My name is Monica Aghadiuno and my candidate number is 9365. I am in Group 3 with Godgift Emesi (9044), Angela Chen (9025) and Thakshana Yogeswaran (9179). To see my work please use the following three labels on the right: 'A2 Research and Planning,' 'A2 Construction' and 'A2 Evaluation.'

Group 3 - Music Video

Group 3 - Digipak

Group 3 - Digipak
Our Digipack, top left - back, top right - front, bottom left - inside panel, bottom right - inside panel (CD)
This is a link to our website, click the image above to enter our site

Saturday, 9 January 2016

Question 1: In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?

Our media product both follows and challenges the forms of conventions of real media products. Our video also develops important music video theories. As 'Red Planet' is a mixture of pop and R&B, our music video follows the main conventions of pop/R&B music videos, predominantly to appeal to our main target audiences. However, by reversing the stereotypical role of a female in a music video, we have challenged the conventions of the pop genre, in an attempt to attract our main target audience - young females and to make our video more interesting.

General forms & conventions of music videos 

Forms of Pop Videos

Simon Frith

Performance/Narrative Examples

Bruno Mars - Uptown Funk
Taylor Swift - Blank Space
Most pop videos come in either a performance or narrative form. Performance videos involve the artist singing or playing an instrument and this could be happening in front of a crowd. Dancing and lip syncing is very common. In Bruno Mars' Uptown Funk the lighting used makes it very exciting and upbeat which is what we have tried to do in the performance sections of our music video. Taylor Swift's Blank Space music video is a narrative video - it tells a story and so the visual imagery is key. Love is a very common theme in these types of videos and this video is no exception. We liked the idea of incorporating a narrative about love in our video, especially as there are themes of love in the lyrics of our song.
Rihanna - Take a Bow
However, some videos are a mixture of the two (performance and narrative), allowing the artist to act as well as perform. In Rihanna's Take a Bow it flicks between her performance and the story which progresses throughout the video and is also about a relationship. We liked the idea of using both performance and narrative in our video as it meant that we could show what the band could do (dance etc) and we could also connote the themes in the song by adding the narratives with the male actors.
Therefore, our video, like Rihanna's is a mixture of the two forms. 
Performance in our video

Narrative in our video
Music videos will often be used for promotional purposes, especially if the music video features a new and upcoming artist.
Rita Ora - R.I.P
In Rita Ora's R.I.P video, her name appears at the beginning to remind audiences that that is her name. We liked this and thought it was important to somehow incorporate our name into the video. In the end we decided to have a backdrop where our name was designed by graffiti. It is big and bold like Rita Ora's name.

Our graffiti backdrop
Conventions of Pop Videos 

Synchronized dancing/lip syncing
TLC -No Scrub
Rihanna - Where Have You Been
It is extremely conventional for a pop video to feature the artist lip syncing and doing a syncrhonized dance routine, particularly for female pop artists and bands. The dance routine is often shot at a variety of different angles which the video then cuts between to make it more interesting. Dance adds an exciting effect to the video and makes the video more captivating and memorable.
Synchronized dancing and lip syncing in our video
As you can see in our video, there are quick cuts between our dance routine which is done in different set ups and at different angles. It was important that we were all in sync, otherwise the cut would not look right.
Narrative structure
It is highly conventional for narrative scenes to occur in pop music videos. The narratives are often based upon relationships or at a party/club. The relationship narrative is particularly common as many pop songs contain the themes of love/lust/heartbreak. It also makes the music video more emotional and relatable which enables the audience to connect to the artist, song and story more.

Our video followed this convention. Each member of the band  has a male actor whom we flirt with. The intention was to convey the theme of lust and desire and portray the female as the dominant one in the relationship. It made sense to incorporate this narrative as it links to the lyrics.

Bright colours

Pop videos will often contain bright colours. This includes brightly coloured outfits, props and lighting. This reflects the upbeat nature of the pop genre and makes the music video more fun. Lots of colour also enables the artist to stand out and makes the video more visually appealing, particularly to young audiences. Overall, the bright colours engage the viewer and focuses their attention on the artist.

Our video follows this convention. We have many different lighting set ups that consist of bright colours such as red, light purple and pink. This adds intrigue to our video and makes it fun and more enjoyable to watch. The sets in general that we have used are predominantly colourful, for example the red and green stars and the grafitti/warehouse set up. My bright red basketball top and Gift's red and black checked shirt in particular are brightly coloured which makes us stand out. Finally the props we use contain colour, for example the red balloon with colourful confetti.

Beauty shots

These will often feature in pop videos. Beauty shots are used to promote the physical appearance of the artist and make the artist look good. These shots are often sexualised to engage the viewer and make the video more interesting. Sometimes they are in done in slow motion but they will nearly always be at close angles - either a mid shot or a close up.
Our video has beauty shots incorporated into it in order to show the audience more of our personality. The ones above are close up shots, enabling the audience to get closer to us. Angel and Shana's gestures in particular have an aspect of sexual provocation to them, which is common for female beauty shots.
Rapid cuts and cut to the beat

A music video is often more appealing and interesting if the video is cut to the beat of the music. Adam Levine's 'Move Like Jagger' is a great example of this. The video becomes more fun and even arty as a result of this. Furthermore, if the cuts are quick, we are able to see more which is more exciting.

Section of our video - cut to the beat
The majority of our video is cut to the beat of the song. We liked how prominent the beat is in 'Red Planet' which made this easier to do. The cuts are extremely quick throughout which is good as it means there is so much going on for the audience to take in. It's very energetic.

Make up
Katy Perry - Wide Awake
It is highly conventional for a female pop artist/band to wear a lot of make-up in order to appeal to the audience visually. It also makes the artist stand out from the background or from whatever else is going on in the video. I particularly like Katy Perry's bright purple hair in this video and it reminded me that hairstyles play a big role too. It inspired me to have a bold hairstyle for our video.

We followed this convention as our make-up is extremely noticeable, especially our eye shadow, eye liner and lip-stick. It makes us more attractive, and this is what audiences expect. Furthermore, the red streaks in my hair have made me stand out, which is important.

R&B Conventions

Dominant Female 
In the past, the female artist was always portrayed in an extremely sexualised way, and they would wear barely any clothes and would dance extremely provocatively. However, nowadays it is increasingly common for a female artist to take a more dominant role in the music video. This is the case with Beyonce and Ciara in their music videos below. They seem to take on a male role and so the gender roles have been reverse: they have the power. Furthermore, their clothes are more stereotypically masculine.
Beyonce - Upgrade U
Ciara - Like A Boy

Our video follows this dominant female convention, particularly through my character. I have a tom boy/androgynous style. I am showing through my gestures that I am a strong female and just as tough as any guy. Furthermore, rapping itself which is a stereotypical masculine thing to do. Furthermore, the narratives clearly show that the band members - the females have the power.

Studio setting&special effects

Rihanna- Rude Boy
It is common for female R&B videos to be shot in studios and have cool effects added onto them. It makes the video interesting to watch and enhances the look of the artist. In Rihanna's video above, it looks very creative which makes it different to the typical video. This is what we wanted to achieve with ours, something different and something cool. 
Effect added to Angel's verse
We have followed this convention as there are a range of effects throughout out video. We did this because we think it adds a cool element to our video and certainly pays homage to our 'out of this world' theme. It makes our band stand out and adds intrigue to the video. 

Website Conventions

Album Conventions
It was necessary to look at existing album covers in order to see what the forms and conventions of them were. Selena Gomez's 'Stars Dance' album was influential in terms of this and also for the way in which this information should be displayed.

For girl bands, we discovered that a convention was to have a classy outfit photo for the front cover of the album and despite the fact that we are an urban band, we chose to stick to this convention as we thought it made us look more appealing to our target audience. 

It was important that our both are front cover and back cover had a consistent look. Beyonce's 'I am Sasha Fierce' Platinum edition album was a source of inspiration in this respect. I also liked the selection of images used for the front and back cover of her album - they were slightly different but worked well together, like ours. 

It was equally important that our interior panels were consistent with the front. Rihanna's 'Loud' album was a reference point as her inside image was extremely similar to her front one.

Overall, it was important that all our panels - our exterior and interior ones - worked synergistically and had a consistent look to them as this is a convention that nearly all album covers follow. We have succeeded in this as we have kept a black, red, white and silver colour scheme. 

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Question 2: How effective is the combination of your main product and ancillary texts?

It was our intention to create three products, our main product and ancillary texts, which worked together to promote our band through a successful marketing campaign and thereby reach our audience. In order to achieve this we have needed to strongly consider the brand identity of D4MES and ensure that there is a consistency among the music video, album cover and website by incorporating synergy.

An example of a synergistic marketing campaign is that of Neon Jungle's which can be seen in the images below. Their marketing campaign has been influential as their brand identity is strongly conveyed across each of the platforms.

The images below show how we have used a synergistic marketing campaign across our three products for D4MES. 

D4MES' Website
The website acts as the hub of the marketing campaigning an connects the three products together. It is important for a website to appeal to audiences and to engage them. We believe that we have done this through the range of information, purchasing opportunities and interactive opportunities available to them on our website. Below is a Prezi demonstrating how our website includes the above components.


Richard Dyer's Star Theory
There are three parts of Richard Dyer's Star Theory that are particularly relevant to our artist:

  1. Audience and Institutions - this is the idea that stars are made by a record label primarily for money purposes and so essentially the artist is a product of the record label. The purpose of the artist therefore is to make money out of the audience, who respond to the artist's personality by spending their money on the various merchandise associated with that artist. 
  2. Hegemony - this is the idea that stars represent particular cultural attitudes and will therefore promote an ideology tied in with this. These attitudes are often reciprocated by audiences and as a result, the star's persona is enhanced.
  3. Character and personality - this is the idea that a star begins its career as a 'real' human but then transforms into a construct which provides an image of their time and culture, hence the product of a particular generation. Moreover, stars will often try to establish their personality through their songs and performance and will aim to achieve star identity with their debut album.
Below is some analysis of how we have successfully conveyed D4MES' star identity and how we have used and developed Dyer's theory in order to do this.

Overall, we have achieved a synergistic marketing campaign by ensuring that all of our three products have a consistent look and by making sure that there is a consistent brand and star identity, and these different aspects should work together to engage our audience.

Question 3: What have you learned from your audience feedback?

Our Target Audience
Primary Audience - Fans of Pop/R&B and skewed towards females
Our band is a pop/R&B band, and these genres are very popular and mainstream, therefore,  we would hope to attract a large audience. It is not that we think that males would not listen to our music, we just think there would be a higher number of girls and so this is who we have targeted. Females who like the pop genre often like other female artists and bands. This is partly because many pop artists tend to be female.
'Pop artists' search on Google - female artists are the most common
Furthermore, female artists often promote female empowerment, which can be inspirational for girls.
Strong, successful female artists&bands 
Lady Gaga quote
Secondary Audience - Young people (16-25) and urban/street fans
As D4MES' members are young (18/19) this means we are young people ourselves, which is likely to make us more relatable to young audiences. Furthermore, as we are a young and fresh band, it makes us modern which is often what young people seek - the latest and most current music.We also target urban/street music fans - essentially British people who like this sound/style. This is because we are from London and there is a certain street culture that are band represents in a way. This is reflected in our outfits.
We have a street/urban style which may appeal to these fans 

The ways in which our audiences consume their music 
Popular music streaming services 
Survey from The Guardian - YouTube is the most popular platform for young
people in America 
Listening to CDs and the radio is becoming increasingly unpopular for young people. Instead of using these methods, they prefer to stream music online, particularly on sites such as YouTube, Spotify and Vevo.
From the BT website - survey by BBC Radio One - 80% of young British people
use YouTube to consume music and only 20% used paid subscription services
Illegal methods of downloading are fairly common for young people, as they prefer to consume it freely than at a cost (as can be seen in the image above.) Despite Spotify being extremely popular, the article above also indicates that YouTube remains unbeaten in the number of consumers.

Uses and Gratifications
In order to make sure that we appealed to our target audience, we used Blumer and Katz's 'Uses and Gratifications Theory' as a reference for our video. We ultimately wanted to gain fans out creating our three products, and as a result encourage them to buy D4MES merchandise, music and tickets. Therefore, intriguing them was crucial. 

1) Diversion - this is the idea that media is used for entertainment, as a means of escaping the stresses everyday life and relaxing by entering into the world of that product. Music videos often have the effect of engaging audiences, due to the exciting discontinuous editing and captivating performances often displayed by the artist. 
Fast paced, discontinuous editing
Our music video has incorporated this concept as there is faced paced, discontinuous editing throughout that gives a really upbeat vibe to the video and gives the audience lots to see. It also has the effect of building up audience anticipation.
Furthermore, we dance for our audience - and dancing is a fun way to engage them. They may even want to try and learn the routine for themselves. It also shows our versatility as a band - we can dance as well as sing.
Energetic atmosphere 
Verses such as my rap were shot with energetic stobe lighting giving the effect of flashes. Furthermore I make very animated gestures, making it exciting and upbeat for viewers. This is done throughout the video, giving it an energetic feel.
Various sets and backdrops 
The audience is able to fully escape into the worlds we have created for them through our different set ups. There is a lot of colour - the backdrops are very creative, giving them a real spectacle and full immersion. 

2)Personal Identity - this is the idea that people use media to seek information that could help them discover themselves more, as there are often aspects of stars' personas that we can relate to and see in ourselves. Audiences can see similarities. A trait of an artist's personality is likely to be displayed in a music video and this makes it more interesting for fans. 

Our music video has done this by showcasing the four different personalities of each band member, making the band more relatable as a whole to audiences, as there is the idea that everyone can identify with at least one member because we are all so different.

Gigi is the sassy one
Monigal is the sporty one 

For example, Gigi and Monigal have different personalities. Gigi is fierce, confident  and diva-like which can be seen by her hand being placed on her hip. Monigal, on the other hand, is sporty, bubbly and tough which can be seen through my oversized basketball t-shirt and my rapping gestures.
We dominate our male actors 
We also take on the identity of four strong, independent females who overpower the males. This would hopefully send out the message to our audience that women can take charge of a relationship too and not just give men the full control.

3) Personal Relationships - this is the idea that people use media to satisfy their need for companionship and their desire to be included in and form relationships with others. Across all platforms, record labels will ensure that the artist is presented in an accessible and interactive way. 

Our music video has used this concept which can be seen by the high level of interactivity on the website.
Our website has many features that are interactive with the audience
Furthermore, the video itself reveals the closeness of the band and our need for one another, which audiences likely relate to with people in their lives.

Body language: we are a close band 
We have each other's backs

4) Surveillance - this is the idea that the public has a desire for knowledge and information about what is going on in the world around them. As a result of the Web 2.0 taking off, it means that people can satisfy their needs.

We have incorporated this concept through our website. It allows the audience to get the information that they are seeking.
Facts and information our website 

Music Video Feedback
During the construction stage of the project, I thought it would be useful to interview some fellow Latymer students in my year, to see what they thought about the video we had created so far. It was near the end of the edit and so it was practically finished when they saw it. I asked them six questions about the video and their answers were extremely helpful.

The answers above showed that overall, the genre of the song is easily conveyed and this is the same for the themes; they understood that female dominance and desire were principle themes. It was great hearing positive feedback, especially the enthusiasm about the editing, which we had spent a long time on, as our intention was to make the video have really edgy and jumpy effects - this is central to our video. However, the majority of students said that the personalities did not all come through - Monigal and Gigi's were the only obvious ones. This was interesting to take on board, but unfortunately we couldn't change this. However, we were able to rectify some other general criticism, such as the fact that some areas were too jumpy and were therefore difficult to view clearly. The feedback was very useful as it showed that audiences understood the main concept of our video.
Changes to our album cover 
In terms our album cover, the feedback was mainly positive and people felt like it really represented what D4MES was about. However, a couple of suggestions were made, such as to use mid shots rather than a long shot for the front image and to make the font bolder, which we rectified. We think that these suggestions have made our front image and name stand out more which consequently promotes us more.

In order to gather feedback in an efficient way, we decided to create an online survey using an online survey and questionnaire creator called 'SurveyMonkey.' It was very useful, as it indicated the strengths of our video as well as the weaknesses. It also enabled us to receive opinions on our website. The key data and responses extracted from the survey can be seen below.

Before they watched the video, we asked the audience some essential questions, which gave us important quantitative data. The intention was to see how many people were of our target audience. Considering I sent the survey out to family members, this was obviously not going to be the case for everyone.

Over three-quarters and thus a majority of people who took the survey were females and therefore they were of our primary target audience.

The majority of people were in the 17-25 age category and therefore also within our target audience.

When asked what music they listened to, most people said that their taste was varied and that they liked everything. The next two most popular categories were pop/mainstream  R&B/soul. Therefore, it is very likely that our song would be part of a genre that the majority of people listened to.

After watching the video, the audience were asked further questions and here is what we found out:

It was pleasing and reassuring to see that most people actually enjoyed our video. It demonstrates that we succeeded in the diversion part of the Uses and Gratifications theory.

The majority of people recognized that the genres of our music video were pop/R&B. A minority thought it was of other genres. This suggests that the video we have made clearly denotes the genre.

We also used qualitative methods to get feedback on our video, They were voluntarily asked to leave comments.
Positive feedback
Most of the comments about how believable and realistic our video was were positive. The main aspects of the video that people liked were the set design/background, the solo shots, the editing and the colours.
Constructive criticism 
The main area of criticism was to do with performance. Some people thought that our choreography could have been more interesting and confident. Some people also suggested that our outfits could have been better.

We also took the opportunity to get feedback about our website:

Upon being asked whether or not our website looked professional, most people said it did. However, a few people said that it was not very easy to use on mobile phones and portable devices, which is something we could improve.