What way does your media product, use, develop
or challenge forms and conventions of real media
What are conventions ?
Conventions are the generally accepted ways of doing something. There are general conventions in any
medium, such as the use of interviewee quotes in a print article, but conventions are also genre specific.
Codes and conventions are used together in any study of genre – it is not enough to discuss a technical
code used such as camera work, without saying how it is conventionally used in a genre. The use of
conventions allows the audience to be familiar with the genre of the the media product and understand it
better. For example conventions of the rap genre include;
Scantily dressed girls
Exotic/Expensive Locations e.g On an island, or in a mansion.
Conventions Of Music Videos
When it comes to music videos genres play a very important part in the conventions that play through. But generally things
you expect to see in a music video include;
Establishing key Characters
Quite a number of music videos include titles be them narrative or just performance based videos. They are usually placed
band in the middle of the screen so as to attract the audience.
Titles can also play a major role in the video because depending on the type and style of font the audience
An example of this is Michael Jackson's video thriller. The title is written in ghostly red font which let's the audience know
what the song is about which is very horror like.
Another example is for Tamar Braxton's video 'The One'. The titles are written in fancy text which shows the innocence.
For my music video i didn't use any titles. Titles are sometimes used in music videos especially when the music video is
telling some sort of story. For example Michael Jackson's music video for his song Thriller told a scary story, hence the color
and font used for the title. For my music video though on the other hand, though i told a story i didn't place a title at the
beginning which sort of challenged some forms and conventions of my genre.
Establishing Key Characters
Establishing key characters in a music video is very common. This is especially helpful if there are a
number of people in the video. It makes the audience familiar with the artist. Though this may be true
some videos do not establish the key characters at all leaving a sense of enigma.
An example of this is in the video Sweet Dreams by Beyoncé , Beyoncé is established as the key character
very clearly as she is centre of the trio and has a very distinct costume.
As said before some music videos don't establish the key characters at all. An example of this is in the
video La La La by Naught Boy.
As seen in the video there are three main characters who are important to the narrative of the story but
they are not they artist.
For my music video which was both narrative and performance the main protagonist was clearly
established especially being the only person on the video participating in both the narrative and
Also the location of music videos of this genre are usually in exotic locations. Not going against the normal
stereotype of R&B music videos I chose to take the simple root and make aspects of my music video
simlpe to create.
My video incorporated this same idea but also showed a form of empowerment in the video.
My music video challenged the stance of women, it went against the general stereotype of women being
weak and longing for male attention. This music video shows how women can put their emotions aside
and stand up for themselves and be strong.
Another thing always added is a performance scene. This scene has nothing at all to do with the narrative
of the story but helps not only establish the artist but also show the emotion that goes along with the
song and the artist in their element. It also helps the audience be more in tune with the song and the
video especially if it is a love song. Trey Songz for example always incorporates this into his music videos
which is very helpful while trying to entertain his target audience which are mainly female.
For the performance scene in my music video I didn’t directly talk to the audience but spoke from the
point of view of most of the listeners which as well are mostly female.
Another key aspect of my music video was the lighting. For example you can’t have a pop song with low
key lighting that goes against the conventions of the genre. Lucky enough for me, my genre accommodates
the use of both high key and low key lighting depending on the tone of the song. For my song which
expressed both love and hate contained a mixture of both kinds of lighting which could clearly be
established between the narrative and performance scenes. For the narrative which explains displays the
pain coming from the song I used low key lighting which connotes pain. But for the performance scene
where the song picks up I used high key lighting. High key lighting was also used at the end of the song
when the protagonist goes out to meet her friends. This scene showed how the protagonist was leaving
the past behind and moving on. Hence the transition from the dark room to the light passage.
Lighting plays a key role in a lot of RnB music videos. For example in Rihanna’s video for her song Take A
Bow, the singer uses a variety of both high key and low key lighting to express both her pain and free spirit.
Which is what I have done in my music video.
Costume also plays a very important role in music videos especially music videos of my genre which tend
to be a little more subtle than costume in a variety of other genres. Costumes in this genre aren’t usually
as bright as those of the pop genre and they aren’t as dark as those of the rock genre. Subtlety also
depends on the tone of the song.
I made the costume in my music video very subtle, like in music videos like Speechless by Ciara. It is a love
song like mine, but she doesn’t go ‘all out’ dressing fabulous but wears simple clothing like a crop t-shirt
and jeans, which is what I incorporated into my music video, simplicity.
During the performance scene the main protagonist in my music video is wearing a grey top and black
jeans, though the top is the only one showing during the performance. The top connotes a number of
things one being both innocence, and resentment as I would put it. With it showing both these feelings I
needed it to be a neutral colour one that can easily display these colours so I chose grey.
The clothing used during the narrative is all black because it connotes grief, which is what she is going
during that scene. The costume then changes just a little bit with her adding a blue sweater to the outfit to
add a bit of colour. The light blue connotes joy, because she wears it as soon as her friends come to
brighten her mood.
Music videos of my genre are usually played on both urban and international music channels. My music
video resembles most other music videos of my genre, but it doesn’t copy it making my video unique and
different which is what most audiences enjoy.
The editing in my music video is very similar to those in the R&B genre. It has the combinations of edits
and effects as most R&B videos have that are shown on television which includes slow paced shots and
fade in and fade outs switching from the narrative scenes to the performance scenes.
Also for the bridge in the music video which is when the song because deeper which is why I used the
black/white effect which makes the music video seem deeper and shows more emotion.
Also the use of slow paced shots transitioning from scene to scene helped display the emotion in the song,
especially the pain she is feeling at that moment in the song.
My digipak followed all the conventions of a typical RnB album cover. Most RnB digipak covers show the
artist. R&B covers show a close up or medium close up shot of the artists’ face and is usually the centre
image of the CD, making it iconic on the album. For my digipak I used a close up shot of the protagonist
and used a variety of editing effects to make the shot look more appealing and professional.
In some R&B digipak covers the artists are recognised by their by their iconic hairstyles which usually have
links to the genre they portray. Normally the artist will have an afro or braids or plaits. In my digipak I used
braids which is very significant to the genre.