361MC: – First draft video & Screening feedback

After completing my first draft, I was anxious to see what others would think of the work I had produced, especially considering it was my first music video. As an editor, I know how important it is to receive feedback on each draft of your work in order get an outside opinion, as others will always point things out that you have missed or could improve upon. I was fairly happy with what I had produced but I was open to all feedback if it meant it would improve my product as a whole.

Praise was drawn towards the editing and how it was all put together, as well as the contrast in colour pallet between the narrative and band sequences. Visually the video was well received as well as the voodoo style of the set and the look of the characters. There were really only three pieces of criticism that were voiced by my tutor.

Firstly, the audio quality of the song. Unfortunately, this was something completely out of my control and power to change. The version of the song I used is the only version of the song that is available, and it would not have been possible to record the song live on set as it was played impossibly loud in the studio that the audio would have constantly peaked.

Secondly, the text that appears on-screen at the beginning with the song title and the band’s name was recommended to be removed. I incorporated this text in my video as nearly every professionally made video I watched as part of my research begin with text appearing in the bottom left hand corner, with the song title, artist and record label. This was something I tried to emulate in my music videos as I thought it would make the video look more professional and similar to the style of mainstream music videos. Perhaps the reason for removing this text was because my music video isn’t a mainstream video and makes it look like a cheap copy.

Finally, the biggest criticism was directed towards the level of violence in it. As the song builds at the end, the video ends with the voodoo queen character stabbing the main character to death; cutting between the character being stabbed along with the stabbing of the physical voodoo doll. When myself and the band were discussing ideas, we knew we wanted a violent climax to the song and the band were very happy with how the first draft turned out. However, the argument that was given at the screening is that because of the extent of the violent content, this would severely limit the distribution of the video, as music videos are meant to reach as many people and age groups as possible in order to promote the song and band to a wider audience. In terms of distribution, this would mean that should the band eventually upload the video to Youtube, Youtube would most likely require them to add an age filter on it due to the mature content of the violence. Although this isn’t technically a problem, it does mean that the video will be limited from the very beginning on how many people it reaches. Although there are many mainstream music videos that have ‘Explicit’ versions, there is often a more ‘family friendly’ alternate version of the video that is produced that is screened to the masses, with ‘Explicit’ versions usually only available on the internet as opposed to music television. The most recent example of this is probably Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines which produced a very controversial explicit version of the video which contained three topless women dancing throughout the whole video. The paradox of this, however, is that most ‘explicit’ versions of music videos tend to gain this title from either added profanity (such as Cee-Lo Green’s altered and more family friendly song title of ‘Forget You’), added or more prominent sexual content, or drug use. Ironically, violence seems to always still be looked down on or not included in music videos at all, including explicit versions, despite everything else that can be included.

An interesting point was raised about my video though. At the end of the narrative, the female character is the one that stabs the male character to death and not the other way around. This raised the debate as to whether it is more acceptable in our media world to see a woman inflicting violence on man, rather than a man inflicting violence towards a woman. Our initial reason for switching the roles was because we did not want to appear misogynistic or offensive towards women and so had the female character be the one that controls and eventually murders the male character. But this does create a moral grey area in terms of our perception towards this issue in the media and why we so often accept this double standard. Perhaps it is because in our modern age we have broken away from the old Medieval idyllic tales of men having to save a helpless damsel from peril, and female characters have become a lot more independent in how they are written and perceived nowadays. As for violence, this could harken back to how many male characters we see die in films, such as the action genre. In the 1980s boom of the action movie, with the likes of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone in films such as Commando and Rambo respectively, one of the main drawing points was to see a huge body count, which nearly always consisted of carbon-copy faceless and voiceless male henchmen that the hero had to wade through. However, with the focus of the slasher horror genre of films of the late 1970s and 1980s still being centred on the selling point of an ever-increasing body count from film to film, these often featured a female protagonist that would come out as the only survivor by the end of the film (such as the original John Carpenter’s Halloween and Tobe Hooper’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre) despite the films usually containing violence and murder of women. As such, it is hard to define why we as media consumers tend to be accepting of violence towards men but considerably less accepting of violence towards women and still remains one of the most heavily debated areas in the media world.

Following this feedback, I relayed everything that was said to the band and I suggested editing a version which removed all of the scenes of violence to keep it more ambiguous for the viewer. Despite this, the band were adamant that the violence stayed in the video but were willing for me to place a disclaimer at the beginning of the video to warn viewers of the strong violence. In order to remain in line with general practice of professional music videos that carry mature content, I placed a warning at the beginning of my second and final draft of the video which will serve as a way of acknowledging the content of the video and the context of how music videos have to be distributed.

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