Evaluation - Question 1

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  1. Evaluation Forms and Conventions 2. Goodwin’s Theory Whilst conducting my secondary research, I looked at a video which expresses domestic violence, ‘Take Your…
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  • 1. Evaluation Forms and Conventions
  • 2. Goodwin’s Theory Whilst conducting my secondary research, I looked at a video which expresses domestic violence, ‘Take Your Time’ (Sam Hunt, 2015), where the camera follows the domestic violence showing explicitly what is going on in the relationship, from them arguing to him physically pushing her. This is a theme we used throughout our piece as we wanted the visuals to express an emotional story and be clear to the audience what was happening.
  • 3. Another example is “You turned me into this”, where the dancer is shown performing an action where her hand strokes the side of her face, as if she is trying to believe that he is not damaging her, when in fact, he is. There are a few examples in the track where this is evident, for example “I can’t even recognize myself anymore”, where the actress is seen looking in the mirror with a distressed look on her face.
  • 4. Banks’ genre of music is consistent throughout all of her songs on the ‘Goddess’ album, which whilst analysing these I discovered that all of the songs were fairly sad and miserable. ‘This Is What It Feels Like’ (Banks, 2014) has a similar tempo and mood to our track, which therefore we tried to imitate the style of the video in order to conform with the artist.
  • 5. We created this in our own music video through the narrative as well as the sad visuals we included.
  • 6. Camera distance played a key part in connoting the actress’ emotion. The close up shots in the bedroom show her crying in distress, which is linked to the dance of her expressing herself. This helps to create a sense of intimacy for the viewer, as well as the majority of shots focusing on the girl’s face, who is the artist of the track.
  • 7. In Banks’ music videos, there are usually a lot of meat shots of her as the artist; this is something we decided to do differently as we did not include any shots of her lip-syncing. However, the dancer and the female character is the same person, who we have tried to portray as the artist, giving a personal sense to the music video as it is her who has struggled in the relationship, as well as singing the song.
  • 8. Form and Structure The form of a music video is apparent in the intercut between a narrative sequence and a performance sequence. The abuse in the relationship progresses throughout the track, from them getting along, to him becoming much more aggressive, linking to the increase in tempo of the track also.
  • 9. The way that the music video is put together is generic for the music video style. The visuals are structured in a way that respond to the track, for example, the dance performance can be seen as a metaphor for the girl in the narrative expressing her emotion, which also links to how we responded to the lyrics of the track and other points I covered.
  • 10. The campaign conforms to the conventions of the dark r&b/electronica genre because each aspect of the promotional package provides an enigmatic mood. The blue lighting used in the dance performance of the music video, is carried through the campaign in order to create a cohesive brand image for the artist. Conventions of genre
  • 11. This blue effect is used in the advert as emotional colouring, as well as the two middle panes of the digipak. This was apparent when analysing ‘Beggin for Thread’ (Banks, 2014), where she introduced the colour red, and had the rest of the video in a black and white effect. The black and white helped create the enigmatic feel for the promotional package, which we used in the narrative sequence of the music video, and the front pane of the digipak.
  • 12. Therefore, we have conformed to the artists meta-narrative through the use of black and white, as well as introducing the blue colour, which is strongly associated with tranquility and calmness, and as used in the dance sequence, this therefore connotes that in that particular setting, she is expressive, powerful and serious.
  • 13. The red colour was also apparent when analysing ‘Alone’ (JMSN, 2011), where certain shots would appear with the red colour, as well as some shots in blue, being emphasized. We have used in our own piece as we introduced the blue colour only, on the expressive shots connoting her mood.
  • 14. Similarly to the campaign used for the ‘Alone’ music video, the red colour was carried through onto the digipak and advert, which is something that we have also continued, including the blue in the digipak and the advert.
  • 15. Is our print conventional? Our print is conventional in terms of genre due to a variety of signifiers. Firstly, the non-verbal language on the front pane of the digipak connotes enigma which is present in the dark r&b genre as well as Banks herself as an artist.
  • 16. Another signifier of convention is the emotional metaphor in the advert of her dance expressing her talent and creativity. This is conventional in terms of the artist as she appears in the media as ‘different’ and ‘alternative’ to the mainstream artists. This is further connoted through the use of black and white which is present in Banks’ digipak for her album ‘Goddess’, which we have emulated in our own production.
  • 17. Challenging Conventions Within the dark r&b genre, our music video has mainly conformed with the genre in a way that the music video links closely with the lyrics and tone of the track. We used a montage style of editing which is something I saw in other Banks’ videos, as well as the black and white effect.
  • 18. One way that we have challenged the dark r&b genre is that we did not include the artist in the music video. This is evident throughout all of Banks’ music videos as well as ‘The Hills’ (The Weeknd, 2015), where the artist is seen breaking the fourth wall, and addressing the audience by lip syncing. We decided not to include lip syncing as we felt that the grain of voice would not suit the female character we had selected for the female character and the dancer. For music videos to be convincing for the audience, the artist needs to look as if it is their song, which we felt did not work well when looking back at the footage.
  • 19. Our music video is polysemic due to the montage editing style used throughout, as the narrative is fragmented, creating narrative fuzz for the artist. This is furthered as our narrative connotes a theme, rather than a completed narrative containing a conclusion, as we have only presented aspects of this storyline.
  • 20. The intercutting between the two lines of action allows the music video to be polysemic as it is constantly cutting away from the narrative, enabling the audience to consume this in a more open way, where they cannot fully consume her. The blue style used in the music video further reinforces this as it makes it more problematic for the audience to decipher the fact that she is the same girl.
  • 21. In terms of the way the dancer has been framed, her feet are shown in close up, as well as the harsh lighting focusing on her collar bones, contrasting with her in long shot or slow
  • 22. Audience Readings The preferred reading could interpret the visuals used as fairly straightforward and clearly connoting the theme of domestic violence. Therefore the audience could decode the message that domestic violence is something that strongly affects woman, shown through her expression.
  • 23. On the other hand, the audience reading could be oppositional if the viewer decides to understand the message and then completely reject it. This could be more commonly from a male’s point of view, as some may not see a problem with the actions that occur in the music video, or the viewer may feel that the narrative is too unrealistic to believe and therefore not understand that domestic violence occurs in relationships and has a strong impact on the emotional stability of the recipient.
  • 24. Binary Oppositions Binary oppositions are set up between the male and the female. The binary shows the difference the genders have in power, and who is more vulnerable. In this case, the male is seen to dominant the relationship and become aggressive when she does not do what he wants, which is evident through the use of visuals of him pushing her onto the bed as well as violently shouting at her. Certain framings have also been used to show him larger in the frame, connoting his dominating personality within the relationship. For example, the shot where we see the girl cowering back into the corner and falling to the floor, where she then looks up at him.
  • 25. The audience is then shown the visuals of her crying, depicting her character as weak and vulnerable. This conforms to society’s dominant ideology that the female is not as strong in the relationship, and the audience is shown her crying to herself, rather than fighting back. Non-verbal language such as distressed facial expressions are used to connote this theme throughout the narrative as there is no speech, therefore showing her character in this way expresses this feeling and mood.
  • 26. Power is shown through technical codes such as the low-key lighting in the narrative sequence. The desaturated and dark look about these shots provide the audience with a sense of misery and despair, further demonstrating their unstable relationship.
  • 27. Lighting techniques are also used in the shot of the girl cowering in the corner on the floor, establishing a shadow on the wall which covers her, and shows him as being bigger and stronger than her. This is successful in implying the idea that he stands above her, and with her in the corner, this shows that she is being pushed down by the verbal abuse as well as physical.
  • 28. Semiotics The key theme of our music video is domestic violence, which is expressed through the use of actions codes discussed in Barthes’ theory. The action of the male character physically pushing her onto to the bed is seen as very explicit and hurtful for the female. The pain she feels is further reinforced by the visuals of her crying and looking distressed through the use of non-verbal language, as well as her resorting to drinking alcohol.
  • 29. The camera movement throughout the dance sequence is usually moving with the dancer or around her in order to create a more dynamic feel, helping the viewer feel more immersed in the video. ‘This Is What It Feels Like’ (Banks, 2014) contains some experimental camera movements which we tried to emulate in our music video. For example, the camera tracks out and twists when showing the wind blowing through the door, which is something we also did when showing the happier parts of the relationship.
  • 30. We constructed a paradigmatic relationship between visual signifiers in our promotional campaign. For example, the non-verbal language used to express the females emotion, links to the prop used of the alcohol bottle, which further connotes her sadness. The black and white saturation used over the video and digipak further depicts the dull and depressing tone. Moreover, the violent actions that are shown link to the expressive dance performance, which acts as a metaphor for her communicating her feelings in a way that she wants to, demonstrating the girl’s emotion allowing the audience to sympathise for her.
  • 31. An iconic sign of her vulnerable personality is conducted through the use of props such as alcohol. She is positioned sitting in the corner, where she is shown drinking a bottle of vodka, as well as her heads being in her hands. This further connotes the fact that she cannot stand up to him, presenting her as weak, enabling the audience to sympathise for her.
  • 32. Another iconic sign used in our music video is the shot of the block of flats. This conforms to society’s dominant ideology that domestic violence occurs within relationships of people who are working class. This is a stereotype which we have chosen to reinforce in order to enable the audiences to feel placed closer to the artist. By doing this through the use of location, we have further reinforced the idea that Banks is ‘normal’, devaluing herself as a star.
  • 33. By association with Banks, she is endowed with the myth of the cult of youth and beauty. The female character has been casted to enable the idea of youthful stars. She is a young female who could be used as a model that audiences can aspire to, enabling audiences to want to keep consuming her products. Banks’ authenticity is portrayed through her creativity and talent, which the dance performance connotes. This adds to the overall image of her as an artist, allowing audiences to consume her for this particular reason.
  • 34. Postmodernism The editing technique of reversing a clip that has just been shown is used in the dance sequence on the shot of the dancer lying on the floor, provides a meaning of her trying to get up, and away from the abuse, but she is pushed back down. This in slow motion connotes the idea that she is struggling to function with the abuse happening in her relationship, as well as linking closely with the narrative shot of her being pushed onto the bed by her boyfriend as he shouts at her aggressively.
  • 35. The time lapse at the beginning of the blue sky and clouds moving across the screen could be interpreted as if this has occurred for a while, as well as this effect detracting from the realism.
  • 36. Throughout the dance sequence, the blue lighting effect provides a parallel reality to the ‘norm’. This provides the audience with the idea that she is a star enabling them to be able to relate to the message conveyed, however also understand that she is different to them.
  • 37. In conclusion, our promotional campaign uses conventions throughout the music video, advert and digipak. Goodwin’s theory clearly relates to the music video that we have produced, as we can apply a variety of elements from the theory. This therefore enables audiences to understand the form as well as concept of the music video. Furthermore, conventions are evident through the advert and digipak in the style of the genre as well as artist.
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