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Zara McDermott

Notes on Music Videos

Types of Music Videos

1; Conceptual Clips- these music videos are based on a central theme, they have a plot and
tell a story most of the time but sometimes they are made up of random jumbled clips to
work with the music. They can be divided into two further types:
Narrative music videos: mini films complex/simple narrative structure fantasy situation,
genre divisions, tell a story.
Non-narrative music videos: images and music combine to give an emotional effect on the

2; Performance Clips- focal point is the appearance of the musician, popular in 1960s/70s,
often look directly at the camera making it different from movies, appeals to an audience
distinct connection between audience and musician.

Features of music videos

Poetic images- music videos use visuals imagery to create some-sort of emotion in the
minds of audience members. Visuals are most important in music videos as more often than
not it seems like the music augments the video rather than the other way around. Shocking
and bizarre images are the focal point of some video makers to grab the attention of the

Symbolic images- associations are made so that the audience can make links with other
aspects in life. Foe example, references to movies, Nazi rallies, witchcraft etc.

Rapid shot changes- In order to keep attention from the audience, the videos creators have
found that rapid shot changes from all different ideas help to maintain this interest. IPM=
ideas per minute. A three minute video may contain hundreds of shots.

Analysis of music video: Taylor Swift- You
Belong With Me
In terms of having a strong narrative structure, I
think that this music video is a great example.
The whole video feels like a movie which has
been condensed and almost sped-up, with all of
the padding removed (I say this meaning parts
of a film that embellish the storyline but do not
however make any difference to the ending).
The story is relatively simple; a girl is in love
with a boy who seems to be way out of her league. This boy has a girlfriend and she
observes them and feel extremely jealous at the fact that he is with another girl and not her.
In the end however, the boy realises how nice the girl actually is and beaks up with his
girlfriend to be with her.
Camerawork- Throughout some of the video, the camera seems as though it is handheld.
This gives a slightly more rustic and genuine feel to the video. It makes the story feel
unplanned just as the camerawork seems to have been. There is a lot of over the shoulder
shots, helping the audience to see the story from both characters perspectives and
viewpoints. This is commonly used in films to do just this. Zooming out from a particular
position creates a slightly more musical feel, however especially when it is in the middle of
the scene, and this does challenge the conventions of a film-type narrative. (see below)

The sets which have been created for this music video is what stereotypically would be used
in films. There are houses bedrooms, streets, schools etc. These sets offer a clear insight
into the storyline and type of narrative which stems from that of movies. The clothing
transformation from nerd to prom queen is highlighted in the changes of attire used to
aid the formation and authenticity of the storyline.

Lots of shot-reverse-shot editing methods are used to highlight the relationship between
the two characters. This enables the audience to build a connection with this relationship
and also with the storyline. The editing is also used to highlight the protagonist and single
her out from the crowd and prove her to be different to others.

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Analysis of a music video: Love On Top by Beyonc

This type of music video is quite different to the
one previously discussed in terms of narrative
structure. There is no such storyline within it
and it is simply just clips of Beyonc dancing
and performing to a camera with several back
up dancers from different angles and at
different proximities. The only way in which
this video is made remotely interesting is
through the artist, who as you will probably know, is a music icon. Camera movement and
shots help to view the artist from different angles and the dancing adds to the aesthetic
value however the dancing is probably the most aesthetically pleasing part of the video.

The camerawork in this has a singular purpose; to show off the artist. Close ups are used
regularly to show the artists face and there are lots of extreme long shots used to show the
dance routines. It is clear that this video has an extremely loose narrative structure and is
extremely simplistic. There is an example of a shot which has an extremely long duration; it
lasts over 5 seconds and zooms out of the artists face ever so slightly. This gives little room
for a narrative structure to be formed when the shots are too long for any other scenarios
to be considered.

In this particular video, the set does not change and remains the same throughout. This
makes it extremely difficult for the audience to derive any kind of narrative structure from it
seeing as neither the characters featured in the video and the set does not change. Shots
remain similar and simplistic throughout with the colours always remaining warm and
bright. This makes the potential for any climax virtually impossible.

Jump cuts are rarely used in this video due to the set being constant throughout. The ability
to form a narrative is made difficult due to the mass amounts of extreme long shots
juxtaposed with the close-ups.

Music video analysis- Maps by Maroon 5

This video is one with a slightly more complex narrative structure than the first which I
discussed. Again, the music acts as a complimentary piece to the video and simply sets the
tone of the video while the actual visuals act as narration and the lyrics barely guide this.
The video is extremely explicit at times, showing a fatally injured woman hit by a car. This
links back to the fact that music video creators show extreme and bizarre footage for impact
and memorability. The storyline of this video is crafted around cheating in a relationship,
and the main character (in this case, the artist) causes his girlfriends death by causing her to
storm out of a party when she sees him kissing another girl. The climax of the narrative is at
the start and there is no resolution to the problem, leaving the audience on a cliff-hanger.
This is not often done within music videos because it can be seen as pointless as there will
be no continuation and the audience are unable to find out more.

The editing is done extremely well so that it establishes a clear understanding in the
audience of the characters. There are several ellipses where there is a lapse in time which
helps to show a link between two events. This is extremely important in a video with such a
complex narrative structure because it is watched more as a mini-film within the timeframe
of a piece of music rather than a video made to compliment a piece of music. An example of
a strong link between two events is when there is a two-shot of the boyfriend and another
woman followed by a shot of the girlfriend which is close enough to be able to see her facial
expression. This is then followed by another shot of the woman being hit by a car. This
shows the link between the two events and puts the boyfriend in the blame and views him
as the antagonist. (see below).

As previously mentioned, the mis-en-scene here is made to be relatively graphic and bizarre
in order to give a shock factor to the video. This is not often done in music videos because
it is difficult to give a resolution in he sense that people only develop a connection with the
narrative if they know some history about the characters before anything shocking happens,
but this is cleverly done. The colours are also dark, acting as a means of foreshadowing later
events when the girl dies in a car accident. (see below).

The camerawork in this is all done by hand it seems. All cameras are handheld to make it
seem as though the audience is part of the party and is potentially moving to the music just
as the characters are. A lot of tracking shots are used to emphasise the reality of the
situation that the characters are in and to make it feel as though you are accompanying the
lead male character.