Analysis of Vampire Weekend video

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Analysis of 'Unveiled: Diane Young (Amex UNSTAGED: Vampire Weekend)' for my Media Studies Advanced Portfolio.

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Analysis of Vampire Weekend video

  1. 1. Analysis of ‘Unveiled: Diane Young (Amex UNSTAGED: Vampire Weekend)’ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hTzgvUiUi-M
  2. 2. The clip opens with establishing shots of the area in which the studio is that the band are in. This sets the scene for the clip. In the background an early recorded version of the track that the video is about can be heard. As fans you would only generally get to hear the final version so this is clearly an exclusive.
  3. 3. After these establishing shots Rostam (the keyboardist of the band) starts to speak about the early versions of the song. This happens whilst footage of him and Ezra (lead singer and guitarist) listen to the version that was previously playing (both bits of audio are playing.) There is first a mid shot of just Rostam as it is he who is speaking, and then a two shot from another angle of both of them. Then he is shown speaking, and then playing the piano - which the audience hears as diegetic sound.
  4. 4. As Ezra begins to speak, the shot changes from that of Rostam to some close-ups of various items of recording equipment. He discusses “when we’re working on our album” which fits well with the shots used.
  5. 5. These shots of the equipment are followed by firstly a mid shot of Ezra looking straight at him (though he isn’t looking directly at the camera) and then another mid-shot of both Ezra and Rostam, and Ezra is still speaking. Through both the shots of equipment and of Ezra, the diegetic sound of the piano being played continues in the background. The source of this sound is reiterated with a shot (from a different angle) of Rostam playing the piano.
  6. 6. As Ezra finishes speaking, this marks the end of that particular scene and a change in setting. This is shown through a couple more establishing shots, the first showing that it’s a different time of day, and the second that they’re still at a studio of some sort (probably the same one, though now in the practice space.) The shot of the case with the bands name on reiterates who the clip is about and suggests that we’re about to see them playing something live.
  7. 7. It is shown that it most likely will be a live performance with a mid shot of Ezra holding a guitar, which is followed by a close up of the guitar. The sound of the piano also ceases and you hear more diegetic sound of drums etc. Ezra’s speech explains the situation, acting as narration for what is going on in the scene. Before they start playing, Ezra is shown speaking (again not looking directly at the camera.) As Ezra finishes speaking the shots return to ones of the band practicing.
  8. 8. This particular scene opens with Rostam asking the others “Should we start with Diane?” which, as with Ezra’s speech earlier, explains what is happening and tells the audience that they’re about to play ‘Diane Young’, the song which the clip is about.
  9. 9. The shots of them performing last for almost 30 seconds, mostly with just the audio of this performance, but later with Rostam speaking about the development of the studio recording of the track and the music continuing in the background. The shots used to show them performing include close-ups of Ezra singing, and often seem to focus on the instrument, for instance the shot of Rostam playing guitar pans down to the guitar itself rather than just showing him playing it. The drummer, Chris, isn’t shown in these shots, perhaps as the drums haven’t kicked in yet in this part of the song.
  10. 10. After explaining how they had experimented with Ezra’s voice, and how they had settled on the ‘middle ground’ making him sound ‘older and younger’. Rostam appears to play this part of the song on his laptop and the audience hears it, though it’s as non-diegetic sound (perhaps so it will be louder and clearer.) This audio then changes seamlessly to a live version in the studio.
  11. 11. Ezra next explains how Rostam can control the pitch of the voice live, and we are shown this, through a mid shot of him, and then a close-up to show the piece of equipment and what he is specifically doing, as well as a close-up of Ezra to show he is singing in real time and it’s not all pre- recorded. The song continues in the background whilst Ezra is speaking. The narration acts as some behind the scenes information about how the song is performed live.
  12. 12. As Ezra finishes the point he is making he is actually shown speaking, rather than only having his speech over the top of other shots. The shot used has been used previously in the clip, showing that the interview was probably recorded with a few cameras and then the footage from these used altogether to create something that flows well and doesn’t stay on one shot for too long. At the end of this 2 minute section of the clip, the band are shown performing the song, carrying on from the section that has been playing in the background.
  13. 13. Shots of all four members of the band are shown in the performance. No shots of the whole band together are shown, so it feels very up-close and this is further emphasised through the use of close-ups of Rostam’s guitar and Baio’s bass guitar. The camera shots chosen seem to focus on the instrument that is most prevalent in that part of the song.
  14. 14. There is another interview shot of Ezra and Rostam, whilst Ezra talks about a particular aspect of the song. The live version of the track can still be heard in the background, and the interview shot is broken up by one of Rostam playing guitar, and at this point the speaking stops and the audio grows slightly louder. The interest of the audience is kept as the clip is about how the song came together.
  15. 15. There is another shot of Rostam playing the guitar, this time it is closer than the previous - with particular focus on the way in which he is playing guitar, which is what they’re talking about at that time. There is then a close-up of Baio playing bass. For the first of these shots, there is only the song, but in the second, Rostam begins to speak. These shots are followed by another of the interview scenario, from a different angle to the previous interview scene, where Rostam talks about the way in which he achieved this sound on the recording, giving fans an insight into the process. There is also another shot of Rostam playing guitar which zooms into a close-up.
  16. 16. Ezra begins speaking (a different topic to that which was being talked about previously) but footage of them performing the song is shown. The audio of this performance continues in the background. There is a close-up of Ezra singing, whilst the audio is mainly him talking. Ezra mentions something about “figuring out how everybody can be performing”, and shots of the rest of the band are shown.
  17. 17. As well as mentioning that when performing it live, everybody needs to be performing, Ezra also mentions Baio using samples, and at this moment there is a shot from behind him of him playing (to remind the audience who they’re on about), followed by a close-up of his foot pressing the effects pedal, giving an insight into the complexity of the performance. Rostam then goes on to talk about how the samples give a flexibility to their performance and make it more enjoyable.
  18. 18. For the closing moments of the clip the live performance of the track is shown, in the last moments of the song. Various shots and angles are used to keep it interesting for the audience rather than the same shot of the whole band for 20 seconds. As with many times before, close-ups of the instruments are used as well as of Ezra whilst he is singing.

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