My Music Video

My Album Cover

Click to view the INFLUX website

Friday, 16 December 2011

Message to the Moderator

Thank you for taking the time to read through my blog and group blog and watching our final video, hope you enjoyed reading and watching them.

You'll find all the appropriate links and labels on the right hand column of this blog to make it easier to read.

On this blog you will find all the research and planning I did before production, reflections during the production, and the evaluation I did at the end. On the group blog you will find all the planning and production that we did as a group while making our video, album cover and website.

- Michael Cassidy, Candidate No. 3140

My blog is now CLOSED!

My blog is now closed and my project is finished! Of everything I have done throughout media studies, this project has been my favourite. I'm really happy with all the final products, I think they all look really professional and feel like we have achieved a lot. It has been incredibly rewarding to watch the project develop, and I know I'm going to miss media!

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Evaluation Question 1


The media product I have produced is a Dubstep artist called INFLUX. Dubstep is a relatively new genre, that has become extremely popular in the club and rave scene in the UK, in the last 5 years. For my artist, I have produced a Music Video, a Website, and an Album Cover, each of which follows the conventions of real artists that I have researched, like that of Chase and Status, Nero and Skrillex. However, my artist challenges the conventions of a real dubstep product through artist identity that I have developed. Typically, the genre promotes the song and not the artist, meaning that a song is more likely to be recognised, than the name or the image of the artist producing it. I wanted to break this convention, and so I created a unique image and artist persona through the characters of Red, Black and Cassie, in order to make my product stand apart from the rest of the genre.

Andrew Goodwin
Through reading Andrew Goodwin's theory of music videos, I have done a textual analysis of my music video using the following key areas:

1. Genre Characteristics
Our media product is of the dubstep genre, and our music video features many of the conventions and characteristics already in place. There is very fast paced editing, cutting to the beat, and rapidly cutting to create a strobe-like effect, reflecting the environment in which the music would usually be played (1:22-1:50). There is also use of speed changes, with a lot of slow motion being used and shots being sped up, particularly in the narrative sequence. Many of the shots are handheld, and shot at jaunted angles, creating a slightly edgy, urban feel to the video, which is common in many dubstep videos.

2. Relationship between Lyrics and Visuals
There is disjuncture between the lyrics and the visuals, as the lyrics 'Promises, and it feels there all so wasted on myself', bear no correlation to the visuals of the music video. Our music video is a performance of the band, and a narrative sequence that follows a suppressed teacher that succumbs to the abandonment of the music.

3. Relationship between Music and Visuals
In contrast though, there is a strong relationship between the music and the visuals, as the visuals illustrate the beat and rhythm of the music, and amplify the changes in pace and emphasise the drops. When the music is of a slower pace, the visuals are cut slower, using more slow-mo, but as the music builds up and drops, the visuals reflect this, either through faster cutting, or more action within the shot. A unique sequence of editing is during the bridge (2:52-2:58) where the dancing of Cassie is overlayed with strobe shots of the DJ's. This creates an almost trance-like effect, and amplifies the music.

4. Close-Ups of the artist and Star Image Motifs
The video features numerous close-ups and beauty shots of each member of the band, which subsequently shows the bands motif - the masks and headphones. There are many beauty shots of Cassie, the lead singer, as she performs the vocals and is the driving force behind the video, whilst the close-ups of the two DJ's emphasises the enigma of the masks and their hidden identities. This challenges the conventions of dubstep videos, as it is uncommon to see an artist in the music video, and there is therefore a lack of beauty shots. However, seeing a motif is very common, such as Modestep and the yellow face.

5. Reference to the Notion of Looking
There is a definite reference to the notion of looking in the narrative, as the DJ's come to collect Cassie and take her away, and they watch her release from suppressed teacher.

6. Intertextual References
Our video has a few intertextual references, mainly at the beginning of the narrative sequence. When the students jump up and begin dancing, there is a backwards track, and we were inspired to do this by the music video for 'Everybody Get Up' by Five.

7. Performance, Narrative or Concept?
The video is a mixture of performance and narrative. The video cuts between both, with the link being Cassie, who is the lead singer in the performance, and the teacher in the narrative. The narrative feeds into the performance at the end of the video, because the DJ's come to collect her and take her to the performance that we've been seeing.

Carol Vernallis
(Click to Enlarge)

Carol Vernalis' theory centres around 4 key concept area tthat all relate to the way the music video is constructed. This allows for an analysis of our music video, and how it uses or challenegs conventions.

Overall, our music video follows the conventions of editing, and camerawork and framing - there are many quick cuts and creative editing, using speed and warping the footage. However, our music video challenges the conventions of narrative, as pur video features a lot of performance, and it is what drives the music video, which is uncommon for the dubstep genre.

(For the following answers, the audio is supported by the images below)

Our Music Video
Music Video by mdcassidy

Skrillex - Equniox (left), DJ Fresh - Louder (right)
DJ Fresh and Skrillex are conventional examples of dubstep artists, as they do not appear in their music videos and do not have a recognisable image, therefore showing how dubstep promotes the music and not the artist. This is what we needed to avoid, in order to make our artist unique.

Daft Punk (left) and Nero (right)
Daft Punk and Nero were some of our main sources of inspiration, as they have hidden identities but a recognisable image. For Daft Punk, this is the robotic helmets and gloves, and in the case of Nero, the glasses. For INFLUX, we considered the use of glasses, but felt that this was too generic, and didn't create a persona for the band, so we decided on masks.



The masks of Red and Black hide their identities, yet still create a cool and unique image.

Modestep's 'Feel Good', was a large source of inspiration. This video features both performance and narrative, with the performance feeding into the narrative at the end of the video, similarly to our video. They also use a lot of movement in their camerawork, with many people moving with the camera (1:16), a convention of dubstep videos and something featured in our video (2:01).

This video also features a very clear motif, of the masked face with the cross eyes, seen at the very beginning of the video (0:12), and on one of the characters (3:03). This is similar to our music video and the masks that the DJ's wear, but in comparison to other music videos, this is unusual and so challenges the conventions already in place.

Our final timeline from Premiere Pro - showing points of fast paced editing and shots with effects (click to enlarge)

Our Website
Website by mdcassidy

- When considering the three websites, they all have large banners with the artist name, and have a navigation bar just beneath, to allow for easy navigation through the website.

- All three feature similar page titles:
  •  News/Home
  • Videos
  • Music
  • Gallery
  • Events/Shows

- However, only Chase and Status and our website have a 'Shop/Store' page.

- Our website is also the only one to have a competition.

- This shows how we used and developed the conventions of existing websites to create our own product.

- However, our website challenges the conventions of existing websites because it has a 'Bio' page. On this page is information about each member of the group, as well as an individual gallery. This is unusual because the genre of dubstep does not usually promote the artist, it promotes the music, making our website unique.

- Again, our website uses conventions when considering the UKF Bass Culture poster (above left) as this was seen on both the Chase and Status and Nero websites.

- However, dubstep/drum and bass artists do not usually perform together, again making our artist unique and challenging conventions (above right).

Our Album
Album by mdcassidy

Like many artists of the genre, our website is the hub of our campaign; it is where all the news and updates are posted, where our new music is announced, and where you can find out about the band. Our music video also follows many conventions of real media products, as there is disjuncture between the lyrics and visuals, but the music amplifies the music through camerawork and editing. However our album cover breaks many conventions, as it features our artist on every page section of the cover, because we have created a unique band image which is unlike any other real dubstep artist before us.

Evaluation Question 2


For my main product I produced a music video, showcasing my artist. As ancillary texts, I produced a debut album cover and a website to be the hub of our marketing campaign. All three products work together to promote one another through common themes and images, creating a unique artist identity and a recognisable house brand.

(Play the audio and view the accompanying images)

Evaluation Question 2 by mdcassidy

In conclusion, I believe my three texts work very well together, and they produce an effective combination. The website acts as the hub of the campaign, whilst the music video and album cover are born from this, and the masks of the DJ’s are what give the band its very unique identity. I think that cross-platform marketing is the key to a successful marketing campaign, and that synergy between the products will help promote all our products. The style, images and themes that our campaign conveys is very cool and underground, and would appeal to our youthful target audience, that like the club and rave scene.

Evaluation Question 3


When considering our audience demographic, our primary age group was 16-24 year olds, males and females, because this is the age that has grown up with the discovery and development of dubstep, and is the age group that mostly goes clubbing and raving. Our secondary age group extends to 15-26, since dubstep is mostly limited to quite a young audience, however there is a niche market for the occasional 30+, and obviously appeals to fans of the dubstep genre.

In order to gather feedback from our audience, we held a screening in the Seward Studio at our school, where he received a huge turnout of over 100 people, both students and teachers, resulting in a variety of ages and genders and differing opinions. We then selected 10 people, and held a 'focus group', where we gave each a questionnaire and interviewed one in particular.

Influx Audience Screening from Adam Romo on Vimeo.

Audience Feedback Questionnaires:
Audience Feedback Group 1

Our Interview with Robbie Lardi, an 18 year old fan of dubstep:

Overall, I think our video has been well received by most people that have seen it, averaging a rating of 9/10. In general, most people would say that the performance is the best part of the video, because it has a gorgeous set up, and the characters of Red and Black are really intriguing, however, the narrative does work as well with the video.

One of the criticisms we received from multiple members of the audience, was that they felt there was an unequal balance in screen time between the DJ's and Cassie - they felt that they didn't see Red and Black as often, and wanted to see the DJ's more. This suggests to me that the image was well received by the audience - it was cool and enigmatic, ultimately having an appeal.

Our video definitely appealed to our target audience, as can be seen from our interview with Robbie (above). Being a member of the target audience, and a fan of the genre, he was able to be very critical of the video. From a more technical perspective, he said he felt like there was great progression from the beginning of the video, right up until the second drop, and then it just seemed like the first drop, there was a lack of progression. Therefore, given the opportunity to change something about my video, I would change the ending, and maybe further show how the DJ's take Cassie away.

A sequence that was liked (particularly by the female audience) was the overlay sequence in the bridge. This was interesting, because it was a combination of the narrative and performance strobe shots, suggesting that the audience liked the strobe footage, perhaps because it reflected the environment the music would be played in, such as a rave.

A particular result I found interesting was from a 29 year old female, who thought that video was fantastic, and was a great choice of music. She thought the persona's of Red and Black were brilliant, and that Cassie formed a great role model, and someone that she would aspire to be like. This proves our choice of secondary audience, and although we felt it would be mostly males up to the age of 30, we can now include a few females as well.

In conclusion, I think the video has been really well received, and the brief feedback I have received on the website and album cover is that it all works really well together, and looks really professional.

Evaluation Question 4


New media technologies are technologies that have been introduced in recent years, that have aided the construction, research, planning and evaluation of media products. New tech has been extremely useful to us at all stages of production, and in a different way for each product. However, Web 2.0, first introduced in 2004, has been the most useful new technology, as it has aided us at every stage of production.

Research and Planning
- Web 2.0
Web 2.0 has enabled me to research and analyse similar music videos and provides inspiration, looking at Facebook groups has helped me to evaluate the target audience, and web 2.0 has allowed me to research the conventions of similar websites and album covers.

- Skype and Social Networks for communication
Sky and facebook messages have been extremely useful, as they have been an easy way to share and discuss ideas, plan shoots, and generally organise ourselves. This was key in our production, as it allowed us to easily communicate out of school hours.

- Video Narrative Storyboard
HD cameras helped us at this stage of production to produce a visual storyboard. This was extremely useful, as it allowed us to plan out exactly how the shots would look and would happen in the sequence, and meant that we could address any issues immediately, rather than in the middle of a shoot. This made us more efficient on set.

- Adobe Creative Suite 5, Premiere Pro and Photoshop
Premiere Pro was the main software that we used to construct our music video, as it allowed us to capture footage, edit our track down to 3.30, and edit the footage together in a creative way to produce our current music video.

However, it had more advanced features, such as grading and colour correcting. This allowed us to hide certain errors in our footage, and to give a music video a certain style, and I have shown this bellow:

We also used Premiere to alter the speed of the footage. This allowed us to create the slowmotion effect throughout the music video, which is a very common editing style in the dubstep genre, as it creates emphasis on certain shots and sequences. Again, I have shown this below:

Photoshop was another piece of software we used from the CS5 package. It allowed us to edit our photos, to air brush our models and to create special effects on the pictures. A before and after comparison can be seen below.

To record the voiceovers for my demo videos, I also used Audition, another part of the CS5 package, as this recorded from a USB microphone, and exported to a .wav format that was very easy to edit with.

- Web 2.0
Again, web 2.0 was useful for the communication of ideas and organisation between the group, but more importantly, it allowed us to construct a website to be the hub of our campaign. We used a website called WIX, that gave us a blank template, and we started from scratch, adding text, photos, videos, audio and widgets, to produce a very professional looking website. A demo of this can be seen below:

- HD Cameras and Lighting
The equipment we used to shoot our music video was obviously important as well. The cameras we used shot in 1080i high definition, which meant that the quality of the footage was greater, but also made it a longer process to edit, as render times were far greater.

We also used a lot of different lighting in music video. The main lights that can be seen are the floor lights, and we used these to blind the camera and create gorgeous lens flares. To actually illuminate our subjects, we used large studio lights on the ceiling, that had different tints, allowing us to create the red and blue separation. The final type of light we used was the strobe light. This can be seen in very short shots throughout the video, and it creates the rave type atmosphere that is associated with this music.

Premiere Pro + Mic

Mac - used for AE, adding the MTV logo

HDV Sony Camera

Floor Lights - Lens flares

Premiere Pro 

Audition - for recording voiceovers

Strobe Light

- Web 2.0
Finally, web 2.0 was very useful in our evaluation, as it allowed us to publish the video online to Vimeo, which allowed us to share it with our target audience for feedback, and allowed us to promore the screening of video to gather feedback. Social networking was an excellent way for us to promote our music video, because 96% of our target audience, 16-24 year olds, use these websites.

- Blogger
And of course, blogger was a new technology that has allowed me to document all the work I have done this project so far, including this evaluation. It has been a portal through which I can share videos and photos of my on going progress, and has been extremely useful.

In conclusion, new media technologies are undeniably extremely useful, and we could not have produced anything without them. They have facilitated the research, production and evaluation of all our products, through both physical equipment, such as cameras and lighting, and through software like premiere, photoshop, and web 2.0.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Screening Our Final Video

As a year group, we have premiered our videos through a public screening in the Seward Studio, the same studio where we shot our video. We invited all our friends to come, through an event on Facebook, and by creating a short trailer to entice the audience.

The screening was a huge success, we had a great response to our video, and it was immensely rewarding. Everyone that came was given a question sheet, so that the best video could be chosen for the 'Peoples Choice Award', at the 'Laftas', a Latymer Media award, show next year.