Conceptual Style:

First of all to be able to understand what a conceptual music video style is, I have decided to look closely at the word “concept”. This would involve me considering a variety of definitions for the noun:

  • Cambridge Dictionary: “A principle or idea”
  • Oxford Dictionary: “An abstract idea”
  • Your Dictionary: “Based on a main theme”

All of which suggest concept based music videos generally focus on specific ideas, notions, and/or themes.

concept

Features of conceptual videos generally, include having no story-line/plot, for the reason that the ideas expressed are creative yet unusual; so meaning the visuals might not necessarily have any relation with the lyrics/meaning conveyed in the song. Therefore, editing techniques used for this style is often the main focus; concentrating on this in particular would mean the viewer would be drawn to the illustration and production seen onscreen. For example the symbolism portrayed through lighting can instantly set the mood and tone for the audience as well as representing particular emotions. As a result, I can interpret conceptual music videos main aim and intention is to intrigue a specific target audience in relation to the idea of the music video.

So not only will the extraordinary content directly interest the audience, but success can be achieved if this style of content is widely understandable. As a music video with unbelievable visuals can create a great deal of distraction from the central focus which is the production of a video that visually displays the artist’s thoughts about the song for the audience to interpret. In short if the audience can’t noticeably understand or decode these particular ideas then the artist’s work has not been a success. for not meeting this main targets/objective. Subsequently, the audience’s entertainment is not maintained throughout watching the video.

Furthermore, since I am quite early on in my research stage I have already found this style is open to a range of genres, because all have the ability to use concept style for a music video such as relating to themes like:

  • Supernatural
  • Religion
  • History
  • Magic
  • Plus many more…

A conceptual music video style that relates to a different theme is Austrian singer/songwriter Sia’s “Elastic Heart” featuring Shia LaBeouf and Maddie Ziegler displayed below:

Symbolism is used through the narrative as the cage represents a mental illness. The dancer Maddie represents a much younger version of Sia and the male dancer Shia is this character’s father; they both struggle with mental health issues and attempt to escape from it. Only Maddie is able to escape from her illness, meanwhile her father can’t because despite her going back to help him, he can’t be changed. This conveys how some don’t have the physical strength to overcome thoughts in their mind.

Dual-Diagnosis

The issues arising from mental health is directly addressed as the major theme for Sia’s conceptual style music video called “Elastic Heart”.

Although it tells a story, the video has an artistic concept as it shares the conventions of having very little relation to the lyrics or meaning in the song. As well as, the fact that the audience’s interest and entertainment is maintained throughout watching makes the video widely popular for the reason that the audience are left intrigued to see what will happen.

This is typical for Sia as near enough all of her music videos develop this concept and I truly believe her music videos are amazing.

For instance a variety of features I commented on after watching the “Elastic Heart” music video include:

The establishing shot almost instantly makes the audience feel the emotions of sadness as the audience are introduced to the vacant location of a warehouse with what appears to be a large cage containing the two characters inside; suggesting the two are metaphorically trapped within a state of no escape.

2017-06-16.png

The lighting is natural looking which adds a sense of realism and creates an authentic atmosphere to the video; as a result, the audience’s attention is kept on the characters, implying that they will uncover the major theme.

But the meaning behind the song isn’t necessarily always reflected by the character’s actions, for the reason that the audience are allowed to deduce their own thoughts about the song in some scenes where the shot duration extends for a longer period of time than usual.

2017-06-16 (1).png

From the passion and expression, exerted through each of the character’s body language, I was able to identify that although both of them appear strong, they are potentially in a battle with their own mental state. Which the lyrics of “I’ve got tick skin and an elastic heart” help to reinforce this particular interpretation.

2017-06-16 (2).png

Also the slow cuts allow enough time for the detail in each of the shots to be portrayed; but as the tempo of the music builds up from the verse to the chorus of the song, the cuts between the two characters also begin to pick up the pace. Therefore, demonstrating how the editing mirrors the song structure. As a result, the audience feel engaged within the video as if they were directly involved in the story. This can further be supported by the cinematography of the camera cutting to medium close up shots that eventually track towards the two characters as displayed below:

However, issues arise form the controversy of people saying the video’s concept is suggestive of paedophilia; mainly through the fact of the costume. But nude colour costumes in art allow the audience to focus entirely on the movement and actions of the dancer. So I find this form of interpretive dance represents abstract ideas and is an artistic masterpiece.

“Notorious” Film Review:

In my opinion this 1946 film noir is one of Alfred Hitchcock’s best films as it combines the elements of romance and suspense; two classic features which mark his style. The trailer for “Notorious” can be viewed below:

I find the film has a complex narrative about Alicia Huberman, played by Ingrid Bergman, who’s father was a German spy but committed suicide in prison and she has now been asked by a government agent Devlin (Cary Grant) to become a uncover spy. She agrees and her assignment involves going to Rio de Janeiro to resume a friendship with Sebastian in order to gain information about the Nazi group for the US intelligence.

annex-bergman-ingrid-notorious_02.jpg

This image reveals Alicia’s portrayal as the Femme Fatale for the reason that she is manipulating a man called Sebastian who’s tragic flaw is his love for her. Therefore, one could argue that this is a form of her not using her appearance to seduce him, but instead using a much more powerful thing which is the man’s emotions.

Although she has fallen in love with Devlin, when Sebastian asks her to marry him she is told to do so as this means she will be able to get an insight to how the the Nazis operate. After their marriage, Alicia wanders around the house and discovers certain rooms are locked where only Sebastian has the keys; therefore when she eventually unlocks the door she is lead into a wine cellar. As a result, it’s suggested by Devlin that she must hold a party at the house and for him to be invited then he can find out what’s been hiding in the cellar. When Devlin and Alicia search the cellar, they discover Uranium sand hidden in the wine bottles as Devlin accidentally drops one; although he cleans up most of the mess Sebastian comes down to the cellar as he noticed the key was missing.

notorious2

These two characters exhibit the theme of betrayal as Alicia feels betrayed that Devlin never confesses his love for her even after she opened up to him about how she turns to alcohol when she has personal struggles. So the film comments on the gender and sexual norms of that time period where a man is conventionally believed to be emotionless.

It’s here he suspects that Alicia is an American spy but can’t tell his fellow Nazi’s because they would kill him; so he tells his mother who then brings up the idea that Alicia should “die slowly”. They do this by poisoning her in her coffee; Alicia soon collapses and is sent to her room without a telephone to contact anyone.

notorious

Character Sebastian and his mother who the audience presume takes on the role of the Femme Fatale after Alicia falls ill.

However, Devlin feels something is up since Alicia hasn’t met up with him in a while, so he decides to visit the house and sneaks into Alicia’s room. After, he confesses his love for her, he attempts to carry her out of the house but Sebastian catches them and pleads that he goes with them due to fear of the Nazi group suspecting the truth. But Devlin and Alicia leave Sebastian to deal with this by driving away from the house.

 

notorious-3

Alfred Hitchcock’s film “Notorious”centres around the theme of manipulation despite the main character “Alicia” reluctantly taking on the role of the Femme Fatale as it’s her duty to manipulate “Sebastian” for the US intelligence. Therefore, the film poster exhibits the main themes of desire and danger through the connotation of the red coloured text.

It seems to me that the most famous shot in Notorious is the use of a crane shot and camera zoom to effectively display the top of the stairs all the way to the close up shot of Alicia nervously twisting the key. For the reason that the fluidity of just one take is exceptional as it keeps the audience feeling suspense. In addition, Alfred Hitchcock’s intention was to emphasise how the composition directs the audience’s attention to the fact that although there’s many people in the mansion, it all comes down to the very small, yet significant key held in Alicia’s hand. Therefore, informing the audience that this object is a symbol which stands for an important part to the plot of the film; in Notorious this is the key unlocking the wine cellar where the Uranium is hidden.

notorious set

Image above displays the set during filming for the crane shot in “Notorious”.

Furthermore, I can conclude that cinematographer Ted Tetzlaff’s create camerawork throughout the film, connects the visuals and narrative together in a spectacular way; perfectly representing the film style as a noir.

alfredhitchcocks notorious

 

Film Noir is more than just a Black&White film!

Film Noir is a cinematic french term created by critic Nino Frank in 1946, translating to “Black Film”. However I know there is much more to it than just that…

For instance Hollywood’s Crime drama films which emphasise “downbeat” themes and saturated with the dark aspects of life, are considered film noirs. In particular those released during the time period of the 1940’s and 1950’s as the experiences of post war despair and pessimistic attitudes were most often used. Therefore the films reflected the issues of that era, juxtaposing the optimism of American comedies and musicals; meaning the darker vision in film was something American citizens had not expected.

Following the war, detective style crime films released to French theatres included:

Double Indemnity:

This 1994 classic is regarded by many as one which set the standards for noir films. The plot follows Fred MacMurray as “Walter Neff”, an insurance representative who becomes influenced by a seductive woman into a scheme that entails killing a man in order to receive the accident insurance money. But “Barton Keyes”, the insurance analyst suspects the wife “Phyllis Dietrichson” and a anonymous man murdered the man…

Double_indemnity

Early noir director Billy Wilder achieved four of the American Film Institute’s 100 greatest movies Double Indemnity being one, as well as his other noir film Sunset Boulevard. As arguably, it’s the “first true” film noir through the presentation of Venetian blind lighting which is now a typical convention associated with noir films.

window-mini-blinds

Another great noir film is “Maltese Falcon” released in 1941 and based on Dashiell Hammetts novel with the same name. The plot involves a detective attempting to solve a case with three criminals all of which desire the falcon statuette; the trailer can be viewed below:

In my opinion this remarkable film is popular for the reason that the detective mystery leaves the audience apprehensive as a result of the pessimistic ending to the film. In which I find the cinematographer Arthur Edeson used unusual camera angles such as extremely Low angle shots to direct the audience’s attention to the deceitfulness of each character and their menacing behaviour/actions.

edeson2

Arthur Edeson an American cinematographer who’s career covered 4 decades.

This 1958 crime noir film called Touch of evil is said to be one of the last film noirs:

I find Orson Welles’ film great because the dark mystery uncovers the themes of betrayal, police corruption and racism through the amazing black and white cinematography highlighting the stark contrast in the low-key lighting and shadows. The plot centers around these themes as well as various crime offences such as murder in a Mexican border town.

However, an element which is too significant to dismiss is the most famous, 3 minute long opening sequence; this can be viewed below:

The twenty-second tracking shot is considered one of the greatest long takes in cinema history and I agree for the reason that this movement cinematography occurred in the late 1950’s when technology was not yet developed. So Welles has done a seamless performance by identifying the main details the audience need to acknowledge in just 3 minutes of the film starting. For instance the close up shot of an explosive timer/device foreshadows something bad is about to occur later in the film; which the tick-tock sounds in the soundtrack remind us about the foreboding tone. The camera then pulls away to uncover the location to which the film is set in, this being Mexican border town. From the crane shot, and then the camera tracking a couple driving a car through the town indicates the location for the film. But also the black and white visuals suggest their death is inevitable because they are darkly lit reflecting an unhappy ending. So as the camera moves to locate a new couple the audience gain the sense that these are the main characters because they are given dialogue whereas the other couple isn’t; only the woman saying she hears a noise and the men ignoring her comment. It’s not until after the two shot displaying Miguel Vargas and his wife Susan briefly kissing before the sound of a car exploding can be heard, which then we presume the people inside are dead.

Therefore, the way in which Weller has established the tone and ideas just under 4 minutes for this noir film, within one take, is unbelievable.

touch of evil

Film noirs have said to last to the classic “golden age” era in the 1960’s, but many have proved they are still made up until this day as they reflect the social norms of that time period.

An example of a modern day film noir is the 2000 “Memento” crime drama directed by Christopher Nolan:

This is an American neo noir film as it uses elements of film noir such as themes, content and the alternating scenes of black and white with colour sequences to reflect the mental state of the protagonist Guy Pearce as Leonard. For the reason that the major theme is amnesia, where he suffers short term memory loss and is unable to create new memories because of a past traumatic experience. This was when an anonymous murderer killed his wife; so by using photographs the film follows his attempt to gain revenge on the murderer.

I find the narrative of finding clues help to associate the film as a noir because the storyline in black and white moves chronologically whereas the coloured sequences display flashbacks uncovering hints about who killed his wife. Not only is the atmosphere intensified when watching, but also the narrative constructed in this way puts the audience in the position of feeling like the protagonist. As a result, when the two sequences come together at the end, “Memento” leaves an unforgettable effect on the audience who feel to watch the film again.

memento film posterjpg.jpg

Conventions of film noirs:

A wide variety of characters are present, including:

  • Detectives
  • Gangsters/criminals
  • Corrupt police officer/government officials
  • The alienated protagonist is portrayed stereo typically as it’s always a male in film noirs which exert the conventional beliefs of a man being emotionless as to cry would represent a feminine trait. Therefore, the men are morally ambiguous living in a violent, corrupt and crime ridden area. They are usually detectives who use to be police officers and are either attempting to escape their mysterious past or following the “Femme Fatale” who leads the protagonist into murder. As a result, the film centers around the protagonist’s obsession, anxieties and desires; reflected through the use of point of view shots that represent his deteriorating psychological state of mind.
joe gillis sunset boulvard

In “Sunset Boulevard” Joe Gillis (played by William Holden) exemplifies the characteristics of the “anti-hero” although he is identified as the protagonist. For the reason that he is displayed with weak and vulnerable traits, which eventually lead to his death by murderer Norma Desmond.

  • The female character is naturally seductive by using their heavy make up and revealing clothes to manipulate a man. Which the camera angles focusing on the female body emphasise their appearance; as a result Laura Mulvey, a British film theorist, developed the idea of the “Male Gaze”. For the reason that she argued woman are presented as objects for male pleasure, therefore the portrayal of women in noirs demonstrate exactly this. Also, since the character subverts conventional beliefs of women being domesticated housewives, due to the social freedom women experienced after the war, film noirs reflect the fear of the strong independent women in the 1940’s society. As they are conveyed as dangerous people, the French term “Femme Fatale” meaning “Fatal woman” was created and exemplified in every noir film throughout this era.

Iconography-

  • Guns
  • Cigarettes and alcohol
  • Dark paths
  • Rainy streets
  • Trench coat and top hats
  • Flashing street lights
  • Vertical and oblique lines

Settings-

  • Typically, the location in a film noir is in an abandoned urban or industrial setting for the reason that what occurs in the film, is made to appear realistic to the viewer who would then be able to engage with the film.
  • Nightclubs and bars can help to highlight the isolation of the protagonist due to the contrast with the busy city.
  • Rainy streets and dark pathways instantly suggest the theme of mystery being central to the film as the audience begin to focus on the shadows.
  • Fog displays the darkness which is metaphoric for the mysterious and dangerous atmosphere surrounding the noir film.

Narrative devices-

  • The protagonist looses control of the situation, their eventual downfall is death.
  • Voice over narration uncovers a majority of details the audience need to acknowledge; in particular it’s the voice of the protagonist.
  • First person narrative from the protagonist’s perspective.
  • Narrative gaps keep it suspenseful throughout watching.
  • Film narratives are non-linear meaning the events don’t take place chronologically hence why flashbacks are often used.

Themes-

  • Greed
  • Love
  • Isolation
  • Psychology
  • Amnesia
  • Murder
  • Drugs
  • Sex
  • Obsession
  • Hatred
  • Corruption of law
  • Revenge

Cinematography-

  • Shots are often used to emphasise the type of lighting, for instance low-key lighting would frame the shadows in that particular shot.
  • Establishing shots in the opening sequence will reveal the urban environment to which the film is set in.
  • Dutch tilt or canted camera angles create a feeling of disorientation for the audience as the framing makes the shot seem off balance; evoking feelings of uneasiness when watching.
  • Medium close up shots on mirrors focus the audience’s attention to the character’s reflection.
  • High angled close up shots of the “Femme Fatale” exaggerate the character’s beauty and thus their manipulative behaviour.
  • Low key lighting has became a convention of film noir because shadows are created through this hard lighting which draws attention to particular characters as their silhouette could suggest they are anonymous or dangerous, as well as the setting being expressed through Venetian blinds.

 

For several decades there has been an ongoing debate about whether noir is a film genre or just a style of film making.  So by defining both of these terms would help in the consideration of what film noir actually is.

A film genre is defined as a category based on similarities in narrative or emotional response form the audience. For example, evidence to support noir being categorised as a genre is the idea of defined character roles such as “Femme Fatale” and the flawed protagonist.

Whereas a film style refers to recognisable film techniques used to value or give specific changes to film maker’s work;this includes elements such as the cinematography, sound, mise-en-scene and editing. The style elements of film noir is demonstrated through the black and white visuals with a stark contrast in every frame.

However, to this day films have been categorised as hybrids of film noir as gray films or even “semi-noir” for the reason that it’s not just crime dramas which are considered a film noir because many western and comedies have been named by critics as noirs. For example the American comedy-drama film produced and directed by Frank Carpa called “It’s a wonderful life” (1946) is also classified as part noir by critics due to the narrative involving a suicidal protagonist George played by James Stewart who’s guardian angel is sent to reveal what life would be like if he didn’t exist. I think it’s the portrayal of the frightening view of the world at Christmas which brings him back from his pessimistic outlook on life, that makes this film be seen as a noir.

In my opinion film noir isn’t a genre because it’s more of a mood/tone and style in which it reflects the period of film history as from 1940 to 1950 after the Second World War, film makers hadn’t considered their films to be labelled as noirs like other genres. Furthermore, the specific film visuals of black and white and other elements I have described above depict film noir as a style focused on cinematography and a complex narrative.

 

My Chosen brief is…

music_videos_alt_header.png

For the reason that I believe I have the most interest in this brief as a music video allows a way for you to explore visuals in abstract ways without the narrative restricting and confining my ideas. This means true expression can be explored instead of conveying a message through the dialogue and characters which is scripted. In addition I find I can express my creativity the most within this brief as it’s a great way to display a visual interpretation of the song.

images-2.jpeg

Furthermore, I want to develop certain skills such as sound editing because in producing a music video you will have to be able to match the footage/visuals with the soundtrack because lip sync will not always be efficient.

Unknown-2

As well as I find the other briefs didn’t best suit my skillset and interest, for example the advertising brief I dismissed because I instantly knew this would require certain elements I have not yet covered.

However, my chosen brief will still be a challenge because I have never done this before and it’s definitely a change from producing an opening title sequence at AS; which I don’t feel like I need to extend my skills by choosing the short film brief.

Textual Analysis Of My Media Group’s Opening Thriller Titles For Inquest:

At AS Level my group and I produced a Crime Thriller Opening title sequence which the potential film displaying a sequence of events in non-chronological order, the narrative following a detective (key character involved in the crime genre) who reads clues and reconstructs the story of each of the several different murders; exemplified through flashbacks. All of which will occur so that the detective can find the killer, who ends up being the teenage girl with a Multiple Personality Disorder shown in the opening title sequence.

Our final sequence “INQUEST” can be viewed below:

To start with, the opening title sequence begins with a high angle shot looking down onto a young girl sleeping, then the sudden jump cut diverts into an extreme close up shot of her eyes waking up. The viewer can infer that this occurs as it’s one of the most intimate shots where the character’s eyes are central focus, making the audience feel uncomfortable as they have no other place to look but directly into her eyes. Due to the girl breaking the fourth wall, the audience can infer that they will be viewing the sequence through her eyes; which links to the voice-over as the sounds of voices are all being imagined in her head; whilst making it seem like someone is there in the room with her. As a result, the audience are made to feel apprehensive and enthralled when watching this particular shot; a typical convention for the thriller genre.

 

The use of low-key lighting is sustained through to the next low-angle shot of the girl’s feet walking out of bed; allowing the audience to deduce that the creation of shadows present in nearly all thriller films, representing an evil spirit within, ultimately reflects the narrative of the opening title sequence. Therefore, indicating the main themes of mental problems and darkness symbolised through the shadows as the voices playing inside the character’s head portray her inner evilness.

 

Then the use of a long shot of the window/house uncovers how on the exterior it seems like everything is ‘normal’, conforming to societal expectations, but as the sequence progresses the truth is revealed that this middle class girl is actually a murderer. Since seeing her waking up and walking to open her blinds, the audience assume she is ‘normal’, only until later the fast pace editing portrays the complete opposite. So the theme of secrecy is established as central to the story, for the reason that she keeps her identity hidden from her family as they believe she is innocent, much like we do up until this point.

2017-03-26 (1)

Furthermore suggesting that the shot of her pulling up the blinds and her shadow disappearing, acts as a signification for the climax of the opening title sequence because soon after the girl has a much more ominous persona.

2017-03-19 (11)

Next as a cut stimulates the medium close up shot of the girl appearing in her window, the audience are made to infer that as she is symbolically seen as innocent due to simply being a young girl waking up, the voice-over fading in from the eerie non-diegetic background music changes their view. For the reason that she’s told “Don’t turn around” and she does exactly this; almost instantly giving the impression that she has something wrong with her because she isn’t taking any consideration to these voices which can stand as her conscience. Therefore, the representation of a young child, which society would expect to see as an innocent person, but instead having the capability to cause harm to society is expressed; implying that this idea will be challenging the audience’s interpretation of society’s “norms” in the film.

 

Next after the several jumps cuts of her taking a seat at her desk, the audience are drawn to watch her character much more closely. For instance the camera zoom in not only heightens the audience’s interest to see what she is writing on the mirror, but to notice how she is centre framed. This works against the Rule Of Thirds being that the audience’s natural eye would usually go to the intersecting points rather than the centre. So the sense of unbalance reflects the girl who is mentally unstable as she has a multiple personality disorder believing she is different aged people and is thus not able to control her actions.

As well as, the audience connote how the character’s outfit consists of a pink jumper, stereotypically associated with a “girly girl” representing femininity and innocence. However, the audience’s and societal expectations are subverted because her actions juxtapose this idea since she is the cause of the deaths of several people, as displayed in the Polaroid pictures in her scrapbook.

 

In addition the superimposition technique draws emphasis onto her writing quite malevolent words on her mirror; reinforcing how she is the antagonist of this crime thriller film. Which the sound motif of quite sinister toned voices imply that the character is being influenced by the voices inside her head; connoting that she is unable to control her actions because of her lack of mental stability.

2017-05-29 (1).png

Then suddenly a jump cut diverts to an alluring sinister laugh which is extremely captivating and enthralling, for the reason that the audience are instantly made to feel like the girl is capable of evil as the laugh evokes suspense. Subsequently the feeling of disturbance created, depicts how the film is classified as a thriller because of this particular emotion evoked being a generic convention.

2017-03-26 (4)

In the next part of the sequence, the character’s body language is significant because she puts on her makeup messily and then rubs it off angrily; fading into the next shot of her dressed as a teenager. Therefore, implying that this character has a multiple personality disorder, believing she is both a child and a teenager. As a result, standing as a potential reason to why she acts in this mysterious way due to her mental instability.

 

2017-03-19 (2)

Further developing the idea of mental issues is explored through the series of shots where the audience watch a girl with Multiple Personality Disorder create a scrapbook with Polaroid Pictures of all of her murdered victims inside. So this gives the audience a look towards the extent of which mental illnesses can affect people.

2017-03-23 (2)

For instance the jump cuts leave the audience clueless as little information is given to them about the identities of the dead people in the Polaroid pictures, then diverting the audience’s attention to another victim; portraying a cycle of events where this young teenage girl who has murdered several people. Due to the short duration of each shot, the audience are left on the edge of their seats, in pure anticipation to see what could happen next; these emotions evoked are the primary convention of the thriller genre.

 

Also the jump cuts divert to several canted angle shots (or known as dutch tilt) for a dramatic effect where the book is not aligned resulting in the audience feeling agitated as this shot is not often used more than once in a sequence. Therefore, the repetition of canted angle shots maintain the audience’s anticipation to the part of the sequence where the girl is going through her scrapbook. The audience can suggest that the girl has murdered the children as she must have taken part in the deaths as she was obviously there, possibly taking a picture of them when she could have been helping them. So signifying her character role as the antagonist of the film “INQUEST”.

 

Moreover, the use of synchronous sound of a sharp blade scratching as the girl is writing in her scrapbook creates the impression for the audience to believe that the antagonist has some hidden powerful force with the potential to do harm when one may think it’s not possible. This links to the narrative of the film as she simply appears to be a young girl, but little do others know that she is the murderer of the many deaths. Furthermore, conforming to the convention of the audience being puzzled at the fact that people are not always as they first seem, explored in real media products like thriller films.

2017-03-26 (2)

To end the opening credits is the typography text fading to white, signifying how the character is meant to be innocent, due to the colour white symbolising this, whereas her actions completely juxtapose this as she is the antagonist of the film. This idea of portraying the contrast between good and evil, links to theorist Levi Strauss who believed in the audience only understanding the meaning of words because of the relations to our understanding with it’s opposite. Therefore, establishing the main themes which will be explored in this crime thriller film.

2017-03-19 (4)

Audio Brief:

Within this brief, a promotion package has to be created for the release of an album including a music promotion video; with a similar structure to the short film brief as the duration can’t be longer than five minutes. Also two of the following can be chosen such as:

  • a  magazine advertisement for the album release and/or
  • a website homepage and/or
  • a digipack cover (CD package)

The most meaningful music video to me, would have to be One Direction’s “Little Things” for the reason that the production makes the video touching and leaves the audience emotional afterwards. In particular the idea of recreating the old pictures links to the words and thus meaning conveyed in the song itself; an element I find is significant in the success of a music promo video.

Therefore, A2 media student’s Chris Brown “Crawl” music video reinforces this idea as it demonstrates:

  • Montage editing creates a story which links to the meaning conveyed in the song; as a result the audience begin to pay close attention to the lyrics whilst still watching what’s displayed onscreen.
  • Despite each shot being in different locations they still link together to generate a well-structured narrative the audience can follow easily.

Other elements I had picked up on which can stand as a reflection of what to potentially expect in a music promotion video:

  • The lip-sync, term used to describe how the character is synchronised with the pre-recorded soundtrack is consistent throughout.
  • The editing is most significant in this example of a music video because the flashbacks can be denoted as all the shots are in black and white, whereas the rest of the footage is in colour indicating the character’s present state.

However, successful music videos don’t always have to have a strong connection through the message portrayed in the song, since it depends on the genre of music.

For instance the A2 media student’s “Walking with the elephants” music video is classified as a hip-hop song, but the visuals created are more associated with the grime music genre. This is mainly because I can compare the video to SL’s “Gentleman” song as the:

  • Fast pace editing with short shot duration used.
  • Mise-en-scene including tracksuits and hoodies are stereotyped to the young people in the video; now commonly associated with the grime genre of music.
  • Glitch edits which mirror the sounds of the music.
  • Slow motion in a variety of shots.
  • Hand held camera throughout to add a sense of realism.

Short Film Brief:

I find this brief allows you to use your creativity to it’s fullest for the reason that you can create a combination of both a live action or animation short film lasting approximately five minutes or selecting just one of those to produce the media text. Then making:

  • a film magazine review page (featuring the film)
  • a film poster and/or
  • the film website homepage

Firstly a short film is defined by The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as “an original motion picture that has a running time of 40 minutes or less, including all credits”.

But also, I find the most generic convention of a short film through looking at real media texts as well as A2 media short films, is that the topics explored are criticised as the audience are made to see the  reverse side to what they are used to. As expressed in the Award winning short film “Deep It” directed by Teddy Nygh drawing our attention to the severe impact of knife crime on young people in West London; through the narrative uncovering the effect on a young man himself talking to a group of ‘youngers’ so they don’t make the same mistakes he had done. Therefore, exemplifying how short films aim to direct a message across to the audience about a particular topic.

Moreover, I have looked at a variety of previous A2 students’ short films and my favourite one so far has to be “Alone” which includes some crucial elements I would like to consider if I were to use this brief:

  • The name of the short film is introduced at the start.
  • The narrative is very clear meaning that the audience can understand what’s happened as it’s a straightforward plot; despite there not being a lot of dialogue which would otherwise inform the audience.
  • As a result the audience’s attention is then diverted towards the story instead; so emphasising how she is ultimately the only survivor until she kisses her dad catching the virus and thus ending up in heaven reunited with her family.
  • The credits finalise the short film as they appear at the end.

Advertising Brief:

The next brief I could select would involve me producing an advertising package for a new product/service; this will include creating two TV advertisements with either:

  • a radio advertisement

For example one of my favourites displayed below, is great because as it uncovers how radio advertising can effectively promote a product/service to a mass audience. For the reason that this particular radio advert is one that the audience will remember since it involves a catchy tune whilst communicating important details about the product being advertised.

  • and/or a web pop-up

This is a form of online advertising as a message will attract a viewer to a website where they can find out more about the product advertised or fill in their details (email address is common). For instance: bonobos

  • and/or a TV programme sponsorship sequence

These are displayed on TV just before a TV programme begins; which means that the sponsorship sequence is short so will have to catch the audience’s attention through a creative way in order to be successful.

 

Therefore, looking at students’ work for this advertising brief, I have found it quite interesting to see how they have taken a product that has already been advertised and still creates one that could be used to promote the product.

For instance the GoPro advert displayed below produced by a A2 media student exemplifies how he was directly influenced by the official GoPro Adverts as seen on TV by using montage editing to highlight the main use of the product. Which is using the GoPro to film and capture events in our lives we would otherwise forget about or have them somewhere in our memories.

But with this brief (advertising) I think that I will struggle with selecting either a web pop-up or radio advertisement for the reason that my knowledge of sound editing in particular would hold me back from achieving a good grade.

Film trailer Brief:

Within this brief, as students we would have to create a promotion package for a new film; in the form of a teaser trailer including two of the following:

  • a film poster and/or
  • a website homepage and/or
  • a film magazine front cover

Below is an example of a real media text, which is the film trailer for “The Pursuit of Happyness” directed by Gabriele Muccino based on Chris Gardner’s experiences being homeless.

Not only do I love the film because Will Smith features as the protagonist, but also as I came across the trailer on social media where many people were talking about it; despite the film being released in 2006, it is still to this day a classic film. So after watching the trailer, I instantly felt the need to watch the film because I was intrigued to see the ending as all the events briefly displayed in the trailer, leaves the viewer desperate to see the outcome. Therefore, meaning that I believe significant conventions in producing a successful film trailer, is one that will captivate the audience to the extent of being popular for future audiences to enjoy it as well as.

In addition, the film poster for “The Pursuit of Happyness” is one of my favourites for the reason that the white background colour diverts the viewer’s attention to the two characters; emphasising the strong father-son connection. The bright light on their hands entwined symbolises their contentment with each other’s company; as perhaps all they need is one another, hence why they are isolated in the sense of being the only two in the poster. Furthermore, the main themes that will be explored in the film is conveyed in a variety of ways in the film poster.

thepursuitofhappyness

Consequently, I wanted to see previous students film trailers in order to gain a better understanding of the conventions of a film trailer.

For instance on YouTube the media text produced called “Vendetta” is a great example of a film trailer for several reasons including:

  • The voice-over intensifies the whole atmosphere for the audience when watching especially as the inter-cutting  of shots from the man talking about how he is “hired to kill” and then shots of the flashbacks in which this occurs.
  • The eerie non-diegetic music transitions to jumpy music as the use of an edit glitches a shot onscreen; exemplifying how this is very specific to the action crime genre.
  • I noticed how before revealing an interesting aspect , which will be uncovered in the film, the comments about the film are displayed onscreen. As a result, I find this heightens the audience’s interests as they will be desperate to see the positive comments stated by critics about the film.

Another students A2 media text that I believe is an extremely great film trailer is called “Medacious” for the reason that:

  • The trailer begins very slow with the titles appearing very gradually but the pace of the editing increases in the end to leave a significant lasting impact on the audience; one that makes sure the audience will remember the name of the film meaning that they are more likely to go and watch the film.
  • The short shot duration creates tension for the audience as they being to constantly question what could happen next.
  • The montage editing highlights brief information about what’s to be revealed later in the film; a generic convention for film trailers.

Overall, my thoughts on this brief stands as interested in being able to produce a product where I will be able to show my creativity as I would enjoy turning an idea into a story-line to produce a film trailer. However, I think that I will find it extremely difficult to create a trailer that conventionally displays several clips linked to the plot without revealing too much detail; meaning that narrowing down my ideas so that it won’t turn out to be a short film is the main problem with this brief.

What A2 Media Studies entails…

The course is split into two main sections including:

  1. The first part called G324, where as students we have to create an Advanced Media Portfolio as part of our coursework unit; this is worth 50% of our grade (100 marks).

We have the chance to select a brief to produce a portfolio compromising of a main and ancillary text of one of the following:

  • Audio

Unknown-1

  • Short Film

Unknown

  • Advertising

Unknown-1

  • Film Trailer

Unknown-2

(In another blog post I will explain in depth the detail associated with each of these briefs)

2. The last part of Media studies at A2 level is called “critical perspectives” G325; involving  a 2 hour written exam paper where we have to evaluate our portfolio. This again is worth 50% of our grade (100 marks).

images-1