AS Media G321
Questions 3,6,7 k c a B k o Lo at nary i m i l k e r P Tas
Did I Learn
Question 3 What kind of institution might distribute your product and why? Words: Natalie Rogers
I would choose to distribute my magazine through Future PLC. This publishing house already distributes 70 brands, including the successful film magazine Total Film. Other than this, they distribute many specialist magazines, particularly within the music genre. These all target musicians, with 3 of them specifically targeting guitarists. For this reason, I feel Indievisual
would offer something different to Future compared to what they already publish. Furthermore, the Indie genre is generally focused on music production and the fact that these artists and bands are ‘real musicians’. Future’s existing magazines target musicians, therefore I think Indievisual would target a wider audience but also fit in with the style of magazine Future already has and clearly has an interest in. Furthermore their other magazines, including Total Film, are clearly targeted at a young adult, male audience. As my magazine also targets a similar age group (but of fans of another topic), I feel that my magazine would fit in well with the existing brands published by the company. Distributing through this publishing house would appeal to
me because Future is experienced in supplying magazines to my target audience’s gender and age group. It would not be a good idea to target my magazine at IPC because they already distribute NME, a successful music magazine that would be similar to Indievisual and therefore a competitor (as both magazines primarily target males of a similar age group. This would mean that IPC would be less interested in publishing my magazine and also wouldn’t want to damage the readership of their existing successful magazine, NME. I also decided against Bauer Media because they distribute both Q and Kerrang. With two music magazines already, it would seem unnecessary for Bauer to distribute a third. This means Bauer would be disinterested in publishing my magazine. Moreover, if the company was to
publish Indievisual, they would be disinterested in making the magazine a success, as it would run the risk of taking away readership from their existing magazines. Hearst does not distribute any music magazines. Heart’s brands consist of those targeted at a female audience or men interested in fitness. For this reason, Hearst are unlikely to be interested in publishing a music magazine, particularly as it is targeted at men. Also, as Hearst do not often target males (and do not target men with entertainment related interests). Therefore, Hearst would not have the experience of knowing how to target Indievisual’s audience. This could run the risk of having Indievisual be a ‘novelty’ publication within their portfolio. Condé Nast is another large publishing house. However, their current portfolio targets a more mature audience than Indievisual. Magazines such as GQ, Tatler, Vanity Fair and House & Garden target a primary audience with a minimum age of 25. This is the upper limit of the age bracket I have chosen to target. Furthermore, it is clear from their existing publications that this publishing house aims to produce refined, upper class magazines. This is shown most clearly through the serif fonts used for the majority of their publications’ logos and for the publishing house itself. Therefore, Condé Nast would not be interested in publishing a ‘young, fresh and new’ magazine such as Indievisual. As a magazine of the Indie genre, it follows the convention of this music
style to choose a publishing house outside of the oligopoly. Though Indie music has become largely part of popular culture in recent years, it is still intrinsic of the genre to be new and different. For this reason, choosing a company that is in itself less established will connect with the target audience. Another reason I chose not to use a publisher that is part of the oligopoly is because of the age of my audience. 18-25s will be interested in something new and fresh. Using a smaller company supports the way I would like to present my magazine to this target audience. I would aim to market Indievisual on a variety of platforms. For my young adult target audience, I feel that it would be important to promote my magazine through social media. This has not only proved to be an effective (and free) form of advertising, but this will also give readers a sense of community, fulfilling
their need for social interaction in accordance to the Uses and
Gratifications theory. Also, as the majority of my target audience will have social network access on their phones, this is an effective means of reaching them consistently throughout the day. Furthermore, social media is an ever evolving technology. Therefore, this enables the magazine to keep up with the newest ways to reach the readers (and potential readers). This is really important to reaching my
young adult target audience, as this suggests the brand is new, fresh and current. These are qualities that 1825 year olds would be interested in. Also, as my target audience is likely to be ‘on-the-go’ and live a busy lifestyle, I will pay for billboards and bus/train station posters in highly populated areas. This will help me to reach a wide range of people. I would distribute my magazine on several platforms. There would be a monthly print edition of the magazine to be stocked in retailers. There would be a digital version of this, available to download for smartphones, tablets and e-readers. Again, this helps to accommodate the busy lifestyle of my target audience whilst also giving me the opportunity to add interactive/ moving content to the product. This would appeal to my readers because the magazine would comprise everything that would interest them from new music videos to song recommendations (allowing the reader to purchase the song from iTunes or add it to their Spotify playlists). This is particularly important because print publications are severely losing an audience, as more people are turning to digital means as a source of information. Therefore, it is possible that eventually my magazine would function solely as a digital magazine, available to purchase for download onto the reader’s smartphone or tablet. This is particularly because of the age of my target audience.
Question 6 What have you learnt about technologies from the process of constructing the product? Words: Natalie Rogers
During the process of working on this magazine, I have used a range of software, technology and equipment to help in the production of my magazine and create a professional looking result. Some of these, I had never used before and others I had a basic knowledge of. My pictures were taken in front of a white studio background with studio lighting equipment and a digital SLR camera. This camera was the Canon 550D. This enabled me to take high quality images, with professional lighting that I could easily remove the background of when it came to editing them in Photoshop. This was most important for my cover photo, which protrudes over the masthead. Using a DSLR camera perceived light more realistically and accurately
than a compact camera, meaning I could position the lights on the models and the picture would look identical to the way the models looked in the studio. Furthermore, industry professionals would use DSLR cameras to take studio images for use in a magazine. Therefore, using this professional equipment enabled me to closely resemble published magazines. For the studio lighting I used the Interfit INT 486 EX300 Studio Flash Kit. The lighting kit enabled me to take photos more similar to professional ones seen in real music magazines. The positioning of the lights was also important. When the lights were not positioned up towards the faces, this meant that a band of light
running across the modelâ€™s midriff. As I was using a combination of sitting and standing shots, this meant that I repositioned the lighting when switching between these positions. Also, the height of the individual changed where the lights needed to be positioned, and this was particularly difficult to manage when taking band shots, as the height of my models varied. When taking pictures on location with the Canon 600D, I experimented slightly with shallow focus to create a professional looking shot. As these aimed to replicate screen grabs from a music video, the shallow focus helped to create this look. I was able to do this as I was using a fixed lens. Though this enabled me to use shallow focus in some shots, this meant I could
Question 6 also take photos with great depth of field, giving me a lot of detail in the background of my pictures. Again, this creates more professional looking images which, in turn, raise the quality of the magazine. As I was outdoors, I relied on natural light for my location shots. Backlight was particularly important to avoid, as for a magazine, it is a convention for the artist’s face to be visible in the pictures (their face is selling the magazine). If there was too much light coming from behind the model, this caused backlight, meaning that the background was lighter and therefore more visible than the subject (the model). When editing my images, I used Photoshop. My main task when editing my photos was to remove the white studio background. To do so, I spent most of the process in quick mask mode covering all parts of the photo that weren’t selected by the colour range tool, before deleting the white background. I played about with changing some of the images to black and white, which seemed most effective for the contents page image of “Bohe”. Once I had done this, I used the burn tool to darken the area around her eyes and her lips to create the appearance of make-up. I also used the spot remover tool to get rid of blemishes on several of my photos. One of the gimmicks I added to my double page spread was a collection of images from their Instagram feed. I edited these images in Photoshop, cropping them to the standard square size used for all Instagram photos, varying the contrast and brightness through image adjustments and adding or taking away vibrancy. Another convention of Instagram photos is
that many have a black or white border. On some of the Instagram photos I added a border by creating a square with no fill and a thick outline. I then made sure the size of this covered the entirety of the image. On the cover photo, I received feedback from several individuals that the models looked too far apart. When I enlarged the photo to fill the conventional amount of the page, this became particularly apparent, and when I made the image smaller, the cover stars did not stand out on the page. For this reason, I decided to cut the models out in Photoshop and move them closer to each other. I did so by using Quick Mask Mode again. However, this time it was slightly more difficult than removing the white background, as there were a variety of similar colours used in their costumes. The software I have learnt the most about is InDesign, as this is what I used to produce the magazine. I didn’t have any previous experience with using InDesign, so I was learning new things about the software throughout the process. The most complex part of this process was the double page spreads, in which I set up columns within the text boxes. I also used text wrap so that the text avoided the pictures on the page and the pull quotes. InDesign is able to ‘Detect Edges’, meaning that the software detects the shape of the image itself, and then runs the text wrap around the shape of the image, rather than the square box surrounding the image. This is one of the tools that contributed to making my work look more professional, as this technique is seen in many existing magazines.
Throughout the process, I have been posting my research, planning and progress on a blog using the Google powered blog host ‘Blogger’. This meant that I was able to post my work using a variety of different platforms (Youtube embedded videos, Prezi, Slideshare and Scribd), which provided me with a lot more opportunities than a solely print based presentation of my work.
Question 7 Looking back at your preliminary task, what do you feel you have learnt in the progression from it to the full product? Words: Natalie Rogers
From the preliminary task, I have gained a lot more knowledge about magazines, their conventions, the industry and the software used to create magazines in a professional environment. Visually, I feel my preliminary task did not have a professional layout, particularly on the contents page, where I feel the sizing and proportions were unconventional. Also, the font I used did not seem appropriate for a
magazine and again this meant that my preliminary task did not look as good as my final magazine. For my preliminary task, I did not take any studio images. This meant that I was unable to remove the background of the cover photo. Since then, I have conducted more research into music magazines and, from viewing many existing front covers, I noticed that all of them had the cover star cut out from an image (that had been taken in a studio). Also, I feel that on the preliminary task, the sell lines do not look straight or organized. This caused the front cover to look quite messy overall. When creating my final magazine, I knew the importance of creating a clean and easy to read professional cover and this meant that I thought about the proportion and alignment of my sell lines. The colour scheme used for my preliminary task was similar to that of my final product. However, I do not think the colour was used appropriately and seemed quite difficult to read. This was something that I took into consideration when creating my front cover, as I wanted
to make sure everything was clearly readable. This meant that I placed a black box underneath each word on the page to prevent â€˜busyâ€™ and difficult to read sections, particularly as the front cover ultimately decides whether someone will want to pick up the magazine and buy it or not. Since the preliminary task, I have learnt far more about InDesign and
Question 7 its capabilities. This means I am far more confident at using the software than I was when creating my school magazine (preliminary task). I have also found easier ways of organizing my work on InDesign, better utilizing layers so that it is easier to move or edit certain components without affecting the others. Comparing the two, there are many similarities and differences between my preliminary task and final magazine. A similarity between the two is the colour scheme. The colours black, white and red were used in both of the front covers, however, white was used more sparingly in the preliminary task cover. One of the most noticeable differences between the preliminary task and my final magazine is that my cover photo had a background. This lacks professionalism, as it is a convention of magazines to use studio images for the cover. This is something I have learnt through the research I conducted before creating my magazine ‘Indievisual’. Also, the models on the cover are much smaller, meaning they don’t stand out as much as they could. The use of multiple models is a similarity between the two magazines. I feel this is a skill in itself, as it is much more difficult to co-ordinate the position of several models as opposed to just one. This is something that improved over the course of making my magazine, as I gained experience in
how to organize multiple models. Furthermore, I also learned how to edit multiple models. For example, I edited my cover image in Photoshop so that the four models in the band ‘Tigerilla’ were closer to each other. This meant that they could take up a larger amount of the page. Looking back at my preliminary task, my sell lines jump out at me as something that I could have vastly improved. When there are several contrasting colours in the main image, it can be quite difficult to select a colour for the text that is visible over all the colours in the photo. This is a problem I came across in both the preliminary task and in creating my final magazine. However, I tackled the issue very differently. In the preliminary task, I changed the colour I used (black or white) depending on the dominant colour in the background. Therefore, there was no consistency to the use of colour and this made the magazine look unprofessional. When creating ‘Indievisual’, the same problem occurred. However, from my research into existing magazines, I knew that changing the colour would look unprofessional. Therefore, I placed a black box underneath all of my sell lines. This meant that all of the sell lines had a house style that would be easily identifiable and transferrable to other covers and issues. My inexperience in dealing with magazines was apparent through the lack of vital magazine conventions on my preliminary task. A bar code and other vital institutional information was not included. I made sure to include these in my final product. The biggest improvements came from the contents page. There was
minimal content on this page of my preliminary task, and this was displayed on a single page. Now, my final product includes a double page contents that includes a variety of components. The contents page I created originally was severely lacking in conventional components. Though there were items and page numbers, there was no description of the articles, the layout wasn’t structured or organized and the contents aren’t divided into easily accessible sections (e.g. features, regulars, etc.). In my final magazine, I have included many conventional components of a contents page, including those I listed above. I also included an editor’s note, urged readers to subscribe to the magazine and incorporated images into the organized layout of the page. Overall, I feel the biggest difference between my preliminary task magazine and my final product is the basic conventions of magazines that I identified through my research into existing magazines such as NME and Q. Previous to this, these may have been something I noticed, but did not consider being as important as they actually are to the overall professional, realistic look of the magazine.