Music Videos:Feature Spotting and Inspiration Brontë Vickery
Here I will be looking at some iconic and influentialmusic videos by very well known artists. I am goingto do this because such videos are great examplesof the power of music videos as a form ofpromotion. The videos are directed by big names inthe industry, and so would be technically skilled andinteresting. I will use the videos as inspiration, bytaking some ideas for shot types, editingeffects, mise en scene, effective framing, andcontent balance (for example ratio of lip synching,acting and dancing).
Rihanna- “We Found Love”• The video begins with a narration, to set the scene for the narrative plot of the video. This engages the audience with the story, as well as building suspense as the audience are presented with the artist but can not yet listen to the song.• The entrance of the music is announced by a dramatic bolt of lighting, capturing the audiences attention and adding interest.• There is blue lighting and use of a smoke machine, which creates an interesting atmosphere.• The mise-en-scène includes a number of different settings, which helps to sustain audience interest. The settings are unconventional as they are run down and everyday rather than being at all glamorous- the scenery featured includes a chip shop, a car, a small room, a supermarket and a tower block neighbourhood.• The sources of lighting are varied and interesting- as well as the conventional lighting, there is use of fire, fairy lights, and sparklers.• There are also projected moving images over the artist and a wall behind her, which creates a very interesting, nice shot.
• Many of the shots have a “home-movie” like feel, with the use of shaky cam and with the actors shot in a very natural fashion rather than being obviously posed. This enforces the story of the lyrics as it presents the relationship between the artist and the actor as genuine.• The acted use of drugs is emphasised by the use of whip shots, blurring and fast forward effects, along with a quickening of the pace of the backing song and cuts. This is disorientating but effective.• Another editing effect used is colour changing effects, which have been used on cutaways to pills, a cigarette and a dilating eye; this gives an animated interesting look and draws attention to the controversial activities.• There is frequent use of close-up and extreme-close-up shots, which draw the audience into the action and the song, as well as facilitating a stronger ‘connection’ between the artist of screen and the audience.• There is also use of shot-reverse-shot to show reaction shots, empathising their relationship (and the break down of the relationship as the video nears it’s end).• The cuts used are mostly very fast and in time with the beat, which draws attention to the song so that the music is not overshadowed by the story shown on screen. I think that this is particularly effective.• Cutaways are also used at intervals throughout, which helps to add interest and detail to the video, keeping the attention of the audience.
Beyoncé- “Single Ladies”• The music begins playing before anything is shown on screen- this builds suspense and immediately makes the audience focus on the song. The first shot is then introduced through a fade-in transition effect, which has a strong impact.• The whole video has edited with a black and white effect, which has connotations of drama and sophistication.• The level of lighting is varied throughout, flashing brightly at times to draw attention to the artist, and dropping so low at other times that the artist and the dancers become silhouettes, adding a sense of drama and mystery. The changes in lighting are fast and in time with the song, drawing attention to the track.• There is lip-synching in every shot, and the video shows a continuous dance routine. This is simple but very effective, particularly as the choreography is very fast paced and distinctive.• The costume is very distinctive and revealing. The artist is distinguished from the other dancers through the use of costume, as hers is slightly more revealing and reflects the idea of “power dressing” with the mechanic hand and padded shoulders .
• There is frequent use of tracking shots, which draw attention to and emphasize the importance of the artist.• Beyoncé and the dancers are also heavily airbrushed- this presents the artist as being more attractive and less flawed. (conventional of pop/ R&B videos).• The Zoom function is used, to periodically draw attention to the artist. This is also achieved through framing as Beyoncés position is central.• There is use of a green screen in some shots to remove the background completely- this holds attention on the artist and creates an interesting, very bright shot.• The transitions are very smooth in order for the choreography to flow nicely.• There is direct address from the artist to challenge and connect with the audience, whilst representing her as a very strong woman, in keeping with the lyrics.• This is in contrast to the final shot, as here the artist laughs naturally at the camera, which softens the ending of the video and makes her relatable and likeable for the audience.
Lady Gaga- “Bad Romance”• The establishing shot is unusual and somewhat disconcerting, as the artist and actors are completely still, whilst an isolated, strange twinkling tune is played.• Zoom is then used to focus in on Lady Gaga, developing to an extreme close-up shot to emphasise her importance.• The use of extreme close-up shots is frequent, drawing attention to aspects of her costume- this emphasises her distinctive style and reinforces her “image” as an artist. – this is again emphasised by the numerous costume and make up changes.• The lighting is varied, which adds interest. I found the spreading light that moves across the room in one shot very effective. The lighting is artificial and is highly contrasted with either very bright or hardly any light to give a dramatic effect. In some shots, there is backlighting to create a silhouette effect, adding drama.• The setting is very bright, giving a sparse, sterile look.
• The mise en scene used to develop the narrative is very eccentric, and almost creepy.• The use of make up often distorts her face, such as the use of contacts to appear to have extremely dilated eyes, however these shots are juxtaposed with shots of her looking more natural, with direct address- this would help the audience to relate to her.• There are fast cuts, in time with the music.• In one shot Lady Gaga is surrounded by diamonds suspended in the air, suggesting extravagance.• The final shot is disturbing due to the mise-en-scene which includes a charred skeleton on a burnt bed besides the artist. This creates a chilling image that helps make the video memorable.