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Whilst analysing existing music videos, we gained inspiration on how other
artists used shots and misé-en-scene in order to portray a particular
message or narrative. Firstly, we watched Miranda Lambert’s “More Like
Her” video as, like our artist, she is part of the country genre. The video
opens with a montage of close-up shots of her playing the guitar, with the
dissolve transition being used between shots. We liked the idea of this, and
so used it so that our music video would flow with more fluency. The dissolve
effect also showed the passing of time throughout the narrative in Miranda’s
video. Therefore, as our video also holds a narrative, this was another
reason why we used this effect.
Miranda was dressed in casual outfits, reflecting the simplistic tone of the
song. No flashy or over glamorised costumes were used so that the
audience were not distracted away from the lyrics and narrative. We also
decided to use more casual clothing on our artist so that our audience could
perhaps easily relate to her and her story.
We decided not to apply the split-screen effect used in Miranda’s video
because we felt that this would not fit with the narrative or lyrics within our
We also decided to analyse Ashley Monroe’s music video for “Like a Rose”.
Throughout this video, lots of natural imagery is used to create a rural and
countryside effect whilst relating to the lyric “rose”. This gave us inspiration
to do the same. The first shot in the video is a close up of some roses,
immediately introducing the theme to the audience. This is something we
developed when filming our music video; the natural imagery of the country
fields and the horse sets the tone.
A common convention used within the country genre is a strong narrative
relating to the lyrics in the song. Both Miranda and Ashley used this, linking
to the lyrics in the song. We wanted to fit in with this genre and make our
song recognisable and memorable to audiences, who are able to
understand the message and sole meaning of the song. Lip-syncing and
scenes of the artists performing are also very popular.
We wanted to use this convention as we found that this was what our
audience wanted to see; our primary research told us that 63% of the people
we asked in our questionnaire said that watching the artist/band perform and
sing is what they enjoy about music videos.
In order to gain a broader knowledge and understanding of
how music videos connect with their audiences, we also
analysed artists of a different genre. For example, we watched
the video for “Lay me Down” by Sam Smith – a pop artist. The
video looks as if it is shot all in one take; with no obvious cuts.
However, it still includes the artist lip-syncing and a narrative.
The camera moves around the scene fluently, drawing the
audience’s attention to particular things – such as people
holding hands etc.
The artist also looks directly into the camera. We felt that this
made the video more personal, as if Sam was singing directly
to his audience. We wanted to use this in our video so that our
audience could too be involved with the song and its meaning.
We also looked at the video for “Settle Down” by The 1975 –
an alternative/indie rock band. This video is filmed entirely in
black and white, giving us the idea to use a filter in order to
represent the past. In our video, we used ‘sepia’ as we felt it
corresponded with our vintage, country theme. It also set our
character’s friendship apart from normal day life without each
other. Another way in which we wanted to represent the past
was to put some of our footage in slow motion.
We got this idea from the “Settle Down” video as we felt it
made the overall feel more emotive; allowing the audience to
connect with it. The sepia and slow motion were the
quintessential representations of a friendship which needed to
be emphasised in a special way whereby we felt that would
Alternatively, we looked at modern rock – country music videos to help us develop a flavour
for the sub genres of country music. We found that the conventions within these videos have
vague differences to that of classical country music videos such as, ‘more like her’ and ‘like a
rose’. However, one particular thing we picked up on was the use of corresponding imagery
and colour, ultimately reflecting the lyrical atmosphere. Blake Shelton’s ‘Honey Bee,’ we felt,
was the best representation of this effect and so we were highly influenced by it. In regard to
images that correspond with the song lyrically ‘Honey Bee’ used a bitter – sweet close –up
shot of multiple honey jars. In our case, this concept inspired us to use the moving image of
the artist walking on a ‘journey’ to reflect the song lyrically.
In regard to use of colour, for the purpose of setting an atmosphere, Honey Bee used a
summer setting with a slight tint of yellow and orange to represent the summer colours. This is
reflected by the shot of the artist singing in a shallow, yet highly contrasted light to pursue the
idea of the strong – southern sun and the heat. The Mise- en-scene also portrays this effect
when we examine the clothing and natural setting of the house he is in. Also, Tina Fanjoy
adds slight humour to the shot with the use of the dog who is comfortably sitting next to Blake
Shelton, possibly to reflect the neutral nature of the song and the happiness of summer. We
were influenced by this effect but we used the season of winter, so this ultimately differed from
the tone of Honey Bee. However, this caused a slight problem for us because we still wanted
an element of warmth and light, as the song clearly has an optimistic nature weaved into the
lyrics. As a result, we found an alternative solution and this was with the use of the fire in the
distant background. This image conveys that the artist is keeping warm whilst reflecting on a
sad moment, but also symbolises the idea of warmth and hope.
Finally, we studied the classical Country & Western music videos
following back to the first women within country music. By doing this
we found many examples of simple yet stunning videos of the artists
casually playing their songs acoustically to an audience, whereby
they directly address the viewer. The queens of country music
themselves use this convention in numerous of their videos for
example, Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn and Crystal Gayle.
The absolute significance of this in our video almost praising these
fine artists as the artist herself was profoundly influenced by these
women. We also wanted to reflect the depressed colour used in the
older and legendary pieces of art and so we used a shade of lighting
that was slightly dull for the last chorus in order to leave a slight
message in praise of Parton and Lynn. For us this challenged the
modern day convention of a country music video because our video,
unlike many contemporary texts, do not have an element whereby
they shadow the previous works or foundation of the country music
Through audience feedback, we were commonly asked about the
meaning or significance of the horses. To our defence, we used the
images of horses to metaphorically symbolise other life forms that
also go through the process of loss or standing strong in situations.
Jewel Kilcher’s ‘What’s Simple is true’ video uses the imagery of an
owl that symbolises the aspects of new life form, the reincarnation of
love and philosophical wisdom.
Miranda Lambert’s video ‘Over You’ however, uses the concept of a
calm natured house which mirrors the settlement of death and
mourning. The use of the white horse in her video dissimilarly,
symbolises a hero and within context we know that the song was
written about the death of a hero. We used this idea in our video, as
reflected with the use of two horses that are grazing in a field to
portray the essence of final destination, enlightenment and
settlement. In our shots we used sepia and shallow focus to portray
the idea of a wondering mind, which is to some extent disillusioned
You will also notice that the use of winter colours of white, blue and
grey sets an empty and sorrowful tone within Jewel’s and Miranda’s
video. Because our video was set in the autumn / winter, we wanted
highlight this element in our video. Therefore, we used the shots of
the character walking through the field whilst she is reflecting on the
iconic times she spent with her friend. These captured moments, in
the video, reveal tainted colours which mirror the tainted memories
of the friendship that will be remembered by the artist.
In conclusion, our media product both challenges and follows the
codes of the country music video genre. It is important to note that
we wanted to have a simplistic narrative in our video to mirror the
lyrics of the song but also emphasise that the artist is a country
singer. Alternatively, we challenged the codes and conventions of the
country genre by using vintage, depressed images, which are
extremely rare to find within most country music videos.