Welcome to my A2 media coursework blog. My name is Maisie MacGregor (candidate number 0506), and I will be working in group 4 with Molly Sullivan (candidate number 0816), Ellie Brackpool (candidate number 0100), and Mari Leach (candidate number 0440).

To the right of my blog are labels for my A2 Preliminary task, A2 Research and Planning, A2 Construction and A2 Evaluation, and an archive of each individual post. There is also a live link to the Latymer Media Music Video Blog.

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Music Video

Our Music Video

Digipak Front and Back Cover

Digipak Front and Back Cover
Our digipak front and back cover

Digipak Inside Cover

Digipak Inside Cover
Our digipak inside cover

Click on the image to open our website in a new tab

Click on the image to open our website in a new tab

Monday, 5 January 2015

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

Lucid City
We created an artist called 'Lucid City', consisting of two male DJs and a female lead. The genre of music we decided they would create is dance music as this genre is becoming increasingly popular in the UK charts. Despite the genre's popularity, there are not many mixed gender dance groups, and so we felt that by creating an artist consisting of two male DJs and a female lead it would allow us to fill a gap in the market.

Music Video

Andrew Goodwin suggests in Dancing in the Distraction Factory that videos of the same genre will often contain similar characteristics. When researching dance music videos we found some common features that they shared. We followed some of these conventions to ensure that the genre of the video could be recognised and attractive to fans of this genre. We also challenged some conventions when constructing our music video, as we wanted to create something original and unique to our artist. 

While our music video demonstrates some of these genre characteristics, we left others out. Those that we did not include are large crowds, strobe lighting, and the setting of a club or festival. Planning to film large crowds was impractical as the space allocated to us to film and the number of actors available to us would not have allowed for it. Similarly, the equipment provided by the school does not include strobe lights and therefore, this was also impossible. Our reason for not setting our video at a club or festival was because we wanted to create a fantasy setting rather than basing it on reality. We did, however, include festival-like imagery in our video to appeal to our frequent festival-going target group of 16-24 year olds, and also fans of the dance genre as many festivals are dance music-orientated, so they may enjoy this reference.
Despite challenging these conventions, we conformed to others shown in the Padlet above, such as:

We conformed to this as it is a prominent convention of dance music videos, used in videos such as Route 94's 'My Love', and so we felt it was important to include it. Dancing is a main element of the balloon scene: all the extras in the background are dancing, with the artists dancing in the foreground.

Editing style
Our style of editing was very fast-paced and cut to the beat, which is a style found in many dance music videos including Redlight's '9TS'. We tried to make sure every shot changed to the beat of the music, but there are some sections where this is more obvious such as when paint hits the camera or a person on the beat. Carol Vernallis suggests that this is conventional of music videos, and it can be seen in some videos of the dance genre, as it strengthens the link between the visuals and the fast-paced, beat-heavy music. This video shows where we have cut the shots to the beat, edited the paint fight scenes so that paint hits a person on the beat, or used fast paced editing.

Editing effects
We decided to use effects in our video as this is very typical in videos of the dance genre, such as ZHU's 'faded'. The effects we used include layering clips with footage from Alice in Wonderland, layering the DJs over Naomi performing, reversing shots, repeating shots, and layering and delaying shots to create a blurred effect.


Camera Movement
From our research, it seems this is not often used in videos of the genre. However, to increase the variation of our shot types, we used camera movement for some shots of performance and paint scenes (shown below).
Moving shot in the performance scene
Camera movement in the paint fight

Concept, Narrative or Performance?
According to Simon Frith, music videos can be divided into three categories: performance, narrative or concept. Our video take elements from the narrative and performance categories as it has a loose narrative and includes performance scenes. 

The narrative of our video follows Todorov's narrative theory as it begins with equilibrium, meets disruption in the middle, and ends with a new equilibrium. This is an outline of the video's narrative:

Cross-cutting between scenes
The narrative of our video is not too complicated, which is a decision we made on purpose in order to create room for improvised shots and a montage-style sequence. This fragmented way of presenting the narrative, according to Carol Vernallis's theory, creates a sense of disjointedness, particularly with the use of cross-cuts between scenes. This emphasises the protagonist's feelings of confusion and excitement towards the trip she is experiencing. Despite the cross-cutting, the video has a consistent theme running throughout it which is centred around the narrative, which also follows Vernallis's theory.

With dance music videos such as Clean Bandit's 'Real Love', which consists mainly of performance, reaching number one in the UK Dance Charts, we felt that including performance in our video would surely appeal to fans of the genre.

For our performance scene set-up, we took inspiration from other dance artists such as Disclosure who used a symmetrical set-up in the video for 'F For You'. We followed this convention, placing the DJ desks either side of Naomi.

We used mid-shots and close-up shots of the DJs in the performance scene, taking influence from Disclosure as we knew their style would be conventional of the dance genre.

Click to enlarge
Typically, a lot of close-up shots of the artist are used in performance scenes, often referred to as 'beauty shots'. Most of the close-ups we used were of Naomi as she is the lead of the artist and is singing the lyrics so it engages the viewer more.
The diagram to the left shows where our inspiration for the style of these shots came from.

Illustrative, Amplified, or Contradictory?
Andrew Goodwin suggests another three categories that music videos can be split in to when referring to the relationship between the music/lyrics and the visuals: illustrative, amplified, or contradictory.

For example, videos such as Miley Cyrus's 'Wrecking Ball' illustrate the lyrics of the song:
Miley Cyrus - Wrecking Ball
An example of amplified lyrics can be seen in Kanye West's 'Homecoming'. The visuals do not portray the lyrics literally, but it is obvious that the montage of clips of a town are images of his hometown, which is what the song as a whole is about.
Kanye West - Homecoming
Alt-J's video for 'Tessellate' uses disjuncture between the lyrics and the visuals. The lyrics "bite chunks out of me, you're a shark and I'm swimming" have no connection to the visuals on screen at the time they are sung.
alt-J - Tessellate
I think our music video mostly amplifies the meaning of the song, as we took the main lyric of the chorus - "my head is a jungle" - and portrayed a character exploring a fantasy world in her head, rather than a literal jungle. As the protagonist's adventure shows likeness to that of the fantasy world in 'Alice in Wonderland', it portrays it as an escapist experience, further amplifying the lyrics of the chorus. Escapism is a common reason for consuming media texts as many people can relate to the need for it, making it an attractive feature which therefore increases our chances of appealing to more audience groups than our main target groups of 16-24 year olds and fans of the genre.

As well as amplifying the lyrics, the visuals also illustrate the music, for example by our use of slow motion shots at the slower parts of the song and faster-paced cutting when it speeds up:
Slow motion shots for slower part
Fast cutting at build up to the chorus

However, there are also some points in the video where the visual contradict the lyrics, causing disjuncture between them:
The lyrics "in a dark room" are contrasted by the setting in a bright white room
The lyrics "see the pain in your eyes...I've been aching" are contradicted by the fun party world that the protagonist is imagining
Representation of our female artist

This Prezi explains what image we were aiming to create for our female lead and which artists inspired this image.

Intertextual references are often used in music videos, using the references to popular culture to appeal to and connect with the audience. Here are some examples of this:

We used intertextual references to Alice in Wonderland in our video, shown through our choices for scenery and the narrative of our video. As many people in our target audience group of 16-24 year olds watched this film as children, these references may create nostalgia for them, increasing the appeal of our music video. The main idea of the video is that the character takes a bite out of a cupcake and ends up going on a crazy imaginary journey similar to the adventure that Alice has in 'Alice in Wonderland'. The references which show this are included in the video below.

Debut albums are often self-titled, and so we decided that our artist's debut album would have the same name as them: Lucid City.
Examples of eponymous albums
When designing our album cover we looked at dance genre album covers to research the conventional characteristics. Here are some examples (click on the arrows to scroll through):


The album covers in the slideshow above show the dance genre characteristics of album covers, including having a focal image of the artist and the artist name. We followed both of these conventions with our album cover. We noticed that images on the front of dance album covers often have special effects, such as the kaleidoscope effect used on the cover of 'Body Music' by AlunaGeorgeWe also used effects on the image on the front cover, layering the same images over the top of each other to create a blurred effect. 
However, as shown above, dance albums tend to be busy or colourful, and we challenged this with a white background and more minimal style of design. Our reason for doing this was due to the feedback from our primary and secondary target audience groups, who preferred the minimal, plain design to some patterned ones we had tried out.

Our album front cover
We also used all industry required conventions, such as a barcode, record label logo, copyright information and website address. We listed the tracks on the back of the album, which is conventional, to make the information clear for the buyer. Below is a comparison between Lucid City's self-titled album and 'Oracular Spectacular' by MGMT, showing which conventions we used.
A comparison between our album back cover and MGMT's 'Oracular Spectacular' back cover.

There are several conventions of websites for artists of the dance genre, which we strived to follow in order to make the website and therefore the the artist recognisable by its genre. This SlideShare presentation explains these conventions and how we conformed to or challenged them. View it in full screen to make the text and visuals clearer.

Throughout the music video, album cover and website for Lucid City we took influence from real dance music artists and followed the same conventions they use. However, we also broke some conventions and introduced our own features to make our artist identity more personal to them. In conclusion, we have created an original dance artist that is still a recognisable product of its genre.

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