Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Learning Parts

There aren't going to be successful visuals if the performances aren't convincing and so Oli and Lucy will need to really get into learning the guitar tabs and lyrics. Filming begins in roughly two weeks which should hopefully be plenty of time have these learnt.

Monday, 18 November 2013


Throughout the planning process I've been keeping a list of props as ideas developed in the notes section of my phone:

Most of these things are everyday objects and so just like with the costumes, they are fairly straightforward and cheap to obtain. As soon as I could I began collecting ice-cream tubs with a total of around 5 and if any more are needed there are cheaper alternatives to the branded tubs below that still looked like everything they need to be, which is simply an ice-cream tub.

The temporary green-hair dye has been something I've used before and can be bought quite cheaply from Claire's.
As for the all important pineapple, Asda is my chosen destination where they have a decent selection all year round. And just to be on the safe side, I'll be buying an extra pineapple, as similar as possible to the first in-case of potential damages, and after all, one has to be cut up at the end.

Items I forgot to include are the knife and guitar. I plan to use a kitchen knife of Lucy's so as not to cause issues with transportation and possible injury.
Luckily as was established pretty early on, Oli has his own guitar as pictured below - which is perfect as he doesn't have to take responsibility for another person's property and will be familiar with playing it.

With props there always tends to be something that ends up forgotten but a little closer to the shoot I'll be making a comprehensive props list so as to refer to and document this best

Rest of Cast Costumes

Luckily, everybody else is straightforward. Bethany is the only other person who needs to wear normal clothes as she is seen to be strangled on the swing. She's got quite a bit to choose from, all relatively conservative which is what we want:

The rest of the cast are seen only during the 'Ice-Cream' scenes, which essentially involves wearing pyjamas which everybody has:

The only other exception is Oli as he will be seen wearing the Hawaiian shirt I managed to win on eBay and a pair of shorts. Simple.

There may need to be tweaks along the way but as the costumes are so simple, this shouldn't be much of an issue.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Lucy's Costume 3

Luckily I managed to find the skirt. The connotations of punk that tartan brings should work well with the leather to juxtapose the sweet vintage styling's.

Considering the other girls (which are currently Jess and Katie) I want the pair of them to wear denim jackets (which I know they both have) with the addition of:
- Denim shorts and thick tights for Katie (she owns)
- Red skinny jeans for Jess (she owns)
- Red vest top for Katie (I own)
- Blank vest top for Jess to have aggressive slogan written on (cheap as £2 from Primark)

I have found it a great benefit to cast friends to cast as I already know the personalities they can portray as well as what's in their wardrobes (although it would be careless not to confirm).

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Lucy's Costume 2

It seems that Lucy doesn't have anything of her own that's fits it with vintage goody girl style. However this shouldn't really be a problem as it would be perfectly plausible for her to wear a 'regular' outfit that can be picked out closer to the shoot date.
Luckily she was able to find some items for the scene where her and two girls will be moving in sync, acting pretty much as symbols of when 'breakup girls' go from craving sympathy to scary. The leather jacket and shirt would work great for this character phase, however the skirt doesn't really gel. Fortunately I should have a skirt that fits the bill...

Health and Safety 2

Thinking more along the lines of what the scenes I want to shoot entail, there are actually quite a few risks to consider. This is mostly based on the hazards caused by the actual performances or the environments I have chosen to put the performers in.

The following are things to be taken into consideration:
- Producing a key from Lucy's mouth: as with anything that someone would put in their mouth, for hygiene it would need to cleaned thoroughly both before it goes in and afterwards so as not to spread bacteria. There is also the risk of choking and so Lucy will have to remain very calm whilst the key is in her mouth and try not to keep it too far back.
- Strangling: this is a no-brainer really. Obviously the intention is not to actually strangle nor does the strangling need to be serious (we're keeping this still relatively light and up-beat after all) but care still needs to be taken when Lucy attempts this. She'll need to make sure her grip is more gentle than we are meant to believe and that not only does she not shake too vigorously, but also inform Bethany of exactly have vigorous she will be shaking. Also, as this will be shot on swings in the park, we will need to take into consideration that there may be young families around who may be startled and discomforted by this kind of action and so filming would be preferable when little to nobody is around.
- Sharp knife: the presence of a knife is always a danger and although this will only be seen resting on the table it will still be used to cut up the pineapple pieces (if pre-cut is not available) and so this needs to be done on an appropriate surface with fingers well out if the way.
- Tissues: with these and any item left on the floor there is the hazard of slipping or tripping. Care will then need to be taken to ensure items on the floor are avoided and that there is a big enough 'clear area'.

Friday, 15 November 2013


Below is my completed PowToon featuring the work I did to work out my blocking. I am very pleased with the outcomes and information I came back with.

Locations Confirmation

Luckily the locations I plan to use are either public places (that will simply require us to maintain respecting the fellow public) or houses of friends I am close to and have already expressed permission for me to use, as both Lucy and Oli confirmed when I made the enquiry mentioned in the post 'Locations Permission'.

The final locations are:
- Cripplegate Park
- Lucy's Bedroom
- Lucy's Livingroom
- Oli's Hallway

All areas are in pretty close proximity to one another and have plenty of extra space for equipment and any extra cast members who may not be immediately used at the time.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Lucy's Costume

Lucy's character is by exterior, your typically sweet and over cheerful girl. She therefore needs and outfit that compliments this and also has the 60s-esque vibe I would like to carry forward. Luckily, Lucy wears similar size clothes to me and I have this dress which I think is perfect:

I think that this coupled with the hair in bunches will work really well. However, she'll need something underneath if we film outside as December tends not to very warm, but any long sleeved top underneath should work and some leggings. I would like to find a secondary outfit however, to create some variety, but I will suggest this to Lucy soon.


Here is my final decided storyboard which I didn't think would be completed by now. It runs in real time with the music although there are directions written on some frames and so it may be worth pausing so as to be able to read these directions fully.

Improvising Pays Off!

Straight away I've found a free presentation website called PowToon. I've had a little play around and it seems both straightforward to use, free and just as appealing (if not in some cases more so) as Prezi. Now I'll go about creating my 'blocking' presentation.

Learning to Improvise

I had hoped to be able to use Prezi to create a presentation of the blocking, however it seems that it isn't cooperating right now... just like yesterday. And so to spare both my time and my patience I'm about to search for an alternative.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Locations Permission

In order to be able to actually film, I will need to make sure I have permission to film in my desired locations. Luckily, the majority of shots take place indoors and can be shot in friends' houses. I would ideally like to use Lucy's house but I will have to see if it is available.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Health & Safety

In terms of Health & Safety, the things I wish to attempt are not particularly hazardous.

In my case, the most serious dangers come with the standard equipment; cameras, lighting etc. The procedures needed to make sure that this equipment is safe would be:
- Taping down loose cables and marking off - serious injury can be caused from tripping on cables or from pulling equipment over.
- Placing lighting in areas with enough space - the large lamps can be particularly dangerous if knocked over as they contain mercury which is poisonous.
- Ensuring electrical safety - all plugs need to be correctly plug in and not taught from transporting ( although taping down ensures that they cannot be pulled to far)
- Ensuring camera is secure - on standard tripods, the cameras screw onto a bay that is then slid and locked into place on the tripod top. If either part is not correctly secured then the camera can fall and either break or fall onto someone, causing injury.

These issues are all easily carried out though it would probably be best to have a checklist when it gets to the time for shooting.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Paramore Album Covers

These are Paramore's previous album covers in order of release. All of them have very specific iconography with the Paramore fandom. This is probably partially due to the invasive use of colour.
'All We Know Is Falling' features the stark contrast of a very bold red featured in the sofa against far more desaturated greens and blues.
'Riot!' has an equally, if not more so, loud appearance as the black and white is accented with a rusty red. 'Brand New Eyes' does not have such and aggressive use of contrast but it is still very prominent. The yellow and black stand out enough as it is but the grey background then sets the wings apart from it again.

The layout is also a key part of the appeal. In 'All We Know Is Falling' the layout is very clear and simple. The focus on the sofa at a fairly low angle makes the title appear elevated and more prevalent - especially as the shadow of the tree on the left of the sofa makes it appear in the centre of the setting rather than just at the front of it. 
The layout of 'Riot!' again is simple but with purpose. The band members are slightly off centre, at a slight tilt to the right hand side; the biggest 'RIOT!' does so also. This eliminates any sense of perfection. Also, having the contrast turned right up on their images and creating the black and white effect makes the band seem somewhat integrated into the background. This gives us a sense that they really embody the message they are trying to convey, that they are a part of Riot! and that they remain involved in their music.
Even 'Brand New Eyes', with it's clean cut first appearance, upon looking further, embodies non-conformity. Though the text is neatly placed in the corner, the blue pins that run horizontally do not do so perfectly. Also, a seemingly random green line runs vertically (but still with a slight diagonal tilt) somewhere between half and a third of the way across the cover.

These covers appeal more to a particularly visual stimuli. their purpose is to peak interest in the album itself rather than sell the artists (identifiable by the lack of a clear band image). You get the sense that the music is the main benefactor as these images are designed to create visual music synaesthesia on a smaller scale than a music video would. As backup to this, in the music video to 'Misery Business' featured on the 'Riot!' album, the word 'Riot!' is written repeatedly on the walls featured in the majority of the background, as well as on the floor and on some of the instruments. Also, as I have mentioned before, the mirrors on the back of the 'Brand New Eyes' album are featured in 'Playing God'. There is also clear imagery and lyrical reference to butterflies in 'Brick By Boring Brick' - another main track on 'Brand New Eyes'.

For my album cover, I could then consider incorporating some of the imagery I plan to create in my video into the artwork.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Performers and Casting Meeting

The following is a voice recording of my meeting with the friends of mine who I'd accumulated with an interest in this project. Not all of the people here would be needed but the main purpose was to find and confirm the cast members which would be essential for fleshing out both the acting and musical performance. Also, and arguably most importantly, I needed to find out whether or not availability would be an issue.

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Print Production Design Sketches

Here are my sketched designs for my Print Productions Digipack. I wanted something that was clever and a little bit art but didn't want to imitate the existing design (link). And so, I drew inspiration from just the type and then a little bit of a mixture between the essence of the video for 'Playing God' and my own character that Lucy plays.

The cover features 2 fists pressed against a wall (probably brick) with 'PARAMORE' written across them in black marker. I know I want the background to be dark - the foreground will be lit quite harshly - but I would also like to see some instruments in the back, possibly a drum kit. There is a wonky black frame that runs around the perimeter which will continue over onto the back.

The black continues in the ripped of ripped looking strips which I will add with one of  Photoshop's paint tools. This strips house the song titles at jaunty angles as to give a little more interest, against perhaps a light wood colour, similar to the desk seen beneath the paper.

As we open I want to see a fairly brightly lit surface (most likely a piece of stiff cardboard) within the same environment and covered in  shiny grey masking take, again with 'PARAMORE' adorning it in black marker.

On the underside is the disk. This will probably be white with a scratchy black pattern, similar to the strips on the back, and featuring a white (or grey) little 'x' made of masking tape photoshopped in.

The Head Inside Right features Oli and another male (most likely Peter) sat in the dark with the harsh light masking taped across the wrists, mouth and to their chair. They both look towards the Head Inside Left panel...

Which feature Lucy in the same environment holding the masking tape dangling in a dress and bun and gesturing for the pair to 'shush'. The idea is that you see this side before you open the pack fully and then you see the more shocking sight of the boys bound up.

I would like the advert to simply feature one of these images so that it ties in nicely together and so I can spend as much time as possible getting any edits to look just right.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Digipack Trial

Here is just a quick experiment to see what kind of format and layout the digipack will be and what can be fit on it. This was done very quickly but using tools I haven't used before.

Monday, 4 November 2013

Time for some more Time Management

Over half term (the week just passed) a lot of unexpected things came up which caused me to be very busy. As a result I have had to re-evaluate my deadlines so that I can still get everything done on time:

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Focus Group Discussion

So after just a short time of using my Facebook group to begin to ask questions, I recieved some feedback from my Focus Group a.k.a. my friends. (link)

Facebook has the tendency to notify people of every single little thing that happens in a group. The people in my focus group felt that this annoyed them more than engaged them and that unless specifically prompted, they would forget to comment or take or look.
So, I suggested that I just explain my ideas to them and take their opinions there and then. Although this is not the most official or efficient way of doing things, if it means that I will actually get proper feedback then that is what I will do.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Focus Group Questions for Feedback

These questions will be posted on the Facebook page soon:
  • First I need to make sure that I post the pitch and ask them to watch and give their initial thoughts then asking 'Do you understand the concept?'
  • 'Do you think my idea is relevant to the genre?'
  • Provide a list of potential shots and ask which ones they think sound best
  • 'Does this sound interesting and does it sound like a music video?'
  • 'Is there anything you think needs to be included prop wise? costume wise? performance wise?'
  • 'Does anyone want to be a part of this video?' - then provide filming times etc.
  • 'Oli, I know you can play the guitar but can you play electric guitar? Would you consider performing in the video?'
  • Later I will ask them to vote on who they think is most suitable for the roles

Monday, 21 October 2013

My Coursework Plan

Pitch Feedback

After performing my pitch to the rest of my media class, I received some very encouraging feedback, despite realising how much information I had actually left out. For example, no-one knew exactly who was my target audience until I was asked afterwards. (target audience post) And yet still comments said that it still looked to be both interesting and achievable.

It seems that generally, people really like the pineapple idea. I think it's because it's something people can immediately identify as strange and perhaps knowing that when the main character doesn't gives an audience the sense of superiority.

Also they seemed to like the idea of making fun of typical conventions and where the humour would be coming from, which was good as these were two points I really wanted to be prevolent.

It seemed that they believed that my idea worked to engage the audience and, by process of illimination, would work well the sell the artist/music. After such positive feedback, I look forward to getting stuck in!

Sunday, 20 October 2013

My Pitch

As a part of the music video creation process I needed to deliver a pitch to the rest of my media class in order to sell my idea. Here is the video I played:

I received a lot of feedback regarding my ideas. Despite wondering whether or not the pineapple idea would be a little too hard to understand, nearly all of my feedback was very encouraging. Not only did they like the idea but also commented on how it turns my stereotypical breakup theme into something else. This is exactly what I wanted to convey as the song is accentuating the conventions of the break up and pointing out (at least from Paramore's perspective) that people get so overemotional. I am really glad that I know this will communicate clearly.

They also believed that I had an idea that would apply to my audiences well (as I explained the demographic after I was asked). There is risk to go to far on the humorous side but I planned to induce the humour in careful moderation and not go too far with the pop elements/conventions.

There was a little speculation with regards to whether or not the locations will be suitable as they have not yet been specifically decided - they involve a bedroom, a living room and a few outdoor shots - and so soon I will be doing an evaluation for availability and suitability for my possible locations.

Overall the feedback I received told me that this seems achievable as well as exciting and one person even specifically stated that they looked forward to seeing the finished video.

Friday, 18 October 2013

Video Trials

Here are some video trials I created testing techniques I could possibly use in my video.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Video Shot and Concept Ideas

What I have gathered from the lyrics is that '(One of Those) Crazy Girls' there are some very strong messages. What I gather is that:

  1. It is focused on the extent on which some girls hang onto denial
  2. It is meant to convey an over-the-top feel
  3. The relationship was clearly never going to work
  4. The subject is not necessarily crazy but IS super paranoid at best
When listening to this song, the ukulele at the start came through very strongly and immediately conjured tropical thoughts i.e. palm trees and hawaii. Yet at the same time there seemed to be a slight 50's/60's vibe to the sound (until the main guitar kicks in of course). In my mind then, I envision the subject to look a little like she might have stepped straight out of 'Grease', with her hair in bunches, big skirt and possibly the cat eye style sunglasses.

Then there comes the actual message of the song and my role in conveying that. I need the audience to get the message immediately and so to do this I want the ex-boyfriend roll to be played by a pineapple.

Here are some of the shot ideas I am speculating at the moment:
- Over the top crying w. ice cream eating in pj's. Either still with singer in the immediate front or moving around a circle which she is stood in the middle of.
- some form of simple synchronised movement/dance of singer + girls styled to look 'break-up crazy' i.e. messy hair and make-up, clothes a little bit punky and aggressive.
- walking up to front door in the rain with flowers
- singer thrashing on her bed next to someone playing the guitar solo in a hawaiian pineapple shirt
- purposeful marching towards the camera with scowel

Monday, 14 October 2013

The Audience

Now that I understand Paramore's appeal, I need to think about who they are appealing to. A suitable audience profile would probably be something like this:

  • They would probably be C1 or lower on the Jicnar's scale providing they are still fairly young otherwise they would into E as students
  • In terms of age 14-26 would probably be most suitable, although at a push they could reach into the very early 30's.
  • Their pyschographic would fall under individualists and explorers
  • Paramore's fanbase consists of both genders although Hayley's dominant presence tends to tip the scale towards females 

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Understanding Paramore

It's safe to say that over the years, Paramore have undergone a lot of changes. In 2004, Hayley Williams, Jeremy Davis, Taylor York and Josh and Zak Farro formed the American alternative/punk rock band. In 2005 their first album 'All We Know Is Falling' came out featuring the track 'Pressure' (seen below). The track was so popular that a 'simlish' version was featured in the game 'Sims 2', which for many, including myself, was the first anyone had heard of Paramore. As you can tell, this is not the video of a super established band, but things soon changed.

Paramore's next album 'Riot!', released in 2007, was really what established the band. For many fans, 'Riot!' still continues to be the favourite album as it best embodies the alternative/punk rock style. 'Misery Business' was probably the most popular song of the album as well as Hayley Williams' favourite. The song features an immediatly identifiable guitar intro and the band's soon recurring motif of distinctive lyrics. The video itself is quite obviously thought about way more clearly than 'Pressure'.

There is a much clearer narrative, intersected with editing that displays it in equal measures to shots of the entire band, featuring mostly however around Hayley. Her hair and makeup is a lot 'louder': the colour contrast has been increased to accentuate this. Above all there is a very strong sense of motion. the editing is extremely fast paced and the camera rarely keeps still either featuring a pan, zoom or tilt in virtually every shot. There is a heavy element of 'looking' as a series of shot/reverse shots follow the perspectives of the characters of the video (particularly to illustrate the reactions of the 'bitch' character's actions in more detail). Also, Hayley looks in to the camera for the majority of time she is seen singing, as it typical. However at one point, she actually grabs hold of the camera a few times, shaking the lens into view so that the audience are reminded that she is aware of our presence.

 'Crushcrushcrush' was also a killer hit from the 'Riot!' album. It again features a lot of movement however it is toned down quite a bit to fit with the tempo of the music. The movement then in this case comes through the band members and actors in majority, although the camera (for the majority) still does not just stay still. There is also still high contrasting colour: Hayley's orange hair stands out bright against the pale blues of the background. There is also a play, once more, on the aspect of 'looking'. We see a couple of men with telescopes and binoculars looking at the band and looking seedy with their mouths wide open and smiling.

'Brand New Eyes'
In 2009, Paramore released 'Brand New Eyes'. At this point they had managed to establish themselves globally and it was clear that Paramore was now more than the punk rock band they had begun as. 'Brand New Eyes' featured tracks that began to expand from the genre. Some of the songs though just as brilliant, were taking on a softer alternative styling. Some may argue that they were all the more better for it as instead of defining them by genre, you would define Paramore as Paramore.

This video for 'Brick By Boring Brick' once again follows a clear narrative except compared to 'Misery Business', there is more focus to it in comparison to the band focus. Hayley is the only member of the band really seen, and rather than being separated, she is placed within the narrative world. Though the effects are at some points quite cheesy, there has been quite clear effort to create more synaesthesia. The video is more amplifying - you see a big hole being dug on 'we'll dig a deep hole', the girl in the video wear butterfly wings while it's heard that she's 'ripping wings off of butterflies' - which overall does make it more engaging. There was a step taken in this video to show that they were trying something new, especially as Hayley's trademark orange hair had been replaced by flowing platinum blonde.

'Playing God' took the focus back to the band a little, featuring them in a story where they'd all been imprisoned by Hayley. Again we can see hints of amplifying visuals, during 'the way I, way I see it' Hayley glares at each of the band members with a magnifying glass. At one point also, she is seen looking into a mirror and after each line Josh Farro echoes 'I'll point you to the mirror'. These few shots also have a deeper layer of relevance as they resemble the back cover of the album (link) with the empty frames seen surrounding the mirror. This little link back to the album is also seen in the video for 'The Only Exception' as seen below (probably on account of the fact that they shared the same director: Brandon Chesbro).

Compared to some earlier videos, the entire feel of this one is a lot softer to match the feel of the song. The lighting is a lot softer and the cuts are quite few. Long takes allow the video to flow more in accordance with the music.

From Five to Three
In December of 2010, Josh and Zak decided that they would be leaving the band. This changed a lot of how Paramore was now percieved, mainly as the reason for their leaving was probably due to the amount of focus placed on Hayley. Then in June 2011, 'Monster' was released, the first song to not feature contribution from the Farro brothers.
There a very strong focus on each of the band members again (however Hayley is still prominant) and extra care has been taking to provide particularly striking visuals to go along with the music e.g. lamp firing sparks, striking the wall. I feel that overall it made a really big statement - they wanted their audience to know that Paramore was still strong as ever and I feel they proved it well (at least with this visual delivery).

Most recently, the new and smaller Paramore released their long anticipated album named simply 'Paramore'. Though still inkeeping with the Paramore 'motif', they had still managed to stretch a little further out of the typical American punk-rock sound.

'Now' came out as an album preview, serving very well as a taste of what was to come. The concept of the video is simple yet so unbelievably effective. The editing is very in-keeping with the sound again (it is another prime example of effective synaesthesia) and works so incredibly to grip your attention. It is very loud and makes quite a potent statement; a statement which says 'we are back.'

'Still Into You' received a lot of mixed reception. Some of the audiences liked how they were seeing a new, but still very Paramore sound whereas others felt the track (and, to a further extent, the album) was far too 'pop' for what they were expecting. I would argue that Paramore have never truly succumbed to the genre they happened to fit in but instead made the music they wanted. Now, I would consider them alternative rock. However, even this feels too defining, hence why I have chosen to take this look at Paramore and the potential audiences they have, rather than the audiences of the specific genre.

They are fun, they are loud, they are creative, visually stunning and absolutely BURSTING with emotion. And I feel, most importantly, that that is what I should bear in mind when developing and filming my video.

Monday, 7 October 2013

After a Week

It's been a week since I contacted Kristina Cotsamandis asking permission to use '(One Of Those) Crazy Girls' and I have had no reply. Therefore, I will just be continuing to work towards producing a video for this song - especially as time is of the essence.
Therefore it is decided that this will be the song I use.

Friday, 4 October 2013

What Are the Words?

I haven't had a reply as yet, but just in case I should probably take a look at the lyrics anyway. Below are the lyrics to '(One Of Those) Crazy Girls' taken from The lyrics are very important when considering the type of video I want to make as well as helping to create potentially better synaesthesia.

Now when you say you wanna slow down,
Does it mean you wanna slow dance?
Maybe you just want a little extra time
To focus on our romance.

What do you mean I got it backwards?
You know we're gonna be forever.
Why are you tellin' me goodbye?
Aren’t you gonna stay the night?

Are we really over now?
Maybe I can change your mind?
Soon as you walk out my door,
I’m gonna call a hundred times.

Now I walk under a pink sky (ooh),
Lovers float along and pass me by.
I pour my heart out to your voice mail,
Let you know I caught a bus
To your side of town.

And now I’m standing at your doorstep
With Los Angeles behind me.
If you don’t answer I’ll just use the key
That I copied 'cause I really need to see you.

If you're not here when I break in,
I’m gonna go to your closet,
Just so I can smell your skin.
As the chemicals swim,
I know I’ll never love again,
I swear I’ll never love again!

Baby, are we over now?
Maybe I can change your mind?
As soon as you walk out my door,
I’m gonna call a hundred times!

I’m not one of those crazy girls,
I’m not one of those crazy girls,
I’m not one of those crazy girls,
I’m not one of those crazy girls.

Hey, baby, are we over now?
Maybe I can change your mind?
As soon as you walk out my door,
I’m gonna call a hundred times!

Baby, are we over now?
Maybe I can change your mind?
Soon as you walk out my door,
I’m gonna call a hundred times!


Now I’m one of those crazy girls,
Now I’m one of those crazy girls,
Now I’m one of those crazy girls,
Now I’m one of those crazy girls.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Asking for Permission

On the 23rd of September I sent an email to Paramore's publicity representative Christina Kotsamandis, (far more reliable than atempting to contact Hayley herself) asking for permission to use their song '(One Of Those) Crazy Girls' as it is my first choice. Below are 2 screenshots displaying my email and showing that it has sent.

As of yet I have had no response.

Monday, 30 September 2013

My Chosen Genre

Picking a genre to work in is tough. I love a wide variety of music and each genre provides different creative possibilities. However, as you may be able to tell from my post 'Getting An Early Start', I have a soft spot for the Soft Rock/Alternative genres. Music that falls into this category is usually packed full of emotion, strong instrumentals, impacting aesthetics and lyrics that inspire as well as hook. The record label 'Fueled by Ramen' has signed many popular artists who work within this genre, as you can see below (Awolnation however belongs to Red Bull Records).

Paramore is a particular favourite of mine. They have a very wide repertoire. From their start as very american punk sounding group with early tracks like 'Pressure', to their slightly more heartfelt album 'Brand New Eyes' and now their considerably reinvented self-titled album, Paramore, for me, have always hit it home when it comes to songs that really become a part of you.

In an upcoming post I will take a look in depth at some existing Paramore videos.

Friday, 27 September 2013

Heading in the Direction of Genre

Now that I know I want to have a very entropic feel to my video, I need to think about genre. A few months back I did send tweets to Hayley Williams considering using one of Paramore's songs just on the off chance that she would reply, and therefore I could come with a song I could potentially use.
However, the alternative genre which Paramore belongs to tends to be very entropic and could potentially be something I would really enjoy doing. For this then I will need to look further into the rock type alternative genre.

Music Video Redundancy/Entropy

Redundant messages are those which convey predictable or conventional ideas. Usually we would associate the word with that which is boring but Redundancy is not a bad thing. It is vital in day to day situations for communication and understanding.

Entropy is that which is unpredictable; essentially, it's the opposite of redundancy.

Levels of entropy and redundancy differ when it comes to different genres.

Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift tends to come across as fairly reduntant. Her image is very typical in a lot of her videos resulting in a mis-en-scene of one 'fresh-out-of-the-box, fashionable adolescent'. Although some of the things seen in these videos are a little unusual (eating birthday cake by yourself, people dressed as animals dancing around etc.) they are not given enough attention/camera time to become of any specific relevance or present themselves as motifs.
There is soft lighting admist fairly high exposure giving an 'Instagram-esque' feel that will be positively redundant to Taylor Swift's hipster/mainstream audiences. Theses familiarisations are made to create a level of redundancy for easy communication of relate-ability. The only real levels of entropy come through the cinematograpghy although this only seems to break from convention in the second video with the execution of one near completely continuous shot. However, this less conventional level of cinemaotgraphy is not seen in the rest of Taylor's videos.

Yo La Tengo

Yo La Tengo are a completely different story altogether. They prefer to create entropy through completely or near completely disjunctive videos. 'Sugarcube', focuses largely on the narrative, seeming more like a clip from a poorly produced movie than a music video, due to the over layering of sound: speech, diegetic noises.
'I'll Be Around' seems to then stretch the boundaries of disjunction by layering another mis-en-scene of text which has no relation to the lyrics and only relates to the video in the second half, leaving it disjunctive until that point.

 OK Go

In OK Go's case, the levels of entropy they choose to convey come across far easier than can be said for Yo La Tengo. Their videos are also disjunctive in majority but do at times contain hinted amplifying features.
All 3 examples here consist of one continuous shot, which is not cinematographic format we are used to.

I think that it would be far more engaging for myself and more importantly the audience if I go for a more entropic format.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Making My Video Stand Out

The videos I've picked out seem to all have something very different in them. There's at least one element in the aesthetics or narrative that makes it stand out and be memorable.
If I want my music video to possess this memorable quality then I will need to take a look at their different levels of individuality or entropy...

Particularly Good Music Videos

The following are videos I find particularly successful. They span fairly contrasting genres.

David Guetta - Play Hard

Sum 41 - In Too Deep

Peter Gabriel - Sledgehammer

P!NK - Stupid Girls

 Tom Milsom - Pipes

 Scissor Sisters - Any Which Way

Kimbra - Cameo Lover

Capital Cities - Kangaroo Court

Friday, 20 September 2013

SKILLS LESSON 3: Green Screen

This lesson we took a look at the use of green screens. There was not a lot I knew about green screens prior other than that they were green and that you stood in front of them and through computer magic, suddenly you're in Egypt. It turned out though that it was relatively straight forward. Using Adobe Premier Pro CS5 I learned that using a Chroma Key, I could pick out the colour of the screen and then gradually slide to remove it from the frame at the right level.

It was necessary then to be very careful with the lighting as shadows across the screen would make it harder to isolate all of the green. It was also worth considering how appropriate the lighting would be in relation to what you intended to replace the background with. As can be seen below, we went for a rather unrealistic underwater swimming theme but did place blue gels over the lamps to mimic the kinds of reflections.

At a more serious level these techniques could be very useful and I will most likely be trying green screen in relation to my actual video.

Monday, 16 September 2013

Demands of the Record Label

Now I have a bearing on lighting I can take a look and see how that is incorporated in existing music videos, so as I can have a better idea of how I will use it. One of Goodwin's...

When considering musical artists, Lady Gaga is someone who very clearly has her own unique brand image.

Her videos are always very commercial:

Straight away you know what you are watching.

What Lady Gaga IS is artistic, weird, loud, vogue, individual. These pictures convey this clearly:

Metal wings look like they've come straight out of an arts workshop.
Their only purpose is artistic.

Hand on heart admits that she loves who she is... that and the coming of a giant top hat. 

Wild expression, unconventional make-up
'Vogue' style pose and imagery through black and white filter.
Weird for the sake of weird or art? Or both?

There are also many close ups that identify her in different forms. All however, make it clear of what the focus is; her:

Friday, 13 September 2013

SKILLS LESSON 2: Stop Motion Animation

The above is a quick, trial stop animation we made in class. There are quite a few flaws in this sequence that can be blamed on the fact that there was little time to pay proper attention to detail. There is inconsistent lighting and little jumps in the animation though in majority it is smooth.

The purpose of this trial was merely to put the attention on something that may not have been previously considered and just to pep up some creative juices.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

SKILLS LESSON 1: Introduction to Lighting

Last Friday, we took a look at the possibilities of lighting. The basis of this lesson was pretty simple and so fairly easy to some up.

The standard form of lighting used in most pieces is 3 Point Lighting. This is where a Key Light and a Fill Light are placed in front of the subject followed with a back light behind.
The key light lights the subject in majority, making it able to see them and is the brightest. In standard 3 point set up, it sits at a 45 degree angle to the subject.
The fill light sits on the opposite side, lighting the area of the subject that is missed, making the lighting more even.
The back light sits behind as is of lower intensity. It helps to make the subject stand out better against the background, giving them more of an outline.
Here is a basic diagram of 3 point lighting set-up:

Though the 3 point technique is the standard, it is by no means the only form of lighting that we can use. In our lesson we experimented with moving the lighting and camera in different places around the subject.
By isolating the key light and placing it behind the subject facing into the camera, we were able to create a silhouette. By applying different coloured gels and intensities of light, we could create a fair array of different moods.

Skills Lessons

On Fridays we are set to have practical lessons where we can explore and develop these different skills, whilst thinking about how they relate to the mood of music. Last Friday, (September 6th) we had a look at lighting and in particular, the standard 3 point set up. We then had the chance to experiment with light intensity, positioning and the addition of 'gels' and 'screens'. After each Friday, I will post about the skills we explored on this blog with the title 'SKILLS LESSON:' followed by what we looked at. This will help make it easy to come back to when preparing for the exam, as well as keeping the variety of skills that are now at my disposal clear throughout the task.

The Beginning of My Research

Now that term has begun, I'm beginning to learn in more depth about the task I have been set. In the 5 lessons I have had so far, I have already looked at conventions of different music genres as well as skills applied that were key parts of last years study (editing, cinematography, mis-en-scene and sound). It is the sound this time that needs to be focused on and it is these other techniques which will revolve around it.

To get the best marks and produce a video of higher quality, following Andrew Goodwin's framework of music video analysis is advised. There as 6 main features that are stated:

  • Music videos demonstrate genre characteristics. (e.g. stage performance in metal videos, dance routine for boy/girl band, aspiration in Hip Hop).
  • There is a relationship between lyrics and visuals. The lyrics are represented with images. (Either illustrative, amplifying, contradicting).
  • There is a relationship between music and visuals. The tone and atmosphere of the visual reflects that of the music. (Either illustrative, amplifying, contradicting). This is linked to the concept of Synaesthesia - Seeing the sound, the visual, including the editing make the sound visual. There is a physical representation of verse/chorus structure.
  • The demands of the record label will include the need for lots of close ups of the artist and the artist may develop motifs which recur across their work (a visual style that reflects their star image/persona).
  • There is frequently reference to notion of looking (screens within screens, mirrors, stages, etc.) and particularly voyeuristic treatment of the female body. (Mulvey)
  • There are often intertextual references (to films, TV programmes, other music videos etc.). 
I will need to take a closer look at all of these features so that I can apply then appropriately to my video when I come to planning and producing it.

Getting An Early Start

As soon as I discovered that we creating a music video as part of our second year coursework I was ecstatic. This is something I've wanted to do for a very long time and was thrilled by the idea that we'd get to pick our own artist and song.

The thought that followed immediately after was exactly what should I choose? There were so many different songs that I loved and could easily come up with creative videos for. And then I bought Paramore's new album. The whole self-titled album was an absolute triumph and I knew that I would revel at the opportunity to create a video of one of these songs. Better still, only two of the tracks - 'Now' and 'Still Into You' - were released as singles and so were, and are, the only ones which had pre-existing music videos (with the exception of a member exclusive video for 'Anklebiters' which came out recently). This was great, as after listening to the album just a couple of times I was drawn towards '(One of Those) Crazy Girls' and had already come up with some ideas.

The only problem was that I knew that I needed to ask permission, and well, Paramore are pretty big. I knew getting hold of them would be hard, but I still tried tweeting Hayley Williams, the lead singer, as you can see below:

I had little faith that she would reply as she has over 3,000,000 followers and my tweets most likely became swamped in the massive backlog she receives every day. So, I went onto the Fueled By Ramen website (Paramore's record company) and found some contacts that I could potentially go out and e-mail.

Despite being unable to obtain specific permission, I did a little research and it seems that I should be able to use the song anyway. This is to do with the 'Fair Use'. The Fair Use Doctrine is a part of copyright law that gives users the right to use copyrighted material without expressed permission. When uploading both of my lip sync videos to YouTube, a warning pops up, notifying the video publisher that they have submitted copyrighted content, stating that it will therefore not be able to be viewed in some countries. However, to bypass this, uploaders can dispute that there content does not infringe the terms of use in copyright, due to Fair Use.

For the task ahead, there isn't necessarily a need to make a dispute as the video is not intended to be public and will be uploaded as 'Private' so that only those with the link and the uploader can view it.

The important thing in this situation however is that this particular song may not be the one I use for my exam. I need to know what marks I should be hitting before I get too carried away or set on an idea. But, at least I can say I have something I could work with and also that I am a little more knowledgeable about how copyright affects my plans.