Thursday, 14 September 2017

R+P Post 2: Myself as a music consumer

I love listening to music and I listen to it everyday, either in the car on the way to school, at school in free periods or at home to relax. I usually listen to music alone through my headphones but sometimes when I am with my friends we listen to songs together because it creates a fun atmosphere and we can all enjoy ourselves. We also go to concerts together which makes it not only an enjoyable but also a social experience as we spend time with a group of other people who like the same music. I also share song recommendations with my friends and get some recommendations in return which helps to broaden the range of music I listen to. 

Most of the time I listen to music on my laptop through Spotify or YouTube but I also use my iPod when I am at school or travelling. I love to dance so music has always been a big part of my life. In a similar way to dancing, I find that music can act as a distraction which is one of the main reasons I listen to it. I also listen to music for entertainment and to motivate me when doing my homework.

My music taste has definitely progressed as I have gotten older because it means something different to me now then when I was little. 

The Pussycat Dolls were one of my favourite girl groups as a child and I remember wanting to grow up to be in a band like them. A lot of my music was of the pop genre when I was little as it would be what I would hear on the radio. I chose this song because it is the first song I remember singing and dancing to wherever I went and it brings back so many childhood memories of me singing at home and even on holidays. I was about 6 or 7 years old so I didn't really understand what the song was about, I just liked to rhythm of the song as it was upbeat and easy to dance to. 

Early Teens
I listened to Michael Jackson a lot through my childhood as my parents would always play his songs at home. I became really interested in his music when I was around 13 as I finally watched the movie 'Michael Jackson: This is It' which is a documentary filmed during his tour rehearsals before he died. I remember idolising Michael Jackson because not only was he a great performer but I felt that he was so talented when it came to song writing. Even though I love all of his songs, my favourite is Smooth Criminal because I love the lyrics, the music and the performance. It was also the first Michael Jackson music video I ever watched.

Currently I listen to a range of music genres because to me right now the most important aspect of a song is the lyrics and the message behind it. This song is Ooh by Jon Bellion featuring Christianne Jensen. I love this song because it is really calming and I feel that the lyrics are so well written. I am a fan of other songs by this artist too after a friend recommended them to me. Jon Bellion isn't a massive global name but recently I have been listening to less mainstream music because I've found it tends to be more meaningful. Escapism is one of the main reasons I listen to music so I love to listen to songs that I can emotionally connect to as they tend to help me relax. 

Personally I would like to create a music video that can be easily relatable but also meaningful because I see songs as a way of conveying how you feel inside in a creative way. I would also like for our artist's image to be less mainstream and instead more independent. 

R+P Post 1: My A2 Group

For this project I am in Group 1 with Sian Richefond and Laith Lyster. I am really happy with my group as I think we all will work well together as we all bring something different to the group. Sian and I both have a dancing background but I feel Sian is really good at the performance and creative aspect such as choreography and composition whereas I feel I am better suited to directing/planning and making sure things run smoothly. Laith is best at the technical side of things like setting up and using all of the equipment. I feel that we can all learn a lot from each other throughout the project. 

As a group we have planned to meet at least three times a week for meetings to discuss the project so far and try to make as much progress as possible for everything to be ready on time. Additionally we have a Whatsapp group chat which makes it easier for us to contact each other outside of school. I am looking forward to working on this project with my group as I think it will be a lot of fun. 
Laith (left), Sian (right) and myself (centre)

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Evaluation Q1: Did you enjoy the main workshop shoot day? What roles did you take? What were your best bits and why?

I had a really good time on the main workshop shoot day and I learnt lots of new things. The shoot itself was very successful as we didn't have to redo numerous takes. The atmosphere on the day was really positive and everyone involved was very energetic and supportive making the whole experience a lot more enjoyable. 

Below is a time lapse video from the day showing the set and the different lighting set ups used on the day.
On the day I had a few roles which ranged from performing in front of the camera to helping behind the scenes. My performance role was as Flower Dress Sydney. I had a few lines to lip-sync but most of my scenes consisted of acting and portraying a character. I didn't have much experience performing or acting so it was a slight challenge but after our rehearsals and as the day went on I became a lot more comfortable performing in front of a camera and have definitely improved my performance skills. Additionally I got to take part in a lot of fun shots that included fake snow and powder paint. 

Below are some screenshots of my scenes in the video.
A few of my shots in the video
Behind the scenes I got the opportunity to work alongside the crew and experience what it would be like on to work on a set. I got to use the clapperboard for some of the shots which I enjoyed. We also got shown the lighting set up at the top of the studio and our technician Emma explained how the set ups worked and how they could be changed in case one of us had to change the lighting set up for a shot. 
Me using the clapperboard
I also helped our performance directer Jasmine work along side Sian (who played the band Sydney) so that we could help each other when acting as Syndey. When Sian performed I stood behind the camera in order to help her feel more comfortable. This benefited both of us as we performed better when we sang with each other as it was much easier to let go and have fun.
Practicing movements/dancing with Jasmine and Sian
  The best bits of the day included:
  • Participating with my friends as we had a lot of fun together and it made the day a lot more enjoyable
  • Learning new skills and getting the opportunity to work with the crew
  • Getting my hair and make up done by the professional make up artists
Me getting my hair and make-up done
Working with friends

Evaluation Q2: What have you learnt from participating in each of the prelim tasks 1,2,3, and 5?

Task 1: Complete an Audition Video
In order to complete the audition video I had to learn how to successfully lip-sync so that it looked believable. To do this we learnt that we had to sing along so that the full facial and throat movement looked authentic. I found it hard to perform in front of the camera as well as keeping looking directly into the camera as I am not used to performing. I think doing the video with friends was what made it more enjoyable. We took a variety of shots so that when the video was edited with had a lot of options and we could chose what worked best.

If I were to do the audition video again I would try to relax more and let go a bit and I would also look into the camera when lip-syncing so that the audience is directly addressed. Below is my audition video.
Task 2: Learn and Practice Your Performance
We had many rehearsal sessions over the course of two weeks. This included whole cast as well as smaller groups of people. 

My role in the video did include some lip-sync so I had to make sure I knew the lyrics well. After a small meeting with our performance director Jasmine we decided that the main thing for me to be able to do was convey the emotion and the story behind the song. To do this I did a lot of research into the band and Sydney herself as well as trying to visualise each line of the song as we found that my expressions were more believable when I could imagine what I was feeling. 
I also had small sessions with Jasmine and Sian (Band Sydney) so that we could work on performing more. This worked well as we felt a lot more comfortable singing and performing in front of each other. In rehearsals we would sing along with each other to relax and get into the performance. I also practiced doing the walk as a band with Laith, Jack and Ray. This was useful as we all had to walk at the same time and in the same rhythm as well as remain in character.
Working with Jasmine and Sian

At the end of the video there is a small dance scene which we practiced as a whole group. To do this we all thought of one move and we would go down the middle of two rows performing this move whilst the rest of the class cheered and supported the person performing. This not only helped to build confidence but also made the atmosphere more enjoyable which made it easier for me to perform. 

Task 3: Help to Plan and Organise Your Costume
As part of the shoot preparation we had to plan our costumes. The costume I needed consisted of a floral top and skirt along with white boots and a white overcoat.
Our first decision was whether to find a top and skirt or to use a dress instead. Additionally as no-one had white boots we decided to use black boots instead. We eventually decided on a navy blue, white and pink dress. This also worked well with the pink coat we had instead of a white one. As boots looked to bulky with the dress we decided to use black wedge sandals instead. Below is a photo of my final costume that I wore for the shoot.
Me in my full costume
From planning and organising my costume I learnt how costumes can reflect the identity of a character and helps to connote their personality. Also it helped to improve my attention to detail as we looked to replicate the original in subtle ways such has having the flowers on the dress or the buttons on the overcoat. This also taught me how important all aspects of styling (costume, make-up and hair) are when creating a music video in order to represent the artist in a way you want.

Task 5: Complete the Remake Edit
For the edit I worked with Sian. The process consisted of watching and renaming all the takes, putting the shots on the timeline and cutting them so they matched with the original, editing the speed for the slow motion shots and then finally grading all of the shots. I found the process quite time consuming as looking through the takes to choose the one that looked closest to the original was a long process. In addition to this putting all of the shots on the timeline was also time consuming as this music video is consisted of a lot of quick cuts and short shots.
Me editing our music video
The grading process was a lot longer as well than our last project as there were a lot more shots to grade. However to speed the process up with graded one shot and then copy and pasted it for all of the shots of the same take. The tool we used when grading was ProCamp. I was pleased with the way we graded our shots as it we made the majority of them look almost like the original. Below are some before and after pictures of a few shots we graded.
Grading to show match to the original
Grading to show colour pop
From completing the remake edit I learnt that when editing a music video you break the rules of continuity so that the audience remains engaged through the use of quick cuts and inserts. Additionally the editing has helped me to develop and improve my existing skills in Premiere in particular my grading. 

Evaluation Q3: Are you pleased with the footage and your finished edit? Is it how you expected it to look? What works really well and what would you change?

Below is our finished edit.

I am really pleased with our final video. The quality of the footage we got is really good which helped to create a successful music video remake. I wasn't expecting it to look as professional as it does and I wasn't expecting us to match the actions and lip-sync as well as we have done.

I think what went well was:

  • The overall grading of our shots, especially the close-ups of Sian and Jack (who played Noah, the bassist). 
  • The accurate lip-sync matching (as seen in the first gif of Sian)
  • That nearly all of our cuts match the original (as shown by the second gif of Jack and Sian)
Good grading match

The main thing I would change would be the lighting as it is quite different to the original. For example in some of the cool kids close ups their faces are lit from the other side. Below is an example.
Opposite lighting for cool kids shots
Also the lighting meant that there were no shadows on the bands in some shots and also that our version is a lot brighter than the original.
Lighting difference between our band shots and original
Some shots were really hard to recreate such as the break-dancing at the end so we filmed alternatives instead so we had a variety of footage to choose from. This can be seen in the gif below where Jack does something different to the original move.
Finally what I would change in the edit would be a small shot in which we covered a quick insert shot which can be seen below.
Overall I feel that our remake was very successful and I am extremely pleased with our edit and all of the footage we took. 

Evaluation Q4: How do you think your prelim experience will impact on your approach to next term's music video coursework?

By completing the prelim I have learnt a lot about all aspects of making a music video. Our next project will be to create a music video of our own so this prelim has taught me a lot of new skills that will be useful. This includes learning how to use all the technology involved such as the camera, lights and sound desk. Additionally the performance and lip-sync skills I have learnt will also be useful should I need to perform in my own video or instruct other actors on how to perform.

Below I have summarised what I have learnt from the prelim and how this will be beneficial for pre-production, production and post-production.

Performance Schedule

  • Have a clear sense of what genre our music video will be as it will affect styling and lighting decisions
  • Schedules for any performance rehearsals or group meetings to discuss set design/lighting/costume
  • A clear and detailed shoot board and call sheet so we know the order of shooting, who and what is required for each shot and also to make sure we get all of our shots filmed
  • To have a designated assistant director (or all share the responsibility) to make sure the shoot goes smoothly and timings are followed
  • Having a variety of footage and takes so that we have options when editing
  • Ensuring our performers actually sing along so that all the mouth and throat movements are accurate and believable
  • Being supportive and encouraging so that the performers feel comfortable in front of the camera
  • Using a variety of lighting set-ups to create different moods as well as making sure all the lights and cameras are set up/handled safely and that no wires are bunched on the floor. Additionally to have someone cable bashing when someone else is filming on the hand held camera
    Set up on the day
  • Having an edit schedule so we all know when we are editing and so that we know how many sessions we are each doing 
  • Grading shots using tools such as ProCamp and Three-way Colour Corrector so that it fits the style and genre of the music video
  • Discontinuous editing and rapid/montage shot transitions as shown by the gif below

On the whole the prelim has taught me a lot of new skills which will be vital for the production of our own music video as well as making me realise how much time and effort goes into making a music video. The experience of remaking a music video was so positive and so I am really looking forward completing the project next term.

Friday, 31 March 2017

This blog is now closed

My work is now complete for this project. I hoped you enjoy my blog and thank you for reading.