361MC: – Researching punk music videos

As I am still unsure as to how to approach the Bad Mouth Men music video, I thought it would be beneficial for me to research and watch a collection of punk music videos in order to get a flavour of what is required, and if there are any common elements within them. Although Bad Mouth Men’s genre is hard to define, I believe the gravitate more towards punk than any other genre; albeit with added comedic elements and personas.

I chose to watch two videos by arguably one of the most prominent and influential punk bands of all time; The Sex Pistols:

What I noticed from this video is that there are a lot fewer cuts than I anticipated there to be. With other music videos (depending on the pace of the song) they usually followed a 3 – 4 second pattern between cuts but this sometimes has much longer breaks between shots. The camera also typically moves in two notable fashions; long sweeping motions of the band as the camera moves high and back down, or zooming in or out from the faces of each of the band. The video also noticeably focuses on lead singer Johnny Rotten’s persona and mannerisms which is something I want to incorporate into my video with Bad Mouth Men’s quirky personalities. In terms of editing, the video only uses a small collection of transitions at the beginning and one for the closing shot. There is also no narrative to the video as the main focus is on the energy and stage presence of the band.

I decided to watch another video by The Sex Pistols in order to confirm my observations from the previous video. The music video for Anarchy in the UK once again demonstrates a very stripped down and band focussed video. Like Pretty Vacant; the video focusses most notably on the band’s frontman, Johnny Rotten, and his antics on stage. Although still a band-centric video, this video seems to have more of a point as it shows the youth of that decade’s disgust at the country and the sense of rebellion which is demonstrated in the band’s attitude in the video which helps to reinforce the bitter anger in the actual song. In terms of length between cuts, this one used considerably longer shots, with one shot of Johnny Rotten at the beginning lasting around 20 seconds long before cutting to the next shot. This is quite surprising as the song matches Pretty Vacant’s tempo, which used much more regular and frequent cuts. In this video, there is one camera shot which is set up behind the band which is a shot I have very rarely seen in a music video of a band. The cameras always tend to be set up with the band facing them at all times to capture all of the facial expressions and the instruments from the front. This was quite and interesting shot, but I’m not sure how effective it was in the grand scheme of the video. It certainly added a little more variety into the shots, but it did not seem very cinematic. However, this has made me realise that if the video for Bad Mouth Men is to be entirely focussed on the band performing, it will be necessary to think of many different camera angles in order to keep the viewers’ interest and to make the video a lot less generic in the tumult of band orientated videos.

Finally, I looked at the classic song I Wanna Be Sedated by The Ramones. Although incredibly simplistic, it could be argued that this video does have a narrative, or at least a visual theme which makes sense with the song’s meaning. The entire video is a single shot of the band sitting at a table in a ‘sedated’ and oblivious state, partaking in very limited and menial actions as more and more crazy acts and people walk in the room and cause chaos around them. The video in my opinion shows the lack of interest for the band to conform to the world and the hustle and bustle of life around them and the need to be individual and stand out from the crowd by doing your own thing; even if it means doing nothing. Although an incredibly simple idea, I believe a lot can be read into this music video, and does serve as an adequate narrative for the song.

That being said, as I want to focus on editing and improve my development in this area, filming a one shot music video with an unmoving camera will not demonstrate my professional ability for my FMP and would come across as very lazy. Although it works for this particular song, I will have to employ a similar style to that of the videos of The Sex Pistols for my music video for Bad Mouth Men, as it will better demonstrate a sense of pace and editing technique through the band’s activity, rather than inactivity. This will therefore alleviate the dilemma of adding a narrative as I do not feel it is necessary for this certain genre of music and may in fact weaken its overall attitude and impact if one is added. It does however all depend on which song ends up being chosen to film, as the lyrics may propose an interesting opportunity to add a narrative if they create a vivid picture or pose a thought-provoking theme.

Unknown. 2010. The Ramones – I wanna be sedated (Official Video – HQ). Available at: http://youtube.com/watch?v=Eajk2uDWaP0 %5BAccessed: 10 Feb 2014].

Unknown. 2012. Sex Pistols – Pretty Vacant. Available at: http://youtube.com/watch?v=R6GDdKrQ8EI %5BAccessed: 10 Feb 2014].

Unknown. 2010. Sex Pistols – Anarchy In The UK. Available at: http://youtube.com/watch?v=q31WY0Aobro %5BAccessed: 10 Feb 2014].

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