Initial Research of Music Videos


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Initial research completed before any planning of music video began. Including my knowledge with a brief overview of music video's, textual analysis', the link between visuals and rhythm, Promo Vs Art, Institutions, Controversy and Narrative.

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Initial Research of Music Videos

  1. 1. Scott WilliamsThis presentation will cover the subjects and topics that havebeen discussed during classesfor my A2 project, showing my knowledge during the early stages of research.
  2. 2.  When we first discussed the topic of music videos, we looked through the timeline and development of how they came to be what they are today, we looked through how television shows such as Top of The Pops helped to advertise this form of media. We covered how different artists began to experiment with the idea of introducing a full narrative to the videos, with Michael Jacksons Thriller being the first to add a lengthy story behind a music video.
  3. 3.  For this, we spent some time covering how music videos can be categorised and defined by their genre, the representation that they use, the audience and the ideology’s or stereotypes that are exploited. The first music video was from 50 cent, with ‘Window Shopper’ My notes –Genre (Hip-Hop/Rap) Representation (50 cent is shown as a powerful and ‘flashy’ figure, through the use of his very expensive car and how he is waited on by a few of the other members within the video. 50 is also represented as almost animalistic, with scenes such as when he takes somebody elses ‘girl’ away from them, showing off his power etc.) Language (Within the video very bright and vibrant colours are used, along with very wide angle shots above the city, giving a very positive view of the video and of 50 cent) Audience (The audience of 50 cents music will often be young black males, that either admire 50 cents story and his work, or people that admire the lifestyle that he currently has, wanting to be like him and therefore using him as a role model.
  4. 4.  The next music video that we made notes on was Duality performed by Slipknot, showing the band and several others trashing a seemingly abandoned house. My notes – Genre (Heavy metal) Representation (The band are represented as a very aggressive and obviously angry force, shown through the simple fact they seem to be needlessly destroying the building. Also, the use of a ‘horde’ of fans also helps to symbolise this force) Language (The colour of the video is very dark and grainy, linking in with the bands personality and the language of the song, the shots are taken through a handheld camera that is almost constantly shaking with the scene, and along with the fast paced editing it gives the representation of the chaos that is happening) Audience (A large portion of Slipknots fan base will be aggressive adults or older teenagers {based on the content of the videos} and this is reflected in the choice of ‘accomplices’ during the sequences of the video. To the audience that enjoy this side of Slipknot, they may feel as though they are letting their aggression out through this song.
  5. 5.  Along with the textual analysis of individual music videos, we looked at different theory’s that have been made about music video’s and similar such creations, such as Andrew Goodwin’s theory of the 6 factors to be included in a music video and Roland Barthes theory from Death of the Author, saying that each time a reader (or in the case of music videos, viewer) they essentially re-write it when they take in their own interpretations of it, therefore becoming an author themselves in their own right.
  6. 6.  One very specific aspect that we looked into within music videos is the way in which the images you see on screen link in with what you hear in the music. This is done to make the editing seamless to the audience, becoming smooth and generally more of an experience for them. The strongest example of this that we watched was from the music video ‘Star Guitar’ from the Chemical Brothers, directed by Michel Gondry. The music video is one continuous shot from the view of a train passenger with various objects appearing from the window at the exact points as beats appear in the song. Watching the vide demonstrates how strong the link between the two aspects can be.
  7. 7.  As we looked into the various types of music video, we discussed against various videos whether the production of music videos are solely for the promotion of the song or artist, or whether they are made as a form of art, and the link this has to the genre or stereotype of the music being made. To begin with we looked into examples of Chris Cunninghams work as a director. We watched a selection of his videos including;  "Come To Daddy" (1997) video for Aphex Twin  "All Is Full of Love" (1999) video for Björk  "Come On My Selector" (1998) video for Squarepusher  "Frozen" (1998) video for Madonna We discussed the differing style from the first 3 videos to Madonna’ music video ‘Frozen’, noting the very large difference in style due to Madonna’s position in the media and the need to keep her star image. This can be seen in the video through the fact that the entire video focuses on Madonna herself lip syncing the song rather than the narrative style that Cunnigham brings into his other pieces, although still seems very artistic in the manor it is done. We spoke about how the first videos help to argue the side that music videos can be made as works of art, mainly through the way in which mise-en-scene is used and manipulated during the music videos, in order to create various emotions to the audience. For example, ‘Come to Daddy’ uses many techniques to make the audience feel very uncomfortable and at unease whilst watching it, through the use of mise-en-scene.
  8. 8.  We then moved on to argue that music videos are made fro the promotion of the music/artist being portrayed. Looking into how many music videos are made to fit the stereotype of the genre and therefore made to match the demographic that are likely to be watching them. Noting how many cliché’s can be found in music videos for the purpose of promotion, from the way in which the band is portrayed whilst performing etc. to the way that the videos can be edited to make them fit the stereotype of what viewers expect. We looked back at 50 cents ‘Window Shopper’ Video, speaking about how throughout the video he is shown off to be an extremely flashy artist and in an ideal position, and how this will in turn make the demographic aspire to him, through this use of his ‘star image’, and as the demographic aspire to him then they are likely to purchase his products as a result. Then looking at the Auteur of an artist or director, when they use an aspect or similar style throughout their work, and noting that this can be used as a promotional tool as well as being an artistic trait of the person involved. And concluding that there are certain examples that prove or disprove either side of the argument of promotion against art, so neither one is in the right but in fact, both types of video become appropriate for different situations; for a musical artist that believes their work is art in itself, they would want a music video to suit, and vice verca for the other side of the argument.
  9. 9.  As we moved on to discuss the promotion of music and their artists, we spoke about the different institutions and particularly music cannels that fit with each genre. Examples include MTV, TMF, KISS etc. We looked at the logo’s for each and noticed that we could often link this with their genre of music just by the colours and representation used. With MTV’s logo, you can see that it uses bold and modern designs along with a slightly ‘punky’ text with the ‘TV’. This shows that not only is the logo helping to represent the type of genre that is being showed, but also the common audiences that will be watching the shows.
  10. 10.  We then talked about how this changes the way that music videos themselves are made, and how they use this form to increase their star image. In general, music video’s shown on specific channels tend to have a similar ‘blue-print’ to them, often with a switch between narrative and performance based footage. Which heavily links in with the star image again, since this will be a large part of the performers views.
  11. 11.  The narrative of a music video can very often be the main focus of a music video, and some artists and producers use this to produce extremely engaging and inventive or controversial story lines to their songs. We looked at Eminem’s music video for ‘Stan’, in which it shows the story of a fan going to extremes in contacting Eminem, and ultimately committing suicide and killing his pregnant wife. This became controversial for obvious reasons and subsequently became a very popular music video, and remains so to this day. The song itself was played as if it were dialogue from the characters which increases the effect of this narrative structure, making it feel exceedingly like a short film. The narrative is built up in the same manor as a short film would be, with mise-en-scene being used in the same way, particularly with the setting and shots used.
  12. 12.  We followed from this topic onto how controversial and extreme music video’s can help sell a song or artist, and how this is affected by censorship within the video. In the Eminem example, the popularity that was gained from the controversial music video was huge, and this amount of promotion is sometimes only gained through the nature of the music video, since otherwise people may have overlooked the song, despite the artists popularity at the time. Other similar examples include Madonna-justify my love, Justin Timberlake ft Nelly-Work it, Prodigy- smack my bitch up and Tattoo-All the things she said, all of which include sexual tendencies that classed them as controversial, with most needing cuts to be shown on television, or were simply not shown at all. But along with this the videos brought a lot of attention to the artist and tracks, through the controversy linked in with them.