Hello and Welcome to my A-Level Media Blog. My Name is Vivian Oparah [0621]. On this project, I have been in Group 5 and worked with Louis Caldwell [0131], Sebastian Hodge [0330] and Joshua Brooks [0110]. To navigate around my blog, you can click any of the headings under the 'Labels' subtitle on the side of the page - this will filter posts into the various stages of the project.
At the bottom of the page, there is a link which takes you to 'Older Posts' which can be clicked on as well.
Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoy my blog!

"NTLS - Heart Skipped A Beat" Music Video

Our Music Video

NTLS Self-Titled Digipak Cover

NTLS Self-Titled Digipak Cover
NTLS Self-Titled Digipak Cover

NTLS Website

NTLS Website
Right-click the image and select "Open link in new tab" as this will take you to the official NTLS site

Monday, 27 October 2014


Our website designs and album covers were inspired by the FKA Twigs and SBTRKT website. Both of these artists are from a similar Alternative genre as us and so know how to attract the same audience that we want to tap into. They both incorporated the idea of using the album cover as the background for the page:

FKA Twigs official website and album cover

SBTRKT official website and album cover

So, based off some album cover ideas we already had and bearing in mind the capabilities of Wix, we sketched this website idea:

Then using Wix, we created the image below, which is hopefully close to what the front page of the finished website will look like. The intended colour scheme hasn't been decided so currently its just black and white.

Web design
Potentially NTLS official website and album cover
We showed this to members of our target audience and they loved that fact we were in-keeping with having a website built around our album cover.

Album Cover

During the week 3 production meeting we discussed potential album cover designs - coming up with a few sketches and visuals inspired from previously found images, here are some sketches:

Initial rough sketch by Josh of the front and back of the album cover

We really liked Josh' ideas so thought of developing it using different shapes on the front cover. I drew it up and this was the outcome. 
From this we came up with some concepts based on the original idea

In my opinion, although the circle design looks more interesting, I'm more drawn to the square design - especially because you get a clearer image of the artists which is essential for their debut album.
Our intentions for the front and back cover is to use a parormatic photo of a forest which spans the length of the front and back cover

Initial rough  idea of panoramic style album cover
At the very beginning of the project, Louis experimented on the computer and made a digital collage; it turned out looking really interesting:

With the idea of creating a distinct relationship between the front and back cover would be quite hard to do with such unique imagery. 

Sunday, 19 October 2014


After finalising our storyboard, we moved on to make the animatic:

The structure of our animatic was inspired mostly by our storyboard,  however the order of events is altered slightly as we had a clearer vision of the order everything would go in once we were putting the pictures to music. The pictures show the studio shots and the black background with text explains the VHS footage. We plan the studio footage to be two artists in NTLS singing the song "Heart Skips A Beat" in a way which abstractly reflects the relationship of the couple in the narrative. The archived footage will quite like a montage the couples relationship and the breakup.

We received feedback from our teacher who really liked it but suggested adding visuals instead of the black screen for the VHS shots and to further consider the order of some shots which could help to improve the narrative flow, we revised the animatic and came up with this:

Our teachers gave us some tips and we expanded them into some ideas which we could transfer into our final video

Rough notes taken whilst watching
Rough notes taken whilst watching
The makeup put on the actual artists has to be very interesting; since the shots are quite simple, the artists will have to become almost visual art which keeps the audience fascinated
"FKA TWIGS - Through Glass" very simple background but a very enticing look

The relationship needs to follow a more conventional structure so its clearer to the audience Therefore, the couple must be very in love at the beginning (so much grand gestures, proving they love each other) and then in the middle section they should've become more comfortable with each other (so doing more silly things, looks almost like a loving friendship) and then the relationship should break down. We also realised there must be a very reason for the breakup otherwise the audience won't quite understand why things went so wrong - we decided this would be the male character has grown bored and just wants to hang around with his friends again.

The atmosphere that the artists create in the studio needs to be very intense. Both artists in NTLS (Josh and I) must be fascinated by each other - aiming to create an illusory relationship which is void of any sexual attraction (perhaps like two pieces of artwork admiring and intrigued by each other). This will keep the audience hooked during the studio sections.

- Drawing inspiration from Carol Vanalys, we will challenge the audiences expectations in terms of rhythm and style; using jump cuts and snappy cuts quite unexpectedly in the studio.
- For the narrative montage, we could try out superimposing 2 shots by lowering the opacity to make it look more dreamlike and more like a reflection.
- We could play around with slow mo to make it look like the past, and the narrative montage can dissolve into each other as oppose to cuts.

Production Meeting 13/10/14

In this meeting, we discussed the storyboard, animatic, publicity shots and flat plans.

We completed the storyboard which made it clear what we wanted for the studio narrative. We roughly outlined the archive footage narrative however there were still some issues surrounding how believe the story and the characters were.

From completing the storyboard we were able to complete the animatic using the 2:59 "Heart Skipped A Beat" track. The animatic worked as a template enabling us to view how the archived footage worked to the music. After some issues surrounding the narrative structure, we finalised it into the order which follows - there are four main sections:


1] Party

- Drinking
- Laughing
- Dancing
- Kissing (first kiss)


2] General Relationship  

- At the park (talking in playground, running through grass)
- At home (talking in bed, reading, smiling, messing around with clothes)
- On the street (walking together, pushing each other, holding hands)
- Birthday (smiling, laughing, presents, cake)
- Days out (iconic places in london, charity shopping)

3] Relationship Breakdown
- In same locations they used to go to, put things are no longer the same
- Louis seems disinterested, shrugs Gina off
- Small arguments

4] Breakup

- Louis breaks up with Gina
- Gina is crying shouting, pushing him away, throwing stuff at Louis
- Louis leaves the house
- Gina is left crying

- In this meeting we also completed the first draft of the shoot boards,  however they may need to be altered slightly after meeting with our teacher over the animatic.
- "Archive" shots needs to be finalised (where they are, what they're doing)
- Location rushes need to be done as we are shooting outside the studio

- We planned and finalised 2 publicity shots however definitely need to do a few more sketches - so research into influential artists and photos is underway.

- The flat plans and mock ups have been done using Photoshop and Wix
- Since the website draft will change as we build it up, we need to take screenshots of our progress so far.
- The album cover has been finalised to 2 variations of the same idea


After brainstorming some ideas for what could happen in the narrative, we began to put together our storyboard.

We created the storyboard by mapping out the shots in chronological order which made the animatic easier to create as there was a clear guide of what was needed where (this was especially helpful if someone was working on the animatic without other another group member). 
The green post-it notes were used for the shots within the studio, they have drawings on them because they were easier to map out.
The orange post-it notes were used for the VHS shots, they have writing on them because drawing exactly what we wanted the footage to look like would be quite long and too difficult.

Shot type and any action within the shot was written in the top corner of the note and necessary lyrics were written underneath to aid the editing of the animatic.
The use of post-it notes made it very easy to move around shot ideas, and envision what would work and what wouldn't work. 

Production Meeting: 29/9/14 and 01/10/14

After further deliberation, we decided on the track "Heart Skipped A Beat - The XX" as it would attract the decided Electronic/Alternative audience.

Primary - Electronic Alternative fans
Secondary - Late teens, early 20s
Tertiary - Late 30/40s

Record Label
Branch of Sony Records

Red Pigeon Records
Alternative/Electronic music specialist
British label
London Based

NTLS (pronounced nettles)

- duo
- white male and black female
- no band
- electronic music
- produce their own tracks

Production Meeting: 24/09/14

In this meeting, we mostly focused on track as it was crucial to pin it down before we could continue. This is because, sadly, our teacher pointed out that "Ghost Poet - Cash and Carry Me Home" had the vocals of a mature black male. We then regrouped and decided it would be in the best interests of the project to play to the strengths of our group and avoid as much as possible, having external actors as key parts of the music video.

Initial Track Shortlist
Glass Animals - Holiest
- good track,still struggling slightly to think of ideas however analysing the lyrics might create some ideas. Possibility for a male and female duet however the song doesn't progress, would be difficult to create an interesting music video.
FKA Twigs - Video Girls
- The concept for the music video is very strong. For this the music video we imagine it will be entirely studio based with a mish mash of cool visuals that interpret the lyrics. Although, the track is very repetitive and even with all our ideas we think it will be really hard to keep the audience engaged.

In conclusion we decided not to use either of these tracks because of the issues with progression. This appeared to be a frequent problem with songs from the Electronic/Alternative genre, so we decided to broaden our search and thought of the following tracks:

Basement Jaxx - Good Luck
- Black female lead singer which plays to the strengths of group.
- Ideas for narrative surrounded a woman being cheated on by her partner; artist is either narrating the story in HD studio shots and VHS shots used for cheating (undercover footage/voyeur)

The XX - Heart Skipped a Beat
- Similar ideas to use mixture of VHS and HD shots
- Narrative about couple in VHS, from in love to breaking up
- HD of artist/s in the studio

Little Dragon - Klapp Klapp
- Concept video in the studio
- Flashing imagery, glitches, jump cuts, reversing shots
- Playing off the word "sprinkles" using glitter in slow motion as it would catch the light really well
- Mirror effect on hand/body
- Kaleidoscope imagery (reference psychedelic movement)

Aluna George - Bad Idea
- Ideas similar to little dragon, although looking further into playing with tempo
- Further analysis of lyrics could generate more ideas

DJ Fresh - Gold Dust
- This is a fall back track which already has quite a strong image, didn't analyse in depth.

Production Meeting: 23/09/14

In this meeting we did a few things, we discussed possible tracks, the record label, thought about the artist and their audience.

The tracks we discussed were
Glass Animals - Holiest
- unfortunately, we couldn't think of any ideas for this track inkeeping with the style of Electro-Alternative videos and so decided against it
Spooky Black - Without You
- this was too slow, no progression

Our decision: Ghost Poet-Cash and Carry Me Home

For this we were able to brainstorm ideas with ease:
- Narrative of people going out, lip-syncing (different people, different styles, race, genders)
- Breaking the forth wall in the narrative (reference White Lies - Bigger Than Us video)
- Go pro facing person, following them (reference Tove Lo - Habits video)

(This track is now pending approval)

- Similar to Young Turks
- A Branch of a major record label, perhaps Sony

- Late Teens, Early Twenties
- Urban
- Underground
- Indie
We started a pinterest of style and possible target audience members

- Struggled to decide on a name
- Solo Artist


We created a steal-o-matic to have a moving visual representation of what we envision our music video would look like. We included references for shot types, artist appearance and just general styles we hope to incorporate into the finished product.

We set up a Group 5 Influences playlist on YouTube and during a production meeting decided that whenever we had the time we would add videos (whether they were clips from films, music videos, clips from shows etc) to the playlist and jot down the reason we added them, so we would have a very large amount of media to select from and knew which aspects applied to our video.
We then cut the videos and edited all the various clips together roughly to match where different shots would come in the actual music video; adding text for extra clarity on the significance of each clip.

This is the finished product:

We received some feedback from members of our target audience who overall said they can tell there is going to be a strong aesthetic and we should maintain this as it will be our unique selling point.

4 Key Decisions: Artist

With the audience, genre, record label and track all decided- creating an artist was relatively easy since we had already built quite a strong foundation. We listened back to Heart Skipped A Beat and realised there was a duet between a male and female artist. Initially we played around with the idea of there just being a male/female solo artist with the opposite gender as a feature. However, from looking at the strengths within our group we realised it would intelligent to have a two person, male and female collaborative artist, who we eventually named NTLS (pronounced nettles). We thought there is a gap in most genres for an interracial artist duo and so luckily, in our group there is a black female (myself) and a white male (Josh) who we decided will be the artists.

SBTRKT (pronounced subtract) artist on Young Turks record labelled who inspired our artist name.
NTLS produce Electronic/Alternative music with reference to artists on Young Turks record label like:
Jessie Ware & Sampha

FKA twigs

A similar male and female duo that we referenced was AlunaGeorge:
We had a lot of styling ideas and were looking to create an artist whos look create clear navigation points to the fans, such as

Thursday, 16 October 2014

As The XX is under the Young Turks record label, it is imperative that we try to get permission to use the track before doing so, to avoid any copyright issues. Louis sent an email which is pictured below:

We hope to receive a response.

4 Key Decisions: Track

The chosen track to fit the given brief is "The XX - Heart Skipped A Beat." The record company that owns the song is "Young Turks" and. The song is also from the Electronic/Alternative genre which is ideal from our target audience.
Initially we had a issue with lots of songs in the Electronic/Alternative genre. There was a reoccurring problem of the songs having no progression. This meant it was difficult to think of ideas for an interesting music video which would hold the focus of the audience, even if we really liked the song.
After some research, I suggested this track to my group because I had a rough idea of how a music video for this song would go. When I told my group the idea they also were able to think of a multitude of ideas and very soon so we knew it was the right track for the group. Louis has a VHS camera so we'd always been keen to incorporate some VHS footage into the music video, irrespective of the track; I had an idea of putting in the VHS shots in the instrumental sections of the song and together the group came up with loads of ideas different ideas surrounding it.
Unfortunately, the track is 4 minutes long, 1 minute over the given maximum time length set by the exam board, so as a group we will need to identify ways in which we can solve this problem.

Sunday, 5 October 2014

4 Key Decisions: Record Label

After homing in on our target audience, we came up with the name "Red Pigeon Records" for our label. We thought that the pigeon had connotations of being inner city London, which would be ideal as a lot of the artists we would imagine to be on the label would be from London. The 'red' aspect links to their individuality.

We thought of some characteristics of a record label that would be debuting an artist in the Electronic/Alternative genre and came up with the following:

  • London Based 
  • A British Indie Record Label
  • An Alternative/Electronic music specialist company
  • A Branch of Sony Central Record
The reason we decided this is that the Electronic/Alternative genre would not be signed onto a big label as indie artists enjoy the creative control that independent labels offer. However, they would need to be a branch of a big record label in order to have the funding to create a very strong indie image through the artist look and the style of the music video. The record label is British and based in London because so is the artist. 

Saturday, 4 October 2014

4 Key Decisions: Audience

This is the most crucial of decisions when creating our media texts because it forms the basis of any other decisions made surrounding the artist/music video.

Primary Audience
We decided that we are aiming to appeal to fans of the Electronic/Alternative genre. Having this genre as our primary audience removes any restrictions appealing to a certain age or gender, meaning it will attract a variety of audience members who are solely united by their love of the genre. Currently this genre in itself is a gap in the market, but artists who decided to make music under it are usually quite successful so we should be able to sell.

Top 3 Reasons for Listening:

  1. Music from favorite genre
  2. Excited by new artist in this genre and therefore what they have to offer
  3. Intrigued by new artist, if they have anything new to offer the genre, how they use (and potentially build on) current conventions.

Secondary Audience
Our secondary audience will consist of fans of alternative and indie music who are in their late teens going into their early 20s (this age bracket is based on the predominant demographic who listen to this genre). From compiling individual research, we found that audience members in this age bracket usually tend to listen to music for: personal identity, and music in the electronic/alternative genre usually has a deeper emotional meaning than a more Pop genre, so they can connect to it in this way.

Our Secondary Audience: generally alternative style of dress, into underground lifestyle
interested in home-grown talent.
Top 3 Reasons for Listening:

  1. Interested in finding a new alternative artist to develop their own taste or something new they could introduce their friends too
  2. Personally relate to the music/artist: British, creating emotional links with lyrics, music that provokes thoughts, gendered relation with the artist/song
  3. Something new to influence their fashion, lifestyle choices etc 

Tertiary Audience
We decided our tertiary audience will be focused at those in their mid 30's to early 40's, with the aim of appealing to a niche audience within this group. If they aren't electronic/alternative fans, we believe the tempo is mellow enough to suit a mature audience, as they usually use the music for diversion purposes (according to Blumler and Katz expanded uses and gratifications theory).

Top 3 Reasons for Listening

  1. Use for background atmosphere
  2. Deciding to branch out and become slightly more open minded with music interests
  3. Diversion

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Introductory Post

Hello, I'm Vivian. I'm 17 years old studying English Literature, Biology and of course Media at the Latymer School in North London. I'm working in Group 5 alongside Josh Brooks (), Louis Caldwell () and Seb Hodge ().
To navigate around you can use the labels on the left hand side of my blog.

Thank you!