Sunday, 7 October 2012

Music video analysis

Andrew Goodwins’ analytical framework suggests key aspects of what creates a music video, which is separated into five categories. The synaesthesia of seeing the sound is how the visuals of the video respond to the audio, with the narrative and performance conventionally fragmented and incomplete. Goodwin explains that music videos should ignore common narrative which is important in their role of advertising. Another vital aspect is the star image, where major labels expect close ups of their star. Furthermore technical aspects are seen just as important as the narrative as they hold the video together, through camera and movement. Lighting and colour helps to set the moods and emphasise key moments of the song and mise-en scene needs to look authentic for the professional element to be shown to the audience. The final element is the relations of visuals to the song, which is separated into three parts, Illustrate, Amplify and disjunctive. An illustrative video is one where a set of images is used to illustrate the lyrics meaning and genre. When the meanings of the song are added by visuals is called an amplify relation with a disjunctive video having no meaning relation to the visual.

A second theorist, Sven E Carlsson believes that previous research puts videos into one of two categories; however he thinks that videos are more complex than. He has created a scheme called ‘Modern mythic embodiment’ where from this perspective, the artist is seen as embodying one and representing different aspects of a video. Similarly he has separated video styles into several forms. The first is standard clip which is where a video contains three visual transitions. The performance clip contains mostly filmed performance, in common places such as a recording studio or rehearsal room. A narrative clip is the most understood as a short silent movie containing an easy to follow narrative, with the final being Art clip, which contains no perceptible visual narrative or lip-synchronisation.

Sum 41’s ‘In too deep’ begins with a mid-shot of the band as they walk towards the camera outside of a stadium. This is the start of a clear narrative expressed through the view of the band members and also the equilibrium of the video (Todorov) where the scene is calm and relaxed. The camera then pans to the left to a close up of the location sign ‘Diving centre’ connoting that the theme of the video is of a diving competition; as the camera continues to pan left to a mid-shot of the band walking away from the camera in the same direction. The starting point of the competition is through a mid-shot of the band undressing in front of the crows which is panned over showing their excitement and also disapproval of the opposition. The imagery of water relates instantly to the adjective ‘Deep’ in the title- showing illustrative narration. The lyrics ‘Cause I’m in too deep, and I’m trying to keep, up above in my head, instead of going under,’ are visual through divers breaking the water surface using close ups from the water, identifying keeping your head above the water.

Performance is the contrasting aspect the video uses in order to keep the interest of the audience, which shows evidence of a mixture of a standard clip and performance clip (Sven). Although the video only offers two visual transitions, performance and narrative in two different locations, the performing aspect is not overruled by the narrative. The use of close ups and different transition movements such as panning of the band playing in an empty pool is a key convention within its genre. The mixture of mid-shots and close ups of the lead singer shows the exaggeration and input he gives to the song, replacing less important and interesting parts of the narrative. It also shows the star image (Goodwin) and showing evidence of the music company presenting their stars in the limelight. The narrative and performance are very connected with the way they both revolve around a pool. An example would be an action match, a high angle shot of the lead singer diving off the board suddenly cutting to a high- angle of the performing lead singer.  Sven also believes that the performer is often made into a materialisation. Within the video, the fans can aspire to be divers or members of the band, as placing the band in those shoes can satisfy those who tend to copy the actions of their idols, showing they can do more than just sing. The dives are positioned from a long shot and track the diver as they hit the water, showing the outstanding diving moves executed.

Within the first verse, the long takes, zoom motion and close ups suggests this is revolved around introducing the band and rivals to the audience. The entrance of the opposition in tight orange trunks connotes them as professionals; whereas the band wears long shorts suggesting authenticity and perhaps they are amateurs, propelled to look like they want to have fun, through the entropy of the dives executed. This rivalry embeds the disequilibrium with the recognition being with the close-up shot of the judges after the opposition have dived, revealing scores of 9, connoting they are a challenge.

The editing increases to fast pace cutting as the diving action begins in the chorus. The length of shots begins to decrease between chorus and verse- being longer in the verse and short in the chorus indicating the narrative is becoming more intense which is one aspect which engages the audience to re-watch.

Andrew Goodwin would conclude that the overall video is amplified as it exaggerates the meaning of the song through the visuals, such as in the second chorus the lyrics ‘in too deep’ shows an entrance to the water using a mid-shot cutting to a close up, failing to see him resurface. This empathises the use of the word ‘deep,’ and shows evidence of continuity editing. However there are some illustrative visual relations hidden within the video, illustrating the lyrics directly. For example ‘bending over backwards’ whilst an image of a mid-shot of the lead singer performing back-flips along the diving board sweeps across the screen.

The mise-en scene of the entire video is set outside on a blue sky sunny day, reflecting on the upbeat tempo of the song. Being filmed in two distinct locations shows clearly the contrast between the narration and performance. Sven would suggest this is a strong visual audio connection which allows the audience to easily interpret and understand the context of the video.
A close-up motion shot of a stereotypical blonde waving to the fourth diver, shows evidence of the male gaze. The slow motion connotes that she is being looked upon sexually, backed up by close ups of the divers expressions as the shots go back and forth. The romance is broken off by a sudden close up performance followed by a close up of the stomach slide he performs; using the two separate shots shows signs of continuity editing. A mid-shot outlines the exit of the water in slow motion, playing his guitar whilst rising, connoting the strong connection and imagery between lyrics and narrative.

The predictability of the band winning is habitual, exposing redundancy. The camera shots and narrative is majorly based around the band and so it would be generic for them to out-dive the opposition. The long shots of the dives, and the tracking shots of the divers as they edge closer to the water gives opportunities to the audience to view the dives. The entropy of the last diver, using all the diving boards shows the creativity of the producer. The close-ups ad mid-shots of him jumping from one board to another really catches the fun element the band gives the narrative, showing that they are not there for a serious competition but to make it fun and unsystematic. The shallow focus ensures the viewer that he is in the spotlight and creating the new equilibrium of taking triumph.

In conclusion, this video uses fast paced editing to ensure excitability and intensity to the audience and the uses of shallow focuses spotlights certain aspects which are to be watched. The close-up band performance shots separate the interesting and non-interesting aspects of the video making it more interesting to the audience and encouraging then to re-watch.

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