Thursday, 15 November 2012

Music Video Research

Kid Cudi ft. MGMT - Pursuit of Happiness.

Within this video, by Brody Baker, there are a variety of camera shots. The video opens with a close up on on a record player. When the dial hits the record, this is when the audio actually begins to play, matching the sound to the visual.

As the the songs kicks in, a master shot of the room is shown. Cudi, the artist is shown between 2 sofa's full of people, separated from the rest of the people in the shot. This connotes his physical separation from people, but as the first verse kicks in, everything apart from Cudi in the centre of the shot, is put into slow motion. This connotes Cudi's internal separation, and that although his body is at the, we are to presume party via the mise en scene, his mind is elsewhere. We get the impression that this is a party via the use of props in terms of alcohol, and the lively design set up in the shot. There is also the of a cut away, to a three shot of people dancing.

The use of slow motion is evidence that the video does have aspects of literalness, like Goodwin said. Cudi uses the lyric 'people told me slow my roll, I'm screaming out **** that'. This suggests that although the slow motion could suggest his separation from everyone, it is not necessarily bad. On the contrary it could suggest that everyone is, in effect 'too slow' for him.

As the song enters it's first chorus, there are two master shots. The mise en scene appears to be much more lively, in comparison to the long take in the verse beforehand. This either gives the impression of parallel editing, or ellipsis. As the two shot of Cudi comes at 0:49, we notice that Cudi is still in real time, whilst the rest of the party is in slow motion.

However, in the low angle mid shot of the confetti, as the sharp sound plays on the song, the handheld camera increases it's speed and pans/tilts down onto a higher angle master shot of the party. This is an example of Goodwins Synaesthesia.

Throughout the music video, the star, Cudi is never situated within the crowd. For instance the early master shot I mentioned earlier, as well as the similar master shot on the right. The producer of the video has purposely enhanced this 'isolated' feel to thhe video by ensuring all the people around Cudi are facing away, and in slow motion, whilst he remains in the centre of the screen, and in real time. As he is the centre of the shot, he is obviously the main focus, and as mentioned earlier, his 'isolation' has positive and negative connotations.

 However as we see later within the music video, when the instrumental kicks in, Cudi is surrounded by people, and this, in effect negates the isolation feel to the video. This suggests some relation from the visuals to the audio. When there are vocals present on the verses, there is a sense of isolation directed towards cudi on screen. When the chorus kicks in, he is seen with one other individual, which connotes some sort of connection between the two characters as they are seen together on every chorus. Finally, when the instrumental is played, without vocals, Cudi is seen as a much more enigmatic figure within the shots, interacting with more characters. This suggests some sort of connection to what happens on screen for verse, chorus and instrumental, each with their different connotations. Throughout the video, Cudi appears to change as a person and begins to fit into Claude Levi-Strauss suggestion about Binary Oppositions, in this case - alone vs together. This also ties in with what Sven E Carlsson stated about music videos. He stated that binary oppositons drive music videos forward. This is present in this video, as you can see the gradual change from isolation towards together.

Moving on from that, elements of Goodwins theory about star image are also present within this video. The mix between slow motion and Cudi in real time outlines him as the star. Also, the number of master shots within a group, and when he is in the centre portray him as the main character. This is reinforced by the multiple close ups we have of Cudi between shots.

In regards to redundancy and entropy, the video itself, based around a party is highly redundant. We see elements of alcohol, music and a variety of people. There is nothing out of the ordinary compared to the stereotypical definition of a 'party. However, obviously the use of slow motion, fast forward mixed with real time effects makes the screening of the video entropic, as the mix between Cudi in real time, and everyone around him in slow motion is unexpected. The blend between entropic and redundancy within the video is well used, and clearly identifies and singles out the star from the extra's, allowing for, as mentioned earlier, negative and positive connotations of isolation.

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