FINAL WEBSITE - Click the photo to go to the website.

Final Website


Final Album Cover

Final Album Cover

Friday, 16 December 2011

Dear Moderator

Feel free to take a look around my blog. The important links are down the side, and our final three products are at the top of the page. Thanks for taking time to see all the work!

Closing Post - The End

This blog is now officially closed! Although the project has (like any other) had its ups and downs I am really pleased with how all three of our tasks turned out and the whole experience has been invaluable. It's hard to believe this is our last ever piece of media coursework but it's been a great end to the 4 years of media!

Evaluation Question 4

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

The key technology which allowed us to complete this project is Web 2.0. We used it in all four stages of the project, and we utilised it as much as possible to allow us to create a modern and inventive product.

Research & Planning:

The main technology we used for these stages was Web 2.0. We used it to communicate as a group via our Facebook group, and over Twitter. We made our own Facebook group where we could discuss what needed to be completed when, and to make sure everyone in the group knew what was going on at all times. This really helped us to work cohesively together and meant the production/construction stages were easier.

Here are some more examples of the discussions we had on the group:

We were also able to use Facebook to create events for our shoots, so we could easily organise for our extra's to turn up on time and know the locations.

When finding locations for our real (and test) shoot, we used Google Maps. When deciding which house we should film at we looked at everyone in the group's house via the site, to determine who had the best and most convenient filming location to fit our video.

Youtube was also an invaluable asset in the section of the project, as we were able to look up other videos for inspiration when coming up with idea's and when developing the one we decided on. It allowed us to draw upon conventions of other videos, and meant we could research the documentary style of filming so that we could perfect it in our own video.

Also just being able to search for other artists website's made it much easier when constructing our own as we were able to find out the conventions of other websites and album covers which meant we could have a better idea on whether or not we should follow or challenge those conventions based on the artist identity we were aiming for.

These the were the sites crucial to our planning & research:


For the construction of our video we used Adobe Premiere Pro CS5, which was a newer version that what we had previously used in the years before, however many of the tools and editing techniques were exactly the same which meant we were able to work as fast and efficiently as possible on the editing. We colour graded our video by using the 'three way colour corrector tool' and 'brightness and contrast' on our video, as we wanted to enhance and warm the colours already present, but we didn't want to take away from the natural and documentary style we were aiming for.

This is a video of Sam & Narishma using Premiere Pro and explaining how to use the different techniques:

We were also lucky enough to use HD camera's this year [we used a Sony HVR AIE] which shot in Full 1080p HD whereas last year we used SD cameras which shot in SD 480p.  This helped make our video look more professional although we didn't use a tripod or any lighting when filming our video as the aim of our's was to make a documentary style video which we wanted to look as naturalistic as possible.


To create our website we used, and this was the first time any of us had used it. However, even though none of us had any prior experience using the site, we found it fairly easy to use and navigate, quickly getting the idea of how it worked. Due to it's flexibility it allowed us to be as creative as we wanted, as we were able to include lots of interactive elements (a key part in marketing our artist); a key feature popular amongst our target audience. As Wix is flash based this also made it easier to use, and we were could easily add videos, photos and links, and one of my favourite features of the site is the 'Featured News' slideshow on the home page which instantly updates the reader on the key news in our Artist's life. Wix also allowed us to have an MP3 version of the song on the online music player, which helps promote the song and allows the audience to listen to it instantaneously.

We also made a Mobile Website which is a great interactive opportunity, and is something that is increasingly popular among our target audience (16-24 year olds) as the majority of them own smart phones and are on them all the time, as well as allowing them to get their information faster than normal, and on the go. 

Album Cover:
For the photoshoot for the album cover shots, we used studio lights, and a Canon 550d, which helped make the shots look professional. After taking the photos, we edited them on Adobe Photoshop CS5 (whereas we previously were using CS4) which I personally really enjoyed, as although I have quite a bit of experience using Photoshop, I felt I was able to expand my knowledge of the programme with help from the media technician, Chris. We used Adjustment layers such as Brightness/Contrast, Colour Balance and Selective Colour to create the look and colour scheme we were going for as well as enhancing the colours already present in the images.

Also, I used the sharpening tool to make the images clearer, as well as finding textures from sites such as Deviantart which we then added to the photos on settings such as 'lighten' and 'multiply' to create something different and dynamic. We also used photoshop to create the merchandise on the Website store, and I also created the tour poster using Photoshop. I feel that this programme really allowed us to successfully create a professional Website and Album Cover. We downloaded fonts

This is a video of me using a few of the photoshop tools to edit the photo's we used on the website and album cover (unfortunately there's no audio but it's pretty self explanatory):


The main technology used in this stage is again, Web 2.0 and especially Blogger. We also posted our finished video on YouTube to receive comments and feedback from a wide audience. We also used Scribd to upload our questionnaires, allowing us to post them on the blog.

Charley (another media student) created an event on Facebook on behalf of all of us, which meant we were using Social Networking sites to promote all our videos and to get audience feedback. A promo video was also created on the MacBook containing all our videos, which again helped to create hype surrounding the screening and encouraged people to turn up.

This is a printscreen of our online survey, made using SurveyMonkey. It was really easy to use and is a great way to get online feedback. It also allows us to reach a wider audience as Web 2.0 is a global platform.

Evaluation Question 3

What have you learned from your audience feedback?

After our focus group session, we found out that our intended target audience was slightly different to the audience we originally intended to target.

Our original target audience:
  • 16-24 year olds 
  • University Students
  • Male & Female
  • Fans of pop/dance music
  • Regular clubbers
  • Quite musically relevant and aware

These are examples of filled in questionnaires which we found particuarly useful when analyising the feedback.
Group 4 Questionnaire Answers Group 4 Questionnaire Answers 2

One lunchtime, we got together a group of 9 people in the media block to show them all the three texts we produced. Here is a video of our focus group watching the video and looking at the website and album cover. We decided to make our focus group a mix of males and females aged 17-18 , and we also made sure that they had different music tastes, so that we could see if our video had a wider appeal than just fans of the dance genre.
We then interviewed two members of the focus group, so that we could ask them questions in more detail and find out face to face about their response to all three tasks.
After our focus group session, we then sat down as a group and looked over the feedback we'd received to find out what they thought of the three texts and to see if we were successful in creating realistic and professional looking final products.

To summarise, these are the key things we learnt from our audience feedback:

Music Video:
  • The theme the majority of the focus group felt our video encouraged and utilised was 'feel good' fun and happiness. Most of them found the video funny, especially the Gregg's sequence and the tube section of the video.
  • However, it seems that they also thought the video was targeted at a younger audience than themselves, perhaps the 10-15 age range instead of the 17-21 target audience we had originally intended the video to be targeted at. This is probably down to the childish nature of the panda, and if we had instead had a more conventional setting, such as a club which the panda visited it may have appealed to a more university based audience.
  • Although our target audience was aimed a little high, we did still want to make the video family friendly, and still hold appeal to children, as they were our secondary audience. The quirky and unique aspect of the video seems to appeal to both our target audience and younger people, as seen from the positive reviews from our focus group.
  • The main bit of negative feedback for the video was that the artist, Absynth was not included which they may have found puzzling for a debut artist (especially as her personality isn't revealed unless they look on the website) and some of the focus group suggested she should have had a cameo in the video, which retrospectively would have been a good idea. 
  • However, when talking to just two members of the focus group individually, they said that not having Absnyth in the video created an enigma and would encourage the audience to research her, and visit the website which is what we wanted.
  • Overall we had positive reviews for the video with an average rating of 7/8
  • We again had positive feedback on the website with an average rating of 8, with the focus group responding that it looked professional.
  • Some of the audience had an issue with the song automatic playing when you enter the website, and that perhaps there should be a volume option on the player, rather than just on and off switches.
  • They also suggested having multiple tracks available rather than just the repetition of the debut single.
  • The focus group were all able to find out 3 facts about Absynth easily, from the website which shows it's easy to navigate and find any information they want which is especially important as we don't give anything away in the video.
Album Cover:
  • Again, the overall consensus was that it looked really professional and that they could imagine it being sold among real products, with an average rating of 8/9.
  • However, the one main problem they seemed to have was with the text and colour of the title 'Freewired'. They said it was too dark and a little difficult to read. Narishma and myself, when working on the album cover had a problem deciding on the colour and placement of the text, making it work with the cover photo. In the end we perhaps made the wrong decision by making it black, but this is something to take into consideration and change if we were to make the cover again.
After looking at our audience feedback I am really pleased with how our target audience viewed our three texts, and we had an average of 7/8/9 in every one. The main thing we learnt was that the video was aimed at a younger audience than we originally intended to market our artist to, but this is something that we take into consideration.

Evaluation Question 2

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

Our main product was our music video, which was supported by our chosen ancillary texts, a website and an album cover as we felt this was the best way to achieve and create a high level consist brand through a synergistic campaign. As we were creating products for a debut artist, we had to think carefully about presenting our artist in a consistent way. Although we took a risk by not having Absynth feature in our video as this goes against the conventions of marketing a debut artist, I think the mystery created by the video is enough to get the audience online to find out more and in challenging this convention, we created a positive twist. However, I feel the main source of synergy between the products comes from our decision to put the focus on music and its significance, rather than putting the focus directly on Absynth.

The headphones on the front cover signify the DJ genre, and add an extra element to the front cover taking it away from being just another pop genre album cover. The headphones were a theme carried through onto the website, where there are purchasing opportunities to buy T-Shirts with headphones on, and many of the photo's in the gallery had Absynth wearing headphones, or using DJ sets which also feature on the inside of the album cover. The boombox also has connotations of music which also is on both the album cover and website gallery. The gallery is one of the strong connections between the album cover and website.

These are some of the gallery photo's:

Although our video doesn't have any clear link to the artist, once the audience goes onto the website they can see the link between all three texts. By creating a synergy between our artist and WWF, we created the synergy needed for the audience to understand the connections. By Absynth working with WWF we also add to her personality, showing she is a caring and kinda person, which fits in with the humourous and feel-good video. However, it is the enigma created which is the appeal we were going for, as we didn't want to there to be an immediate synergy between the video and the artist, and although this is risky for a 'Debut Artist' we wanted to take the risk and try a unique and viral marketing campaign.

The WWF news story appears on the Home page in the 'Featured News' section which is one of the first things the audience will see, allowing them to immediately make the connection. Although we don't have any pictures of the panda on the album cover; to link the music video and website further, we included photo's of Absynth with the Panda used in our music video on a separate news page on the website. However, we could have had Absynth have a cameo in the video to increase the branding of the artist throughout

The Album Cover and Website both have a strong similar colour scheme of black, purple and pink. We chose these colours to reflect a confident, but stylish young artist; Absynth. The theme is modern and typical of other dance genre artist's websites, as although the colour is predominently black, we wanted flashes of colour to make it unique, and to give it a more feminine feel without being too stereotypical. Also the felt the black was reminscent of the club scene which will be popular amongst our target audience. The link between these two platforms is clear, and an audience member should be able to clearly see a cohesiveness between the mediums. 

We also carried on this colour scheme on our customised Twitter and Tumblr pages to keep a cohesiveness throughout, which means if a fan stumbled upon any of the social networking sites, they would immediately know it is the artist Absynth. As well as this colour scheme link, we used the same photoshoot on the Album Cover, Website and Social  Networking sites and this is important for a debut artist, as the imagery and identity of Absynth will be similar throughout. We also included links to the Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr sites on each corresponding website which increases interactivity, a key feature of our Absynth website.

We also have a consistency of font throughout the Album Cover and Website (even though one has a slightly different effect on it to the other), and it is simple and clear, again not distracting or taking away effect from the music itself. This is a technique used by many artists, in particular Nero who we took a lot of inspiration from throughout the project. This logo will be the key signifier for Absynth, and it appears all over the website (merchandise, titles etc.) and we don't have any other logo because we thought the name of the artist was strong enough in itself to carry the brand.

Another link between website and video is that the single, 'One More Time' plays immediately once you click the enter button on the site. As well as signifying the synergy between the two texts, it is also a great way to sell the music to our audience. The home page also has a link to be able to buy the album; also promoting the music. This marketing technique works with the video in order to sell the music (not just the artist).

The store on our website is also another place where we have managed to create synergy between all three products. The store allows the audience to buy many different items, ranging from the single and album (both creating a synergy to the music video and album cover), to T-Shirts with a cartoon panda on. By having a range of products available, we have managed to create links between what merchandise is online, and the product it represents. The different sections are clearly laid out, letting the visitor know what is available, and it also reiterates Absynth's love of pandas, almost adding the panda to her brand.

We promote each of the products using the products themselves, e.g. we have links to buy the album on the website, we have the website address on the back of the album cover, and the video will feature the artists name at the beginning or end, meaning the audience can go and search for our artist online (leading them to the website hopefully!). There is also the institutional information on the back of the album cover which also features on the website, showing institutional synergy as well as artist synergy.

I feel that although we have taken a risk by not featuring the artist in our video, which consequently makes marketing the artist consistently more difficult, we achieved our goal of putting emphasis on the music, rather than Absynth as a person, and by making her fun and likeable through the use of the panda we created a fun and unique person with a passion for music, translated through the continual references to her music throughout all three products. I feel it is the website which really forms the synergy connecting all three products, acting as a hub for the audience to find out everything they want to know.

Evaluation Question 1

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

This is a video of us discussing all the ways we feel each of the products challenge, use and develop conventions. We reference real media texts, as well as using Vernallis & Goodwin's theories to help enable and further our analysis. We analysed our three products in terms of dance genre in order to compare as closely as possible. I have also included short summaries underneath the video's to reiterate the key points we talked about.

Music Video:

These are the key conventions of dance genre music videos:
  • Don't feature the artist
  • Emphasis on partying - having fun
  • Range of shot types - close ups, extreme long shots, establishing shots etc.
  • Sexualisation of the female body
The key videos we looked at for inspiration when making our own are Paradise by Coldplay and Da Funk by Daft Punk. Both these videos feature a person dressed up as an animal, and they bring the absurd into reality which is something we really wanted to explore. We used these as intertextual references in our video, especially the train sequence in Paradise.

As shown here we wanted to include a set of similar shots to those in the Coldplay video, and as our favourite part of their video was the train sequence, this was the part we really wanted to recreate. We also managed to use a similar colour grading style, leaving the colours quite natural and realistic, to not make the video appear too glossy or staged.


These are the main two websites we used for inspiration when creating our own. The main influence we drew from both of these websites is the dark colour scheme, and the featured news section at the top of Nero's. The other main thing we drew from them is the simple, easy navigation bar at the top.

Album Cover

As there aren't many female DJ's around, it was difficult to draw inspiration from their album covers. However, as our song crossed over into the pop genre, we decided to look at female pop solo artists, as well as some male DJ's for inspiration. We combined the two genre's conventions, by having the close up of the artist, but then the headphones were very obvious on the front cover, signifying Absynth's love of music, and that we're not just selling the artist (like many pop albums).

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Record Company/Website Research

As we were thinking about making our artist independent, I looked into record companies who gave away their music for free, and made money by donations from fans. One example of this is Quote Unquote Records

Although we are an independent label, I don't feel the website is as aesthetically pleasing as it could be. We want our site to look more professional which is why I went on to look at other websites (in the dance genre), such as

I really like their website as it has a wide range of content available for the user to interact with, and the layout is simple but effective. I can see us creating something similar to this when making our own website, as it reflects the dance genre really well. I also like how big the title is at the top of the site, immediately letting the user know who the artist is. I also think the consistent theme works really well in establishing artist identity.