Welcome to my A2 media Blog, I'm Josh Stevenson (0796) and I'm in Group 2 with Harry Kettenis (0390), Matthew Romo (1660) and Ysabel Hudson-Searle (0331). Use the labels on the right to navigate through my blog, with the A2 labels relevant to my current course. You can access the main music video blog aswell using the link.

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Music Video

Our Music Video


Our Digipak
Top Left: Back Cover, Top Right: Front Cover
Bottom Left: Inside Back, Bottom Right: Inside Front

Our Website

Our Website (Click to Enter)

Sunday, 21 December 2014

1) In What Ways Does Your Media Product Use, Develop Or Challenge Forms And Conventions Of Real Media Products?

My three media products created in the duration of this project use, develop and challenge conventions seen in real media products in various ways. Each being in different platforms, they use varying methods to communicate information clearly to audiences; similar to that of the referenced professional examples which will be used in response to this question.

Music Video

Music Video Conventions

Breakdown of Performance,
Narrative and Concept

According to the theorist Simon Frith, music videos can be "characterised by three broad typologies: Performance, Narrative and Conceptual". Stating that each have their own characteristics which audiences recognise and then use to place music videos in these categories. In many music videos, as is the case with mine, more than one category is combined to work with the style of the music and strengthen the artist's identity.

My music video makes use of all three categories, having each in near equal proportions and breaking down the boundaries which Frith would use to categorise my video. Therefore challenging the conventions of what would be considered a pure performance, pure narrative or pure conceptual music video.


In order for audiences to identify a music video as being performance based, the use of lip-sync, dance, instrumentals or concert clips must be seen. An ideal example of  a performance based video is Run-DMC's "Walk This Way", which is based around two rivalling concerts. While the style of performance shots used are different than my own, it is a good video to illustrate what is meant by performance; clearly showing audiences footage of the band(s) performing in front of a live audience. My music video conforms to these conventions by including performance footage of lip-sync, dance and instruments throughout.
Examples of performance in Run-DMC (Left) and my video (Right)
There is often a strong sense of development throughout the performance, which shows change in some form and a progression. In our performance footage, this progression is shown through the styling and attitude displayed by Roza in the shot, meaning that we use this convention. The first, showing Roza in a very vulnerable state, ending with her performing in the midst of flames as she proves that she owns the performance.

Performance progression through the video

The artist's identity is extremely strong in performance videos, conveying a preferred image to audiences through the use of highly stylised costumes, sets and effects. This fits in line with Richard Dyer's theory, which states that stars are constructed to represent 'real people' experiencing real emotions. Therefore giving audiences a chance to relate to the artist and increase the artist's mass appeal.

In my video, all elements of the shots have been chosen to show specific meanings; from the wet hair in the white performance to convey the sorrow felt by Roza in the relationship, to the fire projections in the final performance shots showing her freedom. They all work in tandem to show Roza to be a very normal woman, who has gone through the trials and tribulations of a bad relationship and comes out on top after finding her inner strength. I can safely say that the convention of creating a strong artist identity through the use of the performance footage is one which my video most definitely conforms to.


 Stages of my video's core narrative

Narratives within music videos are quite distinct from those in other forms, with audiences not expecting there to be a very linear, straight cut story line. And yet, still requiring music videos to show an easy to follow visual story. My music video conforms to this convention of having a discontinuous narrative by having it placed in the form of memories, which are mainly intertwined with performance shots that are supposedly in the present day and conceptual ones which have no sense of time. We used Strauss' theory of binary opposites to make the storyline both entertaining and engaging to audiences, using contrasting emotions of joy and despair. Seeing the progression of the relationship, and understanding why these opposites exist, therefore allow the audience to empathise with the characters.

Stages of "We found love"'s narrative
While my narrative is not consecutive in the video, if you looked at the mood and feelings throughout, you see that there is a core story which has progression. This in keeping with Todorov's theory on narrative patterns which is normally applied to film, but I feel works well with my narrative in the sense that there are 5 distinct stages which the core narrative passes through. A similar narrative sequence can be seen in Rihanna's "We found love" .


Explanation of conceptual elements

A video is considered conceptual if it make strong use of symbolism and includes lots of visual imagery. I make use of few shots which are solely conceptual, having symbolism and powerful imagery incorporated into the vast majority of Roza's performance shots. Those that are were used for artistic purposes to further enforce Roza's image and enhance the theme of "water and fire" which runs throughout the music video. Since many conceptual shots leave a large amount to be interpreted, audiences are unable to have preconceived notions as to what and isn't considered "the norm"; leaving it up to those making the videos to create these conventions.

Visual Hooks and Iconography

Narrative in Trafalgar Square
Richard Dyer's theory on constructing an artist's image was very influential in our shot choices, using Trafalgar square in our narrative shots to show Roza as having a British identity, which then also appeals to British audiences by providing familiarity.


According to Goodwin, record labels demand the "need for lots of close-ups of the artist" and "visuals which recur across their work". This theory is based on the record labels pandering to the expectations of audiences, which are that the artist identity comes across clearly and strongly; giving audiences an identity that they can hold dear to. We ensured that our music video makes constant use of close-ups or so called "beauty-shots" that pin down Roza's identity and give a face to the music. Similar uses of close-ups can be seen in videos for inspirational artists like FKA Twigs and Jhene Aiko.

Jhene Aiko (Left), FKA Twigs (Right)

Use of Roses to create motif

A big part of Roza as a brand is the iconographic use of roses, this continuing in my music video with the rose performance shots, creating a visual motif which can then recur across her work. Making the products in her brand distinct and identifiable to audiences.

Intertextual References

Roza's identity was only enhanced by out use of intertextuality in my music video, making reference to the urban British culture and gratifying audiences by offering elements they can recognise and find comfort in . It was Julia Kristeva who stated that "media texts are not isolated entities" and that all texts are in some way an "absorption or transformation of another". Fitting in well with Goodwin's theory on music videos, saying that there are "often intertextual references".

The mind maps below shows the ways in which intertextuality came to play a role in elements of my music video:

Vernallis states that a music video generally breaks the conventions of continuity editing. The editing should reflect that of the music, and should have a style unique to the track. Although our track has a very slow pace, there is still a very defined beat running through. We used this to dictate as and when we changed shots; being made very prominent in the cutting seen in the back scenes. Cutting to the beat is a very common sight in music videos, as can be seen in Rihanna's "We found love"

Jumping between compositions
In most music videos, one of the main roles of the edit is to pull audiences back into reality; creating a discontinuity which makes them think about what the video as a whole is trying to show, rather than each individual element. Jumping between compositions is a very striking way of doing so, shocking audiences and capturing their attention. This was used in our video as a way of emphasising Roza's reaction to her relationship, cutting from long shots of her performing, to close-ups which highlight facial expressions.

As was alluded to previously, narratives in music videos display some form of discontinuity; with the edit often being the main means by which this occurs. By dispersing the narrative amongst performance and concept footage, we disrupted the flow of the narrative; bringing audiences back into reality and reminding them that it isn't a story, they are watching a music video and that the narrative is only a small section if the video.

Black boxes represent narrative split up amongst performance

To further add to this sense of discontinuity and amplify the meaning of shots, strong use of jump cuts was prevalent in my music video. In the case of the narrative, in the final shot where the boyfriend walks out of the relationship, jump cuts were used to show the sheer anger felt by Roza. Therefore making Roza's inner emotions apparent to audiences and allowing them to empathise with her, further strengthening the bridge between audience and artist. The use of jump cuts to emphasise the artists emotions can also be seen in "We found love" by Rihanna.

Jump Cuts in "We Found Love"            

Jump Cuts in "Teen Spirit"

Lyrics, Music and Visuals

Goodwin suggests that lyrics will often make reference to the visuals in a music video, promoting the song through the way it analyses the lyrics. From the very start of the project, we said that we wanted our music video to be very visual, making the meaning of the song clear from the start. Many of our shots either amplify or are direct illustrations of the lyrics, showing the audience the meaning of the lyrics in as clear a way as possible.

Narrative illustrating the music
It was our interpretation of the lyrics, that they allude to some form of relationship and turmoil caused as a result of this relationship. We therefore illustrated this through the use of narrative footage showing what happened in her relationship and amplified these emotions, by connecting them with different styles of performance shots.

Illustrative visuals "Wrecking Ball"

This illustrative use of visuals is seen in many other music videos, including Miley Cyrus' "Wrecking Ball"; where she sings about wrecking balls and is seen riding on one.

Conventions of Genre

When constructing our music video, we took inspiration from and were influenced by other real media products from artists of the different sub-genres of PBR&B (refer to Steal-O-Matic); some of which were referenced to more than others. Out of the various sub-genres, we conform most to the conventions set out by R&B, with many of the artists we drew inspiration from having some connection with that genre of music, as can be seen below.
           If I were a boy- Beyonce
We found love- Rihanna


Andrew Goodwin states that music videos demonstrate genre characteristics, this being something that we kept in mind when constructing our music video and made conscious choices as to whether or not we kept with this. PBR&B as a whole is quite a male dominated genre, with recording artists associated with the term including:

This is a convention which we contradict in our music video by having a female artist. On the other hand, we do conform to conventions set out by the genre by having a solo artist rather than a duet or band per se; with some leniency in respect of the use of solo drumming clips.

Jhene Aiko (Top Left), Frank Ocean (Bottom Left)
 Miguel (Top Right), Our Video (Bottom Right)
Rihanna's "Stay"

The representation of females is often one of a very sexual nature, especially in R&B music videos, with them generally being objectified as sexual being through voyeuristic treatment of the female body and the costuming choices made. Examples of this can be seen in Rihanna's "Stay".

Voyeuristic view through movements. Contradicted by themes.

While Roza is represented as having this very sensual side to her personality, which she is shown to wholeheartedly embrace through our use of costume and movement in some shots; we develop this convention by making her sexuality a lesser theme in the music video.

We instead emphasis on the themes of strength and independence which run throughout, therefore making audiences question their preconceived notions on the role females play within the music industry and in a wider respect, every day life. Which also reflects modern trends in feminist culture that empowers women to embrace their sexuality, without portraying themselves as sexual beings to be objectified. This therefore empowers the females within our target audience, showing them that their sexuality is something to be celebrated, rather than hid away for fear of repercussion. Beyonce's "Run the World" is an example of a female artist within the genre portraying a similar message.

Beyonce "Run the World"
 In R&B music videos where a relationship based narrative is portrayed and the artist is a female, the male is normally seen as the antagonist. This can be seen in Rihanna's "We found love" and acts as a parallel to the narrative in my music video. In both "We found love" and my video, the boyfriend is the person who drives the story in a negative direction, eventually leading to the breakdown of the relationship

Antagonistic boyfriend: Roza (left), Rihanna (Right)


Common themes in music videos for PBR&B tracks and those for its sub-genres include: Aspirations, Love, Relationships, Corruption, Religion, Freedom and Sex. I am safe in saying that the themes of love, relationships, freedom and to some extent, corruption are seen within my music video; with the narrative and lyrics working in tandem to put these themes across.  Themes such as these can also be seen in real media products, like Tulisa's "The Sight of You".
Tulisa's "The Sight of You"
Style - Colouring

Intense colour (left), Pastel colour (right)

It is common place for songs in the R&B sub-genre of PBR&B to have a slow tempo and for this to be reflected in the style of the video; with the use of a grey scale or pastel tones to reflect the deep emotions felt by the artist. In addition to this, you often see the introduction of colour in moments of intense emotion, where the subject of the song is a relationship. "If i Were a Boy" by Beyonce and Rihanna's "We Found Love" are good examples of the different uses of colouring as a reflection of the emotions felt because of a relationship.

"We Found Love" (left), "If I Were a Boy" (right)

Style - Camera Movement

camera movement to emphasise boyfriends anger
The use of camera movement to engross audiences in the emotion of shots is seen in many R&B music videos; normally used throughout a music video in a variety of shots, to emphasise specific meanings. While I do conform to this convention it is done loosely, only making use of camera movement in my narrative, more specifically, when the boyfriend wants to stop Roza going out dressed the way she is.

Including camera movement in that shot speeds up the pace of the argument, making it seem much more intense and engaging audiences by giving them a first person perspective on their dispute. Examples of camera movement in real media products can be seen in videos the like of "We Found Love" by Rihanna and Miguel's "Adorn".

 Camera Movement seen in "Adorn" (left), "We Found Love" (right)

Style- Setting
In music videos which are under the PBR&B genre, you will more often than not see locations connected to wealth and money; be it a high end club or fancy mansion. My music video develops this convention, as although there are club scenes within the narrative of my music video, it is not used as a signifier for power and wealth. It is instead a means to create a realistic relationship that audiences can relate to and drives the narrative.

The conventional use of setting signifying power can be seen in Rihanna's "Pour It Up" and FKA Twigs' "Two Weeks", where thrones and castle like locations are used.

Rihanna (left), FKA Twigs (right) 

Album Cover

In order to see the forms and conventions album covers, we ensured to look at examples of real media products. With one of our main influences being Ariana Grande's "My Everything".

Forms of album covers

Rihanna "Loud" has images on all sides of the album
Album art in itself is promotional material and as such, make it very clear who the artist is. Therefore, the most common convention of album art is to include multiple images of the artist both inside and out. There are countless examples of where this can be seen, including Rihanna's album "Loud", where images of Rihanna are sprawled on all elements of the album.

We include multiple images of Roza throughout the album, allowing Roza to take possession of the album and market her image.
Roza's album design

Visual Motif: Jhene Aiko
One thing that was made especially clear, is that the album covers and website for an artist work in tandem, in order to create a synergistic artist image. This is generally done through the use of a visual motif, which runs through the artist's work and is distinct to them. When referencing visual motifs we looked at Jhene Aiko and her album "Sailing Souls". Her album cover is synergistic with her website, containing a visual motif which links the two.

Our use of visual motif

In the case of Roza, we conform to this convention by using a motif consisting of:

Iconography- The repeated use of Roses and smoke (front cover and inside back panel)
Colour Scheme- The most prominent colours in Roza's work are Black, Grey, White and Red
Logo- The Roza logo, in the "Verona Extra" font, with the lines of the "Z" elongated.

All of these elements work together to create a motif which is specific to Roza and is therefore identifiable to audiences. As you can see, we ensured that this motif appears on both the website and the album cover, anchoring Roza's artist identity.


Roza's website is synergistic with the album cover, as well as the her overall image; making use of the visual motif  (colour scheme, logo, iconography) on every page. This enforces Roza as a "brand" and aids in marketing her to audiences. The website acts as a central hub where fans can gather to connect with the artist and as such, must clearly convey the artist's image; by using this motif we enforce Roza's image and conform to website conventions.

The Prezi below shows the forms and conventions we either conform to or challenge in Roza's website:

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