Deadlines/Brief

Music videos are so 80s/90s, right? They belong with the era when MTV screened wall-to-wall vids instead of 'reality' TV? Try telling that to the millions who bought Gangnam Style; were they really simply loving the music? 1.6bn (and still climbing) have viewed the video on YT, not to mention the many re-makes (school eg, eg2), viral ads + celeb link-ups (even political protest in Seoul) - and it doesn't matter how legit it is, this nightmare for daydream Beliebers is making a lot of money, even from the parodies + dislikes. All this for a simple dance track that wouldn't have sounded out of place in 1990 ... but had a fun vid. This meme itself was soon displaced by the Harlem Shake. Music vids even cause diseases it seems!
This blog explores every aspect of this most postmodern of media formats, including other print-based promo tools used by the industry, its fast-changing nature, + how fans/audiences create/interact. Posts are primarily written with Media students/educators in mind. Please acknowledge the blog author if using any resources from this blog - Mr Dave Burrowes

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Blog Gadgets/Layout/Positioning Pics

The split-column makes the archive more
difficult to access/use quickly. Also note
the poll: lots of responses, so worth a post.
If yours hasn't, delete it, try again + this
time push harder to get responses!

Trying to position the 2nd pic below proved
a nightmare - tried 2 browsers (Safari +
Firefox); might be a Mac issue? Blogger
support forums were useless. Every time I
tried 'add caption' to pic below it moved. So
my solution was to type more into the caption
above!!!

The point I wanted to make with pic below:
neat/small playable MP3; + group pic is
hyperlinked to 'meet the group' post
See Picture captions for tips on positioning pictures in Blogger - an utter pain, but there are some workarounds...

Basic Design Points
Already repeatedly covered, but a reminder:
  • Sub-headings are vital for a well-presented blog; don't use the Blogger defaults though (the drop-down list with Normal/Minor Heading etc are fairly useless: use a different font (never Courier), colour, size, bold - just as I've done above
  • Check for + avoid blank space: there are so many posts with 2 blank lines between sentences, or random chunks of blank space, or a stray photo at the bottom - this looks simply awful
  • Use caption tool: its quicker and tidier than trying to make general text fit below. It also helps any posts with multiple pics look less messy
  • Don't type beyond the width of the pic once you've set it to the size you want; hit at the end of the line + carry on writing (as I did with the pic to R)! Once you start writing beyond the pic width you'll see margins being adjusted.
  • Position pics to R of text - not always possible/desirable (size should generally be the decisive factor), but you should have noticed that I rarely position pics so that there's no text either side. Moving pics is fiddly within blogger, but in general allow text to flow round them - keep to right so that bullet lists/sub-headings aren't messed up. Double up (1 L, 1 R) where need be.
  • Proofread your blog - it shouldn't take me to point out things such as the above; check + adjust your blog/posts.
  • Don't use split-column R-column; it makes the Blog Archive, the most important gadget on the blog, and the one I/the examiner will use most, a pain to use!
  • Never post a vid/pod/vodcast/image/s without a clear title + text to explain what it is/contents, and provide context/commentary where appropriate. Proofread your own blog
  • Post titles: there are so many awful eg's from your blogs despite this point being made ad nauseum: ensure your post title clearly explains the post content. Far, far too many still simply do not. Proofread your own blog.
  • Post order/dates: tidy up your blogs by adjusting post publish dates - see pic at end. There are lots of examples where you've added a post which should replace an earlier post, but you've left both in. Proofread your own blog!
  • When copy/pasting each others' posts, check your blog hasn't imposed a colour background fill, or put grey/blue text on a black background, 2 common egs of where things go wrong - proofread your own blog (I think you get the point by now...).
  • Be particularly careful if your blog is set to have a black background in the main posting frame; it may be easier to change this than wade through dozens of posts which are rendered hard/impossible to read.
  • CHECK BLOG IS SET TO VIEW AT LEAST 20 POSTS – I/EXAMINER WANT TO BE ABLE TO CLICK ON A MONTH + SEE MOST OF THOSE POSTS
  • Posts on individual films/vids analysed should follow the template I've set out, starting with basic institutional info. These are a waste of time if you don't summarize your learning, summarize the conventions based on these individual examples, and keep showing your application of this learning by making references to these in your posts on ideas, planning, filming, rough cuts, aud feedback etc
  • An unreadable post copy/pasted from a group partner
  • If you've changed the blog background pic, post on this with screenshots: good idea to do this, changing it to a pic from your own work! Just check its not pixellated and that your post text is easily readable. 
  • Feedback posts: always either embed pic/vid OR give a link to post where it can be seen - and respond to the feedback: do you dis/agree? why? what do you intend to do now? Remember, YouTube annotation tool can be v useful for this. 
Podcasts are especially useful for getting marks on 'Time management' + possibly 'Organisation of resources' (for which you need to evidence how you've controlled + imposed your creative choices on resources including cast, costume, props, locations...). If you've been slack in creating these, consider whether its really beyond your wit to create some now which show a regular reflection on what you've done. Podcast posts must have some detail on contents, and post titles must be clearer than 'Podcast 4' - so maybe try 'Podcast4 Nov4-Nov18' indicating the time period covered? IF YOU TRY THIS, you've got to make sure your claims are backed up by general blog posts!!!

USING POLLS
Blogger has a useful poll gadget, though you could also try PollDaddy (see this post). Ideally use both at least once. Before setting up a poll consider these points:
  1. Be clear on what question you're trying to research, and what you'll do with the results
  2. Polls can be very useful evidence for gaining credit on audience research/feedback AND use of new technologies, but only if the purpose is clear
  3. Make sure the closing date is in a suitably short timeframe - don't set it to finish after you've handed in your work, or too late to be made any use of
  4. A poll without any respondents is useless: use social media, fansites etc to generate traffic


ORDER OF GADGETS:
Quick, simple note: you need a lot of these, but you also need to get the order right. Click into and you can drag gadgets up/down in order on your blog. You should have a top (horizontal) links list for group members blogs/YouTube channels, company blog, + any FB/Twitter etc. Follow this order:
GeorgeG's blog:2 blog columns
sized to enable background pic
to be seen; company logo is
hyperlinked to company blog;
QR code prominent - good idea
as this will impress any examiner
Even the pic is personalized!
Shame that background pic is
pixellated though!
  1. Group pic
  2. [for A2] playable MP3 of track (adjust player size if necessary - many of you have a huge player on there which stretched the entire blog)
  3. Blog archive - this MUST be quickly.easily accessible
  4. 1 poll (if you have more, add within 'you decide' - see below)
  5. 1 RSS/news feed (if you have more, add within 'you decide' - see below) If you have your own FB/Twitter for this, make its updates your selection here
  6. Links List: Eval Qs (make sure titles in this, and of posts themselves, clearly identify the Q - i.e., not just by number - use the short names I use on my guide posts)
  7. [A2 only] Links List: Final Cut/Ad/Dpak
  8. Links List: Rough Cuts
  9. [A2 only] Links List: Mag Ad/Digipak Drafts
  10. Links List: Audience research/feedback
  11. Links List: Podcasts [ensure title, including post title, is not just a number - see note above]
  12. Links List: Vodcasts [ensure title, including post title, is not just a number]
  13. YOU DECIDE - you should have many more links lists (and maybe some further gadgets), as indicated in the coursework guides; use in any order you wish. These should include:
  • Key influences on our production (links to posts + other external resources; think of directors, maybe specific scenes uploaded to YouTube, other film/TV/vids or any other media type, might even be past IGS work, a book or a concept - perhaps even an ideology, eg feminism)
  • Genre resources: research into genre is key at both AS + A2, so link to your own posts and (you could separate this) wider resources you've used for research
  • Vids/films analysed: you should be able to separate this into 'general' and 'genre' examples. Include any summary post/s, + vodcasts (don't worry about repetition between links lists, just use them to showcase your work on certain aspects, which will help you secure marks). This is an utterly key part of the 40% of marks for the R+P/Eval; if your work on this has been lax your marks will suffer accordingly.
  • Planning + organising resources: posts which help with marks on 'Time management' + 'Organisation of resources': screenplay, storyboards, call sheet/s, filming updates + schedule/s; locations, cast(ing), props, costume, mise-en-scene, FX (you've got to go beyond saying Jemima was cast because she was available, and we used the clothing/hair/appearance she turned up in, and certainly didn't provide any direction for her (or film this), or do any set dressing, because we were determined to get low marks on 'organisation of resources'!!!
  • Learning on software + other technologies: if you haven't already, add in a few posts on this topic (eg a post where you've used a new FCE tool, or you've added your 1st links list, set up a FB page, a blog poll/Polldaddy poll...). Both AS + A2 have Eval Qs (ASQ7, A2Q4) on this, plus 'Use of ICT' is assessed for A2 blog and both AS+A2 Evals.
  • ...and more besides!
Another workaround tip: I tried bringing this (initially at a smaller size) + couldn't move it from the top, or from the middle of the 2 pics I'd already put in the post. Solution? I added a stack of   presses, creating blank space which then enabled me to shift this pic where I wanted it - once positioned, I could remove the presses.

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