Music videos are so 80s/90s, right? They belong with the era when MTV screened wall-to-wall vids instead of 'reality' TV? Try telling that to the millions who bought Gangnam Style; were they really simply loving the music? 1.6bn (and still climbing) have viewed the video on YT, not to mention the many re-makes (school eg, eg2), viral ads + celeb link-ups (even political protest in Seoul) - and it doesn't matter how legit it is, this nightmare for daydream Beliebers is making a lot of money, even from the parodies + dislikes. All this for a simple dance track that wouldn't have sounded out of place in 1990 ... but had a fun vid. This meme itself was soon displaced by the Harlem Shake. Music vids even cause diseases it seems!
This blog explores every aspect of this most postmodern of media formats, including other print-based promo tools used by the industry, its fast-changing nature, + how fans/audiences create/interact. Posts are primarily written with Media students/educators in mind. Please acknowledge the blog author if using any resources from this blog - Mr Dave Burrowes

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Summer task

I'm not going to ask you to be slaving away over the summer; we all deserve a good break!
However, it would help us to hit the ground running if you had turned your mind, even quite briefly, to the topic of your A2 coursework. To this end I'd like you to do two things (and I'll also mention any AS coursework resubmissions):
  1. Make brief notes on at least 10 examples of music videos, from any genre or any era. You're looking to build up a knowledge of codes and conventions beyond your existing knowledge. I will email you a detailed worksheet you can use, though use the 2-column sheet handed out in June (and available on this blog) if you wish.
  2. Put together notes on an idea for a new music video for a track of your choice, enough to be able to discuss the idea on the first day back. If you want to get some early feedback on an idea feel free to email me; I'll check my email from time to time over the summer. Remember: no explicit language or sexually explicit references!
Anyone considering resubmitting revised coursework: if you email me a detailed breakdown of any improvements you think would advance your mark I'll look over it and add suggestions of my own. Email me if you want a copy of your marksheet to see where you lost marks

I'm looking forward to an interesting year in 2010-11 and to see what weird and wonderful music videos will emerge, which may include giant slugs in sleeping bags and fight scenes between Santa and Jesus if your practice pitches are anything to go by! Have a good summer, and thanks for all your effort this past year!

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Strobe lighting

Joel asked about the use of strobe lighting and any prohibition on this. I had a look into this and found the following:

Most people with photosensitive epilepsy do not have a problem with using modern computer screens, as they usually operate at a very high flicker frequency.  Computers with flatscreen monitors, such as laptops, have a liquid crystal display (also called LCD or TFT) that does not flicker. This makes them even less likely to trigger seizures. What is often more important than the type of screen is what is happening on the screen. For example, a flickering image or changing geometric pattern could trigger a seizure.
The organisation Ofcom regulates material shown on TV to avoid causing photosensitive seizures. Ofcom restricts the flash rate to 3 flashes or less per second, and restricts the area of screen allowed for flashing lights or alternating patterns.
Because of the size of the screen and the low intensity it is rare for seizures to be triggered by watching films in a cinema, or by hand-held miniature screens.
Interactive whiteboards, sometimes used in schools, have not been found to be a particular trigger for photosensitive epilepsy, although triggers can be individual.
A seizure can sometimes happen by chance while someone is watching TV or playing computer games or watching television, and may be a coincidence.  Tiredness brought on by watching the screen for a long time, or excitement when playing computer games, may also be a factor.

Can disco lights trigger photosensitivity?

Coloured lights do not usually cause a problem if they do not flash quickly.  However, deep red flashing lights, such as rear cycle lights, and strobe (flashing) lights can trigger seizures, especially if it is dark. If you know you are photosensitive, it may be best to avoid strobe lights, or cover one eye if you are suddenly exposed to them.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) recommends that strobe lighting in nightclubs or public performances is kept to a frequency of four hertz (flashes per second) or less.

There have been examples of bans based on this regulation:
The promo for Kylie’s upcoming single ‘Wow’ was due for a world premiere on Channel 4 on Wednesday night, but it was pulled after TV watchdogs found it broke guidelines.
Ofcom found the video’s use of strobe lighting effects meant the promo was unbroadcastable as it could prompt epileptic fits.
A spokesperson for Channel 4 says a revised video will be shown, but Kylie’s now lost her high profile slot.
“We are waiting for the new version to be ready. It will be show on Music Playlist,” they state.

On a similar note:

You might think there’d be a great many reasons to criticise a Westlife performance on The X Factor – schmaltz, insincerity and over-reliance on standing from a stool after a key change, for example.
However, Ofcom were more concerned about the physical effect the lasers employed by the show’s lighting department might have on light-senstive sufferers of epilepsy.
And it turns out their fears might’ve been worthwhile, as the light intensity of the lasers in that show turned out to be five times as intense as they’re legally allowed to be.

Monday, 19 July 2010

The Brit Vid...

So, 100 or so shots later here it is...

Well done to all of you, fantastic effort to pull this together! 12C are still working on a documentary on the MVDay so look out for that

Friday, 9 July 2010

Practice Pitch(2) How to Pitch

So, you've picked your track, written up two paragraphs about the band + genre, and discovered which track you will be working on for a pitch ...
Time now to start in on that pitch!
In September you will be expected to do this for a track of your choosing (this may be in groups rather than individually) with a considerable degree of detail. We'd still like some detail for this practice pitch, but your guiding principle is that you successfully communicate your visual vision!
That means that whatever weird and wonderful picture you've formed in your head could be described to me by anyone priviliged enough to witness your pitch!

You can look at some examples of how students elsewhere (from Latymer) summarised and presented their ideas for a music video at the bottom of this post, and take inspiration from these. I'll run through some of the aspects I'd like you to address, and the format/s for your pitch; a shorter version of this will be issued.

 your guiding principle is that you successfully communicate your visual vision!

WHAT TO ADDRESS IN YOUR PITCH [yes indeed, there is a dress + a pitch pictured...]:
  • name the act/track, and which student put this forward!
  • summarise for us the nature (especially genre) of the band/act: a brief history; what they're best known for
  • what do we expect to see in music videos within this genre (ie give us some idea of codes + conventions, citing examples if you can)
  • run through some of the ideas you con

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Practice Pitch(1) Picking a Track

Just as the Music Video Day has hopefully got us thinking about the best way to approach a film shoot, and be organised for this, the aim for the practice pitch is to get you thinking about different ideas on and approaches to your own music video. This is intended to be quite fun and light-hearted, but should help highlight aspects of the work required for your 'proper' pitch come September!
To get us going I need you to do three things:
  1. Pick a song which you have as MP3 (cannot have sexually explicit lyrics or swearing)
  2. Create a blog post, with one paragraph about the band/track (some hyperlinks, including a link to the lyrics, would be useful!), and a 2nd paragraph...
  3. some idea of what we expect to see in typical music videos from within this genre; common codes and conventions (links to examples would be useful).
We'll gather all the tracks together, hit shuffle and you'll each be assigned another track to work up a pitch

One quick example from me, done in a few mins, so not necessarily as stupendous and well researched as yours... Do note though that I made sure there were various hyperlinks embedded to enable anyone to find out more than I've written in my one-para summary! I also found useful links to enable anyone who gets Dread Zeppelin, my submitted track, to view a range of vidz from within their genre.

TRACK: DREAD ZEPPELIN: "Heartbreaker (At The End Of Lonely Street)"

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

IFEST - the 'Media bit'

OVERALL AIM: To produce a filmed documentary + a blog featuring many aspects of the day, including 'vox pops' + some brief interviews
RESOURCES: Your wits, charm, camcorder, still camera, cinematographic + photographic skills, pen + paper, a copy of the IFEST programme, + some class time after the day to bring the results together
YOUR ROLES: In pairs, pick out any ONE (more if you wish!) aspect of the day you'd like to produce a short (up to 5mins) edited piece on (including some vox pops and/or interviews), as well as a typed blog entry with some still images
SITUATIONS VACANT - EDITORIAL POSTS: We will need to appoint two pairs to an additional role, that of (i) editors of the documentary and (ii) blog editors
More details later, but editing means not just compiling the submitted footage, but deciding on how to present + link this: thinking about options such as presenter, subtitles, graphics

Thursday, 1 July 2010


Your next steps with this (12D; I'll discuss this separately with 12C) are...
  1. You will need a complete list, with timings, of all the shots that appear in your group's section of the actual video
  2. If you don't have this it would be worth dividing this task, and the following, amongst yourselves...
  3. Work through your group's footage (John has been working at making this available for each group) and begin compiling, in the sequence they appear in the video, the shots that will appear in the final edit
  4. We'll need to appoint two or more overall editors who can take the 4 sections, now cut into sequence with approximate timings, and create the final video
  5. Review your footage; are there any shots missing or that would ideally be re-done? If so, discuss the feasibility of shooting these (perhaps today) quickly enough so that they can be included in the overall final cut
  6. Discuss your experiences of the Music Video Day. What went well? What didn't go so well?! Now that you've done it, what tips or advice would you give somebody if they were about to begin on your task? Being specific, what lessons have you learned from the day? What potential problems that you might face when working on the A2 coursework did the day throw up, and what solutions might there be for these? Its vitally important you blog on this after proper reflection - discuss within your group, and across groups too.
  7. Can you apply some of your learning to at least one spin-off video? Thinking about aspects such as the media language used in the actual video and your version of this, or the particular challenges involved in this recreation, perhaps even highlighting things that went slightly wrong and what you learned from this, see if you can to cut a short video blending your footage, possibly brief clips from the original, and on-screen text (use LiveType). The aim for these, in addition to posting on your blogs, is to publish them on the screens around the school. That means you're not including audio (you could always produce a version with, and a version without, sound), and need to be clear that your content for appropriate (+instructive!) for all age ranges in the school.
  8. Have you any material you think would be of interest to the 12C team producing a documentary on the day? You could also offer yourself for brief on-camera interviews if, after reflecting and discussing the day, you think you can add some useful commentary to the doc. on the day and the learning that took place!
  9. If you really want to, you could work on a blooper reel - but please don't be including any inappropriate language or other material on anything you publish on your blog!
There is a lot of work in there, and we will have to spend some time getting organised for IFEST, so you are aiming to complete these various tasks within a week's worth of lessons!
Do try to split the work up within your group!
Write out the separate tasks so you're clear on what these are, and agree on who does which (perhaps you might collaborate on any spin-off videos, but work on earlier aspects separately?)


I've already briefed you on this, but here's a breakdown of what we do through to the end of summer term (with more detail on each aspect to follow in separate posts):
BRITNEY VID: Each group is now responsible for doing an initial edit of their footage; sequencing the shots as they appear in the video, + working through any additional footage to use in a blooper reel and for the documentary being produced by 12C. We need to appoint a pair/trio to take responsibility (and credit!) for editing the final video + producing one or more text-led variations. 12C will be focussed on producing their
IFEST: We have been asked to produce media texts documenting the day, so will work on two (if anyone has a particular interest and wants to, you can add to this: radio, newspaper, website etc): a documentary + a blog. We will discuss + negotiate the style of the documentary. Everyone, working in pairs, will pick out at least one aspect of IFEST and produce a short filmed piece, blog article + photos on this. Again, we need to appoint editors.
PRACTICE PITCH: Everyone submits an MP3 of a track, with 2 paragraphs on this on their blog; we'll assign everyone a track randomly (including some I'll throw in, + John's!), and work towards presenting a pitch, following research, on what you'd so for this in terms of producing a music video.
BLOGGING! - This is the start of your A2 work so strive to ensure you are blogging on all this work!