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Evaluation Question 1- MEDIA A2

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Daniel Lipton

on 10 April 2013

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Transcript of Evaluation Question 1- MEDIA A2



for our A2 Media Studies portfolio was to create a music video that used realistic concepts and inspiration from ‘real’ videos by artists. The song used could be real by an artist of our choice. In my group’s case we chose a song by alternative/indie British band, ‘Dog is Dead’ Although the plot idea was completely original, the style of the video was motivated by a collection of other music videos of the late 20th century and the last decade. One major difference we wanted to be established by our video was the lack of adhering to a usual music video style. For example, millennium genre Busted’s video, ‘Year 3000’ would be considered your typical stereotypical music video

. Evaluation Question 1: Adhering to 'The Norm' Contrast & Imaging Lighting and colour throughout the video were made purposely 'gritty' and shaded for a stylized effect. If this is thought from a semiotic perspective then the darker lighting would be explained by a 'shaded' or 'blurred' insight of the protagonist, thus explaining his irrational behaviour. Inspirations from directors such as Quentin Tarantino who released his sixth motion picture 'Death Proof' in 2007 in the style of a 1970's thriller. To increase authenticity he demanded to film the whole feature on a camera from the 70's itself. The 'gritiness' was given a positive reception for being more effective than being a viewing barrier for audiences.

Our intentions as directors were to make the video look slightly vintage as 'indie' music artists tend to emphaise this style. Slightly darkened or sepia contrasts are well known for a majority of music videos, especially ones of the last 5 years. In which way does your media product, use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products? Our task The band members are lip synching to the song while playing their instruments to the track in the background, as well as a simple narrative being portrayed via visuals at the same time. These are traditional conventions of a modern music video. The fact that the genre of this video is considered ‘mainstream’, being ‘Pop’ may be the reason why it acquires the characteristics of a classic or standard, music video. The Video As i said above, the video itself subverts from usual media conventions due to the following reasons. Instead of the music video consisting of band members lip syncing and playing instruments to a song, we decided not to include any 'visual creation' of music whatsoever. Our video was purely narrative, following the story of a protagonist. The story was portrayed, ultimately, by editing and transitions created by the group members (including myself) in post-production. From this, one could say that our group 'challenged' the usual forms and conventions of a music video, however, it has been done before in the music industry.
The video's plot was defined by us
as a 'twisted romance', a niche gen-
re. The narrative was mainly eerie
and surprisingly fit in with the lyrics
of our desired song. An example of a video with just narrative is Blur's 'Coffee And TV'. The video just consists of a story about a lonely carton of milk with very little footage of the band. This video is extremely effective as it keeps the audience engaged in a story as well as listening the music track. Our protagonist in the video was named suitably as "The Recluse" due to his socially inept qualities and actions. A recluse is a person who lives a solitary life and tends to avoid other people and this definition was taken into account when establishing the characterization of the character. 'Nerds' , 'Losers' or 'Geeks' are other colloquial terms for individuals who may be considered recluses. However, our actor who portrayed The Recluse was not distinctively a stereotype as we wanted subtly and use of mannerisms to convey his persona. Iconic props used throughout the video were the dolls. The first shot of the video is two dolls placed on a floor, a groom and bride. These dolls represent The Recluse's fantasy of a possible marriage with his love interest. However, as the video progresses, it can be seen that they are being manipulated by a anonymous being with the eventual mutilation of the male doll, representing The Recluse's mental breakdown. After close analysis of our audience questionnaires it seemed as if a lot of the audience questioned the genre of the music video and classed it as a 'Psychological Thriller'. Although these were not our initial intentions, we wanted an eerie feel to be taken from the video and the dolls established this. From observation of other close-quarter horror films, i noticed that dolls had been used multiple times to create tension and fear. The difference between a 'tacky' horror doll and the props used in the music video, were that they were not intentionally used to create an unnerving feeling. The dolls in 'Two Devils' were simply a representation of the main action taking place from the protagonists perspective. Apart from 'kooky' characteristics and his estranged way of life, the character is not one who would be immediately 'attacked' for his inept disposition. A discussion that frequently occurred in planning was whether he was mentally handicapped or not. Whether he fell into a spectrum of autism or asperges was not something we wanted to make purely obvious to our audiences. His slightly psychotic motives at the end of the video such as going to the girl's house at a late hour may suggest that he is psychotic. In conclusion, it can certainly be confirmed that the character is not a normal teenager and we feel this was illustrated extremely well from our actor. Here is your typical mentally deranged psychopath, characterized by the staring eyes and sinister frown. Norman Bates from the infamous 'Psycho' interprets a perfect mental case. These features are bold and easily perceived as frightening and threatening. Here, niche and alternative band "Bashful Hips" have created a video in which contrast and colouring is darkened in a sepia style to create a distinctive feel to their music video. A reasoning why indie bands feel the need to replicate the style is possibly due to their low budget when it comes to post-production of a music video. Simple colour alternation effects are accessible to many computer users and does not take a large amount of skill. Watch the music video itself to get an idea of the distinctive contrast and colour manipulation. How has this video influenced our own? Media Theorists Applied
to 'Two Devils' Three Connections Sven E Carlsson John Berger Levi- Strauss Roland Barthes Andrew Goodwin stated that there were 3 main ways in which the music video can relate back to the song itself:

Illustration
Amplification
Disjuncture

Goodwin's 3 way theory was taken into account when story boarding the video Illustration Illustration is the technique of conveying the song's lyrics in a visual form. As stated before 'Busted's video 'Year 3000' illustrated the lyrics as it's images told the same story as the singing. Two Devils is not evidently a video that includes the technique of illustration. Although some lyrics match the visuals, it is done in a metaphorical manner not making it evidently follow the narrative. For example, The talk of "young girl" matches the fact that a young girl is manipulating the dolls but this is not a pivotal section of the video's narrative. Amplification This is seen today as the increasingly common way yo view music video creatives. Amplification music videos retain a link with the song and work to enhance or develop ideas rather than fundamentally changing them. Disjuncture Is a term used to describe those music videos that ignore the original song and create a whole new set of meanings via the visuals. Although the visuals of Two Devils and it's lyrics were quite distanced, there was not a complete disjuncture and seclusion. If the video would have been about a completely unrelated topic such as 'food' rather than 'unrequited love' then it may have had been classed as a video with disjuncture. Goodwin claims that in a case of watching a video with disjuncture then it is purely up to the audience to make their own beliefs about the video and what it means. What have you found similar when researching videos of a similar genre to your own? Sven E Carlson is an influential media theorist whom we took high regard of when creating our music video. We had to decide whether our video was one of the two categories Carlsson came up with: Performance or Conceptual. As mentioned previously, a majority of music videos today are 'Performance' based. A performance based video consists of he audience being able to see the artists singing and dancing without the video, presenting the music source directly to you. Carlsson gives Rhianna's 'Rude Boy' as an example of a 'Performance Video'

'Two Devils' is not a performance based video but a 'Conceptual Video' instead. Conceptual videos are when the audience watch something other than the artist throughout the video. This could be either narrative or something abstract such as an illustration of colours. Our video is a deeply narrative based and tells a story with progression of character and location in a time period of four minutes. 'Rude Boy' consists of shots of the iconic star, Rihanna dancing and singing in a seductive manner. There is no (or little) narration beyond her performance of dancing to the camera. She is made to seem as a sexual object to the audience, this is evident through her sexual dancing and tight clothing. 'The Protagonists' dancing is very confident and the camera often shoots close ups which suggests that she understands her role in the video, which is to make the audience (specifically male) to desire her. The video would most likely be enjoyed by those who aspire to be like Rihanna as they can narcissistically identify with the power she possess over the male actor. - Another reason why we decided not to do a dance or musically related video is because there was a risk that we may have had to include a concept that Berger suggested had to be in every performance based video.
- He suggested that: "Dance tracks may just have pulsating abstract visuals which follow the bear with no visual reference to human agency". However, it is more likely that the music video will feature members of the band either performing or acting, placing a visual dominance on the band involved in telling the story in some way

- Berger also said "We are preconditioned to make narrative in preference to shapeless, abstract, eventless images" Instead of creating a "visual blur" for audiences, we essentially created a narrative FOR the audience and did not create something in which the audience had to use their own interpretation
- Although there was questioning of parts of the video, our video was thick narrative and was not vague or brief in it's storytelling skills. Although the following theorists are not singularly related to theory of music videos. we felt that it was important to take into account theorists who deal with narrative in film. These media theorists were closely looked at last year for AS, but a lot of their reasoning behind theory can be applied to our music video, 'Two Devils'. We know that our music video acquires some characteristics of a thriller, so we thought mentioning Film Theorists would be necessary. - Levi- Strauss;s theory dictated that in every media text and product, there are binary oppositions, or a conflict between two opposites. The audience subsequently are aware of who they should side with, and this technique can also help create a political theme within a text.

- Examples of these oppositions are

Good & Bad
Rich & Poor
Eastern & Western World
Love & Hate

- 'Love & Hate' are one of the oppositions included in the music video. The contrast between The Recluses' love and enthusiasm for the Girl massively juxtaposes with her lack of enthusiasm and appreciation of his efforts. This is a major conflict and does not subvert to Levi- Stauss's theory.

- The main, central theme in the video is unrequited love or one-way relationship. - Barthes was a French semiologist who identified 5 different codes by which a narrative engages the attention of the audience.

1. The Enigma Code- the audience is intrigued by the need to solve a problem.

-Throughout the video, the audience relate to the protagonist feeling his emotions as he gradually discovers that the girl he invited to his house is not attending. This is initially a problem as for the half the video as the audience have been watching The Recluse prepare for the date, for example: Making a cake, table and picking a selection of clothing

2. The Action Code- the audience is excited by the need to resolve a problem.

- The Recluse abruptly becomes insane when he waits for the girl to arrive. At the point where he destroys the cake and begins to walk to an unspecified location, this poses the question 'What is he going to do now?' 3. The Semantic Code- the audience is directed towards an additional meaning by way of connotation

- At frequent intervals of the video, a doll can be seen being manipulated, an ambiguous code as the audience are unsure whether this is an actual part of the story or a representation that accounts for the plot.

4. The Symbolic Code- the audience assumes that a character dressed in black (for example) is evil or menacing and forms expectations of his/her behaviour on this basis.

- Our main character is mainly dressed in a variation of colours throughout the video. None of these colours were intended to create any specific feeling or emotion for the audience.

5. The Cultural Code- The audience derives meaning from shared cultural knowledge about the way the world works.

- The time period of the video is modern day, so facilities and props are all of common usage to audience members. Nothing is new or unfamiliar, giving the audience another opportunity to relate to the character and feel more of a part in the video. Every music video is created with use of a great media theorist's technique. Whether it be intentional or unintentional, the theory will always be within the video. The following theorists all helped and inspire ideas for our original videos so that we could replicate conventions and forms of real-life media products. Not only would this increase the effectiveness of the video also the illusion of a genuine music video. FIN.
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