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Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Genre Specific Video Formats...

It is interesting to note the trends in video formats in the different music genres. As I was doing my research it became clear that certain genres of music tend to lean towards a certain style/format of music video. These tendencys can also be linked to where the video is made (nationality of the band/artist), the musical era that the video was produced in, etc.

For example, there was a period of time around 2005/2006 that lots of R&B/Hip-Hop/Rap artists produced music videos that were framed by two strips (one at the bottom and one at the top of the screen) that were either plain black or had other footage on them. Here are two examples of this particular trend;

LL Cool J ft. J-Lo - Control Myself

Neyo - So Sick

I am not sure how or why this trend came about but for a while, lots of artists similar to these two produced music videos using the same technique. However, it was not a general trend for all music genres to use, it was clearly a genre specific trend that was popular at the time.

Another trend that I noticed in mostly Rap/Hip-Hop videos of that time (early noughties) was that the artist would be shown in a particular situation (generally sat inbetween two scantily clad women or in a club somewhere, and the majority of these shots are interestingly in slow motion - perhaps to emphasize how smooth the artists are...) then it would frequently cut to shots of the same artist with a group of other artists who were featured on the track in front of a backdrop singing/rapping directly to the camera. This blatant divide between narrative and performance became something of a trend within those particular genres and to an extent this trend still exists today. Here are a few examples;

Notorious BIG - Nasty Girl

Usher - Yeah

Timbaland ft. Nelly Furtado - Promiscuous

An example of a trend in other genres of music videos would be the empathy of what could be described as 'emotional rock' or 'emo'. This kind of music video uses certain techniques to make the audience feel as though the artist understands them and accepts them for who they are. This trend in music videos reflects a wider trend in society, as teenagers are increasingly becoming more aware of there identity and who they should be vs. who authorities want them to be, rock music as an industry plays upon that vulnerability to build what the audience sees as a relationship between the fans and the artist/band. Of course some of the issues that evoke sympathy or empathy in these videos are actually relevant to the band and they are trying to make a point, but others seem to be more about building their fanbase. Here are some examples;

Click here to watch 30 Seconds To Mars - Closer To The Edge

The way 30 Seconds To Mars have used teenagers talking in the video is very much a technique used by them in order to increase their fanbase, as it makes them relatable to teenagers and the dialogue is chosen to "inspire" people to like their music. They are tapping into the attitude and mentality of a particular stereotypical representation of a teenager who likes rock music and gaining from it. I love the video technically because it is extremely well made and I really love the effects they have used on it and the typography, etc. but I am not impressed by the cheesy use of dialogue.

In contrast to that video, this Good Charlotte video has a very serious message that I believe they have got across well by using real stories from real people in order to genuinely raise awareness about a tragic subject - self harm and suicide - which has always had strong links with 'emo' rock. Good Charlotte have produced this video which takes the emphasis off of their fame and gives the limelight to others in order to raise awareness which I think is a great use of a music video and many have been done like this before (charity songs done by celebrities, etc.).

There have been and are so many trends in the music video world, and these are just a few of them.