Sexualisation Debate

Miley Cyrus’ ‘Wrecking Ball’ sparked a lot of controversy, amongst other things she has been getting up to in recent times. It has contributed to the ongoing debate as to whether or not sexualisation in music videos is ‘wrong’ or ‘inappropriate’.

Argument for the levels of sexualisation in ‘Wrecking Ball’ being unacceptable:

  • It objectifies women
  • The nudity is unneeded and doesn’t relate to the lyrics
  • Especially considering Miley used to be a Disney star with a young fan-base, she is being an irresponsible, terrible role model 
  • The song is about a break up, and the video may suggest you need to sexually empower yourself to deal with the emotions that follow. Some people however, would call this a destructive way to deal with the situation 
  • The media always showing ‘skinny’ or conventionally ‘attractive’ people is why so many girls (and guys) these days are not happy with their boddies 
  • She may have only been doing it for the controversy and attention it would get ghee 

 

Argument against the levels of sexualisation in ‘Wrecking Ball’ being unacceptable:

  • It is done ‘tastefully’ (there is no actual explicit, or ‘full frontal’ nudity, just strongly implied nudity)
  •  It promotes sexual empowerment, especially in women! There are n o males, just her, showing how she is independent, strong and emotionally/ sexually secure in herself
  • It is her artistic freedom to be able to put what she wants in a music video, be it sexual or not
  • Lots of artists have put far more explicit and inappropriate things in videos, yet she seems to be taking all the criticism
  • It is a tactical business move, and was a effective way to promote her song 

 

In conclusion it is hard to say exactly whether or not the video is right or wrong. I don’t believe there is one answer, as it is all subjective, opinion based, and depends on your point of view. I think there is much worse out there, and ultimately I don’t think the video does any real harm.  

Uses and gratifications/ reception of my tv show

Uses and Gratifications Theory Applied

When creating a media product it s always essential to think carefully about exactly who you target audience is. Of course ideally people outside of your target audience will also watch the show,  but it is good to be aiming it at a certain group. Some products I think are made to try and have as as wide a target audience as possible, but these can end up being weak as everyone enjoys it a bit but nobody enjoys it a lot (in my opinion). A media product should have a firm sense of identity, both in itself and in who it’s made for (again, my thoughts).

 

When it comes to age I think my idea (a spoof-sports discussion show) will be best suited to 16-26 year olds. I think 16 is old enough to understand the conventions of typical sports shows, and therefore find our ‘spoofing’ funny. I think any younger and the essence of our creation won’t be apparent. I then think the top of the range will be about mid-twenties as afterwards people may start to lose that sense of finding more ‘silly’ or comical things as entertaining. Also a spoof-sports show isn’t particularly enlightening or productive, and between 16-26 people have more free time. They may be bored with all this free time so watch more comedies as a form of escapism. After mid twenties though adults tend to be busier and may not really be in the mood for such light hearted gags and bits.

 

I don’t think there is particularly any connection between my idea and socio-economic status. In fact I prefer to stay clear of stereotyping different ‘classes’ anyway for ethical reasons. But if I was going to try and find some sort of possible link, I would say perhaps people at the lower end of the spectrum may not enjoy it as much. This is because to be able to laugh at sports show conventions, you need to not be taking them too seriously. And a possible trend is that lower enders may watch more shows (e.g. match of the day) with at times almost religious conviction. Not to say middle or upper class people don’t, but perhaps not as frequently. And because of this these people might not be able to laugh at such things, which is fair enough as to sporting enthusiasts it may not be a laughing matter. But as I said, there is no need in my mind as to draw socio-economic conclusions at all.     

 

If we accepted the stereotype that males like sport more, then I would say my show would be aimed more at males. However I do not. Then again, in my survey most of the people who said they would consider watching a sports-spoof were male. So based on this and not the stereotype, my show may be more suited to guys.

 

Another thing I noticed on my survey was when asked would you consider watching a sports-spoof show somebody replied ‘yeah I would ‘cuz sports sucks!’. This got me thinking, I remember there were a lot of people back in school who didn’t like sort or P.E., either because they were bad at it or it just wasn’t their thing. Sport was seen as a fairly ‘cool’ thing to be into, and maybe even those that weren’t into it were deemed ‘less cool’. This obviously wouldn’t be a pleasant experience. That is when I thought that maybe my show could be a sort of outlet for that built up contempt at sport or sporty people. In a not particularly offensive way, people who didn’t have a good experience with sport at any point in their lives could come together and moc the conventions and expectations we see today. The comedians used on my show would in no way need to know anything particularly about sport, or even like it. So this could create a ‘sense of belonging’ which comes under the Integration and Social Interaction section of the Uses and Gratifications Theory. All these anti-sport people can come together, and feel at home laughing at sport experts or athletes.

 

Other uses for my show I think will come under entertainment. People will watch it when bored, as I have said which happens a lot to the age I am aiming my show at. (They may also use it to procrastinate when really they should be doing their media work, but hey that’s up to them). They will use it to relax, and as it will be so light hearted and funny, it will be good to relax to. The age group may need to relax as they may be stressed from exams or just generally facing the anxieties of being lost/ in love/ late teen/ early twenties. A confusing and wonderful time for everyone. As well they may get intrinsic cultural enjoyment, as the show will remain up to date and topical. It will sometimes talk about genuine sporting events or players, and make jokes about them. There will be a sense of national piss-taking, (e.g. laughing at how ugly Englands football team is, or about how we always lose at cricket to Australia etc.).

 

Reception Theory

The purpose of my television show is to entertain, and to highlight conventions in sport or sports shows that people tend to just accept without questing or even noticing. But mostly it is just to make people laugh, and give some comedians a chance to come and be funny while on the topic of sport. Comedy can be interpolated into almost anything, and I think it should be. The show is also a chance to generally discuss sport but on less of a serious note than regular sports shows, and in less detail.  

I think my show will be interpreted quite quickly by people as the point of the show will be obvious almost as soon as you start to watch it. I think most people will have a preferred reading, as even though it does make fun of the sporting world, it wouldn’t ever be offensive to anyone. (Unless we get Frankie Boyle on the show.)  Despite this, I think some sport enthusiasts and fanatics will not appreciate taking sport anything other than seriously. These people will have an oppositional reading. They may also have a problem with the fact that it won’t be experts but comedians, who may frequently get things wrong about a certain sport or league etc. That will leave a few people who are kind of in between, who perhaps appreciate what we are doing although don’t really agree with it. There may also be people who are fine with the show morally but just don’t find it hugely funny. These will be negotiated readings. When we construct the show we will keep in mind that we want as many peple to have preferred readings as possible.  

TV Studio Audience Research (And a little Market research too)

To give myself a clear target market to aim my show at, I have done both primary and secondary research. It is critical to generate an idea in your head of your audience, as at the end of the day you need to decide things based on what they will appreciate. Doing this will ensure both that they enjoy the show and also that they come back to watch it again in the future. My resources were fairly limited, compared to say that of a production or broadcasting company. The invest huge amounts of money and resources into audience research. In this day and age though it has never been as easy to do on mass. My idea is a sports-spoof show, so I needed to know about attitudes to comedy and sport shows and how many people watch them. 

 

For my primary research I created a survey on ‘surveymonkey.com’. I had ten questions, and ten responses, giving me a hundred questions answered in total. This should give me a neat little insight into some consumer attitudes and trends. Out of the ten people, only one did not fit into either the 0-17 or 18-24 age group. This was useful as my show will primarily be targeting young adult audiences. None of them selected that they don’t watch TV shows, with the majority putting that they watch shows daily. This was interesting to see, as it suggests that younger people do tend to watch a lot of Television. It is therefore fortunate I am aiming my show at them.

In response to me asking what their favourite genres were, the majority said comedy. As my show is a spoof it will be a type of comedy, and there will be a real focus on the comedic elements. I was pleased when I saw this result. I then asked what their hobbies were. I got quite a mixture of responses, and a fair few creative hobbies like photography. I did also notice, that 4 out of the ten of them put either a sport or going to the gym as one of their interests. I would not have expected this to have been so high (perhaps because of the stereotype of the age group in question being lazy). Almost half were into some sort of physical activity. This could be a valuable asset considering my show is sport themed. When combining this info with the fact that the majority of them like comedy television, it is looking like my sports spoof should be rather popular.

Other things I asked them were where they were employed; their gender; their current favourite TV show; how they watch TV shows; whether they ever watched sports shows; and whether or not they would consider watching a sports spoof show. The majority of people said they never watched sports shows. 4 out of ten said they would consider watching a sports spoof show. That isn’t quite half but I was still fairly pleased with that. Sometimes ideas don’t seem hugely appealing but if you catch some of the show they’d see that really it is very funny. Hopefully anyway. I also noticed that three quarters of the people who said they would watch a sports-spoof were male. Now granted it is a fairly small proportion, but this could still suggest that more males may be interested. This would align to the stereotype that males on the whole are more interested in sport (or though I don’t see their being any real backbone to this theory). 

 

For my secondary research I looked at a few different places on the internet for information. I could not find any popular sports-spoof shows, as I don’t think there are many out there. I felt this meant there is a gap in the market for such a show. The is a sports based comedy panel show called ‘A League of Their Own’. I thought this would be a good place to start. On Facebook I found that over 116,000 people had ‘Liked’ it. I saw only 530 people were ‘talking about it’ however. So There wasn’t a particularly big amount of current activity. To get some perspective and a comparison I looked at popular-music themed comedy panel-show ‘Never Mind The Buzzcocks’. This show had over double as many likes, and 12 times as many people were talking about it. I checked ‘Mock the Week’, a politically  themed comedy panel-show. I knew ‘Mock the Week’ was very popular. Over two million people had liked it. So for some reason ALOTO wasn’t as popular as these other shows. Hopefully it won’t be because it is sports themed. My theory is that it is because it is on Sky so only people who pay for the subscription can watch it, limiting it’s market. Learning from this, I would hope to go in with the BBC (or failing that Channel 4) if I was to actually make my show professionally.

I searched YouTube for ALOTO. The most popular result was a ‘best moments’ video. It only had 15,000 views, and didn’t have any comments which was a shame as I wanted to analyse some to see what fans were saying about the show. There was a DVD on Amazon, a ‘best and unseen moments’. It only had nine reviews, all 5 star! When looking at what people had wrote I kept seeing ‘very funny, lot’s of laughs!’ and other similar comments. It seemed a lot of people had bought this DVD for a relative who liked either the show or sport generally. It was all positive things which was good, and they must have been fairly dedicated fans as their was a £20+ price tag on this DVD.  

I then looked on BARB, at the top 30 highest ranking shows on a number of popular channels. As expected, there were no sports-spoof shows. Just to get an idea though I looked at how many sports shows were on there. ‘Rugby Six Nations’ got nearly 6 million views. ‘Final Score’ got 1.6 million. ‘Splash!’ on ITV got 3.5 million, this is a show featuring celebrities trying to master diving, and there are comedy elements too. ‘The Jump’, following winter sports took places 4,5,6, and 7 on Channel 4 (different versions of the show). This surge in popularity is almost certainly because of the winter Olympics just starting. None of Channel 5′s top 30 shows were sports themed.

All in all I think I got a lot of insight both through my primary and secondary research. I have seen there is no one popular sports-spoof show dominating the market, and so there is room for mine. I have seen that a fair few people in the age category I am aiming at say they would be interested in a show like mine. I have also seen that regular sports shows are hugely popular, with multiple ones getting millions of views a week. I can use all of these findings when constructing and developing my idea.          

 

 

 

 

 

Some selected audience research from the Glossary

Qualitative: Qualitative data is data measured by the quality of something, rather than by a number or definitive multiple choice answer. Qualitative data is subjective and opinion based, and is often more detailed. It can be harder to analyse as it is usually impractical or impossible to create graphs to find trends. Questions aimed at retrieving qualitative responses are usually open ended. For example ‘How effective did you find the use of cinematography in the film’? The answers to these questions will usually be written out as a very mini-essay, outlining the respondents views on the matter. You can obtain qualitative audience research through things like focus groups, or by looking at reviews for media products. A specific example could be reviews for a box set on Amazon.  

Quantitative: Quantitative data is measurable or ‘quantifiable’. It either is a number or can be given number value. It is effective to collect quantitative data on mass, and useful for analysation. You can make graphs or charts with quantitative data. The questions you ask to retrieve quantitative data are closed-ended. Often they will be multiple choice, and if not they will require a number or one-worded answer. Sometimes when the range of answers could be very wide, the answers will be put into small groups with spaced boundaries. For example: ‘How much time do you spend on YouTube a week?’ and then the answers will be ‘0-9 mins, 10-24 mins, 25-50 mins, 51-100 mins, 101 mins+’. Companies could use social media websites like Facebook to collect quantitative data. (For example, looking at which films get the most ‘likes’). Surveys are also a cheap and efficient way of collecting quantitative data on mass.   

 

Audience classifications

Socio-economic: Someone socio-economic status means is their current financial situation. They are used to describe, measure and classify people of different ‘social grade’ and income and earnings levels often for market research. Some people argue there are links between a persons socio-economic status and lifestyle/ cultural trend/ attitudes/ behaviour etc, however it can be difficult (and at times, arguably, unjust) to fing concrete links between these things and someone’s financial situation or background. There is a commonly used and known table of classifications, where someone is put into either an A, B, C1, C2, D or E category, going from ‘richest’ to ‘poorest’ in that same order. It was devised by the NRS (national readership survey). It can be important for marketers/ companies/ producers to know an audiences socio-economic status, as those with no spare or dispensable cash aren’t going to be as worth trying to sell to. (There are always uses for each class and ways around a lack of cash but it is still helpful to know what grade of quality and expense you should be selling to who).        

Psychographics: Psychographics relate to the opinions and attitude of people, either towards a given subject or generally. Amidst these are also peoples lifestyles and choices, as well as interests and ideologies. Psychographics are very important in media, the way someone views the world may help form what kind of things they enjoy or want to consume. People may disagree with the message or theme of something based on ethical, moral or political reasons. Pschographics may be more changeable and inconsistent than other categories like demographics. Especially in modern times as people are tending to conform less, be more individual and this transfers into media as people consuming what thy may not be expected to based on their profile etc.     

demographics: Demographics means statistical data relating to a population and/or  specific groups within it. This can involve things like age, gender, sexuality etc. These things are often taken as an average. Demographics will make up part an audience profile.

mainstream: Mainstream means the ideas, attitudes and ideas that are seen as normal (or perhaps conventional). The mainstream of anything is by default the most popular, as that is practically what mainstream is: the majority, the bulk, the mass of minds. To be part of the mainstream will tend to mean you don’t stand out, your opinions are popular. Hollywood loves the mainstream market: it’s where the people are and the people are the money.

 

alternative: alternative contrasts mainstream, it is not the most popular thing. It is in some way ‘different’. Sometimes it isn’t quite as accessible to the majority of people (see radiohead). However alternative doesn’t mean unpopular, by along shot. It should not be confused with ‘indie’ which is usually more unpopular, and often more abstract or ‘out there’ in some way. Alternative is often the second most popular: it isn’t the mainstream big seller, but it quite possibly could be the next biggest thing. It generally entails some ideas or content that isn’t so straightforward or accepted on mass.

niche: Niche, or a ‘niche market’, means a small but clearly defined group of people who have wants (or needs) which others don’t. If a TV series is aimed at a niche market, it will have a small but dedicated fan-base. Not many people will fit into the right ‘category’ to enjoy it, but those who do will usually really appreciate that their small number is being catered for. Niche markets are often what lead to ‘cult followings’. Things made for niche markets often could be ‘indie’ (in the sense of the word that is linked to genre rather than meaning independently made/ owned which strictly speaking is what it actually means). However these niche, indie things often get more popular as the years go by, then arrive at being alternative rather than indie. Then  they got so damn popular they finish as mainstream! Crazy.

MultiCam Proposal

When my group was trying to come up with an idea for our multi-cam production, we seemed to gravitate towards some sort of spoof. We liked ‘spoof’s’, as they very clearly highlight the conventions of something, and then laugh at them while doing so. It (hopefully, of course) will result in a product we find entertaining and funny to watch back. We did think though however, often purposefully attempting to be funny is often a bad idea and leads in no way to the creation of a funny product. That, however, is when we remembered we had agreed to film a primary school football tournament. And with that we came up with the idea to do a ‘Match of the Day’ style sport talk-show. We would be discussing the matches and footage we get, as if it were a genuine professional tournament. This contrasted with the seven and eight year olds running about, we thought would look quite funny. However, we wouldn’t be trying to be funny we would be trying to be a professional and conventional as possible. The harder we try and be serious, the funnier it shall be. A wonderful paradox.

So the conventions and set up of course we can nick straight from ‘MOTD’. They present the show in a neat, professional-looking way and hopefully we can do the same. We will need to set up a green screen that we can use to show clips from the matches. Other than that, one or two sofas/ chairs shall be needed. We will plan out a rough script but in part make up the commentary as we go along, to give it that genuine, fresh, live sort of feel. We can make sure we familiarise ourselves with the jargon that comes associated with football. We will try and do the show in one live take, but a few re shoots and a bit of editing may well come in handy.       

Corporate and Viral Video Report

Throughout this report I will look at promotional and viral videos. It shall be both  market and product research and an analysis, providing what should be a detailed overview. To achieve this I will examine the production process and its constraints, the need and use of promotional videos, and examples of existing promotional videos, on both a professional and  amateur level. Both the clients needs and the restraints of the creators must always be considered and addressed. Promotional videos are made and watched by a huge variety of people, corporations and institutions. They come in many different forms, are created for different purposes and are made and distributed in a wide variety of ways. They have proven hugely successful in many different industries. Thier success has expanded and surged tremendously since the internet was introduced.  

 

(Task 1)

As I have said, there are different forms of promotional and corporate video. One form is what’s called a ‘promo’. This involves promoting an institution or corporation, often as a whole (as opposed to say one particular product or service). I will soon be making a promo for Bridgwater college. I will have to pitch my idea to the marketing department and stay in close contact with them throughout the filmmaking process. Colleges and Universities are prime examples of institutions that make use of promos. When looking at colleges and universities you will no longer often find one that doesn’t have at least one promo either on their site or on the institutions YouTube channel. There are clear trends and conventions for these videos. They always have professional look and feel to them (high production value). This will be because the college or uni wants to show itself to be of a high standard, professional, and even dynamic, all of which can be represented in a video. The videos always seem to have shots of the buildings themselves; shots of students at work; and students talking to the camera about how much they are enjoying their course(s). However, as every educational institution (after school level) seems to have a video like this, they may become unnoticed, as the vast majority don’t stand out from the rest. Because of this their value and even necessity could be debatable. Some people may feel the videos should be more creative. Student-made videos seem often to have less production value and a less professional feel, but have more creative ambition and scope.

 

Another type of promotional video, are music videos. Music videos use the song for audio, and usually contain no or very little of their own. They are usually just visual. They are used to get more attention for the song and the artist. They also mean songs can be played on TV on music channels. Without them people would just be watching a blank screen, so they enable people to watch as well as listen to the artists work (people can enjoy music on a new medium). Music videos have less straightforward conventions than say a promo, as music itself is more free, creative and expressive, so the videos reflect this. What is featured in music video could be absolutely anything. Having said that, there are some shots and forms that often recur. (E.g. shots of the main singer lip-syncing, shots of the band performing either on stage or in a recording studio, shots of the crowd dancing and so on.)

 

As I have said there are many other types of promotional videos, these include adverts, training videos and tutorials, information, expositories, public statements amongst others. All of them have some of their own traits and common practices. In a general sense however they mostly all follow a similar production process.  

 

First off, the client will get in touch with the video production agency (or possibly vice versa). They will tell the agency/ agent exactly what it is they want made. They will explain to them things they should and shouldn’t include. (In my case, the Bridgwater college marketing team explained how they want their video to be ‘quirky’ and even ‘edgy’, but not to show the college in a bad light in any way.) They will also give them any other info such as how long they have to create the video and preferred locations, props amongst others. The next stage is for the agency is then to go away and come up with at least one idea they think will fit the criteria and please the client. They must formulate this idea into a proposal. The proposal should sum up the idea be concise. They then have to prepare and give their pitch. After being pitched to the client will decide whether they like the idea(s) or not. They may like some parts of the idea but want to make some alterations.

 

When they have agreed on a final idea, it is time to sort out all the pre-production. They need to script and storyboard the idea (they may have already done this to use in their pitch). They need to gather actors and any actors or additional specialists they need (camera operators, runners, editors etc.). They need a production schedule that fits in the time they have been given by the client. Throughout this and all processes they must liaise with the client, to make sure they  are happy and content with the progress made. Eventually the schedule will start, and the production stage can begin. The footage is recorded. Finally it is time for post-production. This involves a number of things, predominantly editing. The footage must be compiled and cut down for maximum impact. Any sound, special effects, credits etc must be added. The client may want to see it then ask for it to be edited slightly differently, or some footage be cut. Finally when the video is finished completely, it just needs promoting. It will be uploaded to one or more websites, and promotional ads will often be sent out to social media or other popular websites.  

 

(Task 2)

When making corporate videos, there are many legal and ethical issues that the creators must be aware of. Rules and laws can change and become updated quite continuously, so anyone wishing to make a corporate video must make sure they are up to date with current legislature.

 

One example of a legal issue is the issue of copyright. This involves not using any copyrighted material without explicit permission from the owner and/ or creator. This could be any kind of media, music, sounds, slogans, names, (even fonts) etc. Not following conventions on copyright can issue in you having to ‘take down’ your video, fines and even a prison sentence! The creators of corporate video must be extra careful as even things in the background (or things included in shots unintentionally) can be liable to a copyright persecution. If there is media that creators wish to include they must get in contact with the person or company that own the rights to it. In some cases the people will simply allow their material to be used, in others however, the owners will want money or a stake in the profit for the use of their content. If this is the case, the people creating the corporate video must decide whether the media is worth paying for. If not they will have to remove it from their video or find a suitable replacement.

 

Privacy can be both a legal and ethical issue. Most people would think that filming someone unaware or without their permission is wrong. If a corporation were to release a video that included people been filmed without permission, it would reflect badly on the company. Most companies these days take ethics seriously and want to be seen as ‘moral’. That being said, it is not illegal to film someone in public, even without permission. (Filming someone repeatedly after they have asked you not to could be classed as harassment, but just filming people publicly is legal in the UK). Also there is the Right of publicity – also called “personality rights”, this is the right to control how your image is used for any purpose. (I.e., to keep one’s image and likeness from being commercially exploited without permission or contractual compensation.) Filming someone in a private place on the other hand is always strictly illegal, and anyone that does so may get into trouble with the law. This would also been seen as an even more unethical thing for a corporation to endorse. This is certainly an critical issue to bear in mind.

 

Another legal issue is libel. Libel means to publish or broadcast an untruth about someone which could be damaging to him or her (or his or her reputation). This is a serious issue, and something that must be considered if any particular individuals (often and especially high-profile individuals) are to be mentioned or portrayed in a corporate video. Even if what is said is ‘clearly’ meant to be humorous, or the makers of the video though their content was in ‘good taste’, they may well still be liable to libel claims and prosecution.

 

Another issue that needs to be considered, for both legal and ethical reasons, is representation. This means how you represent any ‘group’ of people. People can be ‘grouped’ in terms of ethnicity, religion, physical and mental ability, age, gender, sexuality and many others. It is important not to portray any of these groups in a distasteful way or in a bad light. This is called being ‘politically correct’. The general Great British public (on the whole) are very scornful and usually rather shocked when any corporation (even if by accident) releases content which is seen as discriminatory or stereotypical. With stereotyping, people should tread even more carefully, as stereotypes are often subjective, opinion driven, and not always known to everyone. Getting into disputes over discrimination and stereotyping can be heated, and sometimes ambiguous. If the negative representation was particularly severe, you could face legal action and be taken to court. You may simply be asked to remove your video from the site you uploaded it to, but this means all the money and time spent on making the video was a complete waste. The aim should be to portray everyone equally, and avoid stereotypes as best as one can.        

 

(Task 3 and 4)

Here is a link to a video college students made last year: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mUjOXAztxUY

It is called ‘something different’, they made it to try and go viral. It is designed to be funny, and to parody the traditional college promotional video. The first few shots are ones of the college, or students walking along, gently panning to the side. Slow music is playing to ‘set the scene’. There is then a shot of a student with a mic being pushed into his face. From this moment on the audience now know for certain that this is a parody. These sort of things happen throughout the video, turning the idea of corporate professionalism on its head. A harsh, condescending voice asks, ‘what’s different about Bridgwater College?’ The student pulls a moronic face and simply goes ‘ummmmm’. Someone then shout’s ‘SCIENCE!’ as the word flashes up on-screen. There is a shot of two students in lab coats standing by a model skeleton. They raise their hands in the air and shout ‘science’ themselves. Then the camera falls to one side as two fireballs explode onto the screen. This is ‘random’, silly and funny. It is also exciting. It genuinely engages the audience. Next someone says ‘maths’ in an odd accent and again the word flashes up. A student stands by a whiteboard and points as he says, ‘this and this equals this!’. On the last ‘this’ the shot changes to a zooming close-up of a cat, and a meow sound is heard. Each of these subjects are only taking about 3 or 4 seconds of video to ‘show’, meaning the video is cut quickly. This gives it a lot of energy to it, and it can keep the audience engaged all the way through. Next is English, it shows a student reading a book, suddenly a foot comes out of the book and kicks him right in the face. Anyone ff a school-leavers age will find this hilarious. The following subject is IT (for each section the word still flashes up as someone says it in the weird, comical voice). We see a student sat in a darkened room, doing what appears to be computer programming. The text is green on a black screen, this could be some kind of reference to the matrix? Pop-culture references always please an audience. The student exclaims ‘Hah finally!’, we then get a clip on the screen of My Little Pony. The seeming initial seriousness of the scene sets up the comical realisation, that what he’s actually doing is simply accessing a kids TV show, this again works well and will be funny to the target audience. Next is mechanics, a student by a car waves his arms and the car turns to a skeleton (as in no body kit, or wheels etc, just a chassis and frame). This one is only two or three seconds, demonstrating scenes in these sorts of videos can be effective when they’re short and punchy. Next is beauty, a female student says ‘make me look beautiful!’. Text then pops up that reads ‘one beautiful later’, then it cuts to her covered in green and boils, she merrily concludes ‘I’m an abomination’. Music shows a college band playing on a stage, it then zooms over to the right (pans), where we see just one or two students, one of which is slowly clapping. This 180 degree pan is accompanied by a ‘whoosh’ sound effect. This furthers the impression that this is actually an ‘anti-video’. The video, which surely is trying to promote the college, is showing things as not going well, or even as disasters. However it may make it stand out more for this very reason. In ‘drama’, we see a student, a hand comes out (from about where the camera would be), and slaps him across the face. He ie then has blood from his nose down his face, and mundanely says to the camera ‘I’m sad now’. This comedic violence (the blood especially) is pretty surprising for a video that the college itself has uploaded to its own YouTube channel. Maybe this generates more interest and appeal, or maybe this reflects badly? It is for the individual to decide. Media came next, and the shots shows us some zombies walking towards the camera. The film has an old grainy filter on it and there is a black border at the top and bottom of the screen, gentle eerie music plays. A student walks into the foreground of the shot from the left, looks at the zombies, then turns to the camera and says ‘really?’ in an unimpressed manor. Immediately after he says that, an electronic woosh is heard (as if something had been turned off), the borders disappear, the music stops, and the filter turns itself off! What’s left is just some people that look like zombies stumbling around, which seems a lot less impressive now. This is a very clever idea, it reveals the seams of the way video can be edited and manipulated for effect, again turning something on its head, and again not portraying the college as impressive of accomplished. The final subject is art, it shows a college girl doing a painting. It then cuts to a shot from behind her, so we can see the only thing on her paper is a stickman, This is meant to be funny to the audience. It now returns to the boy from the start, shouting continuously, I think it is meant to be because he realizes there’s nothing good or conventionally good to say about the college, however it isn’t actually that clear.                                  

This video, of course, is meant to be funny. It isn’t particularly straightforward to analyse comedy videos, as different things are funny to different people. My personal opinion on the video was that it was funny in parts, and had a good energy to it. The video currently has just over 2000 views. It is the fifth most popular video ever uploaded by Bridgwater College. 2000 is a respectable boundary to cross, but all in all, it cannot be said that it went viral. Of course ‘viral’ does not just refer to a videos view count. It is more than that, it is the frantic sharing of (and communication about) a video over social media sites, other websites and possibly email, direct messages and text. But if a video does go viral in this way then a resulting factor will be that it has a high view count.

 

According to an essay on Viral Videos at Elon University (in which they took the top 20 most popular YouTube videos of all time, and analysed them for patterns) they found the majority of the most popular videos had titles that were three words or less, and had run times of less than three minutes. ‘Something Different’ complies with both of these trends. The essay concluded that people are drawn to media online that can be quickly and easily digested. I thought the fast pace editing of Something Different would make the consumption of it easy and passive for the audience, all the while being enjoyable.

 

So maybe even though this video did things right, it just didn’t do them well enough. In the comments you can see some people criticise it for being too alike to the content of successful viral YouTube vid maker ‘Tomska’. SO perhaps originality (or a lack of it) was the issue.

 

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

 

         

 

Task 2,3 and 4 of the glossary! -Laurie

TASK 2

 

There are certain ways a product is created to address an audience. This ensures the product will be appreciated and popular. The selection of content is critical, it is the thing the audience pay money for, the meat.

 

colours: The colours of a product are important, as it could be the very first thing that draws someone in. A magazine article, front cover, or movie poster must get people to turn their heads and notice it. This however, doesn’t necessarily mean bright colours or oldly used colours. ‘Deep’, ‘depressed’ teens will appreciate dark things, you must know your market.

 

images: Images tie in with colour, they may well be the thing that draws people in, to take notice and possibly read further. A well placed image can be very helpful. They need to be appropriate to your product, and appeal to your audience.

 

words: A choice of words must reflect the reading/ intellectual levels of your audience. For titles and tag lines etc. they may need to be powerful or punchy. Words are almost always needed in some shape or form.

 

The codes and conventions are often what shows exactly who a product is for. Audiences will see things they feel familiar with, possibly without even realising and be drawn in because of it.

 

technical:  Technical codes relate to th construction of media. Sometimes things can be aimed at people with a love for a specific medium. For example, some films are shot very masterfully, and so are technically pleasing. THis would appeal to lovers of film itself, as they understand deeply the language of cinema and the technical wonders that had to be worked to achieve whatever it is. There is always a risk that a product could be so technical it could miss out on some of the mainstream market.

 

symbolic: Symbolic codes show what is beneath the surface of what we see/ hear/ read. So for example a character’s actions may show what he is feeling or thinking. The symbolic codes are the meaning and messages behind what you create (with technical codes).

 

The construction of content needs to address the audience. When making content, you are making it for that audience, so they should be kept in mind every step of the way.

 

anchorage: Anchorage means creating meaning for pictures, text, etc by attaching them to other pictures, text, etc. For example, a picture used for an advert may be interpreted in different ways, but if it anchored  with a slogan or a few emotive words producers can control the effect and connotation it will give.

 

layout: the layout of a media product is key as producers will want to make it appeal to their chosen market. The levels of formality and clarity will depend achordingly.

 

narrative: narrative means how a sequence of events are put together (forming the plot) to put before an audience. Narrative incorporates a lot, amongst which are things like pacing. THe narrative must be constructed to best suit and entertain your audience. If it is not they won’t be your audience for long.

The Dark Knight   

The Dark Knight is part of the batman reboot trilogy that Christopher Nolan directed. A helpful way to start working out what kind of an audience a film is designed for, is to look at the age rating. The Dark Knight was a 12A, meaning effectively people of any age can watch it. Producers if they can will usually try and keep the age rating down, so as many people can go and see it at the cinema as possible. The fact that it is so action packed could mean that it was aimed more at males, as stereotypically they like action films more (this may no longer be true, times are changing…). I think also that the film was made and marketed to be very dark and more ‘solid’ than say the previous Batman films. This meant more of an appeal to older audiences. There is considerably more ‘talking bits’ than a lot of action films, which in some peoples opinion weighs up the action, and makes the experience more worth-while. So possibly, it won’t only appeal to an older audience but a more intellectual one. THe type of person that may see Die Hard as ‘below’ them. It also appeals to a ‘nerdy’ audience, fans of the comics and superheroes in general. But ultimately, like most things, there attempts to be ‘something in it for everyone’, that way maximum profit ensues.

 

Empire (Magazine)     

Empire is a movie magazine, so we can immediately say it will be aimed at ‘movie-buffs’, or at least people who like and watch films. It will be of no use to anyone else.  The mag seems to slightly favour action or adventure films, big new and exciting things. It may again be slightly aimed more at males. Looking back through front covers of old editions, you may notice the ones with a female on  often have her in a seductive pose of some sort. Each edition is over £4, not particularly cheap, so perhaps aimed more at people with a bit of disposable income. Young people for example. This may be confirmed by their choice of films to do the ‘big stories’ on. They definitely favour big Hollywood blockbusters, so from that we may conclude their audience is going to be ‘mainstreamers’. So putting all this together we come up with a mini profile: 17-30 year old male mainstreamers with some disposable income. Looking at the ads, I think this is a pretty accurate account, they advertise things like gaming PCs and Lynx shower gel.      

TASK 3

Audience Effects Theories

passive and active consumption: These two are ways of consuming media. Passive means you simply sit there and take it in. Active means you are thinking about it, evaluating it, being involved or interacting in some way. Whether a person or people consume media passively or actively is never usually black and white and there are debates about it. Many people feel that media is consumed now more actively than ever before, because with technological advancements and changing attitudes we are now more interactive with the media. This could be to do with things like review sites (where anyone can post their own especially), discussions online about media products, fanfiction, fan-theories (see Sherlock), cosplay, the internet (for example choosing which links to click on a news site rather than reading the front age as in the ‘old days’) etc.

 

hypodermic needle model: This is a theory that the media directly affects us. A message is put out, and we absorb it and accept it. It is kind of like passive consumption at the ultimate level. It is named as it is to suggest media is like being given an injection, people react achordingly to whatever chemical is in the syringe. This theory, if taken seriously, is immensely flawed. It completely ignores interpretation, the subjective way one individual may see something differently to another. In the hypodermic needle model there are no subtleties, no possible diversity of affects any media can have on people. It is almost as if we were robots with the exact same programming within us. However, some say no academic ever actually believed this theory, it was created to quash the research of media effects and audience effects theories. It was created almost for arguments sake.

 

uses and gratifications theory: This theory centre on the audience rather than the media itself, and breaks down exactly why people consume or need media. It looks at the individual, and shows what someone can use media for. This theory is contradictory to the hypodermic needle model which states that media is consumed passively.

 

Effects Debates

exposure to explicit (sexual or violent) content: This is one of the biggest and longest lasting media debates of them all! You certainly don’t need to be an expert, or even work in media to have opinions on this subject. People are always complaining or arguing about whether (usually kids)are exposed to too much in this day and age. This debate incorporates the ‘watershed’, and what time things should be allowed to be shown on television. It also involves the news, some saying more should be allowed to be shown on the news because it’s real and all people should know what’s happening in the world.    

 

censorship: There are lots of debates about censorship. A lot of it comes down to whether the government or a government body should regulate or have any control over what the media expresses and creates. There are lots of sides to it. Some say the media should be completely free, both artistically and in the sense that it can expose anything it finds out etc. Some people think children need to be protected and thought of (linking to the exposure of explicit content debate) so they say the media should be regulated for harmful or inappropriate content. These debates are quite topical, especially in the recent light of Edward Snowden and all the NSA files he has leaked!

effects of advertising: There are various reasons why certain individuals can be anti-advertising, or just have a problem with a specific part of it. Some psychologists believe we are ‘subliminally stimulated’, that is to be swayed one way or another subconsciously. This seems to some to have a dishonest, sneaky air to it. It could even bring into question whether or not we have free will. So subliminal messages is one possible negative aspect. Another, quite, simply, is that the huge volumes of advertising pumped into us all the time has led, and is further leading, to a consumerist society. A big fat, greedy, unhappy, uncontent, materialistic, capitalist, destructive (to the environment and to every aspect of our health), economically unfair and unstable society, that is totally controlled by corporations that were initially built to serve us. But that’s just one argument. Another is that adverts can create an image (for example, of women) that people feel they need to fit in with. This may not be exclusive to advertising though. Some people say though, that we don’t consume media so passively and that these ‘subliminal messages’ are not a problem as we are more active consumers nowadays.

 

Responses

preferred: this is when an audience member agrees with the message behind a media product. The person/ people ‘decode’ the message the producers have put in their product, and at least broadly, they comply.  

 

negotiated: This is where the audience (using pre-existing views, opinions or information) accepts, rejects, and refines different parts of the message. They may break it down more than someone who has a preferred response. They then, in light of opposition to the message generate a mixed response.        

 

oppositional: This is where, once the message has been deciphered, it is rejected. It does however mean the dominant message has been ‘decoded’ or understood, but for ideological, cultural or political reasons they don’t agree. They oppose  the views in question.

 

   

            

TASK 4

         

 

 

  

 

 

Firefly was a Sci-Fi/ Space-Western Drama television series that only ran for one season from 2002-03. The show follows a small renegade crew aboard a small space shuttle (Serenity, firefly class), as the journey across the galaxy, making money anyway possible, and generally finding themselves in dangerous or precarious situations, that tended to end it a show-down of some kind.

Firefly’s genre is interesting to look at, as it is a hybrid of two. The technical term is ‘space-western’. It combines elements from both the sci-fi and western genre. As I have said, it is set in a galaxy of planets inhabited (sometimes terraformed) by people. Though there are no aliens, there is lots of space travel, and various high-tech, futuristic gadgetry (for example, their guns shoot lasers). The sci-fi elements are more immediately apparent than the Western ones. It’s set in space, so people know right from the word go to expect sci-fi conventions. What is clever about this series, is that in Firefly’s ‘universe’, the central planets are all posh and high-tech, but the outer planets are often deprived and use a lot of basic things that would be considered low-tech (or obsolete) even by todays standards. This is what allows the western elements to come into play. Many of these outer planets use things like horses (or horse and cart), and some people live in cabins and the buildings generally look like the ones you would find in a western. The landscapes all have that familiar empty light-brownish surface that tends to immediately give you the ‘wild west’ vibe. There are stables, and barns, and despite the fact that peoples guns shoot lasers, they still look like old revolvers that traditional cowboys would have used.

It is also key to point out that the culture of the people in the Firefly universe is not just a combination of modern day technological materialism and wild-western deprivation, but also takes influence from oriental and Eastern places. Things like drinking green tea, and you notice quickly that everyone swears in Chinese. In the back-story of Firefly, this is because towards the end of life on planet Earth (before we used up all the non-renewable resources) China and the USA became the world powers, even more than they already are today. They are the ones that led the people off of the Earth and into space. That is why the main cultures to go forth were Americanism and Oriental.    

So there are lots of visual elements to both the sci-fi and western sides of Firefly. The western elements may go even deeper, however, than just iconography. The Captain of the ship, and what is probably thought of as the main character, Malcolm Reynolds, could be said to be quite a typical mysterious cowboy outlaw. It was even revealed he was brought up on a ranch!  Firefly has been called a ‘deliberate echo’ of post-Civil War America. Just before when Firefly is set, there was a great war in the Firefly universe, between the central ‘allegiance’ and the ‘independent army’ (or the ‘Brown-coats’). Mal fought on the side of the brown-coats, the losing side. This is another typical convention of Westerns, only it would be that the cowboy fought on the losing side in the Civil War. What the crew get up to is certainly western-themed. There is a train heist at one point, which involves someone being lowered down onto the train by the space-ship. This scene perfectly demonstrated the marriage between the two genres, there is nothing more sci-fi than a spaceship, and nothing that screams western quite like a train heist. Finally there are many ‘showdowns’ (also called duels, or mexican stand-offs). One of the biggest Western conventions, they come with particular over the shoulder and low-down shots, making them hit the nail exactly on the head.

Firefly is certainly episodic, meaning every episode is a complete story in itself. This means that the pace is consistently quite fast, as so that a full story can be told in each episode. There are some ongoing and overarching storylines, but these are usually specific to a character. The character exposition, and progression are things I think the show did fantastically well on. The first (and only) series was lengthy enough to reveal the surprising depth and the personal journey each character was on, in a bold and exquisitely detailed way. If only a follow up series were to have been made we may have seen just how much depth there truly was to these characters. Thankfully, a film was made to conclude the story.

Representation in firefly is interesting to look at as there are a fair number of ‘main characters’, that is the crew that boards Serenity. If we look at the representation of men and women, we can see initially the chief role, the Captain is a man. Mal is heroic and strong, a fairly traditional role for men in the media (and something some have complained about). However, the rest of the crew may not be so in keeping with such outdated personas. Zoe is second in command, and Mals most loyal and trusted member of the crew. She is fierce and e an excellent shot,Mal often bringing just her along for missions, negotiations etc. She is sharp minded and remains calm in situations more than any other crew member. She seems practically fearless. The other gun nut is called Jayne,and despite his cold, trigger happy nature he is a lot less sure of himself than Zoe. This is a slight role reversal. It applies again when looking at Zoe’s husband ‘Wash’. He is the ship’s pilot, and some-what of a coward. This is humorous because of the contrast with his own wife. The ships mechanic is Kaylee. This may traditionally be seen as a mans job. Summer was smuggled onto the ship, and is fleeing the allegiance. Se is some-what a child prodigy and psychic, with a mass intellect far surpassing any normal human abilities. Inara is a legal prostitute, known as a ‘companion’ in the universe. The remaining crew members are Book the shepherd (pastor), and Simon a doctor.   

To sum up, the mechanic, the most highly intelligent, and the most efficient combatist (and strategist) are all female. The only conventional role based on gender is Mal, the Captain. So clearly the conventions have been (possibly deliberately) broken down and left behind.

The representation of the ‘Allegiance’, that is the authority, the officials, the government, is on the whole a negative one. It was a government body, the Blue Sun organisation who had River held captive, performing twisted experiments on her brain. Joss Whedon has compared Blue Sun to companies today like Coca-Cola or microsoft. The alliance seems to be authoritarian, ruling with an iron fist. However Whedon has said it may seem that way because it is following the perspective of people who both oppose the alliance, and are constantly breaking the law. The Serenity crew is made up of course, of Anti-Heroes. But no matter what they do (even stealing supplies from a hospital at one point), they are so lovely and awesome that we will cherish and adore them forever! The alliance seem to show great bias towards the central planets, and fail to send proper aid or supplies or help of any real kind to the outer planets. Whedon also say. According to Whedon’s vision, “nothing will change in the future: technology will advance, but we will still have the same political, moral, and ethical problems as today”. So maybe the things going on in the Firefly universe do represent the same things that go on today.       

Yellow Swede evaluation

After looking at and considering a wide range of music videos, my group finally settled on ‘Yellow’ by Coldplay to swede. I have talked about the planning of the video in another post. Editing went well. We slowed the footage down like we said we would to 80% speed. We then just adjusted it slightly to match it up my lip-synching and the song. We were pleased with the results, it looked dramatic like the original, walking in slow-motion. We did notice ours was more shaky than the original, but with our limited experience we were pleased nonetheless. Possibly to make it steadier we would need to zoom out fully and just get closer to what we’re filming.

 

We made two other adjustments to make it look more like the original. One was that we horizontally flipped the video, as we realised we were walking the other way down the beach to the original. The other was that we made the video darker, gradually getting lighter. This took some time to make look seamless, but we thought was worth it in the end.

 

I think we all learnt a lot through this process, about filming (on particular locations, walking backwards with a handheld cam), about editing, (the process of filming with the song sped up, then slowing the footage so some parts are slow-mo, and others in ‘normal’ seed), and music videos in general (the complications, having to know the song, about timing, and about lip-synching). It was a very enjoyable task, and I am pleased with my group and our finished product.  

 

Music Video Swede Planning

My group decided on the music video ‘Yellow’ by Coldplay. We thought the video is simple, yet both poignant and effective. It features the main singer, ‘Chris Martin’, walking along a beach singing the song. A key part though is that he is walking in slow motion, yet he is still synced with the timing of the lyrics.

The location was one of the things drawing us to this video: the beach! We went to Burnham. It was a bit rainy, which worked well as Martin’s hair was wet and he was wearing a water proof for the vid. We didn’t need any props, the video is simplistic. We did however tip a bottle of water on my head before we shot. We also used a ‘fig rig’ (circular camera mount) so we were able to hold the camera more steadily as we the camera operator walked backwards along the beach. The video is one big take, and just one shot, so we felt we didn’t need to use a storyboard. There would only have been one image. 

Here is a link to the lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/coldplay/yellow.html 

The technical part for this video is getting me to wall in slow-motion, while still be singing in time with the song. To do this, we put a sped-up version of the song on my phone (to 125% of the original speed). I played the song as I walked along and sang to it. Then, when we come to edit the video, we will slow the footage back to 80% of it’s original speed. Now (so long as my mathematical calculations are correct) I will lip-synch but be walking in beautiful slow-motion.