Research and Analysis Codes andConventions Music Video’s
NARRATIVE BASED VIDEOSA narrative based music video is the term given to a music video that tells a short story oranecdote through the progression of the video, the narrative tends to correspond with the lyrics,mainly creating a visual interpretation of what the lyrics may mean or symbolise, for example ifthe lyrics read “I love you” then the video may portray a person saying the words stated in thelyrics, this is usually done for effect as it gives the audiences a better idea of what thelyrics may mean leaving some sort of lasting emotional attachment to the lyrics of the song, itmay also grow as the narrative within the video tend to portray everyday situations thataudiences can relate to, for example a song based around love will stereotypically either tellthe tale of a couple that have maybe separated and the video will portray the story that led tothe break up and the other story being the discovery and blossoming of a “cheesy” relationship.The simplicity of the videos that are narrative based adds to the appeal of the product as it is somethingthe target audience can relate to on a personal level making the video all the more successful andsymbolic.However it is extremely rare to come across a video that is solely based around a fixed narrative as theartist behind the song tends to sing along to the lyrics at several points within the song directlytowards the camera, the artist singing usually features within the narrative and the story that isportrayed is stereotypically a distant memory that the artist is recalling whilst singing the song andthis is evident through words within the lyrics. The purpose of the artist singing directly to theaudience is manly based around the fact that “lip syncing” within a video is compulsory at some point oranother as it is a key code and convention that is required for a music video.In addition there are music videos that interlink with existing films which successfully fuses both the music and film industrytogether as both products promote each other. This is usually done through the piece of music being played at some point of thefilm as Non Diegetic sound which is usually used as “Mood music” or “Reflective music”, this helps promote the single as audiencesmay hear the song and find it appealing and will therefore buy the single helping boost sale figures, this scheme works vice versawhere the artist may include iconic scenes extracted from the film and include them within the music video having a similar effecton audiences. There are many examples of this, however the most iconic would have to be “My heart will go on” by Celine Dion[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmbw8OycJrE]. Within the video audience witness several significant moments from the film Titanic especially thescenes where Jack and Rose’s love begins to develop and blossom , these scenes correspond with the song Celine Dion is singing as it is about lovetherefore by using scenes it conforms to the fact that it is a narrative based video and that both express everlasting passion, love and desire.In other cases the lighting of the narrative within the video may reflect the raw emotion and passion presented within the lyrics of the song by theartist. This can be seen in many modern narrative based videos, one that I feel does this effectively is “Moving Mountains” by Usher[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nQr-HmfXZ-Q&ob=av2n]The lack of lighting used symbolises the desire and love he has for his partner within the narrative of the video.
PERFORMANCE BASED VIDEOSA performance based music video is a video that is based around some form of dance or drama basedperformance, for example within the song there may be dancers dancing according to the lyrics or beat ofthe song. In many videos there sends to be a small group of dancers performing in synch with each other,in some cases the artist tends to also join the group of dancers and perform together. This is evidentthrough Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4m1EFMoRFvY]This technique maybe done to engage audiences as they may feel inspired by the artistdancing increasing both the artists and the video’s profile. By creating aperformance based video it creates this visual interpretation of what the lyricssignify for example if the lyrics are about partying then the dance or act is usuallya group dancing very upbeat and up-tempo, like some sort of break dancing act forexample. However despite the video being classed as a performance based video it isvery rare to find a video that dedicates its entire video to dance and performance,this excludes any live video clips like live concert versions for example. This issimply because there is lack of engagement when the video is entirely performancebased, this does not enable audiences to engage with the artist on a personal levelas they are not singing to the camera leaving audiences feeling estranged. Whereas onthe other hand when there is a slight narrative it leaves the audience intrigued asto what will happen next in the progression of the video.Despite the negativities of a video being entirely performance based some artistsignore the convention, however there are some artist that combine both dance andsinging towards the camera by dancing and singing at the same time where there areseveral close ups during the song where the artist s dancing but singing to thecamera and thus engaging with the audience at the same time. An example of this isR&B’s princess Beyonce in “Single Ladies” where Beyonce has certain close ups whilstdancing whilst singing. Despite having several close ups during the course of thevideo she also sings throughout the entire video whilst dancing a very provocativeroutine at certain stages within the video. By doing this it creates this instantfemale icon to many female audiences as well as thoroughly entertaining the male halfof the target audience. The upbeat and consistent dance routine encapsulatesaudiences to continue watching the video, Beyonce is also known as a talented dancerwithin the music industry today, thus by creating a video purely based around danceit adds to this instant appeal towards the larger target audience as it creates thissense of excitement amongst audiences as they will be eager to view the video once itis released increasing the popularity and views on say YouTube for example, thisworks as an advantage towards the artist.
PERFORMANCE AND NARRATIVE BASED VIDEOSAfter reading the previous slides you may have noticed that I hadmentioned that it is extremely rare to find a video that is purely basedaround either performance or entirely narrative, so it is logical for mesay that the normal convention of a music video is a combination of bothperformance and narrative which includes the artist singing towards thecamera. Stereotypically a performance and a narrative based video willfeature the artist singing to the lyrics of the song and the lyrics willusually tell the tale of an event or occurrence thus the video willvisually portray the lyrics through different videos placed togetherwhen the artist is not shown on screen lip singing.This style of video is the most successful as it not only enables theaudiences to connect with the artist on a personal level but also gain abetter understanding of what the lyrics symbolise and mean to the artistpersonally along with why and how the lyrics were originally written.This is clearly exhibited in most conventional videos however the mosteffective and recent example that personally I found appealing wouldhave to be “Call me maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen which follows the trialsand tribulations of the artist who is trying to get the attention of anew neighbour who has just moved in next door, through the progressionof the video we see the artist attempting to get the attention of themale actor leaving audiences “hooked” and eager to know more about whatshe will do next in a desperate attempt to “woo” him.However near the end of the video she finally gets his attention andmoves to write her mobile number on a piece of paper to give to the maleonly to return and find him giving his personal number to one of hermale band members who is left bamboozled, this not only adds humour tothe video but leaves the larger target audience in shock and “smiling”in the end despite the artist being “almost rejected”. This sort ofnarrative keeps audiences amused for longer in comparison to a videothat is entirely based around one type, it also allows audience to feelconnected on a personal level as it may be something they may have alsopersonally experienced making the video all the more appealing andtherefore successful.
NOTION OF LOOKINGNotion of looking is often described as a technique where anartist continually looks towards the camera singing in order toconnect with the target audience on a personal level, this workssuccessfully in the sense that it creates this instant linkbetween both the audience and the artist within the video. Thisnotion of looking may be used for several different reasons someof which may include to seduce audience or maybe even feel artistspain on a personal level, this is most commonly achieved throughfacial expressions and movement. This technique is used quietfrequently, and is sometimes used to elaborate on the fixedstereotypes and labels that are usually used to associate with fora particular artist or group. This set stereotypes are usuallytaken advantage of and marketed in many videos within the musicindustry in order for the particular video to appeal to the largertarget audience. This semiology is carried through in a recentexample which is, rapper Lil Wayne’s video “Mirror” featuringBruno Mars.The video itself manages to successfully enhance and elaborate onthis idea that no body can be trusted other than yourself, thisideology that despite an individuals success and fortune being ata pinnacle height, this matters very little when it comes torealistic fortune which may include friends and family, that whenall this materialistic fortune disappears you will realise youhave nobody left other then yourself who is always there for moralsupport regardless of what position you may be in within society.Lil Wayne establishes this raw emotion and theory through severalsignificant scenes within the video, some of which include whenLil Wayne is singing towards the camera as if he is looking into amirror and explaining his sorrows however at the same time he isalso addressing the audience, making them also feel his pain. Hisemotions are also established through many different camera anglessome one which include close ups which clearly portray the meaningof the lyrics being sung.
MISE-EN-SCENEWithin media the term Mise-en-scene focuses mainly on five key areas,lighting, props, setting, characters, costume and colours all of whichare essential elements when it comes to creating a successful ambienceand atmosphere amongst the audience consumers in any music videoregardless of what genre the video may be. Mise-en-scene is often oneof the most vital elements along with contributing the most when itcomes to audiences differentiating videos of one genre to another asthere is particular symbolisms and ideologies when differentiating onesocial group to another and this is clearly established in most videosof different genres, it is these micro elements that enable anaudience to then identify what genre the video belongs to. Forexample, stereotypically high key lighting would be most likely usedin maybe a Pop video in comparison to a video belonging to a Gothicgenre that may used low key lighting, these minor elements are whathelp audience distinguish one genre in comparison to another.A more recent and effective example of the incorporation of Mise-en-scene within a video includes Jessie J’s “Laserlights” featuring DavidGuetta. It is clearly established from the name of the song that theremaybe high key lighting within the video, once the song begins it isunclear what the lighting maybe as it opens with very low key lightinghowever this soon changes as audiences then see bright lights shininghowever against a background which shows a clear mixture of both highkey and low key lighting. The continuous use of bright lightscontrasts well with the black background making the objects within theframe seem more dominant and focused.The use of both types of lightings shows the fusion of two differentgenres coming together, Pop and House expanding the larger targetaudience, this effective technique is what makes these mixed genresongs all the more successful and popular within the music industry.
EDITING TECHNIQUESWithin media the term editing typically incorporates transitions,shot lengths, any filters and effects and finally and overall soundeffects that may also be included within the video. These basicfeatures are essential elements to the video when it comes to thecontinuous flow of the music video itself, these features are whatkeep the consumer audiences lured and “hooked” to viewing the videoto the very end as well as waiting in anticipation to see whatevents will follow the previous event. The use of editingtechniques is used in most video’s however maybe used slightly morein some than others, however a more recent example of a music videothat uses a variety of effective editing technique is Chris Brown’s“Turn up the Music” which incorporates a variety of differenttechniques within the video. When the video begins, we see a carwhich is in actual fact “flying”, this is clear through the factthat not only does the car have no wheels but also that the car hasa red light glowing from under the vehicle clearly portraying onlyCGI (Computer Generated Image) giving the video a science fictionambience instantly. As the video progresses several other editingtechniques are used, for example when the artist is dancing,audiences see the backing dancers flipping in slow motion howeverthe Brown is moving at a slightly faster pace, this may representsome sort of supernatural presence, this is also justified throughthe following scene where the artist is presented with glowing eyeswhich adds to the supernatural or science fiction ambience, theglowing eyes may also represent power and authority as he is theonly person within the video presented with such “powers”.This shot clearly portrays the use of the cloning effect, this not onlysymbolises dominance and authority as there is three copies showing theultimate power combined, but also adds to this supernatural, “dream like”image. The use of effects are both eye catching and dominant within the shot.
SOUNDDiegetic and Non-Diegetic sounds are the two main types ofsound, Diegetic sound being the existing sound alreadypresented within a piece of film and commonly known as“natural sound” and Non-Diegetic sound being extra soundthat maybe edited or placed on top of the existing sound.Sound within a music video is an essential element forseveral obvious reasons, one of the main reasons being thatit allows the audience viewing the footage to listen to themusic playing in the background which is one of the mainpurposes of creating a music video. Computer generatedsounds can be edited to create various effects and impulsesto the normal vocals that are used within the average musicvideo an audience listens to. As the music industry hadprogressed, more artists are beginning to instil theseedits within their videos, however a more recent example ofhow sound can be manipulated both effectively andsuccessfully is in the Black Eyed Peas’ “The Time”, withinthis video the use of computer generated sound is usedeffectively by adding a more modern and contemporary twistto an all time classic. This increase’s the popularity ofthe song itself due to audiences already being familiarwith the song. The manipulation of sound is usedeffectively as it adds this science fiction and futuristicfeel to this romantic classic, by adding the effect itsuddenly turns from this “cheesy” love song, transforminginto this catchy club track, the use of edited sound addsto the fact that audiences may mimic these sounds and thusincreasing the popularity and familiarity.
CAMERA ANGLES, MOVEMENT AND COMPOSITIONCamera angles, movement and composition are essentialelements within a music video alongside other microelements that are featured within music videos. Cameraangles, movement and composition are all significantelements when portraying an essence and effectiveambience within any video regardless of what specificgenre that video may belong to, despite these featuresbeing what distinguishes one genre from the next. Forexample, within an R&B music video, as a consumer youare most likely to see close ups and mid shots, toestablish raw emotion and facial expression incomparison to a Rock music video which may use longshots and POV shots to portray dominance and poweralong with allowing audience to see the dark settingand gain a better experience of the revitalisingexperience that is metaphorically created through thelyrics.