In what ways does your product use,
develop or challenge forms and
conventions of real media products?
Evaluation question one
One element that we had to address whilst making our video was the fact that our song includes
Laura Mulvey’s theory about the male gaze. The male gaze is a theory put forward by Mulvey
which states that film audiences have to view females from the perspective of a heterosexual
male, relegating women to the status of an object. The song of our choice, Common People by
Pulp, includes the male gaze within its lyrics, as it sexualises the women that it is singing about –
particularly with the lyrics: “I want to sleep with common people like you. Well what else could I
do - I said "I'll see what I can do.“”
The first half of these lyrics, the line “I want to sleep with common people like you” is sung by the
female within the song, with the male replying “I’ll see what I can do”. This implies that he is
attracted to her, and that she is simply an object in a way. However, after talking we decided not
to include this undertone within our video, instead deciding to make more relatable – more
realistic. The video that we have made does not have much physical contact between the man
and women, the most contact being the two actors holding hands.
One feature of the male gaze that we actively avoided was focusing on any parts of the female
body, not once focusing the camera on any particular part of her. We wanted the female within
our song to come across as human, making human mistakes – not an object for the main actor to
conquer. For instance, we never once used another feature of the male gaze – events that occur
to women are portrayed through male reactions to these events.
We use a wide variety of different camera shots within our video, each used for a specific reason.
For instance, the video starts with a medium shot of a brick wall, which has a pulp poster on it, whilst the main female
actor strolls past. This does many things. For one, it establishes that this person will be important within the video, and
shows her to the audience early on. However, another thing that it does is introduce us to a Britpop convention – brick
walls are very prevalent in many Britpop things, and are seen as a very British thing. As such we thought that it was
very important to show at least one during our video. The last thing that this shot does is provide the audience with
information about the band playing – it shows a poster of the Pulp logo, instantly letting the audience know the name
of the band playing, as well as exposing them to their logo.
After this we use a panning establishing shot to expose the audience to the current location, which for this scene is “St.
Martins college.” The panning in this shot allows the audience to see the entire area, as well as establishing its size
from the start.
There are many uses of two shots throughout the course of our video. This is because the entire narrative part of the
video is revolving around the budding relationship of two people, and as such we wanted to showcase them and their
journey as much as possible.
Almost every shot within our video is an eye level shot, for a few reasons. For one, there is nobody in our video at all
that has more power than the other, so a low angle shot to demonstrate power, or a high angle show to demonstrate
lack of power is simply not necessary.
Whilst the majority of the performance part of out video consists of two shots, there are a few moments where there is
a single shot.
For instance, there is close up of the female actor alone in her room, looking out the window as she thinks about what
it must be like to be a common person. This is an eye level shot, as it does not construe power, but rather shows that
she is like the audience – she doesn’t have any more or any less power than them, therefore making her relatable.
However, the performance part of the video is completely different. Whilst most of it does consist of two shots, with
the singer at the front and the guitarist in the back, there are a lot more close-ups of people, typically the singer. This is
because it gives the feeling of the singer singing directly to the audience, and makes it feel as if they are genuinely
involved in the video process.
For example, with the line “Laugh along with the common people”, the singer looks directly into the camera on a close
up shot of him. This helps to get the audience feel as if he is singing directly to them, making them feel more invested
within the video.
We used many different forms of editing within our music video, to many different effects.
For instance, during one part of the video we included a PoV shot from the males point of view. We did
this around the line “She laughed and said your so funny,” and during this point it cuts to the males
point of view, watching the female actor as she starts to laugh whilst looking back at him. We did this as
it showed the audience what the male was seeing. The shot consisted of the female actor taking up
almost the entire shot, showing that she was all he could see. This could also be viewed as him only
having eyes for her, showing how much he cares about her.
One type of editing we use a lot throughout our clip is a match on action shot, where we see them
heading towards a destination then cut to them within the destination. We did this out of practicality, as
it allowed us to fit more within the video itself, especially since the video is only 3 minutes long and we
needed both a narrative and performance part to it. However, it is a very common technique within
music videos, going to far as to become a convention of music videos that feature a performance part at
We do not use anything specific for our transitions within our video, simply cutting from shot to shot.
We did this because we felt that any transitions could distract the audience from the actual video itself,
especially any flashy transitions such as dissolve. I also noticed when examining other Britpop bands
that it is actually rather rare that they will use a transition themselves, perhaps making it a convention
of Britpop not to have any.
Near the end of the song, especially during the performance part of the song, the shot pacing speeds
up, with the shots cutting between each other faster in order to keep up with the beat of the music.
This is done as it allows the audience to watch something seemingly going as fast as the music itself, and
it seems to be a music video convention to cut to the beat of the song itself.
We decided to include two characters within the narrative half of the video, keeping it simple instead of introducing a lot of
unnecessary characters, as well as including four band members in the live performance part of the video.
Main Male – He is the main focus of the narrative half of the video, and the entire song is based on his point of view, as the song
is sang from a males point of view.
Main Female – She is the focus of the songs lyrics, and the person that the song is being sang about, seeing as the song is about a
male singing to a female. Because of this, she could not be the focus of the song.
Lead singer – This person was the main focus of the performance half of the video, being in the middle of the shot for the large
majority of the time, watching him singing.
Lead guitarist – Part of the performance half of the video, though does not have very much time. There is a small amount of close
ups of his, as well as one prolonged one during the guitar solo.
Keyboardist – This person only had a short cameo within the performance half, just before the guitarists longer part. They are only
seen from the neck down and are not overly important.
Violinist – Only has an extremely short cameo within the performance half, only a few seconds long. Only the hands are seen on
Main Male – casual, normal clothing to show that he is a “common person”. We decided that he should dress like this to make
him as relatable to the audience as possible.
Main female – She was also in casual clothing due to lack of time and resources – we couldn’t find any upper-class clothing for her
to wear. If we could redo the video, one change would be to put more thought into her costume.
Lead singer – Casual clothing to ensure that they are relatable to the audience, not upper class. This is a Britpop convention – they
tend to dress like the masses do, not overly fancy.
Lead guitarist – The same as the lead singer, following the conventions of Britpop by not dressing overly fancy.
Keyboardist – The same as the other musicians – dressed simply, not overly fancy. You can only see his chest.
Violinist – No costume needed, as you can only see their hands along with the violin. No actual features of the person is shown.
The lighting within the video is generally very bright, all the way through, taking place in daylight
throughout the entire clip. The reason for this is because the entire clip is meant to take place during
one, sunny day, and so we had to make sure that it was bright in all of the clips. The atmosphere
throughout the clip tends to be very optimistic and happy, as the girl honestly believes that she can
become a common person and live as common people do. The lighting reflects this, being very well lit
with both sunlight and artificial light whilst they are inside the supermarket. The lighting only dims
significantly at one point throughout the performance part of the video, and that is when they are
inside the pub, after the song has just talked about how she’ll never be a common person – this lighting
change represents her change in attitude.
The location that we chose was around York, as it is not an overly fancy place. This works great for the
clip, as the song is about the women trying to become a common person – and as such we could not
film in an overly fancy place. We chose York city centre as it has a lot of brickwork, which works well
with our digipak, advert and the conventions of Britpop. It is generally crowded, which works great for
the song – we get to see a lot of “common people.” We chose to film, and take images, within York after
much deliberation and though, as we wanted a place that had a lot of people, yet did not look too
“posh” or “Fancy” as it would go against the message of the song. However, we also wanted a place that
had some areas that could be construed as fancy, for the beginning part of the song – the part where
the girl is meant to be studying sculpture at St. Martins college.
We did not change much within the sound at all, except
for a small segment at the beginning of the video, where
we have the effect of a vhs player, during which we have
white noise. We decided that we would stick with the
convention of Britpop music videos within which we
simply had the song playing for the entire length of the
song, with no additional sounds over the top of it.
However, there is one exception to this, and that is at the
end of the video, as we decided, seeing as the full length
of the song is around 6 minutes, we should limit the
length, and as such chose a good place to stop the video
and cut out.
We did not include too much special effects within our video, sticking with
the Britpop convention of having our video uploaded with as little special
effects as possible. However, there were a few exceptions in which we
challenge this convention.
One such example is at the beginning, where we had a shot of a VHS player
with a play symbol for a second before the actual video started. We did this as
a throw back to the time that the video was released, as this was the main
method of watching videos back then.
In order to further hammer home the old-timey feeling we then edited static
over most of the video, running the entire length of it. This gave our video the
feeling that it was actually running on a VHS video player, as static was a very
common error on those players. We decided to add this special effect as most
Britpop songs were released in the 80’s and 90’s, when Britpop was gaining
popularity. The song that we are doing the video for was released in the year
1995, and the special effects that we have implemented reflect the year that
the original song was released, as a homage to the original.
We followed the conventions of Britpop within our music video by simply having a
performance structure within our video. This took up the second half of the video,
where we showed the singer of the band singing, along with musicians playing
instruments in the background, with occasional closeups – for instance, we have a
closeup on the guitarist at one point during the video, as well as the pianist and the
We implemented this as all of the videos that I had analysed within the Britpop genre
tended to show, at the very least, the frontman of the band singing, and more often
than not had other musicians playing too – very similarly to the rock genre, it is seen
as important within the Britpop genre to be shown playing the various instruments
yourself, rather than relying on a computer to mix together the sounds that you want.
We decided to implement the performance part of the video at the end of the video,
as the final part, we most people are more interested in the narrative part of the
video, and as such we decided that that part should take priority over the
performance part. However, in order to follow the conventions of Britpop, we
absolutely needed a performance part within the video.
We decided to include a narrative in our video, as in our audience research a
staggering 54% of people that answered it said that they prefer to see a narrative that
follows the lyrics within the video. With such an overwhelming amount of people
wanting to see it within the video, we had no choice other than to include it.
However, we felt that the video could quickly become boring if it followed the lyrics
exactly, and as such we vaguely follow the lyrics – following them perfectly in some
situations, such as during the line “she just smiled and held my hand” the camera cuts
to a shot of the two main people within the video holding hands. However, during the
line “I said I’ll see what I can do” there is no speech within the video at all, just the
main characters walking. However, during the course of the video we do mostly stick
to the song, especially when it refers to a specific location – for instance, “I took her to
the supermarket”, the location within the video switches into a supermarket.
There is a practical reason we don’t have the actors within the video sing any of the
words themselves, and that is because lip syncing can be very hard to achieve
perfectly, and if done wrong it can completely ruin the experience that the video is
trying to bring the viewer – it stands out an becomes the only thing that can be
The layout of the digipak that we created was made using several conventions, yet we also challenged
some conventions of the genre whilst making it.
For instance, the setup of the digipak follows the convention of most other digipaks. For instance, it has
a songlist on the back of it, showing any potential customers what songs are included within the
purchase. This is important as it could be the selling point for many of the customers that could
potentially be thinking about buying it, and knowing that a specific song that they like is on it could very
well be the selling point.
Another feature of the layout that we included within our digipak that is fairly standard is the idea of
having images behind the cd/dvd. We implemented this not because it is common practise, but because
we thought that the digipak looked rather plain without it, and we found that including images livened
it up a bit.
One practise that isn’t as common that we included, that perhaps goes against conventions, is a page
dedicated entirely to things that look British. We did this as we decided early on in the process that we
would play up the “Brit” aspect of Britpop as much as we possibly could, and this seemed a rather good
way to fill up a blank space that we had.
Another way that we went against digipak conventions is in the way that we have a repeating
background across all of our digipak, rather than find a new image for each page. We did this as brick
walls are stereotypically British, and as such it allowed us to play up the British aspect of our digipak yet
again. However, that wasn’t the only reason. We experimented with a plain colour as a background, as
well as a different image per page, an yet we found that one static colour seemed incredibly boring to
look at, yet a different image per page just seemed incredibly messy extremely quickly.
We included many different images both on our poster and our digipak. However, the most recurring
image, appearing even in our music video, was the brick wall with the Pulp logo on it.
This was done deliberately, as a brick wall felt very British to us in its appearance and connotations, and
since our genre was Britpop, a genre that is about being British, it just seemed too fitting not to include.
However, using it also doubled as a way to show the logo of the band that created the song that we
were making a video for, as we had taped the logo of the band on a poster onto the brick wall itself.
Because of this, the wall doubled as a way for us to advertise the band itself.
However, that is far from the only imagery used within our products. Within our digipak and poster we
also shots of the actors who performed in our video, shown side by side. This was done so that the
audience would associate the product with the video itself, cross referencing itself in other products.
However, that is not all that it does – the fact that they are shown side by side, with one looking at the
other, hints at the relationship that is the subject of the song that they star in.
In our other images we followed conventions of all genres by including a shot of the band itself within
our product. This was done for a practical reason as well as the fact that it helped us comply with
conventions – it allowed us to fill up more space on the digipak with imagery as well as allowing us to, in
a way, advertise the music video by showing a clip of it within the shot.
We did, however, utilise some images that would not follow any conventions. For instance, in the
bottom left page of the digipak we have a page that is seemingly filled with random things – money,
price tags, a Tesco receipt and a train ticket. Whilst these may, at a glance, seem random, they are in
fact there to represent a stereotypical view of the British, meant to be things that somebody could have
taken out of their pockets and scatter around.