In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?
Narrative Based Video
Due to the descriptive nature of the song lyrics, clearly telling a story and outlining a number of characters eg. “there’s a girl with a boyfriend she’s in way too far, I saw him looking at another woman’s heart”, we decided a narrative based video would be most successful, as we had plenty of imagery to work with.
Jose Vanders’ easy listening, upbeat style of music is likely to be categorised as pop and pop artists often produce narrative based music videos, such as Taylor Swift’s “Love Story”, therefore we decided to follow conventions and do the same.
In a narrative based video, the song lyrics tend to match the visuals.
We have followed this convention within our video, with the descriptions
of different situations in the track being in sync with visuals demonstrating
them. For example, during the line “there’s a boy with a smile thinking
about Marie” , the video cuts to a shot of a boy in thought and when Jose sings
“his heart is getting sleeping and he’s watching where he treads” to describe an
old man walking, a close up and slow motion shot of his feet is used for amplification.
Similarly, Taylor Swift’s song “Love Story” also has descriptive lyrics, with a clear narrative to them, which are likewise interpreted very literally. This video demonstrates a typical pop narrative, with shots of the artist singing parts in a common location, in this case a balcony castle and in our video a brick wall at the station. These shots then intercut with others in different locations which tell the story.
For example, when she sings “I sneak out to the garden to see you”,
this is followed by a shot of Taylor meeting a man in a garden. We decided
to follow this convention in our own video, with our artist being seen singing
parts of the track, then intercutting this with a variety of shots demonstrating
the story of the lyrics.
We have illustrated the lyrics of the song through the visuals, enhancing the relationship between the music and visuals. The subject of the shots reflects that of the lyrics during the verses, introducing a number of characters to the audience which are mentioned throughout the track.
We have also amplified the music through use of editing.
The use of quick cuts in the opening sequence, in time with the beat of the music, amplifies the snappy and upbeat sense of the beginning effectively. This makes it more dynamic and engaging for the audience , as well as acting informatively, setting the scene for the video with a sequence on location shots.
As the track continues, the pace of the music slows, which is reflected through our choice to use longer shots, transitioned together with effects such as dissolve to allow smooth flow between shots, suiting the music.
This relationship between music and visuals is also strengthened through the use of lip synching, in which the lyrics are literally sung by the artist in time with the track, which is a common convention of the pop genre and narrative based videos.
“The slits too thin to get them so he’ll have to start again...”
“I saw him looking at another woman’s heart...”
“A group of sweaty girls are standing in a line...”
Relationship Between Music and Visuals
This high angle close up shot of Diana Vickers reveals the emotion in her expression, making her appear more vulnerable to the audience, which is intended as she is singing about heartbreak.
This close up shot of Ellie Goulding is used to enhance her star image, emphasising the extravagance of the shot and her character, making her appear eccentric.
Close up shots of the artist are a convention of music videos, due to the demands of the record label using the star’s image to brand the music.
I feel our video unintentionally challenges this convention, due to not including enough close up shots. Despite us having a few, none are extreme close up shots, but more like medium shots. This is one of the greatest weaknesses of our video in terms of complying with conventions, which I would improve upon by re-filming some shots from closer distances if we had more time, for example when the artist is singing whilst walking. This would ensure the record label’s demands were met more successfully.
Close Up Shots
This shot was created by cropping a long shot in order to improve the problem of the lack of close up shots. This worked quite well, however compromised the quality of the footage slightly.
The inspiration behind the opening sequence came from Rihanna’s video “Don’t Stop The Music”. In the opening, there are quick cuts between locations, including a shop and club, as well as the use of a blink effect in time with the beat of the music, executed through the insertion of very short black clips between shots in editing.
I really liked the effect this created, with the matching of visuals to music amplifying the music greatly and adding a stronger sense of dynamics to the video.
Following Goodwin’s principles, the opening sequence of our video includes fast cut montage editing which is typical of the pop genre. This amplifies the beat of the music, as well as setting the scene, by incorporating different shots of the setting and the artists’ journey.
We edited together a number of shots, intercutting between the artist walking along and location shots of the station, such as signs and ticket machines in order to set the scene. We timed these cuts to match the beat of the music, amplifying the music with the visuals. I believe this to be one of the most effective parts of the video due to this synergy working so well.
Lip synching is a typical convention of the pop genre in music videos, with practically all artists lip synching to the music at some point within their video, sometimes even the entirety.
Lip synching features in young female artists’ videos similar to Jose Vanders, such as Ellie Goulding, Kate Nash and Diana Vickers.
Originally we were planning to produce a music video without lip synching, as we believed this would be difficult and could look very amateur if not executed well. However, we realised after further research that practically all pop videos involve lip synching, particularly narrative based ones, therefore avoiding this factor would be challenging the conventions of a pop music video.
We decided to follow these conventions rather than go against them, therefore re-planned our video, incorporating lip synching. Despite taking numerous takes for each shot due to timing issues and confusion over lyrics, we eventually produced well-timed and effective lip synching within our video.
Looking back, it was definitely the right decision to include lip synching as it makes the vide o much more comparable to existing products by similar artists, due to following this convention of the genre, as well as creating relationship between the music and visuals.
Our video for “Faces Going Places” is shot in two main locations; at the train station and along a rural path. Due to the narrative basis of the video and the descriptive song lyrics involving many characters, shots of many different people are used throughout. Therefore, we thought by continuing to cut back to a common location for the chorus parts, the video would be given some structure rather than seeming like a continuous storyline.
Eliza’s video is set in a number of locations, from a beach to hall, however cuts back to a common shot of her singing against a wall for every chorus. This creates a distinctive difference between the verses and the chorus for the audience, as well as linking the whole video together coherently.
Despite Eliza simply singing against a plain wall, the shots do not seem static as dynamics are created through the use of inter-cutting of different shot types and camera angles. We took inspiration from this and tried to incorporate a range of camera work into these sections to avoid them becoming too static.
Common Chorus Shot
The inspiration behind these decisions in order to create this brand identity was aided by research into a number of existing products, such as Florence and the Machine.
We have created links and cohesion between the main product (music video) and ancillary texts in a number of ways in order to enhance the brand identity of Jose Vanders:
Artist wearing same costume in main image of digipak and advert as in the music video.
“Faces Going Places” is the soundtrack to the music video, the album title and is advertised as Jose Vanders debut single on the advert.
The main image on the digipak is also used on the advert for easy recognition for the audience.
A trademark way of writing Jose Vanders’ name has been developed through the use of the same typography, which has been used on both ancillary texts.
A natural and light colour scheme is evident in the natural, outdoors music video, as well as in the main image of the ancillary tasks. We therefore chose a grey and white colour scheme for these to compliment the image.
The seemingly unposed image on the digipaklinks with the not over manufactured feel to the music video, branding Jose Vanders’ as a very normal, relatable and natural talent to her target audience of teenagers/ young women.
Developing Brand Identity
Industry information is an important feature of a digipak, not only for conventional reasons, but for legal copyright and ownership issues. The conventional industry information included on the majority of artists’ digipaks are the record label logo, a barcode, the artist’s website and a copyright message.
Despite our artist being unsigned, to make the finished product appear more professional we used the logo of an existing record label, Polydor, who has similar artists such as Ellie Goulding signed to them. Though, I understand that if this were a real product this unauthorised use of the logo would not be allowed.
We created a copyright message, using a fictional producer’s name for realism and professionalism, as well as including Jose Vanders’ myspace page url to allow the audience to research further into her or listen to her music before choosing to purchase the album.