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
- 1-shot vids
- Analysing videos
- BBFC age rating vids
- Blog setup
- Conventions: DB playlists, posts etc
- Coursework overview
- DB doc
- Depeche Mode case study
- Digipak vids
- Elberse: Blockbusters book
- Eval overview
- Eval Q1a CONVENTIONS
- Eval Q1b REPRESENTATIONS
- Eval Q2 BRANDING
- Eval Q3a AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT
- Eval Q3b DISTRIBUTION
- Eval Q4 TECHNOLOGIES
- Female acts
- Final Cut Pro X
- INDUSTRY summary
- Interactive vids
- Mag ad
- Mag ad audiences
- Pixies case study
- Planning docs
- Shoots tips
- Simulacra: Weezer, Weird Al
- Student vids/blogs by year
- TechTips blog
- Twitter feed on blog
- Vodcast playlist (DB)
- WEBSITE in steps
- Websites I've analysed
IN THIS POST: A breakdown of how to research websites, what to look for, and an example of an overall 16-step process, plus a list of some...
Monday, 14 December 2015
Sunday, 13 December 2015
Wednesday, 9 December 2015
Sunday, 6 December 2015
You will most likely have seen your own variations of the following - paste in links as comments and I'll add them...
See below for images
- You need to be aware of music industry developments
- These should inform your marketing materials, and the formats you list (ie, not just digipak, but a 3-part list with download)
- Digipaks are intended to mimic vinyl and so share some of their collectable, specialappeal (compared to standard jewel case releases)
Friday, 20 November 2015
Saturday, 14 November 2015
Wednesday, 28 October 2015
Saturday, 24 October 2015
Saturday, 17 October 2015
More than a dozen independent UK music labels and songwriters have received £200,000 in government funding to promote up-and-coming artists abroad.
It is the latest round of funding made available through the £2.5m music export growth scheme, established two years ago by UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) with the music industry body, the BPI, to help independent music companies make their mark in the US, Asia and Europe.
Read the full article: Thankyou Whitehall, goodnight – Indie labels win government grants.
Friday, 9 October 2015
We looked recently at a very specific example, as students looked to emulate aspects of some depeche Mode videos they particularly admired:
FINAL CUT PRO X CAMERA EMULATOR PLUGINAs raised when looking at these, you can emulate super-8 and 16mm (etc) cameras by purchasing FCPX plugins (this one is $50 - you may need to buy it yourself and carry edited clips from your own Mac to a school one).[copied across from a post on Depeche Mode and the French New Wave style]
Thursday, 8 October 2015
Wednesday, 30 September 2015
As its such a useful example, I've referenced it in further posts on this topic (and others): use the tag!
The excellent, very readable, history of the music video by Austerlitz discusses this video - it really is worth having a flick through the index ... or just reading the book from scratch! [tag; specific post on the book]
Then there's a Robert Palmer example of intertextuality, a tag applied even more frequently than (queer theorist; gender as performativity) Judith Butler I see...
Is THIS depiction of Elvis (the magnificent Tortelvis!) any less 'real' than the videos/film clips that define him in the popular imagination - an image Elvis and his manager fought to control, but for many people boils down to a fat guy in a comedy white jumpsuit? Is the Weird Al version of 'Wacko Jacko' (below) any less real than the MJ we think we know from media coverage? The creators of the Weezer video did so having been bombarded with signifiers of the decade, such as the sitcom they parodied ... their representation (or simulacrum) is itself now a powerful signifier that will influence many more impressions of 'the 50s'.
If I asked you now to think about 'the 60s', chances are you'd think of hippies, flower power, the Stones ... many of the iconic 60s festivals were actually in the 70s, ditto many of the Stones classics thought of as 60s, while the metropolitan (major city) drug phenomenon took until the 1970s to spread further into towns and cities across Western countries, beyond London, San Fransisco etc. The 60s ended around 1974?! Maybe 1973?!
A pastiche is a work of visual art, literature, theatre, or music that imitates the style or character of the work of one or more other artists. Unlike parody, pastiche celebrates, rather than mocks, the work it imitates. [Wiki]
Saturday, 26 September 2015
|Accompanying the lyric 'half asleep with a loaded gun' (Silver Snail) - there are few more inventive, inspiring, and downright stunning videos out there than The Pixies' collection, especially their videos since 2013|
there is an embedded YouTube playlist of ALL videos covered at the bottom of this post
WHO ARE THEY?
The Pixies are a seminal alternative rock (Indie) band who remain a key influence today, both for their music and their highly distinctive music videos. In the UK they're signed to 4AD, part of the Beggars consortium (Indie labels often join forces in co-ops to cut marketing costs and to get better distribution deals, economies of scale etc) - see wiki and this Guardian article on its iconic status. Their music fused Latin influences with rock; a bossa nova, 50s rock sound with a hard edge and dark, literary lyrical themes.
DESCRIBE THEIR BRAND
Key to understanding the Pixies is their sense of coming from humble working class backgrounds in Boston; they did not need to see themselves as a glamorous band and this is reflected in their videos. In a word, authenticity is the hallmark of their branding - this is not a band who would indulge in the fakery most bands will accept in order to maximixe their media exposure and record sales. Their everyday clothing, in contrast to the extravagance of bands like KISS and Bon Jovi that dominated much of the 80s, would bring back a vaguely punk aesthetic to the rock world, with the likes of Kurt Cobain reflecting the Pixies' look. They were edgy too - some of their lyrical themes are very dark indeed, though often based in classic literature, and were prepared to play with basic song structure too.
THE WILL TO BE WEIRD: THE ULTRA SLO-MO SINGLE-TAKE VELOURIA
Yes, a shocker in some regards, but an uber risque effort, and commercial suicide in others. Or, simply: inspirational! Why don't you take on such an idea as an extra (not a main) production? There are several mainstream examples of such alternative, additional videos alongside the main production.
Their videos stand almost as anti-videos, an apparent refusal to play the promotional game:
As "Velouria" (their first single from Bossanova) was climbing up the UK Top 40, the band was offered a spot on Top of the Pops. However, a BBC rule stated only singles with videos could be performed on the show. To counter this a cheap video was made, with the band being filmed running down a quarry.In the video, twenty-three seconds of footage (the time needed for the band members to reach the camera) is slowed in order to last for the duration of the song. However, the effort in filming the video was in vain; the Pixies did not play "Velouria" on Top of The Pops while the single was in the charts. [Wiki]
[Posts on this here]
We discussed the idea of taking such a direct filmic influence (albeit one that can be applied loosely and still be recognisable/readable) as the French New Wave [tag] and applying to music video, looking at some possible examples, and inspiration seemed to flow...
POLICY OF TRUTH
Tuesday, 22 September 2015
A notorious Top of the Pops 'performance' from 1988...
Simply coming from looking at ideas for a female performer, here's a few female acts you could look at. (Wiki on all-female bands amongst many lists you could consider)
Honeyblood (YT channel)
A 2-piece act with some smart videos maximizing the potential of limited locations, for example Bud:
ALL ABOUT EVE
Martha's Harbour, a 1988 hit, remains an iconic example of ethereal pop music, often featured on 'chill out' and 'ambient' soundtracks, with several remixes also floating around.
|Fans have filled the void with their own videos - you could create the definitive version, and create a sizeable online following in doing so... The top hits for this still popular track are mostly fan-made stills montage videos|
Despite the notorious Top of the Pops appearance, there's no official video for the track; the playlist below features 1 of many fan-made videos, a simple stills montage.
Their Vevo channel has just one video, and this is it...
BELLY - SEAL MY FATE
We'd discussed the Super-16 look; that washed out, colour flare, damaged aesthetic - which has been clumsily overdone in many videos. You can see it here in this Belly video, one of several I've grabbed from a 4AD playlist (a particularly significant, alternative Indie label, part of the Beggars empire - as is Craig McNeill, who we'll hear from shortly at the ASFF...). Fairly conventional performance video overall, including some horsing around footage which gives a sense of privileged access - the specific trick with the drumsticks is rather nice:
Tarnation also use a Super-16 style in their very basic You'll Understand video.
LUSH - LADYKILLERS
Key technique here is using pans as a tool for dynamic editing, panning left and continuing or reversing the action in the following shot, sometimes using it almost as a wipe effect. The film titles-style playing with shapes is noteworthy. You could argue the flashing light effect is overdone, but it connects to the nightclub element of the lyric. The studio setup is a bit different too, and the shot variety, angles and sheer pace of editing all help to get across how brimming with attitude this band are.
Saturday, 19 September 2015
Please note that the video referred to contains scenes intended to disturb and shock.
|An example of Grace Jones' uncredited 'inspiration'|
Sunday, 13 September 2015
If not, there are many options out there. Pinnacle Studio may not be as highly rated as Final Cut or Premiere, but it is a very powerful package, and in a different league to basic editors such as iMovie.
I've just started with it myself, and find it straightforward to use, but if you're new to video editing, or haven't moved beyond iMovie (or the even more basic Windows Movie Maker), it will take you a while to get used to it.
The best way to do that? Use it. Not to 'practice', but simply to edit video - practice film exercises, or vodcasts to better present your research. You could also spend time with it for non-Media or even non-school work. The more time you spend using it the more familiar it will become (and this will prepare you for other video editors; they may look different but there are common elements across most).
Pinnacle was bought up first by Avid then Corel; it is effectively the offspring of three big name software companies.
VIDEO CAN BE SLOW...
Video is best to get you started, but once you start looking for more specific guides and instructions do consider looking for text-based step-by-step guides too, which can be much quicker to use, and without the potentially annoying quirkiness of some of the presenters.
THE BEST THINGS IN LIFE AREN'T FREE?
Unlike Final Cut, I can't see any paid-for online courses (indeed, you can gain Apple certificates in Final Cut!) on the likes of Lynda.com for Pinnacle Studio. However, there is a 2013 guide book by Jeff Naylor, listed at £30 on Amazon UK. This offers a series of tutorials as well as a reference guide.
|This might be a useful investment|
In the context of coursework, podcasts which summarise research are great ... as you can re-edit these for your Evaluation, including comparison with what you actually produced/did.
A vodcast is a podcast with video. It is likely to include your voice, though you can use titles to the same effect.
A SHORTER GUIDE TO GOOD VODCASTING PRACTICE: brief, pithy, well illustrated, creative, expressive, analysis, terminology, concepts, opinion, titles, chapters, top ten, short clips, fair usage copyright law, mix audio levels, limit face time, branded, ident, channel watermark, target audience, tags, YouTube, links lists...
It will be quite brief. About 2 minutes is good; 5 minutes is starting to push it ... and don't go beyond 10 minutes. If you can't fit all your content into that time limit, think about how to split it up into themed chapters.
Brand your vodcasts, as I do. Once you've created a basic 'opening title' sequence for one, you can copy/paste the sequence into any future vodcast and simply edit the titles. I also recently started adding a watermark, in the style of the company or channel logos you see on TV, asserting my brand but also ensuring my work can't be ripped off!
|I've created quite a few vodcasts, and will be adding more - a playlist is embedded below|
Sunday, 6 September 2015
|1 of the 2015 masterclasses|
The masterclasses have been superb, and simply ideal - we've heard directly from the likes of Barry Ryan (senior producer at Warp Films), Danny Cohen (cinematographer on several Warp and Working Title movies, including Dead Man's Shoes and Les Miserables if memory serves me right?!), and Craig McNeil and James Harman (respectively, music video producer and director for the world's largest music Indie, Beggars Group and his long-term editor).
|2015 masterclass spanning music video, branding, bands, audience and narrative|
Tuesday, 1 September 2015
To view a range of student websites following the music promo package brief, see this post.First up, perhaps uniquely, an advert...
You may not have heard of Wix before now (I hadn't until it was recently recommended to me), but it is a high profile, internationally popular website build option (they claim its used in 180 countries), reflected in the range of languages how-to YouTube videos come in. It fares well when compared to rivals. It operates a freemium model - you can access most things for free, but can pay for more options.
|Wix manages to make intricate, fully-featured website design easy and intuitive - and there are plentiful online guides...|
WordPress is the dominant player in the online website-builder market (DreamWeaver remains the dominant software option), but Wix boasts a vastly superior ease-of-use; there is a much steeper learning curve with WordPress. Other rivals such as Weebly are not only more limited but also charge for options bundled for free with Wix. According to this site, Wix is the third most-used online website builder.
Wix is largely controlled via drag and drop, with the ability to go into menus to edit site layouts - you should find it a highly user-friendly website builder... [You can read more basics at the Wix Wiki]
Wix.com's 90-second intro to working with Wix
If you do go on to look to monetise any of your work, a former student (Amber) who got a job handling e-commerce operations for a an online retailer on the back of her Media work, not least the blog, tells me they found the e-commerce provision in Wix quite problematic, and had to get onto the helpline frequently. How typical or not that is I have no idea!
BEFORE YOU GET TO WIX...
Read the guide on the steps involved in researching and planning your website.
When I approach new software or ICT tools, YouTube is generally my first port of call. In time I will seek to create one or more vodcasts myself. You can use Wix's Help function and general online search for alternatives to video; eg this is Wix's step through guide to creating your own landing page (and the Wix site has a search box of course).
IN THIS POST: A breakdown of how to research websites, what to look for, and an example of an overall 16-step process, plus a list of some features to consider.
Like every Media production, before you get to the editing stage you have considerable background work to undertake; I'll break this down into pre-production, production and post-production phases. There is considerable scope to delegate primary responsibility within a group for website work.
|A faux-personal mode of address; using existing media content to enrich your own site; social media deeply integrated: just 3 ideas you could glean from an analysis of Gaga's UK website|
You need to research the conventions of a range of mixed, general (not from the same era or genre) official music act websites, compare and summarise your findings with 1 or 2 others in a vodcast, then research the artist chosen for your video: their official website (if there is one), 2+ comparable (genre/era) acts' websites, 1+ fan site, and produce a fresh vodcast outlining any distinctive conventions for the artist/genre/era.
LIST YOUR LIKELY WEBSITE FEATURES
Initial lists of main and sub- pages, and content you will need (unique images, video etc); website features (e-commerce, social media integration etc); social media sites to set up and maintain; key aspects of style or design across the entire site.
|Show your knowledge of changing industry practice by including a merchandise 'shop'; as well as a main top links list on every page, sub-pages will make your site neater. Think of the mobile browser: the less they have to scroll the better.|
PICK A WIX TEMPLATE AND REVIEW LISTS
FEED INTO GROUP PRODUCTION SCHEDULE
Monday, 31 August 2015
It truly is a slightly weird moment in life to get two emails informing me that, after reflection and consideration, I'm in ... I'm a Little Monster.
I've no intention of being snotty or patronising about those who take this all very ... very seriously indeed. Each to their own, and there is a strong emotional attachment between much of Gaga's fanbase - not just to/with the star, but with each other as well, a sub-culture that deserves study just as Hebdige (a pioneer of the notion of sub-cultures as a concept and subject for study) did with punk. Gaga herself expends considerable effort on interacting with and encouraging her Little Monsters ... though I have a wee doubt as whether it was Gaga herself (Herself? I don't know the LM rules!) who wrote and sent this email ...
Below - screenshots and some analysis of this phenomenon...
First the IGS playlist, then Latymer - an interesting contrast. Latymer's London location is in stark contrast to semi-rural Ilkley (albeit, as we see in such work as the Joy Division video, within easy reach of Leeds), and there's quite a gap in resources; Latymer's studio gets heavy usage. Resources mean nothing without committed students though - consider the effort and creativity in some of the studio set-dressing in the Latymer examples, great to see! I think adding some external narrative/concept material into many of the studio-set videos would be advantageous, but you could argue that's quibbling when the studio work is so slickly done, eking out considerable variation from this set-up.
Either way, two sets of varying levels but which both showcase just what amazing work inspired students can create today...
The IGS playlist includes several practice exercises; the Latymer list final cuts only. You can view exercises on the Latymer channel.
|Partial screenshot of the 'group1' 2015 Latymer homepage. Its impressive work by any standard, not just from students|
In my previous post, looking at a UK Indie band's website, I started by listing the many advantages of working with a local, Indie act. The following examples of student coursework websites, all from students at Latymer School in London, eschewed major acts, and their websites have a real wow factor. You can find links for their blogs (with videos and digipaks too) here, though I've also copied these in below.
They all used Wix to create their websites, and I'll blog on this separately.
NB: my thanks to chief examiner Pete Fraser for suggesting these as good student examples - you can find Pete blogging on media matters here, and updating his Twitter account here!
What makes these student websites good examples? Well...
- Most important of all, its not immediately obvious that this is student work, and thats the level you should always aim for! If you have me as a teacher you'll find its a point I'll frequently raise!
- The website ties together the wider package, in a way that a video/digipak/ad campaign doesn't do quite so naturally.
Official and bonus video on the video page.
- The shot variety involved is also likely to be greater than through digipak/ad packages, and you can judge for yourself to what extent separate photography has been commissioned rather than simply rely upon (lowered resolution) screenshots from the cinematography.
Gallery: not reliant on screenshots; extra photography employed
- The imagery is carefully constructed with mode of address and audience in mind.
- Likewise the language used - albeit many Indie acts will use 'strong language' as part of their discourse which these students obviously don't.
From the Roza website's 'Roza' page [about me equivalent] takes a creative approach
- The use and intregration of social media is simply superb, making full use of the widgets and apps available to Wix website builders to provide hyperlinked icons, invites to join/follow, and live feeds.
Sunday, 30 August 2015
IN THIS POST: Analysis of an obscure UK Indie band's website (for comparison with the major acts The Doors and Lady Gaga already blogged on), discussion of how relevant or not band websites are given the role of social media today, and points on why you might want to go for a local/student band rather than international stars... I also reviewed their debut video, making this more of a look at an all-round promo package. The band have tweeted me since I did this post; you can check out Sly Antics' updated website here!
WHY PICK A SMALL-TIME LOCAL (or even student) ACT?
You might be tempted to produce a promo package for a (currently!) small-time, local act rather than for a major existing/heritage artist. The closest I've seen to this thus far has been a group who entered the recording studio with their own metalcore band, Sunburnt in December, to produce the broadcast-quality audio required. Two of the group were Media students. This meant they had their cast sorted and a keen, engaged cast at that! They had to be ... they set up for performance footage in a snow-covered Yorkshire moors setting in what remains one of my favourite students videos (even if there were opportunities to improve it...). This video also came to mind given the main website image Sly Antics use (they also use it for other social media logos)
The advantages of local or student bands are evident:
Saturday, 29 August 2015
|I may have blogged on Gaga once or twice already...|
IN THIS POST: Screenshots with links for both Lady Gaga's UK and USA official sites, plus LittleMonsters.com, plus a brief look at some of her social media. What emerges is a radically different approach to UK and US audiences, plus some evidence that the 'official website' is the least regarded strand of her multimedia branding, secondary to the social media output.
|From the US site; the lack of 'shares' compared to Twitter and Facebbok updates is stark, and may explain the lack of care taken with the official websites...|
Wednesday, 26 August 2015
IN THIS POST: Discussion of a heritage (60s/70s) band's use of merchandise and social media; analysis of their website including detailed denotation of the features, with screenshots, and a look at their social media integration and audience interaction (or lack of...).This isn't The Doors' main website (though that is linked, and everything here IS featured and sold through their website too), but an online retailer that sells their merchandise, and markets this (I came across this via a Facebook update of the official Doors page, screenshot below the line).
below - analysis on assessing target audience (core/primary and secondary) + more images + detailed analysis of their website...
Tuesday, 25 August 2015
I'm always a little wary of the elitist high/popular culture binary being at play with reports such as this, but its intriguing nonetheless.
The academic study assessed the literacy level required to follow the lyrics of chart music over time, and found that this has declined so far as to be of primary (junior in US parlance) level, and even kindergarten in some cases.
Can language be safely quantified in this way? That's at least debatable.
The website carrying the report is a left-wing alternative news outlet, and they make a specific link to the monopolization of a handful of huge conglomerates and the homogenisation this produces.
They're referring to the USA, but of course their major media conglomerates dominate media production, distribution and exhibition globally, including the music industry - a process Marxist critics term cultural imperialism, but can more blandly be labeled globalisation.
Even if this is true, does it matter? That's a question for you to decide
FINDING DPAK EXAMPLES: I've provided several links below where you can find many. EvieG suggested another means: using unboxing videos (examples are covered in my vodcast, below) to get images of dpaks (through screenshotting)
I've spent a few days now trawling through the 500 posts on here retro-tagging, and doing a bit of tidying up. I'm changing some of the links in the top (horizontal) links list with key posts, including the 'Digipak' link, which will now point here.
The previous link was for this post which compiled a range of relevant posts.
I've provided a detailed vodcast on digipak conventions, and the process of researching these: here.
Further pointers on research: here.
The small print - Sinead O'Connor (very detailed) example: here.
Of course, you can also now use the tag cloud...
As well as the mag ad and magazine tags there are others to look for: special edition, editionalising, Photoshop, Andy Warhol, layering, editing, merchandise, vinyl, fan-made, prankvertising, SFX, back catalogue, bonus DVD, editionalising, template, ...
There are websites which offer large collections of downloadable sleeves, easy to find...
(I googled 'cd covers'!)
There's another post centred on videos on digipaks...
This post is a simple list of key points, very digestible and maybe your best starting place: here.
The previous link was for this post which compiled a range of relevant posts.
I've provided a detailed vodcast on mag ad conventions, and the process of researching these: here.
Further pointers on research: here.
Pointers on looking beyond ads to research the audience for your ads: here.
Of course, you can also now use the tag cloud...
mag ad and magazine tags there are others to look for: Photoshop, Andy Warhol, layering, editing, Prankvertising,...
Monday, 17 August 2015
Saturday, 15 August 2015
NB: The video explores sexual themes (especially in the 2nd piece), though without nudity, and does have 1 instance of swearing about 14 mins in.
|Link below, but note content warning.|
|Heading towards 3m views (screenshot Dec 6th 2015)|
Monday, 10 August 2015
Pretty Girls – a new Britney Spears song featuring Iggy Azalea – premiered on Sunday, and who nabbed the world’s first listen? Not radio, not even online, but a handful of Uber cab riders.
A limited number of Britney-branded SUVs decorated in black and yellow bee print drove around Los Angeles at the request of fans, who could book the cars for up to 30 minutes to hear the song.
Sunday, 2 August 2015
Rob posted on this in August and I thought I'd add a few comments; interesting choice! I know the track well but had never seen the video.
Here's the vid first of all:
A few initial points:
- perf. through lip-synching, but without a translation its hard to say whether its narr or concept!
- fairly fast-paced editing, with some long takes though
- colour and lighting a key consideration
- vid can only be understand if we grasp both the precise genre and target audience
- skilful cross-cutting is key to the preferred reading
The crashing sledgehammers, and the sparks that fly up, are a neat signifier of the genre within the video.
GENDER: The youth male audience ensures that the Snow White depicted is heavily sexualised to fit the male gaze: the tight top, thick, bright red lipstick and the long take which lingers on her suspenders. They've taken an archetypal signifier or icon of (Disney) innocence and purity and flipped it to fit with their darker vision.
Saturday, 1 August 2015
|The Brookside kiss was headline news|
This playlist starts with The Communards' Don't Leave Me This Way, and continues with Bronski Beat's Smalltown Boy...
Sweet Dreams was one of many huge hits, but vocalist Lennox's counter-hegemonic behaviour, her utter refusal to play the expected (of female artists - and has this changed 30 years later?) glamour game, led to some intense tabloid flak (yes, Chomsky alert!).
The acceptable face of Frankie's Relax on ToTP: