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  1. 1. Answer by Cherry Q1.In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products? I have chosen Jessie J’s Price Tag to produce a music video of it as a typical pop genre music. Jessie J is one of my most favourite artist, and Price Tag is quite popular in last year. When I listened to this track at the first time, I instantly fell in love with and I listened to it quite a lot. I decided to select pop genre without hesitating because I usually listened to pop music. I just played the songs randomly. When I listened to the Price Tag, I had a really clear and distinctive vision of what I wanted to do with due to its obvious theme. The track was talking about appealing people to enjoy their life and give up materialism. There are lots of props I can use, such as coins, price tag, cash, credit card and toys, balloons, etc. The lyrics provided a wide range of images and plots to me so that I got my initial idea quickly. My friend William has an outgoing personality. He is able to perform confidently in front of the camera. Before choosing the track, I have made decision that William would be the main actor in music video. So I asked him whether he has listened to this song before and his answer was positive. I shared my initial idea with him. Promote understanding through communication, we got the general outline of music video and William was pleasant to act as the main actor. In the final music video, I have followed some typical pop conventions and also challenged the traditional form in some extent . I am going to explain what conventions I have used and how did I challenge them. Genre In A2 media studies, I have to create a music video as a part of my portfolio. Pop genre was chosen as it is my favorite music genre. Jessie J is a well-known English pop singer and songwriter. Her music is special as a typical hybrid of R&B and pop genre and sang by every young people in world. I think Price Tag is a good song with its positive meaning, which can bring positive power to audience. This song is a typical pop genre music, which is fast-paced, quite intense and well-known. Andrew Goodwin thinks that music video follow some conventions. Barry Keith Grant states that genres allow audiences to identify texts by their specific and recognizable characteristics, which is really quite relevant here. My music video contain plenty of pop genre characteristics including mise-en-scene, editing and performance. Audience won’t enjoy the video if it has nothing they recognize which they expect to see in a pop video. So that William’s followed pop conventions generally. For example, artist is portrayed as happy, enjoying and content with life. In my music video, William goes down to the street and drags off price tags from people. He is regarded as a man who brings positive power appealing people to get away from material life. He helps people coming out of the dark so that the life can
  2. 2. be full of love and happiness. In addition, there are plenty of real media product followed this convention. As a pop star, pop conventions have to be the mainstream in William’s music video, in order to gain his popularity and attract young people. This supports another theorist in that of Jason Mittell, who in 2001 claimed that industries play with genre to sell products to audiences. Furthermore, pop music videos are largely performance based, as a lot of close up and mid shots are used throughout to illustrate the facial expressions of the artist. According to Andrew Goodwin, star persona is important and companies use close ups to sell them to the audience. While I feel this theory is supported my video, I think that it is not as relevant as in other pop videos. The artist is not overly sexual and provocative like most female artists today. I personally quite like Jessie J ‘s Domino, which is a performance-based music video. The whole video is filmed indoor, although there is no location shown in video, the visual effects are really abundant. While Jessie J is sing and dancing in time with the music, the background in effects are also changing with the beat. It makes the video look impressed and entertaining. Moreover, a variety of camera shots are used to make the video present more rhythmically. Comparing my product with ‘Domino’, I have followed the way it present star image, which is different shots from different angles changing with the beat of song. The frames matches with the song beat perfectly in order to connect clips compactly, which creates joyous atmosphere reflecting the fundamental key. Thirdly, Andrew says that there is a link between the lyrics and the visuals. The music video of Price Tag acted by Jessie J can be an example to support this theory. For example, while the lyrics says: “ ……smile”, Jessie J is smiling at the camera and uses her gestures to present the meaning of smile. In my music video, while the lyrics says: “It’s not about the money money money, we don’t need your money money money…” the visual shows a large amount of coins falling down and a pairs of hand pushing them away which means “ we don’t need money”. Media language Main: Camera-shot size, framing, high & low angles, subjective & objective filming, hand held, tilts, pans, zooms etc. green screen Editing-fades, cuts ,wipes ,dissolves, slow motion, fast motion, colour effects like black & white, bad tv, stop motion animation, green screening and Chroma key work. Mise en scene-costume, lighting, location, body language, acting, make up, props etc. Camera: I have used many different camera techniques to enrich the visual effects of the music video. By the identity of pop music, many camera shots of artist’s performance have been see in the music video, and the location of the song usually is set in the studio or in front of green screen. Like Beyoncé’s Single Lady, Jessie J’s Domino, they are singing and dancing in front of blank background as camera shots and angles keeps changing with the song beat. In my media product, I used plenty of close-ups,
  3. 3. medium close-ups and long shots to show actor’s facial expression and body language. Otherwise, audience can see the lip syncing clearly through close-ups. Though research I also came to realize that most shots have some form of movement in them, whether it be pans, tilts, or even just wobbling in the style of handheld footage. I have used whip pan to illustrate the lyrics “everybody looks to the left, everybody looks to the right”. This can be a little challenge of real media product, which used camera shots to match the lyrics but not the narrative. Looking at Adele’s Someone Like You, there is a camera technique named tracking which is the camera following artist’s pace. I also used this technique in my music video. Bittersweet Symphony by The Verve, which was in turn inspired by Massive Attack’s video for Unfinished Symphony. In both videos the singer can be seen walking down the busy streets of LA and London respectively; this is where I conceived the idea of showing the artist’s feet walking to the beat of the music, obviously at a much faster pace. In my media product, there are plenty of shots focusing on people’s feet and adjust the pace of them to create some special effects. Editing: Vernallis also claimed that jump cuts are used. The main jump cuts used in the video were used in the rap part, which was William walking in the park. Several conventions and techniques were combined throughout the video to add visual Interest in an innovative way, for example I ‘d never seen fast motion and reverse stuff really used that much in music videos, again making the video quite unique. Price Tag is quite an upbeat and fast-paced song so that the editing of its music video is extremely important. Audiences considered editing in time to the music as very important and throughout the video I tried to adhere to this. I feel it’s one of the strengths and most prominent features of the video given its fast pace and the number of times that the beat kicks back in. I have edited in time following the beat by using a number of different methods. To begin with, I was inspired by Beyoncé ‘s Countdown which used speed up/down to catch the beat of song and create some attractive effects. In my media product, I have adjusted speed of clips in many places in order to increase the visual interests. Additionally, for a fast-paced song, speeding up clips can help the video look funny and much more dynamic. On the other hand, I also tried to slower the speed of some clips in order to in contrast to the fast-paced. The strong comparison made the overall effect Mise-en-scene: The main location in the video, other than the studio, Burn Valley Park in Hartlepool, is again quite modest for a pop video. Park is a common location for pop genre music video, for example, One Direction’s Live While We’re Young is located in a park, they are having fun, playing games, dancing and singing in the lawn with people. It is easy
  4. 4. to create a happy atmosphere when a large group of people holds a party in the park. This effects is that I want to create, so I have imitated this way to present the main actor having fun with his friend in the park. Moreover, Bastille’s Pompeii also give me an idea about people standing around the actor and the actor is singing in the middle. Because it reminds me of the lyrics saying: “we need it back in time, let music make us all unite…” In term of the costume in the video, I have mentioned in genre part, Representation In term of representation, I have used a lot of different shots in order to present actor’s gender, performance, facial expression and costume. To be more precise, William is wearing a casual T-shirt in style and khaki trousers, which looks comfortable and in accordance to the plot of the video. The costume is young and fashionable, fitting in the pop genre. Comparing with real media product, One direction can be regarded as one of the most famous pop boy’s band which is composed of 5 young men. Looking up the costumes in their music video, they are always in colorful, fashionable and casual clothes. It is able to present their ages and music genre. Moreover, in Jessie J’s It’s my party, Jessie is wearing T-shirt and shorts but in style. The Price Tag has an obvious theme and main point. Thus, I have put some related props to make the main point stand out. Media is usually used to exaggerate things in order to attract audience ,which can be the selling point. The theme of this song is about the money, so that money, coins, credit card are essential objects. Moreover, I also used balloons, toys and some other props which can let audience feel like back to childhood. Mika is a well-known male singer whose pop music is quite popular. I quite like him personally so I want to imitate the style of Mika, after all, Mika is a really successful pop singer now. Mika’s Happy Ending is one of the inspirational video for my media product, which is full of fun and child interests. Vladimir Propp’s theory of narrative suggests that texts often represent characters as particular types in order to make them easily identifiable to an audience and help them know how to react to them, such as hero, villain, princess, etc. For example, in Tyler Swift’s music videos, she is usually presented as a princess, like Love Story, You belong with me, etc. William in my product is presented as a helper, he drags off those price tags hung in people ‘s hands, the money from the shackles of their own liberation, to enjoy a happy life. In order to make sure that audience can understand who he is, what character is he acting, I have used plenty of different methods to reinforce what I want to explain. At the beginning of the video, the frame maintains black and white. The color does not change back to colorized until William showing up. When William drags off price tags, the frames keep changing between black &white and colorized. It is telling audience that people ‘s life can be brighter and
  5. 5. happier without thinking of money all the time. William helps them to get away from money so that their life changed from black&white to colorized. Then, there is a group of people standing around William and William is standing in the middle of the group. As the lyrics say: “We need to take it back in time, when music made us all unite!” , William is singing in the middle, and everybody around him is smiling. The group of people are young and energetic, I have used a long shot presenting their costume, facial expression in order to show their age and gender. Additionally, it illustrates the target audience of this music video is teenagers and young adults. Narrative Although most pop videos nowadays contain elements of narrative, they are typically more performance-based. I have developed real media products which is combining the performance-based and narrative-based. Generally, the music video I have produced is mainly consisted of actor’s performance. However, Goodwin claims that narrative and performance can be repetitive. Increasingly, pop videos and videos in general have a strong narrative element to them, which is integrated with a performance from the artist. This enables videos to become more like films and an event in a sense, grabbing audience’s attentions in a world which is exposed to much more videos than it once was. I want to make the music video more interesting in order to attract people, so I added some fragments of narrative. In another word, actor’s performance and narrative are presented alternately. Vernallis claims that narratives in music videos can be fragmented. This theory strongly supported my media product because the narrative in it is quite scattered. First of all, I am going to explain the narrative of the whole video. At the beginning of the video, there is a established shot of road, which shows cars moving incoherently down the road. Then, the frame cut to another shot which shows clouds moving incoherently as well. The opening of music video looks quite jerky and desultory, which means the life experiencing a rocky patch. As the song suddenly become brisk, the shot focus on passers-by walking down the street. This part is presented in black and white, because I want to present the people with price tag living unhappily. When William drags off the price tag from them, the frame is changing from black and white to colorize. People who are walking in the street become energetic and happy after getting away from price tag. In my music video, I present the theme of this song in a specific way, which is quite straightforward. This can be regarded as the first fragment of narrative. The second fragment is about two men standing outside a Chinese takeaway. The man in pink shirt is a typical “upstart” ,who is holding a large amount of cash in his hand. While he is showing off his money arrogantly, the man standing besides him brush down the notes in his hand as well as doing the lip syncing “ money can’t buy us happiness”. He appeals the “upstart” to enjoy the Chinese takeaway with him. I have used Chinese takeaway in order to hint appealing people to enjoy the life. The second short story in music video is finished. The rest of music video is mainly consisted of actors’ performance, especially William’s. Vernallis point out that there may be unanswered questions. At the end of
  6. 6. music video, a medium close up suggests that William is sleeping and his teddy bear held in his arm. I hope audience can understand this part which means all the things happened before are William’s dream. I have explain the whole narrative of my music video in detail, hopefully audiences can follow it. In term of narrative, Andrew Goodwin thinks that in music videos the narrative often links to the lyrics and the tempo of the music. The content of my music video does quite match the lyrics. Challenge: A good media product wanting to stand out must challenge old forms. Audience will never be satisfied with old things but they do pay attentions in creative products. In William’s Price Tag, I also have challenged forms and conventions of real media product. To begin with, audiences are quite tired of what’s usually seen in a pop video, such as the idea that everything sexualized. In the music video of the song “Blurred lines” by American singer Robin Thicke ,it used lots of sexual context including sexy female model in sexy position, interaction between the singer and models. Actually the music video was removed from Youtube at the first time beause of sexual context. In my music video, the artist is not overly sexual, which has challenged Laura Mulvey’s Gaze Theory. Secondly, as we know, pop music videos are commonly vibrant. However, at the beginning of the video, the colour of frames are in black and white, which looks depressive and old. Audiences might feel curiosity about this challenged beginning, so that their interests are caught. Moreover, the track of Price Tag got a rap part on it. Looking at Rihanna’s “Love the way you lie” “The Monster”, when the track turning to rap part, there always is a person doing the lip syncing in front of camera. In my media product, I didn’t put a rapper in it, but I used a large amount of editing techniques in order to enrich the visual effects of this “finger-popping” part.