The original purpose of the Music Video is to advertise the Artist’s specified song in order to boost its sales as well as the artist’s reputation.
The Music Video provides a different source musical entertainment through the use of visuals and at times is also used to reinforce the outrageous and sometimes flamboyant image of the artist e.g. Lady Gaga
It is not known when Music Videos were first introduced to the world; however there is reference to many of its early forms. The Illustrated song technique was first utilised in 1864 for the song ‘The little lost child’, where 12-16 images were hand-painted onto glass and then projected onto screens in theatres as the song played. http:// www.youtube.com/watch?v = KTCBtMPvuKQ
As the years went on Soundies and Talkies influenced Musical Films leading to the songs within the movies being used as movie clips in themselves. For example the song ‘Diamonds are a girl’s best friend’ became a hit and as well as advertising the actresses involved (Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell)
Most Music videos have similar conventions to one another the only thing which makes them different is the
genre of music they belong to. Here is some information from a pp on slideshare.
Music videos tend to include many long shots, close ups and mid shots. This is to create emphasis on the artist, location and emotions. Also, close ups are used not only to show emotions but to reflect the words of the song with the movement of the lips of the artist.
The movement of the camera is used to follow and trace the artist or band. Camera movements include tilts, pans, tracking and crane shots.
This refers to the arrangement of performers and props on stage or in a scene for a production of a music video or any other media text. Mise-en-scene puts importance on the representation of something. An example is, ‘Mad’ by NeYo's. The Mise-en scene involves him walking down a road alone, being in an isolated room. This reflects the isolation from his lover. Also, the props include hats and dark clothes which represent the down mood of the song. Similarly, the lighting is kept very dark as it is black and white; this connotes the angry and depressed mood. This is just one example of the Mise en scene used to give an idea of how Mise-en-scene works.
Jump cuts is the predominant editing technique used in music videos. This is because this allows a sudden change from one scene to another. Similarly, transitions such as fade and dissolve are very common in music videos as they create a different effect to cuts.
Other main conventions consist of:
Some music videos are black and white which help emphasise a particular mood and some videos have artificial lighting which put the artist/s in an enhanced look.
Sound is mainly the vocals or the song but in some cases such as Michael Jackson – Thriller, the producers can make the music video into a short film.
These are a vital in aiding to add to the scene and create significance on particular objects or people.
This goes with the scenes in the song and reflects the genre. Costume is an important factor because it has a slight influence on how the viewers will dress because they use some of the celebrities as role models
Colours tend to set the mood of the song through creating an atmosphere. For example, dark colours are used more in rock songs such as Kings of Leon and bright colours are seen to be used more in hip hop and pop videos.
A well-known Music Video theorist is Andrew Goodwin. He developed a theory on Music videos suggesting that there are 6 main elements/characteristics of a music video.
Music videos demonstrate genre characteristics (e.g. stage performance in metal video, dance routine for boy/girl band). This is important in establishing the artist’s target audience as it must be clear from their music video what genre they fall into. For example a Pop music video may have lots of bright colours and be teen-friendly whereas a Rock music video may be entirely focused on the band/artist’s performance.
There is a relationship between lyrics and visuals (either illustrative, amplifying, contradicting). The relationship between lyrics and visuals is usually a reflection of the kind person the artist wants to illustrate themselves as and the type of audience they wish to attract. For example a Lady Gaga video will be outrageous and possibly even controversial. This reflects Lady Gaga as an artist as she wants the publicity to project her status further. The lyrics and visuals are an insight into the
There is a relationship between music and visuals (either illustrative, amplifying, contradicting).
The demands of the record label will include the need for lots of close ups of the artist and the artist may develop motifs which recur across their work (a visual style).
There is frequently reference to notion of looking (screens within screens, telescopes, etc) and particularly voyeuristic treatment of the female body.
There is often intertextual reference (to films, TV programmes, other music videos etc).
Theories and Critics Sven E Carlsson was a media theorist who believed that The music video can be broken up into categories of oppositions e.g. good-bad, black-white. ‘Almost everything is then perceived as opposites – trash or art, commerce or creativity, male or female, naturalism or antirealism, etc.’ He also suggested that there are two categories of music videos: Performance Videos and Conception Videos. Performance videos This category is quite self-explanatory as it is simply a video of the singer performing i.e dancing or singing throughout the video. Conceptual Videos This is when the ideas or thought-process given to making the video is more important than the materialistic/aesthetic appearances of the video. http://www.slideshare.net/chrisdaw/theorists-of-music-videos
Sven E Carlsson’s "modern mythic embodiment” (slide from link)
Sven E Carlsson created the theory that most performance movies make the performer not a performer any more.
“ he or she is a materialization of the commercial exhibitionist . He or she is a monger of their own body image, selling everything to be in the spotlight – selling voice, face, lifestyle, records, and so on”
This is saying that performers are restricted in the way that they can perform as they are being used to sell their voice, face, lifestyle etc. Sven E Carlsson says that this is down to the artist being a seller of their body image.
Michael Shore’s theory is that music videos are result of ‘recycled styles that contain an information overload’ most of which rotate around ‘views of adolescent male fantasies’. This is true as most music videos contain topics surrounding or concerning power, girls, wealth and/or the ‘ideal life’. Here is an example in T.I’s You can have whatever you like http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nQJACVmankY
This theory relates to current issues within the music industry where the argument is that many music videos convey provocative imagery which is too sexualised for the audience watching it. Women are highly sexualised and objectified in Rap and Hip-hop videos hence the term (Video Hunnies). The high sexualisation rate in music videos is leading to an increase in mental health problems in the young.