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

Thursday, 22 November 2012

INDUSTRY: collected posts

Lot of overlap here with DIGITISATION but also posts on the position of Indies, dominance of a big 4 (now big 3), etc;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;


This is a vital part of the process. A commercial pitch would require this as part of a pre-screening process to decide which directors/production companies got to meet with the record label/artist/manager to put forward their creative proposal. It also strongly signifies that your production was organised and following a clear plan from the outset. As your idea eveolves, it also provides a useful summary of your starting point, so that you can compare your initial and final ideas with some authority. Here are some past examples of student animatics; judge for yourselves the relative strengths + weaknesses of each.


Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Misc Post guidelines (use with checklist)

These are arranged in the order they come in on the coursework checklist. Most of these are fairly self-evident, but this should ensure you can always quickly figure out what you should be blogging on

MY CONSUMPTION OF MUSIC VIDS: How do you access music vids (what media techologies do you use)? Has this changed much over the years (do you view more or fewer now than you did, say, 5 years ago?)? Do you download vids, watch on YT, MTV/VH1 etc, specialist chart shows ... Do you view on desktop/laptops, smartphones, tablets; when out and about; with friends or other social settings; do you share vids you like on FB and suchlike? Are you a heavy or light conumer of m.vids? Would you say at the outset of your A2 cwk you are knowledgeable about m.vids?

APPLYING ASSESSMENT CRITERIA TO 2011 VID; APPLYING ASSESSMENT CRITERIA TO 2011 VID: Quote from the assessment criteria (ideally, copy in each one) and discuss what mark you'd give and why (the important bit! needs specific details). An opportunity to embed knowledge of the assessment criteria + a chance to pick up tips on things to do or avoid.

OUR PRODUCTION CO: Whats the name (why?! what are the semiotics?). What's the logo? What sort of work do you think you'd realistically attract, or focus your marketing on (niche genres or all comers?)? Have you researched any existing music vid (etc) producers to get an idea of rates they charge, how they market themselves and their services?

[ARTIST] HISTORY + AUD (and other [ARTIST]-centred posts): You need to show you've thoroughly researched and understood the artist whose material you're using ... and whose image (brand, if you like) you can benefit or damage by your production decisions and outcomes. Knowing who the audience is/was is obviously key, but so researching + being able to reference EXISTING VIDS by the artist, their profile in 201x (ie now), their ONLINE/CULTURAL FOOTPRINT (looking at fanclubs, forums, official sites, FB presence, google results/rankings. YT channel, vid viewings, etc; recent appearances on ads, TV - espec shows like X Factor - mags [think carefully about aud of the mags, can be v, v useful for evidencing primary or secondary aud appeal of the artist - the Girls Aloud eg from 2012 is a great example of this working, with GA appearing in Q and suchlike as well as girls and gossip mags]

[TRACK] LYRICS + BACKSTORY; TIMED LYRIC SHEET; RECORD LABEL; ORIG VID; 2ND LIFE: CYBERSPACE IMPACT: Just as you need to be secure in your knowledge + understanding of the artist so you need to be well aware of what the track is about - regardless of your idea + whether its narrative-based or not. Obviously right from the start you need to break down the track with timings, so when you're discussing how to map footage you're considering onto the track you can do so in an informed and meaningful fashion. You should frequently write notes over copies of this timed sheet and scan in or photograph then upload to blog. The '2nd life' refers to cover versions and other cultural artefacts its inspired online or offline (from Simpsons skits to YT vids - be comprehensive on YT vids). You could explore the term meme here, which I've blogged on with reference to Lady Gaga and Bad Romance before. You are required to evidence having contacted the rights holder with a request to use the track, so you need to identify the record label - as you're probably releasing a compilation album, that might be multiple record labels for the digipak details. Some artists have bought back the rights to their back catalogue, or moved to smaller, Indie labels. How is your track distinct from the original vid; are there any links?

A BRIEF HISTORY OF M.VID: The book Money For Nothing is great for this, and the Wiki is prettty good in this case too. You don't need an essay, just a flavour of key dates and changes, videos over time, especially how technology has changed.

RELATIONSHIP OF [ARTIST] TO GENRE: Is your artist an archetype (early, influential example) of the genre; someone who has copied others, or someone who is a bit of a maverick? Discuss their place within your genre, their level of commercial success, hits/radio play (or lack of), tracks/albums that had major impact etc. Can you find relevant quotes by other genre acts?

CURRENT STATUS OF MUSIC VIDS: This could go in much earlier: are vids still relevant in a mobile, digital world (even MTV shows few vids)? Are they now actually more relevant? Discuss here whether vids continue to have cultural impact and commercial clout (I'd say they do on both counts: we've all heard of Gangnam Style after all).


(not finished)
Posts linked to the concept of representations
AS Eval Q2;
A2 exam Q1b guide; posts on this;
Female pop mvids: issues + challenges;
Femen: radical protest movement;
Blogging on exemplar vids;
Video Gaga? Various analyses;
Lady Gaga shows ideological power of pop;
M. Lang: Dancing;
Censored vids;
Female singer-songwriter who ran Epic Records;
Lady Gaga via Leeds: Bad Romance MEME;
Rammstein: Sonne;
Casting + Creativity;
A2 Eval Q1 Use of Conventions;
Feminist metal or male gaze? Butcher Babies;
FEMINISM/Annie Lennox;
Music vids set in schools;
Various posts on Britney;
Mag Ad: Research + Audience;
Roseanne on class prejudice/sexism of TV;

See also posts on BritishCinema about male gaze etc + posts on women in film (eg Bechdel test)

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Concept/Perf Vid featured on multiple YT channels

Longish post title: interesting example of a lyric-free rock vid blending concept (with a suggested narrative; concepts tend to have some narrative glue - narrative vids are those which directly tie into the lyrics) and performance. Comes close to getting sleazy (your reading may be that it falls over that line), and though the editing's generally sharp there are some obvious points where cutting to the beat, or simply greater shot variation would be good.

To my eyes there's a strong Anton Corbijn influence here (and it reminds me of the 2012 IGS vid for The Swing Movement in some regards, especially the use of focus-pulling and switching), with (to these eyes) an evident nod to Nirvana when the upbeat section kicks in with a splash (tho' you could also take this as a horror note in what could be alternatively read as a David Lynchian, filmic text).
What I also found noteworthy was the promotional strategy: they've either set up multiple YT channels or just got fans who've opted to put their vid as their channel's autoplaying featured vid. I came across it via another promotional strategy: adding other YT users/channels as contacts. Simple psychology: the suitably burnished ego of most YT users will coax them to add every contact to boost their numbers (I always click through to suss out who/what has requested this ... thus still making the strategy a winner!).

As well as the official CQ channel, Feeeppe, and mary1982next had CQ as their set vid at 20.11.12 and had all added me as a contact within a couple of days in Sept 2012.


I've blogged on both topics a few times; I'll gather together links to posts here.

Banned Band? CENSORSHIP OF MUSIC VIDS; includes vids for banned egs used in quiz

CENSORSHIP: Rihanna's top 5 controversies; [to which we can now add her new album celebrating her domestic abuse? plus her shambolic - omnishambles?! - album launch PR]

Rhianna says censors helped her sell single;

Piracy/SOPA - on the Stop Online Piracy Act that brought together a range of campaigners to successfully lobby against this (+ some info on Pirate Bay)

Pro-Palestinian vid controversy - neutral, balanced BBC? Not according to 2011's Bad News About Israel from the GUMG, nor the article in this post

Chris Cunningham short filmic vid/censored; detail on this controversy

Rammstein: frequently controversial, see these posts - one, two, three.


Thursday, 15 November 2012

CASTING: Using vid+social networks

For both AS and A2 part of your R+P marks are for casting, as part of your overall organisation of the production. The markscheme quite accurately reflects the range of challenges facing commercial film-makers and video producers.

I stumbled across the following vid looking for something else, but it is a useful example of how you can use video and social networks not just to get 'audience feedback' but also to help with pre-production tasks too.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Pop is too posh: Billy Bragg

I've blogged on this theme before - research which shows an extraordinary narrowing of the social range reflected in the pop charts, which has gone from mainly state educated (80%) in the 1990s to dominated by a public school elite today. Billy Bragg took up this theme at the annual John Peel Lecture; if you've never heard of John Peel but are interested in exposure to a wide range of eclectic music, the late DJ is a legendary figure whose annual 'festive fifty' is still something you can find as downloadable torrents many years later.

Billy Bragg: 'education reforms risk stifling creativity'

The singer and left-wing activist used a lecture in memory of John Peel to criticise Michael Gove's plans to scrap GCSEs,
Billy Bragg
Billy Bragg also turned his ire on 'culture-clogging shows' like Simon Cowell’s The X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent. Photograph: Andrew Stuart/Radio Festival/PR
Singer Billy Bragg has warned that the government's education reforms risk stifling creativity and leaving the pop charts the preserve of a well-off public school elite.
Bragg used a lecture in memory of broadcaster John Peel to criticise education secretary Michael Gove's plans to scrap GCSEs in favour of an English baccalaureate. He also turned his ire on "culture-clogging shows" like Simon Cowell's The X Factor on ITV1.
The singer and left-wing activist said the government's proposed new education system threatened to exclude creative subjects from the core qualifications expected of 16-year-olds.
"At a time of cuts to the education budget, the pressure on schools to dump subjects like music and drama in favour of those that offer high marks in performances tables will only grow," said Bragg.
He criticised the "insistence that knowledge is more important than creativity", adding: "As Albert Einstein said, imagination is more important than knowledge, for knowledge is limited while imagination embraces the whole world".
Bragg, delivering the second annual John Peel Lecture at the Radio Festival on Monday, said: "Under the English baccalaureate, with its reliance on a single end of course exam, the child with the creative imagination will always lose out to the child with the ability to recall knowledge learned by rote.
"And it's not just the creatively talented kids who will suffer. Evidence shows that pupils from low-income families who take part in arts activities at school are three times more likely to go on to higher education.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Apps v Albums: paradigm shift?

The 1st album-app: see links list at end of this post
As 2012 draws to a close we could be close to a major shift in how the music industry operates, or, to use some terminology, a paradigm shift (a change in the normal, typical way of organising or conceiving of something). iTunes has already seen the traditional album under threat as record labels see customers increasingly downloading individual tracks rather than whole albums, with the shift to digital formats also diminishing the impact of sleeve designs that made LPs and, to a lesser degree, CDs objects of desire and often collectable items.
There have been a raft of announcements from major acts that they are releasing new material as apps, most prominently Lady Gaga, whose next album will be released as an app. Others are seeking to encourage listeners to upgrade from streams of their work to purchases by throwing in videos and other content with the album (or concert DVD) bundled as an app.
The article below gives good examples of this.
There are also multiple additional links at the end of this post.
You need to be blogging on, and thinking about digitisation and how this imapcted the music industry - a relevant factor when thinking about audience targeting/feedback/publicity, design, the rising significance of back catalogue sales (often stimulated by reissue/remastered editions, with previously unreleased demos and alternative versions added to the album or as a 2nd CD also common, as is 'best of' collections with a small number of new/unreleased tracks). As the long tail theory becomes an accepted part of contemporary economics (Amazon is the perfect example of a company making fortunes by selling few copies of many back catalogue items), new videos for archive tracks is a major growth area for media producers within the creative industries (as an economic sector, second only to the financial sector in scale and share of GDP) ... such as yourselves.
If you've been looking at the 1st part of your exam, you'll have noted that Q1a (DCRUP) is potentially linked to this issue - ditto Q1b (MANGeR), for example through Audience.

Music apps are the new albums. Or the new concert DVDs. Or...

David Gilmour, Lady Gaga, The xx and Calvin Harris app strategies show music industry experimentation
Lady Gaga
Lady Gaga's next album will also be released as an app. Photograph: Daniel Roland/AFP/Getty Images
Every so often, the music industry gets sucked into a debate about whether the traditional album is dead, even if the murderer has varied down the years, from iTunes downloads to Spotify playlists.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Final Cut Pro X video tutorials

IzzyVideo's free tutorials will help with using FCProX!
There are many online sources, including Apple itself (any YOU can recommend, please pass on a URL as a comment below), but I've found this (FREE!) one very useful. The vids are a bit longer than they need to be, but they are very clear. Some aspects of the layout are a little different (FCPX has been updated since it was launched), but that shouldn't pose a major problem.
IzzyVideo FCPX video tutorials
(or you can spend £30+ on books!)

I've copied in the full list below. Here's an Amazon link for books on Final Cut Pro X - make sure its for an up to date version.

I'll be adding some tips here. There is also a Final Cut tag on this blog.

Here's a short vodcast on using the green screen tool:

Final Cut Pro X Tutorial Contents

  1. Welcome
  2. Getting Started

Saturday, 3 November 2012

PopCulture Protest Vids: StarWars vid

From comes a good example of how tracks are created, and sometime quite sophisticated vids produced to help them to become viral hits: this cover of Goyet's Somebody I Used to Know with new lyrics to focus on how the 3 Star Wars prequels and George Lucas' attitude to the fans (from TeddieFilms, fast approaching 8m hits for this vid alone).

Friday, 2 November 2012

Camcorders: tips if buying one

A parent emailed to ask for help in selecting a camcorder to buy. As researching the answer took quite a long time I'll share it on both AS + A2 coursework blogs.
Note that my suggestions merely reflect my opinion, which you are quite free to follow or ignore!

You can skip this long list and go straight to the recommended models.
  1. Do you need it? Will your still camera or smartphone suffice? (Probably not yet for coursework, but we're not far off that point. You also need to consider tripods etc) This review suggests that an iPhone 4S can compete with a £370 V700 camcorder on image quality, tho' not on image stability or wide angle or zoom.
  2. Budget: you can get a good cam for £200, but £300-400 buys you extra future-proofing and should delay the need to buy a new one as technology changes
  3. 3D? This is a feature of some new cams; currently irrelevant for coursework, and possibly gimmicky at the budget end. It mostly requires adding a £150-200 3D lens.
  4. HD - this seems obvious but there are 3 variants of HD: 720p, 1080i, 1080p. I'll detail this below. Ideally, you want 1080p.