Our brief this year was to create a pop video or short film lasting approximately 5 minutes. The AS brief was to create billboards or posters about health. They differ in that one concentrates on moving image where the other concentrates on print. However they both require strong visual images that provoke thought. New skills I have developed in creating a pop video are, how to create a storyboard and shooting scripts as well as how to use the cameras and editing equipment more efficiently. (Our treatment describes our A2 brief in more detail.)
I decided I wanted to create a music video, as audio is 50% of the media experience, so teamed up with others who also wanted to make a music video. We then decided on which song we wished to create the video for. We did this by brainstorming ideas (in our creative journals) and then choosing a song that we all liked and the creative ideas we wished to include in the video (type of shots, characters etc). At first we were producing a video for Jackson Five ‘I want you back’ but this proved to be harder than we originally thought and in addition it had already been created. So this is when we decided to change the genre of music from Pop to Indie and chose to create a video for Feeder’s ‘Yesterday went too soon.’ This song has never had a video created for it and therefore our audience would not have any prior expectations of what the video should look like and include. The only major issue we had with creating a pop video for this song is that we could not conform to all conventions of a music video; in this case we could not include the band Feeder, as we do not have access to them.
We looked at various indie videos before we began to storyboard. This was done to get ideas for our own video and to make sure it fitted in with the genre. There are two things that I believe influenced our film to a great extent, one is a video by Cold Play that uses reversing within the video like we do and the other is not a music video but a film, Sliding Doors. The element we took from this video was what if one minor event did/or didn’t happen how would the story turn out? This creates interest as the audience is left wondering for a while what is going to happen next? What will change? (why might these ‘themes’ be more appropriate for an indie music video?)
To organize ourselves, the time we had and the equipment we needed to use; we each decided on roles depending on what our strengths and weaknesses were. Jess was Director, James was Producer, Beth was Camerawoman and I was Location Researcher and Editor. However because we worked as a team these roles were not as defined and we helped each other with the tasks we found difficult. To organize our selves and get the best out of the time we had with the equipment we planned each day thoroughly. We created shooting scripts, storyboards and treatments (all of which are in our appendix) to enable us to get each shot correct virtually first time as in industry we would not have unlimited, free access to the props, actors and equipment.
We learnt about scripting, shooting schedules and treatments by looking at other peoples work for inspiration and to see what worked for them. We then adapted what we found out to suit us and created our own video. To create the storyboard we took the best ideas from everyone and the most influential ideas from music videos. (you could say a bit more about specific music videos that you used for inspiration, and also on how you defined the generic conventions of indie music video in particular) The storyboard was created while we listened to the song so that we could match the visuals to the sound. I believe our treatment and storyboard are good as we can understand them and if we were to give them to another group to create I believe they would be able to produce the pop video, as we want it. We developed them by first deciding on the major points we wanted to include and then showing them to our teacher and changing and adapting them accordingly.
Section Two – Analysis of finished product
Music videos are primarily used to promote the song of a band. (although they can be a bit like adverts, indie music videos in particular are also often trying to reinforce a particular image of the band) The benefit with a music video over say live performance is that it can reach parts of the world that the band may not be able to. Music videos can generally be split into three categories; Narrative videos (ones which tell a story), Performance clip (ones that focus on band performance) and (non)Narrative video (ones that concentrate on the rhythms and moods of the song). We chose to concentrate on a narrative based video as it fits with the genre we had decided upon. (Why?)
The genre of our music video is Indie. It was important when making our music video that we best matched the editing of our film with our chosen song. This is to make the video easy and comfortable to watch and to create a professional finish. Typical conventions of this style of music video include a storyline and maybe some band members featuring within the video. (you need to say more about this, and how these elements help to develop an image of the band) We conformed to as many conventions as we could without making the video looking artificial or amateur. We especially conformed to the convention of editing being faster with shorter shots than normal. We did this to keep up with the pace of song and to keep the viewer from getting bored.
To make sure that the video flowed smoothly we used straight cuts most of the time with dissolves and fades where we felt appropriate. (Why?) Indie music does not have the bright upbeat cheer as a pop video does but it is not dark and sinister either so to convey realism we used natural light so that the video doesn’t look like an over dramatic piece of work.
Music videos are often playful, experimental and usually about stretching the boundaries of ‘realist(ic)’ style. In a way we have done this by using the rewinding shots and the slowing down of the falling orange juice glass.
The narrative of our video is about a guy who has a regular, mundane routine of waking up, getting dressed and going to catch his bus, we look at what would happen should this vicious circle break and as it turns out his life become better because of it (He meets up with the love of his life). This is parallel to the music as the song is of similar content where its lyrics can be interpreted in many ways. For this video to work we needed to capture the audience’s attention to do this we used another convention of music video which is the visual hook. This is where a close up of the band is used to keep the audience’s attention. In our case we used the extreme close up of the guy’s eyes right at the beginning of the video. It goes on longer than a normal video clip would to establish the fact that he had just woken up and so essentially throws the audience right into the video. (Do we see him again? How does this develop image?)
A variety of styles ranging from realism to symbolism have been used within our film, for example when the glass breaks. This is a key moment in the video as the glass breaking symbolises the vicious circle of daily routine breaking. This dramatic event is emphasized by the image being slowed down making the audience notice the importance of it. Another example of symbolism is the routine as a whole being shown then re-wound back to be re-shown again, this emphasises the unexciting, everyday life that the guy leads.
The ideology of our video is that something so small can change the route in life you take forever; i.e. because of the glass breaking he has met up with his old girlfriend and is now happy. (It is fairly conventional heterosexually romantic – how does this relate to target audience, and the image you are trying to create of the band? How do you want male and female audiences to feel about them? You can cover that in the next section)
Section three – Institutions and Audiences
Our music video has been created for the mainstream audience and therefore hopefully appeals to most people, however we understand that not everybody likes the indie style of music and therefore will not appeal to all. Our target audience is for young teenagers, but as our song is a ballad we could expect some older listeners. We have tried to aim the video at all genders as the music industry is now strongly supported by both. We have also aimed the video at all social classes but predominantly middle – working class people (that’s quite a diverse range….) as they make up the larger proportion of our population. We have enforced this by not using any obvious branded clothing or objects. We tried to aim the video at all races but did not have access to them to use within our video, so instead tried to produce a video that would not offend anybody. (anyway indie music has a predominately white audience) I believe an independent record company or the band itself would fund the making of this video, as that is how it is generally done in industry. Music videos are created to promote a song and to create awareness of the artist so the best place for them to be seen would be on 24hr music channels like MTV or on music shows like Top of the Pops or CD:UK, by putting the video on these sorts of programs people who are interested in music will purposefully watch them and tell friends about the songs and so forth so that by the time the single comes out everyone knows about them and the band should get good record sales.
Our music video reflects generic conventions through the use of narrative and visual hooks.
From the movie sliding doors we have taken the theme of something so little can change your life forever and we have shown how it can go either way. We have also taken influence from Cold Play’s recent music video; from this we used the use of rewinding to keep the audience interested. (why is Coldplay a good reference point?)
To find out if our video had achieved its aims we asked a focus group to watch the video and then answer some questions on it to see how they would respond to the text.
When asked about the genre of this piece the entire group got that it was an indie music video. Therefore fulfilling that part of the requirements.
We then asked about more complicated issues like the Ideology of our video. Ours being based on the theory that can something so small change your life forever and if it can is there such a thing called fate? Again everybody understood this with a main answer being ‘How little things can change the fate of a day, love as well,’ and ‘how easily it can be changed.’
To see if our video fitted in with conventions of music videos in general and in particular indie music videos we asked our focus group about them. A major point that came up was the fact music videos usually include the band, which in our case was not possible because we did not have access to them. However on a brighter note our mise-en-scene and lighting was suitable and appropriate for the video and created the realism need to fit in with the conventions of the genre.
A key point to making a good pop video is the length of shot and how well the video has been edited. So to see if we had taken these points into enough consideration we asked the focus group about them to see if they matched our own views on various elements in the video. For example the length of the rewinding shots, most people found it got tiring after watching it twice through and so felt that the rewinding shots could have stop at where the orange juice was being poured. Also they felt that they liked the repetitive effect, but it could have been a bit faster, as not to drag on.
We next wanted to see if people could see where our influences had come from. Although no one in the focus group figured it out they came up with their own they we felt were just as appropriate. Some of them include the film; Run Lola Run and Craig David’s single 7 Days.
Another point we could not agree on as a group was whether or not to have more shots of the girl in the video to establish her character and the focus group it seems had mixed views as well. Some said there should be more of her to enable the viewer to understand the narrative more yet others said that the video worked well just concentrating on the one character, so that issue is left unresolved.
In addition to the above problem our group could not decided whether to leave the sound effects (that appeared by accident) or to cut them out so we decided to leave them in and see what our audience thought of them. Most thought that they should have been left out because they didn’t really fit in and I am inclined to agree. (Also they take away the focus from the music)
To finish off the feedback session we asked for people’s general opinions on our video. For example whether they liked it or not and why they did or did not like it. Most found the idea interesting and original with a play on the essentially simple narrative.