Evaluation Q1)In what ways does your media product use, developor challenge forms and conventions of realmedia products?According to Andrew Goodwin’s theory there are some key aspects that areusually included in music videos. These are: the star image, a relationshipbetween the lyrics and the visuals, the technical aspect, iconography andvoyeurism. However, Goodwin also states that “particular music genres havetheir own music video style” and this seems to be more appropriate inanalysing the content of my music video. “Cape Cod…” is a song by an Indieband called Vampire Weekend. Selecting an Indie track, we decided as agroup, would allow us greater (potential) creativity than the average R&B trackallows. This proved correct as we could contradict some of Goodwin’stheories for the sake of originality. For example, there is no “star image” in themusic video because the band is not shown. This is unlike the music videos of fellow indie band, Kings of Leon, who feature significantly in their music videos to promote their image to get more recognition from their growing fan base. Notably, Kings of Leon are more successful than Vampire Weekend and this may impact on them promoting a “Star Image” to the audience.However, not including the band or “Star Image” was a conscious decisionthat we made because we wanted the music video to express a messagerather than promote the band’s image. Through the use of a narrativestructure, instead of a performance based one, we were able to engage theaudience through a montage story about a girl who gets manipulated by ascientist who represents society.There is a strong relationship between the lyrics and the visuals in the musicvideo. We based the majority of our video on Synaesthesia. Before we startedfilming we listened to the lyrics and decided to interpret them ambitiouslybecause the lyrics are ambiguous. The first line of the chorus, “Is your bedmade?” was significant in our decision making because it stood out as ademand- a direct choice posed to the audience, for them to ultimately, decidesomething. We then interpreted the music to have a sunny, positivedisposition which we then wanted to manipulate with a serious concept. Sowe came up with the idea of trying to expose the negative representation ofwomen in the media and how this can affect young women in particular.Obviously, we heightened this concept to make it more dramatic and visuallyexciting to watch. This is a form of “Disjuncture” as the contradictory visualsseem to totally ignore the lyrics and this is to assert uniqueness to the musicvideo and to convey a serious message about the unhealthy obsession by themedia, to portray women a certain way in society, which can have negativeimpacts on many women trying to live up to these aesthetic expectations. 1
Voyeurism is included in many music videos. However, Indie music videos, inmy opinion, seemingly have less references to voyeurism than most pop andR&B videos.Supposedly, this is because Indie artists are more about the music than themoney that female aesthetic value provides. Moreover, it is about the valuesof the band, and notably, Indie bands are known for their anti-establishmentapproach to the music industry. Most Indie bands share the view of dodgingbig labels for fear of being manipulated into something they’re not. So, withthis attitude comes a different perspective on music, lyrics and ultimately,music videos. “Cape Cod…” definitely develops these conventions. Morally,our video attempts to avoid exploiting women for aesthetical value andinstead explores, and consequently criticises, an aspect of society we aresupposed to accept blindly.From my audience research, for evaluation question 3, I have established thatthe TA would like to see this message being exposed, but, they also lackhope that the message would be listened to or as respected as it should be. Ifind this interesting as it seems some of the public have not conformed (assuch) to the way media exploits women but have become desensitised to thisexploitation because they’ve seen it everywhere, and for so long, to the pointthat some of the TA are indifferent in their response. Therefore, I believe“Cape Cod…” would be successful because it is emotive and thought-provoking. It is a music video which interacts with the audience, and from myEthnography research, we seem culturally, as a collective, very passive as anaudience. The TA need to be engaged with the media, and question itbecause they are tired by the repetitive way media conveys thesestereotypical (non-) representations. And I think the music video has potentialto engage with an audience intelligently, not just aesthetically or for profit. Ithink the music video will be understood and interpreted well by the TA.Goodwin’s theory suggests there is often a commodity in music videos; Iargue that our commodity is our concept because that is what we want to sellto the audience.Moving on, we used an array of technical aspects to make the music videoappear as professional as possible. Unfortunately we had some technicaldifficulty in this area due to a fundamental error we made when filming withthe green screen. However, visually, “Cape Cod…” still reflects the quirky andplayful outcome we were hoping to achieve. 2
Like in the music video “Acceptable in the 80s” by Calvin Harris, we wantedthe background to be bold bright colours.However, because of the troubles we had with the green screen, it remainedgreen. Instead, we used a contrast effect to bring out the vivacity of thevisuals.I’ve picked out a few shots from the music video to discuss… We used a slowed down close up shot when the music changed ¾ of the way through the video. This is to show a poignant moment within the music video. Goodwin states there should be close ups of the artist, so the audience can identify with them, however, in our video, it was necessary for the audience to relate to the turmoil the character is in, for the sake of the narrative. This is a high angle panning shot demonstrated to reflect the wide variety of shots we used. We tried to be as creative as possible. And this shot is again, juxtaposed with the music, as it is a slower piece of music, and so we wanted to show a duration of time passing, as the girl is held prisoner in the cage. This shot is used with the one above when the striking three beats are heard in the music. This creates a nice contrast and proves we have fully understood the rhythm of our music and have tailored the visuals around that understanding. In this shot the actress begins to panic. The shot is short and is played on one of the beats, so it makes it stand out and presents a visual moment of distress for the character; which I think is translated 3 very well to the audience.
There are a range of different focus shots. This one is a medium-long shot. These are used when both the girl and the scientist are sharing the scene. Here we can see the higher status of the scientist contrasted with the lower status of the girl in the cage. Then there is another close up of the same shot, as you can see the girl’s hand is on the cage door, and this happens at another beat within the music. We have used fast cutting and montage editing so that the narrative is fragmented and in a non-linear order. Possibly, this could tempt the viewer to want to see it again. As for the chorus, the scientist sings these lines directly to the camera. The eye contact of the scientist to the audience, repeating the chorus, is a convention within music videos we wanted to include because it is important in engaging the audience. One of the last scenes is the catwalk practice/photoshot of the character. Editing is fast here and there is a mixture of long shots and close-ups to provide the audience with a sense of urgency, as the climax of the music video is evident. The lighting effects imitate that of a real studio, making these shots look very professional. For the last scene, we used an effect as she shouts “Stop!” which coincides nicely with the music actually stopping. The effect is like a channelling effect, making it seem like we are going back to reality when the character decides to rebel against everything being done to her. I believe this scene, with her running out, and the exposure of the music video as a studio, is a very original and emotive idea.Overall, within “Cape Cod…” there is a suggestion of a story, but it’s not aproper narrative because of the visual relationship to the music, meaning thevisuals cannot fully tell a completed story. The fast editing presents a finishedproduct which is like a montage. I think this is really interesting to watch and 4
moreover, has a repeatability factor to it because the audience could misselements in the fast editing, and so would want to watch it again. Also, thechorus is quite catchy and the scientist sings it each time and directly to theaudience, so this is a valid repeatability factor too. Most Indie music videosare either performance based or follow the theme of disjuncture and maketheir own random visuals to that piece of music. A more conventional performance based video is “The Pretender” by Foo Fighters. “Fireflies” by Owl City is another example of a performance based video but with the added theme of disjuncture and originality. Not all the emphasis in this video is on the actual artist, he is just in the background on the keyboard. Lastly, some indie music videos are just completely random and individual. They have no connection at all to the music but this is often the most common type of indie music video. To some degree, indie music videos can incorporate all or none of the standard elements of a music video, and get away with it.In conclusion,” Cape cod…” uses enough of the standard conventions ofmusic videos to avoid criticism when challenging some of the more significanttheories. “Cape cod…” develops the conventional performance basedstructure, making it into a narrative lead montage, though still includingperformances from the scientist and girl. It also uses technical aspects seenin other music videos such as pacing; cutting on the beats, using a variety ofshots, using two distinct mise-en-scene’s (the “lab” and the “catwalk”), andcreating a connection between the visuals and the music. Contrastingly,however, “Cape cod…” challenges the concepts of other music videos. In theIndie genre, it has become increasingly evident that music videos are for funand they hardly contain any messages for the audience. Although I believemusic videos are fun, and ours definitely attempts to incorporate that mood,we have a serious message to get across to the audience. 5