Wednesday, 25 April 2012

'Representations in media texts are often simplistic and reinforce dominant ideologies so that audiences can make sense of them.' Evaluate the ways you have used/challenged simplistic representations in one of the media products you have produced.

I am going to analyse my advanced portfolio in which certain representations where used in order to send out messages to the audience. Representation refers to the construction in any media that involves not only how identities are represented within the text but how they are constructed in the process of production.  “All representation has ideologies behind them. Certain paradigms are encoded into text and others are left out in order to give preferred representation”

We have challenged representations in our music video through genre. In our music video we have represented the main artist as an independent male who is unemotional and competent. Also he is of an Asian ethnic background, with the other artist as black. We tried to break the stereotypical view of the black male being dominated over the Asian which is represented in most other music videos, as black people are portrayed with drugs and guns and normally the dominant character. These videos are considered to portray real situations that are, according to the standards of western culture, severely condemned, based on an attitude that sees a direct link between the events of daily reality and their depiction in the music video. The breaking of the stereotype of the black dominant figure has allowed the video to be represented as more real.

Furthermore you can see that the artist is represented as an R&B performance artist by the clothes he is wearing. Most male figures tend to show off their clothes or ‘swag’. You can see the artist is wearing casual clothes which he then changes later on in the video. This is a key feature in R&B music videos as it makes the artist seen to be a dominant figure. However using the plurality model, we can see how a male audience would view the representation of our artist. It could be argued that the male audience would refer to the artist as their role model as he is living the life.

Most R&B videos tend to exploit women’s femininity as feminist would say that women are portrayed in patriarchal way. Most music videos show women as a sex object, that males would just ‘gaze’ at. We decided not to go for this stereotype as then the main artist wouldn’t be the centre of attention. We wanted to make the main artist dominant throughout the whole music video.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

1B Audience

The project I will be discussing for this question is my advanced portfolio, where I created a music video called “Kiss Kiss”. When creating my music video I thought extensively about the kind of people I was appealing to and how I would do this. The target audience for my video is mainly men and women between the ages of 15-25, due to the fact that the main artist is a young male which fall in to the same age category, and the lyrics of the song can be evidential through high school life. Throughout the process of making my music video, I asked members of my target audience to look at my ideas and work and give me feedback so that I could ensure that it was specifically tailored to the wants and needs of my audience. I did this by making questionnaires where I would tell people in the age group to fill out. Julian McDougall quotes, “audiences still clearly make sense and give meaning to cultural products,” which means that audiences play an active role in the understanding of real media text. We wanted to gain an active audience for our music video as it appealed to a wide range of people.

I began by researching certain music videos that were represented as the same genre as my video. This would allow me to gain wider knowledge of the conventions that were essential for a R&B style music video. I used Goodwin’s theory when analysing the music video “All Of The Lights” by Kanye West and Rihanna. This music video was mainly performance based; however it had a narrative concept in the beginning. We wanted to create a strong relationship between the lyrics and the visuals as this was a key theme that was done in most music videos.

Another way of looking at how audiences consume media is reception theory, which is based on Stuart Hall’s encoding and decoding model. It argues that producers encode meaning into a media text and audience then in turn decode it. When creating my music video, I encoded meaning in many ways. For example, I shot most of the video with close-ups of the artist whilst he was performing; this created the R&B genre. 
Furthermore, the main artist “Chris Brown” can be a role model to young people as he is a young person himself, at 17 years old and audiences can familiarise with him. When looking at other music videos we found out that many artists changed their clothes throughout the music video. It was never seen that the artist wears the same clothes. We then took this idea and changed the clothes of the artist when he was performing.

The uses and gratification theory by McQuail came to our attention throughout our advanced portfolio. Uses and gratifications theory is a framework for studying the effects of media on an audience, mainly from the perspective of individual audience members. The approach suggests that people use the media to fulfil specific gratifications. The audience seek out gratifications from the media, in our case, the music video. The audience seeks out a need and a sense of gratification. We focused on entertainment. The majority of our audience will be entertained by our music video; they can get cultural enjoyment from our music video by being part of that culture. Some people may simply relax while listening/watching our music video.

In conclusion I believe that our audience is active rather than passive where they can refer to the music video as how they feel. I think the target audience was in a good range as according to our research most people aged between 15-25 listen to this type of music.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Discuss how you used genre in one of your media products

The media production I am going to write about in relation to genre is my thriller opening project. The genre of the thriller opening is obviously a psychological thriller and this itself allowed us to be creative with narrative but limited us because we had to stick to a certain amount of generic conventions in order for it to be recognised by its existing target audience.

Steve Neal said that genre is a repetition with an underlying pattern of variations

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Explain how you used conventional or experimental narrative approaches in one of your production pieces

Explain how you used conventional or experimental narrative approaches in one of your production pieces
In this essay I am going to discuss theories of narrative for my production piece, psyche. I began my research by analysing real media text to strengthen my knowledge of the convention needed to make a thriller opening. I did this by analysing different thriller openings using the points Todorov and Propps said in what a thriller should have in order to have a narrative perspective. I used this to analyse the film “Casino Royal”. In order to build a narrative Propp said there is usually all or most of these types of roles within a film. These are a hero, a helper, a princess, a dispatcher, the villain and the donor. As we only created an opening sequence we insured that we were able to develop a narrative which could later continue in our thriller opening. We also took in consideration Todorov idea of Equilibrium, Disruption, Recognition, attempt to repair disruption, and a return or restoration of new equilibrium. We wanted to create these things so it could be clearly seen that there was some narrative evolved in our thriller.

After analysing Casino Royal, we found out that it had most of the conventions stated by propp and todorov. It clearly had an equilibrium which then set of a disruption. This was evidential in the first opening minutes of the movie. We wanted to create a narrative which could be seen by most people but specially our target audience which was 16-25.

Monday, 12 March 2012

BBC iPlayer

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Wesch's Anthropology of 'YouTube' questions

Sum up Michael Wesch's main point about the web (or Youtube in particular) in one paragraph.

Michael Wesch believes that the introduction of web 2.0 has allowed people to communicate with one another more easily through videos and in particular through YouTube. The invention of YouTube allows people to upload videos that can then be seen by anyone around the world. You can also comment and “like” these videos which shows you who is watching your video and what people think of it. On YouTube today there is over 9,000 hours which are uploaded.

Write down your understanding of the following terms used by Wesch: "networked individualism", "the invisible audience phenomenon", "context collapse", and "connection without constraint".

Networked individualism- this is the theory that, thanks to the internet we can now communicate with one another no matter how far apart someone is. An example of this is when you talk on a webcam; you can now make a community with people who you don’t know.

The invisible audience phenomenon- this is when a person doesn’t know who is watching their video online and when they are watching it.

Context collapse- this is when you don’t know whether you are being filmed. Due to the improvement of technological convergence most people now have a mobile phone that has a camera and can record.

Connection without constraint- 

On the whole, do you agree with Wesch's ideas? Why?

I totally agree with Weschs idea as now most people rely on the internet as it allows people to communicate with one another in a quicker and easier way. It is also free as people can talk abroad using Skype. This creates greater democracy as it brings people together creating a community. It is easier for people to publish media on the internet on sites such as YouTube, Twitter and Facebook. Having a interest in music I can now stream music on the internet for free and can also tweet music so people can see what I’m listening to.

How might Wesch's ideas be applied to the music industry (at at least, the production of music)?

The creation of YouTube as allowed people to make videos which can then be uploaded. People all over the world can access this video for free enabling them to view the video and write their own comments on whether they thought it was good or bad. This allows new artist to publics and advertise their music for free. As knew artist may not be able to afford recording studios, YouTube has been a key site to find knew singers.  

Friday, 2 March 2012

How might the influence of new media be said to strengthen or weaken the public sphere

To understand the role of the media in society it is useful to use the concept of the public sphere as an ideal serving as a model or guide for what the media could potentially be. The public sphere is a concept said by Habermas which he says is a realm within social life in which public opinion can be formed and which is accessible to all. In this exploration we need to examine the following: what purpose does the public sphere serve? What is need for its success and what critiques are held about this concept. Habermas says that the public sphere had weakened the twenty first century. However the role of new media in the Syrian uprising shows that this idea can be refuted.

One way in which the new media has strengthened the public sphere is the introduction to web 2.0 and convergent devices. Web 2.0 has allowed easier access to the internet from any source of device. Mobile phones now have features where you can record in HD and this can be uploaded to the internet within seconds. Syrians have shown the world what is going on, through a mixture of eye witness accounts and amateur footage of protests and their violent aftermath. Photos were taken whilst the protest was happening and uploaded using 3G internet. This allowed a much quicker upload and allowed the rest of the world to see. Cameras were also smuggled into the country. Pictures and videos being uploaded to social networking sites allowed people to promote more democracy. One person said “I went over as I thought someone was injured, but it was a man with a computer using 3G to upload videos”. This shows how technological convergence made the protest even bigger and known worldwide.  

Furthermore by the government banning some news stories, this allowed the public sphere to bypass censorship. Hebermas believes that the mass media and globalisation has reduced the effectiveness of the public sphere. The mass media has resulted in a reduction of plurality. With the new technology Syria riots were taken to a whole new level. Twitter and Facebook were the main sources of where others received information. It is highly accessible as now, most people have internet access and a twitter or Facebook account so they can easily inform everyone about the riots.  Consumers can now comment on videos and pictures uploaded, which allowed greater debate over the riots. Videos were taken of the army abusing dead bodies which was also realised on the internet. This could be debated worldwide and allowed the public to open up and comment. This strengthened the public sphere as more people where involved on the internet. Pictures and videos uploaded attracted people to from debates and share opinions which also increased democracy

However new media can also be said to weaken the public sphere as misinformation can take place where people are biased and also anomimity as some people can pretend to be someone there not.  False information may lead to other things arising such as conflicts on the internet or to the news.  An example of this is the man that was associated to be a lesbian blogger but actually he lived in Edinburgh and was married. When the blog was first released there were many followers and people commenting on it. On the blog there was a post by Amina’s cousin talking about how she was taken by armed men on a Damascus street. The news sparked internet campaigns to realise her, until activists in Syria and beyond began voicing doubts. This has weakened the public sphere as anomimity can occur within new media and therefore encouraging people to write unrelated comments.

Moreover, some information within the new media may not be entirely valid, not all the information seen on the public sphere can be reliable. This can be evidential as the case of the Syrian lesbian blogger who was actually a 40 year old man. This shows how easy it is to create a false identity on the internet and that not all information on the internet is valid. The evidence that he was a 40 year old man was gathered on social networking sites such as Twitter and Blogger.1,000 emails where exchanged to Amina by a French Canadian women who believed herself to be in a romantic relationship. This weakened the public sphere as there was less democracy within the media. As people know are aware that most information on the internet is not valid, they hold back to comment and share their opinions.
In conclusion you can clearly see that the positives outweigh the negatives of the public sphere. Information can now be posted by anyone all over the world in a quick and easy way. The development of technological convergence has allowed people to comment on videos and pictures on social networking sites. Everyone’s opinion is read on the internet now, which creates more discussion and debate thus increasing democracy.