- Introduction :
To find out about music videos, I am going to look at a range of videos produced by my favourite music artists
- Choose 3 music videos
- Leftfield: Afrika Shox
This music video was made in the late 90’s and it is a form of urban gritty Fantasy as a genre. It is electronic song with a mix of cultures of Africa and America. With visual style that resembles the Matrix and the works of J.G. Ballard. It also has some significance to humpty dumpty with a blind character who is incredibly fragile as he is made out of terracotta and can break into little pieces very quickly. It is an imaginative stylish video mixing punk rock with a cyberpunk atmosphere. There is also an ounce of hip hop culture going on as the character walks through the streets and discovers hip hop dancers in a parking lot. This video was directed by Chris Cunningham and produced by Cindy Burnay and Frank Linkoff
The Influences of Afrika Shox.
- The works of JG Ballard
- The Matrix
- Humpty Dumpty
- The world of Cyberpunk
Chris Cunningham is a British Music video film maker who had started off working as a technician in the 1995 film Judge Dredd. He then was hired by filmmaker Stanley Kubrick to design the central character of the film A.I. Artificial Intelligence until it was directed by Steven Spielberg.
The history background Political context of Afrika Shox
Afrika Shox political aspect of the video is that it resembles themes of African slavery in the sense that the protagonist in the video is a broken and blind looking hobo , he is incredibly skinny to the point he resembles a Jew who has only just survived the holocaust.
The electronic music matching the atmosphere is also inspired by some of the novels written by William Gibson. The other political context of the video is that since it is set in an expensive side of a big city where multiple corporations reign supreme and are also non attentive to poor individuals including coloured people. An Example of this would be that in one scene a character bumps into a more smart looking person and accidentally breaks his arm into many pieces since the main character is made out of terracotta.
The video was made in 1999 and in the lyrics of the song, it is said that the past has got to stop and the future has got to rock. And that it is a song representing the end of a century and the begging of the 21st century, in other words the song it is a glamorising commercial theme for the begging of the year 2000, As it said already in the lyrics. In that era of 1999, The Matrix has just came out and it was a decade of roaring swinging growth of punk rock and a massive leap towards creativity. Dance music was turning into Electronic techno music Hip hop was at it’s golden age Quentin Tarantino, Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg and James Cameron were the kings of cinema, Friends was on every Thursday nights, there was no IPhones, Facebook and the immense amount of Internet that was being used , Everything was neon in fashion and in design as a new style and it was the beginning of the digital era. All these cult factors represented a decade that was relevant into it’s culture of that time and thus the song Afrika Shox is an electronic piece that is also a semi representation of that era.
The Clip was one of the first music videos to be put on DVD quality. It was shot in New York City and features actors like Caspert Hunte who plays the protagonist, London Reyes as a Break Dancer, Mitchell Mertinez as another break dancer, Raymond Ramoz as another break dancer and Afrika Bambaataa ( the singer of the song) who plays a car parking attendant.
- Camera Movement
The Camera movements and visual look of the video is portrayed with a dramatic sinister tone yet the tone of the video has a Sci-Fi quirky tone to the source material. The colours used for this video are mostly dark green and grey whilst balancing between blurry and POV on it’s central character to create this dreamlike feel. Also since it is shot primarily on the protagonist’s point of view the camera is mainly focused on what is going on through his mind. So there some shaky shots that is done of purpose because the central character is going through a very confusing moment in his short life. And every body around are like alien to him. It is highly similar to a film made by Jonathan Glazer called Under the Skin. In which an Alien is walks amongst planet earth and has immense difficulty connecting with humans, it’s like an E.T. for the mature audiences.
2. Coldplay Paradise
This video was directed by Shynola and was made in 2011 staring Chris Martin as a dressed up Elephant searching for his crew mates aka Coldplay dressed in other Elephants. The video was filmed on Location in London, Cape town in the Klein Karoo in the Western Cape and Johannesburg . The video is a semi quirky comedy piece with similarities to cartoon episodes in the reign of the Looney tunes like the road runner and SpongeBob.
This video has a large budget, it was shot on multiple locations and some of the shots in the video are quite cinematic. There are shots of Aeroplanes and island during an instrumental of the song. The mood that the atmosphere give changes to a more positive feeling. When the elephant is in the tube station with the flash cards asking for money he’s just standing with the lyrics in his hands, however when he is in the new location, he’s asking for money by dancing and putting on a show for the people showing how much happier it is. The music builds up as the elephant is reunited with the rest of the elephants which the audience can assume that are the rest of the Coldplay band. Showing the Elephant running in slow motion emphasises that he’s in paradise and achieved what he set out to do. When the chorus plays again, the audience can see how the elephant has fit into the rest of the elephants and how happy he is compared to how he was at the beginning of the video.
3. Alizée Moi Lolita
This video was made in France as it is completely French it was written by French pop star Mylene farmer and the music was composed by Laurent Boutonnat. In which both produced the clip. The video gained wide recognition. The inspiration of Moi Lolita was inspired by Vladmir Nakobov’s novel Lolita. Alizée was meant to represent this seductive Lolita character in order to make ( primarily male) audiences charmed. The video was made in 2000 and was a major hit in Europe and made a star out of Alizée.
The concept was to mix adult hood, childhood innocence and possibly the lost of Innocence. In order to this the atmosphere of the clip had to be as authentic as possible adding natural beauty with colourful flour while giving an exotic vibe to the source material. With one of the quotes of the song My name is Lolita that is the start of the monologue That revolves around egocentrism, as well as the affirmation of the novel itself. Ergo a teen who amuses you with the sole purpose of entertaining herself, she toys with the idea of having an actual sexual relationship but it stays as just an idea.
It has inspiration to other sons like Vanessa Paradis, Mylene Famer, Britney Spears, Blondie and Madonna.
- What do I know about myself
- Your childhood and music you listened as a child ?
When i was a kid i used to listen to movie scores. Including the theme from Robin hood and Disney Pixar movies like the original Toy Story. But if there was a song that stood out to me till this day when i was around 4 was a song called high by Lighthouse family. I would listen to the themes of Harry Potter, Spider man and others. Rock and all the great artists of that time which were in the late 90’s early 2000’s i wasn’t really aware of and did’t catch my interest until much later on.
- What was your favorite music and artist you listen to as a child ?
High by Lighthouse family.
- What was the first CD you had and listen to ?
I don’t really remember the full title but it was something like TV express in which all the songs were from themes of TV in England from the 60’s, 70’s and 80s.
- Did your parents influenced your taste in music or who did ? What is the story behind ?
They partially did, My dad less so than y Mum.Because he was into John Lennon and David Bowie and still is. Those singers i didn’t thought they were really good. My mother was into European music but also Pet shop boys and so forth. My interest in music was a more independant approach. It was the songs put in movies that influenced me the most.
- What was the music you listened to in your early teens and who were your influences?
80’s music like Blondie, Michael Jackson, Billy Ocean, New Order, early 90’s rap like Ice cube. This was all because of Rockstar games and Grand Theft Auto.
- What was your favorite music video at the time and why ?
Still is to this day Alizee Moi Lolita. I fall in love with Alizee every time i watch the video because it’s super romantic and sexy.
- Is there an interesting story or anecdote from your teen time influenced by music you listened to ?
When I was in College in France i was with a group of friends who were deeply inspired by the gangster rap of 50 cent, 2 ac, Eminem etc and we would copy there attitudes and listen consistently their music.
- Has your taste in music changed now and what kind of music you listen to now ?
I despise commercials songs of today, i have to bear the trash they put on in Clubs. But i search for more older music which i think is better than modern day music experimental, independant, motivational music that i can visualize for a movie sequence. But i like all sorts of genres of music but i don’t really pay attention to the lyrics and make just sure if i like the sound of the song being played.
- Who are your favorite music artists and why ?
Leftfield because they play electronic music but have a deep atmosphere in each song that feels original unique and dreamy other world like.
- What does music mean to you and purpose does it serve in your life ?
Music is huge source of inspiration for me to have an idea for movies and stories and sequences. It helps jogg without stopping and think of thinks better and clearer.
Research topic for report
Music interests me because it is a Grande inspiration for catching ideas. I don’t necessarily focus to much on the lyrics to the song but more on the music and the Rhythm. I like all types of songs especially the ones that have an exotic motivational boost to them occasionally I like uplifting songs but I love cool songs and atmospheric ones too. Example of my preferences is in the vain of something like Depeche mode, Leftfield, New Order, Chrysta Bell, Exotica, Mylene Farmer, Prodigy, Goldfrapp, Julian Winding. Howver I despise the likes of Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, Chris Brown and other modern day junk in that vain. Aimed for mindless tweeny teenagers.
At this moment I am currently working on a song called My Own Effigy.
- What makes a good video
A great music video is one that fits the style of the song not necessarily the lyrics but the mood and vibe.
unpredictable source of creativity.
- Mind map
Music is one of the main influences in my life and for this reason my research topic will be research around music.
Throughout the 4th term I had to conduct research in order to start creating my own music video for a song provided to me by a an independent band because I am passionate about music in films, I believe it is a grand source of inspiration and I enjoy filming so I felt it would be a good path to take. I investigated through primary, secondary, qualitative and quantitative methods to ensure the research stayed interesting and varied. By using reliable sources I looked into different topics such as ‘How do music videos change their style according to their genre?’ and ‘How has one artists music videos changed with their music over the years?’. To start with I simply watched dozens of music videos from famous filmmakers like Jonathan Glazer, Alan Parker and most recently Xavier Dolan I created a research plan to draw out everything I planned to study which was very helpful for organising myself. Also, I examined what research techniques would work well along with delving into their advantages and disadvantages. From my findings, I have gathered what makes a good music video and can justify how.
To start with, I did some secondary research by watching music videos of one artist and explored how they had developed over their career. The Artist in whom I have researched with is Michel Gondry. I felt that this topic was relevant to my work because I could learn what the artist had changed and made their videos more modern along the way, giving me ideas for my own video. As well as that, I delved into analysing different styles of music videos as secondary research. I watched an array of genres and compared their styles which gave me an insight to what codes and conventions would go with my song’s video to help me create my own.
Whilst doing secondary research I went onto the YouGov Lite to take what I had learnt further. I used this internet tool to find out some information on who listens to folk music because the song I am making a video for is of the folk genre meaning I could have some knowledge on my audience before beginning the next stage of production. Despite my findings being relevant to finding my target audience, I am unaware of how trustworthy the source was and therefore would be wary of continuing to use that information to help me with the rest of my project.
From doing secondary research, I answered some of my questions enabling me to carry on with my project. I discovered that music videos tend to differentiate depending on the genre of music therefore now know what works well with what kind of music and have broadened my knowledge of the styles as I watched a lot on YouTube. Additionally, I studied how Ed Sheeran’s music videos have changed over the last 7 years and can now take his influence onto my own. Overall, this research was helpful since it has widened my awareness of music videos of all genres and can take what I like and think works well for my own ideas. However, my secondary research is somewhat weak due to the fact that there is not a variety of sources from where I got my information. If I had read music magazines or books as well then I could have had even more data to work with and have a better understanding of what would make a good music video so to overcome this I will be continuing my research into my pre-production work and will be using more resources.
Moving on, I began my primary research with a range of methods. Firstly, I designed a survey on Survey Monkey and sent it to around 20 people in order to receive a variety of answers allowing me to get information leading me to find out what makes a good music video. For example, I asked ‘what is your favourite thing about music videos?’ so that I could examine what the most popular answers were and take that into account when I start planning my own. Also, I asked ‘what is something you dislike about music videos?’ with the most popular answer being ‘when they are too long’ which taught me what I should be avoiding when creating my video. This method of qualitative research has been useful to me as I know that the sources are credible and I have an insight as to what the audience of music videos like and dislike about them.
While working on Unit 12, week 2 while researching music videos to understand the craft I found myself interested in discovering how music video directors make music videos and how some them are current A grade filmmakers. Making a music video is almost exactly like making a feature film. Because is a from of making a story out of the sound of the song is telling us and arguably even more so than the lyrics it tells us.
Leftfield ft Afrika Bambaataa – Afrika Shox (2017) YouTube. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DQ_J3K9sjRM (Accessed: 18 April 2017).
Langen, Y. and →, V. (2017) July book review – Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov, The Unputdownable Book Club. Available at: https://unputdownablebookclub.com/2013/09/03/august-book-review-lolita-by-vladimir-nabokov/ (Accessed: 18 April 2017).
SpongeBob SquarePants (2017) En.wikipedia.org. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SpongeBob_SquarePants (Accessed: 18 April 2017).
15 Things You Didn’t Know About Wile E. Coyote | GetMovieNews (2017) Getmovienews.com. Available at: https://getmovienews.com/15-things-you-didnt-know-about-wile-e-coyote/ (Accessed: 18 April 2017).
Under the Skin Archives – Home of the Alternative Movie Poster -AMP- (2017) Home of the Alternative Movie Poster -AMP-. Available at: https://alternativemovieposters.com/portfolio_tags/under-the-skin/ (Accessed: 18 April 2017).
Alizee – Moi… Lolita [Me… Lolita] (2017) YouTube. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P3uhPQZpjFg (Accessed: 19 April 2017).