Music Video Evaluation “ Demanding Eyes- Lips Like Braille” By Harrison Wheeler
In what ways does your music product use , develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?
Andrew Goodwin’s theory according to his book “Dancing in the Distraction Factory”
The following conventions were listed by Goodwin as attributes which make a successful music video.
I will analyse our music video in reference to these.
Demands of the record label (representation of Artist)
Link between Lyrical and Visual Content
Music Video Style and Iconography reflects music genre
Relationship between the music and the visuals
Reference to Voyeurism
Demands of the Record Label
In most successful music videos, the record label demands a lot of close ups of the artist to promote them as a brand.
We chose to adopt this method in the music video as we wanted to make it look as professional as possible. We concentrated on lots of close ups of the performer in the live performance studio shoot.
We used different lighting angles to illuminate the performer against the black background, thus making him stand out to the audience.
It can be argued that we did not effectively promote the performer as, throughout the video, he wears a blindfold. This covers most of his face making promotion of the artist by visuals less clear. However, when we show the shot of the performer writing on the wall, the band name is clearly visible to the audience thus entailing a clear expression of brand identity
Links between Lyrical and Visual Content
In one of the first shots of the music video, there is a direct link between the lyrics and the visuals. This falls upon the first line of the song “The mirror shows this man, they still can’t seem to understand.” The performer is seen looking into a mirror looking distressed. This shows both that “This man” in the mirror, is the actor and that he is agitated that “they still can’t… understand.” The viewer can now make the link that the lyrical content is going to link to this character throughout the music video making the narrative of the video easier to grasp.
Another link between the lyrics and visuals is the continual motif of the blindfold. This links to both the lyrics “I wish that we could all live blind”, “demanding eyes”, “If we’ve all eyes why can nobody see” and to the band name “Lips Like Braille” This helps the narrative by highlighting the theme of blind love or forbidden love as if they are restraining themselves from looking at one another because “this isn’t what best friends should do”
Links between Lyrical and Visual Content
The split screen sequence in our video is used to link with the lyrics “mirror, mirror on the wall why can’t I stand the sight of you anymore?” This is shown in the two portrayals of the performer symbolising him arguing with himself as if he were blaming himself for his problems.
The second verse is written as if the singer were talking to the girl the song is aimed at. We linked this to the video by introducing the female character within this space of time in the song.
In this same verse there is a clip showing the male character itching and scratching with stress like he could “feel her on her skin and feel her nails digging in”
There is only one intertextual reference which we intentionally put into our music video.
The “mirror mirror on the wall” split screen sequence was used as homage to the Biffy Clyro music video for “Mountains”.
To create this effect we took two shots on a tripod with the same backdrop and used layers to create two images of the performer against the one backdrop.
Reference to Voyeurism
We incorporated a small element of voyeurism in the first few shots of the video, following the male character about his house. The scene where the performer looks into the mirrors enables the viewer to see him from 3 angles which implies an element of exposure and entrapment.
In our video, we tried not to follow the convention of the male gaze when portraying the female performer. We dressed her in casual clothes so that her body (especially shoulder and legs) is covered. The song is about forbidden love, if we were to have the female dressed provocatively the storyline would not fit as it would suggest that she is flaunting herself to the male. We tried to keep the male/female roles balanced to suggest that both of them are in the same position.
Relationship between the audio and the visuals
To make this link, we edited the majority of the shots to follow the slow 4/4 beat of the song.
In the chorus’ we cut to shots of the live performance in which you can see the performer miming along to the music.
We made a strong link to the audio at the end with the part “At the end of the world with my best girl stood next to me” as there are stresses on the words “World-My- Best -Girl-Stood-Next” In this we cut shots of the covered and revealed eyes of performers so to enhance the big ending of the video in which they remove their blindfolds.
Video Style and Genre
This song is considered an alternative rock ballad. To follow the slow yet husky sound of the song we used a de-saturated effect throughout to portray the emotion of dreariness and to create more of a depressed atmosphere. We tried to make our music video fit the genre to make it look more professional. A lot of this is done by the links between the visuals and the song/lyrics. We also tried to get lots of slow moving shots to create a slow, ambient feel to the song, this helps the viewers connect with the narrative and the music. It can be argued that the male character wearing tracksuit bottoms does not fit the genre of the music. However, the ‘about the house’ clothes he is wearing can be seen to create realism and raise levels of verisimilitude with the idea that he is living an ordinary day just like everyone else only he is “living blind” this creates a link between the song the performer and possibly the viewer.
The rock feel to this song can be seen in the dark colours shown in the live performance and the grungy look to the graffitti-esque scribbles on the wall
How effective is the combination of your main product and your ancillary texts ?
My Magazine Advert
My ancillary texts both follow the colour scheme of black and white. This makes a link to the music video’s black background during the live performance shots.
The magazine advert clearly shows a still image taken from the music video with the two performers seen face to face with one another. This allows the viewer to associate the digipak advert, and therefore the digipak with the music video.
On the magazine advert, I pasted a small image of the digipak to make a direct link with the product and the advertisement.
The digipak has the same font styles as on the advert. I used the “L-L-B” in that font to create a logo for the band.
I used the same smoke effect brushes in the digipak and the magazine advert to create the same style which added an element of continuity to my products. I also used the picture from the advert as a pullout poster for the booklet in my digipak
There is no direct link to the music video in the main image of the digipak, it is inspired by the paramore photo and kings of leon album cover (below) I considered this look inkeeping with the genre and mood of the music in the video.
What have you learned from your audience feedback ?
How I collected my audience feedback
I used two methods to receive audience feedback.
I created a survey on the internet site “Survey Monkey”
Allowed comments on my posted video on “YouTube” which allowed people to post open and constructive criticism about my work.
The questions I used were generally quite open because I wanted to allow the viewer to have as much freedom to express their views on the music video as possible.
Age and Gender The age range of my respondents generally fit with the age range of the general target audience of 16-21, this is good because the music video depicts people of their age making it easier for them to associate themselves with the video. The gender is quite even. However, the fact that there are more girls can be seen as beneficial as the music video was made to not have a clear element of male gaze upon the female character thus to attract more females to watch the video and to refrain from portraying gender unequally.
Does this music video remind you of any other music video? The answers to this question imply that this music video is quite unique as people haven’t seen others like this. The one link made by a respondent is that the opening shot of the alarm clock reminded them of the music video for Panic! At The Disco’s song “Nine in the afternoon” this link could imply a relationship as both songs are of similar genre with a similar target audience. The alarm clock can be seen to symbolise the start of a story in which the viewer is invited to follow the character. I watched this video as part of my research into music videos. I may have subliminally used this intro sequence in homage without realising that this is where the idea stemmed from. However, both of these music video’s have a very different overall mood, this can be seen to be portrayed in the colour schemes which is visible in the stills opposite.
Do you think the video matched the song?
All respondents to my questionnaire replied yes. This means that people have understood the genre of the song and the mood of the video and how they were reflective of each other.
After watching the video, would you look up “Lips Like Braille” (The Band) Again? & After watching the video, would you download this track? If it were available
Though not all people said they would, the majority of the viewers gained an interest in the band and the track from watching the music video.
Referring to Goodwin’s theory, a good music video can promote the artist. This positive feedback could suggest that the music video successfully promotes the band and hypothetically fulfils the “demands of the record label”
Could you see a theme or message in the music video?
Our initial theme was of forbidden love but also of inner beauty following the idea that “love is blind”
The audience feedback clearly showed that they had acknowledged this message from the video.
However, some people had their own interpretation on the themes or messages in the video. They were generally along the same line but I am pleased that they have watched close enough to notice or construct their own, deeper message for example “Sometimes being blind allows you to see what was really in front of you to begin with”
Did you understand the storyline?
The audience feedback shows that only 75% understood the storyline. This could suggest that the abstract idea could have been too confusing for some of the audience. They did however notice that the music fit the video. This could suggest that they do not all watch music videos like this and prefer music videos of a different genre which are more mainstream
If this song featured on a music channel, which channel would you see it on?
The results of this question varied as some people named more mainstream channels such as “the box” and “4music” and some named indie style channels such as “NME” the rest named ones such as kerrang and lava which are more alternative and rocky.
This could be interpreted to reflect the niche and unusual genre to this song and the abstract element to the video.
What would you change about the video?
This was the most effective question as it allowed the viewer to give some critical feedback.
These results were also taken from youtube.
The general improvements suggested were to do with the miming and guitar playing of the male performer. This was not his fault as it was our job as directors to tell him how and what to do.
To overcome this I would have edited the video differently to make the guitar playing look more realistic and make the miming look more in time.
The other criticism was that there were a few wobbly camera shots which could have been avoided with the use of a tripod or a stabilising surface.
The positive feedback on youtube was that the viewers enjoyed the narrative and the abstract concepts used within.
The shots most commented on are the mirror shots, the reverse ripping shot and the shots from the floor of the performers. I personally liked these shots too and am glad the viewers found them effective.
How did you use new media technologies in the research and planning , construction and evaluation stages?
Research and Planning
The first thing I did at the start of this project was set up a new blog on the website “blogger.com” where I displayed all my research and planning.
My research for music videos was done primarily on the social networking site YouTube.com. This is where I found all the music videos I evaluated.
To research digipaks and magazine adverts I used google.com to find examples to evaluate and design inspiration.
When planning my music video I used the website video co-pilot. This is a website which can be considered a “participatory culture” where people share ideas for after effects. This is where I learnt new ideas to apply after effects for early ideas for my music video which weren’t eventually used..
I presented my findings on Microsoft Powerpoint as it allowed me to present it in a organised and professional manor.
We filmed our music video from a Sony A1 camera onto a Sony HD tape. The majority of filming I enjoyed using the manual focus settings allowing me to explore different softness and sharpness in the shots. I had time to practise using this in my induction (practise) video and my test footage.
To edit the music video we used Adobe Premiere Pro. This allowed us to cut and paste different shots together on a computer and it also offered a lot of different options for effects and editing.
To make my ancillary texts I used Adobe Photoshop.
I used the website “dafont.com” to find different fonts to use on my digipak and magazine advert.
For my evaluation I used the comment facility on YouTube and the survey website “Survey Monkey” Survey monkey was beneficial for my evaluation as it helped me produce, collect and collate responses.
I asked people on the social networking site Facebook to answer my survey.