Monday, 14 December 2009

CW - Evaluation: Main Product and Ancilliary Texts


  • We based our print text around our original main product.
  • We researched a majority of album covers and advertisements within this genre of music, and all print media produced by The Shins.

  • From this we found that The Shins used a cell shaded, cartoony art style on their advetisements and the majority of their album covers.

  • We also used the same hand-written font used in all their advertisements and album covers to aid in band identity.
  • Majority of their album covers and advertisements are hand drawn, or are made to look this way, e.g. the 'Wincing the Night Away' album cover.

  • We came up with the idea to depict challenging ideological discourse of the dominant capitalist mindset.


  • This idea was postmodern as it is ironic when combined with the main product, as capitalism is glorified by all the businessmen wearing suits in heaven.
  • Shown as unappealing to the audience by showing the businessmen with no faces, connoting that this ideology creates lack of identity.

  • Band not shown on cover.
  • This creates a genuine and pure image of the band, and creates an anti-brand image.
  • We decided to use an evening lit sky for the digipak as it represents the end of the working day, and connotes a more depressing tone.
  • We put the album title on 'the heavenly gates' on our digipak.
  • It represents the route to the true happy way of life through the happy connotations of the gold bars and brighter sky behind them.
  • We used a blue lit, daytime sky inside the digipak. This connotes that the music inside is happier or the way through the gate.

  • The song list being inside the digipak connotes that they are special, and creates an enigma as to which songs are on the album, enticing the audience.


  • We decided to take the same graphic style and use the same location as on the album cover.

            • This would help to advertise the album cover and band further by the audience being able to recognise the art style as a visual motif of The Shins.
            • George and I created a text saying that the album is out now, to promote the album.

            • We included band name, and all text in key corners of the page, for reading line.

            • Here we also created a postmodern image by ironically showing prisoners in heaven.
            • They are going down an escalator to signify they are lower ranked than the people on the higher cloud.
            • The four prisoners are depicted to be The Shins by there being only four of them by themselves, on the escalator named the same name as their album.

            • This connotes that the sorting of people via levels of society forces people to conform, removing individualism.
            • This enigmatic meaning in the advertisement conforms to advertisements of this genre of music, and certainly 'The Shins'.

            DYER'S FRAMEWORK

            Band seems to challenge stereotypical brand imaging. However, using Dyer's critical framework, brand image conforms to traditional rockstar image through anti-establishment, anti-authoritarian and rebellious motifs shown throughout the video.

            First person mode of address in lip-synching sections of the video create a para-social intimacy with the characters and band, as it feels as the characters, and therefore band through the lyrics are speaking directly to the audience.

            Brand image is perceived as genuine, and missing the artificial look. It is also seen as very naturalistic, anti-establishment and without need for monetary success. These qualities are shown throughout the video by various connotations, e.g. playing in a treehouse with knitted jumpers connote a naturalistic, care-free lifestyle, and showcases musical talent seemingly genuinely. This creates 'The Shins'' star image.

            This ties into Dyer's paradox of the star image. 'The Shins' are shown simultaneously as both extraordinary and ordinary. They are depicted as ordinary through wearing everyday clothing, and playing in a natural, ordinary, run-down treehouse. This helps the audience to identify with the band. However they are also shown to be extraordinary though musical talent.

            Another of Dyer's paradox of the star image is present in our video by being both present and absent simultaneously. The band are shown as present by being shown physically on the screen, in a relatable location, and are shown playing to the audience. However they are also shown as absent, by their physical absence from the audience, and their absence from the narative, and when they are shown as not to be playing to the audience.

            Our print work also convey these same qualities of the star image.

            The album cover conforms to this particular star image by not showing the band, which connotes they just care about the music, which then depicts the band's image to be uncaring of materialistic goods.

            The advertisement also shows the star image paradoxes present in both the music video and album cover.

            The advertisement shows the band as both extraordinary and ordinary. Ordinary by showing the band as slaves to society, just as everyone in the video. However they are shown as extaordinary by being shown as alone, and through the physical idea of the band being advertised due to their musical talent.

            The advertisement also shows the band to be both present and absent due to the band being visible on the poster, yet in reality far away.

            These factors present in all our created texts create a para-social intimacy between the band and audience.

            Thursday, 10 December 2009

            CW - Evaluation: Forms and Conventions

            Using Goodwin's critical framework, our video conforms to the stereotypical music video, via amplification of sound and lyrics through a visual medium such as:

            • Lyrics amplified by lip syncing in some sections.

            • Sound amplified by cutting rate.
            • Sound amplified by performance sections.
            • Lyrics amplified through mise-en-scene connotations, e.g. ‘with all their pearly snapping’ is amplified by the housewife talking, CU into the camera, teeth ‘pearly’ teeth ‘snapping’.
            • Voyeuristic notion of looking as boy looks into mirror.

            • First person mode of address when mother speaks to boy/audience.
            • Narrative based.
            • Strong relationship between music and visuals.

            Traditional gender roles are shown, and critiqued in our music video by displaying stereotypical gender values ironically by:

            • Heteronormative discourse, as shown by housewife, and mother with males.
            • This shows traditional gender traits, e.g. apron.

            • No artificial look on band members, inspires a naturalistic look about the band.

            • Artificial look on housewife, e.g. lipstick amplifies the ‘veneer’ of a traditional happy life.
            • Function ranking of parents over boy by low angle, and hands on shoulders.

            Prefered reading of our text is shown through visual signifiers chosen in our video. Some of these used were:

            • Band costumes connote a natural and financially less dependant lifestyle.
            • Jumpsuit and ball and chain connote that the unnamed man is a prisoner to his job and in his own life.

            • Jumpsuit and suit shown to be same thing when suit is put on over jumpsuit.
            • Lighting in band shots connote a happier, less depressing feeling in contrast to the darker shots in the narrative.
            • Time lapse from day to night lighting connotes than man has been standing there for a long time (days).
            • Woods and treehouse in band shots connote a natural, anti-establishment ideal.
            • Shot from fish tank conveys how the unnamed man is trapped within his job and life also, just as fish are in the tank.

            • This shot also depicts how he is a ‘mindless drone’, as fish in the tank are seen this way.
            • Typing also connotes his job as ‘mindless’.
            • Church symbolises a possible spiritual option of a way of life. Religion depicted as mad, and nonsensical through frantic preaching and blurring of the vicar.
            • Briefcase and glasses help to connote that the ‘unnamed man’ is a business man, and creates a more formal atmosphere around the character.
            • Non-verbal language of ‘unnamed man’ in housewife scene connotes his regret.

            • Actions of boy when reading the bible show that he is unsure of religion. This is exaggerated by the preacher moving frantically and blurring.
            • Limited facial expressions of characters depict how the traditional ‘happy life’ is just a veneer.
            • ‘Unnamed man’ and boy shown to be same person through use of them both wearing the same suit.
            • Jumping, smiling housewife and parents connote pleasure in the boy/unnamed man’s chosen lifestyle.

            • Grey suit connotes a dull and monotonous tone.

            Camera techniques were used to connote different meanings and exaggerate different aspects of mise-en-scene. Some techniques used were:

            • In the shot of the parents, we used a low angled shot to signify that they are more in power, and give an intimidating feel to the audience.
            • In the jumpsuit scenes of the ‘unnamed man’ we used a variety of high angled shots to convey a less powerful function in the narrative.
            • ECU of the boy’s eyes connote thought, and gives the audience a more personal relationship with the boy.

            • High angled shot of vicar connotes he has more functional power than the boy.
            • Tracking into ‘unnamed man’ at start of video signifies the character as important to the narrative, giving a more personal view of the character, and establishes him as the main character. This is also done with the boy in the mirror.
            • Low angle shot of band glorifies their anti-establishment ideology to the viewer.
            • High angled tracking shot of boy in jumpsuit signifies how the capitalist lifestyle is glorified by the parents.

            • Swish pan of locations establishes places important to the narrative.
            • First person mode of address is used to create discomfort in the viewer, to help illustrate the lyrics as an important line to the narrative.

            Editing techniques amplify camera techniques and musical sound in the track. Some editing techniques we used to create a visual link were:

            • Transition of jumpsuit to suit on the ‘unnamed man’ signifies that he sees them, and hence, the audience sees them as the same thing.

            • Montage editing of the band in performance pieces show the band as genuine, which adds to connoting a naturalistic image. It also amplifies the fast paced tone of the music.
            • Cutting on the beat also amplifies the sound visually.
            • Lip-synching 'too many summers you've enjoyed' illustatrates the lyrics literally, in a visual format.
            • Expansion of time shots create a more personal feeling with the character, and signify that what is happening in the shot is significant, grabbing the attention of the audience.
            • Compression of time shots create frantic and chaotic connotations, and signifies confusion, which draws the audience in further.
            • LS of boy putting on suit establishes location, and exaggerates him being alone, which is then further exaggerated by him being in centre frame. This also signifies that he is alone in his mindset also, when putting the suit on over the jumpsuit.

            • The way the suit comes on backwards shot reverse shot connotes that the suit is attracted to him, which further establishes the idea that becoming part of the capitalist lifestyle is inevitable.
            • CU of boy in suit to MCU of 'unanmed man' in suit signify that they are the same person in an asynchronous narrative.
            • Continuity editing is obeyed in shots to avoid causing discomfort in viewers.
            • Some continuity editing is broken in the performance shots to add to the jarring effect of the montage editing.

            • Meat shots are used for the band members to create para-social intimacy with the audience and band.

            Overall our music video was distinctly postmodern with reference to other texts and challenging dominant ideologies. These were:

            • Intertextuality with 'Metropolis' and kitchen and housewife scenes with old fashioned sit-coms, e.g. 'Leave it to Beaver'.

            • Ironic that boy spends his life trying to avoid capitalist lifestyle, even though it is inevitible that he then becomes part of it.
            • Challenges conventions by renouncing dominant capitalist ideal in society.
            • Conforms to genre conventions by promoting an anti-establishment ideology.
            • Conforms to genre conventions by depicting monetary success as unimportant.
            • Challenging ideological discourse on religion being important, by showing boy rejecting the church.

            • Challenges stereotypical views on parents and family by depicting the parents as 'clones' of the 'son' and housewife.

            • Playful with 'family portrait' shot.

            • Narrative fuzz inbetween band performance shots.
            • Reimagining in the way of seeing of society roles, the traditional family and religion.
            • Experimental in the way of challenging dominant ideals.
            • Meta-cinema as video contains a strong narrative.

            Wednesday, 9 December 2009

            GCT - Evaluation: Media Technologies

            There were four main stages to creating our own media product, the research, planning, construction and evaluation. Throughout all of these four stages we used the website as a collaborative e-portfolio of our work.

            Below is a list of aspects of the project which having a e-portfolio helped us with:

            • Record of thoughts/ideas.
            • Ability to read other group members thoughts and ideas.
            • Record of conversations.
            • Ability to share research each other.
            • Share location ‘reccie’ photographs and ideas.
            • The benefits of web 2.0 to gather information and share information.

            The Blog also enabled us to post preliminary filming sessions which helped us re-familiarise ourselves with the editing software and the equipment such as the tripod, camera and camera accessories.

            We used web 2.0 to communicate with each other about the project when we weren’t at school, we used YouTube to post video clips with relevant information for each other to see, and this sped up the whole planning process. An example of this was the animatic, to create the animatic we drew each shot planned for our music video on to a time line. We then filmed each shot from the paper and imported it into Adobe Premier, this allowed us to put music to the pictures and get an idea of what our video would look like before we made it.

            Web 2.0 also allowed us to consume existing media products and analyse them. We could then post them on the Blog so other members of the group could learn what we had learnt from analysing them. The Blog also allowed us to use images and video which helped get our message across more easily. Another aspect of the research which web 2.0 helped with was the audience research. We created surveys using survey monkey which helped us learn about our target audience and gave us guidance before creating our video.

            On Set Techniques:

            •Used the weight of the tripod as a steady cam.
            •To pan smoothly, held the tripod not by handle but by stem.
            •To get greater sweeping movement held bottom of tripod legs and panned.
            •When crabbing bent knees and used arms as shock absorbers to keep the shot steady.
            •Prepared camera with waterproofing during time lapse in case it rained.
            •Made sure tripod was attached and camera was still for time lapse section.
            •Recorded many takes of each shot to ensure a good shot was taken.

            Construction of Video:

            • We used time stretch speed up and slow down clips to make them in time with the music.

            • Sped up time lapse.

            • Used sound visualization to cut video on beat.

            • We shot the same sequence twice from different angles and then placed them on top of each other, cutting between the two shots made the sequence more interesting.

            • Use of reverse speed to show impossible physics.

            • We used the dip to black transition between showing the man in the jumpsuit and then the man in the real suit to make the cut much more fluid.

            • We used jump cuts to show the passing of time as the boy walks outside of the church.

            • We have used both fade in and out on video and sound for a better transition to the start and finish of the piece.

            • We oversaturated the video in places to 200% which gave the video a really rich look.

            • We also used gamma correction to brighten the over saturated shots up. This was set to about 80% apart from the band shots which were set lower at about 60% to show they were different.

            • We also increased the contrast in the performance shots.

            • We changed the brightness levels independently in each clip so that they matched throughout the video.

            • We used colour correction to reduce the red in some shots by setting Red = 80%, Green = 100%, Blue = 100%.



            • We used the sound wave visualization for the lip synching and instrument synching.

            Construction of Print Media:

            GCT - Evaluation: Audience Research

            Throughout our project we consulted our target audience through audience research to ensure we were creating our video for their needs.Cameron and I wanted to conduct both qualitative and quantitative audience research. To do this we set up a questionnaire to find out what our audience would expect from a music video of this genre. This meant we could design our music video to suit our target audience. Below is our initial quantitative research.

            As you can see from this initial quantitative research we gained an idea of what our audience wanted from our video. We tried to amplify these feelings in our video to satisfy the target audience. The aspects which we included in the video were:

            • Sense of a journey that is taking place.
            • Band shots include ‘indie’ style warm clothing.
            • Lots of locations which look depressing and the presents of rain.
            • The sense of being forced into a life that is not wanted.
            • Ideologies from ‘the American dream”.
            • Urban setting for sections about working in the typical 9-5.
            • Rural naturalistic setting for the band shots.

            Then to refine our video we held a focus group of our rough cut to find out what needed to be changed before the final cut, this formed the qualitative audience research as shown below.

            The results indicated that we would not need to change anything major before our final cut. Therefore we decided to just focus on refining and tweaking the cutting times, colour levels and made the decision to re-shoot a couple of shots that we were personally not happy with. We then created another survey for our final cut to test how our media product preformed and if our audience decoded the video to understand the preferred reading. The general feedback from this survey suggested that our target audience understood the preferred reading of our music video. To take this idea further I conducted interviews with people who had watched our video asking them what they believed our video to be about, the results to this are shown in the clip below.

            As you can see our audience understood what the video was about but weren't entirely sure. This is good as it means we have created the perfect amount of narrative fuzz to keep our consumers interested and set the video up for repeatability but also convey our preferred reading.

            Friday, 4 December 2009

            GCT - Auidence Research for Final Product

            Below is the link to a survey that I have created for the auidence research of our final product:
            Click Here to take survey

            Thursday, 3 December 2009

            GCT & CW - Digipak + Advert

            Digipak Front and Back Cover:
            Digipak Inside Left:

            Digipak Inside Right:

            The Shins Advert: