Saturday, 17 March 2018

How to present Research Findings - Unit 2

Research findings

I conducted some initial research into music video production in order to develop some understanding in what makes a successful sequence. I analysed the theories of Carol Vernallis and Andrew Goodwin and applied them to various music videos. Collecting secondary findings before hand, provided me with a better foundation to begin planning my own work; I was able to develop a deeper understanding of the styles of music video and the editing techniques that they make use of.

I first began by applying the theories of Goodwin and Vernallis to a selection of music videos from different genres. Doing so allowed me to produce more valid findings, as opposed to looking at just one genre of music. In addition to this, I conducted semiotic analysis to examine other aspects of each sequence, such as the meaning behind different camera shots, mise en scene and the purpose of each edit/cut.

I produced a short questionnaire which allowed me to gather primary data on what makes a successful and appealing music video. Although the results varied depending on personal choice, there were some clear trends. I used a selection of questions that would give me an insight into peoples preference, such as:

What do you look for in a music video?

What is your preferred genre of music video?
- Stadium Performance
- Studio Performance
- Location
- Narrative
- Conceptual/Experimental

What makes a good narrative?
- conceptual/experimental
- relatable themes
- metanarrative

Is star image important to convey in music videos?

As a result of the multiple choice layout for some of the questions, the results provided me with quantitative findings which were easy to collate into an ordered format. The open questions offered me rich data in a qualitative format, giving a deeper insight into what I should include in my music video and most importantly, what genre I should choose.

Following this, a focus group allowed me to gather further primary research, however more directed towards my own work.  I had already conducted enough research prior to this, to develop a few ideas to pitch to the group. I found that people suggested a studio performance, as opposed to narrative would work best for the band and song that I have selected.

I would have preferred to present the song to the group, so that I could get more directed feedback, however the band were still in the process of choosing a song.

Once the band had sent me the chosen track and a rough idea of what they wanted the video to entail, I began researching accordingly. The band had decided to contradict the style of their music by having the visuals represent a 1950's style setting. I analysed "Buddy Holly" - Weezer and "In Bloom" - Nirvana. I found that common features in both these sequences, like the monochrome and static effects, manifested an authentic feel of the time period they were set in.

As Goodwin would suggest, visuals of this manner contradict the music. As well as opposing the conventional preconception of star image in relation to an alternative rock band. 

Friday, 16 March 2018

Unit 2: Effective Ways To Present & Evaluate Research Methods

Research techniques from RoryVickers95

For my music video production, I knew prior to any pre-production work that I would have to analyse music videos within my chosen genre in order to gain a better understanding of the codes and conventions of a successful and effective video.  Therefore I began my research project by gaining a brief knowledge of the music video theorists by sources provided to me by my teacher. Initially I took down notes on music video theorists Andrew Goodwin and Carol Vernallis which I then built upon once I began researching them in depth. For this part of the project I would be researching Goodwin and Vernallis' theories on music videos which would benefit my own production work in the future. I researched using secondary sources such as the theorists' published books as well as search engines (google) to find other peoples summaries of the theories in the form of powerpoint presentations on SlideShare. Using the published versions of the theorist's books was much more reliable as physical text-based sources are less prone to being changed or misinterpreted as they are on internet sites, digital articles etc. therefore I feel that as a main source of research the physical books themselves proved vital in my project. To ensure validity with my findings I cross-checked points made in other published presentations. I felt that this was effective as it some parts of the theories are put into simpler terminology than in the original books and cross-checking was also vital to ensure reliable results. 

My semiotic analysis of music videos played a vital part in the production of my own music video. It gave me a clear insight into the codes and conventions of music videos and the importance of the relationship between on screen visuals and music as well as the relationship between lyrics and visuals. My prior research methods Andrew Goodwin & Carol Vernallis using books and published online articles, proved very effective when it came to analysing Trip-Hop music videos. I specifically chose the videos as they were of the same genre as my future music video, therefore producing an in depth semiotic analysis of these chosen videos gave me both a solid understanding of how music videos of this genre are constructed visually as well as offering ideas and inspiration. 

My secondary research for this part of the project was in the form of a published review online, of the music that I planned to produce a music video for. Using search engines I came across reviews by the likes of Pitchfork. The content of the review went into the detail about the emotions associated with the piece, therefore this was a very useful in the pre-production process of my music video. This detailed review of the piece allowed me to not only see the music from somebody else view but it also reinforced my initial opinions of the music, in regards to its emotive aesthetic. Certain feelings and emotions mentioned within the review, I took note of and then went onto develop ideas around these, turning words from this review into a key theme within the video. The validity of this piece does not necessarily need to be questioned as, like my qualitative research (focus group) it is an opinion that has reinforced my own view of something therefore I believe it was a useful research method.

In doing this research project again I would definitely research and analyse more texts (music videos) and from a variety of artists in order to gain a varied and broader perspective of music videos in the genre of Trip-Hop.


In order to gain background facts and figures on music video audiences, I decided to create a questionnaire and get the students in the focus group I had organised to answer. I felt that to produce a thorough research project (that would inform my music video production) I would have to use a variety of research methods, gaining varied results. The two main aspects of my research being qualitative and quantitative. Whilst qualitative research offers quality and varied results, quantitative research is about asking people for their opinions in a structured way so that you can produce hard facts and statistics to guide you. The questionnaire I created was designed to give me an insight into what peoples opinions on certain aspects of music videos were, for example:

"What do you think makes a music video appealing?" with the multiple choice answers being "Narrative/Lighting/Colours/Clothes/StarImage" etc.

 I felt questions like this would offer quantitative results giving me hard facts and figures, yet would go onto informing my music video production. As I received back the students responses I soon realised this was not the case. I believe the data I collated afterwards was not as useful and informative as I initially hoped. Personally I put this down to the fact I arranged the questionnaire in a multiple choice format. This means that the students opinion is limited to 4 or 5 set answers. Therefore the reliability of my results is questionable.  

Focus Group

After producing sufficient reliable analysis on my chosen genre of music videos, I had done enough research to gain initial ideas about my future music video production. The purpose of the focus group was to gain qualitative data from a primary source, in this case face-to-face communication with A2 film students.

A positive of the focus group was getting the students to write down their thoughts and responses on paper which I would collect in at the end of the session. This was an effective decision as the majority of the students did not answer when asked a question but upon collecting the notes in at the end, I discovered that most of the students had wrote down many ideas they had not shared with the group. One improvement I believe could have been made was to produce an audio recording of the focus group. As it turned out, the notes I collected in was my primary source of the ideas generated by the focus group, however beforehand I did not know it would have gone this way therefore in future I would definitely use an audio recorder to capture the conversations between myself and students as back up. 

To ensure the validity and reliability of the students verbal answers, I would then get the student answering to develop of their answer somewhat, in order for my to gain a clear concise idea and their reason for this. In my opinion, this made the focus group all the more successful as in enhanced the communication between myself and the students in the group, which evidently allowed more thorough results. After the focus group was over I began collating the results I received back. As the data was qualitative not quantitive I found it difficult to analyse them in any structured way as every student said different things about each of the questions asked. There was however, certain points that the vast majority of students wrote down. An example being:

           What imagery would you expect to see in a music video for this style of music?                      (Locations/spaces also)

The vast majority of student that replied with their opinion, said they visualised 'industrial locations' when listening to the music. This is an example of student responses that confirmed my initial ideas on music video codes and conventions. I myself, shared the same view of the students as I felt the music had a ridged beat with a mechanical timbre, therefore an urban, industrial location would I think that results such as this one, were useful in confirming my approach but also reliable as it came from multiple sources. This meant that I could see what people expected to see in this music video, and therefore make it effective and successful. This process was the case for multiple questions that I put forward to the group therefore overall, I feel the Focus Group was a success and played a key role in the production of my music video.


Due to the nature of my production work, quantitive research methods such as questionnaires are not effective in bringing reliable, quality results. As the aim for this research project was to gain inspiration and ideas to take forward into my music video production work, it is evident from my collated results that qualitative research methods such as focus groups proved to be most effective as it gave me the opportunity to gather primary results in the form of student opinions and ideas that essentially went on to inform my music video production. Alongside this was my initial research on music video theory which I then applied when producing in depth analysis of Trip-Hop music videos. I felt that this early primary research using a combination of sources such as books and search engines, allowed me to gain a strong understanding of the theories. This then led to being able to produce thorough and quality analysis of Trip-Hop music videos using Youtube as the main source for this process. It is evident throughout this research project that internet sources have been very effective and useful for my music video production. It is however, vital that these sources should be cross-checked with either other secondary internet sources or books to ensure reliable and valid results.

Improvements to be made:
  • Record audio of focus group as backup method of gathering results
  • Organise a focus group with many more students in to increase both quantity and variety of qualitative results
  • Create a questionnaire with either more options (multiple choice) or give them the chance to write their answer in a 'other' box, ensuring more reliable and quality results.
  • More questions on questionnaire that specifically relate to music video production
  • More variety in music videos chosen for analysis; more thorough and select a number of different artists

Key Terms for Units 6 + 32

Language/Points to discuss for Practical Skills Unit

1. Video/Audio Equipment: 
  • Cameras; lenses; tripods; lighting; camera controls
  • Framing; composition colour balance
  • Microphones; noise; interference; recording levels
  • Checking equipment; cables; health & safety; risk assessment
      2. Liaising with clients: 
  • Meetings; feedback; questioning; note-taking
  • Audience demographics; age; gender; genre
      3. Appropriate procedures to complete productions for clients: 
  • Roles: editor; cinematographer; producer
  • Pre-production: schedules; recce; consent forms; scripts; storyboards
  • Production; liaison with client; using appropriate equipment (light/sound)
  • Post-production: transitions; effects; inserts; relation to brief; liaison with client
  • Teamwork: discussion; safety

Language/Points to discuss for Promotional Video Production Unit

1. Codes & Conventions for promotional video production
  • Style: informational; montage; talking heads; Content; form; promo; sales; information
  • Current practice: film; video; equipment; editing; effects; formats; files 
2. Planning promo video 
  • Client liaison: purpose; content; style; budget; audience needs
  • Development: content; style; proposal; scheduling; resources; locations; equipment
  • Health & safety: cabling; lifting; risk assessment; electrical equipment
  • Legal/ethical issues: copyright; permissions; age; gender; race
     3. Be able to produce promo video 
  • Production: techniques; single/multiple camera; sound; location; formats; communicate with client
  • Post-production: log material; edit; rough cut; final edit; transitions; graphics; sound; file type
      4. Be able to reflect on own promo video work 
  • Finished product: technical quality; suitability for purpose; meeting deadline; client feedback; audience feedback;
  • Production skills: technical competence; time management; teamwork
  • Format: presentation; written report 

Music Video: Examples/Inspiration

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Promotional Video Production: Examples/Tips

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Tips from:

What makes a good online video production

A good online video can be broken into 3 components
1/ Video production values
2/ Content, performance, storytelling
3/ Marketing considerations such as call to action and linking

The first 2 are applicable to all online video including information and training video while the third is more relevant to advertising and promotional videos.

Video production values

Most people are familiar with TV and cinema and can easily differentiate a quality and professional production from an amateur one. Apart from conveying professionalism for a brand, business or product, a well produced video helps to make the viewer more engaged and connected. The main components of production values are lighting, sound and editing and without due care given to these, even the highest quality cameras will look amateur.

For a more detailed look at lighting, microphone placement and editing techniques read my post on video production tips.

Until recently there were some essential differences between online video and traditional video production based on bandwidth limitations and the small screen used to display online video. Web video works best with close-ups as wide shots are harder to see on a small screen. Also, video compression used for internet delivery often made a mess of motion in a video. Now, with increasing broadband speeds, better video compression and the ability to watch video in full screen, I tend to place less importance on these considerations and employ more traditional production techniques.
Video content and performance

Obviously, the content in information and training videos is provided by the matter in hand but it is always worth remembering that video’s big forte is in conveying personality, emotion and motivation. Getting bogged down in too much detail and statistics can adversely affect the viewers’ engagement. Often the detail is best left to supplementary written material although the video can provide the key points and motivation to find out more.

People relate to people not numbers and stories are often best told through the eyes of one or several people rather than a large number or statistics. Usually people come across best on video with a healthy mix of professional, informal, authentic, natural, relaxed and personal. It’s usually best to avoid trying to perform or be funny unless you’re a comic actor. Humour often works best inadvertently or through spontaneous situations. The great thing about video is that you can have as many takes as you wish which hopefully will alleviate nerves and pressure though I often find the first take to be the best and most spontaneous. Client testimonials and vox pops at an event are often more effective at relaying the company message than a member of staff.

The content of advertising and promotional videos needs some attention. A 2-3 minute advert, promo video or product demonstration can be highly effective when the viewer already has some knowledge of the brand, company, product or act. If the goal is to spread the brand more widely through the highly effective video marketing methods now available, then the content is best concentrated on more universal appeal. Probably the most obvious type are ‘how to’ videos. There are 35 million youtube searches each month on ‘how to’ videos and a genuinely useful information video loosely related to the brand can be far more appealing to the online audience than a direct sell. I’m currently working on videos for the launch of a restaurant chain involving ‘how to’ videos for a variety of recipes by a celebrity chef. Action, extreme sports and humour are other popular subjects for online viral videos and these can sometimes be incorporated into corporate videos to create a blend of entertainment and promotion.

Video marketing considerations

If the goal is simply to raise brand awareness then a simple ‘how to’ video with a logo or company name at the beginning and end may be sufficient. If the goal is more specific then an effective and quantifiable call to action will be needed. In video sharing sites such as youtube, the call to action needs to be compelling enough to rise above the inherent youtube calls to action such as watch related videos, comment, subscribe, like, share. If you can’t beat the youtube background noise with something like a compelling discount or promotion then simply join them with a call to action such as ‘subscribe to our youtube channel’. This at least gets your foot in the door of your viewers attention and they’ll effectively join your video mailing list and be notified next time you upload a video.

Whatever the call to action, it’s usually most effective when displayed visually and spoken at the same time. URL’s need to be kept simple so people can remember them easily and pass them on in conversation. It may be a good idea to provide a URL specific to the video to be able to track the video’s effectiveness. Eg/ visit www.—– for a %10 discount. The ability to click on part of the video and be taken directly to a given website is provided by some third party companies and will certainly be more so in the coming years.

Finally some thoughts on the optimum length for online videos. For spreading virally, I’d recommend an upper limit of 2 minutes and less if possible. Too short however, and the viewer may be left with no lasting impact.TV news channels often have a maximum lime limit of 90 seconds or so for news stories. For many performance acts and promo videos for businesses I find a length of 3-4 minutes a good balance between watchability and containing a substantial amount of material. For videos with a high entertainment value or compelling story the running time can go much higher and still remain highly engageable. The statistics that youtube has recently included on all videos enable you to see if viewers make it to the end of a video and if not, how far they get before switching off.

Other important considerations include where a video is placed on a web page, whether played directly via an online player or via a link and whether to embed a youtube video or upload it directly on a website. These issues and more are covered in my article ‘how to effectively distribute an online video’.

Saturday, 23 December 2017

'Fight Club': A Freudian Approach

Id: The most primitive drive, concerned only with fulfilling pleasure. Has sometimes been referred to as the irrational and emotional part of the mind. It is often regarded as being selfish, because it’s concerned only with its own self-satisfaction. Babies and young children are often used as examples because they’re usually driven by the pleasure and instant gratification principles. Key word: want

Ego: Based on the reality principle. The ego is capable of understanding that one’s own desires may vary for people around (reality), and is willing to make this consideration. The ego tries to meet the basic needs of the id but also takes into account the real world. The ego understands that actions have effects, whether positive or negative, and tries to balance out thinking before carrying out decisions/actions. Key word: balance

Superego: Based on moral principles instilled by rearing and moral/ethical restraints placed upon by caregivers. The superego encompasses an individual’s ideals, goals, and conscience as well as society’s. The superego is concerned with what other will think, and stands in opposition to the id. The superego acts to perfect and civilize our behavior. Key words: morals, compromise

According to Freud, a healthy individual will have developed a strongest ego to keep the id and superego in check. If the id becomes too strong, impulses and desires may become overwhelming (resulting in a selfish, inconsiderate individual) and affect interpersonal relationships. However, if the superego is too strong, an individual may feel excessive rigid moral constraints that result in judgmental individuals, thus straining interpersonal relationships as well.

Re-posted from: houseofmind.tumblr

Friday, 22 December 2017

Key Terminology to include in Unit 11 Film Studies

In your written work for Unit 11 Film Studies make sure that you use the required terms at all times. The more language you use, the more understanding you will demonstrate.

Jacques Lacan Talks About Psychoanalysis with Panache (1973)

Both psychoanalysis and psychotherapy act only through words. Yet they are in conflict. How so? There we have the question posed to psychoanalyst, psychiatrist, and world-famous public intellectual Jacques Lacan in the video above, a clip from a scripted quasi-interview called Television whose answers play like his famous lectures. Watch it, or watch our previously featured video of Lacan giving a talk, and you’ll experience one quality that made him world-famous. Few others could combine such high-flown subject matter with such theatrically emphatic oratorical ability — an ability you can sense even if you don’t understand French. Fortunately, subtitles have been provided, offering Anglophones a chance to understand what connections the man saw between the unconscious, language, Freud, sexual relations, and comedy.
“There are, insofar as the unconscious is implicated, two sides presented by the structure, the structure which is language,” Lacan begins. “The side of meaning, the first side, the side we would identify as that of analysis, which pours out a flood of meaning to float the sexual boat.” These remarks come pre-written in the script of Television, something between a conversation and a play that grew out of Jacques-Alain Miller’s failed attempt to film a traditional interview of the psychoanalytic luminary. “After every cut, when it was time to start up again, Lacan shifted a bit in his discourse,” Miller wrote in Microscopia: An Introduction to the Reading of Television. “Each time he gave an additional twist to his reflections which were unfolding there, under the spotlights, thwarting any chance of bridge-building. We stopped after two hours; I gave him in writing a list of questions; and he wrote [Television] in about two weeks’ time. I saw him every evening and he gave me the day’s manuscript pages; then he read or acted out — with a few improvised variations — the written text. He made a spring-board of this false start.”

'Fight Club': Psychoanalytical Perspectives

This paper (click on image) will outline and describe the main aspects of psychoanalytical film theory as well as provide relevant examples through Fincher's (1998) adaptation of Chuck Palahniuk's 'Fight Club'.

Issues of spectatorship and identification will be addressed in accordance with the filmic apparatus theory as well through acknowledging Lacanian psychoanalysis as an extension of Freud's original theories.

Thursday, 21 December 2017

Freudian Psychoanalysis