You are on page 1of 2

Carol Vernallis: The Kindest Cut – Functions and meanings of Music Video Editing 2001

Vernalis’ theory centres around 4 key concepts that all relate to the way the music video is constructed.
They are:
1. Narrative
2. Editing
3. Camera Movement and framing
4. Diegesis

1. What does she say about Narrative? She says that

 The video is a visual response to the music
 There is not necessarily a balance between narrative and performance
 The narrative is not always complete – it may be a partial, fragmented narrative
 The structure of the video may appear disjointed
 Something drives the video forward, but often it is not the narrative. It could be the
music, the performance, a mixture or some other element
 There may not always be a clear resolution (closure) at the end
 The video may pose questions that it doesn’t actually answer
 There may be a narrative or theme running through the video, but in a montage style

2. What does she say about editing? She says that

 Editing may match the musical phrases or the beat
 The video may break or disrupt many of the ‘rules’ of continuity editing – this is a clear
convention of music video editing.
 Editing may become ‘foregrounded – the edits may be really obvious, to draw attention
to themselves as opposed to invisible, continuity editing

For example, you may see:

Jump cuts
Breaks of the 30 degree rule
Breaks of the 180 degree rule
Cutting against the movement
Cutting within the lyrics
Fancy edits or cuts
Extreme jumps in time and space
Extreme changes in pace
Juxtaposed frames
Graphic matches
A style of editing that runs through the video and is distinctive to that video

You may not see:

Smooth transitions
Matches on action
An even pace throughout

3. What does she say about Camera Movement and Framing? She says that
 When it comes to shot types, extremes are very common.
 The style of framing and movement may run through the video and is distinctive to that
 The camera may move in time with the music
 The camera may move on the lyrics
 The master shot (or other establishing shots) is used frequently, as are close-ups

What does she say about Diegesis (the world of the music video)? She says that
 The diegesis may be revealed quite slowly
 Actions are not necessarily completed – they may be disrupted or interrupted in some
 Character or object movements may move to the music
 There may be gaps in the audience’s understanding of the diegesis – in time and space,
music, performance and narrative
 Some frames may be more important than others
 There may be many repetitions
 eg musical phrases, the beat, other musical elements, themes, lyrics, performance,
images, colours, camera positions

Related Interests