Saturday, 24 September 2011

Research into Institutions and Audiences

I did research into other music videos prior to creating my own, and I feel that due to the distinguised look of my music video thus far I feel my production will challenge the conventions of typical music videos, because music videos are commonly performance-based (and form the majority of the market for music videos) whereas mine will be narrative-based.

I looked at many animated music videos for research, including:


I feel my decision to create my music video using animation will be a strong one because even though animated music videos are rare, there is a profitable market for them, as evident from these music videos I have listed. They have a distinguised style from other music videos which makes them unique, so I expect the audience for my video will consist of many different people. This audience will mainly be fans of the band or fans of rock or independent songs, but will also include animation fans and viewers who enjoy videos with a creative aspect.

'Keane - Bedshaped' is a music video which I feel will be hugely influencial for my own music video:

There are many set conventions for music videos typically, i.e. focus on the artist of the song and many close-up shots of his/her face. Whilst even 'Keane - Bedshaped' shows the band through silhouettes, I plan to challenge the conventions of other MVs by having my own driven purely by the narrative. I feel this will be effective because it will give my video a creative aspect which audiences can enjoy, and I feel and hope that audiences will be able to appreciate something unique.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Cutout Animation

I've decided to shoot my music video using a technique known as cutout animation, which has been most famously used in 'South Park', 'Charlie and Lola', segments of 'Monty Python's Flying Circus' and later the 'Monty Python' feature films. The segments from Monty Python's films and shows were animated by Terry Gilliam, who explains in this video about the techniques he used:

I have chosen to use this form of animation because it is relatively simple to achieve, whilst (when done properly) it looks very effective. I already have the facilities needed such as lighting, stages and greenscreen effects which I have used in other animations. This technique would also be much less time consuming - the characters can look exactly as I want them to, and no time will be spent searching for live actors or filming locations.

This would be my second time working with cutout animation, however, I am very familiar with stop-motion photography and can make it work in a similar way.

Below is an example of my stop-motion work from the summer of 2008 (probably a bit primitive compared to what I can do now!!):

I'm also keen at experimenting with animation so I am looking forward to trying this new method.

The Design and Look of my MV - #1

In order to decide how my music video would look, I watched other examples of animated music videos to see if any would match (and even influence) my vision.

The above video, 'Keane - Bedshaped', I thought was a very good example of how my animated music video could look. The style of the buildings and housing is something that may influence the design of the buildings and housing in my own work, as I've always known I wanted imagery in the video of the woman in silhouette form.

'Arcade Fire - Power Out' also shows a similar image of how the buildings and housing could look in my MV. It also shows a look and feel that I also feel is very close to how I would like the animation in my MV to look. I wanted the animation in my work to be on a borderline so it has a 'cartoony' look and feel about it, yet it would also be realistic enough to be believable and work well with the song. Even though I may want to use brighter colours (such as a yellow background through a house window, as I mentioned in a previous post), I feel these videos are very close to how I want my final product to look.

Initial Ideas - #3

Recently I was on a train to visit a friend in London, and I did a rough sketch of something I noticed which gave me inspiration for the female character talked about in the song.

I mentioned previously I wanted the female character to be shown only in silhouette form, to cover her identity and give a greater effect to the lyrics of the song. This sketch (very crudely done on a moving train!) was drawn on my iPod touch using the Whiteboard App, so in that instant I found a new way of putting ideas to paper whilst on the move.

The sketch shows what I really did see - a man talking to a woman across a table, with the woman's face being hidden because of the direction I was looking from. This meant only the woman's arms and legs were shown, which I decided could be another technique for my music video of not showing the female character's face.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Initial Ideas - #2

Today I designed some inital sketches to help me visualise what I wanted for my music video.

The picture above shows my idea that the woman being referred to in the song could be a silhouette throughout the entire video, which would connote the idea of the man (the singer) watching her from outside and also possibly keeping the woman's identity a mystery. The silhouette of the woman would contrast against a colour (e.g. yellow) of the walls inside her home.

This idea could be compared to (and may now take inspiration from) the way this is done throughout the short film 'Humdrum' (Aardman).

This sketch demonstrates how I could film my music video using cel/cutout animation.

However, I would let the background lie flat on a table rather than stand up to avoid sudden movements.

These images also demonstrate ideas I had for shots in the music video. In the first one, the birds in the sky are pulling the blue sky away and bringing in rain clouds / nighttime. In the second, a box surrounds the edges of the frame and there are traditional "cartoony" houses and a crescent moon.

Initial Ideas - #1

I have a love of animation and I could see this song working perfectly in this medium. Yesterday and today I had been expirementing with ideas of the look I wanted, before seeing how this could be done.

My vision of the style for the music video refers to opening and closing title sequences, specifically from the films 'Bolt' (Disney) and 'Catch Me if You Can' (DreamWorks).

For my music video I decided I wanted to adapt the style of animation used in these examples - not to be confused with the actual content of the videos themselves, or the project would effectively be a short film. This definitely seemed like the style I wanted to use - the only two problems would be how to achieve the look, and also time management.

Both of these two title sequences (one end credits and one opening credits) use a form of traditional (2D) animation which was shot digitally on the computer. I have had experience with this in my own work outside of school before. However, I decided not to go for this option because it would be too time consuming, and even then it may not have had the professionalism needed, as previously I have used readily available software such as MS Paint, Flash and (very briefly) Photoshop.

Instead, I looked at more traditional methods of conveying the same effect, going back to simple cel animation and cutouts, as displayed in the diagram above. I aim to shoot a very simple test clip this weekend to see if this would work.

My Song

This is the song I have chosen for my music video project. As I said in my previous post, I chose this almost instantly for its potential as an animation. I also liked the idea that the music video could have a strong narrative as a good storyline is present, which I enjoy doing in the short films I already do and was looking forward to trying out in a different format from a short film, a music video.

Track 20 (mp3)

In the sky the birds are pulling rain,
In your life a curse has got a name,
Makes you lie awake all through the night
That's why.
She's intoxicated by herself,
Everyday she's seen with someone else,
And every night she kisses someone new
Never you.
You're waiting in the shadows for a chance,
'Cause you believe at heart, that if you can,
Show to her what love is all about,
She'll change.
She'll talk to you with no one else around,
But only if you're able to entertain her,
The moment conversation stops she's gone,

Wednesday, 14 September 2011


Hello and welcome! I'm Christopher and I'm studying Media Studies at Ringwood School to A2 Level. I will be creating a music video for my enhanced portfolio this year, where I have now started research for the music video I want to create.

I chose the track I wanted to use first and here it is:

Track 20 (mp3)

I made my decision to use this track almost instantly after hearing it, then hearing it again a few more times. I feel confident this track will work well for my music video, as it has a feel I could easily see working well in animation, an art form I am particularly enthusiastic about. However I am aware that time management may be an issue, so with this knowledge in mind I am looking to plan ahead very carefully about how such a look can be achieved. I'll be posting regular updates on the progress of my research.