Thursday, 3 March 2011

Evaluation Question Three- What have you learned from your audience feedback?

In order to understand ways to improve and identify strengths and weaknesses in our music video I carried out some audience research, this is illustrated in the following Prezi and explained in greater detail below:

In my video responses I made sure I asked people that were members of our target audience
, between the ages of 15-25. This was not a very reliable focus group as I did not include people from the whole of this age bracket, and only managed to find female willing participants, so it discludes the male perception and older viewers. In my social network feedback I included members from across the age group and of both genders, so as to get more quantitative research as opposed to the more qualitative feedback from my video session, although as you can see from the prezi print screens this was not very in depth originally- so I had to create a focus group to gain some more intellectual and comprehensive comments. My feedback from our media class focus group is from both genders although they are only aged between 17-18. But using each of these methods combined gives me quite a reliable and broad view of what needs to be improved in my video.

Narrative Response:

I wanted to ensure that the audience were aware of the plot of our music video as we used flashbacks and a non chronological order that could come across as confusing. Although our narrative cohered to Todorov's narrative theory of
equilibrium, disruption and disequilbrium we portrayed these stages in a cyclical pattern, beggining with the disequilbrium and intertwining the equilbrium and disruption within the middle of the video, then returning to the same disequilbrium as the ending.

Every subject I asked in the video and class focus groups said they clearly understood the plot of our video and found some of the plot elements amusing giving the viewer pleasure, as well as the approach to the structure interesting- this was a great relief as it was one of the most important aspects of our video! This could be due to their shared high degree of cultural capital of contemporary narrative form, I picked the video subjects as they all have an interest in the alternative music scene and this shared interest would mean they are more acquainted with slightly more quirky and disjunctive music videos than they would if they were part of the mainstream scene. When asking our media class their cultural capital of music video knowledge would be much greater than a non-media student, with much more experiences with different narrative styles and theory and therefore be more open to unusual styles of story telling allowing them to take a preferred reading.
This was the same general response in my focus group on facebook, although I did receive two comments that took a more negotiated reading:

Josh Taylor: 'Up until the adultery scene the narrative is really clear, but after finding out that Milly is unfaithful it just stops. Like it doesn't seem to go anywhere after that point.'

Harry Morley: 'I agree with Josh here, the narrative made sense until Milly's bedroom antics but then there didn't seem to be any conclusion after that.'

These comments may be due to the fact that they were not happy with an open narrative, and wanted a more definite conclusion to the story. We purposefully left the ending unresolved as it created a more ambiguous relationship between the two mimes, and in my opinion involved the audience more into actively thinking how the situation could be resolved and identifying with the characters predicament and emotions more. So, even after receiving these comments, I don't think I would change our chosen ending if I did the task again, as it pulls away from the hypodermic needle theory and gets the audience themselves more involved.

Genre Response:
This was an important question to ask as if we are aiming to target fans of indie music, with an aspiring or radical personality the video had to appeal and fit in with this genre.

Although some subjects admitted that when thinking of the indie genre they did not immediately jump to the conclusion of mimes and clowns in love, all subjects said that they felt the visuals worked well with the music cohering to Andrew Goodwin's theory on music videos. This was a relief as we thought the more entropic aspects of our video could be seen with an oppositional reading, but thankfully our feedback suggests that they all took the preferred reading. This would again be down to their cultural capital of Indie music and prior media product knowledge and their willingness to identify with some less obvious links.

Mise-En-Scene Response:

This was an important question relating to our choices of location, props, costume and editing. We felt that if the mise-en-scene did not come across the way we envisaged it, it would lose some effectiveness of the narrative plot and house style. We aimed to create a stereotypical French feel to our video through digital effects, our mime costumes and location choices.
From every avenue of research we found this was a success:

'The mimes were brilliant- very original and entertaining idea!'
'Clearly a lot of work went into planning of costumes and make up- well done!'

Other Comments:
I asked each of my focus groups if they had any general comments- what they didn't like, what they loved, and what they weren't sure about. This was important as it could effect the audience pleasure of viewing.

In our media class feedback, we received a few negative comments on the use of French subtitles over the images. A minority of comments said they 'didn't get' the French subtitles, this could be because they lacked the cultural capital to know that subtitles are a common feature of French film, or found them out of place in our essentially English m
usic video- if our attempted mise-en-scene wasn't as clear to them. The intention of these subtitles was to add to our attempted mise-en-scene of french life and vintage film, and add a slightly entropic element to the narrative. The views on the subtitles were mainly positive:

With only a few who weren't too keen:

'I didn't get the subtitles- seemed out of place and random'
'Can't read French so didn't understand the subs!'

Another issue that people mentioned was to do with our editing: Everyone agreed our pace, continuity, and shot types worked well, but the only recurring criticism we received was about the final shot sequences we have in our video, with some video comments illustrated in the above prezi as well as on my facebook focus group:

This was disappointing as we hoped the contrast between the dynamic and fluid flashbacks with the vacant and very still reverse zoom shots would create a dramatic juxtaposition and end the video in a climactic way. But this clearly didn't work very successfully and instead of making our audience think, it made them bored. So to address this if I were to do the task again, I would incorporate more flashbacks into the final 20 seconds of the video, instead of having such a long end shot without any cuts.

A final problem we encountered was that of the stop motion:

'The stop motion was done well, but was slightly out of place'

I slightly agree with these comments, as we knew there wouldn't be a direct link between the narrative and the stop motion sections there was a risk of it shifting from entropic to disjunctive and clearly some people found this too out of place, although others liked this aspect:

We could have made this sequence less out of place by incorporating some more stop motion within the video, as we had stop motion using the tear down Vince's face but then purely cards, although we had ensured the colours of the cards suited the mime outfits we only included one sequence- perhaps we could have included more objects with stop motion throughout the video, and more stop motion including the mimes themselves, and this would have been more of a recurring pattern.

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