Our A/S brief differed from our A level brief and consisted of producing an opening 3-5 minute sequence of a thriller movie which proved generically authentic, with a distinct narrative structure providing an introduction context. For part of our A level course this year we were given the coursework brief consisting of researching, planning and constructing a promotional pop video for television distribution, for the release/re-release of a single from an album.
Although both look into the concept of genre, our A/2 pop promo is more loosely generically defined but has to work as a marketing tool for the song. Part One: We recived the brief of having to research, plan and construct a promotional pop video designed for mass distribution, reaching a wide target audience, we then had to make some important decisions regarding our band’s approach and ideologies towards dealing with certain processes. We had several constructive debates on what themes we could create for the video.
We chose a band called ‘Rage Against The Machine,’ and we picked their song ‘Killing In The Name Of’ after listening to several other bands- I felt the key to the whole group taking an active part was to decide on a song that we all liked, and due to similar music tastes we all agreed on this song. We felt that this band was good to use for our project, as they haven’t got such a strong brand identity that might restrict us in producing our own realistic version of their video, but they came across as having strong ideological and political views, for example they are very anti-war, which is a strong topic in today’s currant affairs.
We realised that this video is used, as a promotional tool designed to sell CD’s and the band’s brand identity, in order to stimulate commercial sales, so creating a particular image for our band, to provide anchorage, is vital. We researched into the band’s ‘idiology’ and found that they have very strong opinions about aspects such as communism and believe in ‘Global peace.
‘ As these ideas are relevant to what is going on with the UN, Iraq and Korea, and the possibility of world war III looms ever closer, we were able to use these ideas when thinking about the narrative in our video. We needed to research into both the band’s current identity, and also to look at all aspects that surrounded the band. As we were taking on the role of an independent production company working for a record company, we had to decide which type of record company we wanted to be associated with.
We decided to take on the role of an independent record company (V2 records) as they would provided us with more artistic freedom, and the boundries of what we could to were broader than if we were a major record company such as ‘Time Warner’, as a major record company would be hesitant to sign up a band such as Rage as it is too much of a risk commercially. We also had to research into our target audience and how we could make our video appealing to them.
We decided that our target audience would be male and age from about forteen to twenty-one in the western world, from this we thought that such things as special effects would be appealing to them, along with a video that would look at the same issues that appeal to the band. The sole reason for a record company to create a video is to promote the single and create a brand identity, and the function of the single is to promote the album, which is ultimately where the money is made, so it is vital for the single and therefore the video to be well received by the target audience.
Working for an independent record company means that the pop promo if slightly more flexible as it is driven mostly by creativity. We learnt that most pop videos have a strong narrative structure with reoccurring thematic elements, alongside performance elements, which provides anchorage for the band. The performance is usually lip-synched which also provides anchorage, the pop video is a chance for the band members to show who they really are, and in the case of ‘Rage,’ what they stand for.
Our video was mostly dominated with a strong performance element; however we also used several different cut away scenarios to create more of an ideological framework. We used such things as explosions and images of war footage from the first World War to the Twin Towers, we also showed scenes of the lead singer being tied to a chair and injected with a ‘silencing drug’ to show how they believe that society try to suppress people that have something to say about the way that the public are being undermined by the leaders of society.
The pop video provides the fans with the band’s identity, which in our case was freedom of speech, which they can then relate too. Especially with what is going on around us at present, the message that ‘Rage’ is trying to convey seems very relevant to the public. At first we had a few ideas that we discussed but eventually abandoned, as well as ideas that were incorporated at the last minute. We could have taken a religious approach to this song and had many ideas relating to this.
One was to have a performance in a church, which was paralleled to a performance in a studio environment with a crowd, as the stage would have been created in such a way that prove similar to the shape of the aisle and stage of the church. However we decided against this, as we wanted to take a more rebellious approach, which included elements of violence. We also had ideas surrounding the issues of racism, but this was abandoned, as we wanted to focus on the issue of suppression of the public, rather than fighting against racism.
Up to the day of the shoot things were changed due to us wanting only what would compliment the production style. Our video was shot using multi-camara angles (Sony PD 100) in a studio environment which was vision mixed via a Panasonic MX90, and then recorded on a mini DV tape. We used Pin spots and Macros(lights- static and moving), which were blue, yellow and white- the clour was important as we used it to help create an identity throughout the video. The video was cut on Media 100, on a G4 Macintosh.
If we were to compare it to a professional video I think that ours proved to be nearly as effective. We created the video in the same way as a marketing department might have done in a record company, only in a shorter period of time, looking at not only what would make a good video and appeal to the fans, but what would compliment and build up the band’s strong identity. I feel that the video that we produced created a strong identity for the promotion of the song, and could almost compare to a professional video of the same stance.