Scenario: You have been asked by a local production company to contribute to a programme about how music videos are constructed. This will take the form of a V/O commentary, describing the various styles, conventions and techniques that are often used when directors come up with ideas for music videos.
For this unit we had to watch at least 6 music videos and talk about three elements of the video. These elements are; style, conventions and techniques. For each video we had to talk about two different styles, two different conventions, and two different techniques that are typical of the genre the music falls under.
– Style; in-concert/ live footage, animation, interpretative- what do the lyrics mean/ what does the video mean, narrative, surreal, parody, homage. – Conventions; lyric interpretation, extended or consolidating songs meaning, links to other artists. – Techniques; cutting to the beat, special effects, miming or lip syncing, multiple images, camera movement, camera angles and chroma key or green screen.
Royal Blood – Ten Tonne Skeleton Genre; Rock, Hard Rock, Garage Rock) Style; Lip syncing, showing the band playing, interpretive narrative along side the music. Conventions; Rock = fire through out the video and destruction, the car crashes, Polices lights, low key lighting, dark scenes. Techniques; Miming/ Lip syncing, multiple images cut after each other, cut to the beat.
Some of the typical elements/ conventions for a ‘rock’ music video are; the video always features the lead singer, sections of the video will show instruments that are used, footage is usually edited to the music (beat matching), low key lighting is frequently used, settings are dark and ‘grungy’ and props used are often dark coloured, e.g. dark red and black. I think that ‘Royal Blood- Ten Tonne Skeleton’ is a prime example of a ‘typical rock music video’. This is because it shows most of the usual conventions of the rock genre. The settings are dark, where its is filmed in a cave, mostly at night and in shadows of trees and buildings. The lead singer is also shown quite heavily though out the video, also the instruments that used in the song are shown in close hp’s. The music in some points is also beat matched with the video which is a typical convention for rock genre, I think that this is a good element within rock videos because it puts more emphasis on the music making it feel more intense for the audience.
George Ezra – Listen to the Man Genre; Folk Rock, Blues, Rock, Light Pop Styles; Interpretive narrative. Conventions; Interpreting songs image, Playful video/ Light hearted. Techniques; Miming/ Lip Syncing, Multiple camera shots (different sized shots from straight forward).
George Ezra falls under the genres of; folk, rock, blues and pop because many of his songs are light and easy to listen to. ‘Listen to the man’ I think is has more conventions of a pop video than it does any others, these elements aren’t very obvious as there isn’t as much going on in the video unlike most pop videos. The video shows George Ezra and Sir Ian McKellen, performing the song on a simple set, a painted background, and only a few props, this is not like many pop video where they are over the top and have lots of props. This, I think detracts from the song because you have to focus to much on the video. The conventions that I have seen in ‘Listen to the man’ are that the video is playful and easy to watch, making the song easier to listen to. Also like many pop songs the video has a break during it, usually around the middle, where the performer stops and says something, a short scripted video, this happens when George talks to Ian McKellen. The video also uses miming and Lip Syncing which is a common element to most pop videos.
Sia – Buttons Genre; Alternative Rock, Pop, Acid Jazz. Style; Interpretive narrative, surreal. Conventions; Lyric interpretation Techniques; Beat Matching, Lip Syncing, Camera angles (the same shot though out the video), the video also gets sped up towards the end of the song, matching the pace of the music.
Much like some of George Ezra’s music, Sia comes into the the pop music category. I would say that this is because her music videos are easy to watch. There isn’t too much of a story line, so it doesn’t detract from the music. One of the common elemnts for Alternative Rock and Pop genres, is that the video has an interpretative narrative, you need to listen to the music to understand what the video is about, but there are some narratives that aren’t much like the music, for example, Sia – Buttons, and George Ezra – Listen to the man, these two music videos don’t tell us what genre the music is, but they are both in the style of and have the conventions of the genre that they fall under. Common techniques of the pop genre are, Lip syncing and beat matching. Both of these techniques are included in ‘Buttons’. The beat is matched to the movement of Sia’s head in the video, flicking side to side, she is also lip syncing while moving her head.
Pink Floyd – Louder Than Words Genre; Progressive rock, Psychedelic Rock. Style; Live recording footage, Interpretive, Surreal. Conventions; Extending songs meaning, lyric interpretation. Techniques; Chroma Key (green screen), camera movement and angles, quick cuts, multiple images.
Pink Floyd – Louder than words is a prime example of the surrealism of the psychedelic rock genre. This is because the music video opens with a shot of the clouds and then we see a man moving thought them on a gondola. This shows the surreal nature of the of the music video, it also reflects the psychedelic nature of the music. Another typical style of a progressive rock band is to show the band or singer doing a live recording of the song. The video that Pink Floyd has used also shows some of the typical techniques that are used in, rock and progressive rock, for example; chroma key (or green screen) is becoming a more frequent technique for bands, even older bands such as Pink Floyd, this shows the evolution of music and music videos. The camera movement is also quite typical of progressive and psychedelic rock videos, because we get a mix of slow and fast paced shots, this is also mixed with multiple camera shots and angles. We get, birds eye/ point of view shots, close-ups, long shots, mid shots, etc. This shows helps to convey the meaning of the music video to the audience.
Deep Purple – Smoke on the Water Genre; Hard Rock, Blues Rock. Style; Live in concert footage. Conventions; Traditional (only concert footage). Techniques; Different camera sots, (concert style filming).
I chose this song because it is a typical, rock/ hard rock music video in the sense that it is ant actually a music video it is a concert. This is usually the case for hard rock bands, because it is more about the music rather than the effects. The main conventions that ‘Some on the water’ show are; its a traditional music video, only in concert footage. Another convention that the song uses an instrumental where we as the audience are shown the band playing solos, this is also typical of rock and, blues genres.
Alt-J – Breezeblocks Genre; Indie Rock, Electronic, Folktronica. Style; Interpretive narrative, surreal. Conventions; Lyric interpretation, consolidation songs meaning. Techniques; Special Effects, Reversing the video
The music video for Alt-j’s Breezeblocks is a common style for indie rock and electronic. It shows a surreal narrative that puts emphasis on the music. The video is showing a fight between a man and a woman but it is all show in reverse, special effects are a used quite heavily in videos of this genre. A convention that is also used in indie rock videos in lyric interpretation, which consolidates the songs meaning. This helps the audience to identify with the music, the pace and style of the video also makes it easy for the viewers to listen to the music, without having to focus on the video to much, which reflect the chilled out nature of indie rock music.
We also had to get in groups of 3 or 4 and discuss different music videos and why we liked them. I worked with Callum Bailey and Olly Milea. The discussion had to be about 20 minutes long. So we talked about two music videos each, all of different genres.
These two videos are from Olly’s Youtube channel. I had made my own version where the video of each song played in the back ground to the discussion. However the file became corrupt so I was unable to upload my own edit of the our talk.