I chose to base my video on a piece of music composed by Ludovico Einaudi named ‘Le Onde’, which is just one of his well known solo piano works. As a pianist myself, I decided to use myself as a solo artist and showed this by becoming the main character in the music video.
The music of composer/pianist Ludovico Einaudi has been described as minimalist, classical, ambient and contemporary and so for selling purposes Einaudi generally falls into the classical music category and this is how I approached the marketing for my product.
In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products? In a successful music video, a strong relationship between the lyrics/ music and the visuals has to be fulfilled. Particular music genres often have their own personal music video style and as the music of Einaudi is generally categorised as ‘classical’, I thought that the beautiful scenery of woods, a story of love and the simplicity of a piano would tie together most effectively. I did this because I felt the audience could relate to the couple in love and the gentle flow of the music would show the expected, rather than the unsuspected. A strong relationship between the music and visuals
Editing driven by tempo and mood The music in my own video has a slow tempo and a relaxed nature which reflects on the pace of which the shots are shown. There is only one place where the pace of editing speeds up, at 2: 31 when the texture of the music becomes busier and the beat is more prominent. Syncronizing the music and visuals makes the video more effective and exciting and shows good use of editing and post production. It is, in fact the music that drives the editing by its tempo and mood. For example, when I analysed Myleene Klass’ ‘Toccata and Fugue’ video the music is mainly driven by its fast tempo and precise rhythm. This is shown at 2: 12 in her video as the music’s texture becomes less busy and rhythmic, her pace of the shot is slowed down and the pace of editing becomes slower. At 2: 23, as the music suddenly launches back into its original speed, the cut to Myleene’s hands is exactly in time to when this happens, emphasising the importance in rhythm.
How the camera is used and how images are sequenced has a significant impact on meaning As my video has a romance theme and a slow, tuneful melody, the pace of editing and length of shots will undoubtedly be slower than say for example, an action film. This is because of the relaxed nature of the film and the audience knows what to expect, a film with a predictable ending which is similar to my video when the couple are reunited towards the end. Every single camera shot and angle is there for a reason, including camera movement too. A good example of camera movement in my video is in the opening when I used a dolly shot when the audience sees the artist playing the piano for the very first time. I did this because it hides the artist’s identity causing suspense as the audience wait to see the artist fully revealed. The medium close up of the couple show a close link between them as they hold hands, this is further achieved by panning up to their faces to see them kissing and smiling together.
This is a perfect example of the importance of continuity editing; how a sequence of shots need to link together to make sense. Here, the girl is taking a walk and sees her boyfriend sitting just over the stream only to find out it is her imagination. Information like this needs to be shown clearly through the visuals in order for the audience to understand fully. By placing the couple in the shot together, the companionship between the couple is highlighted. 1 2 3 4 5 6
This point of view shot enables us to see the action in the eyes of the girl, and shows the guy’s car driving away and he leaves. The long shot emphasises the distance increasing between them. This long shot enables all of the action to be shown – the young couple running into each others arms. No other shot would have been able to show this clearly. The slow pan upwards suggests the end of the music which is confirmed by the music slowing down and finishing. The couple are shown reunited and happy – it’s a bit of a cliché ending really, as the couple walk off hand in hand. It is messages like these that the audience will recognize and help them to understand the narrative and creative an emotional response towards the video.
A strong relationship between narrative and performance It is important to consider the relationship between narrative and performance as the information that reaches the audience needs to be clear and fully understood. I chose a romance theme for the video, as I thought this suited the mood of the music and enabled me to develop an imaginative but simple narrative to follow. I also knew that the audience would recognize the romance genre of film, and would know what to expect. There are two parts of my video that appear visually – shots of the main character playing the piano and a story of her first experience of love. I decided to split the video up in this way to clarify the link between the main character, and the story being told. Also, I needed to sell my image as an artist, and show off my technical ability at the piano to the audience.
The opening twelve seconds of the video effectively set the scene and introduces the main character. As the video progresses, the use of the piano becomes prominent, enabling the artist to develop their iconography and become their own star, in and out of their videos. The couple are shown looking really happy together. The boy is then seen leaving his house with a suit case, saying goodbye and driving off, giving the impression that he had to leave. The language of signs and signifiers enables the suitcase to tell the audience that he is going travelling, or away. As the car drives away, the first section of the music ends, hence the short pause. The next section of the music becomes more rhythmically driven and the girl is obviously distressed and missing her love. This is expressed visually by her running away from her troubles to a clearing in the woods, where she sees the boys sitting on the other side of the stream, only to find out it is all in her imagination. She is then pictured sitting alone and flashback images are shown of the memories she has of the two of them together. Shots of the girl by herself follow, reinforcing her isolation to the audience. The main theme of the music returns, which is instantly recognisable. The girl is sitting alone when she sees the boy walking towards her from across the field, they run into each others arms and are reunited once again. During this action the mood of the music has changed into an optimistic, happier feeling via the introduction of ‘major’ chords. The young couple are then shown together in the past, good memories in a sequence of shots. In the final shots, the young couple are shown together and walk hand in hand into the distance. A clear narrative
Lots of close-ups of the main artist/vocalist I noticed how classical pianists such as Myleene Klass are placed in more medium and long shots to show off their technique, ability to play and the beauty of the instrument. i.e. the artist’s image is less important. However, pop music record companies tend to demand lots of close ups of the instrumentalist(s)/ vocalist(s). Take Fincher’s video for Madonna’s ‘Vogue’ for example, no image is more iconic than this frame and is a stunning example of a close up. In my own video, I unfortunately did not direct to shoot many close ups of the artist but is an element of music videos that I have learnt about, and can improve on the next time round incorporating more of the pop music element to my video. Audience more involved, more appropriate when theme is romance. (shots by self)
How effective is the combination of your main product and ancillary texts? Realistically, every artist wants their record to be a huge hit and in classical/film music world there are no exceptions. But instead of searching for the artist’s name in a CD store, you would usually find the CD listed via the composers name as this is usually the information the audience is looking for. However, if the artist is well established the audience may look for the artist’s name too. If the artist is a world-class performer and recording artist they may well be listed by their own sir name but, as the standard of classical pianists today is extremely high, this would only be the case among a small group of pianists over a period of time. In my own music video, I am treating myself as one of the many pianists trying to make it to the top, so the most important piece of information I need to give to my audience is the composer’s name, Einaudi.
The importance of combining texts The importance of combing texts is one that is not to be over seen – it is all about making it easy for the audience to link texts together. In both my main product and ancillary texts, the audience follows the thematic link between the shots of the artist playing the piano and appearing on the front of the CD and poster. When considering the design of the poster, I put myself in the audiences place. The simplest way of the audience receiving the link between my CD and poster is to place the CD cover on the poster so that the audience links the visual image to the one they would search for in a CD store or online. I also took to tweaking several small visual elements between the video and ancillary texts to make the link clearer to the audience. I did this by selecting natural, realistic colours to place in the ancillary texts which suits the country side location and nature shots of the video. I also thought the red colour of the main headings and pink background of the CD cover ties in with the ‘romance’ theme in the video. I also made sure to submit the same font type in my video and CD cover.
What have you learned from your audience feedback?
A clear narrative that was easy to follow
Good quality filming
A good flow to the video eased by the use of transitions
Excellent editing particularly the video effects such as ‘dream’
Wide variety of shots including the dolly shot
In most of the piano shots the timing of the music and the artists’ hands were not exactly together so more detailed planning would be needed next time round.
A few of the shots could have been framed better so that the action is more centred as there is only so much editing can do.
What worked well What could have worked better
The range in age group that completed the questionnaire enjoyed the film, which confirms my research for the intended audience appealing to a wide range of ages. Using my research I came to the conclusion that the target audience is between teenagers aged around 15 to the slightly older generation up to 30 year olds but it is important to keep the subject of my video in mind. As my music video will involve the story of a couple in love resulting in a 'young love' theme the target audience age may lower considerably to around ages 15 - 22. There is strong use of representation in my theme and how young love is portrayed which will attract viewers of the resulting age. However, I may cleverly attract back the larger age range as my video will not possess pop music and music of the younger generation but piano music that could be seen as 'film' music that I think all ages will like. In addition, Einaudi’s music has warmed the hearts of many musicians by his pleasant harmonies and ease to play, making it appeal to a broad range of abilities.
I will make sure to frame camera shots carefully when filming.
Include more interesting shots such as the dolly shot, which I used once at the beginning.
More careful planning and storyboarding could over come the problem of the music timing.
Intended audience Next time round…
How did you use media technologies in the construction and research, planning and evaluation stages? For this project we were told that every piece of coursework was to submitted in electronic form which resulted in using a wide range of media technologies in each stage of the project. Firstly, I chose to present my work in an online blog using a website called Blogspot.com. The blog was a really easy way to post all my planning, research and my ancillary texts. It was particularly helpful in enabling me to upload pictures and videos and showing my time management. It has a label option where I can label each blog separately to represent the stages of my work. The blog also has the ability to enlarge photo files when clicked on so my storyboard sheets could be read clearly when I scanned them in using the import button in Serif Photo Plus 11.
I also adjusted the brightness, contrast, saturation and exposure levels via the ‘video adjustments’ that the camera did not quite capture, either from lack of natural light or the quality of the equipment I used. A good example of using this tool is in the opening shot where I adjusted the saturation and colour of the shot to exaggerate the autumn colours of the trees. Once I was satisfied with the way all the shots appeared, I added transitions. Transitions are crucial in linking the sequence of shots together so it is easy for the audience to follow. Transitions are available by clicking on the transitions icon and choosing from a selection of non-animated and animated clips. I used three different transitions - cross dissolve, cross blur and fade to white – which gives enough variety and does not swamp the video in lots of different transitions. I edited the time in which the transition was to take place by double clicking on it and changing the figures in the duration bar. Another effect was adding a still image into the video, adding variety to the video. I took this still image of the couple looking at one another from my own footage and by using the crop and rotation tool once more and clicking on the ‘ken burns’ button.
The next process was to record the piece of piano music I had chosen. Unlike many other students, I decided to use myself as an artist and selected a piano solo piece for my music video. I used a ‘Real Time’ CD recorder called the Coomber 6120 and a microphone to achieve the best results using the school equipment. I then converted the audio file to MP3 format and imported it to the iTunes library on the Mac computer ready for editing the video. Filming took two to three weeks and was a process I enjoyed thoroughly. As I was in a number of shots, I made sure to set the tripod and camera up for any still shots and firmly directed how I wanted it to be filmed to a friend, in any moving shots. After I had finished filming I needed to upload my recording tape to an Apple Mac computer to transfer all the data. This was achieved by connecting the camera and the computer via a ‘fire wire’ and choosing to ‘import file’. Filming and recording audio
Using iMovie I created a clearly named folder to save my video in and was ready to start editing. The very first task I had to do was to drag and drop my recorded audio file from iTunes into iMovie, which was fairly simple. I then started to select which shots I wanted to use and, referring to my storyboard placed them in some sort of vague order, by dragging and dropping them. Editing the volume levels ensured that all of the shots were muted as any unwanted feedback or filming noise would spoil the effect of the music. Being able to listen to the music track whilst viewing the video at the same time was invaluable as it is important to match the visuals to the precisely. iMovie
Making adjustments The first useful tool was the crop tool which I enabled by clicking on the shot and selecting the crop and rotation tool from the ‘clip adjustments’ menu. The tool let me select a part of the frame I wanted to use if I had not framed the shot correctly and is in my opinion one of the best tools for an inexperienced film maker such as myself. Before adding video effects, transitions and other elements to the video I had to make several adjustments which proved very helpful as not all of the shooting turned out exactly how I wanted. I also adjusted the brightness, contrast, saturation and exposure levels via the ‘video adjustments’ that the camera did not quite capture, either from lack of natural light or the quality of the equipment I used. A good example of using this tool is in the opening shot where I adjusted the saturation and colour of the shot to exaggerate the autumn colours of the trees.
One of the last tools I used from the video effects enabled me to change the visual effect of the video in selected shots. I chose two different effects ‘dream’ which I used for the shots of the main character’s flashbacks and memories and ‘beach bypass’, to differentiate between the present and past. For the credits appearing at the beginning of the video, I clicked on the ‘T’ button and selected the ‘lower’ option, enabling the text to be placed in a low position in the frame. Editing the text and font type was simple and I made sure to use a variety of text sizes to differentiate the importance of the pieces of information. I also edited the duration of each piece of text and used the fade in/out manual button, as it is important for the text to appear long enough for the audience to read and to be interpreted clearly. Beach bypass Dream