Music videos are so 80s/90s, right? They belong with the era when MTV screened wall-to-wall vids instead of 'reality' TV? Try telling that to the millions who bought Gangnam Style; were they really simply loving the music? 1.6bn (and still climbing) have viewed the video on YT, not to mention the many re-makes (school eg, eg2), viral ads + celeb link-ups (even political protest in Seoul) - and it doesn't matter how legit it is, this nightmare for daydream Beliebers is making a lot of money, even from the parodies + dislikes. All this for a simple dance track that wouldn't have sounded out of place in 1990 ... but had a fun vid. This meme itself was soon displaced by the Harlem Shake. Music vids even cause diseases it seems!
This blog explores every aspect of this most postmodern of media formats, including other print-based promo tools used by the industry, its fast-changing nature, + how fans/audiences create/interact. Posts are primarily written with Media students/educators in mind. Please acknowledge the blog author if using any resources from this blog - Mr Dave Burrowes

Monday, 4 April 2011

Performance vid - simple eg Jorn: Song For Ronnie James

ACT: Jorn
TRACK: Song for Ronnie James

YEAR: 2010
GENRE: Heavy Metal
(some female gaze?; 2ndary 35-44 aud from 80s + aspirational tweens + younger teens [10-14])  


Here's a really straightforward example of a performance vid. The track is a tribute to a recently-deceased metal vocalist, Ronnie James Dio; this isn't a big-budget production.
There are hints of amateurism, but whats just as significant is the overall simplicity, and how relatively easy this would be to replicate.

A quick bit of context from the Wiki - note that the '...' denotes that I've cut out a chunk of this - there's no point in simply copy/pasting large passages of text, so I've used what I've felt was strictly useful and relevant:
"Song for Ronnie James" is a song by Norwegian heavy metal singer Jorn from the tribute album Dio. It was written as a tribute to the deceased Ronnie James Dio who died a couple of months earlier. ...
The music video, together with the announce of the tribute album, was released in the internet just five days after Dio's deceasing news, which caused some critique and especulations, as Lande was accused of exploiting the death of Dio. Later the record company explained that the album had been in the works since spring of 2009, before Dio's death in May 2010.

The key ingredients?
  1. a performance space: outside can make for more interesting vids, but inside is easier to control
  2. its large enough to afford high-angled shots, props and allow the performers to perform energetically, not just have to shuffle a little until they bump into someone else (so a domestic garage wouldn't be ideal!)
  3. amps and visible electrical leads to create the verisimilitude of actual, not mimed, performance
  4. also in terms of mise-en-scene to create verisimiltude we have the tight jeans, black leather, studs, long hair (and liberal doses of facial hair!), with direction given (if required) to maintain serious, sombre expressions
  5. focus on the singer: while he's most often presented in MS, sometimes low-angled and with a fair few CUs thrown in, the others are mainly presnted in ELS and LS (tho' with CUs of fretboards thrown in, and some MSs as this isn't a typical band, so the cult of the singer is a little inappropriate in a band paying tribute to a dead vocalist). As with an actual live performance on stage, the mic-stand is a key prop
  6. shot variety - there isn't much going on, so this is utterly key; the performance would have been recorded over and over again to generate enough coverage for the editing process, including each member shot separately, and various 2/3-shots with others in the background
  7. genre-appropriate prop: quick commutation test - would a Mini, or a green, electric car be 'rock'n'roll'?! The one main prop (excepting all the musical equipment) is the car: black, sporty, macho, quite literally metallic. The one thing they've avoided is the old cliche of the busty blonde draped over the bonnet (see Whitesnake's "Here We Go Again" or better still this spoof)
  8. limited, low-key lighting. This can vary somewhat; hair-metal/glam bands are often aiming for a certain effeminancy and so use the high-key lighting more associated with glamour. The lighting behind the performers is visble: a limited, spaced out set of unexceptional lights. The performers aren't entirely flooded with fill lighting, which enables interesting shadows to form
  9. diegetic intro: the young chap behind the till is grinning gormlessly, and not a little camply, directly at the camera - this really should have been reshot
  10. sell, sell, sell ... the teen males are wearing t-shirts of Dio's bands, the shopper flicks through Dio CDs, stopping when he comes to a Korn CD (this is 'nu-metal' and so to be rejected), all the while surrounded by AC/DC CDs and displays, which might just subliminally rub off - similar music but a much more commercially successfully act!
Basic or not, the vid is just shy of 500,000 viewings at the time of writing.

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