Final Music Video

Final CD Digipak

Final CD Digipak

Final Album Advertisement

Final Album Advertisement

Friday, 28 January 2011

Photographic Ideas For My CD Digipak...

As I am currently studying for my Photography A-Level as well as my Media Studies A-Level, it has been enjoyable for me to come up with possible ideas for my CD Digipak.

I already had a rough plan of what I wanted to produce but my personal interest and passion for Photography has meant that I have the necessary skills on Photoshop, etc. already, so I can get on with producing an interesting CD Digipak that conforms to the main aspects of our chosen song genre.

Not only do my general Photography studies help me in Media, but I actually based my whole AS Photography exam project on live music, musicians and their equipment as the overall title of the exam was Rhythms and Cycles. From this I have a lot of experience with photographing movement and musical performances and by looking over my work from that project I can see what I would be interested in recreating and what I would need to improve for my CD Digipak.
Here are a few examples of my photographs from my Rhythms and Cycles project;

These are some of the photos that I took last year of my friend's band performing and then taking all their equipment down afterwards. These images have inspired me in the path I want to take with my CD Digipak, as I have decided I want to take some very simple photos of equipment close up for my design.

Colour Ideas For My CD Digipak...

When we were first told we had to produce a CD Digipak as part of our coursework project, I knew already that I wanted to use my skills that I had learnt in my Photography A-Level course to create an aesthetically pleasing CD Digipak that conformed to our chosen song genre (Alternative Rock).

In this way, I wanted to keep the design very simple by using black and white photographs of either some musical equipment or the band members themselves. I came to this decision after extensive research into existing album artwork of all types of genres - especially focusing on Alternative Rock - and I also based this decision on the feedback from the questionnaires that we carried out through Facebook and via YouTube videos as shown in previous blog posts.

Most of the people who filled out our questionnaires said that the colours they associated with rock music were red, black and white, and when you research into existing rock album artwork there is an obvious trend running through them. Black and white photographs/drawings with red text on top of that. The three examples above are prime examples of this successful technique that seems to have carried on over time, as all three of these albums were released at completely different periods of time.

All three are effective covers and I am going to take inspiration from these examples when taking photographs for my own CD Digipak.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Song Titles...

Not only did we have to come up with a band name today but we also had to create a list of 10 song names to put onto our CD Digipak to make it look as realistic as possible. (To achieve a realistic look we will also have to add parental advisory stickers, record label copyrights, thank-yous from the band, etc.) We started by going round in a circle and each writing down a word then folding the paper over and passing it round, etc. in order to create our own random name generator. The first song title we came up with was The Crazy Crow Sleeps In The Magenta Theatre. Obviously this wasn't the type of song title we were looking for as it is way too long and slightly too random! We also came up with The Idiosyncratic Bassoon Drowns The Magnificent Cactus! Although we didn't want to use these as song titles we took some of the words and came up with this initial list of names...

To Somebody
Holy Leggings
Check It Out
Molly's Mullet

These are what we thought conformed to the Alternative Rock genre and we eventually decided to rename the song we are making a music video for 'She' because it is all about an obsessed fan.

Here are the photos of our scribblings and random title generators;

Band Name...

Today we had another group meeting to discuss what we wanted to call our band (instead of Kings Of Leon) as part of our band branding.

In the past we had tried using random name generators online (as shown in previous blog posts) but none of the names really struck us as relevant or interesting enough to be used. However, we needed to come to a decision today so we looked back at all the possibilities that had come up so far and decided that we would be called The Mags.
Although we had thought of this possibility before, it had not been one of our top choices but after carrying further research into existing bands in the Alternative Rock genre, it became apparent that a lot of their band names are 'The -'. For example, The Killers, The Clash, The Who, The Pixies, etc. We chose to be The Mags because Mag is a word that we use a lot as a group and it was the only thing we could think of that sounded interesting and went well with our band branding.


Here is the set of questions that we came up with as a group before we began to film anything. We wanted to collect some data from different people in order to further understand our target audience and what is expected of an Alternative Rock song/band.

1. How old are you?
14 or under [ ] 15-16 [ ] 17-20 [ ] 21-25 [ ] 25-30 [ ] 30+ [ ]

2. Are you male or female?
Male [ ] Female [ ]

3. How do you usually watch music videos?
TV [ ] Internet [ ] Download [ ] Other [ ]

4. What is your favourite genre?
Rock [ ] Pop [ ] Alternative [ ] Jazz [ ] RnB [ ] Heavy metal [ ] Classical [ ] Other [ ]

5. How often do you watch music videos?
Never [ ] Everyday [ ] Every week [ ] Every few weeks [ ] Rarely [ ]

6. Do you prefer funny or serious music videos?
Funny [ ] Serious [ ]

7. Do you prefer music videos that are reaistic or non realistic?
Realistic [ ] Non realistic [ ]

8. What are your expectations of rock music videos?

9. How do you interpret the lyrics "She's such a charmer"?

10. What music channel would you expect to see a Kings of Leon music video on?

11. What colours do you think represent the rock genre? and why?

Not only did we print some of these out and get people to physically fill them out, but I thought it would also be a good idea to send the questions out via Facebook. This is a fast, easy way to gain information from a larger number of people. Here is a print screen of the message that I sent out to a number of different people;

(Click on the Facebook images to enlarge them so they can be read)
Here are three different responses that got sent back to me via Facebook. I think this was a very effective way of gathering information for our own research as it was fast and lots of people had easy access to the questionnaire.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Research into Possible Song Titles...

Before we begin to come up with song titles to put onto our own CD Digipaks, it is essential for us to carry out some research into existing song titles and album names, etc.

Here are the song titles on the back of previous Kings Of Leon albums;

There are some obvious trends occuring in the song titles. For example, most of them are just one or two words. This is probably because of how the band are branded as a mysterious group of men that don't give away too much about who they are in their personal life. In this way they are conforming to that band branding by not giving too much away in their song titles.

However, it is also important to look at other song titles from different musicians and it is interesting to compare and contrast song titles from this genre (alternative rock - Kings of Leon) and other genres such as this Ke$ha album which is part of the Pop genre;

It is also interesting to note the difference between not only the song titles but the album artwork itself. The Kings Of Leon album covers do not contain obvious photos of themselves ad if there is a photo of them it is slightly obscured in some way whether that's because of shadows or animal overlays, etc. (again adding to the mysterious quality of their band branding). Whereas Ke$ha's album cover is obviously about promoting her as the star and selling her as this "Animal" with the glitter and animal prints on the cover.
This research will be very helpful for us when coming up with song titles for our CD Digipaks.


I was watching Kerrang! TV earlier on today and a music video that I have not seen for a long time came on and it gave me an interesting idea for something else we could add into our music video.

In this Blink 182 video for the song 'Always' the whole video is split into three separate strips of screen horizontally. By splitting the screen this way, they were able to take similar shots but position them next to each other so that they don't quite match. They could also use different body parts of different people in each strip to make them look mis-matched.

There are many examples of this technique in other genres of music and in TV. For example, the opening sequence of hit American TV show 'Ugly Betty';

And this technique can also be seen in the video for Example's song 'Kickstarts';

I think this technique would work so well in our music video as we could play on the idea that our main character steals the vocalist's guitar to coinside with the lyrics even further ('She stole my karma, oh no') by editing three different shots together onto one screen so that it looks like her head and legs with his body holding/playing the guitar.
I think we should think of more interesting ideas like this in order to make our music video exciting and intriguing to watch.

Thursday, 13 January 2011


On Tuesday 11th January we finally began filming some of the different shots for our music video at my house. We began by filming some simple shots of Charlotte (our main character in the video) putting on her make-up whilst looking directly at the camera as if it were a mirror. We wanted her make up to be quite bold with dark smoky eye make-up and red lips. This was because we wanted to hint at the fact that she wants to seduce the vocalist so we also put her in a bodycon dress which emphasises her femininity.

After this we wanted to film the shots of Charlotte laying down on the floor in a pile of magazine/newspaper cuttings with random hand drawn images laid beneath her. We wanted lots of random strange images on the floor around her to suggest the idea that she is a strange obsessive fan that draws photos of those she is obsessed with.
This shot composition was inspired by Paramore's video for their song 'Only Exception' shown below;

The filming ran very smoothly and we were very happy with the outcome as we also managed to come up with new shot ideas as we went along and improvised.

For example, these two examples of stop motion that we have edited already of the bass guitar with lip marks all over it and the drawings and photos of men piled up on top of each other.
The bass guitar is going to be a significant factor in our music video as we came up with the idea of the obsessive fan stealing the lead singers guitar because of the line in the song 'She stole my karma, oh no'. So we want to film a shot of her stealing the guitar after the vocalist has put it down and then the kisses suggest her obsession with him. Here is the editing we have done so far;
Stop Motion with Guitar;

Stop Motion with Paper;

Analysis of CD Digipaks/Album Covers...

Whilst browsing the internet looking for charts of the top album covers of all time I came across this website that has a feature called >> 'Rolling Stone's 100 Greatest Album Covers' <<

I chose my favourite from this list and analysed it as part of my research into CD digipaks and album covers. This will help me when I come to designing my own digipak, as the list consists of album covers from musicians of the same genre as our chosen song by Kings Of Leon (Charmer).

Here is my favourite album cover on the list and my analysis of it;
U2 - War

The reason why I chose this album cover as my favourite out of the list of Rolling Stone's Top 100 Album Covers, was because it was one of the only ones that caught my eye immediately because of the striking image of the young boy in black and white. Something about the simplicity of the photograph combined with a subtle depth of meaning drew my eyes straight to it and made me want to know more about the story of this young boy; especially because of the title of the album.

Also, the bold red text in stark contrast with the black and white photograph definately makes the album cover stand out and attracts peoples attention. It is clear why they have not included an image of the musicians themselves on the album cover when most bands of this genre would want to display themselves on the album cover because of how desperate fans are to gain insight into the lives of the bands. However, they use this image on the album cover to subtly hint at the fact that U2 are constantly doing work for charity, so in this way the band are still revealing their purpose and intention through their artwork.
Here is an example digipak from a media printing website (this website would be very helpful if we were to actually print our digipak);

This digipak caught my eye as I was trawling through the many images of digipaks online again because of the fact that it is an interesting photograph in black and white, coupled with red and white text. This technique seems to work well in album artwork as it is quite a striking way of using colour (or the lack of it) to enhance an image. This picture of the digipak is also helpful to me as part of my research because it shows me how the digipak is supposed to look and what kind of thing we are aiming for in our own digipaks. I think the fact that I am a photography student definately draws me to album covers just like this one that are interesting photographically, so I will probably do something similar with a simple photograph on my own digipak.

Finally, here is one of my favourite album covers of all time for the album 'Only Revolutions' by an alternative rock band called Biffy Clyro;

Once again the use of clever and unique photography on the front cover and on the CD itself drew my eye to the cover. It is interesting to note as well that the song titles are not only on the back cover of the CD Digipak but also on the CD itself. This is something I have to consider when designing my own CD Digipak for our song.
All of this research into CD Digipaks will be invaluable to me when I begin to design my own CD Digipak because I now know the trends in the designs that are used to sell bands as part of different genres.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

CD Digipaks...

As part of our coursework project we have to produce digipaks to go alongside our promotional music video and they must be produced as individual digipaks rather than as a group. It will be interesting to see how different each of our digipaks are even though we are creating them for the same band brand/song/etc.
However, before we do this part of our coursework, it is very important for us to carry out a significant amount of research into what digipaks actually are, the features of a digipak, the dimensions, etc. Here is all the information on digipaks that I managed to find...

Digipak is a patented style of compact disc or DVD packaging, and is a registered trademark of AGI Media, a MeadWestvaco, Inc.

Dimensions - (based on standard 4pp Digipack) 139.5mm x 6mm x 125.5mm
Digipaks typically consist of a book-style paperboard or card outer binding, with one or more plastic trays capable of holding a CD or DVD attached to the inside.

As a consumer, I personally have not seen or bought very many digipaks that contain CDs. However, I have seen and bought so many more DVD digipaks, especially stand up comedy DVDs or TV series on DVD such as this Mighty Boosh digipak that I bought which also came with a booklet and a card game;

Digipak-style packaging is often used for CD singles or special editions of CD albums. Because such packaging is less resistant to abrasion than jewel cases, it tends to show signs of wear relatively quickly.

Although less vulnerable to cracking than a jewel case, the disc tray inside the package (particularly the "teeth" of the hub which secure the disc in place) remains rather brittle and is prone to cracking if the package is crushed. Digipak-style cases grew in popularity among record labels and recording artists in the early 2000s.

Although the Digipak may have taken off in the early 2000s, there does not seem to be many being sold at present because they only seem to be produced for special editions of albums as said above.

Manufacturers have sought to reduce environmental impact and improve functionality by introducing recycled components into its trays; one has announced a 100% post-consumer PET tray made from recycled bottles,[6] which also eliminates the need for the brittle "teeth". Many printers use recycled or sustainable material for the board stock.

The fact that the manufacturers have tried to reduce the environmental impact by using recycled components suggests that the consumers (people that buy the Digipaks) are very much into preserving their environment, which tells the musicians something about their fanbase.
Here is one example of a typical digipak;

Here is a video I found of all the different types of Digipak that can be made;