Can one song convey more than one meaning?

During this course I made friends with a fellow course mate, Ashley. It feels like we have crossed the finished line together.

It was Ashley who introduced me to the the fantastic data base of music, Incompetech. There are thousands of songs on there, each one individual and unique and without knowing we both used the same song, Ashley in her assignment and myself in a personal project video.

It was an interesting discovery, to see how the same song can be used to convey completely different emotions.

My Video

 

Ashley’s video

Things they had in common were

  • Both used to convey a melancholy mood. The main melody (harpsichord) highlights a specific part.
  • In my video the main melody sounds when the life ring and ‘danger’ sign are shown. Conveying that something terrible happened at this point. In Ashley’s it begins when the mug of tea is knocked over.

Things that were different.

  • In my video the song is the main focus, there is no diegetic sound or narration. The song essentially tells the story.
  • Ashley’s featured at the end to illustrate the moment when Ahad tells his father he has failed his exams, to convey the pain and create a contrast of the party atmosphere and the darkness inside that he is feeling.

Whilst they both focused on sadness and loss they were each used in a different way to convey a different story. With that in mind I decided to find other videos the song had been used in and research the emotions it provokes.

Here the song has been used to highlight it’s medieval melody. It is the background to the world of Skyrim which we are shown around. Interesting to see where the harpsichord melody is used, after a slow pause showing a Skyrim character, the melody begins again and we are on a journey through an underground canal.


It sets the tone for this video by Dragonfly Productions as we soar over a landscape where the story takes place. It seems it always used for dark powerful moments. I wonder how it could be interpreted with a different theme that isn’t melancholy.

Jordan Turner Vegas shoot from Travis H. Lane on Vimeo.

It would appear that using an especially somber song out of context doesn’t always work.  In this video it is used in a video of a  modelling shoot. While the photography is successful I don’t feel the two match well. The music is dark and haunting whereas the shoot is light and doesn’t feature anything dark or upsetting at all. They clash throughout, like two opposite poles of a magnet.

So therefore it would appear that whilst there are many stories that can be told with the same song in a variety of genres, sometimes a song is so specifically made for a certain genre that is clashes when used for any other purpose. Even if you were to make an optimistic video of say a girl blowing out birthday candles, to play this music over it would give a very different feeling to the happy birthday. Perhaps the girl is mourning her childhood, maybe it is the film makers way of warning the viewer that all is not as it seems.

Through the analysis of these songs and the way in which they have been chosen and used, I have come to the conclusion that this song in particular is powerful in that it conveys variations of a dark mood, that one mood can have connotations of sadness, fear, death, worry, but it generally is on the dark side of things. This shows how important it is to choose the right song. If you choose the wrong song it may end up conveying the opposite meaning, the story and music will not work harmoniously, it could ruin a sequence yet choosing wisely it could make that sequence.  It’s essential to spend a little time working through the selection of songs. The music is like a main actor and just as a bad actor can spoil a movie so too can the choice of music. Overall it highlights what an essential part the music plays.

I decided to experiment with something conducive to the course, similar to the Mosjukhin experiment, using one clip what emotion could be conveyed with the music.I created a new file in iMovie and grabbed some of my video clips. It was clear which worked and which didn’t. I realised that the song could be used not just for darkness but it also worked very well with landscape shots and animals, such as the red kite flying over the landscape. It captures  a primeval, raw connection with the earth.

Below is the video I made. Please comment what you feel from it. I had to change the file size hence the lower quality. 


I felt of all the clips the strongest was the snow leopard in the Zoo. I can really feel her sadness. It wasn’t the best enclosure I had seen and this reflects it. It will be interesting to see what anyone else sees.

 

Part Two

I’ve just emailed my assignment off to my tutor and it feels great, I really enjoyed making the assignment video and I probably enjoyed it even more because it was such a struggle. That tends to be me all over, the harder the guitar piece, the more difficulty of the photography setting the better, challenges serve to inspire and motivate. Not that I don’t get down sometimes about them. I’m definitely not saying that, sometimes something seems so hard I feel like giving up. But I’ve completed assignment one and am now ready to move onto part two. I’ve had a look through it all and it’s packed with exercises and practical work and my mind is buzzing with excitement ready to take them on.

I also want to share here some personal projects I’ve been working on.

A Day at Blackpool Zoo from ChloeClik on Vimeo.

Film Collaboration

Signs of Spring – OCA Collaboration from ChloeClik on Vimeo.

In the course information it stated that movie making can be an individual experience or a group experience. This really appealed to me, whilst I enjoy working on projects on my own I also really enjoy sharing ideas and creating something big together.  With this in mind I decided to set up a film collaboration with fellow course students.

I ran a few ideas through my head but the important thing was that it would work for anyone wherever they were in the world, also that is was accessible and didn’t prevent some people taking part. I wanted it to be visually attractive and be diverse while at the same time following a theme.  I decided to follow my first idea. As Spring was shooting up Signs of Spring was born. I know that many of my OCA friends are all spread out across the world and thought it would be really fun to create a unique transition between each person.

Now it was just a matter of gathering collaborators. I have set up a group on Facebook for Digital Film Production which I run with fellow OCA student Paul and sent out the word about the project there. There are only a few of us doing the course at the moment and I thought of my OCA photography friends who all had video equipment. I spoke about the project on the Facebook page OCA Photography – Level One. Over the course of the day my phone was pinging with members who wanted to take part. It was very exciting and I couldn’t wait to start and see the finished result.

As of yet we have the following members taking part.

Myself – Lancashire

Paul – North West

Blas – Spain

Nuala – Ireland

Lynda – Canada

Leonie – India

Ashley – Germany

I created and sent out the following information to each collaborator.

S.png

 

The transitions were to be creative, fun and unique and would be discussed as each happened. In the end however it worked much more successfully to use a simple transition. Keeping the focus on the photography and the naturalness of it all.

————————————————————————–

Actors

I am lucky that I have a lot of choice of people who I can cast in my movies, mostly my family, Mum (Anne) Dad (Ken) and sister Amber. My cat Skye is also a great actor but demanding and quite temperamental on occasions.

Anne – She is a great actor but has a low ego yet I feel she is very good. In ‘The Stranger’ video she conveyed fear very well, she followed instructions well, listened closely and improvised.

Ken – He is also excellent, though kind and I often choose not to include a speaking part as he tries to sound scary but is about as scary as a teddy bear. His acting and expressions though are great work and in that respect I often cast him as the bad guy. He does like to ad lib which is excellent but occasionally he fails to listen to instructions and on some occasions I look up from the camera to say action and he’s wandered off.

Amber – Amber is very good at acting natural parts though occasionally can’t keep a straight face through more tense scenes. I usually cast her as the sister or main character but haven’t yet tried her as the bad guy. She follows instructions very well and is also very beautiful so fits well in the role of main character. Unfortunately she suffers from the same illness as me and is not always well enough to be filmed.

Skye – Skye my cat usually appears as the bad guys familiar. He is good at following directions as a treat is a good bribe and he loves running towards the camera. He does however have a tendency of getting carried away and racing off through the gates where I can’t get him.

So that is how I feel my actors are, I decided I would ask them how they feel I am as a director and cinematographer.

Anne – “I think you are good and produce a good product. If you want to improve you need to be clear about your instructions and ensure that Ken is listening. You need to be clear when you want us to start and end. Yeah…thought you did well.”

Ken –  “I think to be honest Chloe, you tend to assume that I know more and am better at improvising and catching on that I actually am. If you are shooting people it’s a good idea to explain carefully. Don’t assume that the person you are dealing with will immediately grasp exactly what’s required of them. Always explain clearly and carefully what is required and give them a chance to ask questions.”

After that I asked if there was anything positive he had to say

“You know what you want and are very enthusiastic. You’re very good at improvising if things don’t quite work out. The plots are always interesting and enjoyable and well worth watchings”

Amber – I think you are very enthusiastic and imaginative. Sometimes you get it all together but sometimes I think you get a bit distracted with new ideas that don’t always work. You might go ‘ooh let’s do this’ but you don’t always think about the practicalities. But overall you are really good and always put together a great video and always make it clear what to do and you’ve very patient because Dad behaved in the video not listening and wandering off and you dealt with it well.”

Skye – no comment.

I’m thinking of searching for some more actors through my friends to get some different shots.

 

I was slightly surprised by the comments so therefore I’m pleased I asked them. I think we both understand each other now and after the next shoot I will ask his opinion and see if I’ve improved. So I will focus on expressing clearly what I want. My problem is that my mind works at a hundred miles an hour, I speak really fast and expect everyone to follow what I’m doing and understand. When I read something aloud I’m already reading the next few sentences.  So I need to work on that. Communicating clearly how to express ideas and instructions to my actors. I will review this after my next video and see if I have improved. So there we go, you can have a weakness without really knowing it is one 🙂

Yarn Bombing

I was scanning the local art festivals Facebook page yesterday and found out that a corner of Lytham had been completely transformed with knitting and crochet works over night, wool wrapped around lampposts, dangling from trees and pom poms dancing in the sun. I definitely wanted to see it and decided to create a little one minute video with some cheerful music in the background to show the art instalments and show the vibrant colours and skill of all those involved.

I decided to take my Canon 70D camera, (love the filming auto focus) and pondered over lenses. I love my 50mm but for some reason without a tripod it produces quite shaky footage. I stuck with the 18-135mm on the 70D and brought a back up 50mm just in case there was opportunity to bring the monopod out.

Usually when I start a video I have a few pictures instantly in my mind. So for this,

I see a pom pom or something blowing in the wind. 

A nice pan up a lamppost

And some knitting hanging from the trees

Macros of the knitted flowers

And the rest will be spontaneous joy 🙂

As we arrived I could see the corner of Lytham by the library had been transformed into a psychedelic world of knitting and yarn, pom poms danced high up in the trees while a bench was looking snug in it’s knitted blanket. Children had hung up little bunting and the bushes were filled with knitted flowers. It was really beautiful. Everyone was taking photos on their phone and I felt quite overwhelming with two big cameras, two camera bags and a monopod!

I took snippets of video focusing on lots of the little details then pulling back to capture more. When we’d looked around we took a break (everyone but me were absolutely freezing) so we decided to grab a cup of tea and cake at the local coffee shop. I stuck with my camera and was glad I did as there was a really nice art decor feeling to the cafe and the oreo cheesecake I was presented with looked like it had been made in a michelin star cafe!

On getting home I dragged all the footage into iMovie, used a funky guitar track (from iMovie) and uploaded the whole thing on Vimeo.

I got a lot of great feedback and the festival site shared it on their page which was really lovely to wake up to.

 

Art Weekend in Lytham from ChloeClik on Vimeo.

Things I like about the video. 

I like the colour, the way the shots all lead into one another, the aperture, depth of field and the way the music adds to it all.

Things to improve. 

It’s clear some of the footage is shaky which is frustrating but always happens on the 50mm. When I use a monopod it is better though hard to position for some angles.

We are all going to a beautiful park today so I will document that as well and this time shoot on my handheld Canon camcorder. It doesn’t have selective focus but the camcorders quality is always really impressive especially for such a small little thing. I recently filmed a forty minute movie on it for my Mum’s birthday, the whole family teamed together to secretly film it and surprised her with it on her birthday. We all acted in it and there were a lot of exciting action scenes.

So I will try and get some ‘steady’ and nice close ups on the food, the nature and the scenery and will upload a little video of it later. Well I better go and get ready.

Storyboarding Notebook

I have been really enjoying doing storyboards, so much in fact I’ve bought myself a book filled with blank storyboards. That way I don’t need to spend half the time drawing up the boxes, I can just start planning immediately.

I’m thrilled with the purchase, it’s really helpful with four storyboards to a page and room for any text or planning. I’d recommend any movie student to do the same, it’s brilliant. This is mine.

51vd5-553OL._SX348_BO1,204,203,200_