Music Video? This presentation will explain the aspects of a music video and what is conventional in most music videos. I will also expand on the techniques used in a piano-rock music video as I will be studying that genre and eventually producing a project based on that genre and from the artist Aqualung. Enjoy!
Conventions of music video…
A music video is a way in which lyrics can be portrayed through visual narrative. How the lyrics are conveyed can be done through live performance, dance based routine, animation and a much rarer convention is to have a video that has no link to the lyrics or the narrative it is in a sense random; an example is the artists OK! Go.
The main areas that are important to make a music video successful are:
Sound & editing.
The camera angles and shots vary depending on genre for example within a pop music video there are more cuts and the pace is faster, whereas in a piano-rock music video the cuts are less rapid and the main convention is to have a narrative based music video.
Mise-en-scene is key within music videos, the costume tell us a lot about the character and genre, in some cases it gives us the era. Location is also key as it gives us an idea of where the video is filmed and location sometimes reflects the mood of the song.
C amerawork such as long shots, close ups and mid shots help to emphasis the artists emotions, location and give us insight into the genre. Close-ups may also be used to reflect the lyrics by focusing on the artists lips to emphasise certain words.
A ngles such as high and low angles not only show us location from an aerial view but they may also help to reflect the artists position of power. For example if the song may be melancholy there would be more high angles to make the artists look smaller, whereas if the song is energetic and performance based they would be shot from a low angle to show they’re more powerful.
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L ocation not only establishes where the video is made but it is also useful to reflect the lyrics and to give us more insight into the genre. For example if the video was sombre and the location was a dark/dim lit place we may associate it with the genre of piano-rock. Whereas if it was filmed in a club we associate it with the genre pop.
P rops also help when filming a music video. A prop such as a piano immediately shows us that the genre will not be as fast paced as opposed to having electric guitars and drums which would be connoted with a genre rock music.
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C ostume also plays a big role within music video it shows genre for example darker clothing such as skinny jeans, graphic tops and converse would be associated with rock music, whereas fitted dresses and bright colours would be more associated with pop and hip-hop videos. Costume also influences the viewers style as they look to some of the celebrities as role models.
L ight is also used in music videos to reflect mood and it also establishes genre. For example in a pop music video there are brighter lights that flash sporadically to show it may be in a club.
The genre I am studying is piano-rock, also known as piano-pop. It is a style of popular music which may include similar instruments such as keyboards and synthesisers. Piano rock combines the aspects of rock music such as electric guitar and mixes it with piano to give a softer rock tone. An example of this would be the artists Aqualung and Jacks Mannequin. Piano-Rock came about in the 1950‘s and was popularized by artists such as Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis. To give the piano that rock n roll edge artists would kick away piano benches and play standing, or play the piano keys sporadically and frantically, thus the genre of piano-rock was born. Modern artists such as Aqualung (Matt Hales) may not be as much rock n roll but he still adapts some of the behaviour from previous piano-rock artists for example in the video “Cinderella” he plays the keys frantically and stood up.
Aqualung . . .
The solo artist I am basing my media project on is Aqualung also known as Matt Hales. He is an English singer-song writer and his music is of the piano-rock genre. His song “Strange and Beautiful” is what made him successful in 2002 and was used for the New VW Beetle advert. His single reaches top 10 in the UK singles chart. Across the pond in America his single “Brighter than sunshine” was popular and was used in the film a lot like love, featuring Ashton Kuthcer and Amanda Peet.
An example of a heavier form of piano-rock is the band Jack’s Mannequin. The lead singer is Andrew McMahon and the other three band members are Bobby Anderson (guitarist), Mikey Wagner (bassist) and Jay Macmillan (drummer). Already we can see conventions of a rock group through the 3 band members however what makes it piano-rock is the lead singer Andrew who plays the piano. Despite being diagnosed with acute leukaemia before their debut studio album Andrew Macmillan carried on with the band and made a swift recovery. Their music is also inspired by this event such as the song “dark blue”, which can be reflected as Andrews feeling of loneliness and being detached from his band during his illness.
Music conventions in Piano-Rock
Within a piano-rock music video there tends to be focus on the:
Artist : close ups and mid shots emphasise their importance.
Narrative : this is a way to convey the lyrics and their meaning through story form. E.g. Aqualungs “brighter than sunshine2 combines narrative and clips from the film “A lot like love” to show the protagonists love and how it grows.
Location : the location is usually interwoven with the narrative, for example Jacks Mannequins “dark blue” they’re the centre focus whilst the performance of the “dance marathon” to see who the strongest couple are carries on around them.
Costume : piano-rock having rock elements within it means that the bands/artists wear clothing that may be connoted with rock stars such as dark jeans, silver jewellery, graphic t-shirts and sneakers.
Sound : the sound is very important within a music video, not only lyrics wise and the song in general but other sounds such as dialogue that aid in telling the narrative, or edits such as auto tune that are mainly used in the pop genre and techno music.