Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Music video research - video history

We started watching videos chronologically to help understand the development of music videos over time.

Len Lye Colour Box

Len Lye Colour Box is a 1939 advert for cheaper parcel post. This didn't use a camera, but they painted patterns onto film reel and played it through. This was important because it was the first video where the visuals were designed to match the music and not the other way round.

Nat King Cole

We then watched Nat King Cole's video for Frim Fram Sauce from 1945. This was an early example of a proper music video that includes lip syncing, the male gaze and uses the idea of looking, all of which are used commonly in modern day videos.
The Beatles

The next video was for Can't Buy Me Love by The Beatles which was part of the short film Hard Day's Night. This video was used as a means of promotion for the band and hows the four of them as rebellious young men. This was an early example of adding context to a song with a video. Whereas Nat King Cole's video is very apt and literal in the location, there is no link between the song and video by The Beatles.


The next video was for Madonna's 1986 (the golden age of music video) track Open Your Heart and is arguably the most important video of all. This video took the idea of looking and the male gaze to new levels. What we saw in the Frim Fram Sauce video was the viewpoint of Nat King Cole objectifying a woman in a sexual way, whereas in the Madonna video, she purposely dresses promiscuously, she puts up photos of herself posing sexually, she allows the males in the video to watch her act like this etc. This is an early example of a woman wanting the male gaze on her and arguably revolutionised music videos to come.
Fifty Cent

In Fifty Cent's video for Candy Shop from 2005, we see the absolute maximum for viewing women as sexual objects. It is a video full of sexual innuendos and although it doesn't represent a literal candy shop, it's easy to understand the true meaning behind the song, especially with help from the video.

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