Friday, 15 September 2017

R+P Post 2: Myself as a music consumer

I love listening to music and would definitely consider myself an avid music consumer. I often listen to music on my phone whilst I am travelling (usually to school) and whilst I and relaxing or working at home. Personally, I find music to be an escape for the normal work day as you can place yourself as the artist singing the song and thus make their story, your story.

Most of the music on my phone has been downloaded from YouTube as on the bus to school offline music is my only way to listen, thus making Spotify an unviable option. However, when I am at home I will often use online YouTube, where I can then make use of the auto play function which introduces me to new songs which are similar in genre/style to those I am already listening too. In addition to YouTube, I do actually use films to show me new music, for example I was introduced to a great song by Fall Out Boy called 'my songs know what you did in the dark' from watching the film 'Percy Jackson- The Sea Of Monsters'. 

As I have got older my music taste had roughly stayed the same which more chill tracks, such as the ones shown below, being my preference:


Childhood:



In my childhood, 'Apologize' by OneRepublic and Timbaland was one of my favourite tracks. I would repeatedly play this song on my computer whilst relaxing at home. Even though I was at an age of around 7 at the time and therefore could not personally relate to the lyrics I still felt a connection to the song; this mostly was down to its chilled beat at great vocals which at the time was definitely not the norm, with more hype songs such as 'TGIF' by Katy perry being my classmates' favourites.

Early teens:



In my early teens, 'Grenade' was among a multitude of Bruno Mars songs which I repeatedly listen to when we I had access to a platform of music. Bruno Mars is one of my most inspirational artists as what he speaks away in songs is a lot more personal an enriching that the majority of pop songs which are a lot more sexualised. Even though I admired nearly all of his songs at the time, 'Grenade' really stuck out to me due to its intense bridge which starkly contrasts the verses in the song. Moreover as I was roughly 11 at the time I had just left primary school where, as a member of the school choir, sang and rehearsed this song in preparation for a concern to the rest of the school; this in turn made the song one of the most played to me at the time and was probably one of the reasons it stuck with me the most.

Now:



In contrast to that of the songs I listened to in the past, Raleigh Ritchie's 'Stronger Than Ever' has a more personal meaning. As school has become more tedious and demanding as the years went by, this song has helped me through, as it's wonderfully written lyrics help push me through the day. The meaning of the song is about a person struggling with mental health issues and thus is telling themselves that they have to be strong to get through. I believe that this song is very unique in that sense as it talks about issues which society does not really talk about. Although I do not take the mental health message as the reason I listen to the song, I still feel this to be my favorite song.

R+P Post 1: My A2 Group

My group for this project will be Sian Richefond and Meera Nakrani. I think we will work very well together as a group as we all have different attributes which will help to produce the highest quality music video. As well as having strong performance based backgrounds, Meera and Sian both bring their own skill sets, such as Sian's close attention to detail and Meera's creative drive in group discussion. Personally, I think I bring a more technical mind to the group but that will not stop me from contributing to other areas of this project, for example in our group meetings so far I have provided creative ideas as well as agreeing to perform the role of the male singer if that is what we decide. In order for us to stay on track we have all agreed to met three times a week outside of lessons so we can discuss the projects and then decide upon our next steps.

Me (left), Meera (centre) and Sian (right)

Friday, 14 July 2017

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

For me the main workshop shoot day was very enjoyable as due to the great levels of teamwork within the group which in turn lead to a non-hostile working environment. This therefore meant we could all focus and learn from the more experienced crew members, such as the director. Also, another bonus of the commitment shown by all of us was that numerous re-takes were not required, thus lowering stress levels and allowing more free time throughout the day. Below you can see a time lapse of the day, showing how the set and lighting set-ups changed throughout:

video

On the day my role did not vary that much as I was primarily in front of camera playing the role of Jamie. When I was not in front of the camera I was either on clapper board duties or supporting the actors on screen with words of encouragement. Even though my experience of acting on camera was minimal, the warm atmosphere around the set helped me settle quickly and in turn made me enjoy the experience even more. In my performance of Jamie,my roles varied from modelling to playing the guitar and at some points lip-syncing along with the actor playing Sydney, usually Sian. Below you can see some of the scenes I was involved in:

Me in costume whilst waiting for the dancing shots
My solo in a mid-shot

My Best Bits:

In my opinion, the amount of takes it took me to do my scenes was a very big positive as prior to filming I thought I would mess up and in turn cause a multitude of re-takes. However, this turned out not to be the case as my scene went very well with myself getting into character fairly quickly and in turn making myself proud of my scenes.

Overall, I think my best scene was when I had to play the guitar on my own in front of the camera. I think this scene went very well as I managed to pull off every move required of me whilst also being able to enjoy my performance which I think was reflected well on screen. A short cut of this long take can be seen in the GIF below:

Thursday, 13 July 2017

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

Task 1: Audition Video


Due to this being this being the first audition I have done, the idea of putting myself on camera like this was pretty daunting. Moreover, it was even harder to get myself to look straight into the camera rather than the display lens or any lyrics. This made the process take longer than it should have done but in the end we became more familiar with the music and more confident with our movements/appearance, thus enabling a better and more enjoyable experience.

What I learnt:
  • that framing shots and then acting within them is very time consuming
  • effective lip-syncs require actual signing
  • music videos need many shots to keep them interesting
  • to just have fun when lip-syncing as this brings out more genuine/energetic performances
Task 2: Learn and practice your performance

Jasmine was our performance director and she was very helpful in getting me more used to the camera and developing my characters moves. We had many rehearsal sessions with her in which we all worked together to help boost everyone's confidence as we believed this was the key to a stronger performance in front of the camera. One of the most useful tools I took on when practicing was the 'movement dictionary'; after watching the original music video I realised my character Jamie had certain moves which he repeatedly used, in turn I learnt these moves and gave each one a name. Jasmine was then able to shout these names to me when I was performing so I knew to instantly do them; this made my performance far easier as the pressure of memorizing a routine was withdrawn.

Me being instructed on my performance by Jasmine (on right)
Task 3: Help to plan and organise your costume

In terms of my costume, I provided the shoes (borrowed of a friend), the white shirt and the skinny jeans. Apart from these items, the tie and the blazer I wore were provided by other members of the crew and my class.
Me in my band costume, whilst playing a guitar provided by one of the runners on the day
Away from my costume, I also brought in a variety of smart shirts which were either worn by both member of the 'cool kids' and a member of the band (Ray). I also brought in 3 pairs of VANS shoes as these were specifically required by some of the 'cool kids' to complete their look. Below are some of the items of clothing I brought in which contributed to some of the characters costumes:


Through this task I also learnt that wearing the costume can be very useful in actually getting into character; this helps bring out better performances from the actors and is thus something I will take forward into my next project.

Task 5: Complete the remake edit

For the edit I worked with Sailesh and I believe we worked well as a team as we equally divided the editing time to ensure fairness whilst I also felt that both our creative inputs were respected in our final edit.

In my edit I:
An example of a shot where I had to match the lip-sync
  • helped choose the best takes and place them on the timeline
  • graded some shots
  • sped up and slowed down some shots to match the original music video
  • matched the lip-sync of our actors to the music track
  • changed the framing of some shots
The timeline of our sequence
I really enjoyed editing Cool Kids as I was able to explore more creative possibilities as music videos are not restrained to the traditional continuity rules. For example, each shot is very short and the transitions are constant. This makes the video fast-paced and in turn keeps the audience interested whilst not taking anything away from the actual music track (which must take priority). An example of the fast-paced editing can be seen a a GIF below:


Conclusion

Overall, I think that tasks 1, 2, 3 and 5 have helped me consolidate and improve my skills which which be very useful when it comes to making my own music video next year.

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

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

I am very pleased with my final cut as I believe that our remake was a similar yet still original in it own right from the actual music video by Echosmith. Also, I think that the great work of the cast and crew contributed to a lot of high quality shots and thus made the editing process a far easier task. Below you will be able to watch our finished edit:


ProcAmp was the tool we used for our grading

What works well:
  1. All the lip-syncs match
  2. All cuts match with the original
  3. We managed to get the set designs very similar to the original
  4. The costumes matched those in the original music video
  5. Our grading achieved its desired look
  6. The movements of the actors matched those in the original
  7. Before grading
    After grading
What would I change:
The main thing I would change in our remake would be to have shot every shot which was in the original, example can be seen below. Overall, I think this would have made our sequence a better match to Echosmiths music video.











Monday, 10 July 2017

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

I think my prelim experience will have a positive impact on my approach to next term's music video coursework. Overall, I have learnt a lot from all three sectors of production, pre-production, main shoot and post-production.

Pre-production

From pre-production I have learnt that it is important to have:
Our performance schedule

  • a clear sense of what genre our music video belongs to as this will heavily affect lighting and styling choices
  • detailed schedules for both cast and crew and this helps keep everyone focused and stress-free
  • choreography learnt and thoroughly rehearsed before the shoot as this will help it run smoothly
  • all required locations booked/available so shoot days have less hassle

Main shoot

From our prelim's main shoot I have learnt to:
The set-up on the day of the main shoot
  • have an assistant director whose job is to ensure we don't over-run; on the day I felt this was critical in us having a more productive shoot
  • shoot every take more than once as this gives you more options when editing
  • ensure that any actors who are required to lip-sync actually sing as this helps make their mouth movements more believable on camera
  • ensure that all the actors are supported and encouraged frequently as this helps bring out better performances as a result of boosts in confidence

Post-production

Through the post-production period I have learnt that:

Me working at my edit suite
  • having an edit schedule is imperative in making sure that the final deadline for the project is met and in turn helps keep the load more evenly spread out between group members
  • grading choices can only be decided by experimenting and they must accurately reflect the genre of the music and therefore the look/style you are going for
  • cutting shots to the beat is very effective in delivering a professional music video of which the story being portrayed does not take away from the music
Conclusion

Overall, I believe that this prelim has taught me a vast range of new skills which I can carry on into my next project. It also taught me that the time required to actually make a music video is very long and thus must not be underestimated by any one taking part. However, no matter how long it took I also feel that this process was thoroughly enjoyable and has made me very excited for next year.

Sunday, 2 April 2017

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