Sunday, 31 July 2011

AN - Music Video Deconstruction 3: The Joker

Name of Song: The Joker
Artist: Fatboy Slim
Year: 2004
Genre: Rock
Director: Unknown

Fatboy Silm aka Norman Quentin Cook, is a British DJ and record producer. He is best known for being one of the pioneer's of the electronic dance genre that obtained popularity during the 90's. The Joker, was originally a 1973 song by the Steve Miller Band. However during the year of 2004, Fatboy Slim reworked on the song for his 2004 single, Palookaville.

  • The video focuses on narrative and concept because the video shows a day in the life of a single person, however instead of people, there are cats. This is done to add a surreal effect to the video and apparently, Fatboy Slim added the cats because the video was originally made for the artist's girlfriend.
  • The song also has no relevance for the video besides from the cat in the jester hat.
  • Close ups and high angles are used throughout the video to show the cuteness of the cats.
  • The protagonist cat is wearing a jester's hat. Maybe this signifies the cat as being the joker, the title of the video refers to, as well as the song's lyrics.
  • Camera panning used to show the "cat" city and it's facilities.
  • Cat's wearing clothes similar to human clothes, such as police hats, builder's hats and boxing gloves.
  • Cat's riding around in cars to make them look human.
  • Newborn kitten used to depict a homeless person.
  • The cat's dealing "catnip", symbolises drug dealers dealing drugs with each other. This sequence also signifies that the protagonist cat's lifestyle as being a "druggie".
  • Fast paced editing of the protagonist licking his paw and walking through the graveyard, in contrast to the rest of the video which is mostly made up of long takes.
  • Distorted clip of the cats playing is used to signify that the protagonist is high after taking the catnip.
  • Intertexual reference to the artist himself via the lit up sign.
  • Fast paced editing also used for the two main protagonists beating up the bodyguards at the party.
  • High angle panning used to show all of the cats at the party.
  • Cat spinning on the deck, used to give a comic effect.

AN - Music Video Deconstruction 2: Safety Dance

Name of Song: Safety Dance
Artist: Men Without Hats
Year: 1982
Genre: Synthpop
Director: Tim Pope

Men Without Hats is a band from Quebec, which characterises it's music via the voice of Ivan Doroschuk, the lead singer of the band. Safety Dance is where the band achieved it's highest amount of success, since the song became a Top 10 hit in the British and American charts during the 80's. The song was written after Ivan got kicked out of a club for pogoing.

  • Two men can be seen walking through a field, one of the men being a dwarf.
  • They are wearing medieval clothing, with the dwarf wearing a jester outfit and the other person wearing pauper rags.
  • The video mostly focuses on narrative because the song can be heard while the action is taking place.
  • A close mid-shot is used for when the "pauper" is lip-syncing to the song, while the Jester is playing a guitar-like instrument.
  • A maiden then joins the pauper and the jester, signifying that the time period of the narrative is during medieval times.
  • The maiden is wearing a white blouse with a brown dress. The characters clothes connote their wealth, to show that they are poor.
  • When the pauper is walking through the town with the maiden and jester dancing, he is lip-syncing to the song. While the video focuses on narrative, there are also elements of concept which signify that the only relevance that the video has with the song is the fact that people are dancing in it, but if a commutation test took place by changing the time period of the song from medieval to modern day, then it wouldn't make any difference, although it would change the concept.
  • Villagers are joining in with the dance and the red decorations denote that a festival might be taking place.
  • Camera panning is used to show the village and the villagers, along with the maiden and jester's dancing.
  • A long shot is used to show the villagers dancing, inspired from the three protagonists.
  • Close ups are used for when the pauper is lip-syncing to the song. This could signify that he is the lead singer in the band.
  • A high-angle, long shot is used for when the villagers are dancing in the barnyard.
  • Two men wearing rooster masks, can be seen fighting each other. This adds to the unusual concept of the video, due to how random it is.
  • Punch and Judy add to the weird vibe of the video.
  • At the end, there is a random flash of some black and white images, some of these images include, bombs and a horse in front of a house. Could these images possibly symbolise something?
Here is the video:

Saturday, 30 July 2011

AN - Music Video Deconstruction 1: Ray of Light

Name of Song: Ray of Light
Artist: Shouko Nakagawa
Year: 2010
Genre: J-Pop
Director: Unknown

Besides from being a singer, Shoko Nakagawa also has many other talents, being a Japenese idol, actress, illustrator. Watanabe Entertainment represents Shoko. The song, Ray of Light was part of her 2010 album, as well as being the fifth ending theme to the anime, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood.

  • The video begins with a mid-shot from an angle of a grey wall with a picture frame of the same colour and the song's name can be seen in white font.
  • Then it goes on to panning close ups of the artist singing.
  • The artist can be seen wearing a stylish ring of some sort, along with a white dress.
  • Mid, long shot of another grey wall with more dull coloured picture frames and a bordered up door.
  • At one point in the video, Shouko smashes one of the picture frames, this could possible symbolise something, since this fits in with one of the lyrics, "These fragments of memories. Again, one by one, are disappearing." Fragments of memories = pieces of glass maybe?
  • Slow paced editing, to fit the mood of the song. However, there are quick takes meaning that a lot of shots are used for this video.
  • Close ups and mid, long shots are used during the performance to show the artist and the band performing, along with some panning.
  • Lots of grey colour used in the music video, this colour fit in with the song's name, Ray of Light. Symbolism maybe? "There's always a light at the end of the dark tunnel."
  • A suit of armour appears in front of the grey wall at 3:02. Could this possible symbolise the meaning, "A knight in shining armour will come to save the damsel in distress from the darkness." So does this mean, Shouko = Damsel in distress and dull colours used in the video = darkness.
  • At 3:09, there is a mid shot of a dark grey picture frame on the grey wall. However in the frame, there are some dark clouds, that could be seen. Could this also symbolise darkness?
  • Many of the shots in the video seem to be taken from different angles, probably to show the performance of the band and Shouko from different angles.
  • Quick extreme close up of the broken frame being brought back into one piece.
  • Long, mid shot of Shouko standing in a field. However, the grey, black and white colours are still used.
  • Mid-shot of Shouko looking up at the sun. Possible ray of light maybe? Also the ray of light = "Seeking answers in the sky."
  • Overall, the video varies from performance to narrative. However, it is hard to tell what the narrative is, but judging from Shouko's actions during the narrative sequences, I feel that the narrative might be about a woman trying to fight her inner demons. Hence the black clouds and the smashed picture frame.
Here is the video itself: 

Like I said before, this song was also used during the fifth credits sequence to the anime, FullMetal Alchemist Brotherhood (my favourite piece of media of all time). From looking, at the ending credits sequence and the music video, there are couple of similarities.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

AN - Recreating the Hit Me Baby One More Time

Today, we all worked on filming our version of the famous Britney Spears music video, "Hit Me Baby, One More Time." We were split into four different groups to deal with the four prime sequences of the music video which take place the corridor, classroom, gym and car park, my group had to deal with the car park sequence. However, we encountered our first problem at the very beginning of the day which was the fact that two of our group members were absent, since one of them was planning to drop the subject so she decided to not come in and the other was ill. The main problem was that every needed to be Britney once and due to these two not being here, some of us had to play the role of Britney twice, like me for example.

Anyway, during the morning our group practised lip-syncing to the video, in order to prepare for filming later on in the day. We also filmed the first part of our Vodcast, in which we introduced ourselves and talked about our roles in the group, with me being the production manager which involved obtaining the extras for the video and being in charge of the equipment needed to make it, as well as that we also talked about the schedule for the day. After break, we negotiated with the other group about extras and helping them with there particular sequence, however we encountered problems during this because it was hard to negotiate with some of the members of the other group because they seemed to slack and prefer to sit around and do nothing. Once we had gone through negotiations, we began to film our sequence with the extras in our group. However, their "slackness" was getting in the way and I had to counter this with my "aggressive" director skills to keep order, on the other hand though, this isn't always the answer.

After lunch, Mel managed to get one of her friends in Year 8 to do some gymnastics for us to go in the video, since Britney is seen doing back-flips and such. Since the group filming the corridor sequence didn't need much of our help, we decided to shot the rest of the car park scene early because there were signs that it might rain. With the help of Burrowes, we managed to film the rest of this scene and we were able to borrow a car for this sequence as well.

Once we had finished filming for the day, we shared our thoughts on it via a Vodcast and then began to upload our behind the scenes footage onto a mac.

Click below to see the Vodcast and behind the scenes footage:

Click below to see the sequence that me and my group filmed:

Monday, 11 July 2011

AN - Goodwin's Theory

Although I have already mention part of this theory in a previous blog post. I will talk about this again and go into more depth than I did before. Anyway, moving on to the topic in hand, Goodwin's Theory consists of the three main conventions seen and used in music videos.

The first convention is performance, this is when the music video uses footage of the band performing at a concert or something similar to that. Most of the time, the band or artist is using lip syncing the words rather than singing them, however this has gained a lot of controversy over the past few years. A prime example of this, was when Britney Spears was accused of this during her Circus tour, on the other hand though this is done so that the band or artist doesn't have any problems multi-tasking during the performance. e.g. Singing and dancing at the same time. By using this convention in a music video, the producers are giving the band a realistic image in order to aim for a target audience who aren't fans of unrealistic or "fantasy" images. Besides from doing that, it also has the cheapest production values, due to the lack of special effects and costume etc.

The second main convention is narrative, is when the song being used in the music video, is being dramatised by actors, in some shape or form. This convention relies on visuals to create the feeling of a story being told, an example of this is usually with music videos which have clips from the film that the song was played in, whether it was diagetic or non-diagetic. e.g. Signal Fire by Snow Patrol from Spiderman 3 (not the best Superhero film ever, but still enjoyable).
Click below to see the video:

Finally, the last convention which is part of Goodwin's theory is concept, this is when a music video is based around a single, primary idea rather than multiple ideas, most of the time they give that surreal, unrealistic feeling towards the audience. However, this is usually a prime attraction used to obtain customers and one of the other two conventions is used alongside it, in order to give that feeling of accessibility towards 
the prime target audience, rather than that of a niche nature. A range of artists, cover this convention meaning that it is used quite often within the music industry.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

AN - Britney Spears: Challenges and Problems We Might Face

Next Tuesday, we will be recreating the famous Britney Spears music video, "Hit Me Baby One More Time" just like the previous year did. However, when we film this on the day we'll be faced with some prime challenges and problems.

Firstly, there are many dancers and actors seen in the video, the problem is that we don't have as many people as the video. Although this is the case, we are able to counter this problem, since we have two media groups, one with fifth-teen people and the other with thirteen, we believe that this should be enough people.

Secondly, we might have to face location problems because in the music video, there are four main locations in the music video which are the classroom, hallway, car park and gym. The main problem with this is that these facilities will be used with other people and due to that, they may interrupt filming. The solution for this problem is to ask permission from school and then they will allow us to use these facilities.

Thirdly, in the video most of the dancers and actors are wearing school uniforms, the problem being that where would we get the costumes from. To solve this problem, we should try and see if we still have parts of our old uniforms lying around at home, but some of us might have thrown out our uniforms leading to another problem.

Finally, the last problem is that in the video Britney is lip-syncing and the problem is that the lip-syncing needs to be timed really well. The way to solve this is by getting everyone to practice lip-syncing to see who will play the lead role of Britney. The problem with this though is that it's time consuming, due to the amount of people taking part in the making of this video.