Thursday, 16 December 2010


     So I set out at the beginning to make a music video and a poster for the artist; unfortunately I have had to change my idea due to various problems: my own recording at the start not being ready, actors not being able to film and weather conditions over the past three weeks have made it hard to do things, both in and out of college. After changing my idea from my own music to someone else's, I had the idea for Alvin Youngblood Hart's song, 'Joe Friday' but found this to be a story type of song in which the video would have to follow exactly the lyrics of the song or the video would not make sense. I also did not have any ideas for social or economical factors for the video to this song; which I why I chose Shane MacGowan's acoustic cover of 'Dirty Old Town' originally recorded by Ewan MacColl. This I thought had great potential for a music video with both social and economical factors to work with. The song is about, as the name suggests, a dirty old town. Originally written in manchester this song has been widely covered by irish folk bands, most notably: The Pogues and The Dubliners. I thought it would be a good idea to cover the Northern Ireland troubles and IRA war against british soldiers in Ireland. Unfortunately I couldn't film my ideas so I had to resort to cutting scenes from an original film and video footage of troubles in Ireland and the IRA.
     My poster idea, I didn't have problems with it but I decided to do an album cover instead. I thought I would get an image that would represent a dirty old town and I had the perfect Idea. I photographed an art piece I did for a GCSE art project which involves: old/used cigarettes, bottle caps, broken bottles and used needles. I thought this would work well with the video seeing as I had cut together scenes from the film Trainspotting.

     I am not overly pleased with the final work that I have created because, I thought that I had started off well but got to lazy in the end; not being able to finish things I had started and not committing to previous ideas. If I could do things differently I would definitely plan more from the start. I had made a time management plan and a timeline of work flow but through changing ideas I had to 'scrap' this. For my next project I will definitely plan all my work down to the last detail, try and get everything done on time and ofcourse but in effort all the way through and not just for certain parts.

     In this project I have learnt many things from different lessons and lecturers: I have learnt to set up microphones and record instruments for musical aspects of media. I have learnt photography, how to use pin-hole cameras, how to reverse images, how to use many photographic techniques on pictures - I already know how to use photoshop quite well. Most importantly I have learnt how to use the camera; learning how to manual and auto focus shots to get a professional feel to my work and how to use different shots and shot techniques to my advantage - to get my point as a director across. I have also learnt how to use Final Cut Pro, a video editing software for Mac OS X. This is useful because it captures all the footage off the camera and I can edit it together to my own standards.
Overall I have learnt how to work individually on a project, rather than just social loafing in groups as I normally do, I have found out that being a director is more than simply telling the cast and crew what to do but the director is in charge of everything. This being: budgets, actors, locations, storyboards, imagery and everything that a film involves.

     I am pleased with the result though, despite my work ethic being messy sometimes and my organisational skills being pretty poor.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010


     So, for my music video - here's how everything goes down.

The song starts and the viewer is met with an image of a burning building juxtaposed with soft acoustic guitar so already the audience knows that it will be, not that emotional but also not the happiest of songs. When the vocals kick in with 'I met my love',  a scene from Trainspotting with Tommy and Lizzy together; followed by scenes of soldiers walking through the streets of Ireland carrying guns. Then chop ins and outs of the chase scene from the beginning of Trainspotting with more soldiers in Ireland. This then builds upto the chorus 'dirty old town, dirty old town' in which scenes of heroin use will be shown. This kind of rhythm will continue throughout the song (not the same scenes obviously) culminating in the final chorus in which more drug scenes will be shown and finally the end scene to Trainspotting where the protagonist walks into the distance.

I wasn't worried at all using such an iconic film to cut and de-glamorize for a music video, quite the opposite. I thought that being cliché in itself would be ironic choosing between such cult films as: A Clockwork Orange, Trainspotting, Requiem For A Dream and Get Carter (1971 version ofcourse).


Unfortunate Direction

     I had planned to film for my video for about three weeks but, due to bad timing and weather I was unable to. With less than a week left until the project dead-line and no chance to film again I have had to resort to cutting existing films and/or youtube videos to make my music video. Although I would have liked to use my own material for the final product, I can't, but I had originally planned to use existing footage from youtube to cut together with it:

I was planning on cutting scenes from this video (footage of IRA) combined with my own material to have an end product kind of like The Cranberries' music video for "Zombie"
As shown here:

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Inspiration from Pictures and History

I have found some pictures on the internet about the troubles in Northern Ireland, I think they will help me for my poster and music video because the band and MacGowan have strong Irish influences. The song, entitled 'Dirty Old Town' is about an industrial town and a man losing his love, so already you know that an industrial town will be quite poor. These images will reflect the songs lyrics and what I want to do with my music video.

Dead body on the street

Drug dealer tied to a post, humiliated with feathers

I.R.A propoganda

Sinn Féin propoganda

destoryed house in the street
 I got inspiration from these pictures and have decided to use some IRA video footage I found out youtube in my video; as well as my own captured video.

Mind Map for Shane MacGowan's 'Dirty Old town'

This is a mind map of my ideas based around the song, 'Dirty Old Town' by Shane MacGowan and also, my music video idea and poster idea. It also has on the left side; a Things To Do List of all the things I have to do this week/ next week.

the image quality is pretty bad but I have the original paper copy.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

New song

     I have decided to chose a new song, instead of 'Joe Friday', I thought that to be quite a hard song to follow because the lyrics follow a storyline and a video which didn't follow it wouldn't really go. I have chosen 'Dirty Old Town' acoustic cover by Shane Macgowan.usic video to it; so I chose this for my music video. Originally written by Ewan MacColl and made famous by The Dubliners. This song has been covered by 30+ artists and I listened to a few. I think that The Pogues version, especially Shane MacGowan's acoustic cover was the best.
     Here is the link to the song - Dirty Old Town acoustic

     And here is the original cover - Dirty Old Town - The Pogues

I think the acoustic is much better because it is just Macgowan and two guitars, opposed to The Pogues with these accompanied by: drums, violin, banjo, mandolin and tin whistle. The acoustic version (I think) has much more exuberance to it.

I will post more soon.

Band Logos

     For my poster design, i've decided to look at other artists logos and fonts to get inspiration and see how they market and brand themselves.
I looked at a few logos from different genres of music to get ideas about what my artist logo would be. Considering he is a Blues artist there could be many options to go with: dirty south feel, old/broken guitars (jack white), Tennessee whiskey.. people sitting on the porch on hot summer nights playing dueling banjos. New york/Chicago style blues, inner city, poverty, living on the street - under bridges. He could even have a trademark of always wearing a three piece suit with a bowler hat.
     The first logo I looked at was Parkway Drive's logo off their most recent album (horizons).

 Left. This logo has a calligraphy style font with, what looks like gothic and western style influences. If I say this logo without knowing the band, I would assume they were an old swing band or pop group. The name itself 'Parkway Drive' is an unusual name a death metal/screamo band. The name came from the lead singer not wanting to be like all the other metal artists with names like "blood on the hands with wings". The band themselves are not what you would call metal-looking either; they are all pretty good surfers from the east coast of Australia. Other metal bands are generalised by having long greasy hair and dark clothes, Parkway wear flip flops to their gigs, tshirts and shorts - they all have 'surfer hair'. The lead singer could have become a professional bodyboarder, and guitarist a professional surfer but they chose music instead. The reason I chose this logo is because, well they are my favourite band.. and because its a bit like the Rogue Status font and I like them. They are very eye-catching therefore I will be experimenting on photoshop with fonts like these.
     The next logo I chose was The Doors because this is an iconic logo from the 60s and 70s, its also iconic for West American, especially California, culture.
Firstly, it is eye catching. You can't really make it out from far away but when you look closer you see 'The doors' in two different fonts. The 'The' part is very late 60's and early 70's psychedelic font - exuberantly wavy, getting thick at the bottom and thinner on the top and it already gives you the idea that with this font, the band will be a psychedelic band into long solos and layers of instrumentals. The 'doors' part is.. its hard to explain, a mix of a few fonts. Firstly it gives of an Alien vibe, not from this planet.. weird language looks like code? Its also like a stencil font, that you would see graffitied on a freight train or something. Also I think that its kind of like early movie posters, like a 1930's film. This font is very 'straight' very within the box, within the guidelines; lots of straight lines, everything very neat and in place. I like this logo, which is why I chose it - its eye catching, I think I will maybe experiment with this or a similar font but, maybe also combine it with another font to make it a completely new look.
     The Next logo I chose, I am not really a fan of the band but, it was in my head so I searched it and it turns out their logo is pretty iconic amongst cult followers of their music. The band is Opeth.

This logo, straight off you can tell that they are not a pop-group from California. Extremely influenced by gothic writing, maybe even some Elvish or rune language. This logo looks like it is used to catch your eye (it did = why I chose it), it is bold with a big emphasis on the O. Although its cool-looking, with the gothic font, it may be misleading, the O looks more like a G, or a weird F and I. So I won't be using anything like this on my poster/album cover.
The next image I have chosen is the Misfits logo. I chose this because without the text you would already know what band it is. This image has become a 'cult' image amongst not only fans but other people aswell, average working class people to celebrities. The font is dark, eroded and accentuates the band's dark, gothic and grungy style. Its also in capitols, its bold to catch the readers eye and maybe to say 'we're the best' perhaps. 
     The skull is like a 2D stencil, as if an art student has done it - its not perfect, there are teeth missing and it only just resembles a skull. Skulls are well known for advertising metal, goth and rock bands and this is no different. The whole logo reflects the bands look, dark, facepaint/eye-liner, lots of leather, studs and chains. As an image it is well done to market the band and it is a well known logo. The text isn't that well known with the band, as in.. if you saw another people of text in the same font you wouldn't think 'misfits'. It is like the font of an old horror film, its jagged, out of place almost but still all together works well.
     The last logo I have chosen is BLACK FLAG. This, much like the previous images is a cult image used on tshirts and other merchandise. Black Flag were considered to be the first punk rock band in the late 70's. The iconic four black rectangles are synonymous with the band and punk music in general. Even though it is so simplistic, music experts say its 'the perfect logo', I don't see it, its just a few black rectangles but even I know the band, recognising the logo from when I was younger. The font is standard. Bold, capitol and black, standing out on a white background. I've had ideas for things like this - simple fonts and simple logos, I will post a sheet of logo ideas in the next week.
     So all in all I found out that, much like photography, you can create a masterpiece by accident. Or you can spend years trying to perfect a bands image and not quite getting there. I will try though.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

New Direction

     After all the effort I put into writing a song and recording I've decided to use an existing song. I've come to this decision after trying to record a few times and not getting the right sound and musically, the song I wrote is pretty bad - for this reason I'm going to use another song. I'm not quite sure on what to pick, I had Alvin Youngbloog Hart - 'Joe Friday' but after reviewing some ideas I found that I would have to stick to the lyrics because its set like a story and any other video wouldn't look right with it. I thought of choosing a band that I don't really like, just to get used to working with things I don't like. I thought of an indie or rock band, not that well known so I can create an image for the band. Working with existing, well known bands is hard because they already have an 'image'.

     I will update what song i have chosen.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Led Zeppelin band posters

     If you are researching band posters, chances are you have seen the Zeppelin posters, they are iconic and considered trademarks in themselves. I have three posters for the 1977 US tour, two in general and one for New York.

This is the main poster for the tour, it has the bands name in stretched, bold font; the date of country are also well visible and at the bottom are the lists of what states/cities they are playing in. Everything about this poster is iconic: the trademark 'fallen angel' is now a cult image used for the majority of Zeppelin merchandise. The next is the name, the font is recognizable to the band even if you haven't heard the music before. These along with the bands trademark individual signs: Page, Jones, Bonham and Plant.

This next one is the same tour but for a specific city, New york (Madison Square Garden). This poster is alot different from the iconic general poster. This, although has the trademark Zeppelin font/title, the lettering is very late 60's style psychedelic. This poster is more intent on getting the image of the band across whereas the other poster didn't even have the band on the poster. The New York one has lead singer Robert Plant along with guitarist Jimmy Page in mid 'action' to [I think] get the image across of the band being a bit crazy. Led Zeppelin were known for having extremely energetic and 'crazy' live shows but, despite the massive rock shows they were also known for not being in the papers often.. for bad things anyway. The band tried to make this their main concern, they, unlike other bands, tried to keep out of the papers for doing bad and 'rock'n'rolly' type things.

This design was first a basic poster or handout for the US 1977 tour but has since become an icon and the band's most recognizable feat. This is now a cult t-shirt and it is thought nowadays to be 'cool' to have one, many celebrities recently have been seen in Led Zeppelin t-shirts walking around LA and Hollywood.

I want to create a poster like these, simple but gets the point across.. ideally, I could make an amazing logo/image and years later it would be an icon of an era but.. I will try my best just to make it as good as I can. I have seen these and reviewed them, gotten ideas that posters don't always have to full of colour and complex; like these show, a good poster is sometimes just a simple poster.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Videos of Interest/Inspiration

These are a few videos, mostly music videos but some not, that I've either taken inspiration from or just think are pretty cool.

This isn't a music video but is quite cool, PES does alot of stop motion animation that is quite cool.
Visit PESfilm's YouTube channel to see more.

This video is amazing, I personally think it is one of the best out there. It promotes to a certain level, not so much superliminal messaging like most videos or promos but is just the artists in a single shot - as if they are 'talking to the viewer'.

I've always liked this video, I have no idea why.. but its a music video that doesn't feature the band at all, just an actor and is completely in black and white. The video displays symbolism which.. I'd like to put in mine but I would have to find something to symbolise..

This is easily my favourite video on YouTube, it is so amazing. I take most of my inspiration from this video, I want to make a video like this but at the same time I don't want to make this video.

The Black Keys live posters

The Black Keys are known for their custom merchandise. For each show they get fans/artists to make the poster for them; these are a few posters from their shows and you can see how different they all are. I chose these because although they are a blues/rock band, you wouldn't think so by looking at these posters which shows that promotional imagery doesn't have 'to do' with the band or even feature the band. These have given me ideas for my own band poster.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Test Recording

     I had a test recording of my acoustic guitar following the last post. I didn't use all the miking techniques on the video because you can hear how they are different on the video. I chose the basic ones to use because they sounded the best.
     Okay so I recorded three versions of the song's intro and played them back.. here they are.

Rec1 - (1ft away from the 12th fret of the guitar)

     I found some problems with this one, firstly its a bit noisy (too much gain) but if I moved it closer to the sound hole it would be so 'bassy'. Also you could clearly hear the squeaks from the slide (thats probably just my playing, I would compare the glass slide with a metal one but... metal ones are expensive). So I tried miking near the bridge.

Rec 2 - (near bridge)

     I found with this one, a much better sound quality, I'm not sure whether it was just further away but you couldn't hear the slide squeaks; you could, however hear the picking but, thats not a big issue. The downside was, although the sound was good, it was still a bit 'bassy' being near the sound hole.

Rec 3 - combination of Rec1 & Rec 2 (2 microphones, one near the bridge, the other one foot away from 12th fret)

     This recording has all the good bits from the other two but also, has every bad bit. The two sounds (gain & bass) work extremely well together, it was an amazing sound coming from a pretty old guitar (about 30 years old) but also you could hear the squeaks, squeals, picking and scratching noises.. thats why I have chosen to use Rec 2 because it sounds the best without all the unwanted noise.

     Here is a picture I did on Pages illustrating how I miked the guitar up.

planning the recording

     I've been watching Dustin Prinz Tutorial (recording acoustic guitar) and blogging as I watch; because of slow buffering the video stops anyway so I have time until it loads.
     Firstly, Dustin gives a few basic tips for recording such as: having new strings on your guitar and tuning before every take. I already knew this so got new strings yesterday, stretched them out and tuned to open D  (DADF#AD) - this is the most commonly used tuning for slide guitar, although some people customize the tuning.
     He then starts off with a basic recording technique, having the mic a meter away from the 12th fret on the guitar. We have used this before in music and found it to work well, it is close to the sound hole but not too close that is is to 'bassy' and not far away enough to sound bad.
     After he used this, he showed another technique in which the mic (this time he uses a different mic) four feet off the ground and a few feet away, pointing at the sound hole. He gave a top which I didn't know that is, "when you're recording, always wear headphones and move the microphone around to hear the different noises on the program you're using."
Its hard to write this without making it sound like a list like, 'he went that way, then this way, then another way' but it is a list.. so, sorry if you're bored whilst reading. He then used two mics, both four feet off the ground and one either side of the guitar. one pointing at the sound hole, one pointing at the neck/head. He calls this, "Stereo Pair Recording".
     After this he used another technique but changed it, he had a mic 6 inches away from the 12th fret at a 45° angle to the guitar. The other mic was in the same position, four feet off the ground and pointing at the sound hole.
     The last technique he showed is having one mic directly infront of the sound hole of the guitar, at a 45° angle, pointing at the 14th fret of the guitar. The other mic is set behind him, over his shoulder at 'forehead height'. The mic is pointing directly down at the guitar's bridge.
     I have only used one of these before so in the next lesson I will experiment with all of them to get the best sound possible from the guitar.

     I'll blog how it goes....

Tuesday, 2 November 2010


I listened to a few blues artists to get an idea of what my music video will look like. I looked at: Blind Willie Johnson, Albert King and Alvin YoungBlood Hart. Blues music is very emotional, feeling blue means you are unhappy and blues takes this into musical form. Most, if not all of the lyrics are very unhappy and about poverty in the run down towns they lived in when they were young. There are also frequent themes of heartbreak and loss of relationships. This research has been useful.
Blind Willie Johnson

Albert King
Alvin YoungBlood Hart

Mind Map of Ideas

This is an early Mind Map of Ideas

Starting to Plan

     The first decision I had to make was; should I do an existing band or make my own music? I am still not sure on this. I have three/four days to record my own music (by the end of the week) and every string instrument I own has snapped strings.
     I kind of already have my idea, "Alvin Youngblood Hart - Joe Friday" I would either use this piece of music, cover it or write a song in the style of this piece (slide guitar). This is a bit of a mission to do in less than a week but i will try and if I fail then.. I will just choose an existing song.

      Starting to Plan: I have made a few mind maps outlining my plan of the project, they are still rough but I will scan them in when i get a chance. I also need to make a timeline of what i am doing both in lessons and outside of lessons/college.
      Initial Ideas: Even though i have not really decided on the music for the project I have a rough idea on what the music video will be like; it will be a video based on blues music which will bring up emotive imagery such as: poverty, depression and loneliness. I also have a rough idea of where it will be set: Marazion, Newlyn, Mousehole or Halsetown. These places have very 'run down' areas about them which would be good for the lyrics to the music and I think would work well.