Andrew Goodwin suggests in Dancing in the Distraction Factory that videos of the same genre will often contain similar characteristics. When researching dance music videos we found some common features that they shared. We followed some of these conventions to ensure that the genre of the video could be recognised and attractive to fans of this genre. We also challenged some conventions when constructing our music video, as we wanted to create something original and unique to our artist.
While our music video demonstrates some of these genre characteristics, we left others out. Those that we did not include are large crowds, strobe lighting, and the setting of a club or festival. Planning to film large crowds was impractical as the space allocated to us to film and the number of actors available to us would not have allowed for it. Similarly, the equipment provided by the school does not include strobe lights and therefore, this was also impossible. Our reason for not setting our video at a club or festival was because we wanted to create a fantasy setting rather than basing it on reality. We did, however, include festival-like imagery in our video to appeal to our frequent festival-going target group of 16-24 year olds, and also fans of the dance genre as many festivals are dance music-orientated, so they may enjoy this reference.
Despite challenging these conventions, we conformed to others shown in the Padlet above, such as:
We conformed to this as it is a prominent convention of dance music videos, used in videos such as Route 94's 'My Love', and so we felt it was important to include it. Dancing is a main element of the balloon scene: all the extras in the background are dancing, with the artists dancing in the foreground.
Our style of editing was very fast-paced and cut to the beat, which is a style found in many dance music videos including Redlight's '9TS'. We tried to make sure every shot changed to the beat of the music, but there are some sections where this is more obvious such as when paint hits the camera or a person on the beat. Carol Vernallis suggests that this is conventional of music videos, and it can be seen in some videos of the dance genre, as it strengthens the link between the visuals and the fast-paced, beat-heavy music. This video shows where we have cut the shots to the beat, edited the paint fight scenes so that paint hits a person on the beat, or used fast paced editing.
We decided to use effects in our video as this is very typical in videos of the dance genre, such as ZHU's 'faded'. The effects we used include layering clips with footage from Alice in Wonderland, layering the DJs over Naomi performing, reversing shots, repeating shots, and layering and delaying shots to create a blurred effect.
From our research, it seems this is not often used in videos of the genre. However, to increase the variation of our shot types, we used camera movement for some shots of performance and paint scenes (shown below).
|Moving shot in the performance scene|
|Camera movement in the paint fight|
Concept, Narrative or Performance?
The narrative of our video follows Todorov's narrative theory as it begins with equilibrium, meets disruption in the middle, and ends with a new equilibrium. This is an outline of the video's narrative:
|Cross-cutting between scenes|
For our performance scene set-up, we took inspiration from other dance artists such as Disclosure who used a symmetrical set-up in the video for 'F For You'. We followed this convention, placing the DJ desks either side of Naomi.
|Click to enlarge|
The diagram to the left shows where our inspiration for the style of these shots came from.
Illustrative, Amplified, or Contradictory?Andrew Goodwin suggests another three categories that music videos can be split in to when referring to the relationship between the music/lyrics and the visuals: illustrative, amplified, or contradictory.
For example, videos such as Miley Cyrus's 'Wrecking Ball' illustrate the lyrics of the song:
|Miley Cyrus - Wrecking Ball|
|Kanye West - Homecoming|
Alt-J's video for 'Tessellate' uses disjuncture between the lyrics and the visuals. The lyrics "bite chunks out of me, you're a shark and I'm swimming" have no connection to the visuals on screen at the time they are sung.
|alt-J - Tessellate|
As well as amplifying the lyrics, the visuals also illustrate the music, for example by our use of slow motion shots at the slower parts of the song and faster-paced cutting when it speeds up:
|Slow motion shots for slower part|
|Fast cutting at build up to the chorus|
However, there are also some points in the video where the visual contradict the lyrics, causing disjuncture between them:
|The lyrics "in a dark room" are contrasted by the setting in a bright white room|
|The lyrics "see the pain in your eyes...I've been aching" are contradicted by the fun party world that the protagonist is imagining|
Representation of our female artist
This Prezi explains what image we were aiming to create for our female lead and which artists inspired this image.
Intertextual references are often used in music videos, using the references to popular culture to appeal to and connect with the audience. Here are some examples of this:
We used intertextual references to Alice in Wonderland in our video, shown through our choices for scenery and the narrative of our video. As many people in our target audience group of 16-24 year olds watched this film as children, these references may create nostalgia for them, increasing the appeal of our music video. The main idea of the video is that the character takes a bite out of a cupcake and ends up going on a crazy imaginary journey similar to the adventure that Alice has in 'Alice in Wonderland'. The references which show this are included in the video below.
Debut albums are often self-titled, and so we decided that our artist's debut album would have the same name as them: Lucid City.
|Examples of eponymous albums|
The album covers in the slideshow above show the dance genre characteristics of album covers, including having a focal image of the artist and the artist name. We followed both of these conventions with our album cover. We noticed that images on the front of dance album covers often have special effects, such as the kaleidoscope effect used on the cover of 'Body Music' by AlunaGeorge. We also used effects on the image on the front cover, layering the same images over the top of each other to create a blurred effect.
However, as shown above, dance albums tend to be busy or colourful, and we challenged this with a white background and more minimal style of design. Our reason for doing this was due to the feedback from our primary and secondary target audience groups, who preferred the minimal, plain design to some patterned ones we had tried out.
|Our album front cover|
|A comparison between our album back cover and MGMT's 'Oracular Spectacular' back cover.|
There are several conventions of websites for artists of the dance genre, which we strived to follow in order to make the website and therefore the the artist recognisable by its genre. This SlideShare presentation explains these conventions and how we conformed to or challenged them. View it in full screen to make the text and visuals clearer.
Throughout the music video, album cover and website for Lucid City we took influence from real dance music artists and followed the same conventions they use. However, we also broke some conventions and introduced our own features to make our artist identity more personal to them. In conclusion, we have created an original dance artist that is still a recognisable product of its genre.