Wednesday, 31 August 2011

RS - Deconstruction - Aerosmith - I Don't Wanna Miss A Thing

Artist: Aerosmith
Year: 1998
Genre: Rock
Director: Francis Lawrence
Audience: 15-24

Aerosmith's classic music video for "I Don't wanna miss a thing" is basically a hybrid between a narrative and a performance music video. The music video contains lots of footage of the band performing and lip syncing to camera however it also follows the narrative of the film Armageddon and contains scenes from the film throughout the music video cross cutting between the two. The music video contains a cameo from Steve Tyler's (the frontman of Aerosmith) daughter Liv Tyler who plays Grace Stamper in Armageddon she is also in other Aerosmith music videos acting, an example of another is Crazy. The music video was awarded with the title of "Best music video for a film" and "Best video".

This music video follows the typical codes and conventions and like every other video I have deconstructed has the frontman lip-syncing to the camera. There is limited movement from frontman Steve Tyler mainly because the day before he "hurt" his leg and so most of the shots are above his waist or just showing minimal movement from him.

There is an obvious focus on the frontman which is typical of a music video the reason for this is so that it looks like he is looking right at the audience and targetting just them watching to involve them a bit more, it's also because instruments don't really target the audience completley but lip syncing does.

Throughout Steve is on tv screens within the narrative and film footage which is similar to the music video for Iron Maiden's "Can I play with Madness" which I blogged on here. This technique is very easy and I have considered using it in my own music video because of it being so easy just using multiple layers, it is possible using Final Cut.

The music video contains various locations which are very large in size signifying that the video is high budget. Also with the planes flying over head this reiterates the fact that the budget is high. Finally because of the music video containing footage from the film they would have had to buy the rights to be able to put the footage in, ending with a high budget from that too.

The music video contains several clips of the different band members playing their instruments which is yet again typical for the genre of the video. This is for the performance side of the music video and shows them playing the instruments and lip syncing to the camera, as if they are looking directly at the audience.

The music video uses cross cutting to switch between scenes from the film and the shots of the band perfoming to the camera. This is very typical of a music video which contains footage from a film, it can be used to tell the story of the film but also have the band performing to show them off too.

There is a very good shot here of the band performing with the smoke from the rocket (which is from the film footage) covering the band, showing that the performance location links into the film footage. It also shows that the video was high budget if they used huge smoke cannons to cover the band.

The footage from the film uses lots of special effects (sfx) within it mainly because it was a blockbuster film but also to show off. With lots of special effects in the film footage it ment that they didn't have to add many effects in the performance footage because otherwise it would be a bit over the top.

The different locations for the performance scenes relate to the narrative so that it doesn't seem very random. Overall the takes are fairly long and the editing is slow however with the ammount of sfx in the film footage it keeps the audience entertained and it doesn't really matter that the shots are overall quite long.

There are lots of tracking shots used in the music video to give a very smooth shots, if we wanted to do this in our film we would have to make our own tracks, which is very hard and expensive to do. There are also lots of panning shots in the video using cranes which is typically showing a fairly high budgetted video, and again we do not have the equipment available to do that type of shot.

Monday, 22 August 2011

RS - Deconstruction - Metallica - One

Artist: Metallica
Song Title: One
Year: 1989
Genre: Thrash Metal
Director: Bill Pope
Audience: 15-24

Metallica's classic music video for "One" is a performance based music video however it encorperates film footage into the performance footage for effect and mainly because the song lyrics are based on the book in which the film is based upon. The film is called Johnny Got His Gun and is about a man who fights in World War 1, on the last day a mortar shell lands on him and he loses his legs, arms, eyes, ears, mouth and nose, a fate worse than death. He can only lie in a hospital bed unable to communicate with the world. He cannot work out whether he is awake or dreaming. He finally figures a way to communicate with the world using morse code. The song has three different music videos. One version is the longest with the album version of the song, containing both film and performance footage, a second version which was simply a shortened version of the first and a third which was named the "jammin version" which didn't have many scenes from the film and ended sooner.

"Like many other music videos from Metallica, "One" puts great emphasis on the performances of the band members as musicians, with many shots of Hetfield, Newsted and Hammett's hands picking and fretting. The video features the band members in a typical early Metallica fashion: playing (as if in rehearsal) in some sort of warehouse, in tight formation around Ulrich's drum kit, and dressed in casual street clothes and with long untamed hair."   Sourced from Wikipedia

The location for the music video is a very dark and dull run down warehouse. People say it is the essence of the band and also the song. The location is like this just to show off the music and not have people concentrate on the location too much, one reason for this is because it was Metallica's first music video. Maybe a typical Metallica location?

Quite alot of shot variation is used in the music video to keep it interesting and to appeal to the target audience, one example is this interesting over the shoulder the shot of Lars, Metallica's drummer. Shot variation is vital for the audience mainly because a typical person within the target audience for this music video would get bored with fairly long shots however using lots of variations and effects it keeps them interested.

Here is a scene from the film which has been added to the music video. The film footage cross cuts between the performance to appeal to the audience and make it more interesting. The film footage dialogue is played over the top of the song so you can hear both however it is only usually played over the parts at the start and towards the end when it is quiter.

The majority of the lip syncing is done by frontman James Hetfield however bass player (at the time) Jason Newsted also is seen lip syncing in parts of the song to show verisimilitude and to look like they are performing live to the audience. Lots of "dissolving" transitions are used throughtout the music video to show time has passed but also a little interesting way to move onto the next shot, it's a bit more entertaining than just a straight cut, we can achieve this effect with Final Cut on the Macs at school

The clothing has been chosen to be very dark and dull again like the location so that attention is not drawn to it, they want to be drawn to the instruments, the song and the film footage. The clothing is fairly typical for the genre of the music video and can therefore be identified quickly when changing channels quick by the audience. However Lars goes against the rest of the band and the codes and conventions of a metal video and wears a white shirt! (perhaps to get noticed or seperated from the rest of the band)

Multiple close ups of the instruments are used throughout the performance side of the music video, this is to show great emphasis on them performing. It is also good for shot variation and is interesting for the audience to see how the band plays their instruments, the audience could also learn the band members techniques and apply it to their own playing.

Double bass is being used by Lars which can be seen in several shots in the music video. This is very typical of a band from this genre which follows the codes and conventions of a metal music video however you would not see double bass in a pop music video. Again using these small little details (like playing the bass with a pick) it can connote the genre of the music video.
The music video is being played in black and white apart from a few shots from the film footage which are in full colour. The lyrics for the song link to the film footage because James wrote the song about the book which the film is based upon, therefore it is all related to eachother and works. Overall, the majority of the shots are long which is not very typical for a music video aimed at this audience, however with the added transitions, cross cutting and multi-layering it works and is entertaining to watch.

Lip syncing is used throughout the performance clips in the music video to show great emphasis on the band performing to the audience. The music video also tends to focus on frontman James Hetfield which is typical of a music video however it still does contain lots of footage of the rest of the band, but the majority is of James lip syncing and playing his guitar.

Bass player Jason switches to a pick to play his bass when the double bass starts in the music video and the song which is very typical for a metal bassist and follows the codes and conventions of a metal music video. The first half of the music video and song is fairly slow and clean, Jason plays the bass with his fingers and then half way through it gets heavier and Jason swaps to his pick to play bass for a typical metal sound.

Another typical code and convention of a metal music video is the headbanging. Again like with Jason's pick after the first half when the tempo starts increases and the double bass kicks in the band members start headbanging which is typical for the genre in which the song is. The footage and shot variation also begins to speed up to replicate the song getting faster and heavier.
The music video makes the use of multiple layers on multiple occassions so that the performance footage can be seen over the top of the film footage purely to keep the audience interested and to show it off, it can also be seen as a bit more shot variation. Using multiple layers is available for us on the software we have available at school so we can have the same effect as this music video with two things happening at once / a narrative and a performance side happening at the same time.

Here is the music video for Metallica's "One"

Here is a live version of the song. There has been multiple live Dvd's of Metallica over the years featuring this song as it is one of their biggest songs of all time. For the live version they use fireworks, explosions and flames to replicate the gunfire which can be heard at the start of the song. Rob Truljillo the current bass player of the band does not play the bass with a pick like Jason Newsted did back when it was first recorded therefore Rob goes against the typical characteristics of a metal bassist and plays with his fingers not a pick.

Monday, 15 August 2011

RS - Deconstruction - Slipknot - Psychosocial

Artist: Slipknot
Song Title: Psychosocial
Year: 2008
Director: Paul Brown
Genre: Heavy Metal
Audience: 15-24

Slipknot's music video for "Psychosocial" is a performance based video as the majority of the video contains footage of the band playing their instruments along with Corey Taylor, the band's frontman lip syncing to the song. It has quick snipets of masks on fire and also objects being destroyed such as a television and a window being smashed.

"During an interview with Kerrang!, guitarist Jim Root revealed that the video features the burning of the purgatory masks adorned by the band members in the splash teaser photos shown on Slipknot's website, reportedly because the masks represent the band's ego."

"it was shot using high-end cameras which shoot 1,000 frames per second and are contrasted with traditional 35 mm hand crank camera equipment."

The music video contains performance footage of the band members playing their instruments to the song. The music video does not focus completley on the frontman, which is typical of a metal video, however he is in the footage the most mainly due to him lipsyncing. they are seen as a whole band not just one member so all of the members are in the shots and there are lots of them in all different variations of shot types.

Very quick cut shots are shown throughout the music video of things being destroyed, such as the tv, when a large metal object is dropped onto the screen breaking it. The object links to the genre as it is a heavy metal object (by the looks of it anyway!). However the shots are very short and the majority is a performance video.

Lots of effects are used for the Psychosocial music video and most importantly the flame effects which are over the lens one various occassions throughout the video. There are flames within the music video itself in the location on screen however more flames have been added in after the filming for greater effect. The location for the music video has very low lighting, the reason for this is because of the horror aspects, but also because it is a code and convention of a metal music video. The complete opposite of a pretty brightly lit pop video. The dark shots connote the genre of the video.

The music video takes another typical metal video code and convention with the excessive use of the headbang. The pop music videos have their dancing whilst the metal videos have the headbang. Yet again this connotes that it is a metal music video. When the audience is quickly switching channels and they see the headbang they can quickly determine what genre it is and watch it if they desire, similar to the dancing in a pop music video.
There is a "slow-mo" sequence half way through the music video which utalizes the 1000 fps cameras they used to film the video. The slow-mo effect is fairly straight forward and we could replicate it on the Mac's at school using the software available. With the slow-mo sequence there is also the use of cross cutting to attract the audience more and make it more interesting when Joey the bands drummer crashes down on the cymbals, the editing cross cuts between that shot in slow mo and the band performing.

As usual with a performance video there is the heavy use of lip syncing by the frontman Corey Taylor. Chris Fehn also does some lip-syncing for his backup vocals within the song, however there are only a few of these shots as he doesn't sing much compared to Corey. This is typical for every video I have deconstructed. The costumes used within the music video are the typical Slipknot costumes with the matching jump-suits and masks. The younger audience may be scared by the masks and put off however.

There is the use of multiple layers in the video to make the shots more interesting and once again seem attractive to the target audience, shot variation with the multiple layers and fast takes to keep them entertained. They use a flashing effect at the beginning of the music video when there are lots of fast takes for effect. The last shot goes on for a long period mainly for effect on the glass being shattered and because it fits in with the music at the end fading out, it loses tempo so the glass ends it and then leaves it to fade out.

Youtube has removed the ability to embed the video so you are going to have to watch the music video here instead.

RS - Deconstruction - Michael Jackson - Black or White

Artist: Michael Jackson
Song Title: Black or White
Year: 1991
Genre: Pop
Audience: 10-24
Director: John Landis

Michael Jackson's "Black or White" music video has two main parts to it. The first part is a narrative of a 10 year old dancing around and jumping on his bed listening to rock music. His dad downstairs is watching the baseball and is annoyed because the music is too loud. He goes upstairs to tell him to turn it down however the kid doesn't want to, instead he gets some huge speakers and a guitar and wheels them into the living room (reference to Back to the future) and plays the guitar on the "are you nuts" volume level. The glass in the house shatters and his dad gets flung through the roof of the house because of the level of the sound. That is the narrative side of the music video.

However there is another side to the music video when the main song kicks in after the little intro. After the intro the music video adapts to a peformance/concept music video because of the sequence being fairly random however the aim is to show all the different cultures around the world. There is also the performance side of the music video which includes the different cultures dancing and lip syncing along with Michael Jackson in various different locations.

"It premiered simultaneously in 27 countries, with an audience of 500 million viewers, the most to ever watch a music video"

"To date, the uncut version has generally been seen in the United States on MTV2 only between the hours of 01:00 and 04:00, as part of their special uncensored airing of the "Most Controversial Music Videos" of all time."

Reference to "MJ's" famous gloves?
The audience is attracted to this video for different reasons, one is because of the "kid star" Macaulay Culkin for being known from the film Home Alone. Kids would be able to relate to him and watch the music video simply because he was in it. Some of the shots within the music video do go on for quite a long period however the ones that do have some sort of effect on it, whether it be green screening something behind Jackson or simply effects over the lens such as flames, they are all more interesting than just one really long shot.

The video does contain a few references however they will only be pulled off if the audience has seen the film they are referencing too, otherwise the audience will not pick up the preffered reading. The most obvious one is the "Back to the Future" reference when Culkin pulls the huge speakers and plays the guitar through them. The sequence has been matched up pretty much shot for shot with the sequence at the beginning of the first Back to the Future film.

There is also a reference to the Home Alone film when Culkin talks to the camera which is what he does on several occassions in the Home Alone film. Yet again if the audience has not seen the film then they won't pick up the reference.
Culkin was chosen because he was a huge star at the time and kids can relate to him easily, increasing the range of the audience.
The first shot of the music video is very long, as it goes all the way from above the clouds, flying down a road and then finally into the 10 year olds room. The shot is long but it is made interesting with the non-diagetic sound playing and with all the panning and moving of the camera to look like it's flying. The camera moves fast also which makes it more interesting.

There is a wide range of different dancing styles from various different cultures which can be seen as typical for the genre of music and also because of Jackson; being famous for his wide range and extreme dancing in many of his other music videos along with live performances. There is also a huge range of costumes within the music video to show off all the cultures from around the world. The cultures are signified using the location around them.

There is a vast number of extras within the music video also which is not typical for a music video. It takes the aspects of a film with the ammount of extras, however with Jackson being so big at the time it was not a problem. He is known for having loads of extras in his videos and performances such as the very famous Thriller music video.

There is a very quick behind the scenes shot at the very end of the music video just to tie it up and to show how it would have been done. This is after all the morphing shots which I will get onto later.

The locations for the different scenes and cultures in the music video are very large and not typical of a music video however yet again with Jackson being so famous he can have a very large budgetted music video and be similar to a films budget. Some of the locations are using green screens to get an even larger location which again is typical of a film not a music video, therefore it does challenge some codes and conventions of a typical music video.

At 5:12 in the music video there is a very long shot/take  of different cities around the globe to again back up all the different cultures used in the video, how many iconic landmarks can you spot? They used a green screen for this shot which is typical for a film not a music video. There are lots of things in the shot to make it more interesting for the audience even though it's such a long take.

Green screening is used again for the part when Michael is lip syncing and dancing to the camera with flames behind him, and a few flames infront of the lens using effects. This would be dangerous if they did it for real so using a green screen is the easy and safe way to do it.

Very long takes are used in the intro scene but also the scenes before the dancing and lip-syncing starts in the Africa location. It's just to set the scene and show you some of the surroundings before the actual song starts.

 A technique called morphing is used in this music video. Morphing is typical for films such as Terminator 2 so again it shows that the music video challenges the typical codes and conventions and adapts to be like a film. This also shows that the budget would have been high because of using these special effects, they would only have been available to large film companies, but they became available for Jackson.

Controversy and Censorship in the music video.

On a side note the last 4 mintues of the music video concerned alot of people. There are sexually suggestive scenes when Michael grabs his crotch when dancing and then zips his pants up. "In the original version, Jackson is seen smashing windows, destroying a car and causing an inn (called the "Royal Arms") to explode. Jackson later apologized saying that the violent and suggestive behavior was an interpretation of the animal instinct of a black panther, and MTV and other music video networks removed the last four minutes from subsequent broadcasts." They also used racist messages within the video saying things such as "Hitler Lives" and "KKK rules" to name a couple. Due to all this most of the ending was removed and the full version could only be seen late at night on certain channels.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

RS - Deconstruction - Depeche Mode -Everything Counts

Artist: Depeche Mode
Song Title: Everything Counts
Year: 1985
Director: Clive Richardson
Audience: 15-24
Genre: Electronic/Synthpop

Depeche Mode's "Everything Counts" is a concept based music video and contains various footage of around a city and footage from within a car going down a street. The music video also contains footage of the band lipsyncing to the camera and also dancing which is a typical code and convention of the pop/dance genre. There isn't really a story to the music video which is why it is not under the narrative category. However it does have aspects of a performance music video with lip sync and dancing.

The other three members of Depeche Mode
Dave Gahan the frontman of Depeche Mode is only seen in the music video alone supporting the usual convention of the frontman being apart from the group and seen alone. The rest of the band are seen as a seperate group all together never in the same shot as Dave until the very end on the beach when the band is all in the same shot for the first time. The shots of the rest of the band are very long and are just one continuous shot however they use multiple layers whilst these shots are on to make them more interesting than just one.

Overall the shots within the music video are very long, however the video does rely heavily on the use of multiple layers to attract the audience. With the shots being so long it would be boring but by using tonnes of multiple layers it makes it that more interesting. The music video has a performance side of the music video containing the band playing their instruments within the music video for verisimilitude and also lip syncing to the camera for another performance side.

As you can see on the left Dave is only seen by himself apart from the rest of the band to signify he is the frontman. The bits before the main song starts there are fairly fast shots of the city and the people within the city and also after the main song when the video is finishing the editing speeds up again. The majority of the song contains long shots however with various use of multiple layers to make up for the long shots.
The audience is attracted to the music video by using the excessive use of the multiple layers throughout the song despite having the long shots. The dancing in the music video is typical of the genre, you would not see dancing in a metal video. The end shots are very bright, on the beach which again is typical of the genre of the music video.