Friday, 8 March 2013

Evaluation 1:

 In what ways does your media product use the forms and conventions of real media products?

To begin my research and planning, I looked at various bands and artists within the 'contemporary rnb/pop' genre of music. I watched many videos from artists such as Nicki Minaj, Azealia Banks, Rihanna and Tanya Lacey to attempt to understand the themes and techniques used to reflect the genre. My main focal point was the use of humour, and quirky choreography. Jump cuts, and Synaesthesia were the key camera shots and editing techniques that I found within these videos, and felt it essential to incorporate them into my own video. The videos were also very playful, with a lack of narrative. In my video I decided to rule out a strong narrative, and encourage a more playful, entropic theme throughout.

     These shots of Beyonce convey Laura Mulvey's theory of Male Gaze. (Right) the camera focuses on her breasts, and (left) her bottom. Both her cleavage and upper thigh area are visible.
I decided to incorporate Male Gaze into my own video, here featuring Thea bouncing on a ball in the gym. There is no narrative structure, or reason behind this shot other than for the purpose of creating The Male Gaze- much like Beyonce (above). Her midriff is in plain sight, made visible by revealing clothing. The action itself of bouncing on a gym ball holds much sexual connotation.

Here features an extreme close up of Rihanna from her 'Rudeboy' video.

Above, Rihanna's mouth displays a pout that represents attitude, as if snarling at the camera. Her red lipstick creates a visual motif- something which inspired and encouraged me to use in my own video.

Taken from my digipak, Thea's bright red lips contrast with the black and white edited background in order to make them stand out. Rihanna's snarl/pout (above) connotes attitude, and I have decided to incorporate this redundant feature of an rnb/pop video into my own video, displaying Thea's nose ring which connotes rebellion and attitude. It also portrays fashion, style, and sex appeal- much like Rihanna's.

Here, a shot from Azealia Banks' '212' video features black and white editing, and an extreme close up of her mouth. I decided to replicate this type of shot, displaying intertextuality, and portraying the 'urban' feel I had initially wanted to achieve during the planning stage, however decided to take close up shots as opposed to extreme close up shots. I thought it was a stylistic technique that adds variation to the colour scheme of the video, creating a sense of simplicity and stark contrast to other colours.

Within these videos I found that colour is a significant feature. Bright colours that 'pop' out of the screen, contrasting with black and white edited shots were redundant of my genre, and in order to make my own video relevant, I decided to incorporate both colour techniques into my own video and digipak/magazine advert. 
                   Above, Rihanna's video is bright and colourful, also very redundant of her musical genre, adding a playful theme, connoting fun. Rihanna's clothes are also bright, vivid colours. I felt it important to replicate this image with Thea within my own video.

See below- Thea wears bright attire, inspired by the bright colours used in Rihanna's video. In addition, the background of the shot features an orange fire escape. This provides a bright colour to replicate Rihanna's shot above, and provides an urban feel, portraying 'city life'. I did however decide to position the camera at a slanted angle, as I felt this would help create even more of an urban feel, in the sense that the shot wasnt 'clean cut'. This is entropic of this particular music genre, as like Rihanna's, the majority of rnb/pop videos look clean cut, displaying aspects of symmetry and steadiness of a camera. The shot of Thea represents more of a hip hop genre.

This shot below is taken from urban/hip hop group, NDubz. It shows aspects of urbanity and 'city life', aswell as using a slightly slanted camera angle for a somewhat rougher, less clean cut look.

The colour scheme portrayed in all 3 of my products include black and white editing.


Magazine Advert

Style features of my digipak, video and magazine advert include the glamorisation of smoking, which connotes rebellion and and a desire to be non-conformist with the laws of society. The informal font creates an urban feel to the video; connoting youth and the modern generation, a clear lacking of authenticity, and an attempt to create an individual look. Regarding the lack of authenticity, theorist, Lyotard, discussed the death of the meta-narrative; the notion that originality is dead, everything is a replica of something already produced, and there is a significant lack of meaning. I believe I have incorporated this into my products, as they do not display a narrative. It is intertextual, and simply a copied version of already-established videos.
 The colour of the font also supports this, as it is clearly bright pink- connoting youth again, aswell as showing some female dominance within the musical genre, and in particular, these media texts that I have created.

Nicholas Abercrombie's theory entailed the exploitation of genre conventions, and the economical benefits of reusing props, costumes, sets etc. I have certainly displayed this within my media texts, as the model's attire lacks extravagance, and all costumes belonged to her already- I did not have to purchase new attire for the shoots. 

Costume is an extremely important feature in music videos of the 'contemporary rnb/pop' music genre. I ensured that my model's attire was similar to the artists within my genre. I discovered that as both the artists and their fans wear bright clothing (often revealing), thus deciding to ask my model to wear bright clothing. Regarding the 'revealing clothing', there were some shots within my video that were intended to represent the Male Gaze, a theory devised by Laura Mulvey. These shots were undoubtedly redundant of my specific music genre, despite the narrative behind it being entropic. (Medium Close Up shot of my model working out in the gym...Male Gaze is evident as the camera focuses on her midriff). Mulvey also suggested that the narrative of a video was more likely to follow narratives centred around male desires. The female form is a male desire, hence why I decided that using Male Gaze would be so beneficial.

A specific shot in Azealia Bank's music video for '212' features a dance that was not choreographed. It was quirky and playful- two themes that I aimed to use in my video. (13-15 seconds in).

I replicated this type of dance in my video, which I also edited in black and white. Steve Neale's genre theory of repetition and difference is relevant to my video, as I aimed to copy the style and editing technique, however, I didnt wish to use it as a main feature. The shots where my model dances in this way are very short clips that display Synaesthesia, a term coined by Andrew Goodwin, who saw the importance of linking the time of the beat with the camera shots, aswell as lip synching, which were things I intended to incorporate into my video from the early stages of planning.

My video- Tanya Lacey's 'Born To Fly'.  Lip Synching is evident throughout my music video, similarly to Azealia Banks' '212'.

It is crucial that genres have to repeat certain conventions in order to be successful, as it essentially brands the video, allowing the audience to associate it with other videos, thus increasing popularity and eventually, sales. I have repeated conventions such as the unchoreographed dance moves, black and white editing, and a visual motif of red lips aswell as bright clothing and use of Mulvey's Male Gaze in order to allow my audience to relate videos using these conventions. I decided against, however, repeating all conventions of my music genre, as I felt the audience would get bored with the redundancy of the visuals within the video. I decided to create a video that lacked any strong form of narrative, to ensure that the audience would not know what shot would come next, allowing it to be somewhat unpredictable; therefore entropic.

The effect of entropy on the audience is significant, as despite many elements of my video being redundant of the genre, certain entropic elements add a sense of the unexpected. I wanted the audience to feel as though the video is perhaps unpredictable, in the sense that they can pick up on the synaesthesia, but unknowingly anticipate what the next shot will entail. For example, some of the
filming took place in a local gym.

 <---- Nunnery Wood School. The Gym is located inside.

This is a somewhat entropic location to shoot a contemporary rnb/pop music video. The shots purposely look out of place, fitting with the idea of a lack of narrative. I add redundancy by using lip-sync, a very common element of videos from this genre.

Another way in which I created an entropic twist to the video is by using stop-motion.

I created a stop motion sequence consisting of cupcakes being individually iced, spelling out the title of the song. It is illustrative of the lyrics, and the shot is synaesthetic. This is both redundant and entropic, as despite being illustrative, the shot looks out of place. I intended for this, as I felt it was important to create both senses of redundancy and entropy, without the final sequence of stop motion becoming amplific. Kate Nash, an indie/pop artist produced a music video that was both illustrative and entropic too.

Kate Nash- Foundations. This features a link between visual image and lyrics, but is not coherent with the narrative of the story behind the video- thus being a deteriorating relationship between boyfriend and girlfriend. It adds comic effect, something I did not directly wish to incorporate into this specific part of the video, but have used as a concept throughout my video and digipak.

"You said I must be sucking on so many lemons, because I am so bitter"

I have stuck to the initial idea of creating a video without a strong narrative throughout my video, despite embellishing the original plans of shot lists and storyboards. I feel that sticking to this concept allowed for both originality and creativity, without becoming either completely redundant or completely entropic. I aimed to create an auteuristic element, as I carried this notion throughout the video.

If I were to challenge the redundant conventions of a pop/contemporary rnb music video, it would ultimately lose value and appear too entropic- tainting the perception of it as a whole. The comic effect, quirky style, and added 'urban feel' allowed me to create a video that lay somewhere between redundant and entropic; fitting properly into neither category, in order to develop a balance between predictability and totally random. 

Another way in which I have allowed my video to display originality is through the use of camera shots. For most of which we utilised the camera tripods, but for some shots we felt it necessary and beneficial to use hand-held, in order to create a rougher, urban feel to the video, innkeeping with the typical conventions of the genre.

I took many stylistic techniques from Azealia Banks' 212 video, in particular, the comic effect.

Here, I have asked Thea to pull various faces, for the simple reason of adding humour to the video. It is fairly redundant, but adds a quirky edge, which I intended to create from the early stages of planning. The black and white edit, and slanted camera position add the urban feel to the video that I required. 

This pose connotes seduction, and adds a sexual theme to the video, inkeeping with the age and nature of my target audience, considering their age and preferred musical genre. The lips in general hold a connotation of seduction, thus being a reference to sex, and I have carried this throughout my ancillary texts and video in order to address my audience and add redundancy. The male gaze was motivated by Freudian ideas of sexual desire and so coded women as sexual objects in a voyeuristic and fetishistic manner. Lipstick is a known fetish for men, and clearly the fact that Thea is female encourages the male gaze. I feel adding the visual motif of red lipstick enables my video to appeal to men in this manner, and women would see the lipstick as an element of fashion/style, enabling my video to appeal to them too.


  1. Some proficient points but not detailed enough (you need to consider why genre is used in an economic sense and also consider how you have developed or challenged gender representations)and there is scope for more specific analysis.
    Try to use more comparisons where there is a specific example in a real video and print screen it and then have a print screen where you have used this conversation in your video.

  2. Some discussion of theorists would be good too.
    Don't forget the digipak and advert.

  3. There are some proficient comments here but also areas where your understanding is not secure.
    In your opening paragraph you need to show how the images of real world videos are specifically linked to screen shots from your own video.
    In paragraphs 2 and 3 you need to link the images from your videos to images from real world examples.
    Throughout, you seem to either use images from the real world and don't link them to images from your video or use images from your video but don't link them to images from the real world.
    Your points about genre and Abercrombie need looking at again. The main point here is that using genre conventions is a good way of attracting an audience as genres are already popular so by using genre conventions such as you've done (evidence?) you are ensuring your package will be commercially successful.
    Be careful about your comments about Neale. Stress that genres have to REPEAT certain conventions if they are to be successful (how have you done this?) but you have to use DIFFERENCE too if you don't want the audience to get bored.
    When discussing synaesthesia why not mention Goodwin's name as one of his conventions was that there was a match between the music and the editing.