The audio brief is essentially a promotional package for the release of an album. The main task is to make a music video and the ancillary options are:
- An album digipack (CD package)
- Magazine advert for the albums release
- website homepage for band/artist
What is a Music Video?
To begin my research into music videos, I decided to do some research into the history of them. First of all, a music video is basically bringing a short film and a song in alliance for promotional or artistic purposes. In the era of web 2.0, it is almost compulsory for an artist to create a music video to compliment the song as YouTube is one of the main ways to promote music, and through this the audience expect to watch a video as well as listening to the song, instead of just a blank screen with the song playing. The origins of music videos date back to the 1920’s, however they were more music short films. Music videos really came into prominence in the 1980’s. This was because MTV based their format around the medium. Before the take off of music videos in the 80’s, music videos were more commonly referred to as “illustrated song”, “filmed insert”, “promotional (promo) film”, “promotional clip”, “promotional video”, “song video”, “song clip” or “film clip”.
Music videos use a wide range of styles of contemporary videomaking techniques, including animation, live action filming, documentaries, and non-narrative approaches such as abstract film. Some music videos blend different styles, such as animation, music, and live action. Combining these styles and techniques has become more popular because of the variation it presents to the audience. Many music videos interpret images and scenes from the song’s lyrics, while others take a more thematic approach. Other music videos may be without a set concept, being merely a filmed version of the song’s live performance.
Professional Music Videos
Next I decided to look at some real life examples of different genres of professional music videos to get an understanding of the conventions of music videos in general.
The first music video I looked at was Taylor Swifts “Shake It Off”. This song belongs the genre of pop. The video is more of a performance video rather than a narrative as the video does not particularly have a story, it just contains a lot of people dancing, relating to the sons name, “Shake It Off”.
The next music video I looked at was Nelly ft. Kelly Rowland “Dilemma”. The genre of this song is R&B and this video has more of a narrative, as in the video it follows the story in the lyrics about the relationship between Nelly and Kelly.
The third song I looked at was Soulja Boy’s “Crank that (Soulja Boy)”. This is a Hip Hop song and this music video blends a narrative and performance. The narrative is that a school Principle wants to know what this new trend is, and the performance is all the dancing in the video. The narrative however is only included to make out that Soulja Boy is well known and current, it does not really tell a story it just makes him look extremely popular, which is one of the conventions of the Hip Hop genre.
Eminem’s “Rap God” is as the title would deduce is a rap song. This too is performance based however a lot of the video relates to the lyrics, for example when they lyrics “got a laptop in my back pocket” is played the audience see Eminem walking with a laptop hanging out his back pocket. He also refers to himself as a “rapbot” which divulges the robotics through out the video.
Skepta’s “Shutdown” is the up and coming genre of Grime. This video is completely performance and it sticks to the genres convention of street culture in the UK, predominantly London, where this video takes place.
The next music video I looked at was from the indie rock genre. I looked at Joy Divisions “Love Will Tear Us Apart”. One thing I noticed straight away was that the the quality of the camera footage is very grainy. This is done purposely to fit the alternative stigma and audience associated with the genre.
Indie music is not a genre I am particularly familiar with so I decided to look at another Indie music video so I could give a correct analysis of the genre.
Next I looked at the Indie band the “Gorillaz”. The music video for “Feel Good Inc” and all of their videos I looked at are animation. The animations seem to tell the story of the lyrics in their videos, making their music videos narrative music videos.
Lastly I looked a Deep House music video. Tchami ft. Kaleem Taylor “Promesses” is a narrative music video as a story is being told whilst the song plays in the background. This is common in House music as in a lot of the songs there is not many lyrics, so a narrative video that links with the lyrics or a performance video linking to with lyrics can be difficult to do.
A2 Music Videos
After looking at these professional music videos by real artists with a record label and production company, I thought it would be a good idea to look at previous A2 media students work to see how they made it look as professional as possible.
This music video was made by a student from my school. As you can see has gone for the rap genre and made it look very professional. He has chosen a performance video however some of the lyrics do in fact link to the actions in the video. The mise-en-scene is very well done as he is made to look intimidating, a very common convention of the genre. There appears to be only two locations in the whole video, one being just a plain black back drop and the other appears to be curtains. This differs to most rap songs as they tend to have multiple people and multiple locations in the videos, however this is not the case in YG’s “2015 Flow”, as this rap music video takes place in one location and the whole video contains only YG and at the very end DJ Mustard.
This music video “Wake Up” was made by an A level student. This too is done very well as you would not know it was an A level media video if it did not say so in the title as it follows the conventions very well. It is a narrative music video and shows the struggle of trying to get a job and the feeling of wanting to break free. Multiple shot types are used to give a very professional feeling. The multiple locations is a big factor that makes it look so good, especially the fact that the locations take place in different countries as it makes the video look like it was made by a production company, as a viewer would think that an A level student would not have the equipment or budget to do this. However the student may have just gone on holiday and decided to get some footage to put into their music video.
Although I have not yet researched the other briefs (which I will be doing in future blogs), I believe I will be choosing this brief. This is because I already have an interest in music videos and believe it will be fun and challenging. It will also develop in my opinion the greatest amount of skills compared to the other briefs, as it is a mixture of two mediums, music and video. I have also decided that when I go on holiday to Spain in the summer I will bring a camera and get some footage as looking at the “Wake Up” music video by an A level student, having multiple locations, especially ones in different countries makes the video look very professional. As for the genre of music I will be doing, I believe it will be Hip Hop. However I am not yet sure who will be preforming or creating the song.