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How to analyze a music video.

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holly laverick

on 3 October 2013

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Transcript of How to analyze a music video.

How to analyse a music video.
Step 1
firstly deciding the genre of the music video is important because this will then mean that there are specific conventions that should be included in the video.
Step 2
Analysing the specifics in detail gives a better understanding of the song. It may also mean that there are certain conventions that have not been followed, resulting in the video being more memorable than many other ones.
Step 3
The conventions present in the video will determine the genre and will therefore appeal to a different audience demographic. This will mean that the analysis will be different because it is aiming to appeal to different people.
For example a rock/metal song's music video will be different to a pop song's music video because of the target audience and will therefore have different conventions which mean different things and have very different connotations.
Camera movement, angle and shot distance can give a music video its atmosphere and depth of meaning and all need to be analysed.

Camera movement may be used to reflect the movement of the performers, although could also be used to create a different feel by moving in an asynchronous way, for example, if the performers are still and the camera circles around them. it can also reflect the mood, for example if the audience is given power through a low angle shot then they could connect with the artist and empathize with them, especially if the lyrics relate to the sadness.
For example in an R&B music video a high angle shot can give 'power' and 'status' to the main artist, even if they aren't shown wearing bling or shown in a wealthy setting.
Predominantly, a close up is used to create a sense of intimacy with the viewer and to market the artist. John Stewart's theory states that essentially, music videos have the aesthetics of a TV commercial.
Music videos use pace and transitions to establish the mood and feel of the video to portray the song.
For example, Dido uses slow paced editing techniques with gentle transitions in order to create a certain mood and feel for the wide audience demographic she appeals to.
Digital effects such as enhancing the editing which play with the original images offer different kinds of visual pleasure for a different kind of audience demographic.
mise-en-scene describes what in the scene, including costume, lighting, actors/actresses, make-up, props and the setting.
for example in the song 23, by Wiz Khalifa and miley cyrus, the whole song is based on a certain brand of shoes, which from viewing the video and even just hearing the song, people will want to be seen in because they are mentioned on the song and shown in the video. Miley is also wearing a basket ball shirt cut to show off the sides of her waist which presents her body in an idealistic way. Young girls will therefore want to have her figure so that they can pull off the clothes she wears too.
The costume will enhance the genre and define the message behind the lyrics to the song. It is an important part because the artist in the video will become an icon which people will want to copy the style of. It will also show the mood of the video and will therefore attract a specific audience demographic. The costume will outline the characteristics of the artist and show the audience the kind of person they are.
The lighting within music videos expresses the mood and feel of the video. It correlates to the lyrics and helps define the genre of the artist. it is important because different types of lighting are conventions for different grnres of video and will therefore decide which audience demographic is attracted to the video.
The video in that case would not be pop anymore and wouldn't attract the audience demographic associated with pop music which is usually young girls.
for example, in a pop video we, as an audience, would not expect to see very low key lighting or back lighting because the connotations would give off the feel of mystery and evil, which is the opposite to what a pop music video is trying to achieve.
However, in some cases low key and back lighting are used to create a sexual effect and have connotations of danger which defy the conventions of a typical pop music video. for example in the Saturday's song 'all fired up' the artists are under spot lights which is a convention of a pop video showing that the spot light is on them while they are dancing choreographed moves, however, the lighting defies conventions to give a more sexual feel which will attract a slightly different audience demographic.
The artist usually plays a part in the video featuring lots of close ups to market the artist for financial gain, however this is not always the case; in some videos the conventions are ignored and a video is put to the song which has little relevance to the lyrics. This can sometimes make the video more memorable.

The performers can either act or mime the words; both techniques will give different effects and give off different vibes which in turn all adds up to the different genres that attract the different kinds of audience demographics. The way the audience connects with the artist in the video is very important because this will influence the amount of sales and therefore the amount of profit the artist and record company will make. it could influence the mood of the video because of how the artist is presented in the video: if their face is sad then the audience may feel sorry for them. for example in the song 'wrecking ball' by Miley Cyrus she is extremely close to the camera so that the emotion can be seen, she is also miming the lyrics.
In indie music video's the conventions don't specify whether the artist in the video should mime of not therefore the videos tend to vary. therefore it depends upon how the artist/director wants to connect with the audience for example in Jason mraz's video ' the woman i love', there is a mixture of him (the artist) appearing in the video and an actress which represents the lyrics and it could therefore also be seen as a narrative video or performance based.
The make-up will outline the characteristics of the artist depending upon whether they wear it or not or wear it a lot. It will make the genre apparent to the viewer for example if the artist looks pale and has dark makeup around their eyes it will clearly show that the genre is most likely to be rock or metal, in contrast to the pink wide-eyed barbie look that the women in pop music videos go for. The make-up will make the artist appear better looking and therefore the audience will aspire to look like them or will be sexually attracted to them.
for example..
from the makeup you can see that this is a rock artist because of his pale face and dark eyes, which are all connotations of rock genre which is done in order to connect with the audience and attract a certain demographic.
The props will outline the genre of the music video, for example there will be a larger amount of money shown in R&B and hip hop songs than in (for example) indie songs because that is one of the conventions, to specifically show the aspirational wealthy life. This aspirational life style which the audience will want all ultimately means that the artist will sell more of the single/album.
Along with the costume and make-up, props will define the characteristics of the artist and will subtly influence the mood of the video, for example
The Male Gaze
for feminists it can be thought of in three ways:
how men view women; how women view themselves and how women view other women.
Laura Mulvey investigated the concept of the gaze: how an audience views the people presented.
Laura Mulvey believes that, in film, audiences have to view characters from the perspective of the heterosexual male. For example the features in a music video may include, the camera lingering on the curves of the female body and events which occur to women being presented largely in the context of a mans reaction to these events.
It will present the woman as an object and the female viewer must experience the narrative secondarily, by identification with the male.
Scouting For Girls - Shes So Lovely:
Videos can be analysed through this theory because although many videos comply to this convention, some do not, for example some artists such as Emeli sande do not comply. in her videos she doesn't dress or act provocatively and is sophisticated in her clothes and actions. Alternatively Rihanna supports the male gaze theory in her music videos.
Emeli Sande -
Rihanna - Rude Boy
Some artists in their music videos have a mixture of supporting the male gaze theory and not complying to the convention.
Andrew Goodwins Theory
Goodwin's theory is based on 8 main principles:
1) Links between the lyrics and visuals,
2) Links between the music and visuals...
(this could be complimentary , contradicting or amplification),
3) Genre characteristics,
4) Intertextual reference,
5) Notions of looking...
(objectification of women),
6) Voyeurism,
(direct gaze, other people looking at the artist, insight into the artists life, screens and mirrors)
7) Demands of the record label...
(presentation of the artist),
8) And finally whether the video is narrative, performance or concept based
Goodwin suggests that there will be a relationship between the visuals, either illustrating, complimenting or contradicting the lyrics. he also believes that there will be a relationship between the music and the lyrics which have the same possibilities and that the music genres have their own style and iconography that will define them. His theory states that there will be voyeurism, particularly in the treatment of women. The theory suggests that the record company demand for a high amount of close ups within the video to market the artist so that the amount of sales will increase. Also intertextual references will be made with so that the audience is familiar with the technique or effect of line on the song in order to make them feel comfortable watching the video and also to make the video memorable above others.
Among other suggestions as noted in the list it is all so that the audience can empathize and connect with the artist so that they can sell more of the single of album.
In this video, the camera doesnt linger as such but its is still clear the the audeince that there is a woman in the video because of the slight showcase of Colbie Caillat's chest area. The 2 people in the video are presented as about equal.
A few examples:
Lyric and visual link:
Genre characteristics:
Music and visual link:
Record labels demands:
Notion of looking:
Intertextual references
Material girl by Madonna was based on
In this video the use of records and large stereos and a dog influences the mood and is showing the fun retro side of the artist, giving us an insight into her childhood - i know this partly because of what the lyrics are saying.
The setting has a very big impact of the mood and genre and atmosphere, for example, if a video was shot at a derelict building it would be more likely to be a rock song with dark lyrics and low key lighting however if it was done in the summer with high key lighting in a car for instance it would have more of a feel of a pop song or an indie song and you, as an audience, would expect happy carefree lyrics. The atmospheres can create a certain attitude which will effect how the audience connect with the artist and will also effect which audience demographic will want to watch the video proving the importance of the choice of the setting for each specific video.
Ed Sheeran - A Team is an example how the setting can change the mood and define the video. Here, being outside in a regular street creates the perfect atmosphere to match the music and the lyrics of the song
Sound Track
The sound plays a big part in the video because it is a music video and the video is based around the song and the relationship between the lyrics and visuals and music.
Alternate sound can also add to the video by creating a 'prefix' at the beginning where there can be talking and extra sound effects. An example of this would be 'Thriller' by Michael Jackson:
John Stewart
John Stewart's theory stated that music videos have the aesthetics of a T.V commercial with lots of close-ups and lighting being used to focus on the stars face.
He came up with the idea that the video allows more access to the performer than a stage performance can and the Mise-En-Scene in particular can be used to create an aspirational life style for the viewer.
Stewart described the video as: incorporating, raiding and reconstructing. this is essentially the essence of intertextuality, to generate both nostalgic associations and new meanings by referencing from a range of sources, such as: film, fashion and art photography, most frequently.
This scene from love actually was based on this song ...... by .......
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