Joy Division - Disorder

Joy Division - Disorder
THE BRIEF:
A promotion package for the release of an album, to include a music promo video, together with two of the following options:

1. a cover for its release as part of a digipak (CD/DVD package);
2. a magazine advertisement for the digipak (CD/DVD package).

Video Resolution.

For the maximum viewing of all of the videos, please watch at the highest resolution available. Thank you

Director - Jonny Hughes (JH)
Cinematographer - Callum Moreman (CM)
Director of Photography/Cast Member - Joel Colborne (JC)



Friday, 25 March 2011

Evaluation Q4 - New Media Technologies

4. How did you use new media technologies in the construction and research, planning and evaluation stages?
The use of new media technologies is vital in producing a piece of work that would work in today's industry. If we aren't using all the information and tools available to us, chances are our work will show this.


Research

Though books were great for specific information and insight (such as our repeated use of Deborah Curtis' Touching From A Distance), the internet is superb at giving us a much broader set of information. The sheer amount of research required for this project meant using the internet was a must.

Importantly whilst putting in a few words on Google and going to the first Wikipedia entry is undoubtedly the quickest way to get information, the sources may be unreliable and it isn't the most detailed of sites. We narrowed down our searches from the phrasing of our entries, and also made use of Google's "Advanced Search" tool. This meant we could trust that the websites listed were relevant to the exact topic that we needed. 



Also useful is Google's News section which when searching for a specific term gives you the latest news articles from the web on that topic. This meant the research we were getting was extremely up to date. This is also is available for embedding, and you can see it on the right hand side of my blog.
Google News was great for helping us keep up to date with the very latest Joy Division gossip.

Production
The quality of the HD cameras is a substantial step up from that of the DV tapes we had used previously. This instantly raised the standard of our music video, and allowed it to appear like a real industry standard video. Issues with grain and little lighting were no longer a problem, and the standard of the footage was something we were very happy with. It also meant we were more free to create whatever we wanted. Using SD memory cards instead of DV tapes was also an advantage, although the one problem was that uploading the footage did not significantly longer. But it was certainly worth it when you watch back scenes such as the underpass.
 The cameras have in-built functions which we could experiment with even before going into the post-production stage. We took advantage of options such as the manual focus to really make certain scenes stand out. This can be seen in particular in the early chroma key shot of the cigarette. Using the HD camera allowed us to pick up on the tiniest bits of detail.

We also made use of our own cameras though for other aspects of the project such as the rough footage, vodcasts, and more. Though they don't have the quality of the HD cameras, they are equally easy to use, and for short videos where the highest quality isn't an issue, they were great to have on board.

This 8mm app for the iPhone was superb, and cheap too!
One of the most suprising sources of footage we used was the iPhone. Smart phones and in particular those made by Apple are offering everyone the opportunity to make relatively high quality films. The standard camera on the iPhone was used for creating our Production Diary but we gained most use out of 8mm vintage style of application. When purchased it allowed the camera on the iPhone to film in the classic style of old 8mm film reels. There were several filters and the option for "cutting" the film reel. The quality of the shots were a lot higher than expected and therefore we had no hesitation in including them in our music video. This was an unexpected bonus of the project.

For the images for our Digi-Pak and advertisements we used an SLR camera. This allowed us to take high quality photographs which again were industry standard. The cameras have so many built in functions that we weren't able to utilise it's full capabilities but the images we did take we were very happy with.Other less important images were again taken on the iPhone.

Editing Software
For editing the one and half hours of footage we got from our filming, we used Final Cut Express. Final Cut is a huge improvement on last year's editing software, and again is industry standard. It is worth mentioning that the Coen brothers' latest Oscar nominated film True Grit was edited on a version of Final Cut. In fact all of their last five films have been edited using this software. This shows the huge capabilities of the programme, and the advantages using it has. Having used similar software previously, I found the transition to using Final Cut easier than I originally anticipated. We made use of a lot of the great functions of the programme - in particular the overlaying and transitions. On the shot towards the very end of the video (3.27) where our protagonist is to the left of the screen, we incorporated use of a split screen. On the LHS the video plays at regular speed but on the RHS it is sped up so the traffic moves faster. This was a tricky bit of editing that would not have been possible in iMovie. It took various experimentation as to where to split the video without it being noticeable. We then had trouble with the trees to the right of Joel not being in fast motion and therefore ruining he effect so we added another cropped layer and sped this up too. To get the best out of the editing software it useful to plan ahead, as some shots such as our multiple people at 3.11 require the original shot to be taken from a neutral position, so when overlayed they work properly. We had certain specific bits of editing in mind before the shoot, and others were done through experimenting with the software.

We still used iMovie for cutting shorter videos such as vodcasts and our evaluation down. The major advantage of iMovie is that it is very quick and easy to use. Though the latest version we personally feel is a step backwards for the company in terms of layout, it is still very useful to quickly go into and edit a short clip. They have improved the range of effects significantly recently,  although we didn't use them for this particular project. Like a lot of Apple's software and devices, iMovie gives everyone the opportunity to make and edit a film. We also took advantage of the Mac's in-built camera for short vodcasts, which were then edited in iMovie.

Sony Vegas is essentially a very similar programme to Final Cut - except for windows. This was used for making videos such as our "Sky News Metallica Case Study", and putting our Production Diary together. It is actually a lot simpler to use than Final Cut, and yet can do the same things. As we have this software at home it made things easier as obviously we didn't have to do all of our work in school.  

For making our digipak and editing our advertisements, we used Adobe Photoshop. This programme is the best available for editing photographs, and meant there were again no limitations as to what was possible. We had previous experience using the programme, so again this was no issue. Our adverts were editing using tools to improve the images such as contrast, desaturate, curves, and various colour filters. We then  added text using a Joy Division font we downloaded from the internet. Whilst our final images represent the minimalism of Joy Division, our previous developments showed us experimenting with more complex aspects such as multi-layering, layer filters, and then different filters and style for each layer. For example in one image, we placed Malham Cove behind the skyline of Leeds. We didn't use these for our final series of adverts as they didn't match the same mood of the band. One additional bit of new media used was the inclusion of a QR Code. QR Codes are essentially links to websites/offers when scanned using a smart phone. We used a QR Code generator online to create a code which links you to the New Transmission Records blog. Also on that actual blog another links you to an exclusive "The Making of..." video.
 When making our digipak we used a template kindly given to us from the people at WeWow. We then added our own images and front cover/back cover. For the inside of the digipak, we also used my Bamboodrawing tablet , which allowed us to essentially draw directly into the programme. This was a new experience for us and yet worked really well. We then printed out our digipak onto card using the A3 printer and used the A4 printer for the adverts. Scanners were also used at various times through the project.


Exhibition
We used iTunes to burn the songs onto our album disc. Using the Get Info option and creating a playlist, we change the track information so it matched our album "The Singles". For burning the Bonus DVD we used iDVD which is the simplest and best (in my opinion) DVD burning software. We were able add menus and different chapters to make it realistic.

With each new video we made, they were all uploaded onto Youtube. As well as each of us having our own Youtube channel, we also have a IGSMedia channel which showcases everyone's work. Youtube is very easy to use, and the only issue really is the amount of time it takes to upload large files. But once uploaded it is great for getting large scale exposure. Again real record companies use Youtube, so it was another example of us working at industry standard. Many of our rough cuts were then linked to on social networking site Facebook, meaning again we could use the web to our advantage.

Sites such as Scribd, Slideshare, Divshare, and Picasa were used for uploading different types of files. Scribd was used for MS Word documents, Slideshare for Powerpoint Presentations, Divshare for podcasts and Picasa for creating slideshows. This was mainly done so we could embed all of these type of files on our Blogger.

Blogger (the site you are currently on) was used for creating my blog. This site is particularly great as you can use a lot of different multimedia on it. We embedded the previous type of documents mentioned and were able to essentially run our own website full of information. We had a lot of control over the layout, and styling of the blog as shown by our company blog for New Transmission Records. Blogger is an excellent website not only for exhibition, but for generally helping organise our thoughts. It is a lot easier for example than using a file containing sheets of paper scribbled with notes.

Summary
Using new media technologies is essential for each part of the project. We were able to work to near-industry standard to create our finished products. New media also helped us actually exhibit our work to a wider audience. As new media technology improves, it gives anyone with access to a computer the chance to work to a high quality.

Evaluation Q3 - Audience Feedback

3. What have you learned from your audience feedback?



Audience feedback provides us with a new way of looking at the situation when our own ideas are not clear. It also offers us a direct insight into the target audience, which then helps us further focus the content to their taste. When creating our products, we collected a feedback from a large range of sources, enabling us to gain opinions from lots of different people. We collected some form of feedback at every stage of the production, right back from our initial research and ideas up to the point of completing our final cut.

This is England '86 helped us research our secondary audience.
We had to consider our target audience when creating the products. We had two different target audiences in mind:

  • Our core target audience was of people aged 16 -25. We wanted to bring Joy Division to a new generation of fans, so we had to make a band from the late 70s appeal to the youth of 2011.
  • Our secondary target audience were existing Joy Division fans, who would have been the youth of the late 70s/early 80s. That means the majority will be around 40 - 50 years old. It is important whilst attracting a new audience, we didn't lose existing fans. 
 In Person
This was our primary source for getting feedback. It was the most useful as we could clear converse about suggestions, so actually build up thorough ideas whilst responding to audience feedback. This was useful right back from our initial ideas. We screened each new rough cut we made, and also got feedback on the ancillary products.
Here's a quick vox pop with two other Media students (Mary and Lucy) discussing their thoughts on our magazine advertisements.


This was of particular importance as our media class (one of the groups we screened to) fall under our core target audience. This meant we could begin to think that if they were happy with the video, then we targeting our core audience well. They also have a deep understanding of music videos, so we were all on the same wavelength when thinking about key factors such as genre etc. Our teachers are also Joy Division fans, so the fall into the secondary market, meaning that screenings in class were the ideal way to get audience feedback.
The following video is an example of one of our feedback sessions in class:


As they saw each rough cut they were able to pick up slight changes and tips for what has improved (or not). It was important for us to provide them with a context and also any specific sections that we wanting new ideas for. We found this of particular use because we were able to get the feedback very quickly.

Internet Forum - JoyDiv.org

When originally pitching our idea, the concept was very loose and lacking direction. We considered where to get audience feedback in order to help us drive the project forward. We had earlier researched on the importance of the internet for exhibition of music videos by conducting a short survey, but in the ideas stage in particular we found that a Joy Division fan forum was very useful for giving us ideas.

One particular member gave us some great feedback, very deeply detailing his ideas for the video. As this user was also a recovering drug addict, that had an insight which a majority wouldn't. They were part of our target market as well as experiencing the issues our video signifies. The fact that he and other users seemed supportive of idea was great, and we made substantial changes thanks to his suggestions. A lot of the fans on the site have a great knowledge of Joy Division so this meant their ideas were of particular importance.

Below is a MS word document in which we have copied in his feedback from the forums. As you can see he had a lot of ideas...
Idea

Youtube

As previously mentioned the website and specifically Youtube are very useful for exhibiting music videos. The fact that the website (like Blogger) is free for everyone, means that the opportunity for success is a real possibility. Though this doesn't allow us to target a specific market (though the use of tags does help narrow it down somewhat), it meant that the video was out there for everyone to see and leave feedback.

Youtube has seen the rise of many indie bands to gaining success and likewise indie filmmakers. We ourselves have a had a lot of hits on various rough cuts, with responses again suggesting certain ideas that we have considered. The fact that the video has been recieved so well by viewers, meant we could be sure that we were on the right track.



Facebook
Socio-networking is becoming a major tool for companies/bands to interact with fans. As well as joining a Joy Division group we also posted links to our rough cuts. The people who received these links are narrowed down to being our friends, which therefore meant we could get quality feedback from people we could trust. Again, they also fall under our specific target market.

Summary
Whilst the primary source of getting feedback in person is always useful, like everything these days, the web provides us with exhibition of our video to the masses, and therefore means we can get a much wider spread of feedback. Thanks to the use of different sources for gaining feedback, we got lots of ideas that helped shaped our products to being the quality that they are now. When you see our original rough footage and compare it our final piece and ancillary products, there is a significant rise in quality - a lot of which is down to the feedback we got along the way.We found that most often, the most critical responses to the work, were normally the most useful. This helped us create a product that our target markets could respond to more positively in the long run.

As music video makers working so deep into the product, it can be useful stepping back from the project momentarily and allowing others to share their views on your work. This is what we did, and sure enough it helped us come back to work with fresh motivation and new ideas.

Evaluation Q2 - Combination of Products

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



It is important that all of our products work well together as they should essential form a package together. The advertisements and music video are used to promote the digipak, so it is important that the consumer recognises the links between the products. All of the products are essentially also advertising the band as a whole, so maintaining key traits is vital.


Kevin Cummins- Joy Division
We also had to consider Joy Division's existing products, and whether we would re-branding the band in anyway. Though the products are new, that should still work when compared to their original style. We deeply researched photographs of Joy Division, and subsequent releases. Joy Division had a primary photographer, Kevin Cummins, who was behind a lot of the iconic images of the band. The fact they used mainly one photographer meant there were clear links across their work. He was responsible for establishing Joy Division's "look" which was then taken forward by later photographers (and music video makers) like Anton Corbijn. In order to create products which has Cummin's clear influence we used a book which features a collection of his work for the band, simply entitled "Joy Division".




Our Work

The use of black and white was the key thing we used throughout our work. Not just because of the time period, but because of the way it suited the mood of the band, it was something we established as an essential technique from a very early date in the project. Anton Corbijn said of making Control black and white "...my memory of Joy Division is very black and white. If you look at the visuals that are available of Joy Division, especially stills, I would say it’s almost 99% black and white...their record sleeves were black and white, and the way they dressed was quite grey zoned. So, I felt this was the right way to think of Joy Division."(IndieLondon.co.uk). 
Further than just the photography, we stylised the actual graphics of the advert & digipak to also be desaturated. As a tribute to the Ian Curtis biopic Control, on the double page spread edition of the advert we used a pink HMV font. This is the same colour scheme as used for the advertising of that film.

An example of one of our advert developments.
Another key characteristic used frequently was the minimalistic visuals. There is no need for over-using special effects, overlaying multiple layers on Photoshop, or use vast paragraphs of text when it comes to Joy Division. The text and information falls secondary to the actual image and rather than focus on eccentric editing, we felt the cinematography was the most important aspect to get right. A lot of Joy Division's imagery has become iconic due to the art behind it. You could imagine the adverts forming a series of photographs. Taking influence from the digipak release of Joy Division's Unknown Pleasures, we made sure our album was minimalistic. We avoided the disruption of the barcode, by placing it on a sticker inside. We tried to draw as much attention to the actual photographs as possible. This is most evident on our vinyl edition of The Singles, in which no band name or album name features on the front or back cover. Instead this information was relegated to a small sticker.  We experimented with more complex designs for all our work, but when compared to the branding of Joy Division, and earlier releases by the band, they simple didn't work as a combination.

The same actor features on the digipak and in the music video. This actor is dressed the same throughout all the images. Sharing similarities with the late Ian Curtis, we felt that this protagonist could be potentially iconic. It would also draw clear comparisons between the digipak and the "Disorder" video, meaning that any potential consumers would recognise it instantly.

Likewise the locations featured are the same. We took extreme care when location scouting to find settings which suited the concept and mood of the band. The concept for the video was essentially same as for the album so it made perfect sense to again link the two. This was all part of creating a branding for the new album release. The photographs which feature on the advert are also taken at the same location. We felt these particular set of images linked very strong to classic Joy Division artwork.

We downloaded the font J.D Closer for specific use on our work. As the name suggests this is font that Joy Division used on their second release - Closer. This is the most iconic of Joy Division's logos, so it was something that would help audiences hopefully after being interested in our album, work backwards and buy the original Joy Division releases. The serif font suits Joy Division perfectly, so there was no need to change their original font.


Summary
The release of PlusMinus was met with heavy criticism.
When placed side by side you can see clearly that all our products work very well together. Building up a consistent concept was the key to making them work well together. But much further than that, they also work when placed next to original imagery used by Joy Division. Some of our shots our inter-textual references to their work (such as the bridge scene of the film replicating The Greatest Hits artwork, and the digipak image being a tribute to the iconic shot of Curtis). The locations and buildings used link back to early Joy Division posters, depicting industrial cities and settings. 
We found when researching Joy Division's existing releases that fans had reacted badly to the artwork feature on the collection of 7" vinyls entitled "+-: The Singles". We used the negative feedback attributed to that particular release to drive forward our own work. A lot of the criticism for that album was that the artwork strayed too far away from the Joy Division brand. Whilst maintaining that we were trying to target a youth audience, we felt that this could be done at the same time as making sure our artwork linked to Kevin Cummins' successful work at giving Joy Division an individuality not seen anywhere else in the industry. 

Evaluation Q1 - Challenging Codes & Conventions

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



Our project constisted of one primary product (the music video) and two ancillary texts (advertisements & digipak) that went along with it. In addition to this we also created a company website and drafted a vinyl edition of the album. Now due to the fact that we creating different forms of product, each one has different codes and conventions that they follow/challenge.
 But at the same time, together they basically form a package that work alongside each other. This will be discussed more in another question, but it is worth briefly mentioning that the fact that general motifs and imagery are shared throughout the products, is a convention in itself. Building up conventions of what you expect to see a company's products is essential to branding the band.

Music Video
I will begin by discussing our music video as it is our primary product. As previously stated music videos have their own set of conventions that we were aware of when creating our video. Again these conventions are not exact as genre creates variation. Music is no longer easy to categorise, with so many bands falling into so many different genres and sub-genres, that the conventions of their music videos are often hugely debatable. Likewise the need for genre itself is a debatable subject. Genre is a way for bands to market themselves as being individual and try to make themselves stand out in a competitive market - as is breaking codes and conventions.

Music videos are often divided into three areas (although again some are a combination of the three!). The three categories are as follows:


  • Performance - This is often seen in rock bands and smaller local bands, but not exclusively. They are the quickest, cheapest and easiest style of music video to make, so unsuprisingly they are the most commonly seen, dating all the way back to the birth of the music video. Often incorporating fans into the live footage, they help establish a band's energy.
    Narrative - These videos instead try to captivate the viewer into watching a storyline unfold, and thus listen to the song that goes with it. It is very common for some aspects of narrative to be included in a performance video.Very often the plot links to the lyrics in some way, and the video actually almost acts as a short film.
  • Concept - They often focus on a particular idea, which is often not seemingly linked to the lyrics. They provide the director with the most freedom of creativity, and in the end can play back almost as art films. In many ways the visuals can be just as important as the band and song itself. Recent years have seen small bands using eccentric concepts to gain success through viral marketing. 

Our video falls somewhere in between the narrative and concept formats. Whilst our video is narrative to an extent we chose to heavily focus on the theme of addiction. There is no clear storyline to our video, just slight signifiers for the audience to pick up on. Narrative enigma is something very often seen in music videos, as unlike films/tv they are intended repeat viewing so a little bit of ambiguity often provides the element of interest.

The following is an annotated version of our final cut of our music video done using Youtube's annotation tool:


Further than the three categories of music videos, there are also general expections of videography. These can be broken down into the following:

Shot Variation - Using a large range of different shot-types to keep the video interesting. This often goes hand in hand with the pacing of the music video. Close ups are often used to express emotions, whilst high angles and long shots are used to signify isolation and insignifance.
 This is certainly something we made sure our video covered as the emotions of our protagonist were of huge significance. There is a huge contrast between the cold-turkey scenes of the video (which features extreme close-ups) to the outdoor isolated footage on Malham Cove and in Leeds carpark.

Editing (and Continuity Editing) - Whereas film and television often tend to use eliptical editing, music videos often have non-linear narratives. Jump cuts become essential in switching locations, as do transitions. Again pacing is an issue, as in slower sections the editing is often more relaxed than in high tempo sections where you would expect much more quick cutting of shots.
Due to the amount of locations in our videos, experimenting with ways to inter-cut between them was important.We made good use of transitions between scenes, with fade outs and cross merging being of particular usefulness. When cutting between different scenes, we were careful to pick shots that would allow the video to keep flowing at a good pace (an example of this is the spinning shots scene on the street and in the woods). In certain scenes we also found it relevant to cut the editing to the beat of the song (as in the underpass scene). This is another commonly used convention of music videos.

Camera Movement - Again to keep the video interesting visually, panning and zooming are often used.
We used a variation of camera movement featuring still frames and shaky frames, to signify the socio-realist element to the video.

Mise-en-scene - Mise en Scene is used to help express the band's image and branding. Particular items of clothing and props can be of significence, too.
This was an area we didn't have total control over as a lot of it was filmed outside (though these locations were chosen with great care). However we did cast and dress our protagonist with great detail. We were signifying our protagonist as being similar to Ian Curtis so objects like the grey overcoat and cigarettes carried certain connotations such as his huge addiction to smoking, and the coat becoming iconic of the whole post-punk scene. We didn't want the video to look out of place in the 80's or today so any attempts to signify a certain time period were avoided.

Lighting - Using appropriate lighting can be a huge element to be considered when making a music video. Dance videos and heavy metal often use strobe lighting and flashing imagery.There are certain regulations that directors must adhere to. Keeping a neutral sort of lighting throughout can also be important.
Lighting became very important for us, largely due to the cold-turkey scene. Here we were originally planning on using a strobe light but found issues with the quality of shots we were getting. So we opted for a manual lamp instead. Experimentation was the key to success for this scene. Likewise we had little control over lighting outdoor locations, so it was important to set up our camera to utilise the natural lighting to it's full extent (as shown by our bridge shot featuring lens flare).


Use of sound - Though the main sound for a music video is the song itself, is quite common to include aspects of diegetic sound. This just helps create a link between the song and the visuals, making them work together in effect. They can sometimes offer just that little bit extra of exposition.
Our video begins and ends with diegetic sound. The opening helps signify the road below, and the location before the character even enters. It is used to the same effect at the ending, just helping add to the narrative enigma of the closing shot.


Due to the fact Joy Division only have two music videos (one of which was made after they split), our research into the genre as a whole would be much more useful in helping us establish some codes and conventions of the genre. Joy Division are well known for being one of the pioneering acts of the Post-Punk scene of the late 70s/early 80s.
We looked in depth at the videos of Echo & The Bunnymen, as well as researching bands such as Bauhaus, The Cure and The Fall. Another band we looked at thoroughly were Depeche Mode, who were of particular use for mainly working with director Anton Corbijn (who also directed Ian Curtis biopic Control).
From looking at these bands I established some aspects that were common throughout their videos:



- A lot of the videos are performance or concept based. Many combine the two in some manner. 
Our video is not performance based, but does include concept elements. We felt that we could much more strongly create a narrative/concept video than a performance video. We wanted more freedom so this gave us that opportunity. Though this challenged the conventions of post-punk, Anton Corbijn often made narrative music videos for Depeche Mode.
- There is a lot of use of flashing imagery.
Our video makes use of flashing lights in the cold turkey scene. We felt that this would create a sense of disorientation as well as slightly signifying Ian Curtis' epilepsy. It works on both levels, so whilst the viewer may not follow the preferred reading, they can follow it on some level.

- Multi-layering is also used very often as is cross-fade transitions.
Like previously said, this was the best way we found to switch between locations. Multi-layering was also used to show the strange feelings of the protagonist, as well as lately in the video linking to the lyric "I've got the spirit". 
- Whilst the videos often use slow paced imagery, quick cutaways to close ups are used to keep the video flowing. 
After seeing this technique used through the genre, it became hugely influential on our work. We used it to create contrasting emotions and scenes. And it was also used to give the video a flowing pace, which the viewer could find interesting. 
- Locations used are generally run-down or urban. 
As well as featuring run-down, urban locations were also went for a few that challenged the code. We used more rural locations such as the woods and Malham Cove to help create an extreme sense of isolation. This also links to the style of Depeche Mode's video for "Enjoy the Silence". Using a combination of locations, helped us create a large rang of emotions, and it became something that reoccurred throughout all our work.
- Use of colour filters, especially black and white. 
Again this is something we used. Corbijn in particular was again inspirational in both his videos for Joy Division's "Atmosphere" and also his feature length film "Control". We also used the tool "chroma key" at the beginning of the video to highlight the orange of the embers of the cigarette, instantly signifying it's importance.

- Lots of camera movement to help keep the visuals interesting.
The camera movement in our video was also used to signify a socio-realist element to the video. Like the cutaway shots, it was used to help keep the video flowing and interesting. 
- Some sort of motif or theme is repeated through the video. This can sometimes link to the lyrics. 
Though not particularly relating to the lyrics (we actually thought of the concept before choosing the song), our video revolves around the theme of addiction. The cigarette becomes a signifier of this, although the addiction does not necessarily apply to smoking. 

- An emphasis on the cold and dark to signify the mood of the band. Characters often seem very deadpan.
All the locations and mise-en-scene were used to help create this mood. The smoke you see coming from the cigarette links much to the style shots used in Bauhaus' "She's in Parties". Joy Division were an extremely dark band, so we felt it was hugely important to signify this in our video. 

The use of cigarettes & smoking in our products is a debatable topic, with many people arguing that they shouldn't be allowed. The inclusion of them in our work and breaking the convention was risky but we think worthwhile. In this video I debate the subject:


Digi-Pak
Digi-paks are slowly becoming a replacement for the standard jewel case packaging for CDs. Having looked at a range of samples, we have found codes & conventions for them too. We found that the vast majority featured:
  • Band name - On the front in a prominent place. Often can be a band logo rather than a font.
  • Album name - Somewhere close to the band name. Slightly smaller font, but generally similar.
  • Track listing - Nearly always on the back of the album (although Linkin Park's Meteora has it on the front too).
  • Bar code - Often on the back of the album, out of the way.
  • Record Label info - This is also normally on the back of the album, and can sometimes come in the form of a logo.
  • Copyright Information - Very important. Generally in a small serif font on the back cover. (P) means copyrighted sound recording. Certain things have to be mentioned as part of regulatory practice.
  • CD - In digipaks it can be either in a plastic tray, or in a sleeve. The actual CD often features imagery in a similar style to the rest of the album.
Joy Division - Unknown Pleasures (1979)
The above list is basically the essentials when making a digi-pak. After looking at the Joy Division digi-pak for Unknown Pleasures which actually broke many of the conventions and didn't even have the band name or album name on the front, we decided that we would follow suit by putting the barcode on a sticker, and putting it in side the album. That way it wouldn't distract from the artwork. Many of their other convention breakers we felt were suited to a vinyl release - so included them on our drafted vinyl of The Singles.

As an extra bonus we also added in a double sided poster and a bonus DVD featuring the "Disorder" music video and other bonus material. The poster was an alternative to the classic booklet design, but we felt breaking that convention would work well for a limited edition release - as shown by the re-release of Pearl Jam's Ten.

In this video (below) Callum and I take you through the contents of our digipak:


Advertisements
Advertisements, too, have their own codes and conventions. They can be a range of sizes such as double page, half page, quarter page, etc. This is often dependent on the size of the band/ company being advertised. As Joy Division are a fairly large band, with a substantial legacy we produced three different sized adverts that would feature throughout different magazines. Again we found advertisments generally included:
  • Band Name - Largest font on the page, often centered and at the top.
  • Name of Release - Second largest on the page, often the font is consistent throughout the whole advert.
  • Date of Release - Normally towards the bottom of the page.
  • Images (relevant to band) - either artwork, a photo of the band or the album cover.
  • Record label - Either a logo or simply named, this is often accompanied by a website address at the top or bottom of the advert.
Adverts are kept fairly simple for bands, especially ones like Joy Division who's key characteristic is minimalism. We tried more complicated variations, but they didn't have that distinctive Joy Division appearance that our final versions did.

Our functional QR code - Give it a try!
When researching advertisements we also came across the newly popular QR code. This code looks like a barcode and is often seen on print advertisements. When scanned using a smart-phone, it offers readers an exclusive offer or link of some sort. This was an idea adopted for our double-page spread, linking the viewer to the New Transmission Records official blog. We did this to help attract a more modern audience.

By keeping the adverts fairly simple, it creates an almost campaign style appeal to them. This is often seen by bands reforming or re-releasing to help create a hype about them. They often give the reader very little information, so they have to search the internet for it themselves. Thus the inclusion of the QR code is very useful for offering the reader the best of both worlds - Minimalism/hype but also the information can be accessed quickly using the code.



Summary
As we were targeting both youth and the original older Joy Division fans, we had to be careful when applying codes and conventions to our work. Whilst maintaining the classic Joy Division vibe completely, you wouldn't attract a huge amount of a younger audience, whilst going too far the other way would be hugely criticised by existing Joy Division fans. We had to stay close to the old style of the band, whilst breaking a few conventions to appeal to a younger audience. The feedback we had suggested we did this well. Breaking a few codes and conventions can be essential in making your product stand out among the rest.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Final Digipak Template





As an extra little bonus for you we've made this little video for you where we take you all the way from the original concept for the digipak, right through to the finished article. We also discuss our additional limited edition vinyl that we made. Enjoy.

Final Rough Cut

This is the final rough cut of our music video. With just a few changes left to make, the video is nearly complete. After making the necessary changes after the last audience feedback session, the below video was the outcome.



AUDIENCE FEEDBACK
- The 8mm footage works very well now. Perhaps try swap the Malham 8mm footage with the previous shot from that section.
- As mentioned before, just look for little opportunities to cut the video to the beat or lyrics. For example bringing in the woods section when the vocals come in.
- Look at the transitions again, use more cross fade dissolves to allow the cold turkey scene to bleed into the other locations.
- Try slow-mo the shot of the protagonist falling to his knees.
- The cold turkey scenes work much better now they are less frantic. Overlay now works well.
- At 1.32 there is a echoing sound. Switch the following shot to sync with this sound.
- As the character climbs at 2.36 he grins. Though this was intentional to signify a sense of relief, the preferred reading was no followed so to avoid confusion, cut this slight grin out.

Following this advice, we are now ready to create our final cut of the video. Stay tuned...

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

New Transmission Records - Website


We created a website for our record company "New Transmission Records". You can view that website by clicking here.

Websites are essential for companies (especially smaller ones) to get wide spread attention. As magazines and the printed media are declining, websites are becoming more and more important in helping attracting audiences. The internet offers companies the opportunity to advertise and vitally it's free if you use a hosting website such as Blogger like we have. Whole companies run off the internet completely - it can act in many ways as a shop.

For existing customers and fans, websites also feature additional information and insight into the chosen subject. Updating the website regularly helps keep followers interested. Likewise so does offering some sort of exclusive offers or content.

From a company's point of view, using a host such as Blogger can be very helpful. Blogger details the location of each viewer to the site and the most popular posts, which can be useful in helping a company establish more information on it's consumers.

I looked at a range of record label's websites before creating my blog. One that was particularly useful was that of Depeche Mode's label "Mute". There website (or blog) is currently temporary but this in itself was very useful to see how they approached creating a company using another host site (wordpress.com). Their website is divided into the sections: News, US News, Mute at Short Circuit, Releases, Events, Audio, Contact, Mute Song, Mute Bank and US Store.


As previously stated, this was my key influence when creating our company blog. I divided ours into the following sections; Home (News), History, Artists, Releases, Gallery, Videos, Shop, Contact Us. This was done using the "pages" option on Blogger. I felt it gave the blog or more realistic, website style of appeal.

The video below is myself taking you through the blog, discussing all of it's content. Enjoy!

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

The Editing Process [Group Diary]

Whilst we created our first few rough cuts of the music video, we as a group kept a diary of our progress. This was helpful as it allowed us to quickly see where we were up to in editing terms, what other group members had done, and organise our minds. It also detailed what we planned to do next, so we didn't have to try remember everything. It became vital for us, especially as using final cut was a new experience for us all. We also included how to do certain editing tools in case we forgot.  The below document is a typed up version of our trusty blue diary detailing the creations of rough cuts 1 and 2. Enjoy.

Editing Diary                                                                                                   

Monday, 21 February 2011

Music Video: Rough Cut 3

This latest rough cut is not too different from the previous. We added transitions and tightened up a few sections. We wanted more audience feedback before we did anything more substantial.


AUDIENCE FEEDBACK:
-Experiment with more overlaying and inter-cutting in the cold turkey scenes to emphasise the distress. This could work especially well towards the end of the video.
- Don't forget the 8mm footage - it could work really well in certain scenes.
- Transitions work well. The ghosting style in to the car park scene could be extended to flash on screen 4 times rather than the current twice.
- The first cold turkey scene shot of the wall appears almost like the floor. Try overlaying a different shot from the scene or just remove it.
- Try to cut a few shots to match the music more. For example at 0.29 this shot could come in a few seconds earlier when there is a "whoosh" sound.
- Look at the underpass scene again and just tighten up some the cutting to the beat. Possibly inter-cut another shot too?

Friday, 18 February 2011

Music Video: Rough Cut 2

Our second rough includes the cold-turkey, confined scene. We also experimented specifically for audience feedback by removing the 8mm footage as we are not sure whether to use it or not.



AUDIENCE FEEDBACK:
- Superb! This cut of the video was received very well by our audience, and we too agree that the video has stepped up a level.
- Callum was dubious about the shot on Malham Cove where our protagonist is laying down. He said it appeared "comical" which Jonny, Joel and thankfully(!) the audience completely disagreed with. So this shot will stay.
- The use of framing was particularly good.
- The audience wanted to see the 8mm footage again before they made any conclusive judgements on it. We will probably cut the same edit except with the 8mm included for comparison.
- The socio realist style is signified well and looks good.
- The divide on the split screen shot is not noticeable. Although as shown below some people were aware of this. We as the actual makers of the video can see the divide so will certaintly look into changing it.
- Use of HD cameras is to the full extent. Works very well on the underpass scene in particular.
- Experiment with cutting certain scenes to the beat (but don't over do it!).

From YouTube:
From Facebook:

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Music Video: Rough Cut 1

Our first rough cut does not include the cold turkey scene. Due to the amount of locations being used in our video, we wanted to make sure that the rest of the video flowed before over-complicating matters.



FEEDBACK:
Our own:
Callum - We should remove quite a bit from the woods section to allow more time for other scenes at later points.

Audience Feedback:
- Train scene is good but perhaps cut a bit more distance between the position of the train.
- 8mm footage works well in wide open spaces, but not particularly in more confined locations i.e the woods.
- If possible try a shot filmed from on the train as you go past the car park. Unfortunately this shot isn't really achievable, but we will look at alternatives.
- In the bedroom scene (which is yet to be included) experiment with overlaying of the same character (or different) and use editing to "ghost" them.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Original Photographs for Advert

We collected images on location for our advertisements. When taking the photos we had past Joy Division imagery in mind. And by this I mean not just imagery of the band themselves, but other artwork and posters that were created for them. We felt our photography should link in stylistically with the original Joy Division imagery. We made sure to take lots of photos so we can try out various things. We also had to bear in mind that we wanted to produce multiple adverts in 3 different sizes (double page spread, full page spread, half page spread). Depending on which size advert we were taking the photos for, we had to compose the photography to suit it. The below slideshow (created using Picasa) includes all of our original photographs from the shoots.

Original Photographs for Digipak

The below slideshow features all the photography collected for intended use on the front cover. Whilst taking the photos we took extra care to set up Joel and the background exactly as we wanted, so we actually had the original Touching From A Distance cover with us for reference. Just like when filming, it is essential to get "coverage" so we can have different choices for which image works best.
The front cover imagery was taken in Ilkley, and the back cover was photographed on top of Malham Cove.



This short video offers you an insight into the process of us taking the photos. Enjoy.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Call Sheets

Call Sheet - Day 1

Call Sheet - Day 2

Call Sheet - Day 3






Call Sheet - Day 4
Call Sheet - Day 5

Storyboarding & Animatic


To begin experimenting with how the shots will flow and the duration of each one, we felt it would be useful for us to adapt this storyboard into the form of an animatic.

Production Schedule

Friday, 28 January 2011

Cinematography, Lighting, Mise en Scene

Cinematography
We plan our video to be artistic in appearance. As has been said many times, our main influence is Anton Corbijn whose video are seen as highly sophisticated. We actually planned the concept before the actual song choice, so again the visuals are very important. We are intending a socio-realist style quality to the video.

Lens: We will experiment with the use of fish-eye lenses, as this is a quality often used by Corbijn. It creates a disorientated quality that would work well with our video.
Film Stock: Though our video is being filmed in HD, we also plan on using an 8mm iPhone app. This will take a bit of experimenting but could work very well (again it's a technique seen in Corbijn's work). It creates a gritty feel that we and Joy Division's music both signify. The 8mm look also gives it that indie film-maker appeal. The use of an iPhone shows a link between old and new media, which is vital for our work.
Filters: A black and white filter will be used. This signifies the work of both Corbijn and Joy Division. This has also been discussed in the previous post.
Snorricam: There's a whole post on this but I'll quickly recap it here. Auteurs such as director Darren Aronofsky are major fans of this film-making tool. It is essentially almost a reverse of a POV shot, looking back at the character's face directly. Again it creates a disorientating feel as well being great for capturing emotion.
Depth of field: We plan to vary the depth of field of shots in our video. Two of the key themes are confinement and isolation so clearly confinement is signified by tight framing in contrast to isolation being signified by wider framed shots. The use of both should create some striking visuals.
Camera movement: Again this is something that we will vary in the video. We plan some shots to be perfectly still whereas some more quick shots to be moving, and sometimes tracking the protagonist. Again this should keep the video interesting throughout. We also plan some shots to be hand-held which will again contrast, and are at this stage considering using a tripod dolly for certain scenes.

Lighting
Due to the fact that a lot of filming will be done outside, this is something we have little control over. For the best quality footage we will need brighter weather, and certainly not during the day. A lot of this will be about trial & error.
In the confined scene we can control the lighting. We plan to use either a lamp (flashing on and off) or a strobe light to create some very interesting visuals. This also signifies Ian Curtis' epilepsy. The flashing will also allow us to inter-cut to other shots from different angles.

Mise en Scene
As with the lighting mise-en-scene is something we can not really control ourselves. However there are certain things we will control.
The clothing of our main character is discussed a few posts previously. He will wear a grey overcoat, have black hair, smart trousers and shoes. This is intended to signify him as sharing similarities with the late Joy Division singer Ian Curtis.
Inside - In the cupboard will be nothing (apart from our protagonist) It hopefully won't even be recognisable as a cupboard, it's meant to signify just the confinement being felt. Here our character will not be wearing a shirt to signify his changing body temperature and also his fragility.
In the bedroom there will be little set dressing as little is required. We want our video to not look out of place with the original Joy Division video's so we want it to have a timeless quality. That means anything that could disrupt this signification will be removed from the shot - leaving a lot of it neutral.

Editing Style Notes

We are using Final Cut Express to edit our music video so there are no limitations in how we can edit our work. Our video will not require extremely complex editing, as the focus is more on the original footage and cinematography we have spent so long planning. That being said, there are certain editing techniques we know we will use in post-production.

Black & White: Taking influence from the work of Anton Corbijn, we will desaturate our music video. Black and white gives the intended timeless appeal, as well as helping signify the bleak moods of the song. To emphasise this editing, we will also probably boost the contrast of the video, especially in the cold turkey scenes. This will make the black and white more dynamic and strong, as well as linking back to classic Joy Division imagery.

Chroma Key: Chroma key is used to isolate one colour in a shot. We plan to use this on the first close up shot of the cigarette. Isolating the orange/red of the embers will create a striking appearance, and connote the importance of the cigarette.

Cutting (to the beat): The pace of the song is fairly fast so we will match this in terms of our shot durations. The pacing of the cold turkey scenes will be much faster than the rest in order to stand out, and as the song builds towards the end we can also user quicker cuts. The very end of the song will use slow, long takes. Where the are prominent instrumental riffs or strong drum beats, we can also match this to the editing so that they work together rather than being seperate to one another.

Multi-layering: This is another technique often used by Corbijn. It works most successfully when one shot is more of a close up and the other a wider frame. Overlaying the two with the opacity of the top layer reduced creates a nicer visual appeal to a shot that perhaps alone would have been boring. We have considered using this on the bridge scene to perhaps intercut other parts of the video, but also using it in the cold turkey scenes to make it more frantic in parts.

Split-Screen: We plan to use this on one particular shot of the protagonist looking out on to the road (in the bridge scene). Whilst the half with the character will play at normal speed, the other half will be sped up creating an almost timelapse style visual to the cars. It will make an interesting climax.

Transitions: Again we don't expect to use overly complex transitions in the video. From what we have seen of Final Cut, we expect to use lots of cross-fades, flash transitions, and the video will fade in and out. We are currently thinking the end will fade to white. From our research on music videos, especially this genre, we have seen that in general transitions are kept minimal, this is largely due to the fact they can slow down the pace of a music video, which is normally not the intention.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Casting

Our music video will only feature one character. This was our intentions from the very start of the planning process. Due to the themes of isolation and confinement being suggested by our video, using just one character will help emphasise this. It will also serve as a major advantage for us, as we have found when working on past projects that simply getting the whole cast & crew together for a shoot can be problematic. Working with one character will make this side of production much easier. Very helpfully, one of our group (Joel Colborne) has acting experience both in national television programmes (My Parents are Aliens) and also in my own EPQ project; "The Catcher in the Rye".
Ian Curtis

Very often band members star in even narrative music videos. Though we don't want (and can't for that matter) have a band member of Joy Division starring in our video, we want to signify similarities between the protagonist and the late Joy Division singer Ian Curtis.

The casting of Sam Riley as Ian Curtis in Anton Corbijn's Control was seen as a very successful one. This is both due to the likeness he shares with Curtis and also the excellence of his performance. This will be our main influence when signifying our protagonist's similarities to the singer. Though Riley was unknown at the time, Corbijn cast him due to his resemblence to the singer to the fine detail that he opted to choose Riley over more widely known actor Cillian Murphy because Murphy was "a little shorter than Ian". Whereas Corbijn could reflect on his past meetings with Curtis, we will have to look at existing interpretations by actors of the singer.

Our protagonist must be signified as a drug addict as well bearing resemble to Ian Curtis. We had key characteristics in mind when choosing our actor:

- They must have black hair. We are editing in black and white, and dark hair will have much more of a dramatic visual effect than lighter tones.
- They will have to smoke or be comfortable with smoking. Due to the timescale of our shoot and the amount of locations we will film at, our actor will have to go through a large amount of cigarettes.
- Be fairly thin and weak (no offence!). To signify the heroin addiction we don't want a character who looks like he spends all of his time working out at the gym.We want a character who looks weak and tired in appearance.
- Be young. We are aiming to bring Joy Division to a new audience. Very often the characters in music videos signify the target market for the band.

So how did Control do it?
As previously mentioned, the film Control will be a major influence on our signification of Ian Curtis, along with photographs of the singer.
Costume
- A long, grey overcoat. Curtis' coat was so iconic that NME labelled the whole Manchester scene "grey overcoat music". This is an essential piece of clothing to help instantly draw comparisons.
- Smart, plain trousers. Curtis often wore very smart trousers which were pulled high around his waist. Our protagonist will wear plain, dark jeans which when put in black and white will appear very smart. Skinny jeans will also help target a younger audience.
- A scarf. Joy Division's music has a very dark, cold theme to it. Our music video will share these themes, so any attempt to make the video seem cold and harsh will help signify their sound.
- Black leather shoes. Another choice of clothing often worn by Curtis. Ours will wear black pumps, though in the woods will have to wear Nike shoes due to the conditions and frailty of pumps. This should be okay though if framed properly.
- A cigarette in hand. Ian Curtis smoked so relentlessly to the extent that he stole money from his own wife. We want to signify this in our video, so a cigarette will be shown very often. It is also a slight way to signify the concept of addiction.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Locations