Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Assignment 3: Filming

The next stage of our music video project is filming the video.

This is where all of our planning has been leading and it is absolutely crucial that you film lots of high-quality shots that give you plenty of options when it comes to editing.

Music video filming: top tips

1) Listen: you need to know the song inside out so listen to it again and again while planning and shooting.

2) Lighting: the right setting is important but lighting can make or break a music video. Plan it carefully.

3) Performance: you don’t need brilliant actors but the performance style has to match the song.

4) Shoot to edit: you need to shoot enough video so you have options when editing. Capture everything on your shot list and don’t delete anything.

Raising the level of your camerawork and editing

If you want to reach A* in your music video then you'll need to show creativity and flair in your camerawork and editing. Indeed, it's important that you're already thinking about the editing while you film your video. This video is a great introduction to different types of editing - and there are plenty of other tutorials available from the same YouTube channel - RocketJump Film School

Use tutorials, examples and your very detailed shot list to make sure you film everything you need.


If you have your own camera or a high-quality phone with plenty of storage, you should use your own equipment. This will give you maximum flexibility.

We will only sign out a camera to students who have completed ALL research and planning tasks.

Please note school cameras are signed out to be returned next working day:

Tuesday > Wednesday
Friday > Monday
Friday end of half-term > first day back at school

Filming deadline: week commencing Monday 6 November 

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Research and planning: Pre-production

The final aspect of your Assignment 3 Research and Planning is pre-production.

This is the planning, sketching and drafting that you must complete before picking up a camera and filming your music video.

In your group OR individually, you need to complete the following planning:

1) Lyric annotations
2) Storyboard
3) Shotlist
4) Mise-en-scene planning

You need a minimum of 3 pages EACH. You CANNOT put any work in your folder that has been created by someone else in your group.

1) Lyric annotation

  • This is brilliant way of developing the ideas from your treatment. You can pick out certain words or sections of the song and plan the shots and editing that would fit best. 
  • Make sure you use a clean or radio edit version of the lyrics - you won't be able to submit non-clean versions to the exam board AQA.
  • Simply find the clean version lyrics on Google, copy and paste them into Word and then plan the shots, action and locations line-by-line.

2) Storyboard
  • Use the skills you have already developed in Assignment 2.
  • Create a visual ‘feel’ for what you want your music video to look like – you won’t be able to storyboard every shot.
  • Use a wide variety of creative shots and draw them accurately.
  • Aim for somewhere between 5-15 frames (depending on whether you are working individually or in a group).
  • Make sure you write text in the right-hand boxes explaining the type of shot (must be accurate), camera movement and sound (which line of the song the shot goes with).

3) Shot list

  • The shot list is the single most important pre-production document – you will tick off each shot while shooting.
  • Remember, you will shoot far more than you actually use - which means a variety of shots for each event or location in the music video.
  • Due to this, there will be far more shots on the shot list than in the storyboard.
  • You will need at least one shot for every second of the track you have chosen - so the shot list will contain 180+ shots.
  • The most important shot type to plan is close-ups. Ideally, you should have one close up every three shots. That means 60+ close-ups planned in your shot list!

4) Mise-en-scene planning

  • This document involves all the planning for anything appearing in front of the camera. Remember CLAMPS: Costume, Lighting, Actors (cast), Make-up, Props, Setting.
  • Use images to show you have planned each aspect of mise-en-scene (phone pictures/ Google images/ Google maps are all acceptable here).

The deadline for all your research and planning will be set by your teacher - it depends on your year group and timetable. 

IMPORTANT: you cannot sign out a camera for filming unless everyone in your group has completed ALL research and planning documents.

Media Awards 2017: THE NOMINATIONS

The nominations are in for the Media Awards 2017!

With the ceremony just two weeks' away, these are the films and music videos that will be battling it out for a prestigious Greenford High School Media Award. The quality level at both GCSE and A Level was exceptionally high and it has been an extremely difficult process narrowing down the nominations for our Oscars-style event.

Tickets will go on sale on Monday 9 October priced £4 for early bird tickets and £5 in the week of the Awards. Be quick - the event sold out in just three days last year!

A Level nominations

Best Year 12 Original Screenplay
Out of Mind 
Nowy Poczatek

Best Year 12 Production Design
Voice of the Void
Nowy Pockzatek

Best Year 12 Dialogue/Voiceover

Best Year 12 Cinematography 
Voice of the Void

Best Year 12 Sound Design
Voice of the Void 
Out of Mind

Best Year 12 Film Editing

GCSE nominations

Best GCSE Cinematography
Take a Bow – Shanella Dammanpilage Done
Earthquake – Ahmed Hassan
Unfaithful – Blaise Marden

Best GCSE Music Video Concept
Radioactive – Tyler-Jade Kelly
Don’t – Shabd Magon
Mrs Potato Head – Areej Mehdi

Best GCSE Production Design
Unfaithful – Blaise Marden
Mrs Potato Head – Areej Mehdi
Wolves – Annya Ranshi

Best GCSE Editing
Symbolism – Mariam Ahmadyar
Untitled – Kacper Ikwanty
Party – Shahir Joian

Best Actress/Actor

Gifty Kumi – Unstable
Sophie Robertson – Out of Mind
Nasteha Mohamed – Approval
Abdullah Al-Fadhli – Click
Mr Mather – Training
Hussein Hamume – Click

Congratulations to all our nominees and we look forward to seeing you at the Media Awards on Tuesday 17 October!

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Exemplar Planning

Wings by Birdy


Sunlight comes creeping in
Illuminates our skin
We watch the day go by
Stories of all we did
It made me think of you
It made me think of you
Under a trillion stars
We danced on top of cars
Took pictures of the stage
So far from where we are
They made me think of you
They made me think of you
Oh lights go down
In the moment we're lost and found
I just wanna be by your side
If these wings could fly
For the rest of our lives
I'm in a foreign state
My thoughts they slip away
My words are leaving me
They caught an aeroplane
Because I thought of you
Just from the thought of you
Oh lights go down
In the moment we're lost and found
I just wanna be by your side
If these wings could fly
Oh damn these walls
In the moment we're ten feet tall
And how…

Image result for birdyImage result for birdy
Birdy is 21 years old. She is English and comes from a wealthy family. She  won a singing competition, open mic, at 12 years old and started off releasing cover songs. Birdy is the music industry’s antidote to the commercial, superhuman likes of Taylor Swift, Katy Perry and Rihanna. She travels unnoticed on the Tube, is thinking of signing up for sketching classes in London, regularly queues up at McDonald’s (she has a weakness for McChicken sandwiches) and roots through vintage stores unaided by any celebrity stylist. Her stage name is a nick name from her parents.


Target audience demographics for Birdy:

·                     Alternative music/rock/indie/folk fans. 
·                     Age range 15-30 but largely 16-25.
·                     More females than males (70/30). 
·                     Largely white British race/ethnicity.
·                     Largely middle class ABC1 demographic. 
·                     Likely to be educated at least to A Level with 60% at university or degree educated.
·                     Earnings above average and likely to do or have ambitions to do a degree-level job.
·                     Likely to live in towns and cities but not exclusively.
·                     Happy adopting new technology and regularly uses social networking sites and the internet.

Brands/lifestyle for Birdy fans:

·                     Very likely to own an Apple product/mp3 player and take their music seriously. Almost certainly owns a smart phone but could be Samsung or Apple.
·                     Enjoys a drink – likely to be beer or wine.
·                     Self expressive- likes to dress individually and visit vintage stores
·                     Sony audio/visual products.
·                     Red Bull.
·                     Jack Daniels.
·                     Levis.
·                     NME or Q magazine. Niche magazines.
·                     Probably be in a romantic relationship.
·                     Sky Atlantic, Netflix and Amazon Prime subscribers.
·                     Interested in singer/songwriters and emerging new talent.
·                     May also be fans of Mumford and Sons, Bon Iver, The Lumineers, Laura Marling.

Watch the original Birdy Video and note how the props / visuals link to the lyrics:

When the lyrics read ‘sunlight illuminates our skin’, there is a close up shot of the singer with sunlight reflected on her face. The video is a concept video, with the performance element introduced through fancy dress costumes and dream-like figures dancing and performing in a forest environment. This setting complements the ethereal, dream-like sound of the music. The artist appears in the narrative but she does not involve herself with the other people, therefore making her stand out amongst them. There is juxtaposition between close ups of her lying on the bed looking sad, and dramatic scenes such as people riding horses which matches the more dramatic beats. The smoke and colours are edited to the beat.

Now watch the A Level student version of the Birdy video and note how the props / visuals link to the lyrics: 
The video opens with a shot of a little girl staring at a grave in a graveyard. This suggests that the song is going to be slow and emotional. The song lyrics are about losing and finding someone and this person has interpreted that into a narrative about a little girl whose father has passed away and she is remembering the good times they shared together. A buried pot signifies the memories they shared. The use of the narrative is juxtaposed with the artist (singer) in the field lip-synching and this implies that she is the grown up girl represented by the younger actress in the memory scenes. Numerous close ups of the objects that mean something to the girl show the link between the little girl and her father and this is also reinforced by the close up of them holding hands. The emphasis is on ‘the rest of our lives’ as the girl will have the memory of her father with her forever. The location is mostly outside in a field and in the wood as this represents where she walked with her father and felt closest to him. 

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Research and Planning: Audience

You need to complete THREE pages of work to cover audience research and planning. These are worth five marks in total so it's important to make sure they are detailed and creative.

You'll find notes from our original lessons on audience demographics here.

1) Target Audience. ONE page on Microsoft Word listing your chosen band/artist's target audience demographics (bullet points) and brands your audience enjoys. 


Target audience demographics for Kings of Leon:
  • Alternative music/rock/indie fans. 
  • Age range 15-45 but largely 16-30.
  • Slightly more males then females (60/40). 
  • Largely white British race/ethnicity.
  • Largely middle class ABC1 demographic. 
  • Likely to be educated at least to A Level with 60% at university or degree educated.
  • Earnings above average and likely to do or have ambitions to do a degree-level job.
  • Likely to live in towns and cities but not exclusively.
  • Happy adopting new technology and regularly uses social networking sites and the internet.

    Brands/lifestyle for Kings of Leon fans:
    • Very likely to own an Apple product/mp3 player and take their music seriously. Almost certainly owns a smart phone but could be Samsung or Apple.
    • Enjoys a drink – likely to be beer rather than wine. 
    • Sony audio/visual products.
    • Red Bull.
    • Jack Daniels.
    • Levis.
    • NME or Q magazine.
    • Sky Atlantic.
    • May also be fans of Biffy Clyro, Florence and the Machine, MGMT, Kasabian, Foo Fighters and Muse.

    2) Audience Profile. ONE page on Adobe Photoshop presenting your target audience and brand choices in a stylish graphical collage.

    Create an A4 Audience Profile in Photoshop for your band/artist.

    Your Audience Profile needs to include the following:

    1) Band/artist logo or graphic
    2) Demographic breakdown of target audience
    3) Lifestyle statements that the target audience would agree with
    4) Collage of brands/items that your target audience would use or enjoy

    Use this NME example to help you.

    3) Focus group write up. ONE page on Microsoft Word explaining FIVE comments you have received about your video idea and how you will change/develop it based on your feedback.

    You need to conduct some audience research with another individual/group in the class. This is called a focus group and you then write up the feedback you get to help target your audience and refine your music video concept. You will be given lesson time to do this - exact time specified by your teacher.


    Kings of Leon: Beautiful War

    Music video concept
    Three locations for this slow, atmospheric song. One: walking in slow motion by River Thames at dusk/late afternoon looking moody. Two: drama studio, blacked out, single spotlight, singing track. Three: bedroom – super slow motion black and white pillow fight between boy and girl as song reaches crescendo.

    Five comments I received about this concept
    1) The locations sounds good but need to make sure the time of day and weather/lighting is appropriate for filming this type of video.
    2) This wouldn't appeal to all teenagers but more young people into emo or alternative lifestyles or skateboarding should like it.
    3) You will need to make sure the drama studio doesn't look like a drama studio or this will kill the overall effect of the video.
    4) The super slow motion sounds great but would a pillow fight work with the song? Perhaps think of a different idea or something else/another location to film in slow motion.
    5) For this type of music an extra location with a band playing might be a good key convention to include in a rock music video.

    How I will use this feedback to change/develop my idea:
    • For the river location, we will book a camera for the weekend so we have two days of potential filming for that part of the video - and also check the weather forecast first. We also need to check what time the sun sets at this time of year.
    • Our target audience is teenagers who enjoy the emo/alternative lifestyle so this video should fit in well.
    • The drama studio will not be visible in shot - it will just be a spotlight in black and white and shot in close up so there isn't anything to see in the background. Framing this shot will be very important though and making sure the lighting is right.
    • We will consider changing the pillow fighting scene to something else although it's difficult to think of a location or activity that would work well in super slow motion and also be available to film. 
    • We have considered having a band playing the song but don't have the location and equipment so will stick with the singing in a spotlight to make sure we've got a performance element in the video. 

    Focus group instructions
    1) Pair up with another group/individual.
    2) One group pitches their idea and target audience.
    3) The other group offers feedback: FIVE specific comments (these can follow WWW/EBI format).
    4) Swap around and repeat.

    Next, in Microsoft Word,  produce a one-page write-up of your focus group discussion.

    Include the following:

    1) Your chosen artist and song.
    2) Your music video treatment summarised in one paragraph.
    3) The feedback you received from another group 
    4) What you plan to change/develop in terms of your video idea as a result of your audience research

    Aim for around 250 words in total - no more than one page of A4.

    You must finish these THREE audience research and planning tasks for homework. Due: Next Thursday.

    Monday, September 18, 2017

    Music video treatment: task

    You now need to finalise your group and choose the song you will use. Once you've done this, brainstorm ideas for your music video and then write a treatment planning exactly what you are going to film. 

    A reminder of the three main types of music video:
    • Performance
    • Narrative
    • Visual effects

    This online Powerpoint of music video key conventions may help you plan your video.

    Remember the songs you can choose to use are as follows:
    • College – A Real Hero
    • Clean Bandit – Rather Be ft. Jess Glynne
    • Woodkid – Run Boy Run
    • M.I.A. – Paper Planes
    • Sam Smith – Stay With Me (Rainer + Grimm Remix)
    • Bastille – Of The Night
    • American Authors – Best Day Of My Life
    • The White Stripes – Seven Nation Army
    • Coldplay – A Sky Full Of Stars
    • Frank Ocean – Thinking About You
    • The Script – Hall Of Fame
    If you have a specific idea that requires a different song you can pitch this to your Media Studies teacher and see if they agree. If your song choice is approved, you will need to bring your own copy of the song (in WAV, mp3 or mp4 format).

    Use this music video treatment template to document your planning - this needs to be printed and put in your coursework folder when it is complete.

    This is a vital part of your 12 pages of planning and you should make sure your treatment is detailed but no longer than two pages of A4 on Microsoft Word.

    Your music video treatment is due next week - exact day set by your Media teacher.

    Music video treatment: notes

    At the beginning of every music video project, there is a need to work with the artist to define a desired treatment. A video treatment, also known as video concept, outlines information with regards to what the music video will be about.

    Conceptually, a music video could show the artist performing the song in front of a live audience or by itself; alternatively, a music video can also present a story line where certain situations and storytelling takes place. Furthermore, it can also be an experimental exercise where random images are shown to complement the music in a more abstract way. All of these angles constitute the treatment, or concept, of a music video.

    Music video treatment: essential planning

    However, a video treatment goes beyond this exercise of defining the overall direction of the video. The treatment goes down to describe the kind of locations, situations, stories, images, look and feel, tone and colour, pacing and so on of the music video. Even though most treatment writers don't follow specific guidelines or structures, a well written treatment is one that can successfully communicate complete ideas to artists.

    Summarising, a music video treatment is the starting point of every project. It allows the production company to communicate its ideas to the artists and it allows artists to make decisions regarding the direction of their video. The treatment also helps production companies to write production budgets that are accurate and that give artists a complete view of what to expect when embarking on the production of their music video.

    Source: Creando Music Video Production

    Example music video treatment
    Alt-J: Breezeblocks by Ellis Bahl 

    Three shots, slow motion, played in reverse.

    Cool tones. Blues and Whites.

    Scene 1: A man sits on the floor of a bathroom, head in hands.

    The camera moves to the bathtub, the water is running, a fully clothed woman lies submerged, a breezeblock on her stomach. Her hair floats on top of the water, hiding her face. Blood slowly runs backwards into her head. The man gets up and the breezeblock bounces up off the woman's head and into his hands. He puts it on the ground next the the tub. The two of them scuffle.

    Scene 2: They sprint backwards down the hallway. Her in front, him in back. (he's chasing her) They backwards fight through a flat. They unshatter dishes and bookshelves stand up with books placing themselves back into order as they reverse fight their way through the apartment.

    Scene 3: They make their way towards the front door. A knife flies off the floor and into the woman's hand. The man grapples with her. He turns away from her and she recedes into the shadows. 

    The man looks down into a cupboard. ANOTHER woman is tied up and sucking in a scream. Her eyes close. They kiss. They stop and the man slaps ducktape over her mouth. He closes the door. He walks backwards, flips the lights off and exits out the front door.

    The woman with the knife returns and opens the cupboard. The tied up woman's eyes are filled with terror. The knife woman says something. "I think I'll have a bath while we wait for your Husband to get home. You don't mind, do you?"