Textual Analysis Love Story – Taylor Story Narrative Video
Genre This video is in the illustration genre because it is a straightforward narrative video, that tells a story through the video and performer. It illustrates the lyrics and music. For example, the lyrics in the song are related in the video and link to the story being told.
Overview In this video the audience is introduced to Taylor Swift who is the narrator and actress in the video as she experiences a case of déjà vu in which she has a forbidden love, like that of Romeo and Juliet. The video tells a story of their romance. The déjà vu is provoked by the appearance of her ‘forbidden’ love. The Romeo and Juliet storyline is an obvious reflection of the songs title. The music video relates to the lyrics and the scenes change to reflect the lyrics at that time.
General Camera Shots There is a variety of shots used in the video, ranging from the typical two shot the birds eye view shot. The use of these range of shots give the audience the feeling that they are in music video watching the scene from an angle in the room. This is done through the use of close ups and camera angles.
General Mise-en-scene The open shot of the video is of a high school immediately setting the scene. Taylor Swift is seen dressed in modern day clothes until she experiences a flash back in which she then wears medieval clothing. The scene of the flashback is set in a castle to again reiterate the ‘Romeo and Juliet’ storyline.
General Sound The volume of the sound varies throughout the song depending on the intensity of the lyrics. This is done to highlight the more important aspects of the song. Taylor Swift narrates the song to the audience to give the story a personal feel, as Taylor Swift is telling the audience of her past experiences.
General Editing As well as continuity editing, the music video uses a lot of close-up shots to show intense moments between Swift and her love interest. An example of this is shown below:
Shot 1 In this shot, Taylor Swift is looking directly into the camera, and addressing the audience. This shows she is narrating the music video and the ‘love story’.
Mise-en-Scene Shot 1 Whilst no clothing is visible on the close up on Taylor Swift’s face, the formal up-do hairstyle suggests a different time era as an up-do of this style is more likely only to be worn to a formal event, whereas in the past it has been known to be worn everyday.
Camera Analysis Shot 1 The camera is using a close up shot, to fully involve the audience in the story being told through Taylor Swift and the lyrics. There is a focus on Swift, blurring out the background making her the main focus of the scene.
Editing Analysis Shot 1 The shot used is an eye-level close up. This shot is used so that Taylor Swift is directing the storyline to the audience. The calm expression on her face gives the video an intimate feel. This is done to again reflect the relationship between Taylor Swift and her love interest.
Sound Analysis Shot 1 In the time of this screen shot, Taylor Swift sings ‘I close my eyes and the flashback starts’. This immediately tells the audience that she is involved in the video not only as the narrator but as the character involved.
Shot 2 In this shot the audience is introduced to the love interest in the old time era. He is shown looking through the crowd for his love. The next shot shows Taylor Swift accompanied by companions and her realisation of his presence.
Mise-en-scene Analysis Shot 2 Again the time era is apparent through what the male is wearing. He is surrounded by people to show there is a popular event occurring. However he stands out in the crowd of people because of his confident stance and the camera focus.
Camera Analysis Shot 2 The camera uses a mid shot to show the love interest walking through the crowd. It is immediately apparent who he is due to his appearance earlier in the video. Also his stance is directed forward and directly in line of the camera and whilst there isn’t a low angle looking up to him, it is apparent he is a powerful and main character.
Editing Analysis Shot 2 A cross cut is used in this part of the music video, showing Taylor Swift with companions, which then cuts back to the love interest and then shows Taylor Swift recognising his presence.
Sound Analysis Shot 2 Taylor Swift sings ‘I’m standing there, on a balcony in summer air’. This is a romantic image played at the time when her love interest appears. This shows her affection for him.
Shot 3 In this shot, the camera is tilted upwards towards Swift and her love interest. This is compelling to the audience because of the intensity in the connection of their eyes.
Mise-en-scene Analysis Shot 3 The clothing of the two people in the shot are colour coordinated (her golden dress and his beige waistcoat and the white cravat). This is done purposely to reinforce their compatibility and love.
Camera Analysis Shot 3 In this shot, the camera tilted upwards towards Taylor Swift and her love interest. They are the sole people in the shot and the tilt draws attention to their connected eyes. This again reiterates their compatibility, which is also shown in their connected hands.
Editing Analysis Shot 3 The editing used is a tilted angle to completely show the audience the connection between the 2 people in the video. The use of a tilt is also used to suggest power through the use of levels etc. This could reiterate the power of the love and connection between Taylor Swift and the man in the video.
Sound Analysis Shot 2 ‘Begging you please don’t go’. In this shot the lyrics reflect an unhappy time whilst the video shows a memory of a pleasant time. This is a juxtaposition and could possibly reflect her feelings between her head and her heart telling her different things.
Shot 3 In this shot, Taylor Swift is secretly meeting her love interest. The shot shows her looking for him.
Mise-en-scene Analysis Shot 4 In this shot the time setting is again shown through the full view of Taylor Swift’s outfit but also through the use of the lantern which she is using to find her love.
Camera Analysis Shot 4 The shot used is a point of view shot possibly of her love who has noticed that Taylor Swift is present. It is a wide shot which shows the surroundings of a wood, which is perfect to meet someone as they have the ability to be hidden by the trees.
Editing Analysis Shot 4 The editing of this shot cuts to a more zoomed in shot of Taylor Swift and then uses a match cut to show the appearance of her love interest.
Sound Analysis Shot 4 ‘I sneak out to the garden to see you’. This is reflected in the scene which shows Taylor Swift in a wood, looking for her lover with a lantern. This is keeping the idea of forbidden love an ongoing sequence.
Shot 5 In this shot, Taylor Swift is whispering into her lovers ear. This gives the audience the impression that she is telling him a secret again reiterating the idea of a forbidden love.
Mise-en-scene Analysis Shot 5 The surroundings in which this scene takes place look majestic as they are separate from the party that is ongoing and have a natural beauty. This is shown again in the appearance of Taylor Swift who is wearing little make-up making her a natural beauty. The woods also hide them from everyone, and this is shown again in the whispering of a secret.
Camera Analysis Shot 5 The camera shot in this scene is a medium close up of the ongoing scene, which then shows Taylor Swift turning to leave her love interest, who is stood in amazement. This shot is used to give a personal feel to the shot and involve the audience in the private moment.
Editing Analysis Shot 5 The editing used in this shot uses a matched cut to show the reaction of Taylor Swift’s lover and then zoom into their hands parting as she turns to leave. This is done to show the lingering moments between and show how they don’t want to leave eachother.
Sound Analysis Shot 5 ‘And I said…’ This is shown in Taylor Swift’s use of whispering to her love. The next line reads ‘Romeo save me’. This shows the idea of Romeo and Juliet and how their love cannot be known.
Shot 6 In this shot, the viewer again sees Taylor Swift narrating the music video.
Mise-en-scene Analysis Shot 6 The shot has zoomed out to show the castle in which the music video takes place. This is done to again set the time era and ensure the audience doesn’t forget the time setting. The castle also gives an impression of royalty, which again suggests the idea of Romeo and Juliet, which was also set in a castle.
Camera Analysis Shot 6 The camera uses a wide shot to set the scene of the video. This also separates Taylor Swift from her character in the music video as she is in a different place to where she was last scene.
Editing Analysis Shot 6 The editing uses a motivated cut to show the audience something that isn’t immediately apparent. This is to ensure the audience that the narrator is still present.
Sound Analysis Shot 6 ‘Romeo save me’. This line is repeated but in a different setting which whilst the scene separates Taylor from her character, the repetition of this line coming from the narrator links the character and narrator as one as shown at the beginning.
Shot 7 In this shot, Taylor’s love returns to her after not seeing her. This show shows her running to embrace him.
Mise-en-scene Analysis Shot 7 This shot uses a spiral staircase. Using a spiral staircase could be suggesting a dizzy feeling that Taylor Swift might feel at seeing her love again. The use of a flowing, white dress suggests that of a wedding dress.
Camera Analysis Shot 7 This shot uses an overhead shot that shows Taylor Swift running to her lover. This shot is used to give an overall view of the surroundings and the journey to Taylor Swifts lover. This also shows Taylor Swift’s dress to suggest the idea of a wedding dress.
Editing Analysis Shot 7 This scene uses shot-reverse-shot to show the two lovers running to each other. There facial expression shows their excitement and the shot-reverse-shot is used to make the scene more interesting and move faster as their run towards each other ends with an embrace.
Sound Analysis Shot 7 ‘I keep waiting for you but you never come’. This line is in juxtaposition to the video as Taylor swift is on her way to embrace her lover. This again separates the narrator and character, which have just been joined by the narrator immediately turning into the character.
Shot 8 After the lovers have been reunited in the last scene, the scene then cuts back to the characters in the modern time setting and their recognition of each other.
Mise-en-scene Analysis Shot 8 This scene uses matching coloured tops which again shows compatibility between the characters as done in the other time setting. They are also shown in a daytime setting, suggesting their love is no longer forbidden and trees are also seen in the background, reiterating the scene in the woods in the other time setting.
Camera Analysis Shot 8 The camera uses an over-the-shoulder shot to show the characters coming together. This is done so that the audience feels involved in the scene. The shot is at a medium height, giving both the audience and characters power, and making the audience feel like they helped to make the love successful.
Editing Analysis Shot 8 This shot cuts back and forth between the narrator Taylor Swift and the character she plays. This is done to join the characters together and show their connection.
Sound Analysis Shot 8 ‘Say yes’ this refers to the idea of a wedding which is sang about earlier in the song. This suggests that the characters are joined for life which would explain the earlier idea of déjà vu.
Evaluation The video ‘Love story’ by Taylor Swift is a narrative video with elements of conceptual in that in some parts of the video the lyrics does not reflect the scene. This is a successful video which lets the audience embark on the ‘love story’ as narrated by Taylor Swift.