This week we have received the brief and I have read through it and annotated the objectives and deadlines. We are producing a long-form music video, which is one with a narrative present at the beginning and he end. We have been put into production teams and each given a role within the group; I have been given the directorial role. The first step in the production of the music video is to understand what our target audience expects (the target audience being the first year students). We have created a questionnaire based on the most popular genres of music currently. Within my group we have began talking about the type of video we want to make , within the boundaries of what the target audience might want to see. What we brainstormed were loose themes and styles that each member enjoys or would like to create. Like, for example, colours, preferred music genres, surreal or abstract themes.
We have begun research into a theory surrounding the categorising of music videos which we now understand there there are loosely types. This helps with the main group project but is mostly to inform the essay content. I’ve began research into contemporary rap music videos because I am going to recreate one for my test product. I’ve decided I want to employ some of my post-production skills for the test product, with the intention of emulating the directing style of Director “BRTHR”. I have written a document that outlines the roles and responsibilities of a director, which will help in embodying the same job within my group.
I’ve been collating a range of music videos from my genre for the test product. This research will help inform the main music video with my group, but is more for the purpose of writing the essay and to be able to create a short music video that is adherent to the conventions of the genre I have picked. I’ve just began to crate a video essay to present this. We’ve received the data from the questionnaire and we understand that the target audience’s most preferred genre is hip-hop. The others to choose from were drum and bass music, grime, pop and rock, which I based on my own knowledge of most popular genre but also what some online statistics said about most popular artists. We also asked if the audience would prefer to see a more coloured video , or a more monochrome one. This is in basis of basic colour palletes, colour grading and settings. The first years said they wanted to see a colourful video which is good as this is what we wanted as a group as well. In order to understand further the specifics of what they want to see in a hip -hop video, I quickly put together a montage of different hip-hop music videos with varied types of hip hop as well. We showed it to them and asked them questions based on their opinion, meaning that this was to find qualitative data. We went in to a first year class and showed the video to them twice. I initially planned for them to give their answers verbally, however they preferred to write down what they had to say. The overruling preference was towards UK hip-hop.
With the date for the showing of the trailer approaching, we have come up with song we are doing and a concept for the trailer. Our music video for “Vines” by Jam Baxter will start with a protagonist waking in the middle of a hill-top field. He wakes to find he is in the middle of a duel between two western-style cowboys. The protagonist quickly runs off into the woods where he experiences a series of surreal characters. After story boarding this and finding an actor , we went to a local woods, called Trevaylor, where we shot this first scene. This scene will provide us the trailer with us using it as an enigmatic teaser. With the “wild-west” style of the first scene, I have gone with a sepia tone look in order to a achieve a certain reminiscence of western movies.
After planning my test product, I have shot the footage that I required. Both the dancer that I had asked to perform and myself were ill, so I didn’t work to the best of my ability. The footage I have doesn’t have much substance because I wasn’t able to direct very concisely or give a good to description to my actress. This meant that when she went to perform both the acting and the dancing she had to make some judgements on what she had to do herself – then added to the fact that she was not able to perform to the best of her ability either. I am going to re-shoot the video and I will use this as a chance to rewrite the step outline. We have received the results from the questionnaires that were issued after the showing of the trailer and they have been positive in terms of the direction we are taking.
B-Roll is an important element to lots of music videos. Ours being set in the woods, we were able to shoot the b-roll in a nearby small woods without problems with continuity , due to the fact of the b – roll being just close up shots. I have shot similar footage before on my last music video , which was a patch of fungus on a tree that i came across, as well as a fly that landed on a bottle top. I did the same this time which meant us videoing a range of different organic objects , mostly rotting wood. We simply shot interesting colours and textures in a pan across , which means its harder for the audience to place where it is yet still find it visually stimulating , which is perfect for a music video. Afterwards I applied the HLS Colour effect in premiere, which allows you to change the hue value, creating as science fiction look. The b- roll footage has dictated a change in style and theme for the music video as well. This is because we feel that the video would be stronger by keeping with the psychedelic style that the b – roll conveys. When choosing the song had found that it was based ona ayahausca trip, so the fact that it is gong in that directio stylistvily ois a good thing. I feel thatb the name og the song “vines ” , is better incorporated into the footage and post profuvtion , with th inclusion of the prgabic matriril in tye b roll. The ddarker t9ne that the jusic vide is gng in suitd the tone of the sonf , .
Kyran, the camera man in our group, has come up with the idea of the protagonist in ther music video being stuck in a virtual reality. The idea is that at the end of the video, the cameras pulls away to reveal that he is being experimented on. We will use a gaming VR headset as a prop for this. It being a long-form video requires a narrative at each end of the main section of the video. I had the idea of the beginning to be two hit-men-like characters arguing in a car about the implications of the job they are doing. As the audience, we heart muffled bangs an d screams coming from the boot of the car. This sets up the scene in the lab setting in which the protagonist is being experimented on with the virtual reality. I have wrote a first draft for the first scene with the two characters. I have taken insipiration for the scene from British crime films, more specifically director Martin McDonagh’s writing of dialogue for “In Bruges”. It will also be reminiscent of the famous Pulp Fiction scene in which Vince and Jules discuss differences of the USA compared to Europe, in terms of camera angles and mise en scene. We went to shoot the scene in a nearby overflow carpark which looked derelict. We used the famous camera shot from the inside of the boot, used in Pulp Fiction. We placed the cameras in the centre of the boot and placed random objects underneath to get right placement, then adjusted it after reviewing a few recordings and ran through it a few times.
We’ve shot some extra b – roll for the video, which was a simple close up of myself mouthing the lyrics. We used “lens wacking”, a technique in which you set the lens to the widest angle, then detach the lens. By keeping the lens inline with the camera, yet still giving some movement you diffract the light – giving a dreamlike effect. This is a more minor segment and simply provides extra visuals to employ in the edit which will vary the pacing of the video. For my F.M.P last year I made a music video for a drum and bass piece, where I found that fast music requires a lot of editing to the beat , which in turn requires a range of footage. I found it very useful to have b-roll to fall back on. We shot it in the same location as the previous b – roll , so it will link in the rest of footage shot. We framed it from the shoulder to the lips which makes the identity elusive, enigmatic.
Here you van see the album cover, which is way more thoughtful to the style of the UK hihop industry – which is darker and gritty. It doesn’t take ts self seriously , unlike american hip hop. This album cover will be helpful in creating a style to the video. For example we are using a time-lapse of a tarantula shedding it’s skin, which is a good example of the route we are taking thematically – it now being more grotesque and uncomfortable.
Here is the finalised and simplified step outline I have wrote. I tried to make it similar in style to the music videos of High Focus Records, a UK Hip-Hop label. For example, Brains by Jam Baxter:
We have bought the prop phone from a vintage shop. I decided the phone should look vintage because it gives more character to the scene – more of a surreal post-modern aesthetic.
Editing has been happening continuously, but I have had input into some of the visuals. For example by creating three duplicates of a clip then setting the RGB (red, blue and green) channels at different values, layering them on each other and placing them slightly out of sync you create an interesting colour effect. This same effect we used to a small extent when creating a VHS effect. I also employed this for my test product.
This week we went back to the woods location in Trevaylor to shoot the remainder of the footage. Considering that there were some tracking shots to do, movement to capture and uneven ground we decided to use a handheld stabiliser (sometimes called a gimbal) instead of a tripod. Our editor Ben and I drew the doodles that are mentioned in the step outline as preparation for the shoot. We wanted them to be surreal, with a horror style. I took some inspiration from The Babadook film.
I wrote up a shot list which we used as a guide but also took the opportunity to improvise some shots. Unfortunately the Canon DSLR ran out of battery short of the end of the shooting , so we had to leave without completing what we set out to film. I think I will consider bringing an extra battery on future shoots. It is disappointing that we will have to fall back on b-roll more than I would have liked in the edit. I think the shoot would have been more effective if we had done more location recces so that we would have understood the landscape better. When directing I had to judge the way in which Jack should perform certain actions on the spot. If I knew the location better then I could have visualised the scenes better and by doing so giving better instructions. We should have organised a costume for Jack. When planning I assumed that whatever he wore would work because he was just supposed to be an ordinary person. However his jacket had a Superdry logo, which is distracting from an audience perspective.
Our editor Ben has had to go for a university interview so I have had to take over with editing. As I predicted I have had to fall back on b-roll. This wouldn’t be a massive problem if the b-roll was all shot by the group but some is stock footage pulled offline. I think the video starts strong then goes down-hill as the footage gets more stretched out.