In what ways does your media product use, develop or challengeforms and conventions of real media products? Comparing my research findings and conventions with my group production
GENRE CHARACTERISTICS - CONVENTIONS• The band/artist is usually shown performing within the video, with shots of their instruments if they play any or simply their face if they sing only. They are also usually performing alone, or simply the band cut in with scenes elsewhere e.g. a narrative cut in with the performance. Their isolation is often to highlight their music’s importance rather than screaming fans, and to indicate the artist is introspective and mature. (See Mumford & Sons: Little Lion Man, Iron & Wine: Boy With A Coin, Laura Marling: Rambling Man). USED - Our band is shown playing in front of trees surrounded by fields and open space, which is in• This is usually done in a location full of nature – somewhere the theme of nature. This is in keeping with the rural, full of fields, by a river, on a beach by the sea (Laura depiction of folk genre artists being in touch with Marling: Rambling Man), by a nature as they are surrounded by it, in touch with swamp, a forest (Iron & Wine: Boy With A Coin) etc. earth, which assists their ruminations on life on culture, history and protests, which are common themes in folk rock songs.
RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN LYRICS AND VISUALS• The lyrics of folk rock songs tend to be fairly abstract most of the time, however the visuals are usually illustrative for the chorus or a particular verse, but most of the song will use the visuals to amplify the lyrics meaning. Bon Iver: Calgary’s visuals are at first illustrative it says ‘don’t you cherish me to sleep’ and it shows a woman on a bed sleeping who defies being mollycoddled by being cherished and wakes up. ‘Hair, old, long along/Your neck onto your shoulder blades’ is sung as we see her lifting her head to show her hair is long, as the camera moves to show her neck and then her shoulder.• The visuals begin to amplify in the next verse as ‘hip, under nothing’ is heard as she falls through the bed and lands standing in a lake. This is amplifying because instead of merely having her fall off of the bed, it shows her very foundations are not what she thought they were so USED she must go and ‘hunt the cause’ which she does getting up and finding a door out. ILLUSTRATIVE• In a few, rare places the meaning will be contradictory but instead of The visuals are illustrative of the lyrics when the lyrics ‘my friends and I wave confusing the viewer makes the artist seem like a storyteller. Contradictory visuals can be seen in the first verse of Iron & Wine: goodbye as our ship left England home’ and we had a ship leaving shore as the Boy With A Coin as the lyrics are: A boy with a coin he found in the friends they were leaving back home waved goodbye to them. weeds/With bullets and pages of trade magazines/Close to a car that flipped on the turn/When God left the ground to circle the world ILLUSTRATIVE – when the chorus plays ‘they say I fight, for king and country’• This was contradictory as all that could be seen on screen was a group footage of soldiers play with their marching being in time to the beat of the of women dancing, no boy or weeds or a car to be seen. But in the following verse the visuals take the other direction and actually song, showing that their military march is done with precision, in time and with amplify the lyrics meaning: A girl with a bird she found in the conviction of their morale that they are fighting this war for their king and country. snow/Then flew up her gown and thats how she knows/If God made The lyrics ‘cackling guns against boys so fine’ are heard and footage of a soldier her eyes for crying at birth/Then left the ground to circle the earth firing is seen on screen; in tandem a few moments later when the lyrics ‘over the top• There is one woman singled out for dancing and we can see no bird, the sergeant cries/and into no man’s land’ footage of soldiers crawling over the top but feathers are falling from her dress and her dress is moving like a living bird – her expression is also quite sad. This amplifies because of the trenches play, the lyrics illustrative of the visuals. instead of simply showing a girl in the snow finding a bird that flies up her dress, the bird is metaphorical and the repeated line of God AMPLIFYING– when the song plays ‘when she’s in need, when she’s in danger’ the having ‘left the ground to circle the earth’ reflects the women screen shows a young woman crying into her handkerchief, and amplifies the typical dancing endlessly in circles in the same path as people are left on the path of fate, referencing religious messages. understanding of the lyrics of the ‘she’ referring to our country England, taking it to mean fighting both for our country as well as ‘she’, the safety of the soldiers’ sweethearts who have been left behind and are waiting for them to come back home.
RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN MUSIC AND VISUALS• The music is mostly illustrative of the visuals. In Iron & Wine: Boy With A Coin the style of the dancing matches the style of the music that is being played, both old fashioned and classy. The movements of the dancers hands are very smooth as are the notes of the piano being played. At the same time their dancing is still very obviously choreographed, hips and legs sharply in time to the guitar strings being DEVELOPED plucked in clearly defined movements. ILLUSTRATIVE – the interval between the first• In Laura Marling: Rambling Man the music verse and the chorus, the visuals are in time with has a fairly steady ‘one-two’ beat which is in time with the visuals, to the point the music as the screen shows the guitarist from where even the birds flying and the sea a low angle, focusing on his no-nonsense waves lapping have been edited so their converse shoes amongst autumn leaves and the speed is in time with the song. The music gradual tilting over him till settling on his somber being in time with the visuals actually face in a close up. The movement of the camera amplified meaning at some points e.g. tilting and gradually getting faster in time with near the middle of the song and near the the music, emphasizing that the most important end the music sped as the man leaped message of the song within the chorus is coming into the sea for his freedom, emphasizing up. the weight of his action and its symbolism. This reflects the common themes of folk > In the return to the narrative nearer the latter genre music where artists normally part of the song, there are jump cuts of the perform in settings full of nature where soldier doing up his coat in time to the music; it’s peaceful which helps their ability to be the harsh plucking of the guitar strings along introspective and reflective on life and its with the jump cuts reflect his disjointed sense of meaning. time as he is still immersed in memories of fighting in wartime.
DEMANDS OF THE RECORD LABEL• A large number of close ups of the artists are used in all of the videos, even in the ones where there is a large narrative taking place in order to keep the viewers back to focusing on and reminding them of the artist/band (Laura Marling: Rambling Man). By constantly focusing on the face of the artist, especially if they’re new, makes them more memorable and a brand in themselves.• Conventions of the artists appearance if men, tends to mean fairly long hair to the shoulders or at least floppy around the ears or chin. This emphasizes their masculinity (also with suits in Mumford & Sons: Little Lion Man), maturity and life experience, which in turn imply authenticity that the artist knows the life issues that they’re singing about in their song. (Iron & Wine: Boy With A Coin, Mumford & Sons: Little Lion Man). Costume tends to be very minimalist, simple colours and traditional cuts which lets the viewer focus on the actual performing of the artist and narrative actions of any actors if present. This makes sure to draw more attention to the actual music itself, instead of being distracted by minor details like overly extravagant clothing with bright colours and patterns.• Make up if used for the women is usually naturalistic so subtle, which also lessens distraction by beauty/appearance and USED – gives off along with the simple clothing an impression of humility. (Bon Iver: Calgary) This was turned on its head for Laura Marling: close ups Rambling Man but still had the same intended effect as its extravagance of make up only served to highlight the humbleness of the rambling man’s lifestyle and dourness of his clothes.• The only video I found which defied convention was Bon Iver: Calgary in that the artist did not appear at all, which defies the convention of showing and focusing on the artists’ face within videos to sell them as an artist.
NOTIONS OF LOOKING + VOYEURISM OF FEMALE BODY • NOTIONS OF LOOKING • The notions of looking are effectively referenced in Iron & Wine: Boy With A Coin where the use of the dancers watching their own performance within the video – hinting that they are aware of the audience, and they are performing for them. • In Laura Marling: Rambling Man there’s a reference in the beginning of the video where the man looks at himself in the mirror. This shows his self-awareness, and the camera shoots it from the same angle where he must be able to see it and be aware of his audience although he does not directly look in that direction at the viewer. • VOYEURISTIC TREATMENT OF THE FEMALE BODY • Iron & Wine: Boy With A Coin has chosen a slightly more subtle way of viewing the female body voyeuristically. In the medium close up shots of the singer’s face we can see the main dancer’s bust behind him emphasised further by how her head has been cut out of the shot. • In Bon Iver: Calgary the female is treated voyeuristically as the viewer sees her half dressed in a sheer nightgown tossing and turning in her bed which is an intimate location, and the feeling of voyeurism intensifies as the camera lingers on her neck, legs and bare skin.
INTERTEXTUAL REFERENCE• Intertextuality was found to be rare within the music videos that I researched, present in only one: Calgary – Bon Iver.• In this video, the woman rises up out of the ground coming up from a whole hidden world beneath the earth up to ground level – this is a direct reference to the film Pan’s Labyrinth.• As a folk rock band, part of the genre is being very true to the music and the integrity of the artist – Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon writes his own songs and produced the album For Emma forever ago independently. This is reflected in the production of the video. Instead of taking clips from actual films and embedding them in the video, the label has chosen to recreate the concept of coming from a world underground and filmed it themselves with their own actors and extras for the video.• This was appropriate as the film is about a girl in fascist Spain who escapes into a fantasy world
TECHNICAL DIRECTIONS – ARTIST/ACTOR MOVEMENTS, POSITION ETC• Artist/bands / actor’s positioning, movements, gestures, pose and mode of address etc.
TECHNICAL DIRECTIONS – MISE EN SCENE• CHALLENGE – highly stylized colour scheme, monochrome band footage to highlight guitar in red, blood of lost soldiers and a sepia tone throughout footage of the soldier living in the current day who is still lost in thoughts of the past• including colour, figure, pops, lighting, objects, costume, location and setting and use of crowds/dancers etc.