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

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Vodcast comparing 2 vids - some pointers

You need to provide a brief factual rundown: artist, track, year, chart position, album it was from, director, genre, audience.

As a starting point, make some notes under the main key concept areas which you'll later be exploring for Q1b of your A2 exam: MANGeR, as in:
  • Media language (range/type/examples of shots used, and why/to what effect; also includes mise-en-scene)
  • Audience - thinking about the target audience at the time of release. What elements in the vid signify, or anchor, this target aud? If you're looking at vids from different time periods, have expectations/boundaries changed much? Gender as well as age are key issues here
  • Narrative - is this a Narr/Concept/Perf (Goodwin's 3 types) vid? What relationship, if any, is there to the vid. Is there a linear or non-linear narrative? Repetition? Jump cuts? This leads into/overlaps with...
  • Representation - which in turn ties strongly into audience + genre. Positive representations of gender? Stereotypical? Countertypical? How is sexuality handled - a presumption of heterosexuality (you could mention the theory of hegemony here).
  • Genre - detail the genre signifiers. In YOUR view, what do you expect to see in a vid from this genre? Consider shot types, editing, mise-en-scene/locations, costume and styling, themes, mood, use or not of performance etc
At the heart of the contrast is a judgement over whether these are typical of their type - does either vid have any outstanding, unusual or exceptional features or characteristics? Is it run-of-the-mill and bog standard, simply re-treading the same tired cliches in dozens or even hundreds of similar vids?
Perhaps its actually the archetype from which many later vids took inspiration? Can you see influences from one artist in the video of another?

What do you think influenced the artist (OR director - very often the act has very, very little say in a vid; directors like Michel Gondry, Anton Corbijn and others will control the creative process). Can you say influences from film, TV or other areas of culture?

Consider yourself as audience: as a 17/18 UK, England, Yorkshire male or female, and setting aside your Media student sensibilities to an extent, what is your instinctive, emotional response to it? (You could well consider the Uses and Gratifications theory here).

Do you think the effective audience is different viewed from the perspective of 2011? Does it still work, or it does seem hopelessly outdated? What, if anything, makes it seem old-fashioned? Can you see elements of the zeitgeist represented? (iconic signifiers of a particular point in time) Does the likely reading of the vid change looked at in 2011?

You could ask others what they think - is there a marked difference between male and female responses?

Ultimately, you're teasing out the main features, and folding this into an exploration of expectations (ie, codes and conventions) of music videos.

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