Kristiana Constantinou 3278
“Circus” - Britney Spears
Britney Spears is an American singer who is part of the pop genre. This
music video is named Circus and stars Britney Spears. Although this
music video is of the pop genre as well as the artist, the visuals on the
screen have extreme themes of burlesque performance such as
costumes and regular shots. I therefore think this music video would be
an excellent analysis to help me in my production of my music video and
The music video begins with low angle
close up of two perfume bottles.
Furthermore when cutting on to the next
shot, we are presented with an interesting
choice of composition of the star looking
in the mirror. This shot is a mid shot at
0:14 seconds and informs us on character
and status (uses of gratification theory).
The choice of lighting in this shot creates a
mysterious atmosphere. I feel the directors
intentions were to present the artist as a
heroic figure (8 stock character). There is a
yellow tint to shot creating a glamorous effect
to the shot. I think although there isnt a lot
going on in the shot, the spot light on the main
character in the shot creates a dramatic and exciting atmosphere. I feel
this would appeal to a target audience as it creates a burlesque
atmosphere, due to the mysteriousness.
The props in this shot are quite distinctive. The brightness and intensity
of the big, bold jewellery makes the artist look like a stereotypical
burlesque performer. In burlesque performances, distinctive costumes,
jewellery and make up are often featured as a big convention as seen in
We instantly see at 0:26 seconds that we are
presented with a iconic burlesque shot. This
long mid shot ensures us as the target
audience to be able to identify the emotions
intended by the director.
Although the location of this shot is dark, the
intense lighting behind the artist, creates a
Kristiana Constantinou 3278
silhouette look intending for us to see her again as a heoric figure (8
stock characters). The lighting creates a sexy figure whilst hiding the
identity of the artist. To add to the mystery of this shot, a prop of a hat is
used. This prop is also often used in burlesque performances and
burlesque movies such as the film Burlesuqe who stars Christina
In today‟s society, females are often portrayed in music videos as a
sexual object. In this music video starring Britney Spears, I feel the
directors intentions were to create a seductive image to reel the target
audience in through entertainment (uses and gratification theory) . I feel
this type of shot would stereotypically be target towards females as a
form of entertainment (uses and gratification theory), but also to women
so they can aspire to look up to them (Gaze theory).
The editing so far and also throughout the music video is quite fast. Due
to the lyrics and music included in the music video, it makes sense for
the editing to be quite fast. I feel the editing has a huge impact on the
audience appeal, as it makes the music video interesting and
entertaining (uses and gratification theory). The sharp cuts give the
music video power and dominance. It enables us to see that this is the
connection to burlesque as its controlling and mysterious.The editing of
the music video is fast due to the transition of cuts from each shot
making the music video have a powerful and dominant impression
causing the tension to increase. This type of editing causes a dis
equillibrium due to the uprising tension, however forms to a new
equilibirum when the editing slows down and becomes more calmer.
This long angle shot from a low point of view
at 0:52 seconds enables us to identify the
surroundings and mise en scene. Judging
from the surroundings we can see that it has a
circus theme due to the stereotypical objects
we can identify due to our upbringing. Circus‟
are usually entertaining and a reminder of fun
and children. This may cause audiences to feel entertained due to the
brief bright colours from the lighting and
staging. The characters are formed in a group
and represent an army due to the bond they
have during the choreography. This creates a
dominant atmosphere which is often a theme
seen in burlesque music videos and
The narrative of this music video is very much
Kristiana Constantinou 3278
centred around a circus. It brings out the performance and drama side of
This establishing shot at 1:17 gives us almost a burlesque insight.
Comedy is a theme that is often conventional in burlesque performances
and entertains the target audience (uses and gratification theory). I feel
the chosen location being the circus connotes laughter and comedy,
which has a strong connection to the funny side of burlesque. The
costumes used in this shot are tassly, netted tights, corsets which are
conventional to burlesque performances.
I think the idea of these costumes attract audiences to the performance
side. Therefore the music video would attract audiences and make them
feel entertained, however the music will have a huge impact on their
The lighting here is more dramatic. There are more spotlights used to
dramatise the shot and make it more like a performance. Due to the
choice of shot we are able to see the surrounding stage and sand. This
gives us an indication of location.
This mid to long shot from a low angle
gives this figure status. This is presented at
1:26 seconds and is a traditional burlesque
The idea of having a blacked out stage
with one single spot light focusing on the
centre stage is stereotypical.
The colour red connotes fierce, danger,
love, sex and blood. This reflects onto how
the director may have intended us to view the artist. She comes across
as a sexy and dominant female, which connects to the red curtain falling
down behind her. The colour red is conventional to burlesque and
comes across strongly through the props, makeup and curtain.
Burlesque performances are known to be sexy and fierce, so I think
having this shot backed onto this colour gives the audience an indication
of how to see the artist. It enables them to connect the different possible
connotations to the narrative, shot and character.
The costumes in this shot are stereotypical burlesque outfits. The glitter,
shot and revealing outfits are often starred in burlesque performances
and help us in the informative point of view when looking at this image
(uses and gratification theory).
At 1:41 we are presented with this wide
angle long shot. Females are very much
stereotypically expected in burlesque
performances, however there is
occasionally male interferences. This shot
Kristiana Constantinou 3278
best describes a burlesque performance due to the props, composition
and lighting. The chairs are used as part of the dance routine and are
often seen in Burlesque performances when the performers are creating
a seductive or comedic atmosphere. As well as this the female artist is
surrounded by male dancers who outnumber her. This creates sexual
tension and would appeal to the target audience. The lighting creates a
mysterious atmosphere due to the lack of it and the dimmed effect on
the background rather than the foreground.
The props are very simple, hands, cane sticks and chairs to assist them
in the performance. This would appeal to the audience as it is not a
general “dance around” type of music video. The music video is made
much more interesting when there is a range of composition. Due to the
female being the centre of this music video, she is presented in the
centre stage, with two men either side of her. This could connote
dominance and bravery. It shows how she is in control and what seems
to be quite seductive. This may appeal more towards to male audience
(uses and gratification theory) members due to the choice of costume
and self character. The lighting on the foreground is very much minimal
and quite dark. However as you travel to the background the light begins
to be more intense and bright. This would cause the audience to keep
focus on the front. It also creates more shadows, giving the shot a much
more interesting composition.
This shot is shown at 2:03 and is quite
distinctive compared to the rest. This powerful
wide angle mid shot would appeal to all the
target audience, being people who love
music, performance, theatre, fashion and
dance. This shot is powerful in terms of
character dominance. First of all the costume
is covering a lot of her body compared to other burlesque outfits we
have previously seen. This mysterious, seductive outfit is in contrast to
the striking red curtain in the back. This stages a perfect burlesque
scene, and is assisted with the falling of the bright lighting. It is almost a
„rain‟ of lighting around the centre character. The hair of Britney Spears
in this shot is quite vintage. It was previously quite naturally straight and
flowy, however now it is more styled and unique. This „updo‟ is an iconic
look and completed the look of a burlesque dancer.
The artist is represented as a seductive, powerful and confident woman.
This therefore enables us to make a judgement on the representation of
the genre through the themes such as location, lighting and composition.
It is often the same as burlesque performances.
Kristiana Constantinou 3278
Up until now the music has been upbeat, with strong loud instruments
such as the drums which play an important role in the audio. It assists on
the editing due to the increase in cuts and different shots throughout the
entire music video. However, as the music video comes to a close, and
the previous shot at 2:03 is presented, everything becomes slightly
slower. This gives an audience memeber time to take everything in and
perhaps pay more attention to detail and care. At the end of a
performance in real life you usually have big lights, noises and a closing
curtain. I think the slow editing towards the end, the continuous fall of
showering lighting, and a decrease in pace of dancing, indicates to the
audience that the music video is coming to a finish.
At around 3:25 a sudden introduction of red lipstick
appears on Britney Spears‟ lips and still wearing a
hat which connects us to the burlesque themes.
The red lipstick could connote love, passion,
danger and sex causing this to appeal to a target
audience through the sexual appeal (uses and
gratification theory). This could indicate the power
and dominance she has gained and the end performance.
The end shot is quite comedic due to the smiles and laughter we see.
This connects to burlesque due to the comedy that is included during
perfomances. The narrative shows that the finale
of the circus performance is happening due to
the breathing fire, all the dancers appearing and
The end shot fades to black as expected in a
real performance to indicate the end of a show.
The spotlight dissapears and the music video
ends. This again reveals the mystery of the shot
and character, wanting the audience to be informed and entertained
more (uses and gratification theory). I think this would b appealing to an
audience memeber due to the costume, dancing, audio, lighting and
camera shtos/angles. Judging from this video it is easy to judge that it is
a performance music video. Judging this from Godwins music video
theory I had to look at the beats of the music varying from each chorus.
As well as this we have to base the decision of the artist and
performance and how they are presented. Due to the performing
elements in this film such as the stage, the backing curtain and the other
elements such as dancers we can conclude this is a performance video.