Friday, 27 September 2013

Redundancy and entropy

Redundancy and entropy are key in music videos.
Redundancy - " that which is predictable or conventional in a message...Redundancy is the result of high predictability..."

Taylor Swift videos have high redundancy because she always sings about romance and heartbreak, and her videos include footage of just that, including this one for You Belong With Me.

The video for Ok Go's Here It Goes Again is like the polar opposite to Taylor Swift videos, the song itself has nothing to do with running or treadmills, yet it is the centerpiece of the video. However it is fair to argue that as the video goes on, the use of treadmills becomes more predictable and the video becomes increasingly redundant.

Entropy is "...unpredictability"
A text is entropic if it contains unpredictable elements.

The notion of looking

Looking at 50 Cent's Candy Shop video, it is a clear example of the male gaze. It's a video that objectifies women and shows them as a tool for male use. Shown in this screen shot is the viewpoint of 50 Cent himself, looking at the woman being objectified in the video.

Moving on to Country Girl by Primal Scream, we see the female as a sexual character but not from the male perspective, and it shows her as a more in-control rebellious character, as shown in this screen shot.

In Madonna's Open Your Heart, we see her inviting people to look at her instead of being looked at unwillingly. We see this through the way she is dressed and the way she acts in the video. We also see her looking at the audience who - in this video - are the people looking right at her, so we see an example of the looking role being reversed.

Finally, in the video for Alejandro by Lady Gaga, we see the use of two new terms. The queer gaze and the pink pound. The queer gaze is as the name suggests, the idea of gay men looking at such a video. This is apparent as the men in the video are dressed as feminine, and the video shows Lady Gaga as the dominant character, almost being portrayed as a man. This is where the pink pound comes in. A term used to describe the general assumption that a man is earning a higher income than a woman, so a male gay couple with no children will be high earners that are able to spend their income on disposable goods. It seems that Lady Gaga is trying to tap into this market through this video. This picture shows her as a dominant character above a group of men.

Friday, 13 September 2013

Relationship between the music and visuals

We looked at the video for Sabotage by the Beastie Boys, which is a brilliant example of the visuals matching the sound. Cuts only appear on beat with the song, the pace of the video increases as the pace of the song increases, and likewise for when the pace decreases. During the bridge of the song and the build up to the final chorus, a noise like someone falling is made, and in the video they show a man falling from a high building to resemble this. At the end of the video as the song is coming to the end, there is very slow paced editing to fade to show the end of the track.

Illustrative, amplifying and disjunctive videos

Andrew Goodwin came up with a framework for music video analysis which has stood the test of time and has provided a method on how to link the video to the track.


An illustrative video is a video that represents fully the lyrics and the theme of the song, for example the video for Oasis' Rock N Roll Star. The lyrics of "tonight, I'm a rock and roll star" are clearly by the represented by the live performance video of them playing to thousands of adoring fans, it is very literal.


An amplifying video is one that shows the theme(s) of a song, but also adds a whole new layer of meaning to the song as well. A good example of this is Kate Nash's video for Foundations. In particular the "you said I must eat so many lemons" lyric. It doesn't say "I eat so many lemons" yet the video is of her eating a plate full on lemon wedges. From this we can learn that she isn't taking the meaning of bitterness as it's literal meaning.


A disjunctive video is one that shows no logical correlation between the theme of the song and the features of the video. For example in the video for Arctic Monkey's Fluorescent Adolescent we see a fight between a clown and a businessman who have been friends since early childhood, although the song itself is about promiscuous teenagers.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Genre characteristics

Teen pop

In teen pop I noticed a lot of focus on colour, in some videos the colour gets more vibrant as the video goes on such as in Alphabeat's Fascination, as shown below.

Also note the close ups of the band members smiling very often, this is a second characteristic I noticed in teen pop videos and is shown in 3OH!3's video for Starstrukk.

Teen pop videos also use lots of fast paced editing and quick shots as seen in the video for Best Song Ever by One Direction.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Music video research - video history

We started watching videos chronologically to help understand the development of music videos over time.

Len Lye Colour Box

Len Lye Colour Box is a 1939 advert for cheaper parcel post. This didn't use a camera, but they painted patterns onto film reel and played it through. This was important because it was the first video where the visuals were designed to match the music and not the other way round.

Nat King Cole

We then watched Nat King Cole's video for Frim Fram Sauce from 1945. This was an early example of a proper music video that includes lip syncing, the male gaze and uses the idea of looking, all of which are used commonly in modern day videos.
The Beatles

The next video was for Can't Buy Me Love by The Beatles which was part of the short film Hard Day's Night. This video was used as a means of promotion for the band and hows the four of them as rebellious young men. This was an early example of adding context to a song with a video. Whereas Nat King Cole's video is very apt and literal in the location, there is no link between the song and video by The Beatles.


The next video was for Madonna's 1986 (the golden age of music video) track Open Your Heart and is arguably the most important video of all. This video took the idea of looking and the male gaze to new levels. What we saw in the Frim Fram Sauce video was the viewpoint of Nat King Cole objectifying a woman in a sexual way, whereas in the Madonna video, she purposely dresses promiscuously, she puts up photos of herself posing sexually, she allows the males in the video to watch her act like this etc. This is an early example of a woman wanting the male gaze on her and arguably revolutionised music videos to come.
Fifty Cent

In Fifty Cent's video for Candy Shop from 2005, we see the absolute maximum for viewing women as sexual objects. It is a video full of sexual innuendos and although it doesn't represent a literal candy shop, it's easy to understand the true meaning behind the song, especially with help from the video.

Music video research - Lighting

Since coming back to college and back to media studies, we have continued the research of music videos in preparation for filming our own.


The first lesson was used to learn the basics about lighting and in particular, three point lighting. I learnt that there was a key light used as the main light on the subject, the fill light to make the image look more three-dimensional and the back light to re-enforce this. On top of this, I did my own outside research into four point lighting where I learnt that the fourth is a background light that is used to add emphasis to the background and/or used to eliminate shadow from the subject.