Monday, 29 November 2010

Album Artwork Research

Gliss- Devotion Implosion

The effect of using an image that is highly over exposed using the effect of an abstract close up or image, usually with a sepia/black and white or film grain effect is used widely within the indie genre specifically. The effect creates a vintage, old fashioned feel, reminiscent of negatives from film reels, an effect which we hope to create in our own video, therefore I am going to experiment with creating this style of photo. I have looked up techniques to create film effects in photoshop, I found this website particularly useful and cohesive-

Voxtrot- Raised by Wolves

Washed Out- Feel it all Around

These images all try and portray an image relevant to the Auteur Theory (Not being influenced by the 'mainstream hype' with individual ideas determined by their creativity alone) but as this style of photograph and the 'Indie/Hipster' scene has grown in popularity, in actual fact with this growing niche becoming more and more mainstreamed into the popular culture cohering to Adorno's theory of popular media and music products being characterised by standardisation (they are basically formulaic and similar) and pseudo-indivitulisation (incidental difference make them seem distinctive, but they're not.)


Looking at album artwork from bands within the indie genre, as well as Two Door Cinema Club's
own releases, I have taken an interest in the use of real life photography, as opposed to photoshop artwork.

Two Door Cinema Club- Tourist History

This album features a photograph of a cat that has been edited using photoshop purely to draw lines from the eyes of the animal, and overlay the bands logo and album title. Little else has been done to the image, as you can see when taking away the font, the image itself doesn't look altered apart from the eye area and possibly a shift in contrast to create a darker lighting:

If you compare this simplistic home made approach to the works of artists like:

Empire of the Sun: Walking on a Dream

The Dutch Uncles- Dutch Uncles

Basement Jaxx: The Return of Basement Jaxx

It becomes clear that Two Door Cinema have utilised the do it yourself approach, and have created a hand made feel to their album that is reflected in the sound of their music. Much like the respective bands above and their highly edited and produced artwork, that is reflected in their own music. When the two differing styles are contrasted against each other I personally prefer the effect of using a photo. I plan to experiment with photographs either importing them into photo shop and playing with lighting and certain effects or actually working straight onto the image, taking aspects of inspiration from some of the art work researched in my following post.

In this video Sir Ken Robinson discusses the value of making mistakes and how these errors are the key to independent learning. Creativity is at the heart of the media industry and I found Robinson's views insightful on this topic. His views on the way schools can enhance or suffocate pupils creativity made me assess how much I rely on my own teachers and pushed me to become more independent and experiment more, learning from my own mistakes. From the topics discussed in the above video I am hoping to take these sentiments into my own work, and learn to embrace my mistakes whilst working with my photographed images and the edits I will make to them.

Digital Technologies- Skills Audit

I have been considering what technology skills I need to develop and have come up with these targets to try and improve on within the week, developing my knowledge by experimenting and being creative with the technologies as well as using means such as the internet to guide me through the software.

- Become more confident with photoshop, learning what all of the tools can do.

- Watch an online tutorial about stop motion filming, so I can pick up any hints to the production aspect of the filming, as well as speeding up the post production edit.

- Familiarise myself with the Editing Suite and the insertion of multiple frames.

- Find out how to print onto gloss paper and scan in images using the college printers.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Time Management- Target Audience

18th November - Decide on candidates for focus group - Leah
- Decide on questions that we will ask our target audience - Emma
20th November - Send a survey to our candidates via 'Facebook' requesting responses to moodboard, opinion on similar music videos from our genre and their synaesthetic imagery in response to our song - Emma and Leah
22nd November - Write up audience response on blog and assess whether plans need changing. Also judge whether aspects of our video need changing following the audience response - Emma and Leah

Monday, 15 November 2010

Music Video Analysis

This video is by an Independent band The Mystery Jets signed to the Rough Trade label. The track is about a woman who's boyfriend is in love with another girl as well as herself. The video follows this narrative, but has taken a comic standing on the lyrics 'He's half in love with Elizabeth' and used Queen Elizabeth as the 'other woman'. Although through the filming this isn't overtly clear until the final minute, so it appears a fairly redundant narrative to the unsuspecting audience although filmed quite artistically, but once the twist has become apparent and the subtle hints before are finally realised it is clear that the video is actually entropic.

The video coheres to Andrew Goodwin's theory illustrating a relationship between the lyrics and the visuals, with the visuals illustrating and amplifying the lyrics. For example there are some very illustrative shots, the mid shot of the lead male protaganist leaping out of bed in a suit coincides on beat with the lyric 'How can you trust a man that sleeps in his clothes?' There is also a lot of genre related style present with art house edits and effects, such as the very short incorporations of stop motion and the very urbanised muted colours and setting, also the first few seconds illustrate an alternative video as the titles portray a film style video with a narrative and the use of subtitles within the video are not typically conventional of mainstream and the whole video being shot in black and white.

Overall I would class the video as amplifying, as even though the video is what the lyrics are talking about, the spin the director has put on the lyrics including the references to the Queen and not following the lyrics to the letter make it a non illustrative video.

The cultural studies approach would take the stance of:

The preffered reading- It is natural to have problems within a relationship and the proposed relationship between a 'common' man and her Royal Highness the Queen is not a problem.

The negotiated reading- Some people have problems within a relationship, and relationship between the man and his 'mistress' are used for comic effect in this specific example and should not be taken too seriously.

The oppositional reading- The relationship problems should not be a source of entertainment, and the relationship between a 'common' man and the Queen is highly inappropriate and offensive to the royal constitution.

The video does not really cohere to the Proppian theory although it could be viewed that the man is the male hero seeking something (the queen) and the Princess that acts as the heroes reward is the queen. This theory is difficult to apply to the video as the roles do not cohere with each character and it doesn't really help push the narrative forward by classifying these roles.

The Strauss theory of binary opposites can be applied; as the audience we feel more connected to the female character, as she is the one victim to the man's bad behaviour and she has done nothing wrong so is therefore seen as the good character. Although the male is the dominant character within the shots, we find ourselves feeling sympathy for the female.

Perhaps the most effective narrative theory to apply to the video is Todorov's:

The first shots revealing the couple in a happy relationship
Disequilibrium: The shots illustrating the break up, as the audience begins to realise there might be 'another woman'
Recognition: The woman finds clear evidence of the man's affair and the audience realise who it is in the basketball shots
Reperation: The man goes after the woman and apologises
New Equilibrium: The woman accepts and thinks that all is solved, but the man is waving at the Queen and therefore we are really back to square one.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Music Video Auteurs

The auter theory holds that a director's film reflects the personal creative vision, as if the director were the primary author. In spite of the production of the film as part of an industrial process, the author's creative voice is distinct enough to shine through all kinds of studio interference.
(Definition taken from wiki)

Michel Gondry:

Gondry is a French film, commerical and music video director as well as an Academy Award-winning screenwriter. He is world renowned for his visual style and manipulation of mise-en-scene. He has vast works, but some of his most noteable music videos to date include:

-Mad World; Gary Jules -Human Behaviour; Bjork
-Star Guitar; Chemical Brothers -Come Into My World; Kylie Minogue
-Gimme Shelter; The Rolling Stones
-Around The World; Daft Punk
-Denial Twist; The White Stripes -Protection; Massive Attack

Gondry is deemed as an auteur. His films and video's all have key signatures of his creative character. Most involve:

- Tecnical wizardy
- A repetitive nature
- Long takes as opposed to short cuts
- Illusions

The videos he produces mostly cohere to Andrew Goodwin's theory, where the video amplifies the music adding another layer of meaning to the sound via the visuals, and Bordwell and Thompson's rhythmic theory that the pace of the cuts are in time to the beat of the track.

I have chosen to focus on these two tracks as they share aspects and techincal skill that I hope to recreate in some form in my own video.

Fell In Love With A Girl:

The video is a lego animation, featuring Gondry's son at the begginning building the initial blocks. It was shot frame by frame with each frame having the lego bricks rebuilt, sometimes in a complex manner to seem as if it were an actual shot, and then edited together to give the illusion of motion. One section, lasting only a few seconds, used computer animation to simulate the lego bricks.
The video won three MTV video awards in 2002, and also received a nomination for Video of the year.

The lyrics do not match what we visually see on the screen, and therefore it is a disjunctive and entropic video, with no defined narrative or binary opposites involved. The band don't literally feature in the video, although the lego bricks are built to form the lead singer Jack White and Meg White the drummer, so although they are not present themselves the artist is still technically featured in the video. I would categorise this video as an 'Art Clip' in keeping with Sven E Carlsson's definition- 'If a music video clip contains no perceptable visual narrative and contains no lip-synchronized singing then it is a pure art clip.'

I love the way the video feels hand made and not over produced, even though it has a large post production edit. The stop motion aspect of the video creates a fast paced and disjointed edit that isn't typical of his usual signatures, but creates the right pace and effect to suit the music.

The Hardest Button To Button:

The video uses a technique called 'pixilation animation' to give the effect of a line of drum kits and amps multiplying in beat to the song. In one sequence, Meg is seen playing the bass drum on a railway platform and on every beat, a new drum appears just ahead of her and she appears behind it playing to the beat. This was achieved by setting up a trail of bass drums with Meg being filmed performing a single beat on the last drum in the line, which would then be removed. This would continue on down the line as she played a beat on each one. The final video was edited to include the drum beats with the sequence reversed, making it appear as if the drums were being added and not taken away.

This is in keeping with Gondry's stylistic signatures, as he creates an optical illusion that keeps the audience enthralled, as well as creating a dynamic video that is paced perfectly to the beat of the song and yet remains it's disjunctive and entropic elements, that retain his distinct creative voice.

Friday, 12 November 2010

Rough Narrative Outline

We have decided to use mimes in our video as the leading characters that will push the narrative forward.

The rough outline of our video will begin with two mime characters who are clearly unhappy with their relationship, beginning with the pair on a sofa. The rest of the video will be carried out within flashbacks of the happier times of their relationship. For example, shots of them on a bike ride and shots of them in coffee shops chatting and having fun, all integrated with some stop motion frames. These shots will be filmed in film grain with a lighter mise-en-scene to differentiate between past and present. Due to the miming actions and the connotations and appearance of the mime, these shots will appear slightly comical but not overtly 'laugh out loud' funny; which should hopefully create a pleasant and easy to watch video, but the content will be easy to identify with and relates to the lyrics and the jovial sounding melodies of the song.

The lead mime character will reach breaking point with his girlfriend when he catches her in bed with a clown character, this will be a dramatic scene yet comical due to the nature of the costumes, the rest of the video will contain contrasting shots of their unhappiness illustrated in the mime lyrics and the shots of the pair on the sofa as well as flashbacks to happier times.

The end of the video will be cyclical, panning out from the original shot of the pair on the sofa, finally revealing why they are so unhappy and upset within their relationship.

Thursday, 11 November 2010


Here is the copy of our Pitch that we presented to the class to get reliable feedback from what they thought of our prospective ideas. We used flash cards to pitch the presentation along with the power point below to highlight our key ideas:

'This is the Life' Music Video Pitch

Most of the comments we received were positive, and in particular people liked the stop motion concept as it 'adds another dimension' and the idea of the mime artists as the focal point as they said it made the video 'original and puts a twist on the indie conventions.'
We received some constructive criticism about the logistical aspects of our idea, as we had planned to film on Friar Street in the town centre, due to its old style feel, with cobbles and Tudor buildings. Our audience alerted us to the fact that it may be difficult to get shots in a busy street with pedestrians walking past, so we have decided to film on a week night in the early evening as that would mean the street is pretty empty and will provide a nicer light and therefore a stronger mise-en-scene for these shots.

Another comment we received was about our choice of our target audience demographic. We decided to target an audience based from A -C2 on the Jicnars Scale, but as our age ranges from 14-25 years this would have to be based on the majority of their parents income, as they will mainly be students and not yet be in a line of work with a regular salary. Our feedback generally agreed with these pshycographics but some comments stated that this could perhaps be too broad a target audience to hit. We decided to ask our peer group whether they found this true, and discovered that even males and females from a high earning back ground would listen to the music and conform to the fashion and styles of the indie genre, as well as students from an average to lower salary family. Therefore we have decided to stand by our original target audience decision.