Monday, 26 March 2012

Main Task: Evaluation Final

Question one: In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?

For my A level media coursework I created 3 pages for a music magazine which consist of a front cover, a double page spread and a contents page. This was for my final piece. I done research on my audience, publishing houses, the genre I chose and what my audience think should be included in my magazine. I also done a few sketches before I produced  my final piece. 

I have looked at many different magazines’ front covers and compared it to my own front cover. For my front page, my masthead sits on top of my characters head just like Trace magazine. 

I had to place my masthead above my characters head because her jet black hair blended into the background so this made it difficult for me to use the quick selection tool to crop her head and place it on top of “Soulitude” like I have shown in one of my mock ups.
My main cover line is at the bottom of my front page, on top of my main image. The main image for my magazine is a medium close up just like Trace magazine, I chose to do this because neo soul is more about the inner being which contrasts with other genres like modern hip hop where it is more about body figure and how sexy one is. Trace magazine’s main cover line is more positioned in the middle of the page. The font for my main cover line is not from photoshop but from a website where you can download fonts called Both magazines’ main images are mid shots. My magazine has four other cover lines; Trace magazine has more negative space where there is no text. My selling line and Trace magazine’s selling line both sits underneath the masthead. Both products use a bar code with parallel lines although mine is not on my left third like Trace magazine.
I have included many other images on my contents page just like Vibe and many other music magazine contents pages. 
Both magazines include a smaller masthead/logo. My images are all aligned on the left hand side whereas Vibe magazine’s photos are positioned on both sides.  I did this because I couldn’t make all of my images the same proportion because some of them ended up stretched length ways and width ways; this could cause me to lose marks. Aligning all of my images to one side made it easier for me to place my text in a spacious space of my magazine contents page.  I have included a white background just like the Vibe magazine contents page; this was done so that my reader can concentrate on the text of my contents page. My contents page has columns for my articles which is different to Vibe magazines contents page as it does not include columns for its articles. A way in which my contents page challenges the conventions is by only using two columns; one column for pictures and one for my text. My headlines are a different colour, a different font and a different size to my sub-lines. My main image is larger than the other images on my contents page and my images also have page numbers which Vibe magazine has not included. For my colour scheme I have brought in the green, black and white from the front page although I think I may have brought in too much white. I have a smaller masthead at the top of the page right next to the page title; Vibe magazine has also done this, except their small logo is at the bottom of the page.

Instead of putting my quote in between my text columns like many DPS (such as RWD magazine), I placed my quote on my main image.
I have also positioned my main image on the left side but RWD magazine has positioned their main image on the right hand side. My media product has two columns just like RWD’s double page spread. I have included a drop capital in my stand first unlike RWD. My subject’s name is very bold and visible; it is tucked behind my characters head. RWD magazine does not have a dominating subject name on its double page spread. RWD and my magazine both have page numbers on the bottom corner of the pages. The subject of my magazine and RWD magazine are both on the text dominated page on top of the stand first. Just like RWD, my main image dominates one whole page but I challenge the conventions as my other image dominates the other side of my double page spread and is the same size as my main image, however I made my other image less visible by adjusting the opacity; this allows the focus to be on my main image. My main image is asymmetrical as my character is unevenly balanced in the medium close up. The by-line for my double page spread sits at the bottom of my main image. The colour scheme of my double page spread is black, green and white although I have coloured images which differentiates from RWD as their double page spread is black & white which includes a black and white image.

Question Two: How does your media product represent particular social groups?
The audience for my music magazine represents the people who listen to neo soul and follow that sub culture of people.
The neo soul culture is full of passion and love, so to represent this I told my model to pose in a fierce but seductive way for my contents page. This resembles The Floacist’s (who is a neo soul lyricalist) pose.

My coverline, headline and photo about hair represent the essence and importance of hair with the neo soul culture as hair which has not been chemically changed also know as “natural hair” is a really important asset to neo soul. 

I have used the leaf paint brush of my front cover and my contents page; this represents the natural and authentic side of neo soul. 

I photographed my model as she was singing. The way she was singing was very powerful which made the picture look very soulful. This is a representation of how neo soul artist like to sing from within.

However I believe that I have not included all groups from the neo soul genre as my magazine happens to be very feminine considering my colour scheme and my coverlines. The soft pastel yellows which I have used are very warm and feminine. The soft autumn colours which I used for the leaves are also ladylike. My cover lines would appeal to females as they’re mostly about woman topics. The sections of my magazine which may be suitable for males is the emerald green I have used for some of my text because darker colours are the colours which are more associated with males. On my front cover, the cover line which could link to males is the one about “Common” as he is a male hip-hop and neo soul artist.  This therefore excludes the male neo soul audience and focuses on a female audience from age 18 – 30. My magazine may also only cater for a black audience as this is a well known and respected genre for black people. None of my models used in my magazine happen to be non-black due to neo soul being a genre in the black market.

Question Three: What kind of media institution might distrubute your media product and why?
A media institution which might distribute my media product could be a corner shop or a record store located in an urban black populated area.
 This is because my magazine is mostly targeted at a black audience, therefore if my magazine was to be distributed in a highly populated white are then it will not make enough sales.

Another media institution which might distribute my magazine might be HMV.
HMV concentrates one many different genres for films and CDs, one of the genres being soul. This means that a consumer who is interested in soul music could come into the store and purchase my magazine.

A media company which may publish my magazine could be Music Mags.

This is because they distribute magazines linked to music. The magazines which they publish are instrument/equipment based and also music genre based. For and example, they publish a magazine called “EQ” which is for musical tools like amplifiers, they also publish a magazine called “Jazz Times” which focuses on the jazz genre.

Question Four:  Who would be your audience for your media product?
My music magazine has been targeted at an audience who are interested in the neo soul music genre. No matter their gender or race, as long as they're interested in neo soul then they're welcome to read it. However it is more focussed on 18 year olds and upwards; this is due to some of the content which will be in my magazine. "The Love Sista" is not really appropriate to an audience under the age of 18 as it is about cheating partners and they would have not had a proper experience of being in a relationship. However under 18 year olds can also relate to other articles in the magazine which are in my main features like “album chart”.

Question Five: How did you address/target your audience?
 I believe that my magazine targets/addresses a neo soul audience through many ways.
A way which it targets my audience is through my main subject costume. My character is wearing a top made from traditional West African material called “kente”. African fabrics were very common during the 90’s in the neo soul genre. Artists like Erykah Badu used to wear oversized turbans made from African material.
I have also used a script font for my masthead and cover lines. The script fonts have the connotation that neo soul is romantic, ambient and calm which is true and people who show interest towards the genre will view the link as suitable.

 Another way which my magazine addresses a neo soul audience is through the afro comb margins which I used on my contents page. This afro comb is a Ghanaian Akan symbol  called “duafe” which means wooden comb.
I have also included a coverline on the front cover which is linked to natural hair and on my contents page I have included a photo of hair products. This links to my audience as hair plays an important part of neo soul. Artists like Marsha Ambrosius and Maxwell are artists who inspire the neo soul industry with their tresses.

I have used a pun for magazine name/masthead. I have changed the word “solitude” into “Soulitude”.  I added the word “soul” to “solitude; this is because there are many puns in the lyrics and albums of neo soul artists. For an example, Erykah Badu mixed the word “Buddhism” with her name to make it “Baduizm” for her album. 

 For my selling line, I have put my definition of “soulitude”. I chose this as a definition because “solitude” means silent and tranquillity which links to the genre of music as neo soul is a very calmed down genre which does not consist of heavy guitars but mostly a soothing voice, percussion instruments and pianos. 

The colour scheme of my double page spread addresses my audience as the green and white resemble the flag of the West African country Nigeria, and the black & green are two out of the four pan African colours.
My characters costume also consists of beads with an African shaped pendant. This relates to a neo soul audience as they strongly believe in black power and Africanism. 

I have used basic level English in my magazine but I have also tried to include longer and more complicated words like “peculiar”, “concubine”, “regimen”, “immaculate” and a few more. I did this because the lyrics too many neo soul songs are rather complicated and the artist uses many metaphors and similes to describe a feeling or a person/object. 
The cover lines on my front page attract my audience as they mention neo soul artist’s names like Nneka and Common.  This was done so that my reader will automatically know that the magazine will be on soul music by looking at the front cover alone. 

Question six: Have you learnt about technologies from the process of constructing this product?
I have learnt many new technologies during the process of creating my magazine.
 I learnt how to use a Canon E0S 400D digital SLR camera and how to hold it. I used this camera to take all of the photos which are of my cover girl. For the rest of my photos I used my Samsung ST70 compact digital camera.
To create the pages of my magazine I used Adobe Photoshop cs3. I learnt so many new things by using the photoshop software. 

One of the things which I learnt was how to get the colour I wanted by using the eye dropper tool. The eye dropper tool helped me to choose the accurate colour shade which I wanted from the spectrum. This was used to select many colours for my magazine, for an example orange fold on my double page spread which is the same colour as my main subject’s attire. 
I also learnt how to use the brush tool. The paint brush was used to create the leaves on my contents page and my front cover, it was also used so that I could write my signature in my editors note. Through the paintbrush tool, I found out about different shapes that I could get from the brush. 
I found out how to change the colour of rasterized shapes/layers by double clicking my layer to change the style, then going to the “colour overlay” option.
This was used to change colour of some of the combs used for the margins of my contents page.

Through the opacity tool, I learnt how to fade my layers.  I done this on the text dominated side of my double page spread to allow my other image to be visible however not catching more attention than my main image.

I also used the transform tool. This taught my how to change the scale of my pictures and my shapes. It also helped me to rotate my layers. I found a shortcut on how to transform which was by pressing the CTRL button and the letter T at the same time. This saved my the hastle of going though all of the tabs.  

I learnt how to add a stroke to my layers via the layer style option. The stroke gave my text an outline in a different colour. This technique was used on my masthead and on a few elements on my double page spread.

The rulers and guide lines taught me how to have a neat and consistant text allingnment. I used this for all of my pages to avoid my layers from being cut of the edges and being unevenly balanced. 

I used the magnetic lasso tool on photoshop  to draw around my subjects head, and then I copied and pasted my selected section so that the text will be behind her head. 

For some of my fonts, I went on to download different fonts for my magazine as  photoshop did not have enough to fully express my chosen music genre. What I learnt from this website is that I can find many more fonts to match what my topic is. I also learnt that I could download fonts from other sources onto photoshop.

Question seven: Looking back at the preliminary task what do you feel you have learnt in the progression from it to a full product?
Looking back ay college magazine I feel that I have learnt many things which helped me to create my final music magazine. I learnt new skills on how to use photoshop at a more advanced instead of basic level.

I learnt about the alignment of my conventions and applied it to my music magazine. Also when taking my photos I had a small sample of people to include in my magazine and I also did not have enough time to pick their costumes and props. I told my cover girls a week in advance what to wear for her costume before I took the the photos for the music magazine. The photos for my college magazine were taken in public college corridors, as for my music magazine I took those photos in studios and in my bedroom.  
I learnt how the use of font can have a huge impact on what your magazine is about. I didn’t take much care of my college magazine and I picked any font; now I look back at it, the magazine looks too basic compared to my music magazine.
A problem which I encountered on making my college magazine was the exposure when taking pictures as it was a really sunny day. I solved this problem by adjusting the camera's ISO settings.
I got the ideas for the outcome of my college magazine through existing student magazines like "Carmel Up Close" and also through my mock ups. This helped me to decide my layouts, my colour schemes and the type of camera shot I should use for my front cover.
I didn't use any props when taking my photos for my college magazine due to the limited time I had. I used a bongo drum and a microphone for my music magazine as props. The microphone was to represent vocals and the drum was to represent a common instrument from Africa used for neo soul instrumentals. However, I cut the bongo drum out of the photo so that I could make enough space to put my masthead above my character. 
original photo
drum cropped out

I referred back to my mock up sketches when creating my final pieces. The layouts are rather identical but the colour scheme changed as it was not legiable or didn't look as I imagined it to look.

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