A2 MEDIASTUDIES Michelle Jackson a2michellejackson.blogspot.co.uk
QUESTION 1: In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?• The genre that we chose for our music video was Indie Rock. The original video to „Weekend‟ by Smith Westerns features a lot of footage which makes the band appear carefree, youthful and extremely rebellious – something that is a convention of the Indie genre to „stand out‟ and be different by simply being themselves.• The video features a lot of scenes which appear very unforced and natural to teens and young people, such as shopping, smoking and having a good time. In addition, this video features other scenes that would be considered to some as very “daring” – such as carrying an axe in public and cutting down trees (illegally).
MISE-EN-SCENEMise-en-scene is extremely important in terms of understanding the conventions ofthe genre by analysing areas such as costume, setting and composition.These two images, the first being the Smith Westerns and the second being ouractors, are similar in that they both make use of the outdoors – the Smith Westernsand Indie bands in general are very easy-going and prefer to be out in theopen, which is shown in the image. However, for our own photos we also includedman-made objects for an edgy feel which challenged the genre slightly but overallenhanced the Smith Westerns‟ rebellious personality. In terms of composition theseshots both have a hierarchical structure in that the lead member is placed moretowards the front of the frame, meaning the audiences‟ eye is drawn to them first.
1. 2. 3. COSTUME We choose the actors that we used in our music video for „Weekend‟ carefully so they could closely resemble the Smith Westerns band members. We researched thoroughly into the clothing of Indie Rock bands beforehand so we could interpret this convention into our music video. 1. 2. 3.The images that we usedfor the „Smith Westerns +Friends‟ digipak support thecodes and conventions thatare associated with IndieRock music. This includesfeaturing clothing such asparkas, hoodedjackets, checked shirts anddark coloured t-shirts.
The costumes our actors wore within both the digipak images andthe music video included typical „Indie‟ style clothing, which COSTUMEcontained no overly-bright colours and a conventional laid-backdesign. Our digipak image particularly reflects that of conventional Indie Rock CD covers by following the dress code of parka coats, denim jackets, checked shirts and dark clothing, topped off with casual jeans. These all lend themselves to the „Alternative‟ style of clothing – often fans of the Indie Rock genre recreate this relaxed look as it is incredibly recognisable. Converse shoes are also a symbol of this genre which connote youth as these shoes attract a younger audience much like the Smith Westerns.
As well as dressing our actors in clothingwhich fit well with the conventions of theIndie Rock videos we researched, such COSTUMEas laid-back jeans to connoteadolescence and combat jackets toinsert a sense of danger/mischief, wealso styled our actors according to ourarchetypal fan profile that we createdduring our research. This is becausefans of the genre often style themselvesafter their idols. The costumes that the band are wearing are used to establish character by signifying that they have their own unique style and „stamp‟ that is easily recognisable – this also means that the costumes are used for the audience to determine the genre of the music video. Character establishment needs to happen within the first few seconds of the music video because songs often last 3-4 minutes on average and the audience want to have a fixed genre in mind. Also, the costumes help to portray a certain mood within the video – dark clothes have connotations of rebellion and mischief that is associated with the contents of our „Weekend‟ video.
In terms of the setting for our music video, we chose areas inwhich we felt would be most suited for the audience of the Indiegenre. In this case, our two main locations were: in a busy city SETTINGcentre and in a recording studio.•We chose the city centre as our main filming location becauseit ties in well with the youthful atmosphere that we wanted tocreate in the video. City centres are often popular choices foryoung people to hang out, shop and chill out with theirfriends, meaning this was a perfect choice as it gave a moreauthentic feel. We chose specific side streets so that theamount of bystanders wouldn‟t overwhelm our three bandmembers that audience would want to focus on the most.However, because the Indie genre isn‟t as obsessed with bodyimage as much as other genres (for example: pop and R&B) itwasn‟t a big issue and we created a permission slip for thepeople included in the video to sign.•Our second location was a recording studio so that we couldfilm the live performances of the band to cross-cut in betweenthe other scenes of the music video. This is a main mediaconvention of the Indie Rock genre which lets the audiencedifferentiate instantly between this genre and others. The liveperformance gives a personal aspect to the music video byimmersing the audience in what it would feel like to go to a gigor see the Smith Westerns perform live, as going to concerts isa convention of the Indie Rock genre.
ANCILLARY In many ways we used several conventions of the Indie genre TEXTS to create our advert. However, I In the original poster by feel that during this process we the Smith Westerns, a also developed these existing colour scheme of yellows, conventions and put our own oranges and reds is used ideas on top, creating to create a simple yet something unique and which effective image – one that links in to our other ancillary isn‟t apparent to the texts. audience and doesn‟t seem to link in directly to the album/artist that it is advertising. I‟ve noticed that Indie bands often use this ambiguity to hook the audience in.We created a similar colour scheme for our own poster byincorporating pastel shades such as orange and light blue .The orange colour connotes the quirky nature of the SmithWesterns as you wouldn‟t normally associate male bandswith this colour. We also used an „ambiguous‟ image in themiddle of the poster to draw the audience in and stuck to a„tie-dye‟ theme with the merging, haphazard array of coloursthat show the carefree personality of the band.
ANCILLARY TEXTS A main media convention of an album poster is that it includes a release date so that fans know when the new material is going tobe available. We made this a priority on our own poster and madethe date of release large so that it would stand out for theaudience. Also, we decided that although Indie bands prefer tostick to traditional methods of acquiring a song – such as buyingsingles, albums or records – we instead agreed that we wouldchallenge this convention by including an „iTunes‟ logo thatinforms the audience that the mixtape will be available for digitaldownload. This is because it would reach a much larger fan-basebecause older established methods are now being replaced bythe digital and online industry so that stores which sell albumssuch as HMV are going out of business. Selling the mixtape oniTunes would help to keep the Indie Rock genre alive andrecognisable. We included the record label on our album poster because this would help to promote the band if a fan of Indie music recognised the record label and therefore bought or previewed the album. Also, the same thing applies to the reviews from popular Indie magazines which help to establish the audience and genre of the product.
ANCILLARY TEXTSOur digipak features typical album conventions such as the band‟sname, the album name, the barcode and the track list. Whenresearching the Indie genre we noticed that many bands‟ albums(such as Wavves) had a childish or „tacky‟ effect that deliberatelymade the albums look slightly unfinished and more authentic to theaudience as they were not as perfected and flawless as that ofalbums from other genres such as Pop. This helps the audienceidentity with the band and better understand their carefree personasand so followed these conventions and recreated this in our owndigipak. The tie-dye background gives an alternative and „fun‟ feelwhile the green connotates relaxation and youth. The faded imageslink into the ambiguous, vague effect that the Smith Westerns postergave which draws the audience in, making them want to know more. Wavves Album
Certain camera angles were used in our„Weekend‟ video to portray a particular mood CAMERAWORKto the audience.For example, close-ups of the guitars andinstruments were used within the liveperformance shots to make the audience feelcloser and more involved with the band, asthis produces a more personal aspect to thevideo. This is a convention of most musicvideos so the audience gather a sense ofrealism which helps them better identify withthe artist and make them want to carry onwatching.Extreme long shots were also used to set thescene and help the audience understand thevast space that the video takes place in. Thislinks back to reminding the audience they arewatching a „filmed‟ video by making themrealise physically how far away they are fromthe band while still maintaining the sense ofconnection.
A cut from the beginning scene Techniques used: cross-straight to a live performance ismade within the same second, EDITING cutting, rhythmic editing &making it appear very natural fade outsand almost unnoticeable to theaudience‟s eye.We used cross-cutting during our music video because it is popular within theIndie genre to insert a live performance in-between the narrative aspect of thevideo. We aimed for a seamless edit from one scene to the live performanceshot as it was made to look quite effortless and almost natural for the video toswitch shots in Yuck‟s “Get Away” which we thought was a nice touch. I thinkwe achieved this especially towards the beginning of our video when the bandmembers are walking and it smoothly cross-cuts to a live performance.
From researching other Indie EDITING Rock music videos before we created our own, we found that many used fast-paced „rhythmic‟ editing to convey a sense of excitement and energy into the video, especially if the song was upbeat with a very pronounced bass. As our ownMany music videos, including those in the Indie genre, use song was fairly upbeat wefade outs at the end of their video to give a smooth tried to recreate this in thetransitional ending which gives the audience time to absorb editing process. We usedthe video‟s contents. We took this into consideration when Final Cut Pro to cut the videowe edited our own video, as the shot of the TV static at the every 2-4 seconds in theend slowly fades out to black in time with the music. This is chorus which is the quickestreminiscent of “Bug” by Wavves and indeed the Smith and most upbeat part of theWesterns original video for the song „Weekend‟ where the song. For the slowervideo fades to black. interludes (such as during the bridge) scenes were cutWe deliberately changed the speed of some of the clips at every 4-6 seconds so that itthe beginning of our video by changing the „Rate‟ in Final merged better with the music.Cut Pro so that they were slowed down. We felt that this This helps the audience feelenhanced the video by having lots of short, slowed down more involved with the musicclips that matched with the natural build of the song before video.the chorus.
At the very beginning stages of our music video UNSUITABLEplanning, we had the idea to includes lots of scenesof our actors drinking alcohol and smoking. This MESSAGESwas because of the research we made into Indiemusic videos which showed the rebellious, waywardtemperament of the bands. However, after carefulconsideration we chose not to include these scenesin our music video because of the impact this couldhave on a younger teen audience – the SmithWesterns are aimed at teenagers and young peopleand this would give out the wrong message andpromote the band as bad role models. Wechallenged the conventions of the genre by not The Smith Westernsincluding these aspects but feel this was a good „Weekend‟ video includes badchoice because we could instead focus the video on messages vs. our „Weekend‟safer and less harmful recreational activities that video which includes safeteenagers can participate in, such as shopping with recreational activities.friends and hanging out together. This facet of ourmusic video directly challenges that of the SmithWesterns original video for „Weekend‟ where theyare shown to chop down trees illegally for fun. Wefelt that channelling this energy into other activitieswould portray the same effect of „youthfulness‟.
ANDREW GOODWINIn Andrew Goodwin‟s book “Dancing in the Distraction Factory” (1992), Goodwinidentifies key elements of music videos. These include: Demonstrating genre characteristics in music videos – these could include live performances in rock music videos or dance routines for a girl band. Showing there is a relationship between lyrics and visuals – they could either be illustrative (so the lyrics and the video match exactly), amplifying (where the visuals are often blown out of proportion) or contradictive (where the lyrics and visuals do not match but still relate). Close ups of the artist in regard to the demands of the record label – as well as this, music videos often show the artist developing motifs and a visual style. Frequent reference to the notion of looking (such as a screen within a screen). Intertextual references – these can be to other films, TV shows, music videos, etc. The often voyeuristic treatment of the female body
Goodwin identifies that one of the key elements of THE NOTION OFa music video is the frequent notion of „looking‟. Inour Indie video for „Weekend‟ we inserted a clip at ‘LOOKING’the end that included a TV screen going static as away to remind the audience that they are watchinga music video. This celebrates audienceengagement and visual storytelling – it alsoforegrounds the video and once again reminds theaudience they are watching a „filmed‟ film.Also, due to the non-linear narrative of the musicvideo (something which is a convention of the IndieRock genre) this helps to reinforce the idea ofrebellion and youth as many other classic music Perhaps notvideos use a traditional narrative structure, but here as noticeablewe „break the rules‟ to fit in with the Indie style. The to some of themeaning behind this is often culturally determined audience, but the TV at the end iswhen we are growing up, as younger children often in fact in rewind, as though tofeel that what they are seeing in films and TV suggest rewinding our lives back toshows are real whereas teenagers and young when we were children becauseadults (the audience in which our video is aimed at) everything was simpler and muchwould instead understand that they are fiction but more exciting. This links into thestill secretly wish for them to be true, which youthful connotations of the Smithenhances the youthful feel our video possesses. Westerns and the childlike antics of the music video.
GENRE In relation to Andrew Goodwin‟s identification of the key elements of aAs you can see, a genre characteristic of Indie Rock music is that the music video, wemusic videos feature a live band performance. This is a convention of included manythe genre and we included similar shots in our own music video that conventions of bothclosely resembled that of „Weekend‟ by Smith Westerns and „GetAway‟ by Yuck (which were included in our research). This close-up the genre and musicshot in the second image from our own music video gives the videos as a wholeaudience a feeling of being closer to the band as it is more personal within our ownand gives more of an impression that they are actually seeing them music video.live at a concert – something which the young audience these IndieRock bands are aimed at would wish to strive for. Also, in terms of band hierarchy, the lead member is always placed the furthest towards the camera, drawing the audience‟s eye & showing a similar genre
We chose a more thematic approach to filming in that we didn‟tspecifically match the video to the lyrics, although the video was CONVENTIONSinspired by them. Instead we took the meaning and connotationsbehind the song itself and redesigned them into something whichthe audience of the genre would find appealing. We felt that themeaning behind the song was enjoying spending time with friendsand loved ones and having fun in the process. This was evidencedby the lyrics “Weekends are never fun unless you‟re around heretoo”. This was the basis for our music video, and havingresearched into other Indie Rock music videos we found that aconvention of the genre was that the music videos featured theband or other actors having a good time, relaxing and generallydoing “everyday” things, while sporadically inserting a liveperformance shot into the video.Our „Weekend‟ video merges narrative, performance and conceptelements. Although it doesn‟t expressively tell a story, the audiencedo follow what is deliberately perceived as the everyday lives of theband members – it would be easy for the audience to imagine thatwhat they are watching is genuine. Then a live performance shot isadded to break up the „narrative‟ and stick to the conventions of thegenre while also reminding the audience they are watching a„filmed‟ video (linking back to Goodwin‟s “Notion of Looking”). From Everyday activitieshere the concept element is evident in that it subtly sends a are shown such asmessage which says that there are many other „safer‟ recreational driving andactivities for teens to participate in, such as shopping, which skateboardingchallenges the conventions of other Indie videos.