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Friday, 27 December 2013

Digipak research

One of the ancillary tasks that comes with my music video is to design a digipak to go with it.

What is a digipak?

A digipak is simply the casing in which the CD comes. Originally there was 6 frames, but now it's usually just 4, a case with a front and back, then two inside images, the back usually containing the track listing and the front usually containing the album artwork.

I plan on creating one of these for my song, so while I'm having some trouble organising the filming, I can get on with making this. I'll take some photos at the first opportunity I get.

Monday, 16 December 2013

Elements of a Music Video

Andrew Goodwin, in 1992, identified a number of key features which distinguish the music video as a form:

  • There is a relationship between the lyrics and the visuals (with visuals either illustrating, amplifying or contradicting the lyrics)
  • There is a relationship between the music and the visuals (again with visuals either illustrating, amplifying or contradicting the music)
  • Particular music genres may have their own music video style and iconography (such as live stage performance in heavy rock)
  • There is a demand on the part of the record company for lots of close-ups of the main artist/vocalist
  • The artist may develop their own star iconography, in and out of their videos, which, over time, becomes part of their star image.
  • There is likely to be reference to voyeurism, particularly in the treatment of women, but also in terms of systems of looking (screens within screens, binoculars, cameras, etc)
  • There are likely to be intertextual references, either to other music videos or to films and TV texts
In addition, Steve Archer in Media Magazine 8 has drawn attention to the need to consider the relationship between narrative and performance in music promos.

The key elements of a music video are:

  • Lyrics
Lyrics tend to help establish a general feeling, or mood, or sense of subject matter rather than offering a coherent meaning. Key lines may play a part in the visuals associated with the song but very rarely will a music video simply illustrate the lyrics completely.

  • Music
A music video tends to make use of the tempo of the track to drive the editing and may emphasise particular sounds from the track by foregrounding instruments such as a guitar, keyboard or drum solo.

  • Genre
While some music videos transcend genres, others can be more easily categorised. Some, but not all, music channels concentrate on particular music genres. If you watch these channels over a period of time, you will be able to identify a range of distinct features which characterise the videos of different genres. These features might be reflected in types of mise en scene, themes, performance, camera and editing styles.

  • Camerawork
As with any moving image text, how the camera is used and how images are sequenced has a significant impact on meaning. Camera movement, angle and shot distance all need to be analysed. Camera movement may accompany movement of performers (walking, dancing etc) but it may also be used to create a more dynamic feel to stage performance, for instance, by constantly circling the band as they perform on stage. The close up predominated, as in most TV, partly because of the size he screen and partly because of the desire to create a sense of intimacy for the viewer. It also emphasises half of the commodity on sale - the artist, and particularly the voice. John Stewart of Oil Factory said that he sees the music video essentially as having the aesthetics of the TV commercial, with lots of close-ups and lighting being used to focus on the star's face.

  • Editing
Although the most common form of editing associated with the music promo is fast-cut montage, rendering many of the images impossible to grasp on first viewing, so ensuring multiple viewing, some videos use slow pace and gentler shot transitions to establish mood. This is particularly apparent in promos for many female solo artists with a broad audience appeal, such as Dido. Often enhancing the editing are digital effects, which play with the original images to offer different kinds of pleasure for the audience. This might takr the form of split-screens, colourisation and of course the use of blockbuster film style CGI special effects.

  • Intertextuality
The music video is often described as a 'post-modern' form, a slippery term which is sometimes used to mean intertextuality, one of the post-modernism's more easily identifiable features. Broadly, if we see music promos as frequently drawing upon existing texts in order to spark recognition in the audience, we have a working definition of intertextuality. Not all audiences will necessarily spot a reference and this need is not significantly detract form their pleasure in the text itself, but greater pleasure might be derived by those who recognise the reference and feel flattered by this. Arguably, it also increases the audience's engagement with, and attentiveness to the product, an important facility in a culture where so many images and narratives compete for our attention.

It is perhaps not surprising that so many music videos draw upon cinema as a starting point, since their directors are often film school graduates intending to move on to the film industry itself. From Madonna's 'Material Girl' (Mary Lambert, 1985) which drew on the song sequence Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend and Howard Hawks' film Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (USA, 1953), to 2Pac and Dr Dre's California Love (Hype Williams, 1996) which referenced George Miller's Mad Max (AU, 1979), there are many examples of cinematic references in music video. Television is often a point of reference as well, as in the Beastie Boys' spoof cop-show title sequence for Sabotage (Spike Jonze, 1994) or REM's news show parody Bad Day (Tim Hope, 2003). People see visual references in music video as coming from a range of sources, although the three most frequent are perhaps cinema, fashion and art photography. Fashion sometimes takes the form of specific catwalk references and sometimes even the use of supermodels, as by Robin Thicke in Blurred Lines (Diane Martel, 2013). Probably the most memorable example of reference to fashion photography (and to the fetishistic photography of Helmut Newton) is Robert Palmer's Addicted to Love (Terence Donovan, 1986), parodied many times for its band of mannequin style females, fronted by a besuited Palmer.

A description of music video as 'incorporating, raiding and reconstructing' is essentially the essence of intertextuality, using something with which the audience may be familiar, to generate both nostalgic associations and new meanings. It is perhaps more explicitly ecident in the music video than in any other media form, with the possible exception of advertising. It is suspected that the influence of videogames on music videos, particularly for younger audiences, has generated more plasticised looking characters.

  • Narrative and performance
Narrative in songs, as in poetry, is rarely complete and often fragmentary. The same is true of music promos, which tend to suggest storylines or offer complex fragments in a non-linear order, leaving the viewer with the desire to see them again. Often music videos will cut between a narrative and a performance of the song by the band. Additionally, a carefully choreographed dance might be a part of the artist's performance or an extra aspect of the video designed to aid visualisation and the 'repeatability' factor. Sometimes, the artist (especially the singer) will be a part of the story, acting as narrator and participant at the same time. But it is the lip-synch close-up and the miming of playing instruments that remains at the heart of the music videos, as if to assure us that the band can really kick it.

The video allows the audience more varied access to the performer than a stage performance can. The close-up, allowing eye contact and close observation of facial gestures, and role-play, within a narrative framework, present the artist in a number of ways not possible in a live concert. The mise en scene  in particular can be used:
  • As a guarantee of 'authenticity' of a band's musical virtuosity by showing them in a stage performance or a rehearsal room;
  • To establish a relationship to familiar film or television genres in a narrative-based video;
  • As a part of the voyeuristic context by suggesting a setting associated with sexual allure, such as a sleazy nightclub or boudoir;
  • Or to emphasise an aspirational lifestyle, as in the current emphasis on the latest gadgetry
Other commentators have identified some other styles in music videos, including gothic, animated, dreamscapes, portraiture, furutistic and home movie.

Lyrical Storyboard VERSION 2

(Opening note with strum of guitar)
Baby if you (close up of singers face) could would you go back to the (shot from stage left) start? (view from over the cymbals of the back of the singer)
(Another close up of singer's face)
Take any fresh (left to right pan of stage) steps or watch it all fall apart, again
Play another song here then you can  (close up of Sean's feet as he walks towards the camera, slowly panning upwards)leave (close up of Winona sat on sofa head in hands)
With your delicate wings, I use to weave (argument unfolds, shouting, arm gestures, angry expressions, shoving)

Maybe there's an under-tow here. (Sean stands up and starts to walk away)
Or maybe this is stuck up in the air (Winona throws cup/photo/glass at him)
I know how it looks but all that glitters ain't gold (shot of fingers on guitar/drummer/singer)

You gave me magical (as chorus kicks in, slow motion of thrown item smashing)
I gave you wonderful (View of entire band straight on)
Cut that invisible cord or I'll starve you of (Medium shot of the singer/bassist/cymbals)
What's understandable, let's make immeasurable (Sean walking away from the house/Winona sitting down crying)
Moves to the left or the right but not central cause (Longshot of band)

You gave me magical (Sean walking down a main road)
I gave you wonderful
Cut that invisible cord or I'll starve you of (Winona still crying)
What's understandable, let's make immeasurable (Band, shot from right)
Moves to the left or the right but not central cause (Winona sitting staring into thin air)

You gave me magical (Low angle shot, light in corner)
I gave you wonderful (Close up of guitar)
Let's make this biblical (Bassist)
And hang from our invisible cords (Drummer)

Baby if you could would you go back to the start? (Sean sat at home playing guitar)
Take any fresh steps or watch it all fall apart again? (Winona sitting drawing)

It could have been a wonderful year (Sean looks across and see's a photo lying on his table)
Instead we might not make it to the end (Winona see's the same photo on her mirror)
Everybody cares, but nobody knows (Both of them pick the photo up)

You gave me magical, I gave you wonderful (Low angle straight on shot of band)
Cut that invisible cord or I'll starve you (Drummer high angle)
Of what's understandable (Pan from right)
Let's make immeasurable moves to the left
Or the right but not central 'cause (Singer's face)

You gave me magical, I gave you wonderful (Sean folding the photo up and putting it in his pocket)
Cut that invisible cord or I'll starve you (Winona doing the same)
Of what's understandable (Sean putting on coat)
Let's make immeasurable moves to the left (Winona putting on coat)
Or the right but not central 'cause (Singer)

You gave me magical (Sean walking)
I gave you wonderful (Winona walking)
Let's make this biblical (Sean walking)
And hang from our invisible cords (Winona walking)

You gave me magical (singer)
I gave you wonderful (Bassist)
Let's make this biblical (Drummer)
And hang from our invisible cords (Winona looking at photo again)

Woah (Slow motion shots of band)
Woah (Shot of neck of guitar playing solo)

Baby how can you walk away? (singer)
Baby how can you walk away? (Sean walking)
Baby how can you walk away? (Winona walking)
Baby how can you walk away? (Drummer)
Baby how can you walk away? (Sean looking at photo, walking onto millenium bridge)
Baby how can you walk away? (Winona looking at phot, walking onto millenium bridge)
Baby how can you walk away? (Singer)
Baby how can you walk away? (Seans feet walking/Winonas legs walking)

Baby if you could would you go back to the start? (Lights dim, just the singer)
Take any fresh steps or watch it all fall apart again? (Both of their feet standing directly opposite each other)

Monday, 11 November 2013

!!!!!!!MASSIVE UPDATE!!!!!!!!







Monday, 4 November 2013

'Walking Scenes' shots

Since a lot of the story side of the music video involves the two characters walking to a specific location, I took photos of numerous places which I thought would be good to walk through.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Location Scouting

I recently went out over to Newcastle City Centre to try and find some locations suitable for my video. Initially I was dead set on using the cliffs at South Shields but decided that was far too impractical to use (takes too long and costs too much to get there without a car).

I remembered a small little walkway which my Mam and I discovered when we were out one day, somewhere along the Ouseburn/Lime Street, so I used a map and figured out how to get there. It was absolutely perfect for the scenes where there's a lot of walking/thinking involved, so I will definitely be using that. There are also various paths/hills/staircases which would be good to use that I spotted.

I took photos of all of these and plan on uploading them very soon, as soon as I get my hands on the camera again.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Angle testing

Unfortunately when I went to take some test photos deciding what angles to use in my video, there was a huge projector screen in the way, so i used it to my advantage and incorporated it into the testing, as I plan on using some form of screen to add some lights to as a background anyways.

Long shots:

Medium (straight on/high angle/low angle)

 I didn't get any close ups today but I plan on getting some in the near future

Monday, 7 October 2013

Music Video 1st Plan

Blue = Live Performing
Red = Story
Yellow = Directions

Took a bite out of a mountain range, thought my teeth would break the mountain down
Lets go I want to go, all the way to the horizon

(Slow motion break up between young couple, arguing, pushing, aggressive gestures, cup falling to ground and smashing in slow motion etc)
Took a drink out of the ocean and, treading water before I drown
Lets dive, I want to dive, to the bottom of the ocean(First shot of band, focus on singer singing to camera, then switching between other members)
Took a ride, I took a ride, I wouldn't go there without you
Lets take a ride, we'll take a ride, I wouldn't leave here without you

(Boy walking away, medium shot, angered expression, trashing surroundings. Girl breaking down crying)
I am the mountain
I am the sea
You can't take that away from me

(Close up of mic facing the singer, after "away from me" quick cuts between 3 shots for the 3 snare hits, some shots of drummer and bassist)I am the mountain
I am the sea
You can't take that away from me

(Moving shot in a semi circle from left to right of band)
'Cause you tear us apart
With all the things you don't like

You can't understand, that I won't leave
'Til we're finished here and then you'll find out
Where it all went wrong

(Boy sat on bed, playing acoustic guitar, can't focus, sees photo of him and girl at specific location, puts on jacket and walks out the door)
I wrote a note to the jungle and
They wrote me back that I was never crowned
King of the jungle so, there's a end to my horizon
Took a ride, I took a ride, I wouldn't go there without you
Lets take a ride, we'll take a ride, I wouldn't leave here without you
(Girl on phone to her friend, crying her eyes out, walking around her room until she sees the same photo, pauses, puts on her coat and walks out the door)
I am the mountain
I am the sea
You can't take that away from me
(Shots of drummer, close ups of guitars then long shot of band.)
I am the mountain
(Boy walking through a street onto a field)
I am the sea
(Girl walking through bushes up a hill)
'Cause you tear us apart
With all the things you don't like
You can't understand, that I won't leave
(More shots of the band, getting more and more energetic, "wont leave" close up of drum fill)
'Til we're finished here and then you'll find out
Where it all went wrong
(Boy runs fingers through his hair, holds photo in front of him, removes it to see location in the background)
Nothing lasts forever,(Screaming into microphone) except you and me (girl walking towards the edge of a cliff)
You are my mountain, you are my sea (Slow motion of band)
Nothing lasts forever, between you and me
(Boy putting photo back in his bag and walking forwards)
You are my mountain
you are my sea
(boy carries on walking, girl sits down)
I am the mountain
I am the sea
You can't take that away from me
(slow motion shots of band, cymbal hitting, guitar strumming, headbanging etc)
I am the mountain
I am the sea
(Boy reaches top of hill and sees girl sat on the edge, goes up and sits next to her)
I am the mountain
I am the sea
(Her hand rests on his, cut to black)

Monday, 16 September 2013

Roles I will need to fulfill


Since I am working on my own, I will need to do all of the planning myself, in terms of coming up with a storyboard for the story-side of the video and also the arrangement of the live performance parts of the video. I will also need to decide what outfits, instruments, positions, shots, sounds, angles, and edits to use, along with when and where we will be filming.

Camera work
Unless some friends will be willing to lend a hand, I'll probably be doing most of the camera work myself, except from when I'm the one being filmed. Therefore I'll be positioning the static tripod cameras, holding any tracking cameras, choosing when a good time to cut will be, and all other cameraman related tasks.

Acting is one of the most vital components of a music video. Without convincing actors, the video will come across as extremely amateur and people won't bother taking it seriously, therefore I need to make sure that mine and anyone else involved's acting is the best it can be.

Once all the filming is done, I will be the one in charge of editing it all together, choosing the length of shots, what shots to use, how they all fit together, and making sure the audio fits in sync with the video.

Seeking Permission From the Record Label

As there are multiple copyright and trademark rules, I decided it would be best to seek permission from Biffy Clyro's label 14th Floor Records before using their song in my video. Even if they don't reply, I can still say I asked, and presumed since there was no reply I was okay to use it.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Analysis of Everybody's Screaming A-LEVEL FINAL


The band are performing in a large open space, most likely a stage, performance hall or rehearsal space, typical of the rock music video genre, wearing casual clothing with messed up hairstyles, their instruments and a casual yet aggressive attitude about them. Story-wise, the protagonist is wearing typical office wear in a typical office setting, with anger in his expression showing he's stuck in a dead end 9-5 job which he "cant break free" from.  Therefore during the video via his expressions and actions it shows the progression of the anger inside him until he eventually snaps, but then the video is played in reverse until he wakes up in the morning, to show it was only a dream.


There is a variety of close ups to show expression, medium shots on individuals in the band as they perform or act, extreme long shots to show the entire band playing, or simple long shots during the acting, e.g someone walking around or talking to someone else. Also, as the chaos builds, the editing speed increases to add emphasis to the hectic-ness of the scenes.

Music Video Analysis: Swedish House Mafia - Antidote


The video's setting is a typical and conventional location of a nightclub, where countless other dance/electronic music videos are set, flooded with neon lights, which also fit with the Japanese hi tech settings. Throughout, there are numerous sightings of scantily clad women, strippers, money lying around, men in sharp suits, showing a divide in genders implying women are inferior and there to serve the men. Also, lighting wise, as everything begins to get serious and darken in mood, the lights darken and everything starts to become sinister and brooding.


There video is interestingly filmed in one long POV shot all the way through, no edits or cuts, seeming like something out of a first person shooter videogame, again going with modern technology. This breaks conventions and in my opinion pushes the bar for dance music videos to a whole new level.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Music Video Analysis: Mumford and Sons - Little Lion Man


The mise en scene throughout the whole video depicts an abandoned country/farm room or stage, with a number of lights draped across the scene in a country carnival fashion, everything seems really old fashioned and slightly southern, presenting quite a folk image to fit with the music.


Throughout, there are long shots of the entire band playing to the camera, putting the audience in the room as if the band are performing to them. Then there are close ups of individuals such as the singer, the other band members and sometimes instruments. The whole entire video is performance focused, there is no story like other videos.

Monday, 9 September 2013

Music Video Analysis: Biffy Clyro - Biblical


In the establishing shot, the singer is in a cluttered, averagely decorated what looks like Motel room, lying on the bed in a casual, relaxed exhausted pose staring into the distance. He then continues to open the curtains, flooding the room with light, a very powerful shot. The surrounding areas which he walks through during the video are pretty standard, a motel lobby, a bar, a public pool and a car park, keeping the tone of the video quite low. He's dressed extremely casually, a sleeveless top, skinny jeans and the typical greased, slicked back rocker hair, covered in tattoos and unshaven. In this video there are no performance shots of the band (I plan on having some in mine).


It starts off with medium shots of the singer Simon Neil, keeping a neutral tone, not showing much expression or fast movements, then switching to a tracking long shot as he walks through the various areas, and as he gets beaten down, with some more medium shots on his face as he sings.


I believe the message of this story is that whatever you do, sometimes some things are just inevitable, you just need to get back up again or avoid it completely in the first place, shown in the way he goes through the locations doing bad things, eventually getting beaten up, then cutting back to his hotel room allowing him to go through the day doing good things, still getting beaten up at the end, until eventually he decides not to leave his hotel room at all.

Friday, 30 August 2013

Music Video Ideas

For my A2 practical work I have decided I want to do a Music Video, since music is my strongest point and that's what fascinated me the most out of all of the choices. One of my favourite bands Biffy Clyro, their music videos are often very well directed, quite inspiring with their use of quite odd but intriguing stories which aren't always linked to the theme of the song. I have been debating for weeks on what song I would do my music video around, and it's between Foo Fighters - Walk, or Biffy Clyro - Mountains, both are two of my favourite ever songs, so deciding is going to be quite tricky. If I choose Walk, I'll probably try and stick to a similar, conventional theme of the video (a man stressed out with his 9-5 life eventually losing it and flipping out, but in Foo Fighter's traditional comedic way), but if I choose Mountains, the video that exists for that is extremely peculiar and would be very, very hard to replicate at an academic standard. However, to me the song is about the connection of two people and how nothing will separate them, whether that be two lovers, two members of family, anything. Just an inseparable bond between two people. I recently watched one of Pixar's shorts "Paper Man", a quirky, uplifting 5 minute video of two people drawn together by fate. I'll go into further detail on that in another post, but I would quite like to combine the meaning of Mountains with the message portrayed in Paper Man, but in a realistic, non-cartoon manner.

Chase Sequence Commentary

Completed Chase Sequence

Monday, 1 July 2013

Preliminary Task - Chase Sequence

A few days ago we got divided into groups, members picked at random. My group ended up being Me, Callum and Ryan. We were assigned the task of making a short chase sequence.

Firstly, we walked around examining separate locations while planning some possible narratives. We found as suitable place to film that suited our plan and went looking for someone to help with the acting. One of our friends who was on a free, and was quite good at running etc ended up lending a helping hand, while me and Callum ended up filling the other roles, me being the chaser, and Callum being the victim

We all worked contributed when it came to the camera work, deciding which kind of shots to use, actually filming and other such things. We filmed it rather quickly, all in the space of an hour, returned to the classroom (much to the teacher's surprise) when the battery ran out, reviewed our work so far, then went back out to get some final shots or improve ones we weren't too keen on.

We had a wide variety of equipment available to us. As there was no voice acting we didn't really need any sound equipment e.g. boom mics; the plan was to overlay music to create the atmosphere anyway. However, we did use the tripod and the small handheld steadicam (which wasn't that steady) that was available. The tripod was useful for creating static shots and panning shots etc and using a variety of angles. Although the steadicam was helpful in that it was accessible and easy to set up, rather than assembling a whole tripod every time we wanted to film, meaning we could think of a shot and shoot it straight away, the steadicam did have its limitations, it wasn't perfectly helpful when we decided to run with it, I mostly ended up getting footage of the sky and my face going "oh sh*t it won't stop spinning" rather than the actual acting in front of me) and the nature of the equipment meant we couldn't shoot at any angles such as from below or from above.

Tomorrow we begin the editing, which we will do on the Macs on iMovie. Callum offered to take the footage home and colour correct it on his computer at home on Adobe premier to make the footage look a lot less bland. Neither of us have used colour correction or colour grading before, but using it for our final product will create a cinematic quality that will set it apart from other products. I have began to conceptualize the moving image I wish to create by the end of the year, and with the range of equipment and skills we have, I think it should be something to reckon with.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Evaluation Question 1 - In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?

In order to create an authentic product I conducted thorough research into existing magazines such as Kerrang! and NME. I done this because I wanted my product to be as professionable as possible, to the same standard as those seen on the market today. I also chose a similar genre and style, so I took some of their conventions and manipulated them to make them more original and unique to my magazine. Also, when deciding what the layout should be like, I looked at these magazines and saw that they only had one main image on the cover, usually who the main article is about and who has been under the spotlight recently. However, the tone of this changes throughout the genres, for if you look at Top Of The Pops, it normally has quite girly features with either a musical fashion icon e.g. Lady Gaga or a teen heart-throb on the cover such as Bieber. Such as the one below

This house style would appeal to younger, more feminine audiences, with the use of pink and purple, and the writing such as "fitties seeking forgiveness" and "hitched or ditched" would be the topic of teen girl gossip. However, if you look at magazines such as Kerrang! or Q, it is completely different. They normally feature bands such as Foo Fighters, Green Day, Biffy Clyro and have much more musical related topics.

The look of destruction about these covers contrasts completely with the girly features on TOTP, and fits in well with the genre. As I am doing a similar genre, I used more of a chaotic layout, giving an organised mess sort of a feel to it, and also the features on the cover such as the articles shown within and the preview of all of the posters inside. Due to this, those who have looked at my product know exactly what genre of music I am showing immediately, therefore I believe I have successfully followed conventions of real media products.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Finally I have added in all of the smaller text to do with the individual articles in the magazine, a competition and all of the page numbers. It was tough contextualising the whole entire magazine but I got there eventually! And I really like my finished product

Friday, 12 April 2013

Here I have added headings for every section of the magazine, using the same font I have used for all of the headings throughout my practical work, and the editors comment I mentioned in my previous post

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Just a few nights ago I was at a Biffy Clyro concert, during which I took a load of photos which I have added in, alongside a photo of myself, which will be accompanied by an editors comment related to the main story of the magazine. What I like about the photos is that they are live action shots of the band in excellent stances and good colours.

Monday, 18 March 2013

I thought it looked quite bare in the top left so I added in posters of another made up band to make up for it
One last change to my cover is the background for the smaller image, I made it look like a polaroid image by putting a white square behind it which I think looks a lot better
as social network is crucial to advertising these days I have made up URLs for all of the websites pages
I have altered the colour balance on the main image to make him less 'grayed out', I have added a background too, which I done by creating a grey square, to which I added a lens flare and then made a background of text, the same quote as the one in front of him, so people will know what it says.