Sunday, 5 May 2013

Evaluation - "What have you learned from your audience feedback?"

Over the course of researching and producing my work, I've taken feedback from potential audience members (read: consumers. People who would be giving me money.) on a number of occasions.

During the research phase, I gained feedback from potential audience members on what they expect to see in music videos. At first, I went with a fairly generic survey on Polldaddy, with responses including the following:

This shows that most of the people I'd asked here said they preferred storyline-driven videos, and weren't particularly bothered by the tone of the video.

As I mentioned in my later research, I was pretty skeptical about whether these findings were representative of my true target audience - and this is mainly because I'd originally asked anyone who felt like answering, as opposed to going out of my way to find people who are fans of the rock genre. I got some more specific feedback, including that below. One of the main things I learned from this is that rock fans like seeing the artist performing -

This was interesting to me as it contrasted the feedback I'd previously received; from this I saw that in order to market successfully to fans of rock music, my video had to have a heavy focus on my artist performing the song. This was actually a vital influence on the shaping of my video - originally I had intended to have quite a strong narrative focus during my early planning stages, but over time it became more apparent that this wouldn't be what my audience would want, so it made sense to strip the narrative elements down a lot.

This piece of feedback was also a big pushing point in terms of my video's direction; in the first survey a lot of people weren't bothered by a video's tone, yet the rock fan said that they like a more mature tone, which is why I decided to shy away from using too much bright, lively imagery.


What other source of audience feedback have I made use of? The answer is, of course, my wonderful media class. Early on in the year, before I'd started producing any material for the video, I talked my classmates through the concept I had at the time, as you can see here:

Whilst the concept I mention here was fairly different to what eventually happened in the final production (for reasons I've discussed over the last few posts), it meant my class were aware of the song I was using and the general idea of what I was going for, so they were able to give me input as I was going along, especially in the editing phase. This was actually a perfectly ideal scenario - as I established early on in the project, my target audience for the product are older teenagers and young adults - and I'm working in a room with 17-18 year olds, meaning I'm receiving feedback and creative input from members of my target audience. It's also been especially useful in a practical sense - as they've been in the same room as me, I've been able to play the work in progress to them locally and get feedback right away; if I were to ask for feedback from other people I would have to have gone through the process of exporting a draft and uploading it somewhere, which when you have not-so-great RAM and a slow internet connection, is the very definition of tedium.

Some of the features of my video which were added/changed as per feedback from classmates include:
  • longer strobe takes - when I first started putting the strobe transitions in, they were only about half as long as they are now; as some of my class members pointed out, because parts of those shots were completely black, at times it wasn't clear that it was supposed to be a strobe light effect and it just looked like the video had skipped.
  • variety of shots - another piece of feedback I received was that there weren't that many different kinds of shots during the performance sections which made it look a bit bland. Because of this, I got Sir to help me film some additional shots, like the extreme close-up of my face, and the shot of my guitar.
In addition to this, I also asked Sir to give me some written feedback, which I analysed here. This feedback taught me that in order to engage the audience, I should have a smoother introduction to the video.

In terms of the ancillary tasks, my main source of feedback was again my class. Let's start off with the digipak -

These are my first drafts, which, when presented to some of my class members, received some positive feedback, however it did seem to be of the "it's okay, I guess" variety. This, to an extent, supports my findings that perhaps this style of cover is a tad overused and therefore unable to stand out - they weren't exactly going to be blown away by a cover they've seen several thousand times before, are they? This, tied with my findings on the album chart, prompted me to add some brush textures to make it more interesting:

I decided to run these revised designs past my classmates again to see how they reacted to them, and I got a different kind of response - the "it's okay, I guess" had evolved into a more vocal "that looks really good". Because of this, I decided I'd continue using these texture effects across the rest of the panels...

...which worked, because it was met with a "that looks really cool!" (thanks Ben!). I think that the continued peer input really helped me win this one...

I also kept this feedback in mind when designing the promotional poster as well - as the texture effects were obviously successful, I used a similar effect on the poster (though not the -exact- same effect, to avoid redundancy from the digipak's cover also being there, as I mentioned elsewhere).

This again received the "it looks cool" feedback, so I then decided it had achieved its goal.


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