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Transition Music Video Analysis

Before we started working on our “centre piece” music video, we had to create another music video for our transition between AS level and A2. We were allowed to choose our groups and song. I found myself working in a group with Holly Hadaway, Estelle Lount and Valentina Nenkova. Based on our skill sets we, as a group designated different roles to each other. Holly was given the job of directing, Valentina’s job was to bring in props and make sure that we had a location to film, Estelle’s was to choreograph and my role was to film the performance as well as assist Holly in directing. Unfortunately it did not run as smooth as we had hoped, these roles got mixed up and changed throughout the transitional project. Due to sickness and having other projects to work on, not all of the team were available all of the time, which limited us in terms of what we could create in reference to the quality of the video.

Furthermore, the song that we chose was “Club Tropicana”, which originally was created and performed by “Wham!” in 1983. The song made its debut on the album called “Fantastic”. The band Wham! was made up of two artists called George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley and the record company that facilitated the release of this single was Innervision Records. In terms of genre, Club Tropicana is categorised as Pop. The original music video was directed by Duncan Gibbins and was filmed in Ibiza at a hotel. Throughout the video there is a clear theme that screams, holiday, sunshine and having a good time as the main priorities. The members of Wham! can be seen to be drinking cocktails, lying on lilos and generally getting into the holiday mood. We tried to replicate this through our use of props. Holly, Estelle and Valentina were laden down with bright, printed shirts that we very 80’s and can also be seen to be wearing flowery headbands and occasionally holding a cup of fruit punch. We also chose to hang up a brightly coloured table cloth as our background, which again served the purpose of helping us to create a more “summery” feeling music video.

Moreover, as the camera woman I chose to use a mid-shot camera angle throughout filming as I felt that it would make it easier to edit in post-production, which proved to be the case. If we had had more time then I would have opted to use a more varied range of camera angles but due to the restraining time limit that my group was facing we had to try and keep it simple so that we could meet the deadline of the project. Holly and I edited the music video together and in doing so we cut different recordings together so that the majority of the video was lip-synched, although we did mix it up with other frames where Holly, Valentina and Estelle were just dancing or performing some kind of movement. Holly was cast as the main performer and any lip-synching involved was performed by her. It was vital that any dance moves and or lip synching was staged so that it was in time with the music track as we believed that it would make the music video unprofessional and tacky if the timing was not matching.

In reference to theorists, particularly Andrew Goodwin and his key codes and conventions it could be argued that we both followed and disregarded them depending on the code or convention in question. One convention that we followed would be the one that states there is a relationship between the lyrics and the visuals that the audience can both hear and see. This is due to the fact that the lyrics incite a holiday, summer feel, which we as a group attempted to install through our use of props and attire. We insured that the props and clothing that were used replicated that of a stereotypical holiday overtone. Another convention of Goodwin’s that we followed would the one that states the necessity of a relationship between the music and visual, much like the first convention, we followed this one in a similar way. We did so through making sure that much like the beat of the track, the colouration of our frames was bright and up-beat.

Although it could not be said that we created a clear iconography for the performers in our music video, we did keep a common theme and it could be argued that in the spirit of creating a pastiche, the cup with fruit punch it hinted at an iconographic element in our video as one of the members of Wham! can be seen to be drinking from a cocktail in the original music video.

Following on from this, the pretend cocktail that starred in our music video could be better described as an intertextual reference to the original music video, which meant that our music video emanated another code stated by Andrew Goodwin. Contradictory to the codes and conventions that we followed, there also ones that we contradicted. For example, one code that we disregarded in the process of making our music video would be the one that states that particular music videos will have an iconographic performance style, in terms of the choreography for example. Instead of researching stereotypical dance moves and performance styles of the genre pop (which is the genre that the original music video belongs too) we decided to create our own choreography as it decreased how restricted we were and allowed us to explore different editing techniques as we then had a range of different dance moves and differentiating frames that we then pieced together in post-production.

We knew it was important that we were able to showcase our editing skills just as much as it was to show our filming skills and I feel that we did this by not following this convention. Another code that our music video challenged could be seen through our lack of use of voyeurism, which according to Goodwin is a common theme when a woman is focused upon in a music video. It is clear that we did not attempt to record the filming of our music video or use of separate screens, windows or cameras. Finally, the endmost convention that we as a team negated when filming our music video is the mass use of close-ups of the main artist. According to Andrew Goodwin the use of close-ups or a general focus on the main artist in a music video tends to be a common demand that can come from a director’s record company. In my team’s case we had no record company to answer to so there was no pressure in terms of incorporating close-ups or a more centralised approach in reference to the focus of the music video. Although there were frames included where only Holly was in shot.

Another theorist in which we can attune our music video too is Joan Lynch. Lynch stated that there are three basic video structures that a music video can categorise itself in. The categories included performance, narrative and concept. Our music video visual could not be described as a narrative piece as it is clear that we do not follow or attempt to create a story with a beginning, middle and end in our music video. In relation to whether our music video fits within the prospectus of performance is arguable. This is because Holly lip synchs the lyrics throughout the majority of the frames but she is not actually singing the words (not singing them so that they can be heard). I think it would come down the personal opinion of the audience member as to whether they would deem Holly’s actions and the music as a true performance piece or not. On the other hand, this music video could be allocated to the concept structure as we took the theme of the original video made by Wham! and attempted to feature it. This meant that we transpired a similar, conceptualised feel to our music video in accordance to the original .

On the subject of Jon Gow’s central genres, where the display of the performance and the relationship between certain factors is more focused upon, our music video quite clearly and concisely fits into “the song and dance number” genre. This is can be materialised due to the fact that our music video is entirely made up of frames which include either the use of dance moves or lip-syncing. Our video does not include the displaying of the process of production, special effects or a lack of the participant’s performance. This means that the video does not fit into any of the other genres.

As mentioned before Holly and I were in charge of editing the frames and manipulating them in a way so that everything fitted together and that there were no obscurities in relation to the timing of the track and lip-syncing and or choreography. As well as piecing together the frame we also used other effects that created a fading effect from one frame to another. We did this by making more than one layer and then placing one on top of the other but we lessened the opaqueness of the top layer so that the bottom one could still be seen. Another element that was added through editing could be seen in the final few seconds of the music video. Instead of cutting straight to a black screen once the track had ended, we faded the picture out so that it was not such an abrasive ending. One issue that we had in terms of editing was that at the end of the video there is a prolonged black screen that shows for almost an extra two minutes. Between Holly and I, we could not figure out how to decrease the time that this black screen would show for before the deadline, in which we had to upload the music video.

In connection with what I learned from this transition project there are a wide range of different skills that I could state. The first one would be considered as more of a personal than a practical one as this project allowed to experience the opportunity to work within a production team of a music video. In order for our team to complete the music video before the deadline we really had to rally, work efficiently and effectively with the time that we were all able to dedicate to this project. On the practical side of things I would say that I learnt a great deal in reference to editing. Before this project I had never had the opportunity or the need to use an editing programme and I at first found it difficult to come to terms with the software but with the help of Holly I managed to get the hang of it and become a more helpful entity in the editing process. As a part of the editing process it was important that the timing of the track matched the performance that could be seen on the screen. Furthermore, I learned how to make sure that this timing was accurate.

The second practical skill that I managed to attain was the ability to direct others. Even though I was technically the person who was second in command on this front I still, at times was left as the sole person in charge when it came to the organisation of the framing and direction. This was due to the fact that I was the camera woman so it made sense that I was the one to tell Holly, Valentina and Estelle what to do and where to stand in correspondence to their positions within the frame.

Transition music video analysis  


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