-‘Music video that features a visual story that is easy to follow’
Features of a narrative music video include:
- Not having any type of lip-sync singing
- The story in someway links to the song
- The lyrics are often reflected in the story
Most common type of narrative is narrative/performance. This is where there is a story being told but also performance of the band/singer is being shown.
Often the music video will mimic a film genre. The band will appear as part of the narrative or as observers. The story generally is a meaningful narrative which normally offers a deeper meaning.
-These types of music videos generally mean the artists are more interested in their music than having themselves being shown on the videos
-The storyline is very easy to follow being quite basic and simple
-Making narrative videos are more difficult to produce as they are very costly
-This is the type of music video that is fully videoing of the band in different shots ana angels
Features of performance music videos:
- Often contains shots of the performers
- Can be a live performance, with shots of both the performers and audience
- Include artists real lives, warming up, practice, touring
- Can be a particular visual style that goes with the artist e.g. clothing, actions, props
- Some have odd clips of artist performing in strange places including roof tops, train stations, fields
Quite a few bands use this type of music video including many rock bands.
-Performance highlights the artists performance
-Gives the most realistic view upon the artists/band
-Relatively cheap way of making a music video as theres no need to hire out places to use or actors
-The band have to be established for the music video to be completed and finished and to maintain audience interest
-A video that is based on one idea that has no relevance to the song and is quite obscure
Features of a concept music video:
- Includes unusual images or narratives to entertain the audience
- The video doesn’t have any relevance to the song
- Some images are purely artistic no other explanation
This type of video are more common in electronic music or experimental videos.
-Seen as visually impressive or ‘works of art’
-They are generally very obscure and visually entertaining
-Often can be too confusing for the audience to follow
Early Days by Paul McCartney is an example of narrative music videos. The video is about a group of boys who all are interested in music and performance. most are black suggesting it is set in the time where discrimination was high, however they do have a white friend who teaches them how to play guitar. The story in the video is conveyed to be the story of Paul McCartney’s childhood as in the end of the video he is filmed playing this song with 4 black friends just like the boys.
Another example of a narrative music video is Im Not The Only One by Sam Smith. The lyrics in this song are very easy to understand what he is talking about and the storyline that is being shown in the video. There is no lip syncing in the video as it is being seen from the girls perspective of knowing she is being cheated on. This could be a real life experience he has lived through and therefore made it into a song.
For performance music videos, an example is Slow Hands by Niall Horan. This video includes clips of Niall Horan singing, playing guitar, playing drums. performing at gigs, producing the music in the studio and generally having a good time and enjoying music making with all his team and friends.
Bonfire performed by The Hunna is another performance based music video. In this song, the audience see the band performing in a bare room with purely their instruments and a group of friends in the background. The other main part of the video is the band having a casual gathering type of party with similar people to the ones feature in the performance.
Last of all for an example of concept music videos is Take On Me by a-ha. This is classed as a conceptual video as the story has nothing to do with the song and the lyrics. A female is reading a comic book and a male hand reaches out to take hers. The whole song is based in a drawn comic book where two people are trying to escape. It is seen as quite confusing and very unrealistic which draws the audience in.
Chandelier by Sia is another concept music video as there is once again no relevance to the lyrics. All of Sia’s videos feature the same dancer and have near to nothing to do with the lyrics she sings. The dancer is a gymnast who does a lot of expressionist dancing in the videos to keep the audience entertained and make them wonder the relevance of the dancing and the scenes they are set.
I don’t particularly like performing music videos unless they showy the true side of the artist and how they act, react and treat people. What I like most about ‘Slow Hands’ is Niall Horan is show being cheerful and joking around with all the crew and staff. Some performance videos are quite boring in my opinion as they are just showing different performances of the band.
When it comes to conceptual music videos I find them interesting if performed and created to a good standard as they make you as the audience really wonder if they have any hidden meanings and what they are. If not they are generally very entertaining and draws the viewers in. For example Sia is very good with intriguing her audience and keeping them entertained with the obscure dancing.
My favourite music video genre however is narrative as it always links to the song lyrics in some way and can portray a realistic viewpoint on a certain subject. This could be ranging from relationship problems to loving yourself for who you are. The best part of these videos is that you can address anything and tackle any problem by creating a short story in a song.
Film Noir is a “style or genre of cinematographic film marked by a mood of pessimism, fatalism, and menace”
It is a french word meaning ‘black film’ or ‘film of the night’
Little bit of history
It is traditionally used to describe stylish hollywood crime drama. It was discovered in the late 1940’s early 1950’s. This era of film noir is associated with a low key, black and white visual style. Nino Frank (at french critic) was the first person to use the term ‘Film Noir’. These types of films cover many different plots such as the main role generally being a detective, plain clothed policeman, aged boxer, law abiding citizen pulled into criminal life or the victim of an incident. From the beginning of Film Noir all production was done in America, but by the 1960’s and onwards it was made all around the world. Interestingly, even though all producers and screen writers were individual. each film noir still contains influences from the originals.
- Black and White – Most Film Noir’s are filmed in black and white to emphasise the shadows and implies there is no happiness in the film
- Setting – Generally set in urban locations like apartment blocks and back alleys. The scenes are normally filled with dark corners and low lighting telling us there is more than meets the eye
- Lighting – The lighting in Film Noir is one of the biggest parts in these films as it creates the mood of the scene. No matter how little the lighting is, it will always face the main character
- Smoking/Smoke – This is used in every Film Noir film as it connotes mystery in the character or scene
- Shadows – There are two reasons for the use of shadows. They suggest someone is hidden watching and they create darkness implying evil
- Darkness – Suggests someone or something is hiding in the dark emphasising the fear of the unknown
- Femme Fatales – These women always follow the same traits; beautiful, unrealisable, promiscuous, seductive and double-dealing. They also love causing danger for the main character who ends up falling for her
- Male Detectives – Usually the main character, hard-heartened, cynical, ambiguous and the hero. They usually have a downfall either being women or alcohol
- Guns – Bring action to the films causing danger and excitement. The usual gun is a hand gun, easily hidden to be a shock when its revealed
- Reflections – These show the audience things the character don’t making the film more exciting
Some top Film Noir movies
- The Big Sleep – Howard Hawks
- Chinatown – Roman Polanski
- Touch of Evil – Orson Welles
- Double Indemnity – Billy Wilder
- Out of the Past – Jacques Tourneur
- The Third Man – Carol Reed
- Lift to the Scaffold – Louis Malle
- Blood Simple – Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
- Kiss Me Deadly – Robert Aldrich
- They Live by Night – Nicholas Ray, Charles Schnee
Directors and Cinematographers
A few directors are mentioned above as their films are in the top 10 rated film noir on ‘The Guardian’. Here are the top 20 directors for Film Noir
The main cinematographers are:
This is the modern type of film noir. It engages with the traditional themes but adds modernism to them to make them more up to date.
A few of the modern films include:
- No Country For Old Men
- Shutter Island
- Sin City
- The Machinist
This is a list of films belonging to the neo-noir genre. Following a common convention of associating the forties and fifties with film noir. All of these films are from the last decade ranging from 2004-2010.
Is Film Noir actually a Genre?
Some people say that Film Noir is an ‘exclusive genre’ meant it is a peculiar film and is a difficult one to categorise. The directors themselves who worked in Film Noir didn’t even call it a genre as it wasn’t the way they described their work.
Considering I haven’t seen many Film Noir just snippets, I don’t have much of an opinion on the matter. However, I have seen Shutter Island which I enjoyed but I don’t see how it can be classed as a Film Noir or even a Neo-noir. They look like interesting films as i enjoy watching crime films and series, therefore I will watch a few and give a review on one.
Linking to emailing previous artists for songs that I find would be amazing for my music video. The band ‘Flyte’ responded:
However, considering they did not allow me to publicise in anyway (meaning I could not post it on my blog) I then emailed a few more bands; The Hunna, American Authors and The Score. All these three are quite popular. I did get a response from American Authors:
In response to this, seen as they are one of my favourite bands, I found a song called ‘Mess With Your Heart’ and therefore, got approval to use this song:
For my music video I want to use an indie style band that has very relaxed music and is kind of alternative to the usual music. My idea is to have a group of people just having fun together doing whatever and whenever to appeal to the younger generation of adults. My target audience are ranging from 16-18 and therefore the people in the video will also be this age. I want to show a generally relaxed setting and as if the camera isn’t even there and the teenagers are just having a good time. My idea for showing reality in my video is from Rudimental’s music videos as all of their videos either show a true story or a story that could be realistic.
Another influence in the music industry for their music videos and lyrics is Macklemore. Some of his songs including Wings and Same Love have good and relatable lyrics to normal people living their normal lives which I love in the music industry. All artists that show reality in their lyrics and videos I like because they still understand the reality for most of the population.
When it comes to inspiration for the music itself I looked at ISLAND, The Hunna, Coasts, American Authors, Catfish and The Bottlemen as I like this style of music and would like to create a music video to a song similar to this style.
Regarding the music I use I have emailed three bands who are The Night Cafe, ISLAND and Flyte. These three make music that would be perfect for the music video I want to make.
As I mentioned in one of my previous blog explaining the briefs separately, my favourite one is the music video option. The reason for this is because I love music and it is one of my passions. I like to sing and play piano so because of this I decided music video would be the best for me.
I was either going to choose music video or short film as both are important to me yet I feel like creating a music video would be amazing and a goal complete. Another reason for wanting to make a music video is because there are so many different roads to go down. This includes all the genres:
Furthermore, no matter what genre you go for you can always disobey the conventions and juxtapose the music with locations, characters and lighting. There are so many option with what to do and you are free to do whatever you want and go wherever. I also like most genres and will listen to almost anything including alternative, country, classical, grime and old classic pop. My favourite song of all time is ‘Can’t Help Falling In Love’ by Elvis Presley but i like recent songs as well. When I make a music video I am hoping to do the alternative genre and pick destinations accordingly.
Hunted was my title sequence from year 12. We were put in groups of roughly four and my group was Josie Coyle, Tash Ward and Klein Shelton. Josie was the editor, Tash was the DOP, Klein was the producer and I was the director. As a group near the end we had a few issues but managed too resolve them before the end of the year. We created a title sequence by all joining together and all giving ideas. HUNTED is about a women who is running and hiding from a group of people. It is in the thriller genre category and we have followed most conventions of this genre including lighting, music and mise en scene.
The sequence opens with a simple close up shot of someone writing a note or letter indicating the voice over is the same thing. It fades into a medium shot still writing the letter. This then cuts to a medium shot panning down a door frame as the protagonist bolts the door. The scene is established in the following wide angle of a window and once again the protagonist watching outside. The camera follows her eyes onto a zoom in of a figure standing outside with cuts in between the shots to imply an unsteady feel towards the situation. cuts back to a medium shot of the protagonist looking out the window. Shot is cut to a waist high long shot, cut back to the window once again. A number of quick, sharp shots to connote her panic and reveal the name of the film. Side angle of protagonist cuts to a close up of face. Shots get closer each switch from door to protagonist. More frequent close ups as the tension builds.
General duration of shots are short and quick. They begin longer and fade from one to the other, however as the sequence progresses the shots become shorter, snappier and sharper. Protagonist has majority of screen time as she is the most important person in the sequence. This is also connoted by the voice over presuming to be her voice talking to a partner or relative. Shot reverse shot of the window scene and then later on of the switches between the door and her face drawing all attention to her facial expressions and the door presuming someone is going to come through it.
Mise En Scene
The protagonist is female which is an A-typical character for a main character as they would normally be a strong heroic male. She is also seeming to be quite nervous and for a thriller film the general representation if the hero would be strong, brave and fearless. This is where we went against the convention as we didn’t use typical references to every other thriller movie. The protagonist is very scruffy with cuts and bruises on her face connoting she has been in a bad situation for a while, This is also implied by the bare room with one chair and a gun for protection. Our idea was to portray her lonlieness and how she has no one to turn to because of the situation she is in. Lighting was low-key throughout with a colour corrector to create the scene.
Throughout the whole sequence non-diegetic background music was played. To fit the conventions of thrillers it was tense and eery. The music conveyed a sinister vibe and matched the lighting and quick sudden shot changes. Furthermore, a voice over was over lapsing the music to add to the tension. It was a nervy speech and denoted a tense feel for the protagonist as she implied someone has found her and is intending to kill her.
For year 13, we must select a brief and produce a media portfolio of a main task and two ancillary texts, presentation of research, planning and evaluation and own a folder for research and planning documents. Our advanced portfolio can be one of the following:
- Short Film
- Music Video
For a trailer this must be a teaser trailer for a new upcoming movie. This will invlove all locations that will be featured in the film and many different actors that will be characters in the film. Two ancillary texts must be made along with the main task from a choice of film magazine front cover, poster or a website homepage. I don’t mind this brief as it involves a lot of editing and location spots, however it can be very difficult to make a good trailer and create one that is up to standards.
Conventions of trailers are mostly met by every trailer produced.
- Film Production logo comes on at the very beginning
- Film Title is shown at the very end
- Age rating is included
- Social Media accounts will be displayed in the bottom corner of the last shot
- Main Characters are introduced
- There is always some kind of music or voice over in the background
- Name captions of actors starring, director and producer
- Lasts about 1:30-2:00 minutes
- Release date is announced along with the name
Heres a couple of examples of film trailers created by media students in their final year of sixth form that i enjoyed watching:
I have seen many film trailers but there i sone that stands out to me the most and influences me but the editing techniques and story line the director has produced. Nerve is one of my most favourite movies due to the advanced producing and editing use behind the scenes.
This is an advert for a new product that you’ll be promoting. Two ancillary texts could include TV programme sponsorship, radio advert or web pop-up. I think an advert is my least favourite brief as it doesn’t always show of your best work and skills.
Conventions of adverts include:
- Celebrity appearance to bring more popularity
- Slogan for the product
- Music in the background
- Close up of the product
- Specific for the audience its aimed at
This is an example of an advert brief created by an A level student:
An influence of a good advert that I find meets all the conventions is John Lewis Christmas advert in 2013. This has met all conventions with music in the background sung by a well known female singer Lily Allen, it includes a close up of their product, and with the use of their slogan “Give someone a Christmas they’ll never forget”, they portrayed their message of gift giving within family and friends as the advert is aimed at everyone.
The short film must be 5 minutes long and can only be over or under by about 10 seconds. The ancillary texts can be a poster, film review or website homepage. This would be my second choice out of the briefs as it challenges creative skills, camera skills and editing skills. Also allows you to direct your own film.
Conventions of a Short Film can be broken and developed or used:
- 2 or 3 main characters
- Plot twist half way into the film
- Low-budget to create
- 5-10 minute film (in this instance 5 minutes)
- Everyday situation that gets affected negatively
I have looked at a few examples of short films from previous A level students at Chalfonts:
In short films I don’t generally watch them but there is one that i enjoyed and it is performed and directed by Inanna Sarkis called Strength. I really like this short film as it entices you and makes you feel like you are there watching it happen. It meets most conventions including 3 main characters, plot twist at the end but it does go against other conventions like an everyday situation as it shows the extreme of all three situations.
This brief cannot be longer than 5 minutes, the song has to have permission to be used from the artist. It can’t be copyrighted and not have a record label. Ancillary texts can be a magazine advert, website homepage or a cover for the release of a dig-pack. This is my favourite brief as music is a big part in my life as I love singing, playing piano and generally listening to it.
Conventions of music videos:
- Include many shots of different angles and distance
- Colour to create mood
- Costumes fit in with the genre
- Location matches the genre
- Jump cuts
- Props according to the song lyrics
- Include the song name and artist
Music Video examples done by students:
Considering I love music and it is one of my main passions I know a lot of songs and have watched the music videos for them and one that has influenced me a lot would be Waiting All Night by Rudimental and Ella Eyre as it shows the story of a man who has to have an amputated leg after being hit by a truck. Throughout the song the male is proving he can still ride and still live his dream. I love music videos that show a story as it makes the lyrics have meaning to them.