, further implying some dark things are to happen, something that the main star. The vignette around the edges gives it a sense of claustrophobia, a sense of helpless and imprisonment, which are the major themes in this video. This suggests the main star is helpless and forced to do these things, he is not all too different from the prisoners. This gives the justifications on his sympathy towards to the prisoners and later on his actions.

The effective use of colour can help to communicate themes, and as there’s quite bit in our narrative, colour manipulation is important for our project.

At this stage in the process one thing that is biting us now is the colour correction. We filmed in different periods of weather, resulting in different lighting for our clips, leading to inconsistent lightning and thus inconsistent themes communicated. To deal with this, we have to colour correction a lot of individual clips and its a pain. What we should have done, is to shoot at consistent weather periods to avoid this. For us students its inconvenient, due to our studies and other current responsibilities. However, if I was do something like this again in the future (maybe possibly the digipack?), I’ll need to remember this.

Another thing we’re learnt from Lenny is that the ability to put on masks on a clip.

Masks can be put on top of clip and effect an area with different effects. For example, when the vignette was not appearing at all on our videos, Lenny suggested an alternative way to put vignette by using masks. First, create a black video…

Create new mask in effects control than draw on the clip…

Invert it and change the opacity to make it less bold.

And there’s a weak vignette. I can’t exactly remember how Lenny managed to prefect it, but at least we know the basics. Thankfully the vignettes appear when rendered, so we don’t have to rely on masks. Masks can darken specific parts of the video, or change the colour inside/outside the mask. Using masks can allow abstract shots like this-

Although I don’t think we’re going to this any time soon, its a nice skill to know, who knows, we might use when making the digipak (for example, we export an image to do something similar above).

Looking at other group’s videos, most of them have praiseworthy special effects, which our music video lacks. There’s slow motion, eyes changing colour suddenly, blur effects just to name a few, which we don’t have. Although it does not matter that much to our video, as much of the meaning comes from the narrative, for me its not good, as my skills did not progress as much as everyone else. If we were tasked to create an abstract music video, I feel that that I would struggle. By focusing on a traditional styled music video, not on modern where special effects have a huge role, I feel I sacrificed the chance to develop my special effects. This could to problems in the future, if I were to do media production, I might not have enough skills, thus my job secrutiy is threatened.

I feel I should have spent time learning special effects independently, even if the newly learnt skills wouldn’t contribute, as this could benefit me in the future.



Production Skills Evaluation 1

During this process so far, I learnt several skills do with media production, especially with Adobe Premiere Pro.

In the special effects section, we figured a way to get blood squibs in the video. First we went onto YouTube and search for blood splatter green screen effects.

We copy the link and then download the video as a mp4 file via a website.

We then import to Premiere Pro…

However, the clip still has the green screen right behind, so if try to put the clip on top of another clip, this is what we’re going to get.

To get rid of this, we go to effects and search up ultra key…

Insert in the clip’s effect control, select the key colour and the click on the green…

And the green is gone.

The blood is so its mark, so we’re going to move it. We return to effects control, specifically video effects and adjust the scale and position. And voila!

The reason why we added the blood squibs in the first place is that we both feel that it compliments the dark themes the video has. The blood squibs explicitly tells that what the main star is doing and helps to understand why, I feel that many view the video with numbness after a while, due to the repetitive nature of the video. I think it works quite well, so far most of the people who have seen the video viewed with some shock. Although I think most of the shock comes from the fact that blood squibs are used rarely in student’s music video, it wakes the audience to brutal reality which the main star lives in and therefore feel sympathy and understands the main star actions later on.

With positioning it also to possible to “crop” clips down. This is quite useful when the some of the clips aren’t frame that well. Consider the clip below.

Now its cropped down a bit.

A minor change, but potentially important. Now the guards are now lined within the third of rules, this means the audience are more likely to spot them. As our video heavy relies on visual narrative, its important the audience is able to pick up all the important visual clues. The cropping also extends the leading space, so when the main star runs off screen, it will look much better too.By using the rule of thirds, we can easily divert their attention where we want them to. Cropping helps us to do that. For example, in the shot right below, the screen is taken up by the main star’s face on the right and the rifle on the left.

Once cropped, it now look like this.

With the rifle out of the way and the main star’s face on the rule of thirds, it means the attention of the audience is now solely on his reaction. At this point in the story the main star is at the point of return, thinking about desertion. This reaction shot symbolises his feelings toward the matter, and the death of the prisoner which is done via an eyeline match. Hopefully this shot will help the understand what is going to happen next.

Continuing on what I’ve learnt, we applied the scale and positioning to another of our clips, but it happens over period of time as there’s a key frame placed. in other words, it seems as if the clip is zooming in. This is quite useful when you on the day of the shoot you forget to create a zoom in shot. With a zoom in shot, it’s easy to focus attention as well. It also places significance on the object that’s being zoomed in to. For example, a POV shot where the camera zooms onto the last prisoner signifies that the main star has certain feelings toward that prisoner, possibly sympathy.

Although I have learnt a few things, our video lacks the finesse special effects which others have. This is due to the more traditional music video we’re doing, however, I think we should try to experiment more. Having a wider range of skills will help us later in life, its better to start acquiring them now.

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