When considering the key features of a music video Andrew Goodwin, Dancing in the Distraction Factory (1992) identified a number of conventions which can be applied to the music video ‘Celestine’ by Spector directed by Jed Cullen & High 5 Collective in 2012.
Firstly he stated that music videos demonstrate genre characteristics. This video could be categorised as being in the Indie Rock genre. It is conventional in that the cutting rate matches the rhythm and fast pace of the music. Often the camera cuts on action so when there is a strong guitar chord or the start of the chorus, the camera replicates it by cutting to a different shot. The post production effects are conventional in terms of a lack of continuity and there is a lack of narrative throughout the video – a convention throughout most indie genre videos.
The video employs a more creative and artistic approach by breaking the typical conventions of a music video in that the visual motif of colour is replicated throughout. The post-production techniques also differ from most music videos in the sense that unique methods are used for example when the band freeze in the air whilst jumping and the lead singer keeps on moving and singing.
Goodwin discussed the relationship between lyrics and visuals. In relation to the lyrics in the song, there is disjuncture between the on screen action and the words. This is because the lyrics talk of a girl ‘Celestine’ and the singer’s past and how he doesn’t want to bring it up, yet the visuals are just shots of the band playing music in a desert and seeming to just have fun as a group.
He also considered the relationship between music and visuals to be an important convention. In Celestine we can see that the camera cuts on action and the shots are rhythmic (in time with the music) however the camera movement does not seem to relate to the music. Also the indie genre is reflected through the ‘indie visuals’ such as the desert location and random shots.
He also made reference to the notion of 'looking' and in the music video we can see that the fourth wall approach - where the audience are ‘flies on the wall’ - is eliminated and instead the audience are being addressed and spoken to by the lead singer. Another example is the motif of a mirror recurring throughout the video, often when members of the band will look at themselves in the mirror. This connotes surreal feelings and the idea that something is being hidden.
Importantly he talked about the voyeuristic treatment of the body. With reference to this video there is a lack of fetishism mainly due to there being no females in the video and the band seem to be fully dressed in suits and shirts and there is little ‘skin being shown’ however in other music videos women are often degraded, objectified and their bodies are being sold. In this circumstance music videos could be referred to as porn.
Music videos are a postmodern form which implies that they often borrow and rework ideas from other texts and forms. Celestine uses intertextuality in the form that the EU flag is being shown and there is a recurring theme of the Euro with a random sum of money being shown through text overlayed over the first establishing shot.
Finally the video is mainly performance based because the majority of the shots are performance of the band, however it is also arguably concept based because there are ‘random’ disjunctive clips of different things such as dogs, flags and water.