Music videos are so 80s/90s, right? They belong with the era when MTV screened wall-to-wall vids instead of 'reality' TV? Try telling that to the millions who bought Gangnam Style; were they really simply loving the music? 1.6bn (and still climbing) have viewed the video on YT, not to mention the many re-makes (school eg, eg2), viral ads + celeb link-ups (even political protest in Seoul) - and it doesn't matter how legit it is, this nightmare for daydream Beliebers is making a lot of money, even from the parodies + dislikes. All this for a simple dance track that wouldn't have sounded out of place in 1990 ... but had a fun vid. This meme itself was soon displaced by the Harlem Shake. Music vids even cause diseases it seems!
This blog explores every aspect of this most postmodern of media formats, including other print-based promo tools used by the industry, its fast-changing nature, + how fans/audiences create/interact. Posts are primarily written with Media students/educators in mind. Please acknowledge the blog author if using any resources from this blog - Mr Dave Burrowes

Monday, 30 April 2012


This is not for your coursework (BUT, so long as you do it by Friday when I'll be posting your marks to the exam board, you can add this above your final cut as the 1st post you see on your blog), but rather for:
(1) future students
(2) DVD compilation of your work (including some of the practice exercises)

You can film up to 5 mins for this, and I'll edit down to between 30/60seconds. Film in groups, not individually.
I need these before you go on study leave.

When passing over full quality exported files (shot in HD, both AS and A2) name the file as NAME1-NAME2-NAME3-CWK INTRO, eg JESS-GINA-CWK INTRO

What I'd like to you talk about:
  • Introduce yourselves, and the work you did (eg, Hi, I'm Gina - and I'm Jess - and we created a new music video for Robbie Williams' single "She's the One"; or Hi, I'm Tom - and I'm Georgia - and we created the opening sequence of a new slasher film titled "Tiny Terror")
  • Who was it aimed at? (eg We were aiming our work at an audience aged 15-24)
  • Have you entered it for any competitions? For A2: Have any organisations (fansites, charities, band sites etc) said they'll use your vid?
  • What were the major influence/s on your work (eg certain directors, films, videos etc)? You could say a little about the role of research in this.
  • Did your idea/editing change much from the original pitch/filming/rough cut? You could say something about what factors influenced any changes
  • What are you most pleased about with your production?
  • If you wish to, you could briefly address aspects you'd like to develop further given more time.
  • What can you do now that you couldn't do at the start of the year?
  • What have you gained/learned from this production and the process behind it? That may well be aptitude for directing or organising (producing) a shoot/cast (or other roles: SFX/makeup for example) as well as more technical, software/editing-centred learning
  • Why would you recommend others take Media Studies in the future? [I'll edit out + use anything on this point separately]
  • Anything else you'd like to say
This shouldn't be too tasking; a few mins to think this through, gather your group, get a camera (HD - both AS + A2), find a quiet spot, and shoot. You can pass on the footage to John or do a basic edit yourselves if you want to have a copy of this for your blog/as a memento.

I'd assume such a (by now!) talented bunch as you A2 folk will be heavily involved in producing some whiz-bang materials for your leaving assembly too; you could use this as a means of generating something for that, or just something Media-centred to share with both A2 classes as a memento of two fun-packed, fact-filled years of counter-hegemonic learning!

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Teaser vids

Its not just the film industry that uses the concept of teaser (trailers), but also the music biz. These are used to build up interest/excitement/anticipation - and attention; press reportage - in advance of a release. They also present an opportunity to give different websites 'exclusives' - one the teaser exclusive, another the full vid, or a making-of (and so forth).
I've noticed quite a few of these, and here's one example (a horror-themed metal vid):

Friday, 20 April 2012

REP'NS: RegionalAccent: NadineCoyle subtitled

Good example, following on from Girls Aloud bandmate Cheryl Cole being subtitled for her brief stint on X Factor USA, of the commercial challenges of UK accents other than middle-class Southern English: my compatriot, Nadine Coyle, has also suffered this fate on the US edition of Next Top Model.
See reports by Belfast Telegraph + Huffington Post vid (below);

Have you addressed this issue when discussing casting, representations, budgets, distributors, audience (including feedback - did you get feedback from 'non-locals' not so familiar/comfortable with the local Yorkshire accent?) etc?
Here's what the Belfast Tele wrote:
Girls Aloud singer Nadine Coyle has once again hit the headlines because of her distinctive Londonderry accent.
Currently appearing as a guest judge on reality US TV show America’s Next Top Model, her strong Derry dialect has led to her being subtitled for the American audience.
Beauty Nadine, who is well placed to judge the show’s fledgling models, has never compromised on her love of her home city.
She recently appeared at an event to promote Derry to the American tourist market as part of the Clipper Yacht race and for the 2013 UK City of Culture celebrations.
The American decision to subtitle her has been labelled as simple prejudice.
Linguistics expert Dr Loretto Todd of the University of Ulster said it is tantamount to racism to make an issue out of the way someone talks. She said: “Let us not forget, every single human being has an accent of some sort or other, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with Nadine Coyle's accent.
“There is a rhythm to her accent, as there is to all Northern Ireland accents, and it just happens to be a bit faster than the South of England accent, which I think is at the core of why they are making so much of the way she talks.
“I have heard her speak and I think she is very clear.”
Dr Todd suggested that perhaps the continuing onslaught on Nadine’s Derry accent is that because of her profession, she is seen as fair game.
She explained: “I do not think we’d be having this conversation if we were talking about someone from a different profession, but because she is a singer, it seems appropriate to criticise her.”
It’s not the first time that the speech of a member of Girls Aloud has been lost in translation across the Atlantic.
Cheryl Cole's Geordie accent is reportedly the reason that she was axed from the American version of X Factor.
Nor is it the first time Nadine's tones have fallen on deaf ears.
Jonathan Ross, no stranger to speech impediments, said in 2008 that he could not understand a word she said.
Nadine also copped a lot of flak on a recent UK tour for what many people deemed an irritating transatlantic twang after years of living in the US.

Changing blog settings

Some of you have yet to follow up on my feedback on such things as blog layout/colours etc; see below for a tip on how to do so (starting with clicking on the <Design> tag top-right of any blog you manage once you're signed in).
Click on image to expand further

Thursday, 19 April 2012

YT channel views last 30days

Feel free to use this, and previous screenshots of the IGSMediaStudies channel views, when discussing audience/feedback/use of technology etc

Part of the reason your vids continue to get so many hits is the time I spend adding appropriate tags. You can view these tags yourself on any YT vid - just click 'see more' on the blurb below the video frame. Have you used tags to increase hits/views on your own channel? You can use my tags on your vids for ideas.

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Does Eval have to be all vids?/R+P points

final additional word on this, April 14th:
look closely at the actual assessment criteria, and my comments on each of these. whatever mark I give I have to justify with reference to EVERY assessment criteria. As I state below, the lack of explicit research into audience (TgtAud) (suitability of your presumed core audience especially) is evident, so create some short filmed evidence NOW. This is also an easy topic (along with genre) for drawing in and applying theories which will help with exam Q1b work - and marks for Communication skills. On organisation, far too often there's nothing more than 'they/it were convenient'; no attempt to tie to conventions or aud expectations, or evidence your creative input/manipulation of resources. most of you generally fail to refer back to your research into SimProds when posting on ideas/planning/RCuts/feedback, rendering it artificial, and making it hard to say your work is excellent because its not applied. far too few quality summaries of (1) format (2) genre conventions with specific egs for each point. Lot of great posts on individual vids BUT lacks explicit reflection: end such posts with 1 or points (with diff font etc) on 'potential influence/s on my ideas/work', something on those lines (and maybe 'key conventions in this vid'). lot of good drafting but lack of call sheets/shot lists + detailed storyboards also losing marks. Time management needs clear evidence of schedule, and re-thinking schedule when events cause issues - for this, and basically every major point, a summary post reflecting on how you've done/handled certain aspects, will help your cause (+ is basically Eval drafting!). You need to make sure post dates relfect any points you make on this. Level of care in presentation needs user-friendly post titles; good post layout (using font/colour/size etc to differentiate quotes/sub-headings etc); extensive + consistent illustrations to support points made, including captions for pics; NO posts to be without some text to provide context/discussion/reflection; equally never discuss a draft/RCut without embedding or hyperlinking it; generally use words for hyperlinks; make sure company blog is presented as such. Links lists help here, ditto logical post order. Obvious lack of basic proofreading means many of you copy/paste others' posts + don't bother to change font col/size where needed. Lots of random/excessive blank space. UseICT means multimedia. Links lists + gadgets. Pod/vodcasts. Use of FB/Twitter/YouTube. Captioned pics. Frequent hyperlinks within posts (including often - espec in any summary posts - 'find out more'/'further reading' links [rem, u can copy/paste your own links lists]). BUT for exc, it means some more sophisticated use of video especially: vodcasts where you've edited in pics/clips, used titles etc. If you've used a QR code, put that up in your gadgets. ----- Much of this links very naturally into your Evals, as I've stressed all year.

Couple of you have emailed asking if every Eval post has to be vid only.
Simple answer is no - and use the guide posts on this blog!!!
An e.g. of a copied post with colour fill - unreadable.
Note I haven't plonked this pic at bottom of post...
and so haven't created needless blank space.
There should be some unique vid content for each post, but there's also podcast, text with multimedia, YouTube annotations, Prezis, even embedded Word docs where you put an image (say ad, or vid shot...) central to a page and use arrows/text boxes to provide analysis. You'll find egs of most of these linked through the blog posts (past students' answers).
Few of you have really used video well/frequently for audience feedback, something that seems to have gotten lost from last year - you can/should still do this (e.g. for feedback on how well package works together). Camera quality is irrelevant, just so long as you can upload/edit at home and/or F6 (.mp4 files are generally what you want for iMovie/Final Cut). If you have your own Mac you can get a free 30-day trial of Final Cut Pro X. If its a PC you can find other trial software to do simple editing.
And do try to have 1 or more vid thats a little bit ... quirky!

I've updated Q4 guide again this morning; as I'm getting through feedback on all cwk I keep tweaking these to reflect points I'm making on individual blogs.
Just starting on R+Ps, but its already clear the issues are the same ones I've been highlighting for many months:
  • lack of credible, detailed summaries of (1) format + (2) genre conventions (for each of the 3 text types)
  • you're not referring back to all this research/learning when posting about ideas, planning, r.cuts, feedback etc - which suggests you didn't actually learn anything. simple lesson: use the points raised in these posts; recycle the screenshots your earlier posts should be stacked with (and you need for Eval Qs)
  • Take a little time to re-read these sample analyses posts; end each post with a little on how you might be influenced (use a sub-heading at the bottom of any such post: POSSIBLE INFLUENCES/LESSONS LEARNT [so also key points the vid teaches you about conventions]) - even if its how not to do something, or a style of representation you're opposed to
  • insufficient consideration of target audienceS, and lack of reference to this in posts on planning/filming/rough cuts etc (same with lack of references to your research in these posts: your Q1 discussion on conventions are made insincere without this)
  • lack of screenshots/vids of work done generally: vids embedded but points made about aspects of individual vids NOT supported with specific illustrations; edits discussed but no screenshots of how  changes made or before/after clips; YouTube annotation tool not being used; audience feedback not evidenced thru vids - and this includes initial research into appropriateness of stated target aud: look at the egs I've linked from last year/my guide posts for ideas (Kyle does well here: look at how his posts [eg: on Shakira vid] give captioned SSs and timings which will enable further SSs to be easily accessed)
what have you done to get marks for 'organisation of actors, locations, costumes, props'? Think through what evidence you have/can add; create a links list when done improving/adding on this – remember, you can still do simple vodcasts (inserted into past posts/appropriate dates) with phone camera or whatever just so long as you can upload/edit it. Is there video of you discussing costume, including points on audience (gaze?) + vids you've analysed/conventions? If talking about locations, do you explicitly refer to conventions/examples? Have you evidenced your directing cast, or a rehearsal? Could you organise any of this NOW???
  • lack of links lists to help an examiner see immediately what work has been done relevant to each assessment criteria (don't be crude and quote the wording of these, but make it easy to see what its linking to)
  • lots of posts with unhelpful or misleading titles
  • lots of posts with vids/pics but no text - you always need to give some context/detail/reflection
  • obvious lack of simple proofreading: orphaned pics, extraneous blank space, broken links etc
  • quotations not clearly distinguished by indenting/changing font; actual source often not given ('Wiki' is NOT a precise source: must be actual URL, or book reference). follow the style I use
  • company blogs not used to any great extent; copying someone else's post and ignoring the font colouring being wrong for your blog, or ignoring background fill colours which there's almost zero good reason to ever use on a blog
  • post dates not weaker to create logical flow - there are often posts done at a late stage which should replace earlier, poor posts but these haven't been edited
  • there's even quite a few blogs where there's been seemingly random sharing of some but not all posts
  • Posts on directors are only useful if you directly comment – we hear YOUR voice/opinion. Need some evidence you actually looked at some vids by that dir (even if just brief points!) AND final comments on what influences/lessons YOU might take from this dir (just as with posts on examples)
  • This is a key point in general: try to keep expressing YOUR views, YOUR voice; how texts/directors/aspects (eg rep’n of women) you’ve looked at might influence your work – what you dis/like from what you’ve seen

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Posthumous MVs/Aud in MVs: Pantera

New videos are major news items: look at the no. of Likes within 1hr!
This post is about the real-world demand for fresh music videos for 'old', or more accurately, 'archive'/'back catalogue' material. Most of you pick back catalogue tracks to centre your promotional package on, with albums (digipaks) which are either greatest hits or an album reissue with repackaging - and this is not an artificial notion that only takes place in an academic context.
There are endless examples of this from every genre, and I have blogged on several examples.
Read this previous post too!
Here's a fresh one: Pantera's "Vulgar Display of Power"is seen as a landmark metal album (it can be tagged as thrash, power metal etc) now 20 yrs old; the driving musical force behind this, guitarist Dimebag Darell, died some time ago so there won't be any fresh recordings from that band line-up.
A track which wasn't included on the album has now been released as a single, and will be included in a repackaged reissue of the album shortly.
The video for this centres on fans of the band, and is a good example of a growing trend to expressly represent and include fans/the audience in the text itself. You can read more (and see the video) here.
The Narrows' BandCamp page: note the presence of Twitter/FB clickable icons
Here's another example: (article contains strong language) - perhaps you witnessed this in Manchester on 1st April?! 1pm on 1st April the band and about twenty of their fans met at the Victoria statue in Piccadilly Gardens, worked out a route and marched through town, in single file with masks on, whilst trying not to fall over a bollard or indeed, each other. The march was led from the front by lead vocalist Phil Drinkwater and guitarist Adam Hynes, marching, with masks whilst holding the banner with what has become the bands symbol.
Note too that in both articles/instances, the shooting/release of a music video becomes a major news story for popular online ezines/blogs, which will be picked up on and read by their many 1000s strong readerships.
If you look at The Narrow's use of new/social media, its not quite exemplary (they're as bad at updating their own official site as Swillob/ST/Two Twigs are at updating their Twitter feeds [4 months + counting...]!), but is a useful real-world example. Their use of Twitter and FB is central to what they do, but also what some see as 'the new MySpace', BandCamp - plus SoundCloud: see and

Wednesday, 11 April 2012


Good example of how artists are increasingly seeking to make money through merchandise through their own sites, instead of simply relying on royalty cheques from record labels (which has long been the established model, one which digitisation has abruptly changed).

The following example comes from - but was also highlighted and promoted through Facebook, receiving 178 'Likes' in just 36 mins (which acts virally: each person's FB 'friends' then get this update + announcement/hyperlink on their profile)

This is why its so important for your mag ads in particular to reflect the changing revenue streams for artists; promoting their official site/FB page etc is crucial to their financial prospects; a CD digipak may act as a tool to generate interest in tour ticket sales, merchandise and back catalogue album sales/downloads.

Blog Gadgets/Layout/Positioning Pics

The split-column makes the archive more
difficult to access/use quickly. Also note
the poll: lots of responses, so worth a post.
If yours hasn't, delete it, try again + this
time push harder to get responses!

Trying to position the 2nd pic below proved
a nightmare - tried 2 browsers (Safari +
Firefox); might be a Mac issue? Blogger
support forums were useless. Every time I
tried 'add caption' to pic below it moved. So
my solution was to type more into the caption

The point I wanted to make with pic below:
neat/small playable MP3; + group pic is
hyperlinked to 'meet the group' post
See Picture captions for tips on positioning pictures in Blogger - an utter pain, but there are some workarounds...

Basic Design Points
Already repeatedly covered, but a reminder:
  • Sub-headings are vital for a well-presented blog; don't use the Blogger defaults though (the drop-down list with Normal/Minor Heading etc are fairly useless: use a different font (never Courier), colour, size, bold - just as I've done above
  • Check for + avoid blank space: there are so many posts with 2 blank lines between sentences, or random chunks of blank space, or a stray photo at the bottom - this looks simply awful
  • Use caption tool: its quicker and tidier than trying to make general text fit below. It also helps any posts with multiple pics look less messy
  • Don't type beyond the width of the pic once you've set it to the size you want; hit at the end of the line + carry on writing (as I did with the pic to R)! Once you start writing beyond the pic width you'll see margins being adjusted.
  • Position pics to R of text - not always possible/desirable (size should generally be the decisive factor), but you should have noticed that I rarely position pics so that there's no text either side. Moving pics is fiddly within blogger, but in general allow text to flow round them - keep to right so that bullet lists/sub-headings aren't messed up. Double up (1 L, 1 R) where need be.
  • Proofread your blog - it shouldn't take me to point out things such as the above; check + adjust your blog/posts.
  • Don't use split-column R-column; it makes the Blog Archive, the most important gadget on the blog, and the one I/the examiner will use most, a pain to use!
  • Never post a vid/pod/vodcast/image/s without a clear title + text to explain what it is/contents, and provide context/commentary where appropriate. Proofread your own blog
  • Post titles: there are so many awful eg's from your blogs despite this point being made ad nauseum: ensure your post title clearly explains the post content. Far, far too many still simply do not. Proofread your own blog.
  • Post order/dates: tidy up your blogs by adjusting post publish dates - see pic at end. There are lots of examples where you've added a post which should replace an earlier post, but you've left both in. Proofread your own blog!
  • When copy/pasting each others' posts, check your blog hasn't imposed a colour background fill, or put grey/blue text on a black background, 2 common egs of where things go wrong - proofread your own blog (I think you get the point by now...).
  • Be particularly careful if your blog is set to have a black background in the main posting frame; it may be easier to change this than wade through dozens of posts which are rendered hard/impossible to read.
  • Posts on individual films/vids analysed should follow the template I've set out, starting with basic institutional info. These are a waste of time if you don't summarize your learning, summarize the conventions based on these individual examples, and keep showing your application of this learning by making references to these in your posts on ideas, planning, filming, rough cuts, aud feedback etc
  • An unreadable post copy/pasted from a group partner
  • If you've changed the blog background pic, post on this with screenshots: good idea to do this, changing it to a pic from your own work! Just check its not pixellated and that your post text is easily readable. 
  • Feedback posts: always either embed pic/vid OR give a link to post where it can be seen - and respond to the feedback: do you dis/agree? why? what do you intend to do now? Remember, YouTube annotation tool can be v useful for this. 
Podcasts are especially useful for getting marks on 'Time management' + possibly 'Organisation of resources' (for which you need to evidence how you've controlled + imposed your creative choices on resources including cast, costume, props, locations...). If you've been slack in creating these, consider whether its really beyond your wit to create some now which show a regular reflection on what you've done. Podcast posts must have some detail on contents, and post titles must be clearer than 'Podcast 4' - so maybe try 'Podcast4 Nov4-Nov18' indicating the time period covered? IF YOU TRY THIS, you've got to make sure your claims are backed up by general blog posts!!!

Blogger has a useful poll gadget, though you could also try PollDaddy (see this post). Ideally use both at least once. Before setting up a poll consider these points:
  1. Be clear on what question you're trying to research, and what you'll do with the results
  2. Polls can be very useful evidence for gaining credit on audience research/feedback AND use of new technologies, but only if the purpose is clear
  3. Make sure the closing date is in a suitably short timeframe - don't set it to finish after you've handed in your work, or too late to be made any use of
  4. A poll without any respondents is useless: use social media, fansites etc to generate traffic

Quick, simple note: you need a lot of these, but you also need to get the order right. Click into and you can drag gadgets up/down in order on your blog. You should have a top (horizontal) links list for group members blogs/YouTube channels, company blog, + any FB/Twitter etc. Follow this order:
GeorgeG's blog:2 blog columns
sized to enable background pic
to be seen; company logo is
hyperlinked to company blog;
QR code prominent - good idea
as this will impress any examiner
Even the pic is personalized!
Shame that background pic is
pixellated though!
  1. Group pic
  2. [for A2] playable MP3 of track (adjust player size if necessary - many of you have a huge player on there which stretched the entire blog)
  3. Blog archive - this MUST be quickly.easily accessible
  4. 1 poll (if you have more, add within 'you decide' - see below)
  5. 1 RSS/news feed (if you have more, add within 'you decide' - see below) If you have your own FB/Twitter for this, make its updates your selection here
  6. Links List: Eval Qs (make sure titles in this, and of posts themselves, clearly identify the Q - i.e., not just by number - use the short names I use on my guide posts)
  7. [A2 only] Links List: Final Cut/Ad/Dpak
  8. Links List: Rough Cuts
  9. [A2 only] Links List: Mag Ad/Digipak Drafts
  10. Links List: Audience research/feedback
  11. Links List: Podcasts [ensure title, including post title, is not just a number - see note above]
  12. Links List: Vodcasts [ensure title, including post title, is not just a number]
  13. YOU DECIDE - you should have many more links lists (and maybe some further gadgets), as indicated in the coursework guides; use in any order you wish. These should include:
  • Key influences on our production (links to posts + other external resources; think of directors, maybe specific scenes uploaded to YouTube, other film/TV/vids or any other media type, might even be past IGS work, a book or a concept - perhaps even an ideology, eg feminism)
  • Genre resources: research into genre is key at both AS + A2, so link to your own posts and (you could separate this) wider resources you've used for research
  • Vids/films analysed: you should be able to separate this into 'general' and 'genre' examples. Include any summary post/s, + vodcasts (don't worry about repetition between links lists, just use them to showcase your work on certain aspects, which will help you secure marks). This is an utterly key part of the 40% of marks for the R+P/Eval; if your work on this has been lax your marks will suffer accordingly.
  • Planning + organising resources: posts which help with marks on 'Time management' + 'Organisation of resources': screenplay, storyboards, call sheet/s, filming updates + schedule/s; locations, cast(ing), props, costume, mise-en-scene, FX (you've got to go beyond saying Jemima was cast because she was available, and we used the clothing/hair/appearance she turned up in, and certainly didn't provide any direction for her (or film this), or do any set dressing, because we were determined to get low marks on 'organisation of resources'!!!
  • Learning on software + other technologies: if you haven't already, add in a few posts on this topic (eg a post where you've used a new FCE tool, or you've added your 1st links list, set up a FB page, a blog poll/Polldaddy poll...). Both AS + A2 have Eval Qs (ASQ7, A2Q4) on this, plus 'Use of ICT' is assessed for A2 blog and both AS+A2 Evals.
  • ...and more besides!
Another workaround tip: I tried bringing this (initially at a smaller size) + couldn't move it from the top, or from the middle of the 2 pics I'd already put in the post. Solution? I added a stack of   presses, creating blank space which then enabled me to shift this pic where I wanted it - once positioned, I could remove the presses.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012


Some of these are good; too many not, so here's a quick guide/checklist...

  • who's it for? what's its purpose? who are the audience? aside from attracting marks (TgtAud, UseICT, Pres'n, Comm'n), its a commercial business' site, aiming to attract interest in its current projects ... and future commissions for more vids/ads/dpak designs
  • that means you've got to remove initials from post titles, and...
  • references to school/students/class
  • you're professionals for this blog, NOT students
  • does your blog blurb (text you've added below title) reflect this? Keep any blurb below the title simple but clearly directed at an audience who may wish to commission work from you. Have you included an email for enquiries about new commissions (could be made up - or, and why not, could be yours as you never know: your vids are pretty damned impressive after all!) Blurb eg: 'a 21st century horizontally integrated media production company! MUSIC VIDEO – PRINT/WEB ADS – CD PACKAGING'
  • you're NOT the artist; you're employed/commissioned by their record label/management to create this promotional material - so YOUR company blog would surely feature a tiled background image of your vid (and would change over time to help highlight new content, e.g. to the mag ad, dpak cover - take a screenshot before you change background, and blog in your main blog about this)
  • having said that, just as bands'/acts' official FB pages do, you could occasionally note YT vids or media appearances by an artist who you're currently creating material for!
  • you could pose a simple Q: 'who is the aud for [artist] today?' If you agreed to mutually post responses with other group/s you could find these very useful for aud rich (+Eval). 
  • tie any polls firmly into aud feedback you will benefit from and can legitimately discuss for Eval Q3 (you could use PollDaddy instead of/as well as blogger's tool). A simple e.g.: 'we have room for ONE more track on the new CD: YOU choose which its to be!' - and list a few tracks [don't copy/paste my words/ideas, find your own!
  • have you looked at any actual examples for pointers yourself?
  • Facebook pages are also useful for ideas + pointers ...
  • and you really should set up a FB page, so easy to do [UseICT, TgtAud...] - help each other out with comments/likes!!!
Lets consider an eg... GG/TW's TwoTwigs blog has too few updates; posts lack text which would help show its aimed at a particular audience/seeking to create a dialogue (no polling either, another opportunity to interact with audience lost there); the news feed topic is much too general; the blurb doesn't accurately reflect what you'd expect from a company; there's no background pic; wording of top links list is questionable for this sort of blog. BUT...there's a clear logo (itself hyperlinked to the Twitter feed) and link to Twitter. I think we should really be seeing FB/Twitter icons in 2012. How does yours match up? Has this blog changed much after 12.4.12 (3am) when this screenshot was taken?!
  • frequent updates help drive traffic to a site
  • just as with main blog, that means updates on plans, shooting schedules, actual shoots, rough cuts - and really highlight the idea that blog readers can have THEIR say on the vid; their ideas + feedback will be considered
  • think about stickability (a recognised technical term): features on your blog which will encourage folk to spend time there;  Sites we like’ is a common links list you see on many
  • any news feed/RSS must be specific and relevant!
  • Twitter feeds are great (see pic at bottom) ... BUT don't look so great if they're never updated!!! Swillob (see bottom), ST and HBK all set up Twitter accounts, interacted with each other ... and then ceased operations ... 100+ days ago!!!!
  • altho its still the norm for vids to be produced sep'ly from print texts (getting less so with convergence tho), you should cover ad/dpak too (you could write as if you're getting the info from another co yourselves, or as if its all in-house)
  • that means drip-feed: slowly reveal track listing, cover design, DVD contents, availability on various formats - even, at a late stage, invent reviews!
  • remember, this is a commercial outfit: have you provided iTunes links for the artist/track?
  • links lists are an important blog feature: perhaps to help entertain/attract (back) an aud you could links list sim artists, or vids you like etc etc? ('stickability' is the term for content + features that encourage users to stay within a site, something FB is very successful at. Note that FB links are set to open up a new tab or window, which you can also select when setting up links lists; this means your site always stays as an open tab)
  • behind-the-scenes vids also help drive traffic, and any shareable multimedia features (from jpgs to URL/embed code of pod/vodcasts/vids) may go viral - can you evidence any of your content being virally shared/spread? (ask others to post on it in blogs/FB + send you a screenshot)
  • recent comments can be highlighted thru a gadget - again, work with other groups to mutually gain comments for this purpose!
  • and finally: proofread posts, including checking for orphaned pics. avoid excessive blank space; i generally position images to L or R of text (and use caption text) depending on its size, and rarely publish posts with a series of images with lots of blank space around them - because that looks simply awful!!! 
  • i also learnt quickly enough that blogs with dark/black backgrounds within the main posting frame cause too many problems: grey/blue text rendered unreadable for instance. far too many of you seem oblivious to this incredibly obvious point
Here endeth...
This is a long text-only post: no hyperlinks, no images (with captions) or embeds to liven it up [and then I went and added to it. repeatedly improving upon it, not being satisfied with it - there's a lesson in there somewhere for you folks...]; you should generally strive to avoid this!!!

Another 2012 eg: Swillob. Good background image, but there's actually nothing to immediately scream THIS HERE PRODUCTION/DESIGN COMPANY IS CURRENTLY WORKING ON A MUSE VIDEO!!! The blurb explicitly cites the A2; the post titles keep the main blog format; there's no text to try and develop an interaction with/address the audience. Presumably, looking at the top links list, this co only produces vids, doesn't design ads/CDs?! How would one contact this company to commission more such work? There's no contact info. Why would you label the logo pic with the words 'the company logo'?! The Twitter feed is potentially great ... just hasn't been updated for 126 days!!! Screenshot taken 12.4.12 @ 3.16am ... perhaps its undergone some changes since then!

Social Media + Fans: Doors FB e.g.

If digitisation has produced convergence (the blurring of the lines between once distinct forms of media), it has also blurred the line between audience and producer; even fairly new terms such as use-generated content (UGC) and fan-made videos don't quite capture the extent of this. Yes, fans are producing their own mash-ups, re-edits etc for film, TV and music, but what we're also seeing is the official social media presence of many bands, large and small, using fan-published YouTube uploads to encourage interaction with the act/site/page.
Most of you will have 'liked' various bands on Facebook, and presumably observed how this works. If you think about your company blogs - and perhaps, if you've set one up (its still not too late!), your Facebook page - a key traffic-driver; aspect which might encourage people to return, is video content. Here's an example from The Doors and their Facebook updates:

This video wasn't uploaded by the band officially, but is used by the official Facebook page to generate and sustain interest in the band (whose singer died in 1971), an interesting illustration in itself of how the music industry's line on copyright is flexible when it suits them.
The point here is: what have you done to reflect this important contemporary aspect of how acts and record labels reach out to a fan base, including long-defunct acts? Have you used this stratagem to encourage visitors to your blog/site/page - and thus enhanced your prospects of gaining audience feedback? 194 comments for the e.g. above just 12 hours after posting. I've blogged on a similar theme many times - see links for Q4, and recent posts such as that on the Onslaught travel blog.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

**Eval Q guides updated**

[much more added on Q2 + Q4, plus some to Q3 April 9th]
I've updated all 4 Eval Q guides today with links to/comments on past answers, and will add more as I continue to go through marking with any points that emerge. There is effectively a new guide for Q3

Eval Q1 Use of conventions

Also see Chief Examiner's guide 

This question provides an easy opportunity to elevate the level of your response using theories you'll need to engage with for exam Q1a/1b; have you thought of how you can discuss genre theories here for example?

Take a moment to consider carefully the question, and the very specific terms selected:

Q1: In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?
  • it's identical to a Q you answered for AS cwk!
  • you will need to make detailed comparisons between each of your productions and existing vids, digipaks, ads (and any TV shows etc you've also referenced as influences)
  • BUT its not just how you've reflected these conventions; you may have chosen to change, undermine, flip round some of these (perhaps countertypes in place of stereotypes for example) ... maybe even seek to take an established genre in a new direction
  • the word 'rules' is NOT used. 'Conventions' means commonly occurring; frequently seen - elements which when combined help an audience to identify the genre or type of media text. Many books + articles will discuss 'rules' of a genre; what they really mean is 'conventions' - if a genre stays completely rigid it will be doomed
  • [UPDATE, 2015] I suggest a 6-step structure below, but if you feel it will save time, you could simplify this by outlining format (basic conventions of music video; look at exam Q1b guide on Media Language, eg Goodwin v Vernallis) and genre conventions, discussing as you go how yours matches up or doesn't. Intertextuality is important too ... and that is a common element of music video media language.
  • This is the most semiotics-based of the four questions.
So, this Q boils down to:

Posts on vid M.LANG (Q1)

I've mostly skipped out posts on digipak/mag ad, which are listed in a separate post

Eval Q2 how effective is combo of texts

Q2: How effective is the combination of your main product and ancillary texts?

See below for more detailed notes, but this structure might help save you considerable time, and could make for a better, more coherent response overall.

  1. VIDEO PART 1: Discuss/critique the question: would such texts be tightly integrated? Make brief comparison with some examples - you won't struggle to find examples from your own artist with very limited linkage
  2. Print off your print texts (and/or have open on multiple tabs/screens). Slowly work through your video, pausing to take screenshots/make notes where you see a link to print texts, BUT ALSO making some notes on points of difference too. Writing on print-offs should help with the next step.
  3. Separately compare your print texts noting key links and some differences
  4. Go through your notes. Do you see points/themes emerging? Can you tie any of these to specific theories, eg intertextuality (Kristeva, postmodernism)?
  5. VIDEO PART 2: If so, use these as 'chapter titles' and discuss all three texts at once. Otherwise, structure by focussing on your digipak first, then your mag ads
  6. VIDEO PART 3: SUMMARY A brief review of key points and reflection on how tightly or loosely yours tie together. It would be especially useful here to include some thoughts on changes you could make if doing this again.

The same issues as with Q1/3/4: a shared script (which, if presented without clear sub-headings and imagery does not help marks on presentation) which is sometimes recorded in a very poor manner, and the imagery not always as closely reflecting the point being made as it should. The use of titles is helpful, and the analysis generally good though.

EMMIE: The one weak answer from Emmie; this would really benefit from a video and a greater degree of depth. It appears long as a post, but there is a lack of detail overall.
BETH: A single vid, with an existing vid referenced in this embedded below. Rather rushes through a script, which undermines the impact (assessment criteria: ability to communicate), but the content is good. Specific egs throughout, and very, very good at getting into how the industry works - drawing on and suitably illustrating concepts such as digitisation and convergence when doing so.
EMMA: The Eval Qs are a little hard to find: the post dates do need to be tweaked to ensure they come immediately (and in order) the final cuts, plus 'Eval Q2' as a post title isn't helpful. This is an interesting answer for 2 reasons: (1) starts with excellent industry context (specific examples of companies that work in this field - and what they charge [easy to get via websites or ringing and asking - as a band! - for a rough quote) and (2) starts out by rejecting the need to combine too explicitly the 3 texts designs. The vid goes on to detail the conceptual and narrative links from vid to the ancillaries (cartoon style, party/rave scene).
Neat, simple way of showcasing the links: edit 1 image of all 3 together
JONNY: Again, vid done as a group meant there was a real risk of exam board marking this Eval down to 0/20 - don't repeat this mistake! Responses to this Q are often rather dull - this is an exception, and it helps secure high marks if a sense of passion comes across, as it does here. The combined image Jonny provided quite neatly illustrated the visual link between the texts, and is a good idea to utilise! The vid uses the physical products to back up points made: quick, simple yet effective (just not for every Q!). Skip to 3:30 in and note the neat trick of discussing fonts used and then saying to camera "and you should be able to see this font on screen NOW!" With a little forethought its a neat idea to talk about things you know you'll edit in later! The written text below was excellent, with many hyperlinks, relevant sources quoted, and well laid out - but easy to do, because it came from posts within the R+P, simply rewritten/paraphrased for the Eval.
CHRIS: Simply too brief in this case.

This is a suggested approach to tackling this question.
Break down the varying tasks, which might include:
  1. critiquing the question!
  2. detailing your target audience
  3. (this links back to audience) where might each text be distributed/exhibited
  4. break down (denotation of) key elements of each of the 3 texts in turn
  5. in what ways are the 3 products linked
  6. in what ways are they differentiated
  7. evidence + reflect on some AF on all 3 as a package
  8. is there anything you would alter given more time/resources
  9. IF brief was different...
Remember, you need to incorporate some new video material with each Eval Q, and widely employ images, hyperlinks, basic design elements, and perhaps selective podcasting too.
You can share research within a group, but must produce individual responses.
You can share video, but make it unique by using the YouTube annotation tool to add individual evaluative comments, links etc.

Below you'll find detail on the 9 points listed above; these overlap, and are just a suggestion; combine these as you see fit.
Re-read and quote the brief, paying particular heed to the alliterative


I've mostly skipped out posts on digipak/mag ad, which are listed in a separate post
ONLY INCLUDES POSTS UP TO THE START OF FEB 2012 - Using blogs to reach fans, but also an extension of your package?

Eval Q3 Learning on aud feedback

Q3: What have you learned from your audience feedback?

As always, there is overlap with other Qs, but especially with Q4 on new media technologies.

  • Kick off with a thorough summary of the work you've done on audience, making clear your primary and secondary audiences and what research you did on this. Using links to blog posts or screen shots of these is no bad thing.
  • This is a useful Q for exam prep: audience and web 2.0 theories (which often look at the changing status of audience/producers) should be applied and explored prominently. Postmodernism, especially intertextuality, could be useful too (and many more!)
  • Don't feel you have to venerate audience feedback;  limitations of new media (source of much of your feedback) also have theory you can explore: Andrew Keen sees this as a disaster for society; John McMuria argues the supposed level playing field for Indies is a myth and conglomerates still dominate; Elberse has demolished Anderson's long tail theory
  • As with ANY Q, also feel free to state "I cover this topic in more detail in Qx"
  • Footage of aud feedback is important
  • As is your actual response - going through changes made as a result (and examples of feedback you rejected, explaining why)
  • You needn't be comprehensive to the nth degree on detailing feedback received. If you feel you can reduce that to key themes or issues, do that ...
  • But make sure you illustrate as much as possible the material that was/n't changed as a result of feedback
  • Sum up - just how central (or not) was audience feedback? You could usefully consider material on the exam 1a topic of creativity here: is this compatible with an auteur approach? Can you crowdsource your vision? You could compare the impact or influence of feedback to that of research into conventions and consequent intertextualities, and discuss how available software/hardware made feedback im/practical.

Posts on AUD/FEEDBACK (Q3)

I've mostly skipped out posts on digipak/mag ad, which are listed in a separate post
ONLY INCLUDES POSTS UP TO THE START OF FEB 2012 - Using blogs to reach fans - Audience can be financiers! 

Eval Q4 Use of new media tech

Q4: How did you use new media technologies in the construction and research, planning and evaluation stages?

Here's a good example from 2015 (Conal's too) to kick off with:

  • The emphasis is on NEW MEDIA, which you should have used to research conventions/industry (YouTube etc) and present this (Blogger), plus to organise/research cast, shoots, mise-en-scene (props, costume...) and locations (FB, Google Calendar/Maps etc); to get audience feedback on rough cuts and actually distribute final cuts (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Blogger etc); and to present Evals (Prezi, Blogger, YouTube, Google...). There are lengthy lists of suggestions later in this post. Give concrete examples of how you found material (costume, editing, whatever it may be) which directly influenced your choices.
  • Just as in the exam, back up points/analysis (EAA) with specific illustrations/examples (EX)
  • Lots of opportunity to engage with theory, especially the web 2.0 (and other audience-related theory, even postmodernism too) theorists. Its that audience interaction that's key; lots of overlap with Q3. Was Gillmor right to write of "the former audience" or Gauntlett to declare the "end of audience studies" as convergence has dissolved the producer/audience divide?
  • Your use of QR codes and viral style campaigns generally is central. Make sure, even if separate to the main answer video, you include a short, simple demonstration of this working, explaining its purpose (why it links to that site etc)
  • Podcasting is part of that audience interaction; what tech did you use? what content did you focus on? 
  • Try to draw some parallels with existing examples (I've blogged a lot on this; Elberse's case studies of Jay-Z and Lady Gaga are ideal; both used interactivity)
  • Don't be shy in discussing the limitations of new media: Andrew Keen sees this as a disaster for society; John McMuria argues the supposed level playing field for Indies is a myth and conglomerates still dominate; Elberse has demolished Anderson's long tail theory
  • FCPX and recording on digital SD cards is part of new media, so do reflect on your recording and editing (likewise for print products and Photoshop and any additional sites/software used)
  • Sum up; do you think new media technology has been an advantage, or even pivotal? How do you think your work would compare if you were using old, analogue media only? That would mean recording on film or VHS for example!

Can this Microsoft survey really be true?


Kate, Tilly, Millie and Poppy's responses used a common script and video which they changed the voiceover on (likewise the guys for Faithless). As the Eval should be an individual response, you should avoid collaborating to this extreme.
The video was well produced, though some of the voiceovers were absurdly rushed through and difficult to follow as a result - likewise with the guys.
As with Q3, the girls included the 'script', which was really helpful for marking purposes. Dec, Curt and Jake did too, but there's a clear difference: the girls created clearer sub-headings and included lots of images to break up the text, which helps considerably. Both groups could have been more thorough with their responses, and should be more specific with both spoken use of examples and direct visual illustration of this, but these were good videos generally. 

EMMIE: Its a looooong post, but a good one: annotated images are used to comprehensively establish the wide range of points/topics addressed ... including the Evaluation itself!!!
BETH: Where Emma (below) created a long text-based post, Beth's post is simply a video - but one which keeps putting up relevant imagery. About 130 in, nice illustration of how band websites offer exclusive content to subscribers; worth watching the whole thing, and remember, if you watch it on a YouTube page you'll also see several more suggested videos at the side.
EMMA: Good for creating a sense of the sheer range of technologies involved and utilised, tho often needs some more specific detail on how they were utilised, and more explicit evaluation of pros/cons, or strengths/limitations; also needed more frequent screenshots. Neglects the Evaluation itself.
JONNY: In an overall excellent Eval, it was frustrating that there was no video for this particular Q! There is though a lot of detail about software/hardware and how it was used ... but missing images/clips which make it hard to follow the points. Some nice detail on using web for research, including a useful screenshot of an advanced search in Google, and points on using Google news (you might cite RSS feeds, eg of tagged Guardian articles).
CHRIS: The 1st vid is a little bit ... unusual! But just the kind of thing that'll bring a smile to a weary examiner/Media teacher after endless hours marking! Don't be afraid to be quirky!!! The basic point is well made in this vid. In the 2nd vid there's also some humorous background music - a little high in the sound mix, would be better used for a brief montage, and would need to be checked to ensure it doesn't get the whole vid blocked by YouTube on copyright grounds. Go to 430 in: good point about how software skills (in this case Flash) can actually detract from the design task.

Use 3 main sub-headings:
  1. R+P
  2. Construction + Exhibition (split these if you wish)
  3. Evaluation

NB: I'll refer simply to tech'y below, not 'new media technologies'
Remember, you MUST use multimedia to answer each Eval Q; for this one you can use a variety of videos, pics and even podcasts (perhaps to summarise each section), though it is helpful and a good idea to provide brief text summaries too to show your learning at a glance.
Screen-recording software has been installed on all Macs [needs confirming] to enable you to show how you achieved certain results with technology, from extended google searches to particular FX using FCE. You can easily add voiceovers to these (and/or use jpgs and talk over these using iMovie or FCE).
You'll find yourself referring to a lot of ground covered in your blog; don't simply state 'you can find it there'; provide a clearly set out hyperlink to any relevant posts, with some basic info on what you're pointing to (and could also copy/paste then edit such material, though this might result in an unwieldy post!)

TIP: if each time you post a new rough cut, as well as commenting on your views/thoughts on it BEFORE any feedback, you also note any new software tools/FX used, this Eval Q will be much easier! ...Or you could work backwards inserting this detail!

1: Take a sheet

Posts on NEW MEDIA (Q4)

I've mostly skipped out posts on digipak/mag ad, which are listed in a separate post