Archive for the ‘Anthony Szymaniak’ Category

Concrete Disco – Play For Your Life

This is our Music video created by Anthony Szymaniak and Ciaran Walsh using Apple Final cut pro express.

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Wix evaluation website

Posted: April 10, 2011 in Anthony Szymaniak

www.wix.com/kidletz/anthony

I created this website using Wix. I created a website to present my evalution

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

We used many different websites for our research and planning. Websites such as www.youtube.com and www.myspace.com proved to be the most helpful as they allowed us to view and listen to the band and figure out if they be suitable in our music video. The band have their own myspace and facebook page which were useful when researching their music. Youtube was very useful as it allowed us to look at established music videos and get some ideas for what to put in our video. www.wordpress.com was a blogging site that we used to keep track of our work load and publish all our research. The site itself was pretty simple to use and we found it quick and easy to upload essays, pictures and videos that were relevant to the project.

For our filming a Cannon HD video camera was used, it wasn’t the most hi-tech camera so we knew that we would have to experiment with our shots. We used a variety of angles to add a frantic feel to the video. The camera controls were simple enough which proved useful and we learnt fast so got to filming pretty quickly. As we had such a variety of shots to film the actors often had to repeat the same scene several times so the camera could capture the action from different angles, this proved worthwhile in the end as we had a lot of shots to choose from when it came to the editing. We didn’t have any problems upon filming our chase scene, but the band performance did prove more difficult as there was a lack of light in the location and we had not additional lights to help this.

Editing proved very successful as we were using very sophisticated software which helped the video run smoother and give it a more professional finish. We used Apple’s Final cut pro express which was difficult at first to learn how to use. For example we weren’t sure what each of the editing tools should be used for. We practised our editing techniques by making a pink panther video, where we edited videos to appear in time with the beat of the Pink Panther theme tune. When mastering the techniques we found the Mac computers were a lot more advanced than normal PCs and were useful as the editing overall seemed to be a lot easier.  The footage was split up into seperate timelines this allowed us to access specific scenes with ease. From this we could just trim the videos into the desired positions, allowing us to add certain cuts into the main sequence. A big part of creating a music is to have the video in time with the track. to do this we had to add beat marks throughout the tack to allow us to adjust our sequence to be in time with the music, we felt this was achieved within the finished video.

We used Nikon D40 digital cameras for our band photo shoot, which we found to be very successful as they gave the photos a much more defined finish. So when adding the photos to the magazine and CD cover’s made them look a lot more authentic and believable. We also used photos of the band setting up their equipment to create a stop motion introduction to our music video this made the video seem more exciting and original.

Editing the magazine and CD covers proved very successful when using Adobe CS5 Photoshop as it allowed us to trim our photos and manipulate the backgrounds and designs of the cover. Overall the covers looked professional and the lasso in particular was very helpful was it allowed us to cut out around the pictures so we could add them to a plain background, instead of having the location in the background.Changing the contrast of the picture allowed us to manipulate the black and white colouring and we eventually had the picture mostly in black with a few white patches just to define some of the facial features, this gave it a very retro look, that we felt would potentially make it stand out from other album covers.  

http://www.wix.com/kidletz/anthony#!question-four

This is the Pink Panther Editing exercise

What have you learned from your audience feedback?

When originally planning our video we hadn’t seen the video as being aimed at a specific age group, but soon we thought that it should be aimed at a teenage audience, the audience that is most linked when thinking of dance music. We used demographic targeting to understand who would be interested in the genre of the music video. We looked at many videos to understand how to capture your audience attention. So to really capture our desired audience we had to make a video that could sympathise with. We thought “chavs” and awkward, nerdy teenagers was a stereotype of teenage life that would relate to our audience.   Before filming we designed an animatic of what we wanted our video to look like, this helped with filming as we already had an idea of what shots we wer going to use.

We found that our video and digipack received good feedback and we felt that we had taken into account the preferences of target audiences. Most of the comments we had referred to our editing, mostly of the pace and how it linked well with the pace of music.

“Creates a story that’s believable and what you’d expect to find in a dance, high tempo music video.” this was one comment we received which we found positive as we wanted our audience to be familiar with the conventions of the music genre and to make sure our video followed these conventions. Even though we received positive feedback overall, some audience members suggested that we might need a greater variety of shots and suggested POV was one shot that would make the video more entertaining.

Our audience felt that we had done a good job with our digipak.

“By adding a slight piece of colour, it could create a different effect which complies to their genre.” One phrase that was often said was “it needs more colour” this was said as we went for just black and white colouring as we felt it gave the band an industrial kind of feel and went with their band name, “concrete disco.” But when looking at the feedback we feel that even the slight bit of colour would give the digipack a much better look.

As a group we feel we have met the task set to us by OCR and the music video we have created complements and promotes the band as well as presenting them to an audience as a fast paced, dance music band. We feel that the link between the band and narration sequence was pleasing to an audience and worked well with the music.

What’s unique about our video is that the audience can relate to it from seeing other music videos such Chase and Status’ End Credits, in the fact that it’s set in an estate. But the comical element of having a geeky teenager as the main character of the narration allows the audience to feel more emotionally attached in that they have been able to laugh at it, other music videos struggle to have a funny element. We feel proud that we have been able to achieve this.

http://www.wix.com/kidletz/anthony#!question-three

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

When first coming up with the idea of having the band performance incorporated with the narrative we know we had to advertise each member individually when film to show their stardom statuses. When filming we filmed each individual member of the band, this was done so that when it came to the finished video, viewers would have a good knowledge of each member. Therefore we were advertising there faces and their musical ability. As with all music videos, they brand the artist and their song by giving them the majority of screen time so that they receive recognition and publicity. Also when editing we really listened to the track and highlighted parts of the song that would suit the individual member when it came to their appearances for example the drummer appears when it get to a drop in the beat and is about to start again with the drums being heard loudest.

When it came to the creation of the magazine and CD covers we wanted to have a black and white faded theme going on, which would appear on both the magazine and CD, this made it look as if it’s Concrete Discos trademark. It also went with the band’s name, as the word “concrete” makes it seem very industrial, and the faded theme seems to go well when thinking of their name. We took group and individual photos of the band knowing they would be used as advertising tools for the magazine and CD, for example our magazine cover shows the group together which is typical when looking at other band’s magazine covers. The similarities between the CD and magazine covers show a recurring theme that is used to making audiences aware.  Branding was the key concept behind our music video. Definitions show that making a brand is leaving a noticeable trademark that an audience can recognise easily, whether it is a specific symbol or band lettering. Many bands use recurring features when it comes advertising themselves for example the band “the Libertines” have a personalised font type when the title of their band is featured on media products such as their CDs. Unlike the magazine cover our CD front cover shows each individual member of the band separately, this was incorporated from one of “Blur’s” albums which show each four members of the band in individual sections, like a colage, they are paintings by the artist Julian Opie. This CD is now very iconic and we went for a look that would be iconic. This can be refered to Andrew Goodwin’s theory of iconography. Where in “dancing in the Distraction factory” Goodwin talks of how artists can develop their brand, in and out of their music video, which, over time, becomes part of their star image.

Upon creating our magazine cover, we knew that it would be an advert for the band and their CD alike. Keeping this in mind, we used the black and white design which also features in our CD front and back cover. But we had a few bits of colour added into the magazine cover. Gold star ratings were one of the noticeable images added which shows the ratings other critics had given the CD. We also added a release stamp in bright red which was one the most noticeable features as it stood out upon the black and white cover, this would allow an audience to know when their CD would be available to buy. We looked at many music magazine covers when creating ours, NME was probably the most influential magazine as the covers showed the bands all together and we then decided to do this when producing our cover.

http://www.wix.com/kidletz/anthony#!question-two

In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?

For our media coursework, we were asked to make a music video, this allowed us to create a narrative and band performance sequence that would fit in with the chosen song. Having the difficulty of only being to choose songs that had no copyright, we had to use website such as www.soundcloud.com to find music that was free to use. We chose to use a song called “Play for Your Life” by the unsigned band “Concrete Disco” who we discovered through www.youtube.com and on the TV show, “Must be the music.” Using editing software, Final Cut Express on Apple Mac computers we went about forming our music video.

Before filming our video, me and my group looked at many well-known music videos for inspiration. We looked at videos such as Jay-Z’s “99 Problems” and Coldplay’s “Speed of sound” both directed by Mark Romanek.  We came up with the idea of chase sequence in an estate location, Jay Z’s 99 problems music video gave us this idea as it is filmed in Brooklyn, New York which is known for being rough and estate-like. We felt this would follow certain conventions of music videos of the same genre, such as “Sirens” by Dizzee Rascal, which is filmed in a rural, run down area and involves a chase. Goodwin’s theory of having a “relationship between music and visuals” in which is evident within these videos, for example in Dizzee Rascal’s lyric, “you can hear the sirens coming” link to the visuals of the character running away. This theory can also be seen in our music video by the way the constant chase throughout the video can be referred to the lyrics “play for your life” as it is similar to running for your life which the main character of the video is doing. When coming up with the chase theme we knew that we would have to film a lot of different angled shots as we felt it would go well with the frantic pace of the song. When came to the editing of the chase sequence we incorporated a lot of techniques that would help the video flow, while adding originality to the video. This was done by the way we used fast paced editing to help the story move along. These videos all follow Goodwin’s theory that “The Record label demand will include the need for lots of close-ups of the artist.

When it came to filming the band, “Concrete Disco” we again used a number of shots and techniques to get the right footage. Such as at one point we use hand held shots to make the band performance look more authentic as if it were a live show thus following a typical convention of a band performance sequence. To incorporate the band performance with the chase footage, we had to transition the different sequence at the correct time. Any director of music videos will know is that the image must go with the beat of the music. The beat was easy to locate in “Play for your life” and once getting to grips with the beat, we would switch from the frantic pace of the chase, to the footage of say the drummer playing up to the camera, which is seen in many music performances. To add originality to the video we added a stop motion introduction of the band setting up their equipment, we felt that it was different from other music videos of the same genre which would make it more noticable and entertaining but it also, allowed the audience to familiarise themselves with the musicians. This shows us following Andrew Goodwin’s analysis of following “genre characteristics,” in the sense that the dance music often include exciting, original ideas within their music videos, this to promote themselves to a broader audience.

Our Music Video really does show a sense of fitting in with certain stereotypes and connotations, such as the thuggish nature of “Chavs” or the clumsy, whimpish, traits of a “geek”  this often seen in such music videos such as “End Credits” by Chase and Status, which show the brutal, hoodie stereotype of a council estate played by the musician “Plan B”.

http://www.wix.com/kidletz/anthony#!question-one

This is the CD cover design as part of the digipak for ‘Concrete Disco’, ‘play for your life’. For the format I used a 3×3 grid so that all the photos would be the same size. The photos were taken from the magazine advert and I then edited a second set of photos so that there would be 2 photos of each band member. I used the filter tab and then the ‘sketch’ option on Photoshop and chose the ‘torn edges’ edit to use on the photos. I adjusted the brightness and contrast slightly so there would be prominent areas of light and dark. The photos were then inserted on the grid in separate layers. For the gap in the middle I used a square shape filled with grey for the middle section and then used the font from the advert for the band name and song title.

Using final cut express i have managed to incorporate both my band and chase footage into a music video. i first went about doing this by organising my chase footage into the correct order of sequence. i added markers took give with the beat of the song, Concrete Disco’s Play for your life. this allowed me to organise my video to be in time with the music. Using the razor tool i cut each scene of the chase footage so that it would flow accurately and looked more like a music video.

From early ideas our group had decided that we wanted the band to be included in the  music video somehow. so once we had a good amount of the band performing from different angles, we once again organised our footage into the correct order. we made sure every band footage matched the song so that it would look right when added with the chase sequence. we ended up with at least 10 different angles of the band performing the same song. To make this into one whole sequence we had to cut each piece of band performance using the razor tool, we deleted all the pieces of footage that didn’t  look good. we that had effectively made a music video of just the band. We merged the individual video performances so that it would fit onto would to one timeline, before we did this we rendered it so it would run smoothly. Adding the band sequence with with our chase footage has allowed us to the video to drift between the two sequences allowing to flow better and look more professional.