Introduction<br />In this presentation I will cover the purposes of music videos, generic codes and conventions then followed by an analysis of three influential music videos.<br />Joe Faulkner<br />
Purposes of music videos<br />Brief history of music videos:<br />There had been many experiments with video and music together in what could be deemed as early music videos. However it is commonly accepted that ‘A Hard Days Night’ by the Beatles is defining as the first music video in comparison with today's concepts. It was a feature length film containing 11 tracks and a runtime of 87 minutes.<br /> “the innovative technique of cutting the images <br /> to the beat of the music, which has been cited <br /> as a precursor of modern music videos”<br /> quote: http://en.wikipedia.org ((article writer) talking about video, right) -><br />Top of the Pops:<br />During the 70’s ‘Top of the Pops’ “attracted 15 million viewers a week”. <br />Soon people realised that music video could be exploited as a marketing <br />technique, Hence the formation of a new concept:<br />Using Music videos as a promotional tool for bands. Since then it has <br />been common place to produce music videos or “promos” in order to<br />promote the band. Music videos give people a close interpretation of their idols, the camera can get much, much closer to them than they could in person, these are all aspects of the ‘Uses and Gratifications Model’.  Below are some more examples of how music videos fit this model;- Personal Identity: Finding models of behaviour – linked with Idolism and wanting to be like those you admire. - Social Interaction: Basis of conversation, Substitution for real life relationships (in this case with the band).<br /> - Information: What are the band like? How do they convey themselves?<br /> -http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandradio/bbc/8416576/BBC-to-bring-back-Top-of-the-Pops-from-1976.html<br /> - http://www.aber.ac.uk/media/Documents/short/usegrat.html<br />
Generic Codes and Conventions<br />Different Genre’s, Stereotypes and fans mean that we see different general rules for each culture of music.<br />‘Heavy Metal’<br />‘Indie Rock’<br /><ul><li> Often contains quick camera movement to give a sense of energy.
Some use of special effects.</li></ul>“While there are no sounds that can be described as inherently unmusical, musicians in each culture have tended to restrict the range of sounds they will admit.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica <br />
… cont.<br />‘Rap’<br />‘Electronica’<br /><ul><li> Often uses a ‘night club’ or live performances with lots of strobe lighting and ‘rave’ dancing.
The videos tend to be very obscure when showing the face or body of the band, this is common with experimental music genres.
Use of special effects makes the video seem very un-usual / experimental.
Rarely / never shows instruments being played, since the backing track rapped too is often pre-recorded.
Usually filmed in a club (such as a VIP area of a night club) also used often are high profile houses such as a mansions that could be a party or the artists perceived home.
The artist tends to be glorified with camera shots from below the face looking up to represent power.
Common place to contain women dancers, usually with very revealing clothing (or lack of them!).
Lots of status symbols, alcohol, jewellery, expensive brands of clothing, large TVs, and sports cars.</li></li></ul><li>Generic Codes and Conventions 2<br />Cross Genre Links:<br />Having found that there are very strong differences between music Genre’s and their music videos it is also important to remember that there are some general things that link across most music videos…<br />Editing: <br />Jump cuts are used often to keep the video in time with the music track, switching between instruments and / or band members. Extreme close ups, Longs shots and extreme close ups coupled lighting changes signify chorus / verse changes within the song.<br />Mise-en-scene: <br />Often has an association in some form of inter-textual link in the music video, such as Madonna’s material girl (1985) has a very blatant inter- textualityto a 1953 film called Gentlemen Prefer Blondes .<br />(Above: Left Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Right: Material Girls)<br />Diagetic and Non-Diagetic Sounds are used also, some videos with a strong narration contain sounds such as speech as well as the music track.<br />A use of artificial lighting and colour give the band an ageless / desirable look and also reflects the mood of the song.<br />Costumes reflect the style and feeling of the Artist such as white clothing to represent innocence and red to represent anger (although this is not always the case).<br />
Music Video Textual Analysis<br />Aphex Twin – “Come to Daddy” - 1997 <br />http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gudEttJlw3s<br />Guns N' Roses - "Welcome To The Jungle“ - 1987 <br />http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gudEttJlw3s<br />The White Stripes – “Fell In Love With A Girl” - 2002<br />http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q27BfBkRHbs<br />
Aphex Twin – Come to Daddy<br />Directed by Chris Cunningham the ‘Come to Daddy’ video mixed harsh visuals with the story of an old woman being taunted by children, creating a feeling of terror.<br />Three seconds into the video and we are already shown a very obscure interpretation of a tower block, the colours have been adjusted to a blue that makes everything seem allot colder, accumulating a feeling to the viewer that something here may not be well.<br />The video as a whole contains a strong narrative of this woman being haunted by children however they are shown in a very conceptual way, they are wearing masks that make their facial characteristics frozen and are the proportions you would expect of an adult head. <br /> The only lyrics in the song are very obscured speech, the chorus seeming to be ‘screamed’ (possibly scratched audio) is heard to screech the phrase “I want your soul”. This style of music in the video is very much represented by the visuals. The shots are to beat and at some places in the video extremely fast paced. This pace coupled with flashing obscure images of horror, creates a very ‘insidious’ feeling.<br /> I asked a peer the first emotions that came into there head when watching this video and after thirty seconds I had the responses:<br /> “Random”, “Cold”, “modern”. This backs up my analysis that the colouring and effects (blurs, distortion) used build an image of obscurity – often linked with fear (of the unknown).<br /> -http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200305/why-we-fear-the-unknown<br />
Guns & Roses - Welcome to The Jungle<br />Initial close up of main band member, very representative instantly of the band, catching the attention of fans. This builds up a relationship with the viewer, fitting into the ‘Uses and Gratifications Model’ ideas of Personal Identity. I believe the relationship building is aided by the video’s ability to get fans closer than they would usually be able to get in real life. <br />In the video we see establishing shots, again of the bands performance establishing a feeling of “we are how we are”, a very ‘real’ image. This is commonly seen in music videos of this Genre.<br />In terms of timing it is very much to the beat, the tempo and changes in cut speed are increasing with the music.The Mise-en-scene gives away no obvious narrative however there are quick cuts of images depicting themes of oppression, violence and anger. An example of such is the image to the right of a policeman with a weapon. Although the video does not explain where this footage is, the viewer relates the action to the lyrics of the song.There are no special effects in this video, which is also common for the metal / Rock genres, instead focusing on set and themes to symbolise the meaning.<br />
The White Stripes -Fell In Love With A Girl<br />This video filmed back in 2002 was made entirely with Lego bricks, it took 15 animators six weeks and was part in starting a large revival of Lego.<br />There is an interesting mix of concept and performance in this video, however they have brought the two together. This has been done showing mainly all performance, however since the shots are all of Lego the entire video is also concept.<br />The style of the video is quite ‘light-hearted’ and the low production cost combined with the fact it doesn’t all look perfect aids the obscure patterns we see. There are random clips such as swimming, people chasing each other and cars driving these are all cut to beat but tell little narrative.<br />Although the characters are obscure in<br />Terms of shape, due to the audiences <br />relation to the sound of the music it is instantly recognisable that we are looking the band members.<br />Apart from the ‘stop motion’ used to bring the frames to life there are no other uses of special effects, however I don’t think any would have been needed.There are no aspects of inter-<br />Textuality within this video<br />But the concept and script<br />Seems very basic and again light-hearted, perhaps this is shown also in the execution of the video.<br />
Conclusion<br />I have learned that music video’s are not only used to promote the bands image but also as a way of ‘selling’ the bang. Music video directors take full advantage of their ability to have narrative or no narrative which depends completely on the Genre and meaning of the song. Music video’s employ a large range of different styles and methods for story-telling or engagement building, it is possible to see most of the same ones used in feature length films. From the Music Video’s I have researched I have seen how pace and shot length can severely impact the feel of the video, fast paces can be used to show strong, fast feelings of enjoyment or on the other hand a height of horror. When making a music video I will use the information gained to check the codes and conventions that already exist and ensure that it is appropriate for the target audience.<br />Perhaps in the future music video’s will become more conceptual with less emphasis on words in newer Genre’s such as Dub-step and the popularity of Drum & Bass alongside various other electronic music. With Internet distribution still rising as the most economically efficient way to distribute music perhaps music video’s will become concept video, independently submitted by the Artist instead of promotional video’s made by record labels.<br />