Thursday, 10 October 2013

Research and analysis of two music videos

I am going to analyse two music videos of the same genre in order to gain an understanding as to how a music video works. The two music videos I will be looking at is the music video for Young by Dog Is Dead and One Night In October by Little Comets. Dog is Dead is described as an indie pop band signed to the label Atlantic record when they recorded the song Young. Little Comets is an indie rock band signed to the independent record label Dirty Hit.
Andrew Goodwin came up with a framework with five key points that can be found in a music video. The first point is that a music video shows genre characteristics. In the music video for Dog is Dead The opening section of the video shows the band members with their eyes closed in a pitch black room, each member has a set of glow sticks in different colours spinning around their head. Also in the music video for Little Comets the band are standing in a small dark room. This is a typical convention in indie music videos as it focuses the attention on the actual band itself, also the bands tend to have small budgets and so will have low budget locations and music videos.
In both music videos the band members wear casual clothes. This is a common characteristic in indie music videos as they try to be different to other music videos, for example in pop music the artists must dress up to look good. However in indie music there is no need to look smart or better.  This is an attempt by the record lable to portray normality.
Another part to Goodwin’s theory is that there is a relationship between the lyrics of the song. In the music video for Young there is an illustrative relationship between the lyrics and the video itself. An example of this is the lyrics talk about flowers on the road side and the visuals show the flowers on the road side as the lead singer cycles past on a bike, however the flowers signify someone dying

 in a road accident with them 
strapped to a tree and dead. Steve Archer came up with a native observation and said that music videos will often cut from the narrative to the bands performance; the artist will also sometimes play a part in the narrative. Archer’s observation in relation to the music video for Young the Lead singer is the main character in the narrative with the band members also play small roles in the narrative and the narrative cuts from the narrative of the lead singer in a field to the band playing in the wood.
In contrast the music video for One Day In October the music video is disjunctive, as there is no relation to the lyrics. Archer’s observation also does not relate to this music video, as there is no narrative and the whole of the music video is the band’s performance.
Goodwin also said that there is also a relationship between the actual music and the visuals.  In the music video for Little Comets the quick camera movement and cuts reflects the fast pace of the song. Also the sections of upbeat music is replicated in the hand held camera and the shots of the band from the side. Finally the cuts for example when each band member is shown sitting in a shopping trolley cuts to a different band member on the beat of the song.
  Also in the music video for Dog is Dead the upbeat sections of music are reflected in the video with medium shots of the band members playing instruments and in the narrative section which shows the lead singer riding a bike. However during the chorus the music becomes much darker and sadder, the change in the atmosphere of the music is also reflected in the music video as it goes back to the dark room and glow sticks. The close ups of each band member singing and their emotionless expressions help reinforce the music.
The fourth part of Goodwin’s framework is that music videos have lots of close up. This is due to the fact that a music video is souly for promotional purposes in order to increase sales of a particular song and band popularity. In the video Young there are lots of close ups of the band members, and example of this is when the band are in a dark room with glow sticks spinning around them. This gives a close up of every band member. However there is clear distinction as to who the lead of the band is by the fact that they have the most close ups and screen time. An example of this is when the band are playing in the woods he is placed in the for ground and has multiple close ups. Also he has a close up at a canted angle during the narrative when he wakes up in the field.
In comparison the music video for One Night In October has multiple close ups of the lead singer, however in general the music video doesn’t have many close ups which is unusable for a music video.
The final part of Godwin’s theory is that there is a reference to the notion of looking and the particular voyeuristic treatment of the female body. The theorist Mulvey came up with the theory of the male gaze. This consists of the gaze of the camera looking at a female’s body followed by the gaze of the actor looking at the female and then the gaze of the audience.
In the music video for Dog is Dead there is nothing that supports Mulvey’s theory but there is an element of playing with looking, however the theory is for films rather than music videos. During the beginning of the video when they are surrounded by glow sticks, they have their eyes shut. There is a sense of the audience is looking but the artist is oblivious to it. Also there is a medium shot

 of the artist during a section of narrative. He is looking into a section of wood from the edge but the way it is filmed makes it appear as if something is looking out back at him.  Finally there are multiple over the shoulder shots with quick pans and cuts to show people (the other band members) stood in white clothes and hoods covering their faces. This gives a creepy feel to the scene as the artist is being looked at by the people around him. His sharp movements clearly show he senses someone watching him but unable to see them.
However in Little Comet’s music video there is not much playing on looking. There is no male gaze but when the lead singer is standing in front of a blackboard and the lyrics appear behind him.  The lead is shown in a medium shot and looks directly at the camera showing the artist looking directly at the audience
From looking at these two music videos in detail I have been able to see the themes and ideas related two indie rock music videos and music. I will be taking this information and applying to my own work in order to make it fit in with the genre

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