Monday, June 25, 2012

Break Down of the Music Video: Alt

 Each genre has its “carbon” copy of a music video. With R&B, as we’ve seen, it’s slow movement and striking colors, things of that nature. With heavy metal, it’s mostly performance with hardcore head banging. With alternative rock, it is hard to determine what exactly is a carbon copy video. Therefore, I have chose to analyze this particular genre for its videos. And there are three videos that I continually come back to for analyzing. These videos are “Love Interruption” with Jack White, “I Won’t Give Up” with Jason Mraz by Elliot Sellers (my fav DP), and “Somebody That I Used To Know” with Goyte featuring Kimbra. So, let’s look at “Love Interruption” with Jack White.

            This video is possibly one of the most awesome and simple videos I have seen. And I have seen a lot of music videos. The song is a blues song about love not interrupting the character’s life. I have broken this video down before, just speaking about the movement. And I have decided to start with that. Throughout the video, the camera is dollied around the two subjects (see Picture 1). But it’s not an ordinary dolly. It’s shaky and very unsure, conveying the unsure ground that the character lives on. It’s not just the dolly, though. Everything is slightly shaking. It makes the feeling of the video chaotic. It grabs your attention, because the shot is constantly moving.

Picture 1

Picture 2

     Let’s talk color, another big element in this video (see Picture 2). Most of everything is this grayish blue. This again sets the tone of the whole video. He’s singing about almost violently hating love and what it could do to a person. This gray shows the void he feels in his life by letting the love go.

            The set is also important (also see Picture 2). It’s basically bare, with lights set in the back, which shine straight into the camera at times. This again extenuates the bareness he feels in his life. Now, with the set comes lighting. And let me tell you, the way they lit this scene was probably harder than you would think. There are low-lit lights on almost everyone, except of course the middle. Jack White moves in an out of silhouette the whole time. And to set these people off the background is a challenge within itself. On another note, I like the cat that runs into the shot, because it adds character and makes the almost surreal stage real again.

            Okay, now that we’ve addressed three key elements in “Love Interruption” with Jack White, let’s analyze “I Won’t Give Up” with Jason Mraz by Elliot Sellers. Now, the particular video I am analyzing is the lyrical video, and it has more narrative in it than the actual video. However, the lyrical video works so much better with the song than the actual video, I believe. I’ll explain why.

            First off, the story in this one is about a long distance relationship, in which the couple communicates through letters. This is great, considering Mraz is singing about not giving up on the person. However, what makes this video so particularly awesome is Elliot Sellers and what he brings to the table. He uses focus to bring different, typically non-consequential items into the picture, he uses color, and he uses close ups.

Picture 3

Picture 4

 However, with these in mind, again, I’d like to focus on the movement. The first few shots have the most movements out of the rest of the video (see Pictures 3 and 4). Sellers uses the camera as if it were a human eye moving about the room to establish the location, brining to focus mundane items, making them extraordinary. The zooming starts with the lyrics, but this is to draw the viewer’s eye to the song (see Picture 5). At the very end, he has made the lyrics into stars with fast pace panning, which shows the song is climaxing. His camera movements are slow, which tells the story of not giving up on love.

Picture 5
     I have mentioned the focal points a little when talking about the movement of the camera. Sellers tends to take small, unnoticeable, ordinary items and make them extremely significant and almost beautiful. He focuses on the clock, the pens, the guitar, and more importantly the letters. He wants you to notice these mundane things and their true beauty.
Picture 6

            His colors are always important for his pieces (see Picture 6). In this video, Sellers saturates the colors and focuses on the colors of red, white, and blue, which is much darker. He is emphasizing the story by doing this.

            Last, “Somebody That I Used To Know” with Goyte featuring Kimbra. I have started with camera movement with the last two videos. And I’m going to start talking about it again, because I can’t avoid it. It’s the first thing that happens in the video.

Picture 7
            You start with a shot of his naked feet, move up to his naked body to his face (see Picture 7). This is to show he is vulnerable, which is dictated in his song. Also, he is specifically talking about a body; at least this is what the video suggests. It stays with his face for the first verse and then moves to follow the painting of the wall and his body. They want you to know that he feels like just the paint on the wall, invisible without her acknowledgement. The pan to the right and the amount of the separation that is between Goyte and Kimbra shows the level of separation he is feeling from her. When she moves off the paint, she wants to show that she is not apart of it and wants to break free, which is finalized when the paint is slowly taken off of her.

Picture 8

Picture 9


     The disjointed shots at the end when Goyte is singing “somebody” shows his amount of distress he feels about losing her as a friend (see Picture 8 and 9). He doesn’t want to lose her, but he is anyways as the paint is taken off of her.

            The colors in this video are very vivid (see Picture 10). The reason behind this might be to show the different emotions. White suggests nothingness, green suggests envy, brown suggests distress, et cetera (these are all how I interrupt them). Also, the way that the paint is put together is almost like shattered glass of a stain glass window. He is a broken man that needs to be put back together.

Picture 10
            The lighting is high and flat (also see Picture 10). He needs to blend in with the background around him, because otherwise he would pop out. They don’t want him to stand out. They want him to blend completely in. And they accomplish this with very flat, even lighting.

            These three videos are all vastly different from each other. However, this reflects the genre that is alt rock.

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