Teaching the Music Video Brief

Teaching the Music
Video Brief
Nikki Blackborow
The Latymer School
Web/video Resources
Our blog: http://latymermediamusicvideobrief.blogspot.com/
All links and illustrative images, videos and playlists, production
work examples, student blogs, production templates, examples
of treatments, storyboards etc can be found here on the blog
Outline of A2 course
 June (of Year 12) – Dec: Music Video Brief G324
(AS Brief: Film Opening sequence)
 Jan: exam leave
 Feb – May: G325 Critical Perspectives
(Contemporary Media Regulation: Film
and The Press)
 June: exam leave
Organisation of unit G324
June – July: Introduce Music Video – form and style. Teach
construction and performance. Use workshop video as a
‘prelim’ task. Focus on practical/creative skills. Students start
their blogs.
Sept – mid Oct: Teach music video theory, ancillary tasks and
wider issues. Set individual research and planning tasks for
homework, one task per week
Mid Oct - Nov: Group research, planning & production work.
Dec: Audience screenings, evaluations and self/peer
assessment. Agree levels and marks.
Jan: Teacher comments, produce compilation. Submission of
Teaching Music Video
 Summer Term of Y12 ideal time to start this unit
 1st few lessons - lots of exposure to range of music videos
 Aim - to build up confidence with terminology and increase
understanding of the how and why of construction
 Introduce a simple analysis framework
 Students should understand that music video is a distinctive
 Useful to compare/ contrast to other forms – film, TV
advertising, trailers etc
Theory/ theorists
 Andrew Goodwin ‘Dancing in the Distraction Factory’
 Carol Vernallis ‘Experiencing Music Video: Aesthetics
and cultural context’ 2004
-Both available on Amazon
-Ensure the theory is accessible for students – cut it
down to one page of theory for each theorist
– can they use/apply it? If not, it’s not worth doing.
Other Resources
Essential Books:
 Pete Fraser’s ‘Teaching Music Video’ (available from the
BFI + Amazon)
 ‘30 frames per second: ‘The Visionary Art of the Music
Video’ (Amazon)
Inspirational DVDs:
Director ‘best ofs’ eg The Work of Director Michel Gondry
Latymer Music Video recent successes
 2008 2 BBC Blast winners in Music Video
 2009 ‘I kissed a Boy’
 2010 ‘Voodoo Child’
 2011 ‘The Fix’
Teaching + learning
The new syllabus encouraged a re-think on skills development,
approaches to creativity and professional practices:
1 day practical workshop each year
Focus on performance, camera and editing
Lip sync practice for all
Understanding of structure and form
Quality learning experience – stretch & challenge
 Analysis of music videos, album covers, websites
 A focus on visual/creative planning from outset
 Awareness of evaluation tasks from outset
 Pitching process highly significant
Where to start
 Start with your students and what they know
 Discussion – everything they know about music video
 Question – what makes a music video a music video?
 Conventions – big list – what do they think music videos
have in common
 Students research and choose a music video they would
consider to be the best example of the form
 Screen them if possible, students explain their choice
Functions of a Music Video
 What job does a music video do?
 Look at music television, online/ viral, sales and promotion,
video cds, compilations, synergy with film
 How has this changed over time? Impact of new technologies
over last decade
 History of music video (with youtube clips for illustration)
 Copyright issues
 Alternative forms of music video – literal, lip dub and other
fan based material
Wikipedia – good place to start
Illustrate with youtube clips – there are plenty to choose from!
Music Video analysis
•Key point – to explore the relationship between the lyrics, the
music and the imagery
• Pick your compilation for lessons around the concepts you
want to illustrate
• Use the analysis framework provided
• Students apply the same analysis framework for a video of
their choice
• Prepare an analysis of a video of their choice for their blog
and present in class
• Post frames from their chosen video to illustrate points made
3 useful examples of
narrative/ performance music videos
Britney Spears ‘Baby One More Time’
2. Busted ‘What I go to School For’
3. Wheatus ‘Teenage Dirtbag’
4. She + Him ‘In the Sun’
Available on youtube
Set in school
Rich for analysis
Past but popular/ familiar with students
Relevant and accessible
Students choose their own contemporary examples
for analysis/research
Key area for discussion (1) - Genre
 Look for generic signifiers – dancing, gestures,
overall look, instruments, lyrics
 Familiarity, recognition, pleasure for audience
 Genre as a tool for music video analysis – how
useful/limiting is it?
 Compare to analysis of film – quite a different process
Key areas for discussion (2) - structure
 Music, lyrics, iconography - how do these work
 Different relationship to film?
 Which code is the more powerful?
 Narrative, performance, concept?
 Artist’s role
 Why have these choices been made?
Key area for discussion (3)– camera and editing
 Look at shot patterns
 Compare to other forms
 Breakdown and compare the way narrative and
performance are constructed
 the process of shooting each of the above
 the process of editing each of the above
 beauty shots and performance beds
 why certain choices are made
Key areas for discussion (4) – representation
Explore representation of women through discussion of:
 camera work, artist performance, dress,
gesture, lyrics
 who is in control?
 audience – who is it for, alternative readings?
 changing representations over time
Practical tasks to aid learning
 Students remake short section of a music video. Work
as a class or in groups to shoot + edit the remake. Cut
all sections together at the end to form a whole
 In pairs, choose a song and learn the lyrics. Then lip
sync to song, shoot + edit the sequence
 Evaluate the process and the learning associated with
the above – like a prelim task
Practical/creative tasks to aid learning
 Copy a look – students recreate a still photo in pairs
 Play an unfamiliar track in class, & provide the lyrics.
Students annotate the lyrics individually, then class
discuss initial responses, thoughts around genre etc.
Then students prepare a group treatment. Show the
actual video and discuss
 Students produce a storyboard for an extract from a
professional video
 Students create the shooting schedule for a narrative/
performance video
Can use the same approach with:
 Marketing campaigns
 Album covers
 Band websites
 Magazine adverts
 Brand image/identity
Aim to:
 Discuss conventions/expectations first
 Have a few general examples ready
 Focus on one/two worked examples in detail
 Students follow up with their own choice, tailored
to be relevant to their project
 Provide simple framework for analysis – a few questions
 The more visual the research, the better
Teaching the ancillary tasks
One lesson each on the form and style of:
album covers
band and record label websites
magazine adverts for album
examples and discussion
students can contribute chosen examples
use each lesson to inspire investigative work
Wider concepts
One lesson on each of the following:
 Audience consumption and popular music: how audiences are
targeted, audience pleasure and appeal
 Institutions: structure of UK music industry, who owns what,
copyright issues, exhibition and distribution, impact of recent
 Marketing and promotional campaigns
 Construction of image, branding
Each lesson could inspire a mini investigative activity,
which can then be used as individual research evidence
Development of Initial Ideas
 Track selection
 Moodboard to represent chosen genre
 ‘Collage’ style image or photos to represent chosen
target audience
Logo ideas to represent record label
Screen test shots of possible actors
Brainstorms of early ideas for tracks
Treatment to represent music video ideas
Build up to a pitch to class
Use the blog to illustrate the presentation and have a
hand out ready
Students are expected to produce:
 a timeline
 a storyboard
 a shot list
 a shoot schedule
 a call sheet
 a costume and props list
 ongoing behind the scenes photos/video clips
The Portfolio
 Each student has their own blog
 Each group has their own blog
 These are all linked together and to the teacher hub
 Research and planning tasks
 Provide a ‘menu’ or list of the kind of thing they must,
should or could do
Guided tasks work best - make them fun and visual!
Suggested tasks linked to work done in class
Work done outside lessons from the start
Build evidence as they go along
Must have evidence of each stage
Research and planning evidence
 Blogs should be visual and analytical, with regular postings, and
no unexplained gaps
 Research must be relevant and focused. It’s purpose should be to
inform and inspire the production
 Individual blogs should contain evidence of individual research,
ideas, skills development, and reflections
 Group blogs should focus on all group research, planning and
production once the project is up and running
 Students should formally close their blog when the project is
over/on the day of the deadline
 Group and individual task
 Groups brainstorm answers and debate points in class first
 Each group plans their own approach
 Important to demonstrate development from AS and a range of
If presenting an answer on video, prepare answers in advance and
provide rehearsal time
Illustrate with pre-selected clips, and other imagery
Each student in group ‘leads’ the discussion at a different point
All illustrative materials linked to blog afterwards
Students post their reflections plus any points missed out
Give a time limit and some quiet space
Videos recorded in one take
 Positive marking system
 Break down the criteria according to your project and
Is the evidence there?
Interactive mark sheet
Compilation DVD
Candidates in sample create a ‘Dear Moderator’ final
Do anything you can to ensure the moderator’s job is
made easier

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