Monday, 9 November 2015

Magazine Ad: The Brief, Research and Planning

The brief you have received is to create a magazine ad for a new product - not an existing brand or product, but one you have invented! You need to showcase your Photoshop skills for this, combining multiple image layers and carefully designed text, but also be clear on who the ad is aimed at and how you have designed your text to appeal to this audience/market, including consideration of how you have represented people or places (use of stereotypes or countertypes). There should be evidence that you have researched and used ideas or strategies from existing ads. You will present an evaluation of your completed work.
A reminder of the range of things you need to create and include. I refer to this ad below. CTRL-click on a PC to enlarge.

  1. Learn the 'media language' used to describe shot types.
  2. Research existing ads, highlighting persuasive techniques they use and what they include.
  3. Develop and practice Photoshop skills.
  4. Create your own product idea and list what will feature in your ad.
  5. Review learning from existing ads, and pick out points from any 3 ads that you will use in your ad. You may want to make changes to your idea as a result.
  6. Gather/shoot the images you need for your ad.
  7. Draft your ad and get peer feedback.
  8. Finalise the ad.
  9. Take part in an 'expo' where you will present your work at a 'trade fair' for new products.
  10. Submit a short Evaluation of your work.
This is intended as an individual task; the video tasks will be group work.
However, you can team up to:
  • develop an idea
  • develop packaging
  • create and share a company logo
  • come up with multiple slogans to pick from
  • cast and shoot a model, so long as you each use a different photo
You could work in small groups on the same product so long as you each produce a distinctively different ad, with different photos of the model and background, plus a different slogan. You need to get permission from your teacher for any shared work.

Just as with your practice ad, there are minimum requirements on what your main ad must include:
  • a model/character (a photo YOU have taken) removed (cropped) from the background of the original image, and who is clearly appropriate for your target market
  • a 2nd image as a background (a photo YOU have taken) [you may include several images! you may also try a graphic design approach like the Diet Pepsi ad we looked at]
  • a product shot (you can use an existing image as long as you change the packaging)
  • a main slogan - you could include a secondary slogan with...
  • ...a suitable website address (you could use social media icons/address too)
  • the company logo (you can use an existing company, but may wish to challenge yourself with a new company and logo - you can share work on this)
  • you could include a QR code if you're using a competition as part of your ad idea

By now you've all learned and applied the key media language (use handouts, also available on this blog, if you need to remind yourself of any terms), researched a range of ads and practiced your Photoshop skills.

Some of you have already created your main product idea, and started working on what the ad will include. All of you need to list the following and submit this through Showbie (you can copy/paste the text from this post). You can use short bullet points if you wish; you don't need to submit a lot of writing.

PRODUCT TYPE: state what type of product this will be, eg soft drink, clothing, footwear, jewellry, games, technology, scent (perfume/aftershave), cosmetics/toiletries. Be specific: if its a soft drink, for example, what flavour; is it a diet, caffeine-free, added vitamins (health) or energy drink?

PACKAGING: What will the product look like? You might find it useful to use an image of an existing product to illustrate this, but make sure you actually describe the shape, colour, any text/logo on your packaging.

COMPANY: If you're brave enough to come up with your own company and its logo, describe this (if not, state which existing company - that's the brand, not the product - you will use).

WHO IS IT AIMED AT: Referring to at least age (give a range), gender/s and wealth (WAG!), clearly state who this will be aimed at. Think carefully if you are targeting an older age group - will you be able to get a suitable model, and do you understand what works for that age range?

MY AD IDEA + HOW IT APPEALS TO MY MARKET: Briefly but clearly explain your ad idea, stating how this will appeal to your target audience. Include a description of:
MODEL/CHARACTER(S): The age, look, pose/action of the model.
SLOGAN: If you have several ideas make sure you note these, but highlight the one you like best! If you're including a secondary slogan (as we saw with the Pepsi ad) detail this too.
URL: What website address/es will you use? If you are including social media links/QR code, detail these.

In a nutshell, what will make your ad stand out from the many others we will see in December?!

Find/pick out any 3 ads which link to the market/product type you will be working on, and annotate (write on) these to indicate what aspects/strategies/ideas you will use from real ads. Remember that you could look through actual magazines to find these, you don't have to rely on a Google search!

Friday, 16 October 2015

Shot Types comic book task

To complete this you need to:

  1. Come up with a VERY short story that can be explained in no more than 3 sentences.
  2. Plan and photograph at least 1 example of each shot type/angle (see list below)
  3. Present this as a comic book (or use Keynote if you don't have a comic maker app)
  4. Provide short text boxes to make the story clear, but also label each shot type/angle so its clear that (a) you've used each shot type/angle and (b) you can correctly identify these!
Please check your submitted work on Showbie for feedback.

Your Showbie class codes if you haven't joined yet:
9E: 3JKQ5
If you can't find your handout you can use the PowerPoint in this post to remind yourself what the shots are and how to identify them.
The shot range goes (I'm just using abbreviations as you can refer to the handout):
  • ECU
  • CU
  • MCU
  • MS
  • MLS
  • LS
  • ELS
There are also angles:
  • low
  • mid
  • high
  • dutch
You can also use:
  • two shot (2 people in the shot; three shot is 3...)
  • OTS (over the shoulder shot)
Don't panic!

This is a simple exercise - we don't need a masterpiece, just a clear demonstration of your applying the full range of camera shots!!!

SOLUTION1: You can take some new photos and change the storyline accordingly (remember, we said a story that you can explain in at most 3 sentences).

SOLUTION2: You can also re-use and edit some photos: by CROPPING you can make a LS into a MLS or MS for example, and you could even create a dutch angle by spinning the image around a little!

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Photoshop: a guide to key tools and techniques

Media Studies involves both print and video work. While Final Cut Pro X is the main software you will use for video editing, for image editing it is Photoshop.

Use the guides below to help you develop your skills with Photoshop, a skill that should come in handy for many other subjects and opportunities outside of school too! There is also a Photoshop iPad app.

After you watch a quick runthrough you will be aiming to create a slightly silly image like this by following the steps in the PowerPoint and summarised below:

  1. Create a new folder in My Documents called Media
  2. Save the 4 images (below the PowerPoint) into this (just right-click and save link as, and check its saving into the Media folder)
  3. Open Photoshop! (Start-All programs-Adobe Cs6-Photoshop)
  4. Set up a new document (File, New), changing the name to Elephant practice; Preset to international (A4 should appear, then the preset will switch to show 'custom'); swapping the width and height settings (W to 297mm, H 210mm); Background contents transparent.
  6. Open the 4 images into Photoshop using either the 'MiniBridge' tool or the simpler File-Open. Read 'THINGS THAT TEND TO GO WRONG' (bottom of the post) if you can't see the MiniBridge option...
  7. Add these to your Elephant practice document by right-clicking on the layer for each of these in turn; duplicate layer; and select which document to add it to.
  8. Resize and reposition the images. Put the Coke ad layer underneath the elephant layers, resized to fill the frame.
  9. Have a go with the magic wand and eraser tool to get rid of the background from the simplest image (on the desk). Use the eyeball (click it off) on the Layers toolbox (on the right) to get other layers to disappear! If you feel confident enough, have a go at one or both of the other 2.
  10. Save it as a jpg or png file (File-Save As). Submit it into the Showbie assignment 'Elephant practice' by taking a photo of the screen with your iPad (thanks to Lydia from 9E for that helpful suggestion!).
At this point you can either help others, and develop useful transferrable skills, or have a go at the additional tools illustrated in the PowerPoint: opacity, text, filters... 

You can have this open in your iPad or on the computer.
Please try to check this (or ask a neighbouring student!) before you put your hand up to ask a question that is probably answered in the guide! Check out the 'Things That Tend To Go Wrong' list further down this post; most issues can be solved by looking at this!

Save the following 4 images to your Media folder. You will find that the elephant images range from very simple and quick to edit (removing the background) to very complex and time-consuming!

Semiotics rap and Photoshop practice exercise


To help you recall your learning on the SAS of Media (Shots, Angles, Semiotics) your first task is to come up with a short rap featuring some of the terms you have been introduced to so far.

Everyone should try to come up with at least one rhyming couplet (simply: two lines that rhyme!) featuring one or more SAS term. You could think of a rhyme for a term (example1 below) or just use the term in a sentence giving an example of how it works (example2 below)

It can be silly but not rude!

In groups of around 4, pick out your best lines (at least two rhyming couplets, or 4 lines); there will be a prize for the best group. You could use your comic book photo-story for inspiration.
The captains cap on her head was used to connote
Authority and power, not just a love of boats!
The camera angle for the victim was high
Connoting he was about to meet his maker in the sky!


You will have at least one full period to work on Task 2 and an optional Task 3.

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Shot Types, Angles and Semiotics


In this post I will run through the main shot types and angles, and introduce you to two terms from the technique of semiotics, a way of analysing any media text...

You will encounter shots like this [CLICK ON THIS LINK - NOT THE EMBEDDED VIDEO - TO PLAY + REPEAT!]...

ALL the videos featured can be accessed through the playlist below, though I have also separately embedded each one:

There will be a lot at stake in this lesson...

We'll look at how shots were selected in this example of AS Media Studies coursework, Candelabra, a film opening...

There will be some Playtime...


ADVERTISING LAW Junk food ads: more restrictions?

Mark Sweney looks at possible strict new regulations
Does your age group need protecting from companies marketing junk food and sugary drinks? There are already restrictions on what can be advertised - and where (there are limits on how close to a school billboards featuring such ads can be!), not to mention when (to avoid targeting children's TV there are also regulations about the times when some ads can be broadcast on TV).

Rather than summarise this article (though I've highlighted some quotes), I've copied in the text below; you might find this useful when thinking about your own ad and when you come to evaluate your work.

Junk food advertising faces ruling on marketing to children
(Mark Sweney in The Guardian, 2015)

The body responsible for setting UK advertising rules is to launch a public consultation that will evaluate whether a ban on advertising junk food to children online, in the press, on billboards and poster sites should be introduced. 
The Committee of Advertising Practice – the code-setting body for all advertising in the UK that appears in any media except on TV and radio – is looking at the introduction of tighter rules on how food and drinks high in fat, salt and sugar are marketed to children. 

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Presentations on how advertisers target groups or demographics

Young children may not have lots of money themselves, but through pester power they can persuade and pressurise parents into buying products for them ...
There are increasing restrictions on what can be advertised to children, where and when...

Have you successfully used pester power?
(note: useful terminology is often highlighted in bold + pink!)
Do ads for junk food (fast food: burgers, pizza etc) and sugary drinks work on 13 year-olds?
You will be creating a TV ad for your 2nd of 3 Media projects!

In this series of lessons we will...
  • build on our initial learning of some persuasive techniques advertisers use
  • focus on specific 'demographics' (categories of people) and ads aimed at them
  • develop our research, presentation and teamworking skills
  • produce a presentation that will be used to brief the rest of the class ...
  • and eventually uploaded to this post!

Companies spend a lot of money to place their ads in certain magazines that they think the type of people likely to be interested in their product/brand read. If you are targeting a youth market, you wouldn't waste money buying space in this magazine ...

WHO is this magazine aimed at (what demographic) and HOW have the designers done this? Pick out details that help your argument.

QR code for this blog

Monday, 7 September 2015

Magazine Advert Gallery

To get us started, we will begin thinking about magazine ads.

At this stage, you have not yet been equipped with 'media language'...

However, as we discuss these examples, you can start thinking about what design features you would want to use in your own ad (as well as things to avoid!)...

You need to click 'read more'below to access the full post...

Sunday, 12 July 2015

Become a Green Screen King/Queen...

Your task, in a very short space of time, is to master the basics of Final Cut Pro X ... and use one of the more advanced tools it offers in making your very first very short film...

Here's the video we played you, which you can always refer back to:

We will make you green screen kings/queens in some simple steps. Please ask for help at ANY time if you get a bit stuck!

You need to be quite quick to get through all 7 steps in just 4 hours...

I'd prefer you all do this individually, but you can pair up so long as you each give it a try.
In Final Cut, you will find an 'Event' called 'GreenScreen Celeb'. Click on it, then click FILE, and then on NEW PROJECT. Replace the date with your own name as the project file and press OK. Your blank project file should now appear on the timeline (along the bottom) ready for you to drag and drop clips into and around. 
The 'Libraries' window on the top left lists 'Libraries' (the four squares icon), within which there are 'Events' (square with a star). You should be clicked on the Event called GreenScreen Celeb.
You can rename the 'project' file just by clicking on its name.

Here's a couple of examples of intentionally silly videos Media students have created using the green screen...


Storm Queen...

Ozzy Osbourne...
This was what we term a 'mini-vid', not a full video ... a mini one!

This one didn't use the green screen, but takes a similar approach of recording different people lip-synching lines...

Click on below to read the full post