Thursday, 28 February 2013

Production Planning - Narrative Direction

Thought I should make a post about some of the factors involved in terms of people, location and direction.


  • Street - there's a street near where I live which is quite built up, which will be suitable for the first confrontation.
  • Local park - Cedars. There are several spots here which will fit the right "quiet, but not private" feel I want for the second meeting. In particular, an area in the back field with a lone bench.
  • Alley - there is an alley near my house, with a corner which goes off to a road. This could work well for the third confrontation where my character shoves the other character out of the way.

  • Myself - actor, as the lead character.
  • Stephen - actor, as the victim character.
  • Chris - cameraman.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Ancillary Production - Dark Flame logo (with exciting business theory!)

These are two different concepts for logos which I created for my artist in Photoshop. The logo is to appear on both the digipak and the promotional poster for the album, so it will need to be something that once seen will be remembered. This is important when creating the artists brand, as it will make the promotional material more effective at moving potential consumers along the AIDA (Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action) scale.

By my logic, having a strong brand (specifically in terms of the logo) will encourage the move from the "awareness", "interest" and "desire" phases to the final "action" phase.

The promotional materials such as the poster will probably be enough to move along the first three phases. People will see the poster up in record shops, the television ad on the music channel etc. with its dark, "cool" imagery and it's obvious rock conventions, making them aware of its existence. If this is their kind of thing, it will develop their interest, and create a desire to purchase the product. Then, if my theory is accurate (and I'm fairly confident in it), the logo will play its magic. People will see the album on the shelf (or digital shelf, if iTunes/Amazon etc. happens to be their kind of thing) and the logo will stick out to them. They'll subconsciously think to themselves "hey, isn't this the logo for that artist I liked the look of on that poster the other day?", and the "this looks really cool" mentality from said other day will come back to them, and they'll pick up the album and buy it.

As I mentioned before, for this to work, the logo must be something that once seen, will be remembered. Because of this, I believe the first of the two logos will be the most effective. This is because it is more unique - with the gloss and satin effects it looks much more interesting than the second. I worry that as the second is just plain text with a bit of red prettiness, it'd be forgotten about fairly quickly.

In addition to this, I showed both logos to my classmates, and there was a strong preference towards the first. This shows that it appeals to members of the general public (potential consumers), which is always a benefit.


Album title planning

So, after starting the production phase of the music video and getting a feel for the Dark Flame artist's image, it's now a good time to decide upon a final album name, which will be featured on the digipak.

To compliment both the darkness theme of the overall presentation and the questionable sanity of the lead character in the video I thought it'd make sense to make reference to some kind of distorted psychological state.

I think I've settled on the name Hypnagogic Corruption. Reason? "Hypnagogia" refers to the state of being semi-conscious as one is drifting to sleep - and is occasionally used as a blanket term incorporating hypnopompia, which is the semi-conscious state of awakening. If this state is corrupted, it would suggest a negative influence occuring to the character during this phase... which could lead to evil. And darkness. Get the drift?

Yeah. I have a slight obsession with the way sleep works. I've run the name past a few members of the class and they were in agreement that it is fitting given the concept of the album. It also sounds pretty cool, which is pretty important when targeting the older teen market.


Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Intertextuality - My Original Music Video (DO NOT STEAL)

Hey all, obligatory Knight of the Wind reference goes here...

In this post I'm going to be looking at some of the intertextual references I've noticed between my video concept and other media texts. Some of this is completely unintentional; it's just that since I've been working on this video I've started noticing similar concepts in other pieces and I thought I should post it because it's actually pretty interesting. In my opinion, at least.

First up - my video will feature a lot of fast-paced cuts, including some cutting between performance, narrative (with actors shown playing characters) and conceptual elements which reference bodily harm. It's dawned on me that because of this, my concept seems like a significantly tamer version of this: (heads up: LOTS of blood, LOTS of gore. If you don't like that kind of stuff, you might want to give this one a miss).

They are similar in the way that they both have performance elements, they both show a 'victim' character, and they both have a lot of rapid cuts to shots of things which could be used as weapons. The difference here is that I'm not going to be showing the actual bodily harm. Why? Because a) it wouldn't fit my narrative; in my video the lead isn't actually going to attack the victim, he's just going to consider it, and b) it's more marketable that way - good luck trying convincing a music video channel to show anything which isn't some terrible reality programme bloody murder during the daytime when people are actually watching.

Secondly -

This was pretty much unavoidable given that the song I'm using was featured in this game, but eh. Shadow the Hedgehog's storyline revolves around the title character making moral choices as to whether he supports the hero characters in fighting off the evil Black Aliens, or whether he sides with the Black Aliens and conquers the Earth. My video also uses the moral choice concept, in that the lead is considering killing the victim character but is unsure as to whether he should go through with it.

Next up - I know I've mentioned this before but it's still relevant...

The similarity here is the use of the rapid cuts and the strobe lights combined with performance visuals. It was this video which inspired me to go with the strobe cuts when I realised the green screen idea wasn't going to work, so there is a definite link here.

So yeah... I'm probably going to find more intertextual links over the course of the video's production...


Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Ancillary Production - Album Cover Photography

Alongside filming for the music video, I've also started designing a concept for the digipak. There are a number of factors which I have taken into consideration; this post will cover said factors.

Firstly, I want the album cover to be dark. This is because of the dark and 'edgy' imagery I've been going for with the Dark Flame artist, as well as the fact that from my findings this appears to be a common convention of rock album covers - a while back I looked at Muse's The 2nd Law cover, however since then I have looked at more rock covers and have found that quite a few of them have darker aesthetics -

Because of this, it seems fitting to follow suit; whilst it may appear to be a lack of originality - it works as a marketing technique in that rock fans associate the dark imagery with music they enjoy, so when they see a new album with a similar kind of cover they will assume that the album will feature the kind of music they enjoy.

Another reason why I have went for a dark setting is for the sake of sharing traits with the music video; this will reinforce the artist's imagery through another form of media, making it more memorable, therefore more marketable.

After filming the music video footage the other week, I asked Sir to take a few still photographs of me with my guitar in the same costume I was wearing in the performance sections of the video, with the best take being the one which I'd use on my album cover. These are some of the poorer versions:

Whilst some of these are somewhat acceptable, I'm not too keen on them because a) some suffer from mild motion blur (I can't stand still) and b) show me looking slightly distracted. The one I've settled on to use is this:

Why? I like the lighting, I like the way my hair is all over the place, and I like the fact that I look pretty spaced out. It goes with the whole DARK ANGST thing I've had going on. I'm going to greyscale the photo when I edit together the cover in Photoshop, which will exaggerate this more.


Friday, 8 February 2013

Production Update 7 - Let's try this again!

This update is, once again, about the process of filming the performance element of the I Am... All of Me video. Yes, I know. Again. But this footage has to be good before I use it. I don't want a repeat of that abysmal Porcelain recreation. Ugh, that was bad.

So, the first time we tried this I wanted to try it in front of the green screen. That didn't work. The next time, we tried filming in an actual location that actually exists with the Bloggies and... that didn't work either. Will this be a case of third time lucky? Let's find out...

We've taken a couple of measures to try to get better footage this time:

  • Remember those big sheets of black paper we used last time, because we thought the room would be too light? We didn't use those.
  • We used the media department's fancy new SLR cameras instead of the Bloggies.
Here be the footage. Once again, thanks to Sir for helping me out with the filming.


This first video shows the main playthroughs of the song. As you can see (if you bothered to watch the whole forty minute video...) some of the early takes were first a bit blue, then completely black - these are unusable. After realising this, we did a few test shots and we found a lighting setup which seems to work (those being the more 'yellow' shots).

We also decided to take some more strobe light footage - although I felt the strobe footage from last time was good, it made sense to try for better now we had the shiny new cameras out.

It looks good! What you will notice in this video is some of the footage has some... unique... shots. This is what we've dubbed as "Crazycam" - this is because as the strobe light shots will be used to produce a chaotic-feeling pace to the video, I thought it would make sense to show a variety of seemingly random camera motion shots for very, very brief periods of time to act as transitions. It was quite entertaining producing this part - Sir was running around with the camera like an eight year old who had consumed waaaaay too much sugar, which was made even more funny when you consider that with the strobe running, my view of him looked like one of those amateur stop-motion films that has some of the frames missing.

Oh, one more thing. Have a collection of both random things we filmed to test out different camera setups and things which were left in the time between turning the cameras on and starting the performance.



Tuesday, 5 February 2013

UGH pt. 9001

So I'm trying to put together a nice little montage of the footage I got filmed the other day.

This is the second 'batch' of videos. This may take a while. Huzzah.


Saturday, 2 February 2013

Production Update 6 - Performance filming mk.ii.

So yes, on 17th January I had another stab at getting the performance element of the video filmed, after the unsuccessful green screen experimentation.

With many thanks to Mr. N. for staying around after school for several hours to help me film.

I think the main problem here is that we overestimated how much work we'd have to do to block out the outside light to get the right dark aesthetics, and therefore made it too dark to be usable. The preview screen on the Bloggies seems to show the footage much different to how it actually turns out; so it appeared to be usable as we were filming.

Because of the whole dark concept I'd been going for, it seemed like it'd be necessary to completely black out the room and use only lighting from a small torch for the shots - whilst filming this footage, we used this SUPER PROFESSIONAL dark room setup in the media suite in school:

Yes, that is black paper over the windows. Lots and lots of black paper. Too much black paper.

As mentioned in the video, the strobe light shots could potentially be usable. We have since refilmed the performance once again; however the footage for those is on the cameras and computer in school so I don't have access right now to put together an analysis montage for that footage. It will follow during the week!