Ben Pollock For A2 Media Studies we had to plan, construct, shoot and edit together a music video for a royalty free track. In the planning stage of the project we researched the typical conventions of music videos. Andrew Goodwin’s book “Dancing in the Distraction Factory” was a useful starting point. The key elements of a typical music video are; “there is a relationship between the lyrics and visuals”, ”the music and visuals”, ”the development of a star image or brand identity” and “likely to be intertextual references”. For my video I decided to use, develop and challenge some of these elements. One way I used typical conventions of music videos was by ensuring it suited the tone of the song – the song I used is relatively simple in its composition and execution however there is a definitive structure and tempo to the song, which allows interpretation regarding the colour scheme, editing and shot composition. I made a conscious decision to express and interpret the song through the editing and cutting to the beat of the song – which is itself using typical conventions of music videos – however I then tried to challenge typical conventions by deciding not to incorporate a narrative, and instead using footage obtained in one shoot. The song can then be expressed through editing techniques such as changing the speed of the footage, altering the hue and horizontally flipping the images, all for dramatic effect. The song I used feels quite minimalist and this compelled me to watch similar music videos – the one which inspired me the most was the video to Ellie Goulding’s version of “Your Song”. However I didn’t want to simply lift ideas from that video and place them in mine, rather I decided to develop upon her video by challenging typical conventions – one of which states that there will be lip synching or imitation of instrument playing in time with the music at some point in the video. I decided not to do this, despite planning to have shots of the actress playing the piano, becauseI wanted to maintain a senseof atmosphere with the location of the shot and ensure that the level of verisimilitude isn’t reduced by sharply changing shot from an outdoors environment to an inside environment. For similar reasons I decided not to have any choreographed dance routines - having no choreographed dance routines isn’t typical of music videos, as stated by JoeGow in his book “Music Video as Communication: Popular Formulas and Emerging Genres” which would suggest I had challenged conventions of real media products, however if I had wanted to have incorporated it then I could have included footage of the piano being played. “Your Song” also has shots with Ellie Goulding looking and singing into the camera and showing that she is aware of the presence of the camera and the fact that she is being recorded. However I wanted to have my video as introspective with no reference to the filming taking place with an element of voyeurism in my video which isn’t present in the Ellie Goulding video – this is further supported by Laura Mulvey in her paper titled“Visual Pleasures and Narrative Cinema” where she states that the character is an “unknowing and unwilling victim”; nevertheless I was inspired by the clothing used in the Ellie Goulding video, with the use of contemporary clothing such as jumpers and natural colours, as stated in my clothing mood-board and therefore this complies with the typical convention of the presence of intertextual references. I decided to shoot my video at the start of November due to the favourable lighting conditions, and to develop a similar feel to the “Your Song” video. I created an introduction for the song, which has been commonly used by recent music videos such as in “We Found Love” by Rihanna and “Marry the Night” by Lady Gaga,however I didn’t want any spoken narrative in the video and for the introduction to create a senseof atmosphere which is open to the interpretation of the viewer, and in this way I developed conventions of typical music videos. I then decided to use the same font on the text at the introduction and the credits – this complied with the digipak and advert and helps to create a senseof brand identity, which itself is an example of using real media products; however I then tried to challenge typical conventions by making this font large and at the centre of the screen, which isn’t typical convention in television, where the text is usually at the side of the screen – this was a conscious decision to make the video more eye-catching on social networking sites and in advertisements for the video.
During the planning stage of my project I made a very conscious decision to create a strong senseof brand identity, and the best ways to achieve this was by using the same fonts throughout, shooting the video and imagesat the same location and keeping the atmosphere and theme of each shot similar. This creates a stylistic link between the different elements of the project and helps the audience connect with the messageof the project and encourage alternative interpretations of the artwork and video. This can also be seen in real digipaks and music videos, for example “The Fame Monster” by Lady Gagareleased in 2009. The music video itself is unlikely to make much money meaning that referencesto the digipak, which is likely to make money, are vital – hence using the same font and images taken at the same location across the project. I decided to use a golden colour for the font in THIS shot becauseI feel it went well with the warm lighting and atmosphere and connotates sophistication alongside the serif font. In my first advert poster I changed the font and colouring to try and suit the vision I had for the piece – however in retrospect this clasheswith the identity I’d created with the digipak and booklet design, so I decided to create a new poster using a screen grab from my music video. The results from my survey show that nearly everybody 83.3%of people feel that there is a strong connection between the digipak, advert posters and the music video which shows that I was successful in achieving a strong senseof brand identity. Physical sales of music have been gradually declining in the last decade, and combined with the subsequent decline of stores such as HMV, means that the digipak will have to be a special item with unique selling points – such as exclusive merchandise or artwork – and for this reason I decided to include a photography book and a 1GBUSBstick, containing more artwork and exclusive content, in the digipak which is reminiscent of similar products by Lady Gaga(SHOWIMAGE). The digipak is likely to be for hardcore fans of the artist, which means a higher selling price but subsequently a higher quality and quantity of work – I’ve also decided to mock up an Amazon page selling the product to show how it can be advertised on such websites, since such hybrid music outlets are likely to sell a high quantity of the product.
As part of my evaluation I decided to create a survey to garner audience feedback. The results showed overall favourable reviews of my project, with over 90%of people feeling that the style of the video suits the music and 100%of people feeling that the clothing used suits the tone and aesthetics of the video. The majority of people felt that the video performs its role effectively, with some people suggesting that the video could benefit from having shots without the actress in or from not revealing the actressesface at any point throughout the video – however I made a conscious decision not to do this becauseI wanted there to be a connection between the viewer and the actress and for there to not be an implied narrative which encouragesthe audience to make their own interpretations of the video. All of the people surveyed felt that the clothing suited the video and I’m pleased that the clothing complies with my clothing moodboard created before the production of the video. The majority of people felt that there had been little risk taken with the shots used however this I am not concerned about becauseof the nature of the video – I wanted to challenge myself and collect a pool of footage and then piece this together to form a cohesive music video, and this meant mostly using short clips of footage as opposed to lengthy choreographed scenes. 83%of people felt that there was a link between the video and the digipak & advert poster, with one person specifying that they liked how the digipak and poster linked to the location of the video – this I am particularly pleased about becauseI wanted the overall project to create a brand identity and for the location, shot composition and editing to be the main focus of the video. Overall people were very favourable towards the project, complementing the intertextual links, the aesthetics, shot composition and the interpretations a lack of narrative suggests. The final edit currently stands at over 80 views on YouTube, and feedback has also been gained on social networking sites such as Facebook. Overall from my audience feedback I have learnt that people
Ben Pollock consider the project and video to be of a high quality, which I am extremely pleased about, and the main issueswhich people had with the video only arose becauseof conscious decisions made by myself, to encourage alternative interpretations of the song and video and to focus on the editing and shot composition as opposed to heavily choreographed scenes, dance numbers and narratives.
Media technology has been used prominently throughout my project. As part of my planning for the project I decided to conduct background research into the common features of music videos – this entailed using websites such as YouTube and VEVOto find videos I’d previously watched, but also watching music channels on television, notably MTV Hits – it was here that I first saw the video to the Natalia Kills song “Free” which would later go on to form a major part of my analysis. I also used websites such as MTV, Wikipedia and BBCRadio 1 to find popular songs and their respective music videos and videos which I found on those websites which inspired my video include Ellie Goulding – Your Song and Cheryl Cole – Promise This. I used the website “Issuu” to upload the presentations I created for my music video director casestudy and music video analysis – using PowerPoint (SCREENGRAB)for these tasks was beneficial becauseit allowed me to convert my answers from essaysinto a more visual format, inserting screenshots and annotations to further prove the points I was making. Next I started using Adobe Premiere Pro CS3in my preliminary tasks, such as the Animation task and the Summer Music Video project, and also to combine all of my test footage, capture my footage off of the HD tape, construct the music video and create the evaluation – Premiere Pro was easy to use and effects such as Horizontal Flip and the Three-Way Colour Corrector were swiftly found and placed onto the relevant clips in my music video. Another benefit of using Adobe Premiere Pro is the fact that images created or edited in Adobe Photoshop can be easily transferred into my music video – this meant that imagesor text I’d created in Photoshop for my digipak and advert posters could be directly placed in my music video, as seen HERE.I also used Adobe Soundbooth CS3to edit a short section of audio I’d captured whilst shooting my music video – for the introduction I wanted the sound of wind blowing past to create a foreboding and moody atmosphere, however the audio footage I wanted to use had distortion and crackles intermittently, so I used Soundbooth to edit and remove the unwanted sound and raise the volume of the desired sound – once again this was easy to insert back into Premiere Pro with no side effects or problems encountered. I also used Adobe Reader to create and fill out my treatment sheet and also to create and print off my storyboard outline. I used a SONYHandycam to shoot my test footage and then a SONYA1 to shoot the footage for my music video. I used the website Jamendo to find the royalty free track I wanted to use, and also to find the contact details, biography and other released materials by the artist whose track I was using. I then researched the artist on Facebook, where I also posted the different cuts of my music video as they were uploaded to YouTube to gain user feedback; as part of my audience feedback I used the website Survey Monkey to create a survey and then used Facebook to advertise the survey, finished music video and my blog containing the digipak and advert posters – this is an example of participatory culture, and valuable feedback was gained through comments posted on Facebook and the survey. I used my blog outside of class to upload my digipak production presentation and I also used my Samsung Galaxy S1phone to accessmy blog and moodboards on the day of shoot to ensure the footage I was capturing suited my desired tone and colour scheme.