Song: Laura Palmer
Single Released: April 4th 2013
Video Released: April 11th 2013
Genre: Alternative Rock
Record Label: EMI Records/Virgin
Production of song: Dan Smith and Mark Crew
Director of music video: Austin Peters
BASTILLE are an alternative rock band from London. First formed in
2010, Bastille began as a solo project by singer-songwriter Dan Smith, who
later decided to form a band.
The name of the band derives from Bastille Day – a French event celebrated
on 14 July, which is also the same date lead vocalist, Dan Smith, was born.
In February 2013, ahead of the release of their debut album, the band's
fourth single, Pompeii was released to huge demand, this is the song that
brought Bastille further into the public eye charting at number 2 in the UK.
Their first studio album ‘Bad Blood’ was released in March 2013 and
debuted atop of the UK Albums Chart.
MUSIC VIDEO PLOT
The song ‘Laura Palmer’ is based on the David Lynch series ‘Twin Peaks’ Dan Smith
wanted to refer to the TV show and speak about the slightly weird and eerie
atmosphere of the show.
The video depicts a vague and bizarre story where lead singer Dan Smith is
kidnapped and released within less than two minutes. A group of renegade kids
takes him from the ‘set’ of a big pop music video. These four people wear rubber
masks. Bastille used this setting because they found it to be quite cheesy and wanted
to juxtapose it with the following sequences. Toward the end after being released,
Dan is given a rubber mask to wear which looks like killer BOB, the actual killer of
Laura Palmer in the Twin Peaks series. Smith wears the mask then removes it after
a few seconds.
The camera shots in this music video range from static to tracking and also a lot of hand held shots which are
used by the gang throughout ‘Laura Palmer’
The video begins with a low angle shot of the sky. The quality of the shot is bad and we can see that this was
taken on a hand held VCR camera. This gives the scene a jerky, ragged effect and involves the viewer very closely
into the scene. The music has not started at this point and as the camcorder zooms out from a gang members
chest, they lift their arms and the music begins. Several shots of the gang are shown using mid shots and pans to
show the surroundings that they live in and what type of people they are.
Throughout these scenes of the gang cross cutting is then used to show Dan singing and the gang preparing
something that we yet do not know. Throughout these scenes, shots such as a 75 degree mid shot and tilts have
been used. A canted angle is on most of these shots to suggest instability, this could also show that they are point
of view shots from the hand held VCR camera.
Close ups and extreme close ups have been used to show the gang putting on rubber masks to hide their identity
from Dan and his music video camera crew. The gang then set out on quad bikes to their destination, numerous
tracking shots are used here to show the movement of the gang. These range from close ups to mid shots.
Once again the camera returns to the music set where Dan begins the chorus of the song, as the music picks up
tempo the lasers are shown and the ‘cheesy pop video’ that Bastille wanted to portray is brought to life. A clapper
board is then put in front of the static camera to symbolise the end of the take. We are then shown around
backstage of the music video, a two shot of the director and a 75 degree side shot of Dan and the make up woman
is used. Also here the rest of Bastille has been shown on an eye level angle – as if a human is observing the scene.
Two establishing shots are used next, one on the static camera and another on the gangs hand held VCR, this
tells the audience that they are watching and getting closer to their culprit and are about to kidnap Dan. The
director issues the take to begin again and we see the lasers on Dan from both the static and hand held camera.
We see a wide shot of the gang arriving on set on the quad bikes, and two close ups of Dan on the hand held and
immediately a masked man jumps onto screen to hide what is going on. A cut to a dog, Dan’s shirt on the floor
and an empty video set is then shown to juxtapose against the hectic scene that has just happened.
The music cuts back into the chorus of ‘Laura Palmer’ and Dan is shown in a two shot, tied up on the back of a
quad bike. Close ups of the film crew then are shown, this is a reaction shot of shock and confusion, portraying to
the audience that this was not supposed to happen.
The following scenes are 90% filmed on the hand held VCR camera, close ups of Dan tied up with a bag over his
head is shown as well as a gang member playing the few keyboard notes that are prominent in this part of the
song. A cross cut of the band follows, showing how their life has carried on without Dan and more close ups of
how Dan is being tortured are viewed, which includes a tarantula and hitting him over the head with the
baseball bat that was shown in the second frame of the video.
More tracking shots of the quad bikes are shown with the gang having knowing expression. This then cuts
sharply to an over the shoulder shot of Dan being shown his mask that mildly resembles Laura Palmer’s original
killer, Killer Bob. P.O.V shots are then used from around a corner, showing Dan looking into a mirror donning
his mask. There is then constant cross cutting between Dan in the house, the gang messing about and the rest of
the Bastille band.
As the music comes to an end a tracking mid shot is used of Dan on the front of a quad bike wearing his mask.
This then shows to the audience that he has grown to love the renegade kids and has joined their gang. A short
frame of the gang coming toward us the audience and we are shot back to Dan who is now stood on top of the
quad, holding his mask in the air. The gang walks further to the camera and puts a mask over the lens, this
could now mean that we have also been captured and are a part of this renegade gang.
The editing of the ‘Laura Palmer’ music video is fast paced as we are never at one frame for longer than a couple
of seconds. This could be because there are many people involved including the gang members, film crew and the
four members of Bastille. This allows the point of view of each of these people to be recognised by the audience.
The first frame of the video is shown to be a plain blue screen. We then realise that this is an old hand held VCR
camera starting up to show the clips. The screen then becomes pixelated and the video begins. This involves the
viewer much more closely into the screen and creates a gritty realism. The scenes between 0.44 and 0.49 are
linked by a match cut. They have been visually linked by the donning of each of their masks. This makes the
video flow smoothly into each of the frames.
Cross cuts are used throughout the whole video, they are first used to show an establishing shot of Dan Smith
stood alone on the video shoot. Cross cuts are then continuously used throughout the video to show how the gang
are preparing to kidnap Dan whilst he is singing on the music video set.
(1.04-1.07) With the notes of the piano changing tempo, the frames cross cut to the different situations happening
at that point which reflects and keeps in time with the music.
The version of the song in the video is unique to it because all of a sudden there is an unexpected interruption in
the music. During the scene where Dan is kidnapped, which is shown as a hand held shot, there is a jump cut – to
a badly edited VCR tape – to a completely unrelated shot of a dog howling, also shot with a camcorder. The song
stops here in the middle of the second chorus to hear this dog howling, who had already made an appearance in
the video with no accompanying audio. After five seconds, the video cuts back to a more neutral point of view shot
and the song resumes.
MISE EN SCENE
Lighting – This video is shot both in the day and night. The kidnapping scene has been shot in the darkness
underneath trees in a forest. This creates a more sinister and threatening atmosphere. There are pools of light
created by the lasers and staging lights which makes you think that the set is a safe place due to the amount of
people we can see there. This idea is juxtaposed when we see on the hand held camera, that the gang are hiding
in the trees and you can just see the glimmers of light from the set.
Location/Set Composition – This helps develop the narrative of the ‘Laura Palmer’ music video. The two main
locations used are the video set and the town in which the gang lives. They filmed this in Palmdale, California.
This location shows that the gang do not have much money and they do not have jobs as they spend all day doing
Costumes/Props - The clothes that are used throughout the video are normal day to day clothes. However from the
gang all of their attire looks quite worn, conveying that they do not have a lot of money. Also in one frame two men
are shown fighting over a shirt which could mean they do not have many clothes between them. Many of the gang
are wearing dark clothes which can be associated with evil characters
The only unusual prop used here are the masks. Masks are worn by the renegade kids to hide their identity when
kidnapping Dan. They also wear these to and from the kidnapping, ensuring nobody sees them. These masks are
of human characters as well as animals. It has been considered that the mask given to Dan at the end of the music
video could look like Killer Bob. Killer Bob was in the David Lynch series ‘Twin Peaks’ and murdered Laura
Palmer – whom the song is mildly based upon. As the gang are wearing masks a lot of the time, their characters
become more mysterious and inaccessible to us and the sense of intimacy is lost. Whereas with Dan, we
sympathise with him as his face is shown 90% of the time and we can see that he is worried and scared.
Staging/Proxemics – The characters only look into the camera when it is the hand held that has been used, this
gives it an unprofessional ‘home movie’ feel. This also happens a few seconds before the end of the video, where the
gang walks toward the camera and puts a mask over the lens, this could now mean that we have also been
captured and are a part of this renegade gang. The audience is involved within this video and this creates a gritty
realism, this is portrayed through P.O.V shots and frames filmed on the hand held cameras.
WHY THE VIDEO IS EFFECTIVE
This video is effective because it is not the normal type of video where the band either
sings or plays their song in front of the camera or an audience at a gig or festival. The
band have put thought into matching the video to the song and having a story line
They have also created a big ‘cheesy pop music set’ in which they destroy. This is here
because Dan Smith the main character in the video and lead singer of Bastille does
not like to be the centred attention of music videos. Therefore they liked the idea of
making a parody of a video they would never want to create, and then they get to
LAURA PALMER – BEHIND THE SCENES
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