Teaching music video clips in year 8 media

Teaching music video clips in year 8 media – Study Guide

Russell Kealey

YEAR 8 MEDIA AT BERWICK SC IS AN ELECTIVE UNIT THAT IS PAIRED WITH MUSIC. (1) THEREFORE WE ONLY HAVE EACH CLASS FOR TWO PERIODS PER WEEK FOR ONE TERM–APPROXIMATELY EIGHTEEN TO NINETEEN PERIODS. THE FOCUS OF OUR COURSE IS MUSIC VIDEO CLIPS; PROVIDING THE LINK BY WHICH TO PAIR MEDIA AND MUSIC. IN TERMS OF RESOURCES WE USE TV/VCR EXTENSIVELY AND A VIDEO CAMERA FOR THE PRODUCTION TASK. WHAT FOLLOWS IS AN OUTLINE OF OUR COURSE. ITALICISED TEXT INDICATES TASKS/ACTIVITIES FOR THE STUDENTS.

LESSONS 1-2: OUTLINE OF ASSESSMENT TASKS

(STUDENTS COPY INTO BOOKS)

1. Assignments

a) report on a video clip

b) script exercise: 15 per cent

2. Workbook: 15 per cent

3. Participation: 35 per cent

4. Production: 35 per cent

EXPLANATION OF ASSESSMENT TASKS.

Watch a current video clip, then write the heading/question on the board: WHAT IS A VIDEO CLIP?

Students answer question in their books, followed by discussion of their answers then notes on board as follows:

A video clip is essentially an advertisement for a song. Clips come in three types:

a) Movie soundtracks–which use excerpts from the film (Students write in some examples they can think of)

b) Performance clips–which use ‘live’ footage of the artist (Students write in some examples they can think of)

c) Conceptual clips–which try to portray the mood or feel of the song (Students write in some examples they can think of)

Some clips mix these types. Discuss examples that students have thought of.

LESSONS 3-4: TECHNIQUES OF MUSIC VIDEO

Discussion–Given that video clips are essentially ads, they have to grab our attention and keep it. To do this, they have to stand out from all of the other clips. Look at several clips (taped from Rage or Video Hits) and get students to identify all of the techniques used to do this. Some guidance/prompting may be necessary. In Term 1, my students identified the following:

Setting, makeup, costume, special FX, props, use of actors/models, animation, CGI, hand-drawn backgrounds, range of shot sizes, camera movement, use of focus, editing (fades, dissolves, cuts), lighting, sex, camera angles, lens filters, different lenses.

The list is compiled on the board over the two lessons and students copy it into their books.

LESSONS 5-6

Set Assessment Task # 1(a) Report on a Video Clip

Give students handout on this (Appendix 1) and discuss/explain.

We then do a trial report together on the board so students understand precisely what they need to do and how to do it. For example, this year we are using the clip for Peter Gabriel’s ‘Sledgehammer’. (This is available on the Aardman Animations Volume 1 video–a great resource for several year levels in Media.)

Watch the selected clip and discuss what techniques are used in this clip and how they are used in this clip. Write discussion notes up on the board for students to take down. This forms a trial answer to Question 3 in the report. For ‘Sledgehammer’ our notes in Term 1 were as follows:

TECHNIQUES

–Drawn backgrounds: Chalk roller Coaster

–Animation

–Clay

–Paper

–Computer-generated

–Objects: fruit, dancing chickens, paper aeroplane circling his head

–Stop motion: Making the singer look animated

–Coloured lenses: Blue face

–Range of shots (ECU’s): Entire clip

–Fast editing:-Entire clip, cutting on the beat

–Special FX: Ice head smashed; Suit of stars walking into the night sky

–Props: Sledgehammers

–Makeup: Face paint

–Bumper cars

We then discuss Question 4 and do exactly the same thing–watch the video and compile notes on the board. Our notes were:

The different sorts of animation used in this clip all illustrate exactly what Peter Gabriel is singing about. For example, when he sings about a steam train, an animated train circles his head. Whenever the chorus comes up, an animated sledgehammer is shown. Also, the editing reinforces the regular beat of the song.

For Question 5, I point out that this is a personal opinion but it does need to be justified, not just an ‘It’s a great song and so is the clip’ sort of answer. Students also need to be aware of the audience for the clip. ‘Sledgehammer” is aimed at an older audience and most of the humour of the animation is lost on Year 8 students.

LESSON 7

Notes on board:

Because film/video productions are so expensive to make, they are scripted and storyboarded very carefully before production begins.

Video clips are usually shot on film as it is much better quality, although digital video is closing the gap.

Scripting for clips is usually done in a simple format like this:

Draw table on board for students to copy, then show a 30 second ad (Why an ad? They’re shorter than clips. Also, clips are basically ads anyway,) Now use the pause/still advance on your VCR to show just the first four to five shots of the ad. Students to contribute content of the table. Complete the table on the board for students to copy down. (The example shown is from a margarine ad as far as I recall) (see chart 01)

Set Assessment Task 1(b) to be done as homework

Students are to each record a 30 second advertisement then write out a script for it using our example as their model.

LESSONS 8-9

Collect homework. Describe the Production Assessment Task to class. (See below for details.)

Demonstrate the DV camera & effects to class. Point out that we are shooting the clips live so there will be no editing–transitions from shot to shot will need to be achieved through camera movement.

In order to plan their own video clip they must first storyboard it. Each student needs to choose a song and storyboard a clip. These lessons are devoted to giving the students time to develop their individual storyboards. I point out to the students that it is in their groups’ interest for each member to come up with an original (and achievable) storyboard as once I have marked them, the group can choose the best one to actually produce.

LESSON 10

Give students an outline of the production assessment task:

1. In a group of three to five people you are to shoot your own video clip for a song of your choice.

2. Someone in the group must provide a tape or CD of your song.

3. Your group must organize all of your own costumes, makeup, props and sets.

4. Your clip will be shot ‘live’, i.e. no editing. This means that in terms of special FX, you are restricted to what is available on the camera and what you can organize with lighting, props and sets.

5. All clips will be shot in the Media room during class time, NO EXCEPTIONS!

6. Clips will be marked on

–planning and preparation

–originality,

–how they fit with the mood of the song, and,

–the overall look of the clip

Discuss the task. We use a digital video camera at Year 8. The teacher operates the camera and attempts (!) to follow the students’ storyboards.

Given our restricted time this allows the students to concentrate on what is going to happen in front of the camera and not have to learn the intricacies of operating a DV camera. It also allows us to edit the students’ clips in iMovie and put together a ‘highlights’ package for Year level assemblies, Parent/ Teacher nights, etc. (This is a great promo for your Media Department!)

I also point out to the students that although we are filming in a classroom, the camera will only see a small part. If they are careful with their ‘sets’, costumes and props, no-one watching their clip will realize where it has been shot. This introduces the concept of selection in a simple way,

LESSONS 11-15

These lessons are devoted to filming the students’ clips. I give the students a shooting schedule with two groups allocated for each lesson so they know when their group will be performing and encourage the students to prepare everything beforehand–props, costumes, makeup, etc. During the shoot we simply set up a CD player close to the camera for the music and record the clip live. This means that everyone, including the performers, must remain silent for the duration of the song. (Some re-shoots are necessary when announcements come over the PA!)

LESSON 16

We look at all of the students’ clips and I get the students to mark their own group’s clip (using the four criteria outlined above) on a grid as shown (see chart 02):

If the student’s self-assessment is much better than the mark I have given them, I encourage them to talk to me about it and if they can justify why they should get a better mark, I change it.

LESSON 17

Prior to this lesson I import about a minute of each clip into iMovie, add an appropriate title and some effects and transitions, then export it back to the camera. We spend this lesson watching the edited highlights and discussing the effects and transitions.

LESSON 18: PROGRAMMING A MUSIC VIDEO SHOW (RAGE)

Having spent the last 17 lessons talking about, writing about and creating individual video clips, we finish the semester by examining how a music video show is put together. The Rage web site (http://www.abc.net.au/rage/about/behind.htm) has a useful outline of all of the planning required to put a show together.

I download the Rage outline, delete the references to particular days, rearrange the order and then photocopy it. We read it quickly together and any unfamiliar terms are explained. Either individually or in groups the students then work on getting the planning sequence into order. This task encourages the students to focus on what they are reading and to ensure that they understand it. Once the students have completed this we then discuss how each has ordered the material. (This can also be done as a quiz.)

LESSON 19

Students are asked to complete a report on the unit as follows:

1. What are five things you learnt in Media this term that you didn’t know before?

2. What did you find the most enjoyable in Media?

3. What did you dislike the most?

4. What did you find the most interesting?

5. What did you find the least interesting?

6. Was your teacher helpful and fair?

7. Any other comments?

Appendix 1

YEAR 8 MEDIA

ASSESSMENT TASK #1–REPORT ON A VIDEO CLIP

(written, oral or multimedia): (7.5 per cent)

You must prepare a report on a video clip of your choice. Your report must include the following:

* The artist’s name and the title of the song

* The lyrics of the song

* A list of all the techniques used in the clip and a description of how each technique is used in the clip

* A discussion of how the techniques used reinforce the message or mood of the lyrics

* A discussion of how successful you think the clip is in terms of ‘selling’ the song

Your report can be written (on loose folder paper, not in your book), presented as a poster, given as a talk to the class or presented as a series of PowerPoint slides.

TOP: CHART 1 BOTTOM: CHART 2

HIGH 5 MEDIUM 3 LOW 1 N.A. 0

Planning and

preparation

Originality

Fit with the mood

of the song

Overall look

TOTAL:

SHOT LENGHT SOUND VISION

1 1 sec. X–cheering. Fade LS Children’s

music up sports day. Pan left

to follow runners.

Cut to…

2 1 sec. As in shot 1 VLS End of race

3 3 secs. As in shot 1 MS Woman

giving awards.

Subtitle in yellow:

‘Heather Turland-

Commonwealth

Gold Medallist’

ENDNOTES

(1) As at the time of writing, this is about to change. Year 8 Media at Berwick SC in 2003 will be a semester-long unit that students choose from a range of electives in the Arts. As a result we are about to rewrite the course. Nevertheless, the basic aims will remain the same and the existing course as written may be useful for other schools.

(2) These percentages are the weighting we give to each task for calculating the students’ final grades.

Russell Kealey teaches Media from Year 7 to Year 12 at Berwick Secondary College. He has written several articles and reviews for Metro and Australian Screen Education.

COPYRIGHT 2003 Australian Teachers of Media

COPYRIGHT 2003 Gale Group