Music videos can be categorised in terms of
style, this includes...
Music videos can contain narratives. This is when a story is told via the lyrics of the song.
The actual music video works as visual support for the lyrics and therefore is of relevance to
the lyrics. Narratives can be very beneficial as they can draw in the audience and engage
them till the very end as they will want to see how the story unravels. Not only this, the
audience may also be able to relate to the music video. This will in turn allow the audience
to feel included in the music video as they can really give empathy toward the protagonist
as they may have been through a similar experience. This is of importance as it follows the
Uses and Gratifications theory, which explains why people use media.
Rudimental’s – Not Giving In music video is a
great example of a narrative based music
video, following to brothers on their journey to
gain a better life.
Not all music videos contain narratives, some just purely consist of a performance.
This is wear the artist, sings (sometimes dance) their song throughout their music
video, without any narrative being presented to the audience. A performance based
music video can allow the artist to show off their personality and also their image to
a greater extent (compared to a narrative based music video) as they are performing
as themselves and not as a character. This is a positive thing as it will can allow their
target audience to see the ‘real them’, which will allow the audience to connect with
them on a deeper level as they are seeing what the artist is like in reality.
Performance based videos also mean that the artist can show of their raw skills and
talent, illustrating they are good at their job and do not need high tech editing for
them to be credible. The only downfall of a performance based music video is that it
can become very boring, which means that the audience will lose the interest very
quickly and may not even watch it the whole way through. This can happen also if
seen multiple times.
Performance based video can be seen in Green
Day’s – American Idiot music video. To keep the
audience’s attention they used quick cuts, multiple
shots and also used props such as green water
being poured all over the band.
Music videos can also be a mixture of a narrative and performance. This means that
the video will consist of a narrative relating to the lyrics but will also contain
footage of the artist just performing. These type of style videos will include short
and quick shots so that both the performance and narrative can fit into the music
video. A positive of music videos like this is that they include a range of different
shots which are constantly changing, which on its on will interest and engage an
audience more than say a performance based video on its own. It will also portray
the artist ability in performing but also show that they are flexible and can also act
if needed to. This will attract the audience, and make them want to know more
about the chosen artist as it shows they are hard working and determined, which is
credited within the general public.
Beyonce’s music video to her
song Broken Hearted Girl is a
prime example of a mixture of
performance and narrative.
Camera is another code and convention of a
music video, this also includes camera
movement and camera angle.
In every music video there is either obvious or slight camera movement.
Camera movement includes panning, tracking, zooming (in or
out), dolly, wipe and many more. Camera movement often illustrates the pace
and tempo of a song, and can regularly be seen following the artists
movements through out their music video.
Here the camera follows Eliza
Doolittle while she is
walking, which informs the
audience of the pace/tempo of her
Most music videos also contain multiple camera angles. Camera angles are used
to portray a range of feelings and emotions to the audience. Angles include,
extreme close ups, close ups, mid shots, long shots, canted angle, Ariel shots,
birds eye view, etc. Many music videos include close ups, to maintain the
attention of the artists emotions, mid shots to still maintain the audiences
attention to the artist but also to set the scene, and also long shots, to mainly set
the scene or as an establishing shot at the start of the music video. Camera angles
can on their own spark multiple emotions and can put the audience at many
different views, for example a close up on an artist looking sad can make the
audience feel empathy towards the artist/actor.
A great example of a camera angle can be
seen in Rudiemntal’s video to their song ‘Not
Giving In’. This shot is at a canted angle
which captures in a long shot one of the
bikers friend being hit of his bike. This canted
angle gives the audience a sense of distortion
which the man who got hit would also
experience, including the audience in this
horrible happening which in turn allows
them to feel empathy towards the person in
Editing is also another important code and
convention of music videos.
Editing is an important part of a music video as it is an element that can help gain
the audiences attention. Editing is varied throughout all music videos and can
help similar genres differ from each other.
Editing can include, the piecing together of the shots so that they fit together and
flow from one to another perfectly. This includes whether the shots fade, wipe or
quickly cut from one to another, or it can include the effects that are added via
CGI on the computer afterwards. Special effects can vary from making the
lighting brighter or duller from adding in extreme weather conditions and
natural disasters such as a volcano erupting or a snow blizzard.
CGI – special effects Fading to next scene – shows
passing of time
There are only some music videos that contain diegetic sound.
This is sound that the artist/actor can hear. Diegetic sound
includes, traffic jams e.g. cars beeping, police sirens, birds
chirping, the sound of people playing, the sound of bikes etc.
This gives the audience a sense of realism, illustrating that the
things in the video can happen in real life.
Diegetic sounds of a bike, cars driving past and
police sirens can be found at the start of Chase and
Status’ video to give a sense of realism.
Mise-en-scene is also a very important
code and convention of a music video.
Mise-en-scence covers a variety of important items of a music video.
This includes, props, lighting, setting and many more.
Mise-en-scene is of importance as it can demonstrate the genre of the
music video via its props alone. Props such as costume can
automatically give away the genre, for example an artist dressed in
black leather trousers, with a black top and studded jewellery would
tell the audience that genre of music is heavy metal/rock. Where as if
you saw a female in bright summery clothes you would think of pop
The lighting of the music video can also portray the mood and theme of
the music video. High key lighting would portray a happy, positive
mood. You would usually see this lighting in pop/dance music videos
as these usually have lyrics of happiness and joy, where as low key
lighting could be seen songs that have lyrics about sadness i.e break ups
with a former partner. This is to portray the sadness and glumness of a
song, as dark colours usually have connotations of sadness.
Examples of mise-en-scene in music videos
The high key lighting in this video which is the genre of
pop/dance portrays a mood of happiness as it is matched
with golden beaches and also bright blue seas. The
mixture of setting and lighting match each other and
therefore give of the mood that is wanted to the
audience. This also matches the lyrics which includes
‘when every things wrong you make it right’, which
shows that the song is about happiness and fun.
In the screen shot to the right, you can say a band
wearing skinny, ripped jeans, leather trousers
and also black tops. This song is called ‘The
death of me’ by the band Asking Alexandria. The
costume matches the tone of the song, as black
has connotations of death and darkness, which
the lyrics of the song is trying to get across.