Welcome to my A Level Media Blog. My name is Joshua Brooks [0110] and for this project I am working in Group 5 with Vivian Oparah [0621], Sebastian Hodge [0330] and Louis Caldwell [0131]. Under the heading 'Labels' of the left hand side of the page, you are able to filter post from the project's various stages of production. At the bottom of the page is a link to older posts also. Click the link listed below for Group 5's Facebook page, which contains evidence of production work from throughout the project. Thanks for taking the time to read this and I hope you enjoy the rest of my blog!

NTLS Final Music Video

NTLS Final Music Video

NTLS Final Digipak

NTLS Final Digipak
NTLS Final Digipak [Right click to open larger image in new window]

NTLS Final Website

NTLS Final Website
NTLS Final Website [Right click on the image to open the website in a new window]


View our Group Twitter page here:



View our Group Facebook group, which we used to administrate the project, here:


31 Dec 2014

[Q1] In What Ways Do Your Media Products Use, Develop Or Challenge Forms And Conventions Of Real Media Products?

My three media products from this project use, develop and challenge the forms and conventions of real media products in a number of ways. All three platforms use very different methods of communicating information to the audience, much like the professional examples used to influence this project, and so I will analyse each product individually, using references to the other platforms where necessary.

- Neither artist is more prominent than the other, regardless of race or sex. We chose to represent the characters as equal in order to appeal to a wider audience, as none of these factors affect status in today's society. Conventions are challenged by the fact that usually there is a clear lead figure in a band and we don't have one, however we felt we were building on the idea of having a lead figure in the first place, which in turn is the development in the way artists are represented.

As you can see, both artists get the same
 amount of screen time as each other.

- Neither artists is dressed to look sexualised and are both seen to have emotionless and neutral personalities, opposing how in certain circumstances male and female bodies are sexualised in music videos to attract certain audiences, either in the way they dress or perform.

Both artists are fully covered and dressed stylishly. 

Almost exactly the same framing for each artist, from
the same angle and for the same period of time

During the research and planning stages of the project we looked to Andrew Goodwin's theory for music videos. Goodwin states that music videos demonstrate characteristics typical of their genre. By following genre conventions, the audience will be able to recognise and relate to the video, meaning they will enjoy watching it more.

Influenced by artists such as AlunaGeorge, FKA Twigs, Banks and Gold Panda, we looked at the common conventions in their videos and decided on whether or not to conform to them.

- We used Strauss' Binary opposites theory with the narrative, seen in both the studio and on the VHS footage, to create some aesthetic the audience could appeal to. The black an white contrasting imagery from the studio shots was visually striking and stylistically appealing to viewers.

There is a contrast between the crisp 
HD footage and the grainy VHS footage

Here we see two of the same shots, both 
repeated in black and white setups

- Strongly influenced by Richard Dyer's media theory involving the construction of a star's image, we created a whole profile for our artists, heavily focusing on their persona, style and characteristics. The group felt it was vital that the artists' image had to be as strong as possible, not only to engage the audience during the video but also so that it made creating a consistent band image easier overall. Influenced by the likes of AlunaGeorge and FKA Twigs, we designed their image around what would appeal to our target audience.

FKA Twigs influenced the way in which our 
artists dressed and their outlandish fashion senses.

AlunaGeorge helped in strengthening an artist's 
image using a male and female duo. It was also coincidence 
that they were a white male and black female act.

- Goodwin states that 'the demand of the record label will include the need for lots of close-ups of the artist and the artists may develop a visual which recurs across their work'. Taking into account Goodwin's theory, we included a lot of close ups of the artists, and used the artists' style to create an iconic image instantly recognisable as NTLS.

Here is a series of close ups of both artists from 
the 'Heart Skipped a Beat' music video 

Here is a mind map showing how we used intertextual referencing in the video for 'Heart Skipped a Beat'

-  Our music video is a combination of both narrative and performance. We decided to have half of the video as narrative, and half as performance in order to make sure that the band image was clearly conveyed, whilst the message of the song was also apparent through the narrative flow. We drew inspiration from 'Just a Touch' by AlunaGeorge in terms of the performance side of our video however, with the narrative scenes we used references such as 'Call Me Out' by JUCE and Blind Faith by Chase & Status.

Scenes from  Chase & Status - Blind Faith  ft. Liam Bailey (Left) and JUCE - Call You Out (Right)

Scenes from the music video 'Heart Skipped a Beat' by NTLS

- Strauss' theory of binary opposites also came into play with how entertaining and engaging the narrative was. We used contrasting emotions of happy and sad; happy when the audience see the couple having fun and sad when the couple break up. We felt that building up the relationship between the two characters and allowing the audience to see their development over the course of the video allowed them to empathise or sympathise when the couple broke up.

- The idea behind the video itself came from the lyrics of the song when we listened to it, so it was always relevant in our planning of the project. Vivian had the idea to use a duet singing to each other and have VHS footage of the duet from their relationship and the idea developed from there, with lyrics such as 'please don't say we're done when I'm not finished' and 'The more I see, I understand
But sometimes, I still need you' strengthening the idea of a discussion between two ex lovers. In learning about Goodwin's theory of how music videos link lyrics and visuals, we took influence from videos such as Flying Lotus - Never Catch Me ft. Kendrick Lamar and Sam Smith - I'm Not The Only One as both are videos where the lyrics directly link to the visuals of the video.


- Carol Vernallis' theory into how the beat and rhythm of a song is used in relation to the visuals was also useful in the way we shot our studio footage. Examples such as the turning of the head to the beat or blinking in time with the music was part of our choreography for the video. We were also inspired by Hotchip - Ready For the Floor where the choreography also matches the timings in the song.

- Vernallis states that a music video generally breaks the conventions of continuity editing. The editing should reflect that of the music, and should have a style unique to the track. This is noticeable in the NTLS - Heart Skipped a Beat track where the editing of the video is either synced to the beats or lyrics in the song, creating a clear link between the two. We used a number of editing techniques to relate to the visuals in both the narrative sections and studio sections of the video.

In the video, we made it so that the blinking of the artists was in sync with the track as well as the cutting between tracks

The video continuously breaks the 30 degree rule, has graphic mismatches and extreme changes in the pace of editing which are intended to entertain the audience in an otherwise dull setting.

- We felt the Strauss and his theory of binary opposites was also relevant at this point, where the change from HD to VHS and back is striking and engaging to the viewer.


- Neither putting artists in a position of power or vulnerability, face on an at eye level creates a feeing of neutrality with the audience. Other videos use this as a way to empower the artist, and it is predominantly linked with the sexualisation of the artist also. The artist present in the video are displayed as non-sexualised in the way the camera is positioned at eye level.

All shots of both artists are framed the same as each other as much as possible in the music video

- Establishing shots are one of the key features of a music video Vernallis states, along with close us shots. The style of framing should be distinctive to the video, and extreme shots or master shots are common. We use a number of shots in our NTLS music video, with the basis of our video being an ELS of the duo.

A slideshow of the variation of framing seen in NTLS 'Heart Skipped a Beat' music video

We thought that the way in which the audience see and navigate through our website should be easy and straightforward. As our band's image was quite minimalist, this made the job of designing the layout of features easier. We chose to go for a straight forward banner with clickable links to other pages such as the NTLS or TOUR page titles, as this feature was noticeable in most artist websites such as Lewis Watson's or Dog is Dead's websites, and we preferred it to the scrolling blog format both on SBTRKT's and George Ezra's websites.

The straight forward banners we took influence from were a lot more crisp and easy to navigate

The scrolling websites did look nice but were a bit too complex 
and it was much more simple to use the more traditional layout

Information on the website was easily accessible but not patronising in the way it was presented, as we knew our audience were mature and confident enough that we did not have to make it so, unlike other websites where the target audience is much lower and therefore have to consider these factors more carefully.


With literally every website we looked at when researching ideas for the website, we noticed all of them had a wide range of social media links available on all pages of the website. We decided that similar to Lewis Watson's and The 1975's we would include social media links on our main website banner allowing for easier access and increased audience interactivity with the artist.

The icons and links on the website are direct links to their social media pages

We covered all the major social media platforms including Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and updated all of the pages as regularly as possible over the course of the project. On top of the main social media links, we also recognised having a mailing list was a common feature of most websites, and dedicated a section of the CONTACT US page of the NTLS website to this, much like James Blake's website.

The main banner to the website. Links to social media and navigation bar are seen here
After clicking on the social media links, it will take you to that 
page where you can view tweets or instagram photos for example

The contact us page from the webiste

With Red Pigeon Records being the record label NTLS were signed to, we included a copyright in the footer for the website visible on all pages. There was also contact information available in the CONTACT US page, with a map showing the Red Pigeon Record London offices on and a company email also.


The album cover is what ties all three platforms together. As the debut album, we wanted every other product to revolve around the album cover in order to create a brand that the audience could associate with the album itself. The artwork featured on the front cover also features on the main page of the site, with the image used for the outside panel also being the background from the website. On the inside we see a picture of the artists from the photo shoot on the set of 'Heart Skipped a Beat' and next to that, the NTLS logo. The back cover of the album has a link to the website in the form of a readable url but also a scannable QR code so that fans of the artist can easily access information about the artists on the website.

30 Dec 2014

[Q2] How Effective Is The Combination Of Your Main Product And Ancillary Texts?

Creating a strong and obvious band identity was an important job for all products of this project. The combination of the video, website and album cover worked well in doing this and helped strengthen both the band's style and the artists' individual personas.

My group researched FKA Twigs, analysing a contemporary band identity from the electronic/alternative scene:

- Through the band's costumes in the music video and promotional photos, their style choices are apparent, and because the costumes are so unique, they themselves are something that can be associated  with NTLS. We designed Nathan and LuLu's outfits so that the audience see them as interesting and individual, playing on Richard Dyer's star theory to create an image in the audience's eye that they can appeal to.

[ Click image to enlarge ]
Both characters wore jewellery to make their otherwise plain costume more interesting, however the clothes the artists wear in themselves are quite unusual. The makeup both artist wear in the video is also unusual for people in everyday society. We intended this to become something that the audience could do themselves and that fans would be able to recognise as NTLS if they saw it elsewhere.

Examples of the face paint pattern both artists wear during the video

- The artists strange and posed modelling stance creates a surreal and unnatural feel to the photographs, enhanced by the white/black cove behind them. It creates a very stylised look to the artists which immediately connotes maturity and sophistication.

An example of some of the promo shots, also featured on the GALLERY page of the website

- The style of music NTLS create is apparent through what they say:


- I feel the way in which Nathan and LuLu hold themselves in both the video and photos also accurately reflect the profiles we created for them and give the viewers an idea of their personality. The way in which they move, calm and slowly, creates this cool mysterious aura about their characters.

The artists moving their heads to the side as part of the video choreography

- From social media feeds and what the pair upload, the audience are able to get a feel for what they are like both on and off set. This is where Richard Dyer's Star Theory was referenced by us again, as all updates on social media sites like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram were carefully selected before uploading, sculpting the artist's image in the pubic eye.

The instagram and twitter pages for NTLS looks liked this. 
Constant updates throughout the release of the album 
(the project) meant audiences were up to date.

We advertised the release of the website on the twitter page
 as a way to encourage audiences to visit it and to potentially 
increase sales through the website

- To create a consistent brand we had to create a consistent style so that viewers did not get confused with the what the brands message was. Using the simplicity of the song as a template we went for a really minimalist theme in order to reflect it in the work we created. The video contains simple features, simple movements and simple cuts which create a relaxed feel.

The gallery shows a range of images from the video 
with time codes showing the consistency of style in the video
[ Click to images to enlarge ]

- The website's features are plain and straightforward but do their job in displaying information, along with with the album cover which is stylised and has very little features but is effective in displaying them. Over the three platforms you see a clear consistency with the way in which the brands information is presented in this minimalist style.

The NTLS Website (top left), video stills (top right) and album cover (bottom)

- After deciding on using the black on white/white on black set ups for the music video, this became a common theme for the rest of the project. The website featured white type on black background along with the NTLS logo being featured as white on black/black on white in various places including the website banner, merchandise and album artwork.

- Having consistent fonts was really important for our website and album cover as it meant that we kept this minimalist approach solid. All pages of the website, including the website's banner use the font Caudex, a plain sans-serif font. The font Penakut is also kept consistent on the album cover also, and we tried to pick one as similar to the handwritten style of the logo to try and keep up this continuity.

- Keeping a consistent layout is also important in order to keep the older audience from getting confused with the message and identity of the brand. The website layout uses all squares and rectangles to focus the viewer on the content. We deliberately didn't use too much colour as that would over complicate the brand which in itself is simple and minimalist.

Logo saturation is what is used to really hammer home the brand to the viewer and to create something that people immediately associate with NTLS. The NTLS logo appears in various places across the platforms created for the project

There were various things that we wanted to create as icons for NTLS that could be easily recognisable as so.

- The graphic seen on the album cover and main page of the site is an iconic image that the audience can associate with NTLS. The dots that make up the face of the two artists merged is quite an original idea and so when the artists became known outside of their fan base, that style would also become something that they would be recognised for, not just their music. This was arranged as a marketing strategy, so that the audience for NTLS would become a lot broader with the NTLS fans promoting the artists.

A basic representation of the process behind creating the NTLS graphic

- When creating the merchandise we had to take into consideration what the target audience would wear and what they like, and so used referencing from artists such as The XX, SBTRKT and Flying Lotus.

We used the logo for NTLS in various graphic ways, enlarging, repeating and rotating the image to make products that were all individual. The logo is what makes the products iconic but the style is what makes them fashionable. The main purpose of the merchandise would be to create something that the audience could buy that in itself promoted the brand further, and in that sense it fulfils its purpose.

Taking inspiration from other websites such as Lewis Watson and The 1975, we used social media as another way to market our brand and created various pages dedicated to updating followers of NTLS.

- We created and posted regularly on a Twitter account, featuring images and links to other social media platforms such as Instagram. The Twitter feed for the NTLS account was embedded onto the NTLS website in the TOUR section of the website also, allowing the more dedicated fans of the artists to be up to date.

- The Facebook page for the artists was also created, with photos uploaded and links to various sites relating to NTLS being posted.

- Regular updates on the NTLS instagram account throughout the project were shared on the NTLS website also, with a live feed of their instagram page featuring on the GALLERY page of the website.

- We decided that we would include an advert featuring the date and time fans could tune in to NTLS on BBC Radio 1, a radio station that regularly features electronic indie artists. This was to broaden our reach and to market the release of the album, due to the large numbers of listeners BBC Radio 1 has. We also advertised this on our twitter account also, so fans following the twitter page could share the post so that it gained publicity