My Music Video
When creating my music video, there were many elements of other 80s and New Jack Swing music videos that influenced my filming and editing decisions. Bobby Brown’s music video Every Little Step (1989) was one of the first music videos I looked at for my pre-production research. Every Little Step contains a variety of shots with each one being no longer than three seconds. The quick edits are very much in time with the upbeat song and they usually reinforce the drum beat.
A particular moment, which I like, where exactly this happens, is right at the beginning. The video starts with a slightly low angled long shot of three women walking in a triangle formation, whilst the first four bars of the song are played. Before we hear the first vocal line from Bobby, a short yet distinctive snare drum solo occurs. During this drum solo, there are three quick shots which rapidly alternate between the long shot of the three women and another long shot of Bobby and two male back-up dancers in a similar triangle formation.
In the song, Summer Love there are rapid snare drum solos, as well as a quick, distinctive keyboard motif that occurs towards the tail end of the verses. Influenced by the direct correlation of the music and editing in Every Little Step, I edited my footage in a way that directly correlated with the beat and melody of the drums and keyboard. During the quick snare drum motif at the end of the first verse after the line, “I said this must be summer love,” I edited six shots to fit in this short space of time and tried to make each shot appear in unison with each hit of the drum (similar to the editing in Every Little Step). In my opinion, this worked really well and added dynamics to my music video. It certainly worked a lot better than the one long shot of Heidi spinning, which I originally had placed during the drum solo. I felt that if I continued editing my footage in a similar way to this, I would do justice to the song, Summer Love, as it is highly rhythmical and I have the control to reinforce these rhythms through my editing.
According to Andrew Goodwin, in his book Dancing in the Distraction Factory (1992), he explains what he defines as the typical characteristics of music videos. One of which being that there is a relationship between the music and visuals, which usually are illustrative, amplifying or contradicting. When looking at my music video and Every Little Step, it is clear that there are moments when the editing choices made (visuals) were determined by the beat of the music. The quick shots made during the drum solos in both mine and Bobby’s music video, are what Goodwin would describe as the visuals typically amplifying the music.
Other products I have looked at are music videos and recorded concert performances from Michael Jackson, who incorporated much silhouette imagery in his work. We see his iconic silhouette imagery in music videos such as The Way You Make Me Feel (1986):-
In the Closet (1992):-
and You Rock My World (2002):-
There was also enlarged silhouette imagery in a live performance he did of Smooth Criminal as part of the History Tour in
Recorded clips of this silhouette imagery in the concert, was used as part of a professionally made video montage of Michael Jackson, which became the music video for his song Cheater:-
Inspired by this stunning silhouette imagery, I too incorporated silhouettes into my music video. I achieved this by placing a shadow screen in front of an overhead projector and then directing Heidi (a drama student and dancer who stars in my music video) to get as close as she could to the screen, which created a clear, detailed silhouette of her figure. It was very similar to the imagery typical of Michael Jackson’s work.
In his music video In the Closet, there is a dance break towards the end of the song, in which we see Michael Jackson in silhouette performing improvised dancing, which he does often in his performances.
Much of the choreography which Heidi performs in silhouette is improvised and there were very few moments in which I instructed her movement. The reason I did this was because I did not want Heidi to appear to be dancing with restriction; I wanted her to feel completely comfortable with the movements she was doing and able to do what she wanted, following her own intuitive responses to the music. Michael Jackson did improvised dancing for similar reasons and this influenced the choice I made with Heidi during filming.
In Michael Jackson’s video, Jam we see a silhouette of his profile as he lip syncs. I too used this idea with Heidi. I directed her to stand with her left side touching the screen so that we could see her profile. She then did some lip syncing and this was very similar to the imagery in
I think the silhouette imagery in general is very visually powerful because all attention is on the body movement of the model. There are no distractions, such as patterns or designs on the attire, nor can we see any distracting facial expressions. There is also a sense of mystery with silhouettes, as the identity of the model is hidden, and I think it is a creative way of representing a performer, being very different from the standard shots of performers in a full light (such as the shots we see of Bobby Brown in Every Little Step).
I had also done some research into a New Jack Swing music video, Always Thinking, by the short lived band, Aftershock. There was an element in the video that I had not come by before - several moments when the lyrics quickly flash up and scroll across the screen. I thought this was effective because it seemed to create such pace to the music video and fitted very well with the upbeat song. I thought using a similar idea in my own music video would be similarly effective, especially because the song, Summer Love, is of a similar style to the New Jack Swing song, Always Thinking.
Therefore I used Adobe Photoshop CS3 to create some text which presented some of the lyrics of Summer Love. I used the font ‘Lucida Handwriting’ as the lyrics in Always Thinking are also represented in a handwritten style. Then on Premier Pro, I enlarged these texts so that they fitted across the whole screen, and I added a scrolling effect to them. The edits were very quick, as were the edits in Aftershock’s video, and I planned to show these lyrics only occasionally throughout my music video, as the lyrics in Always Thinking are not shown too often either, and seem to have greater impact because of that.
Throughout the editing process, our media class regularly had feedback sessions. The majority of my class (which included some of the younger members of my target audience) said to me that the scrolling lyrics did not work at all because it clashed with the other colourful and eventful shots, and just caused a distraction. Therefore, I discarded this idea and used other inspirations to help me create my music video.
My Album digipak and magazine cover
Concluding question with theory