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Conventions of Music Videos

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Matthew Wheldon

on 17 December 2014

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Transcript of Conventions of Music Videos

Conventions of Music Videos
Music videos regardless of genre, follow a certain set of conventions. I will discuss these with a range of examples to justify them and why they are so effective.
Music videos of all genres can have a short clip of footage at the beginning or the end of a music video to lead onto the song starting or to lead the song off again.
To examine Mise-en-scene, CLAMPS is used to group up the micro elements we see in a video extract, this is used as a guide for analysis. These micro elements are present in all music videos, i'm going to discuss how different songs and genres use them differently.
Promoting The Artist
In most cases of music videos, (especially true with performance videos), the aim of the songs video is to promote the artist and show them in a positive way for the audiences. Although the promotion of the artist is common in music videos its not always focused on the artist as much as the song.
The costumes of the artists and featured people in music videos are a key factor in how they and the song is represented.
The lighting in a music video is a very important factor in how a song and artist is represented, this varies from song to song but is used widely the same across all genres.
Music Video

The editing in a music video is one of the most important factors when it comes to presenting the video and song in a certain way, the pace and use of transitions have to flow seamlessly with the accompaniment of the song regardless of the visuals.
Fast Paced
Fast paced editing is used mostly in 'fast' beat songs, this usually a staple of music genres like rock or heavy metal. Although it can be used in any genre of music as long
Transitions in music videos are selected to fit into a specific theme or feeling of a song, this usually is defined by genre but is not limited to.
N Sync - Gone
The song is a slow paced song and is reflected by its editing of slow motion visuals, slow paced editing, and fading to black transitions. These all in conjunction effectively work with the song and themes.
Skrillex - Bangarang
The song is fast paced with cuts between shots to the beat of the drum machine to keep the beat as well as highlight that the key feature of the song is its beat.
System of A Down - Chop Suey
The song has a varied pace due to the chorus being a slow lighter instrumental part, where as in comparison to the rest of the song like the versus, its a very fast beat that is matched with rapid cuts of the band playing and the audience.
Tenaciuos D - Tribute
The songs music video has a clip of the band before they start recording their song and how the song was inspired, this works effectively into leading onto the song as it adds a lot of context and story around the song making it much more memorable.
Taylor Swift - 22
This songs music video has a short clip at the end of the song of her jumping into a pool after the music stops, this is effective in giving one last impression on the audience as it summarizes the theme of the song well.
Beyoncé - Single Ladies
This songs music video is entirely a performance based video, where the video is just the group dancing to their song. Its effective in promoting them through the lack of scenery e.g. the plain background, and the black and white video effect. The whole idea of the video is to make the artist look good, which i think it does very well.
Metallica - One
The music video is of the band playing the song in an abandoned warehouse, with a black and white video effect. Highlighting them playing and being the whole focus of the video, but in comparison to the beyoncé video, despite only the artist being in the video, the focus is less on the band. shown through the lack of eye contact, the focus is centered around the song itself.
An example of this would be Taylor Swift's Love Story, where the theme of the song being based on Romeo & Julliet means that the costume is themed accordingly with old fashioned clothes.
Taylor Swift - Love Story
Judas Priest - Revolution
In This music video the costume is the polar opposite of Taylor's, consisting of leather and spikes which is a common symbol of the genre of the music.
High Key
Low Key
The high key lighting is used widely in music videos of all genres when suitable, its often used to connote purity and innocence.
The actors used in a music video and how they act are sometimes stereotypical for some genres, e.g. dominant male rappers and overly sexualized woman in hip hop music videos, here are a few specific examples.
The setting of a music video is a key feature that is varied based on the song's genre although can sometimes vary and be based around the lyrics and mood of the song.
The props used in music videos are ultimately decided upon based on the genre of the song, and style that the music video is trying to capture or imitate. Here are a couple of example to show that they are select and are stereotypical for genres and common place.
An example of props used in different genres would be the rap/hip hop genre being full of iconography such as 'bling', money and guns, which is evident in Jay Z's Run.
Jay Z - Run
Sum 41 - In Too Deep
This music video uses a range of props from all the instruments of the band, which is a common prop for the genre of rock and as well as the skateboards that are a common theme in punk rock genre music videos.
Some mainstream and widely popular pop and rap stars have their music videos filmed in tropical and expensive locations like beaches in the Caribbean, an example of this would be R.I.O - Part Shakers. The setting helps the songs with impressive and nice imagery, being more appealing to audiences.
As well as making the video more appealing, the setting caries some significance in helping get the mood of the song across, for example Metallica's One, the setting of an abandoned warehouse leaves the views nothing interesting to look at, making the music more notable.
Low key lighting is often used in conjunction with shadowing and works well with songs with lyrical based songs about depression and past memories.
Make-up is almost always used conventionally in music videos, to help enhance the look of the artist or actors and glamorize, this is a simple but effective way of helping promote the artist. this is used primarily in pop videos but is not limited to this genre, make-up is used heavily on some artists in videos, for example David Bowie's use of heavy make-up makes him stand out as unique with his style and appearance that is iconic and recognizable.
A music video's narrative, whether it be performance based or concept based, is the way that a music video is structured to promote a song/artist.
Performance Based
Performance based narrative is simply a music video that primarily, often entirely, is centered around the artist performing their song. This is used mainly by rock genres, but can be done by any. this narrative is effective in promoting the artist their talents.
Beyoncé's - Single Ladies is a primarily performance based music video, as the entire video is of her and a couple of back up dancers, dancing to the song. But you could argue its a mix of a performance and concept video, as the setting and mise-en-scene of the video is a concept in itself.
Metallica's - One (jammin' Verison) is also a very clear example of a performance video where the video is entirely the artist performing to the song.
Concept Based
Concept based music videos are videos that are inspired or based around a concept, that is unique and original that may have nothing to do with the song's lyrics. These videos are usually a bit different to what you would expect to see for the song your listening to.
In this music video Coldplay - Scientist, the video is very interesting and unique, as you can see the use of the narrative being reversed to tell a story starting at the end.
This music video is a concept based of using toys as the members of the band playing a gig and skateboarding.
Camera Techniques
Camera shots in general are not specific to any genre, but some camera shots and techniques are used in specific genres more than other.
For example rock music videos tend to use a lot of faster paced editing in conjunction with close-up shots of instruments to emphasize the instruments in the music, Here is an example of that.
In the pop genre in more romantic songs, the camera work uses a lot of close-ups and effects like black & white, Slow motion, and fade to black. N Sync's Gone is a perfect example of this in music videos.
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