Absynth - One More Time


Album Cover

Friday, 16 December 2011


THIS BLOG IS NOW CLOSED! I'll remember the good times and the bad, goodbye media coursework forever!!



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Thank you for taking the time to look at my blogs, I hope you can see the effort I have put in and enjoy seeing my work.

My blog is linked to the group blog and you can get from my individual blog to the group blog by following the link on the right hand sidebar. I have also included the links to my group member's blogs (Alex Thoupos, Jess Rich and Narishma Poonwasie). There is also a link for the class blog called Latymer Media Music Video Blog, which is linked to everyone's work.

On my individual blog you will find all of my individual research, initial ideas and planning prior to when we got together as a group,as well as my video diaries and some production logs. You can also look at my work from the preliminary task, including the final video, reflections on the development of the project as it progressed and my answers to the evaluation questions.   Both the groupo and individuals blogs are home to research/planning and production posts. Please use the labels to naviagate between them. I have tried to be very visual in my presentation, with lots of videos and images throughout my work.

Planning the dance routine

We plan to have a complicated dance routine for the first 40seconds of our music video.

Some of the videos which influenced our routine were


Production Log

To accompany, my video diarys I have written a conclusion to my events.

The Production Process: Shoot Summary

Due to us shooting in and around the school area, we ended up having multiple shorter shoots, many of which were planned at very short notice in lesson time. However, we ensured that these were arranged with the technician and teachers, as well as being thoroughly planned. Most of these shoots were concluded in my video diary entries; however, here is a summary of them now.

Alex's House + Cycling Shoot #1

Alex and I realised that we had free periods and media all morning so we asked permission to film, this was fine and the sequence at his house between 09:00 - 13:00 with over 40minutes of footage. We planned to shoot the underground shots on this shoot however, due to our perfectionist nature we decided mid morning that we would rather make sure the house shots were perfect. These were to make up 20 seconds of our sequence.

This went well and we were very time efficient, shots included the Panda jumping out of bed, dancing around his room and the bathroom shots. We also tested shots which we though of on the spot, including doing various exercises which forced us to carry a large mirror to my room to do over the shoulder shots.

We generated enough time to shoot a variety of cycling shots throughout High Barnet. We shot the Panda taking the bike, racing through the park, down muddy hills and staircases and cycling all around High Barnet and down the High Street. Opportunistic Shots occured, which included shooting the Panda cycling down an alleyway, entering the 'Panda Cafe', busking at the front ofBarnet Spires shopping centre. We also attempted the greggs scene after finding a branch of the bakery, however decided the subsequent footage was not suitable.

This shoot kickstarted our production; I was very happy to have finally got some footage done, after the setbacks of the previous shoot and was very proud of my performance as the Panda, co-directing with Alex despite being in the suit.

Underground Shoot #2

The next day I realised that I still had a camera with me and realised that the week would effectively be wasted if we didn’t have footage to edit, losing a week of valuable production time. Narishma was away that weekend and Jess and I decided that having three people on a shoot was impractical so she focused her attention to planning the rest of the video. Therefore, me and Alex conducted another shoot alone. This time through the London Underground which lasted an unexpected four hours. We decided to film externally at Belsize park as we decided that my local stations were a bit grotty and Alex’s were outside based. Furthermore, we had seen the location worked well in Coldplay’s paradise video, and using google street view we familiarised ourselves with the area. Even though this was only 1 shot, it was important the location was right.

While receiving a huge number of important tube shots, we also managed to film the Panda purchasing a newspaper and also taking photos with local tourists. We filmed various entrance/establishing shots, train shots, platform shots, train entrance/exit shots, in carriage shots and what took the longest was filming the escalator shots. The most time consuming shot was a planned escalator shot. This took about 10 takes, the idea was I rode down the escalator while Alex rode up it and waved to the camera side on when we passed each other. In the end we didn’t even use this shot but it was pretty fun anyway! On the whole I found this shoot the most fun, we rode up and down the northern line for 4 hours, dancing, slouching and sulking, receiving the dirtiest looks from fellow train users! Once again Alex filmed while I was the panda, in all honesty this was one of the most memorable days of my life.

After the shoot we noticed that twitter was full of people tweeting about us and how they saw a Panda on the Tube! This illustrates the huge developments in Social Media, as our shoot became global within hours. The following images illustrate this, and you can see Alex with the camera!

Bush Hill/Greggs Shoot/Bus Stop/Rose shoot #3

This shoot took place the two days after the underground one and was divided into a morning shoot, and an afternoon one. Once again I was the panda and Alex and Jess had filming duties. We filmed shots of me dancing in Bush Hill and in front of the shops, we also filmed various shots in Greggs, which included the Panda entering Greggs, purchasing food, exchanging money with the cashier, looking at Cakes as well as close up. Despite being in the suit I was the main director for this shoot, keeping the 3 of us efficient with time and asking Greggs if they minded us filming, to which they happily let us after hearing why we were making a video.

Later that day, myself, Alex and Jess continued the shoot and got plenty of footage of the Panda busking for money with his ukelele in front of Greggs, in Bush Hill. The busking part of this shoot also featured a few interactivity shots which were not planned, for example a school bus drove past and as did an old man. Furthermore, we managed to also gather footage of the Panda entering a rose shop and purchasing a rose for a female panda.

 Unfortunately, the rose footage was not included as we had decided to not incorporate a female Panda narrative throughout the video and only at the the end. However we did manage to capture a shot of the Panda high-fiving a man in front of the Rose shop which we did use in the final music video, another great interactive shot. I enjoyed this shoot as it gave me a chance to film, these were in the form of the money shots and I experiment with manual focus. Getting a great shot of the 10p coin.

Panda Skateboarding Shoot #4
This was the first shoot where all four group members were involved, having previously decided that it was best to have one person editing to be time efficient. This time me and Narishma got a chance to film, having filmed the least, Alex was in the costume and Jess was driving. This was the only shoot where we needed all four of us.
Alex in Suit

On quiet roads around the school, we filmed a variety of shots, totally around 20minutes of footage. The skateboarding footage was pretty easy to obtain and problem free, most of it wasn’t planned, however we had a tick list of essential shots including close ups of him grabbing the car and a still of both the car and skate board moving out of shot. This shoot was most memorable for the in boot shots. I had a random brain wave to sit in Jess’s boot and film a tracking shot of Alex while he danced down the street.
                                                 Backwards tracking shot

 This shoot contributed to about 15 seconds of the sequence.

Routine Shoot #6

This was intended to be the final shoot.
This shoot required the most planning, which I was almost solely responsible for. I arranged that all four members of the group bring four people to ensure we had at least 16 people. Please see this blog post for a full plan on this shoot.
Again I was the panda while Alex and Jess filmed and we received help from Charley, another media student.

Extra shoots.
The following shoots were to obtain missing shots that we felt we needed. Because of our narrative based video, it was important that we obeyed most of the rules of continuity.

Interaction Shots Shoot #8
Nearing the final stages of our video we decided we wanted some interaction shots, this was done before school by me Alex and Narishma. Again I was the panda, and beginning to want to burn the costume! We gathered twenty minutes of vital interaction shots, featuring hugs and hi fives.

House Shoot 2 #9
This was the first shoot I was not a part of, the aim was to obtain just a few patching shots. Alex
Jess and her brother got some more shots of the Panda waking up and dancing in all areas of the house. We also gathered plenty of alarm clock shots to use as the important establishing shot.

Linking shots 10
This was the same shoot divided over 2 lessons and was intended to give a link between the panda’s journey and the dance routine. We were helped out by a few media friends, this was filmed by Alex. We then needed a linking shot between the end of the dance and the female panda. This involved the panda waving bye to his fellow dancers.

Then we filmed the female panda shots, with Jess in the suit. I went to textiles and attached a bow to some ribbon which I pinned to the head with the help of my friend who works there.
Final shoot Newspaper Shoot #11

We thought we were done but the teachers advised there was a few more shots that were needed.
This was the quickest shoot and only involved a one set up. Alex was the Panda in this shoot. He needed to walk with the newspaper, lean against the wall, read his paper realise he was late and run towards the station. This footage did not fit in our sequence so we kept it the same

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Research into having animals and stand out characters in videos

After deciding we were having a Panda in our video this is perfect. I'm a bit sceptical about pulling this off as I always imagined doing a lip synch but I hope this research task will broaden my horizons.

This video is very funny, and the animal in it is in the form of a puppet. What makes this video funny is the fact that the Dinosaur performs the song, when the viewers connect the lyrics to the visuals the absurdity of the video is emphasised, thus making it funnier. This means there is lots of direct address to the camera with cheeky hand gestures. Although funny, I think the whole group has in mind a full scale costume rather than a puppet.

More like the following video by Spike Jonze for a dance duo called Daft Punk. This video doesn't seem to provide the hilarity of the previous one, however it is still forcing the viewer to ask questions which in turn keeps them engaged in the video.

One of the things I notice about this video is they way that it's been filmed, in a way where we feel as if we are there with the Dog.There are a range of shots from ECU to E wide shots which reflect the variety of things we could focus on if we there. It sort of throws the audience into the action and engages them.

Another aspect of this video is more misecene. The boombox that he carries is really effective as again it involves the viewer and makes us feel like we are there with him, or atleast makes us want to be there.

This video reminded me of one I was already familiar with.

The observational style is very engaging, we see the man walking from across the road and behind cars again making us feel as if it is real. This is the second time I've seen this work now twice, filming from distance and then cutting to a close up. This obeys Vanellis' theories about breaking the 30 degree rule. The man also carries a boombox and then starts dancing which is really cool and effective as it is unique and stands out. I'm tempted to look at ways we could have a Panda dancing in a similar style. This video is set in the heart of a town by the looks of things, however I forsee practicality issues with this. Therefore, I would be tempted to not to only take note of the camera style rather than setting. Although the setting is really effective I cannot see us filming in such a crowded public place.

One video that a group member alerted us to was the following:

Like the first video, it involves the animals actually addressing the camera,performing as if they are the artists. This is a strange decision in my eyes but it is impact full and would get people talking. A potential viral music video.Like the first one it features elements of the Postmodernism theory. The view have the absurd combined with the real, for instance real location and driving cars like a human would, sort of convincing the viewer that it is normal. I really like this post-modernism technique as it definitely adds another dimension to the music video.

Q4. How did you use new media technologies in the construction and research, planning and evaluation stages?

Throughout, our project, we used a massive range of new media technologies, some of which we were familiar with others which we were not. For example in the construction stages we worked with brand new softeware called Adobe Premier Pro 5 which was massive step up from the older version I had previously used. We also got to use HD camerasm, and utitlised web 2.0 in the form of social media in all stages of our project.

Research and Planning

One way which the grouped communicated with each other was through Facebook, a social networking site made available by web 2.0. We created a group for all of us to use, a place where we could easily contact each other and share our ideas.

 Facebook allowed us to share documents, video inspirations and plan and arrange shoots. For instance, we could name the actors which we planned to bring to our shoot, plan group meetings and delegate tasks for each other. This was our best method of communication outside of lesson time, and was especially value to us seeing as had a split, with Jess and I in one class and Alex and Narishma the other. This would often prove impractical as in the early stages we could go a whole day without the four of us being together. However, during the later stages we arranged to meet every lunchtime for a summary session of how things are going, where we decided how it was best to progress.

The advantage of Facebook to our group was that everybody knew where they stood, the roles were visible to everybody and everyone had the chance to input and give their views on the project. This is opposed to say Blackberry Messenger and SMS which was used, but to to a lesser extent.

We also used Facebook to get actors for shoots creating public event pages where we could easily invite hundreds of people, thus effectively making sure we get the 16 we were after.

As previously mentioned, we used the Facebook page to share video inspirations, this was done via the video site Youtube.

 In the early stages of the product I used the website to research into the rock genre for my Kasabian idea, however I later used it when finding choreographing a dance routine (which at one point was more complicated than the final one!).

I also used it to research the dance genre. In addition, we had quite an observational/documentary style of filming, a style which we researched to conventions of other videos to incorporate in our video.

To a lesser extent we used twitter, setting up an account in our group name so that the teachers could follow our progress as a group. This allowed them to see what stage we were at, as they didn't have the time to ask every day, this proved a great way of communicating with the teachers. We also used our personal accounts to communicate with each other, however, this was not done to the extent of Facebook.

I used Google maps to plan how the locations of shoots, and how we would get to them. Although a simple technology, Google maps were very effective in helping us plan our music video. For instance, we didn't want our  train entry set at a dirty area like Southgate as we didn't feel this reflected our feel good and happy video. So instead, we thought that we may as well use where we know works and go to Belsize Park, where the Coldplay video was shot. However, we didn't want to jump to conclusions, know music vidoes can be edited in misleading ways so scouted the area on google street view. 

We also used the technology to see whose house was best suitable, seeing as we wanted freedom to film, we worked out who lived in the least busy area before making our decision.

The following blog post for the 'routine shoot' shows all of the techniques mentioned above including email, BBM and SMS services and even Scribbed.




During the construction process we used HDV cameras. Our main camera was the Sony HVR A1E, which allowed us to film in high quality HD footage, as well as providing a whole range depths and focuses as well as providing richer footage in comparison to standard DV footage.

Primary Camera

When filming I learnt how to perfect the technique of manual focussing, and am very proud of one particular shot with a 10 pence coin.

On the routine shoot, we required a second camera. This was a simple Cannon Legria HV40 which also provided good quality HD footage.


We were assigned an editing suite, this was to aid us in the construction of our video using Adobe Premiere Pro CS5, which was a newer version that what we had previously used in the years before, however many of the tools and editing techniques were exactly the same which meant we were able to work as fast and efficiently as possible on the editing.

The following video shows some of the techniques and effects I used when editing

We colour graded our video by using the 'three way colour corrector tool' and 'brightness and contrast'  effect. This was very important because of the many shoots and locations used. This meant we had different lighting levels and different weather conditions so we had to grade them to give them the best match as possible. 

Here is a video showing how we used the colour grading tool.

Album cover

For this we used Photoshop CS5, again an updated version. I played a more supporting role with this product as one group member, Jess was very skillful and we wanted to be time efficient. Therefore I focussed on editing while Jess focussed on the cover, constantly asking for each others opinions so as to make sure all products remained a group creation. However, I did help construct some aspects of the cover as well as being heavily involved in the planning stages.
Photoshop window

One technique that was especially helpful was grouping layers into bins, similar to how we had done with our editing. This made our layers much neater and easier to use.

Grouped layers
As for taking the pictures for the album cover, we used a Cannon 550d, I'd used the camera before taking photos on sports day, so I took a prominent roll in taking the pictures and directing Odelia This was great fun as I'd built a DJ set for Odelia to use, so everything felt real. However, I was inexperienced with lighting, so with the help my group members and the technician I learnt how to light the set and model properly. The gallery on our website shows some of these photos.

Cannon 550d


We used a brand new media technology that we had never used before called WIX web designer, flash-based software that was again made available by Web 2.0. Wix allowed us to construct an artist identity for Absynth, forming a website which featured all the conventions of artist’s websites. We produced a professional and realistic website in a simple and efficient manner. The video below shows some of the functions WIX had. 

WIX also allowed us to produce a mobile website, allowing us to target our intended audience of 16-24year old male and females. This TA are big users of mobiles 24/7, WIX allowed us to create access our artist through their phones, thus utilising the huge development in new media through development in mobile technology


Just as it was in the planning stages Web 2.0 was a very important technology in the evaluation; for example we posted our final video on YouTube to receive audience feedback, linking this video on Facebook to quickly reach our target audience.

 Unfortunately the close proximity to the deadline meant that we did not get substantial feedback of your video, instead relying on our focus group. 
One feature that we planned to use was YouTube's statistic feature where you can the demographics of our target audience. This will allow us to see if our video is being watched by our target audience or of a younger one, ultimately telling us whether we appealed to the right audience, especially relavant given the feedback from our focus group about younger audience. 

This shows he format of the stats - would have hoped to achieve an equal weighting of male and females ass both were our target audience.

We also used Facebook to promote our premier, making a promotional video for it to drum up interest and encourage people to attend. Further promotion took place via the school intranet system with a post, meaning that the whole school new about the screening. 

Intranet notice

Q3. What have you learned from your audience feedback?

On Monday the 12th December we arranged a focus group session in the media block so that we could find out whether or not we had successfully appealed to our target audience. Everyone in this focus group were 17-18 at the younger end of our target audience, although helpful it would have been great to have a few younger teachers in the upper end of our range. However, we had to use what was easily available to us, and instead received feedback from these different ages online and out of school. We were still selective in the people we asked, aiming for two people from four different social groups to receive a wide range of feedback. These included sporty people and academically focused ones, different groups that had different interests, making the feedback more diverse and to give a broad viewpoint.

To begin with we showed the website due to technical issues with the dvd player meaning we had to wait for mp4 version of the our music video, which ideally we should have shown first.

The video below shows our audience’s reactions to our three products.

The focus group members were given the following questionnaire so that we could understand the feelings towards the video.
Group 4 Audience Feedback Questionnaire

We had 9 completed questionnaires from an almost equal split between boys and girls

After the main session we asked two individuals from the group to stay behind and discuss their opinions on all three products and whether they worked well together. We chose both a boy and a girl, again for diverse feedback. I played the role as interviewer and the video is below.

It was very interesting to see the response of these two members. In most cases it appears that we were successful in targeting our audience, however their comments about featuring the artist in the video particular stood out to me. They suggested Absynth made a cameo role in the video, perhaps in the dance video. Looking back, I think this could have definitely been possible as a subtle appearance would still create the enigmatic atmosphere which we aimed for. They pointed towards David Guetta as an artist who does this, so I looked into his video. Below shows my analysis of this style and how it would relate to our video.

We held a discussion about our audience feedback that same afternoon, in an aim to identify whether we had successfully appealed to our target audience.

To summarise what I have learnt from my audience feedback

  • We were successful in reaching our target audience with an average overall rating of 8 and 9 for the album and website.
  • People found the video 'funny' 'entertaining' and 'unusual'. Their favourite parts were the dance routine, the Greggs part and the tube sequence.
  • However, when asked 'who would you buy the album for' many replied young teenagers 10-14. This suggests that our video was not directly appealing to our target audience, we wanted to install an element of reliving their childhood in the video, however the childish nature of the Panda was perhaps a little too strong. Our target audience were teenagers and young people who like to go to gigs and club at universitys etc, perhaps they would have liked more of conventional dj feel.
  • However, we did want to create something unique and fun, and despite their feedback we can take the positive that our secondary audience was Children and families.
  • Therefore seeing as our primary audience rated the products highly and recommended a younger demographic we may have successfully appealed to both. 
  • As mentioned above, they also identified a desire to see more of an artist. 
  • Although we wished to create an enigma which was later revealed by a reward on the website, featuring the DJ would have still been able to achieve this.
  • If we were to do something again this is definitely something we would aim to achieve. 
The most negative feedback we received was relating to the album cover. Although the consensus was that this auxiliary product was very professional, our focus group felt that the font on freewired was difficult to read.

'The black text is difficult to read on the dark background'

This is feedback which all of us agreed on, I would look perhaps a blue font or the relocation of Freewired to the bottom of the cover.