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Codes And Conventions For Music Videos

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  1. 1. Codes And ConventionsOf Music Videos
  2. 2. NARRATIVEThere has been a debate in weather a music video tells a story or not,however most videos correspond with the lyrics and the style of music, thisis considered to be the narrative; what the artists lyrics mean. Some peoplethink videos simply add to the song, extending the songs narrative, andillustrating what was previously only words. The artist themselves also playa part in the story either being the narrator (singing the song), a protagonist( the main character in role in the music video) or both.Music video narratives are mainly love storys with male or female artistsand actors. Action narratives are normally dominated by males and dancevideos could be dominated by both. The point of a narrative is so theaudience can relate to the music and the video, from their past experiences.Narratives are more common in the slow, R&B love songs, not so much theheavy metal rock.
  3. 3. An example of a narrative is R.kelly‟s duet withUsher-Same girl. The narrative in the music videois about R.kelly andUsher talking about the „same girl‟. They start todescribe the girl they know and they think the is cheating on one with the other,however they find out at the end of the music video that the „girl‟ actually has aidentical twin.In this music video both artists are protagonists and play the main roles in thevideo, as well as being the narrator. This is common with duets with musicvideos. Throughout the music video they have use edits such as spit screens(as shown above) to show that they are communicating and show there facialexpressions, they also show them together, acting. (as shown below).
  4. 4. PERFORMANCEPerformance is quiet rare when it comes to music videos. Both females andmales have performances within there music video, however female artistsseem to be more into being part of the performances in there videos whereasmales are not so engaged with the „dancing‟. Some music videos useperformance clips from a stage performance from when they was on tour orperforming at a concert. Some music videos is the whole performance andsome are clips. An example of this is Chris Brown-Take you down music video.It is actually his performance on stage. Chris Brown-Take You Down (OfficialMusic Video)
  5. 5. Even though some artists arent the „performing type‟ and prefer a narrative, some artists dedicate there time and effort to include themselves within a music video performance. An amazing example of this is Beyoncé. Beyoncé is exceptionally known for her high energy and performance skills, and she defiantly likes to express them. Here are two examples of her music videos. Single ladies has no narrative however, because theres only girls in the video it links to the song (single ladies). Diva is another music video where she is continuously dancing the video (choreographed dance) again theres no narrative but the lyrics link to the dance and clothing as being Diva. Single Ladies DIVA &ob=av2e
  6. 6. NOTION OF LOOKINGNotion on looking focus‟ on the stereotypes and labels that are associated with different artists.The stereotypes used in music videos are normally used to target specific audiences. Thisincluded men and women looking seductive within videos, and also eye contact with the cameraand each other, to create a link between the person and the audience An example of this isBeyoncé- Run The World. From the beginning of the music video it is clear that women/females are the most dominate gender. The screen shot shows a group of females. This links to the title and song lyrics. ”who runs the world…girls!” As the video progresses and the dancing starts there are 2 men with Beyoncé who is in the middle, this may emphasis that she has the power and authority, over both of males. The two males doing the same dance as Beyoncé, idolises that they have to follow Beyoncé, it becomes almost a order. Again this shows how dominate females are in this video and „proof‟ that the “run the world”
  7. 7. Throughout the music video Beyoncé, and the female dancers aredressed seductively (as shown in the screenshots) they arecontinuously clothed in revealing cloths that show legs arms andcleavage. This is part of „Notion Of Looking‟ as it connects to thesong. By dressing like this, it tells the viewer that you don‟t have tobe masculine to be in power, this also may suggest a change inthe stereotype of males being „in charge‟.Also part of „Notion Of Looking‟ is eye contact the artist makeswith the camera. (As shown above) Beyoncé makes seductive eyecontact with the camera as the video progresses, this is to get theviewers engaged in the video, and follows the female stereotypeof being and looking „sexy‟.
  8. 8. Mise-en-scene Like music magazines, mise-en-scene focus‟ on lighting, costume, setting, characters, props and colours, which are all prerequisite when creating the right setting and ambience for a successful music video. Mise-en-scene is know to be one of the most important convention for any music genre, as it links ideology to the specific genre and social group. For instance Dark lighting would be seen in Gothic or some music videos whereas lighter lighting would be shown in R&B. Here are examples of the different lighting used in different genre of music.Dark Lighting. „Gothic Girl‟ Lighter Lighting. „Pretty Girl Rock‟ See the difference
  9. 9. SettingTrey Songz- Your side of the bed, is a music video which uses elements ofmise-en-sene for example the setting. This music video is set in a home,which is made to be seen as a happy family household with both parentshappily married and a daughter. The setting of the music video links to thelyrics and the genre of the music video. “Our bed, our sheets, our pillowsgettin lonely” + “And I dont know if shes gone for good or returnin in themornin„” these lyrics connect to the meaning of the song; his wife Is in thearmy and when she leaves its lonely and scary because he does‟nt know ifshe is going to return, because of the army conditions. However at the endof the video he find out that his wife had passed when she was at war.
  10. 10. Editing Chris Brown featuring Lil Wayne & Swizz Beatz- I can transform ya‟. Is a music video that is well know for the editing used. Throughout the music video there are people „transforming‟ intovehicles, however to do this there had to be some editing. Editingsuch as fast cuts and special affects are crucial in music videos as they create a futuristic video that draws the audience in to watch the video. Bright light, animations are also a key element for targeting to your target audience. B.O.B ft Hayley Williams Aeroplanes
  11. 11. Editing Techniques Editing includes, transitions, different lengths, filter and effects and also sound effects. These are all essential for a music video because they attract the viewers or their specific target audience. An example of good use of editing is Beyoncé‟s music video Sweet dream A number of edits are used throughout. By using a lot of editing links to the song of it being a „sweet dream‟ as we know, dreams are not real and things may happen in them that do not happen in real life, this is the whole point of editing, to emphasis the futurist side of the songs narrative. There is a wide range of camera angles used in the music video from long shots to close ups, and this links to the indulgence of the narrative. This dream-like video also uses different contracts, colours and brightness to emphasis the meaning. The colour white and silver are used frequently which suggest that Beyoncé is in the dream. As the lyrics mention „sweet dreams or a beautiful nightmare‟ the phrase beautiful nightmare is shown through costumes and colour, darks colours however beautiful shining costumes and cloths. Parallel sounds are used, the use of backing vocals, however instead of cuts being used theres the constant repetition of „oh‟. This adds to the movement of the music video that livens up the sound/vocals keeping the audience engaged. Sound editing is also used. the voice clips and harmonies that give the music a certain sound are overlapped to infuse the song and lyrics. The overlapping draws attention to the constant use, this makes the audience feel like theres part of the song, the dream that is being explained throughout the video. Use of the white background and silver costumes; emphasis the dream atmosphere.Different Camera Angles Used.
  12. 12. Costume And CropsI thought Keri Hilsons Song Pretty Girl Rock was an excellent example of the way costume andcrops are used in music videos, how they link to the song and the massive effect they can create.Pretty Girl Rock is dominated and targeted at a female audience, its message is that no matterwhat you wear, how you act, all females are pretty in their own way. To express this meaningdifferent outfits and crops were used thought the video as examples. This is very effectiveespecially how it is targeted at the female audience.
  13. 13. SoundSound is one of the most effective elements within a music video as it cancreate a different perspective, and image on the video itself, it is also importantbecause it is the main reason other then the video why people listen to themusic.Sound is split in to two types, diegetic and non- diegetic sound. Diegetic soundis any sound presented as originated from source within the video, such asvoices and sounds made by objects. Diegetic sound can be either on screen oroff screen depending on whatever its source is within the frame or outside theframe. Non-diegetic sound is Sound whose source is neither visible on thescreen nor has been implied to be present in the action, examples of nondiegetic sound would be, narrators story telling, sound effects which is addedfor the dramatic effect, or a mood which improvises with the music and whatsgoing on in the video.
  14. 14. “Stepped up in the party like “Step up in the party like my my name was “that *****”. name was Mr. T “This is two parts of the song were the voice of Nicki Minaj (on the left) and WILL.I.AM (on theright) is edited to create an robotic futuristic sound as the theme of the music video is afuturistic live music video in Japan. By adding the effects on the voice it links the song morewith the theme of the video and attracts the audience.This type of sound is non-diegetic because they don‟t „actually‟ sound like that buts edited fora dramatic effect.I couldn‟t find a video version with appropriate language but I found an audio link :
  15. 15. Because I could not find an music video for WILL.I..AM ft Nicki Minaj-Check it out music video only an audio here is some screen shots of the music video, which will hopefully confirm what I wrote about the theme of the song and the edited lyrics.As you see, all the editing techniques, costumes, crops and light link to the theme of the music video: futuristic livemusic video, and we know this because the slightly larger screenshot on the right shows a group of womendressed the same, good posture and special effect glasses on emphasises that the video they see music video isedited with effects such as mirror image and creating more the one of one thing (picture on the left). So the nondigetic sounds that is edited on the artists voices tie well together with the video itself to create and successfuledited dramatic sound. Diegetic sound such as voice editing is also catchy and easy to remember when watchingthe video this can increase the viewers as well as the fans.
  16. 16. Camera Angles, Movement & CompositionLike the other elements of mise-en-scene, camera angles, movement and composition arekey to a successful music video as it portrays different genres and points out how one genrediffers another. For example, R&B and Hip-Hop usually use a lot of mid-shots and long shotsshowing costume body movements and expressions, on the other hand rock, gothic andpunk usually use low camera angles which shows the power and level that they portraythrough there music.Movement is important as it also emphasis and lives up to the stereotype of that certaingenre, for example hip hop artist (male&female) use hand gestures and hand movementswhen rapping, its apparent that is something that automatically happens when rapping, but ifan artist of a different genre was to use the same movements its wouldn‟t link. Cameraangles also express mod and themes with in the music video. For instance if it‟s an upbeatenergising happy song, then it is common that a lot of quick cuts are used to emphasis theexcitement. However is less upbeat and unhappy sad songs will stay on an camera anglesfor a longer time, extending the feelings expressed though the lyrics and video. In conclusioncamera angles, and movement play a big part in music and there music video stereotypes.
  17. 17. An good example of a music video that includes camera movement and composition is Willow Smith-Whip My Hair. Throughout this video a various of shots are show to create and effect and a storylinefor the audience. The camera angles link in with the beat on the music, this technique is effectivewhen making a song and the video catchy and easy to remember, because it is easy to remember abeat and with the beat you will remember any actions or dance routines. The illusion also connectswith the lyrics and the dancing. This emphasis the effect that camera angles have on the atmospherein the video. For example a still camera would represent a depressing gothic video whereas a camerawith lots of movement and jump cuts will emphasis the happy, fun, upbeat R&B or hip-Hop video.In the music video Whip My Hair another effective composition is used where you can see the artists,actors or dancers through other angles that have been overlapped and any other detail. The purposeof this is so you can see all people/figures at one time by having then translucent.Throughout the music video the majority of camera shows are close up and low shots. The close upshows the expressions on her face while singing and the low shows demonstrate the power WillowSmith has despite her age. The lighting the comes from the corner of the video enhances herdominance, so she shines/sparkles in front of the plain white background. the light helps her stand outattracting the viewers to look at her and no were else. Both the close ups and the low shots that arecontinuously used within the video, flows well with the lyrics and the music.