Friday, 30 September 2011

WS - Pitching an idea for a music video remake

This week in Media, we have been looking at re-making a music video in preparation for the coursework, for which we will have to pitch next week. The first part of this task was to pitch an idea for the class to use.

The idea that I chose to pitch was "Rockstar" by the band Nickelback. The reason I chose this song was because I thought it would give the group a good opportunity to try out a number of different camera angles, camera shots and different shot lengths. These are all key aspects for successful music videos and I thought this video would have provided us with the chance to do this. The music video for this song is also one that could provide a very good remake. The video is made up of people lip-synching to camera, something which we could 'copy' into our own version of the video.

The winning pitch was for the song "Hello" by Martin Solveig. In a later blog post, I will talk about the filming of this video, and both the good and bad points to come from it.

Click the link to see my deconstruction for the video, "Rockstar".

You can view the video for "Rockstar" here.

WS - Marking an A2 Blog

Last week we were asked to mark an A2 Music Video product. This week we are looking at the mark scheme and attempting to mark the blog of one of last years A2 Media students.

The blog I have looked at is by Joel Colborne. The song that Joel and his group (Callum Moreman and Jonny Hughes) used for their music video was "Disorder" by Joy Division.

Below is my marking for Joel's blog from looking through the mark scheme.

  • Research into similar products and a potential target audience. Excellent. The research into the song/band/similar material evidenced on the blog is in depth. A number of posts stand out in this category and show the overall excellence of this blog. Existing Videos For Ideas & Similar Bands - New Order case study.
  •  Organisation of actors, locations, costumes or props. Excellent. One example in particular of this is absolutely brilliant. The overall organisation also seems to be fantastic, leading me to give the grade 'excellent' for this section. The best example of this is Call Sheets and this post including a Vodcast, Locations.
  • Work on shot lists, layouts, drafting, scripting or storyboards. Excellent. Again, all of this is evidenced well on the blog. There is a great example of what a Storyboard should be like, including some very impressive drawings to demonstrate how the shots will appear. As well as this there is further evidence in the form of this Production Diary.
  • Time Management. Excellent. The time management by the group seems to be excellent from what I can see on the bog and there are a number of reasons for this. Firstly, because there does not appear to be any particular time where the work has been crammed into. The work, including the time for production seems to be evenly spread out showing great time management. Secondly, and arguably more importantly, the use of storyboards, call sheets and other such materials shows the planning and management that has gone into the blog and product. Signs from the blog show excellent time management.
  • Level of care in the presentation of the research and planning. Excellent. Like the Time Management part, the evidence for this part can be seen from looking down the blog. There are a number of different types of media used and the presentation is close to perfect. The blog looks neat and is very well set out, easy to navigate around and posts are clearly labelled.
  • Skill in the use of digital technology or ICT in the presentation. Excellent. This was touched on in the previous point, but I will discuss it further here. A good example of the blog showing off ICT skills and use of technology is with the Treatment. This shows ICT in the way that the document has been created, showing great skill in the organisation, presentation and quality of the product. By embedding this document with Scribd, this post also shows the use of digital technology. Examples like this can be seen throughout the blog, leading me to conclude that the blog is 'excellent' in this category.
  • Communication Skills.

The overall quality of the Research and Planning of the Blog is EXCELLENT. The quality is fantastic, as is everything about it from the presentation to the standard of the posts. If I were to give this blog and overall mark for research and planning, I would give it as high a mark as 19 or 20/20/

Thursday, 29 September 2011

WS - Marking a piece of 2011 A2 Coursework

The latest task that we have been given as part of the coursework is to take a piece of A2 coursework from last year and, using the mark scheme, attempt to grade the piece of work and to look at the specific areas that our own work will be marked on. The video I was asked to look at was the work of George Scaife and Elizabeth McPhail. The song they used was "Land Down Under" by Men at Work.

Below is my view on what the product deserved for each category:

  • Holding a shot steady, where appropriate. Excellent. Throughout the video, the camera is kept very still where this is appropriate. There are times when this isn't the case, but it appears to be a deliberate tactic, and not shoody camera work. An example of holding the shot steady is at the beginning of the video, between the "start and 0.12" 
  • Framing a shot, including and excluding elements as appropriate. Proficient. A very good example of excellent framing of a shot comes at "2.36" where a character is grappling with a Koala bear, and in the top corner of the screen in the background is a sign reading "Koalas Next 4KM". However, there are times when the framing isn't wuite perfect, for example the scenes on the moorside where graffiti is visible (my interpretation is that this isn't deliberat). This is unfortunate because the scenes such as this work well and the setting works well for the part of the video. This could be just a sign of how low budget Music Videos can be problematic, as the setting can not always be completely perfect. 
  • Using a variety of shot distances as appropriate. Excellent/Proficient. For this category I was torn between grading it as excellent and Proficient. I have highlighted Excellent in bold because I am swaying more towards that grade than proficient. Some of the variation in shot distances is very clever and good. An example of this is at "0.52-0.57". What is very good about this sequence is that it quickly changes the distance of the shot whilst showing the same scene throughout this five second period. However, the possibility of it being Proficient comes from some of the other parts of the video, where the distances are very similar for a number of shots. This may however, be a very harsh criticism.
  • Selecting mise-en-scene including colour, figure, lighting, objects and setting. Excellent.The video really seems to grasp the meaning of the song and a lot of this is down to the mise-en-scene. This particular song is actually quite a challenging one to find excellent mise-en-scene for. This video achieves it however through all the relevant, stereotypical Australian items used as well as the settings used. A very challenging part of the video must have been the differing climates between where they had to film and Australia. They have successfully managed this by selecting carefully when to film, and the thought and planning that seems to have gone into this is extroadinary. One example of the clever selection of mise-en-scene is "2.18" while another example is at "2.34".
  • Editing so that meaning is apparent to the viewer. Excellent/Proficient. This is another area where I am not completely certain what grade the video would have recieved for this category. Generally, the video is very good and easy to follow, but some parts/effects are difficult to understand in parts, for example at "0.37". The effect here and at other points in the video can be confusing, although again this may be a very harsh view.
  • Using varied shot transitions, captions and other effects selectively and appropriately. Proficient. There are a very limited amount of shot transitions, although it could be argued that transitions would ruin the flow of the video. The jump cuts used in the product do work very well. The effects look good on screen, although some of them are unclear as to why they are used to me.
  • Using sound with images and editing appropriately for the task. Excellent.  The imagary and the lyrics are very well linked in the video, and the lip synching is generally very good. An example of lip-synching is at "0.13". The editing and footage in the video is most certainly to an excellent standard, as are many other aspects of the video.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

WS - Class Vodcasts and things I have learnt

We have recently been looking at the Vodcasts as a class that we produced a few weeks ago. This was to try and get a stronger idea on the codes and conventions of music videos, as well as hopefully giving us clearer ideas of how these can differ within genres.

Tom and Rob's Vodcast
Tom was looking at "Yonkers" by Tyler The Creator
Rob was looking at "Knights of Cydonia" by Muse

"Yonkers" by Tyler the Creator
  • Video was just two shots.
  • Therefore the video used very long takes.
  • Used a handheld camera.
  • One man singing.
"Knights of Cydonia" by Muse
  • Made in 2006 and was a high-budget music video.
  • Had an online competition to spot the fifteen intertextual film references.
  • Has a few performance aspects in the video as well as the Narrative aspects.
  • Large number of special FX (example: the laser from the gun - Star Wars reference)
  • Includes Lip-synching
  • Makes use of crane shots
  • Includes footage supporting the Male Gaze theory.
  • Makes use of multi-layering.
Harry and Kyle's Vodcast
Harry was looking at "Hello" by Martin Solveig
Kyle was looking at "Afterlife" by Avenged Sevenfold

"Hello" by Martin Solveig
This is the song that we used for our class video. However, Harry has used the extended version here, which has an extra part at the beginning.
  • This was a concept video as the visuals were in no way linked to the lyrics.
  • There is quite a lot of shot variation in the video.
  • Gender representation - the girls supporting Solveig's opponent are glamorous. Supporting Solveig is his male manager.
  • Uses media language from another format.
  • The video includes a title. This is very unusual and is more associated with a Film Opening.
  • The opening to the video is much more like a film opening than a music video. An example of this is the editing style. For example, this video uses Continuity editing, which you are likely to see in a film or on a Television program. Music videos normally use dis-continuity editing as this draws attention to the editing. An example of this continuity editing is the appliance of the 180 degree rule.
"Afterlife" by Avenged Sevenfold

  • Narrative aspects as well as Performance aspects.
  • Hard Rock metal genre, so points made here maybe relevant to that specific genre.
  • Quite a simple video.
  • Makes use of dark lighting and dark clothing - most sub genres of rock metals use dark lighting/clothing.
  • Black and White video.
  • Twists to the afterlife.
  • Video involves a Narrative enigma.
  • The viewer is left hanging - this can be common in a music video. Whereas in Film there normally needs to be an ending for the viewer to understand it and to wrap up the story, a music video can be left with an open ending.
Sam and Ben's Vodcast
Sam was looking at "Firestarter" by The Prodigy.
Ben was looking at "Perfect Drug" by Nine Inch Nails.

"Firestarter" by The Prodigy
  • Fast paced video.
  • Short takes.
  • Scary video - sticks in the mind after and you remember the video.
  • Caused controversy, which can be beneficial as it builds up hype/makes people want to see the video.
  • Uses strobe lighting.
"Perfect Drug" by Nine Inch Nails
  • Made in 1997 with a budget of £1million
  • The video has intertextual links with David Linch's "Lost Highway"
  • Inspired by Gustof Kilmet
  • Performance and Narrative aspects in the video.
  • Youth Audience of 15-24
Jess, Gina and Ellie's Vodcast
Gina was looking at "Material Girl" by Madonna
Jess was looking at "Umbrella" by Rihanna
Ellie was looking at "Bad Romance" by Lady GaGa

"Material Girl" by Madonna

  • In the pop genre with a target audience of 15-24; male and female.
  • Young actors
  • Male Gaze theory applying for Madonna
  • Narrative video, and includes intertextuality with the film "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" because Madonna copies some of the actions that Marilyn Monroe does in that film.
  • Madonna's dancing and flirting with males signifies a heterosexual view in the video.
"Umbrella" by Rihanna
  • Male Gaze theory definitely applies, through her clothing and the fact at one point all that covers her up is silver paint.
  • Arguably the most famous part of her body is her bum.
  • Video uses a lot of Special FX such as fake rain.
  • Will have been a high budget video - Rihanna is one of the biggest female Artists around at present.
"Bad Romance" by Lady GaGa
  • From the Pop genre.
  • Video contains signs of sex and not been in control of yourself.
  • Shows an anti-feminist way towards women.
  • Intertextual reference with Madonna through the bra that she wears.
Common factors amongst the videos and artists are:
  • All big name artists and all very successful.
  • All known for wearing risque clothing.
  • All have videos that have caused controversy/offence
  • All have similar target audiences (youth audiences mainly)

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

WS - Vodcast Task

In order to spread and enhance our knowledge of Music Videos, we were set up on a task to create a vodcast talking about a video of our choice that we had deconstructed in our deconstructions. My choice of video to look at was "Take Back The City" By Snow Patrol. The reasons for my choice included the video being different and unusual, as well as enjoying the video when first seeing it during the deconstructing process.

For this task I was partnered by Melodie Abraham, who was looking at the Beyonce video "Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)". The task was to look at each video, compare them and then make a vodcast on the two videos discussing the differences and why they are different (eg. the genres/target audiences). We were given a few specific areas to discuss: 

  • A brief factual run down of each song: artist, track, year, chart position, album the song was from, director, genre and the target audience of the song.
  • Media Language (range/type/examples of shots used, and why/to what effect; also includes mise-en-scene)
  • Audience for the video
  • Is the video Performance, Narrative or Concept based?
  • Representation within the video.
  • Genre, and any signifiers for the genre in the video.

    Thursday, 8 September 2011

    WS - Deconstruction 17 - Read All About It - Professor Green (feat Emili Sande)

    "Read All About It" is a song by the British Rapper Professor Green.

    I have previously blogged on the video for "Party All Night" by Sean Kingston and described it as a 'poor' video. This video, on the other hand, is technically very good, and through the Performance and Narrative aspects of the video, has a lot of playback appeal.

    One of the reasons that the video is appealing is because there is a lot of shot variation, with a number of different camera angles and camera shots.This prevents the video becoming boring. I personally like the high angle shots, and there are a number of these throughout the video.

    Unusually for a Music Video (not incredibly unusual, but a common convention would be for fast paced shots. This therefore, counters that convention), this song actually uses quite a lot of long takes. This works quite well in the Narrative parts of the video, and although it is unusual, it is also very effective.

    One way in which this video achieves playbackability is through the editing. Whilst the Sean Kingston editing is relatively boring (the specialFX may be quite impressive, but they are not really beyond what we ourselves could do and wouldn't entice you into watching the video more than once), the editing on this video is much more interesting and watchable.

    The framing throughout the video is impressive, and often leaves you with more things you notice in clips the more you watch it.

    Transitions and jump cuts between two different narratives (a young, child Professor Green and an adult Professor Green). Similarly, there are two different parts to the performance part, with Emeli Sande's performance been kept seperate from Professor Green's performance. This keeps the video interesting and the viewer hooked, where as the Sean Kingston video may get boring to some viewers.

    "Read All About It" as a video also seems to have taken more care in the video as a whole. For example there are a large number of examples of Verisimilitude, such as pictures on the wall in scenes, the clothing and the hairstyles been relevant to the times they are meant to be shot from.

    It is clear to see that there are huge differences in the standard of Video between Sean Kingston's "Party All Night" and Professor Green's "Read All About It". One (Read All About It) is a very impressive video and is one that we should maybe use as inspiration. The other video (Party All Night) is a very disappointing video and is one that we could maybe view as an example of what we should try and avoid doing for our video. 

    Wednesday, 7 September 2011

    WS - Deconstruction 16 - Party All Night (Sleep All Day) - Sean Kingston

    Party All Night (Sleep All Day) is a song by Sean Kingston (Real name Kisean Anderson). The song was released on December 21st, and the video for the song was released two days later on the 23rd. As part of a class task, we looked at the video and discussed a number of points about the video. 

    The video is made up from two of Goodwin's three types of video, Performance and Narrative. The performance based parts are, as you would expect of Kingston singing whilst the Narrative parts of the video show clips from a party, following the lyrics to the song.
    "Sean said this would be the song of the new year." [Wikipedia]
    Although Kingston had a lot of faith in the song, the video is disappointing in certain areas, and from a technical aspect, could and should be much better.

    There is a serious lack of variation in the shot distances and shot variation. The majority of shots in the video, particularly in the performance based parts of the video, are mid shots or medium close-ups. A possible reason for this is that Kingston is not the typical physique for a singer, and these kind of shots avoid showing his lower body so much in the video. While this is quite a morally wrong thing to do in a video, it is a likely explanation. The lack of shot variation does seriously hamper the video, and does actually make it quite disappointing and a little bit boring to watch.

    The Special FX in the video look as though they may have taken quite long time to put in, and are probably responsible for a large part of the budget. However, they are not beyond what we ourselves could do. Final Cut has a wide range of Special FX and we can take advantage of these in the same way that this video uses them. 

    The one problem that we may encounter that this video did not is the use of tracks. Tracks allow for smooth tracking shots, where as without them the shots are likely to be jerky and can limit you to simply still shots.

    From looking at this video for a song from a world-famous singer, I have gained much more confidence about our own coursework videos. It has shown that professional work is by no means perfect and has given me the inspiration to try and better it. It has shown us that, while we may be disadvantaged in certain areas (such as equipment), we can potentially better this product with our own work.

    Tuesday, 6 September 2011

    WS - Deconstruction 15 - Take Back The City - Snow Patrol

    Artist - Snow Patrol
    Song Title -  Take Back The City
    Year - 2008
    Genre - Alternative Rock
    Director - Alex Courtes

    This is a very strange, unusual but interesting music video by Snow Patrol because of the way it is edited and the way in which the visuals were 'captured'.
    ""Take Back the City" is a song from alternative rock band Snow Patrol's fifth album A Hundred Million Suns. It was released as the lead single from the album on different dates in October 2008, depending on the region. The lyrics were written by Gary Lightbody and the music was composed by Snow Patrol. The song has positive lyrics, and is about the Lightbody's love for Belfast." [Wikipedia]
    The video has to different 'parts' to it, although they are intercut and mixed together throughout. One part of the video is performance based, and features filmed visuals of the band playing, but mainly of the lead singer Gary Lightbody, who is often seen singing to camera and lip-synching the words.
    The second part of the video is concept based, and has stop-motion shots of Lightbody walking through the city streets and includes a number of shots of London Skyscrapers. The photos were taken by Snow Patrol's photographer. The images have then been edited together, looking like they follow on from each other, although they are clearly individual shots.

    "The band invited fans in the age bracket of 18–35 to be a part of the video as extras. Interested people were required to email their details and photograph to the production company Partizan. The ones chosen were utilized for the pub scene, and scenes were shot on 11 August 2008 after midnight."
    The above quote is an example of the band getting the target audience and their fans involved in the video. It would also help to generate interest in the video. This would be a very good tactic for a band wanting to generate interest for a video if they have a low budget available, as it would be very cheap, but effective way to spread interest in the video.
      "fast paced, headache inducing visual spectacle"
    The above is a quote from RockTog magazine, referring to the video. The fast paced bit shows that the video does adhere to certain codes and conventions of music videos. It is also clearly an interesting and different idea, something which is common for a music video in order to make it stand out from the rest.

    Below is the Official Music Video for "Take Back The City":

    WS - Deconstruction 14- Run To The Hills - Iron Maiden

    Artist - Iron Maiden
    Song Title - Run To The Hills
    Year - 1982
    Genre - Heavy Metal
    Director -

    "Run to the Hills" was Iron Maiden's sixth single and the first single from their 1982 album 'The Number of the Beast'. The lyrics clearly discuss the violence visited upon Native Americans in the Nineteenth Century. 

    The song is on the label, 'EMI Group' also known as 'EMI Music. EMI, is a multinational music company headquartered in London, United Kingdom. It is the fourth-largest business group and family of record labels in the recording industry, making it one of the "big four" record companies. This shows that Iron Maiden, if they really wanted to and required a big budget, they could probably get it.

    This song comes under the genre of 'Heavy Metal' a genre of Rock Music. Charateristics of Heavy Metal music can be found here.
    The video for "Run To The Hills" has parts that are Performance based, and parts that are Narrative based. There is more time given to the Performance based parts of the video that there is to the narrative aspects, but both can be seen throughout. The narrative aspects of the video is actually quite comical footage from the 1923 film 'Uncovered Wagon' By James Parrot.
    This shows intertextuality and also that there is more than one way to get or make footage for a music video. The performance aspects of the video show the band playing and "Performing" the song, including close-up shots of band members, in particular the lead singer throughout.

    There are actually two different music videos for this song. The original version is the video that I have used for the deconstruction. The second video replaces the footage from the film that we see in the first video with animated visuals. The performance aspect of the original video is retained.

    Below is the original video, with the footage from the 1923 film:

    WS - Deconstruction 13- In Too Deep - Sum 41

    Artist - Sum 41
    Song Title - In Too Deep
    Year - 2001
    Genre - Pop Punk
    Director - Marc Klasfeld

    "In Too Deep" is a song by Canadian Punk Rock Band ,Sum 41 from the album 'All Killer No Filler'.The song has since been used in a range of different media, including the films 'Cheaper By The Dozen' and 'American Pie 2', and it also appears in the video game 'Lego Rock Band' and as downloadable content for 'Guitar Hero 5'. 

    The song belongs to the genre of Pop Punk which often includes vocals, electric guitar, bass guitar and drums, as seen in the video. Pop Punk is a fusion genre combining elements of both Pop music and Punk Rock. It has also, in the past, been described as a strand of Alternative Rock music. The song comes under two labels, and they are very different labels. In Canada, the song comes under the label Aquarius Records, an Indie Company. However, in America the song comes under the label Island Records, a susidiary of Universal Music Group, the largest in the Music Industry.

    Below is a quote taken from Wikipedia, summarising what happens in the Music Video:
    "Sum 41 face another dive team, represented as stereotypical high school "jocks" with muscular bodies and red Speedos. Each band member takes their turn diving off the board in comical fashion as they dive against their opposition who dive with mocking perfection. After guitarist Dave Baksh completes his dive, he then rises out of the water to play his guitar solo. After each dive, the video cuts to a scene of the band playing in an empty pool surrounded by fans cheering along. On the last dive, drummer Steve Jocz does a comically dramatic dive, in which he bounces off of every diving board and lands perfectly in the water. He is rewarded with perfect marks from the judges. The band wins and we see their disgruntled opposition. The whole crowd then dives in the pool in celebration."
    The video is actually a parody of the 1986, Rodney Dangerfield film, "Back To School". There is further intertextuality when Dave Baksh completes his dive and rises out of the water to play his guitar solo. It was later said by Baksh that this was copied from the Guns N' Roses video for "Estranged". The final dive is performed by drummer, Steve Jocz, who's dive is similar to that of Dangerfield's character in "Back To School".

    The video does stck to a number of common conventions for music videos, and a number of things you would expect to see do occur. For example, there is included in the video examples of where Female gaze and male gaze may occur, with close-ups of the band acting for female gaze, while close-ups of females in the crowd may act for the male gaze aspect. The pace of the shots, whilst being slow at the beginning, speed up to give a more traditional pace to the video. There are also a number of occasions where the lead singer looks directly into the camera while singing the song, aother common thing to see in music videos.

    The video is mainly performance based. The way te diving competition is performed adds an aspect of Narrative to the video as well, but it is in general a performance based video, with the band members all playing their instruments a number of times throughout the video. The band members are also involved in the diving competition and therefore the narrative part of the video also, along with a large number of extras, something which is unusual for a Music Video.

    Below is the Official Music Video for "In Too Deep":

    Monday, 5 September 2011

    WS - Deconstruction 12- Rockstar - Nickelback

    Artist - Nickelback
    Song Title - Rockstar
    Year - 2007
    Genre - Rock, Country Rock
    Director - Dori Oskowitz

    "Rockstar" is a 2005 song by the Canadian band 'Nickelback'. The song comes under the Rock and Country Rock genres and is on the label 'Roadrunner Records'.

    Originally, there was to be no video to accompany this song. However, when the song was re-released, Dori Oskowitz, who directed the band's "If Everyone Cared" video, returned to direct the music video. 

    The Video ended up being the biggest selling music video of 2007 on iTunes.

    This video is very unusual for a music video in that it is made up almost entirely of shots of celebrities and non-celebrities lip-synching to the words of the song. The members of the band do not appear in the video until the final shot. Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top does however appear in the video as himself and actually reads out his lines in the video, as he does in the actual song.

    The video is quite smilar to the video, "Just A Day" by 'Feeder' in that it has a number of different people performing to camera. This is another sign of links between videos, even if they are from other bands.

    When the non-celebrities are on camera, they are generally stood in front of an iconic landmark, for example Times Square in New York or Millenium Park in Chicago. The celebrities in the video include: Chuck "The Iceman" Liddell, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Eliza Dushku, Gene Simmons, Wayne Gretzky, Big & Rich's John Rich, the cast of The Girls Next Door, Kid Rock, Lupe Fiasco, Nelly Furtado, the crew from American Chopper, Paul Wall, Ted Nugent, Grant Hill and numerous others. Billy Gibbons also voices his lines in the video.

    To see a list of what shot number, which celebrity and which line each participant in the video performs, click here.

    This video is a performance based video. This is because each participant in the video is performing the song to the camera. It is a slightly strange, odd and unusual idea for a music video, although is similar to Feeder's "Just A Day".

    Unfortunately, Embedding this video has been disabled, so I will post a link to the video on YouTube instead.

    WS - Deconstruction 11 - Black Or White - Michael Jackson

    Artist - Michael Jackson
    Song Title - Black Or White
    Year - 1991
    Genre - Dance Pop
    Director - John Landis

    Michael Jackson is one of the most controversial, yet popular figures in the whole music industry, and his videos are know for being unusual, interesting and in some cases, having unusually high budgets for Music Videos.

    'Black Or White' had a budget of $1,500,000, which put's the video at #20 on the most expensive music videos list. Jackson also has another two videos in the top 20, 'Bad' and 'Scream', with 'Scream' being the most expensive Music Video ever. This shows the importance, as well as the power of Michael Jackson in the Music and Music Video industries.

    There are two main parts to the music video. The first part is at the beginning of the video and lasts until 1.47. This part of the video is Narrative based and is extended from the original track for the video. The second part of the video lasts from that point until the end of the video, and is more performance based as well as having some Concept aspects to it. The second part includes footage and shots from scenes around the world, with people from different culture's and places dancing with Jackson. There is also a part of the video where people's heads are morphed together and they are lip-synching, which I will discuss later.

    The first part of the video includes three well known actors in Tess Harper, George Wendt, and a then ten-year-old Macaulay Culkin, who had already starred in a film, Home Alone. Culkin's character is playing his music loudly in his bedroom, annoying his father (Wendt) who is trying to watch baseball on the Television and shouts for him to turn it off. When he gets no response he goes upstairs to shout at the young boy, before slamming the door shut and smashing a framed picture of Michael Jackson that was hanging on the back of the door. The boy gets his own back by setting up large speakers behind his father's chair in the downstair's room and switching the volume up to 'Are You Nuts!?!'. He then plays the instrument, shattering the windows in the house and sending his father flying out through the roof still in his seat.

    Important things to note from the first section include:
    • Although the first shot lasts 29 seconds, it doesn't get boring. This is because of the panning, movement and speed of the camera. If you want to use a single shot for a long period of time, you need to ensure it isn't boring for the audience.
    • Using three relatively big-name actors shows the influence of Jackson, and the budget of this video.
    • This part is extended from the original song - in the original there were just two voices shouting about what we can now see, this is an extended version from that.
    • The video contradicts common conventions - you would normally expect fast paced shots and cuts, this video however, is more like a film in the way the visuals are on screen (for example, the length of time each shot is on for is more like a film than a music video).
    • When Culkin speaks to the camera at 1.10, it is very much like he does in the film Home Alone, showing intertextuality between the two. This is probably the preferred reading of this shot, although people who haven't seen 'Home Alone' wouldn't pick up on it.

    The second part of the video is far longer than the first section. The second section  begins at the start of the actual song and carries on until the end. The big difference, apart from the song now having begun, is that whilst the first section was Narrative based, the video has now become a performance based video, with concept aspects of editing as well. The visuals in the second part generally feature Jackson dancing with people from different cultures and in different settings around the world. The different cultures and people represented include African Hunters, traditional Thai dancers, Plains Native Americans, a woman from India and a group of Russians. The video then proceeds to show Jackson singing and dancing in front of flames (this was filmed using a greenscreen, something more common to film than music video and another example of Jackson's videos moving away from common conventions) declaring "I ain't scared of no sheets; I ain't scared of nobody" in reference to the KKK torch ceremonies. Following this is the rap scene, featuring both Culkin and Jackson, as well as other children. Jackson then begins the final verse stood on what looks like a large sculpted torch. The camera pans out revealing it to be the Statue of Liberty. In the background are iconic landmarks from around the world. The final part of the video is the morphing heads, talked about in the early part of this post. The morphing heads are all lip-synching and singing the words of the song. See the link for an in-depth description of Morphing.

    Three frames form a morph from George W. Bush to Arnold Schwarzenegger showing the mid-point between the two extremes

    Important things to note from the second performance based part of the video include:
    • Jackson's influence and budget is clear once again, with the equipment (greenscreens), number of extras, settings and special effects used.
    • The amount of extras used would be much more likely to be used in a film than in a Music Video.
    • The video moving away from common conventions is clear again with the green screen and the extras, both would be more common in a film.
    • The video follows to the lyrics to a certain extent, and gives out a message that relates to real life. 
    • The actions of the star of the video (Jackson) represent his real personality - ie. quite eccentric and energetic.

    Controversy and Censorship
    Below is a quote from the Wiki page, explaining what and why there was controversy about this video:
    "Controversy was generated concerning the last four minutes of the original music video. Jackson walks out of the studio as a black panther and then morphs into himself. Then he walks outside to perform some of his most physically complicated dance techniques, in a similar way to "Billie Jean". This part contained sexually suggestive scenes when Jackson starts to grab his crotch and then zips his pants up. In the original version, Jackson is seen smashing windows,destroying a car and causing an inn (called the "Royal Arms") to explode. Jackson later apologized saying that the violent and suggestive behavior was an interpretation of the animal instinct of a black panther, and MTV and other music video networks removed the last four minutes from subsequent broadcasts."

    Below is the Official Music Video for 'Black Or White'.

    WS - Deconstruction 10- Buck Rogers - Feeder

    Artist - Feeder
    Song Title - Buck Rogers
    Year -  2001
    Genre - Alternative Rock
    Director -

    "Buck Rogers" is a song by British Rock band 'Feeder'. The song was originally written by frontman and lead guitarist, Grant Nicholas, for American Band 'Radio Star', but Nicholas was persuaded by producer Gil Norton to not give the rights to the song away, as he was convinced the song could be a big hit for Feeder.

    The Single was released on January 8th 2001. It was played on Radio 1, and appeared on their A-List, meaning the song would have been on high rotation. This shows the immediate reaction to the song was positive. 

    The song is part of the Alternative Rock genre and is produced on the label Echo. Feeder have since formed their own lable 'Big Teeth Music'. Typical instruments for Alternative Rock music, Electric Guitar, Bass Guitar and Drums, can be seen and heard in the song and video.

    The Wikipedia Page for the song has a short summary of the video:

    "The video starts with the band walking out from a spaceship, which is disguised as an elephant. During the first chorus after they walk out they are holding various fast food items, while looking around the velodome looking complex, wondering where they have landed. After the chorus, shots of the band standing still in mid-air positions are shown, and then the band mostly performing the song in fast motion with occasional freeze-frame shots added in.
    Before the last chorus, the band make their way back inside the elephant spaceship and look surprised as the inside is bigger than it looks on the outside. Here the band perform the last verse playing on instruments already inside the elephant, while the camera pans round the band before the screen turns black as the song ends at the same time."

    The majority of this video shows the band performing the song. The video was shot in Berlin, Germany in an underground car park and a sports complex. There are close-up shots showing the lip-synching of the band through the video. There is also some emphasis and close-up shots on the band playing their instruments and the instruments themselves. The close-ups of the instruments being played may make the video appeal to music lovers and fans of the instruments, and close-ups of the band will make the video appeal to their fans, and help to identify the video as theirs.

    Almost the whole of this video is performance based. There are slight aspects of Narrative, such as the entering of the elephant, symbolising the Spaceship, but almost the whole video is Performance based. However, there are most definately Concept aspects to this video. 

    The editing of the video is very unusual. There are a number of freeze frame shots at certain points throughout the video. There are also times when the visuals are speeded up, making the performance look more energetic and 'Crazy'. The editing style in this video makes it partly a concept based video, as well as a performance based video.

    Below is the video for 'Buck Rogers'.


    WS - Deconstruction 9 - Always - Bon Jovi

    Artist - Bon Jovi
    Song Title - Always
    Year - 1994
    Genre - Rock
    Director -

    "Always" is the best selling single by American Rock Band 'Bon Jovi', selling one and a half million copies in the U.S, and over three million worldwide. The song, at it's peak reached #4 on the U.S Billboard charts and #2 on the Top40 mainstream. It also reached #2 in Britain and Australia, as well as #4 in Germany.

    Due to the success of the song, it was unlikely that an Indie company or a small company would be the record label for the song. The song comes under the label of Mercury Records. Mercury Records is a subsidiary of Universal Music Group. This shows that the video for the song would have had access to good, big name actors and high budgets, if required.

    The song comes under the Rock Genre. Typical instruments for the Rock genre include Vocals, electric guitar, bass guitar, acoustic guitar, drums, synthesizer, keyboards. Included in the band and video are the instruments electric guitar, drums, keyboard, bass guitar and the Vocals of the lead sing Jon Bon Jovi.

    The Narrative aspects seen in the visuals do appear to follow the lyrics of the song. The song is about a love for someone, seen in the video to be the female the male character is seen with at '0.32'. An interesting point to make about the lyrics is actually in the first line - "This romeo is bleeding". The reason this is an interesting line is that the song was originally written for the film "Romeo is bleeding", but the band withdrew the song because they didn't like the film.

    Throughout the video, there are a lot of close-up shots of Jon Bon Jovi. This could be to appeal to the femal gaze theory and the female audience, but it could also be because he is a big star and recognisable figure for the band. Intercut throughout the video are shots of Bon Jovi singing into the microphone. He gives quite an emotive performance when on screen; he isn't simply stood still singing. There are also shots of other members of the band playing their instruments.

    As previously said, the song was actually originally written for the film "Romeo Is Bleeding" and the first line of the song reflects that. The band dd not like the song however and the song was actually disregarded after Jon Bon Jovi put it on a shelf and forgot about it, until a friend found the song and convinced Bon Jovi to release it.

    The video is generally a narrative based music video. However, intercut at certain points thoughout the video are shots of the band playing and, more frequently, Jon Bon Jovi singing. Therefore the song has some aspects of performance to it. The majority of the video however, is narrative based. 

    Below is the Official Music Video for "Always".

    Friday, 2 September 2011

    WS - Deconstruction 8 - Die Another Day - Madonna

    Artist - Madonna
    Song Title - Die Another Day
    Year - 2002
    Genre - Dance-Pop
    Director - Traktor

    Madonna has been a huge figure to date in the Music Video industry, and so it seems appropriate to do a blog post on one of her videos. The video I have chosen to look at by Madonna is 'Die Another Day' (Another video used for a James Bond film). The reason I have chosen to look at this is because of it's high budget; it is the second highest budget Music Video (using Production Costs at time of production) ever made behind Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson's 'Scream'.This song is part of the Dance-Pop genre. The label that the song is under is Warner Bros. Records, a subsidiary of Warner Music Group. This goes a long way to explaining how the video can have access to a very large budget.

    The music video includes an extroadinary amount of intertextuality, with most of the references been to the James Bond film series. A paragraph from Wikipedia summarises the references to different charcters from film's seen in the video:

    "The video features references to Honey Ryder (from 1962's Dr No), Rosa Klebb and Blofeld's white Persian cat (from 1963's From Russia With Love), Oddjob and Jill Masterson (from 1964's Goldfinger), Tee Hee's metal arm from the 1973 Live and Let Die, Francisco Scaramanga's golden gun from 1974's The Man With The Golden Gun, as well as a spacesuit, a fencing battle in a Venetian glass factory, and a Jaws-like man with metal teeth, all referencing 1979's Moonraker, and even contains a reference to Luke Skywalker's lightsaber battle with Darth Vader in The Empire Strikes Back"
    Madonna as seen in the film
    As well as the intertextual references mentioned above, the video also contains a large number of references, and copy-cat scenes of what can be seen in the film, 'Die Another Day', for which this song is the theme tune. Character's such as General Moon can be seen in the video as well as a poster of Pierce Brosnan as James Bond, like he was in the film. Added to this are the settings and situations played out in the music video, for example the Fencing scenes, fighting scenes and the torture scenes, as seen at the start of the video. All of these scenes are taken from the film, but are using different people to portray them here, an examle of this been Madonna replacing James Bond as the person being tortured. Another character that Madonna replaces in the video is Miranda Frost, who takes part in the fencing in the film. Frost was a protogee of another character seen in the actual film, Verity, played by Madonna.

    Throughout the video there are a number of close-ups of Madonna, who is a huge international star. The close-up's emphasise that it is her song and her video, and may in some cases apply to the Male Gaze theory.

    The main part of this video is Narrative based. The narrative aspects of the ideo are throughout the whole video, and even when Madonna is performing in parts of the video, there are still aspects of narrative to it. Madonna does however, perform to camera at points throughout, for example when she is struggling against the torturers; it is still during a narrative part of the video but is incorporating performance aspects too. 

    Below is the official music video for the song:

    The song was also used as a theme song for the film 'Die Another Day'. Below is  link to the version seen in the film:

    WS - Deconstruction 7 - You Know My Name - Chris Cornell

    Artist - Chris Cornell
    Song Title - You Know My Name
    Year - 2006
    Genre - Alternative Rock
    Director -

    I have chosen to look at this video because it is very different to the videos that I have looked at so far. "You Know My Name" By Chris Cornell is the theme song to the James Bond film, 'Casino Royale', released in 2006.

    The music video is made up of shots from the film, shots of Cornell performing and also a number of shots of Cornell in settings seen in the film. They are intercut with each other throughout the video.

    The song belongs to the Alternative Rock genre and the Hard Rock genre, a form of loud, aggressive rock music. The song is under the label A&M Records, an American record label owned by Universal Music Group, the largest group in the Music Industry.

    Throughout the video, there are shots of Cornell performing the song, singing into a microphone and playing the guitar. The visuals, apart from those of Cornell, are clips from the film. There are also shots of Cornell in settings that are seen in the film.

    The music was, as previously stated, the theme song for the James Bond film, 'Casino Royale'. The music video does, in part, act as a big advert for the film, in that t shows a large nuber of clips from the film, much like a film trailor would do. However there are also parts of the video where Cornell is performing and parts where he is in the settings used in the film.

    Throughout the video, there are a number of close-ups of Cornell and a number of shots where he is looking directly into the camera. There are also close-ups of Daniel Craig, who is the star of the film. These two people are the two most recognisable characters for fans of the song (Cornell) and the film (Craig). The close-ups of the two males will also add to the Female Gaze theory, while the inclusion of Eva Green in some shots adds to the Male Gaze Theory.

    Because the video includes footage from the film, there is a clear intertextual reference, with a clear and very strong link between the film industry and the music video industry here. The link also shows mutual dependance between the two industry's and is an example of how they can help each other out, for example the music video will benefit because people who watch and like the film may be interested in the music video, and also vice-versa, people who like and see the music video may be interested in the film. Both parties benefit from the link.

    This video is a mix of Narrative based and Performance based. The narrative aspects of the video include sections where Cornell is walking around, and acting in the settings and scenarios from the film, and also the footage from the film itself. There are also performance based parts to the video however, when he is playing his guitar and singing.

    To see the official video, see below:

    As well as this video, there is the song as seen in the opening credits of the film. Embedding has been disabled on this video, so follow the link below to find the video: