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Modestep Sunlight Music Video Analysis

Between the two genres of Drum & Bass and Dubstep. Some may argue that this is a song of the relatively newly created Drumstep genre.

The music video opens with a wide shot, showing one of the three protagonists, the old lady, drawing her curtains. An
establishing shot shows us as an audience that she is alone, and then there is a high angle shot. Perhaps this is representing her vulnerability, as she is of an old age, alone in her house, without company. A long shot from outside her house sees two old men walking. The long shot allows the audience to establish the setting: quiet pretty street, and after they knock on the old ladys door the camera tracks in from behind the lady as she walks forward, the shot almost reflecting her embracing of them. A wide shot shows them hugging, and we establish their friendship. The director establishes an Non-stereotypical scene here fro a drum and bass video, as this genre is typically focuses on young people and is for young people.

When the camera cuts to shots of the band, the shots are mainly close ups: Close ups of the decks, close ups of the drums, to show the detail of music and the musicians traits. We establish that this is the band instantaneously, they are performing to a crowd of younger people, and for people who are familiar with the genre and more importantly the culture of drum & bass, they can relate to these raves. A mid shot of the lead singer in the band, lipsyncing the lyrics of the song at certain points in the video.

The director then subervses the image he has built up of the three old people, when there is a tracking shot of the three of them on bikes( the old lady on a scooter). Bikes and scooters are arguably symbols of youth and this is seemingly surprises the audience, as she had previously been seen drinking coffee from antique looking teacups. The three then head into a store. In the video there are a lot of shots where the backs of the three protagonists are in the frame. Steady cam shots are used often. Perhaps the director chooses to show so much from behind to at times move away from the identity of the actors, and present his ideology that this could be anyone. A microcosm of what we all wish we could do, however stereotypes and sociial constraints do not allow us to. Quick tracks and mid shots and close ups in the off licence are fast and effective in showing what the characters interlay. There is a specific close up off the camera screen in the off licence. This is an interesting shot as it heightens this notion of recklessness and danger that the three old people are causing, almost as if society is watching them, frowning upon the irresponsibility. The theme of recklessness is conventional to the drum & bass genre.

The three protagonists then begin drinking and are soon greatly intoxicated. An establishing shot sees them sitting around the table, and as table are arguably symbolic In terms of togetherness, we can feel their family like presence. Wide shots of all three of them cut to close ups of their faces, showing their ecstatic and youthful almost expressions. There is a close up of one of the old men as his beer comes flying out of his mouth as he laughs. The close up really captures his the essence of childhood humor.

The theme of drugs then becomes prominent to the music video. There is a close up on the table where one of the old men begins to empty the contents of his grinder, the marijuana , onto the rizla. The actual substance is blurred, edited later during production, for the purpose of not showing the stages of preparing a drug fully. We then cut to a mid shot of him licking the rizla which then cuts to an extreme close up of him smoking the spliff. The extreme close up is most probably used to increase the already high dramatic effect of veteran people taking drugs. There is then a close of the old women putting a gas mask over her face. This is interesting, it is not that gas masks specifically are conventional to the drum and bass and dubstep genre but themes of warfare, bombs, time and space are highly conventional to the genre.

There are then close ups of each of the three protagonists with a postic note on their heads, each with a different drum and bass artists name of it. The close up makes sure the names can be read clearly, Rusko for example, which is advertising another artists of the same genre, one the artists of the music video has work with previously in his career. Fans of the genre will know the artists mentioned and find the scene quite amusing. There is then a quick, semi circle arc shot of the three protagonists dancing awkwardly whilst laughing. Perhaps the arc shot represents the cyclical nature of life, that we should not grow old and how the joys of youth should continue till the death. More drug use again. Close up of the old women inhaling laughing gas, which then cuts to a mid shot, and finally cutting to a mid/long shot, with the camera on the floor. Perhaps these shots were chosen to reflect how the drug is taking her further and further away theoretically, as the camera moves further away with each cut. She becomes lightheaded and begins laughing. The image on the balloon itself bands logo. One may place credence in the notion that this is associating the band with drugs and the use of drugs.

It should be noted that throughout the scenes the speed fluctuates constantly between slow motion and normal speeds. Slow motion is almost always used when the alcohol and drugs are being taken. Perhaps to reflect the adverse reactions that drugs and alcohol give, the slowing of time and at times lethargic feeling. When there are shots of the band performing there is no slow motion used. One minute 40 into the video the protagonists reach a bar. The over the shoulder shot from the man sees the three of them sitting down. The focus of the camera is on their glasses in the middle in the cheers motion. However, Non-stereotypical to he traditions of old people these three are cheersing large shots of vodka.

The three protagonists are then kicked out of the bar by security. These reckless antics are that teenagers succumb to, not the older generation. The shot as they are being kicked out is from outside the bar, through the window, and I is a hand held mid shot. The shot is brief but due to it being handheld and wobbly is seeks to reflect their hasty and frantic behavior. The shots up until the rave are all either steady cam or handheld. They build up tension and again reflect the recklessness of these old peoples behavior.

At the rave there is a close up of a women who makes a licking motion to a snake held in her hand. She is youthful contrasting with the three protagonists however that is her only juxtaposition. The close up captures her sexual licking motion, which we could describe as subtle phallic imagery. Her sexual and frantic behavior is mirrored by the old mans sexual behavior, where the camera quickly bans down to a close up of a different girl performing a standing lap dance upon him. The quick pan reflects the speed of the song also, as it has reached the drop.

Here we understand that it is not just the reckless activities such as drinking and drugs that are steriotyoycally associated with teenagers, but also the notion of sexual activity. To emphasize this, the director uses a long shot of a ravers buttocks. She is leading one of the old men into, presumably, the back room of a rave. The long shot allows us to see both herself and the man in the frame.

Here the close up of the girl displays sexuality; she is very attractive, appealing to the male audience. The close up is used to really emphasize her desirability by showing her lingerie.

Another stripper then enters and there is a wide shot as she begins to undress, where two of the girls are dancing over the men. The wide shot shows the contrast in age, which some viewers may find very uneasy to watch, where others will relate to the comical value of it. Slow pan down her body, from head to waist. This shot really heightens the slow seductiveness of the dancer. The pan mirrors the speed of her dancing. She is somewhat irresistible to the man and arguably the male audience members. This is conventional to the drum and bass genre and particularly in the music videos. Where women are casted purely for their looks, and become symbols of sexual activity.

We then become exposed to further drug use. A mid shot is used, although blurred at the section where the drugs are, of one of the old men cutting up a substance. We can infer that this is perhaps cocaine. There is then an extreme close up of him snorting it, although blurred still, and the purpose of the extreme close up is to again add the overt shock factor: an old man doing cocaine.

Through these scenes there are constantly cuts back to the band performing. The lead up to the final drop of the song is imminent. The shot here is a mid shot that begins in slow motion, of the lead singer moving around, and as soon as the drop hits, his arms flying into the air, he begins dancing- all in normal speed. Such a big juxtaposition of speed gives the impression that he is moving even faster than he is. The shot perhaps represents the speed and aggressiveness of the bands hard-hitting sounds, the drums, the kicks, the snares, the bass. This is a great example of Editing of speed in the music video.

After the drop the music video becomes quite frantic. Everybody is dancing. The director uses a great deal wide shots, showing the crowds around the band. Here we can see a very high angle shot. I doubt this has connotations to vulnerability, it is more likely used to a give a scope of just how big the crowed is, reflecting just how big Modestep is.

I must mention one way in which this video differs from conventions of the genre Drum & Bass. The vast majority of the videos do not even show the actual artists, there is just a somewhat irrelevant narrative played out on screen. Here Modestep are seen quite often. Perhaps the director wanted the audience to identify with the band, and as they were relatively new on the scene when this video was released, they needed greater publicity.
The shots at the rave vary from Arc shots, to long shots, to close ups to extreme close ups. We then cut to an extreme long shot of a boat party. This shot is specifically use to establish the new setting- it is also therefore an establishing shot. The boat perhaps is a representation of the extravagant and luxurious lifestyle lived by the group. The three protagonists are on the boat raving like teenagers. The shots on the boat are all in slow-motion, perhaps reflecting how the rave is nearly finishing and how our protagonists are growing more and more tired.

We flash back to rapid cuts of the entire video in chronological order They are over in approximately a second and a half. Perhaps this was done to remind us again of the hectic lifestyle the protagonists had been through over the course of a day.

There are then a series of relatively fast cuts with differing shots of the protagonists. A few that are conventional are a long shot of them DJing in the garden. Music is given prominence here, which is what the group Modestep are all about as music artists. They are having a great time still. Another conventional shot is this close up seen here- the sunglasses and flowery necklace, accessories commonly associated with raves and music festivals.

The shot here shows a close up of the old lady leaning upon her friend. The focus of the shot is on her, the man in the frames front is blurred. This seen is very comforting, and conventional to the drum and bass genre in that the theme of togetherness and friendship is prominent. The close up allows us to see the extreme detail in her face, a warming smile.

The music video ends with a picturesque long shot of the three protagonists walking into the dried up beach. The shot is showing their backs as they walk forward. The shot reinforces the becuaitul theme of youth and friendship, that is so prominent in the music video. The beach looks dried up, old, ancient. Perhaps the director chose this beach instead of one with sand and water because this would represent youth. Perhaps what he is trying to convey is that there is an inevitability to growing old, which they will do, if not have. It is almost as if that was their one final adventure together. Or perhaps even, the entire narrative we viewed did not in fact happen. That this is there imagination- of what could happen, if they were once again young. The shot then fades into black.

Mise-en- scene
Scene one: The old ladies home We can see in this scene clearly that the director designed the set so that it resembles a home inhabited by the elderly. However this is only at first glance. At first glance we see what looks to be antique teacups and plates, which is what we would stereotypically associate with elderly people. She also puts on, for music, not a CD player but in fact an old looking record. The briefcase it comes in has grey dull colours that could be associated with old people. This all creates a sense of age.
(Dull, colourless material that could be associated with the very elderly)

In this shot the table and the woman, who is on here own, are placed in the foreground. This shot lasts no longer than a second, and the huge speakers that would be associated with Youth and teenagers are in the background. I did not register that they were in fact there until the second time I watched the video. This allows us to understand that the speakers are not important to this particular scene yet, and that we should be focusing on her isolation and age.

In this shot we can see how the director creates the image of a quite street, one stereotypical to where the elderly would live. Tranquil and clean. Perhaps the saturation had been decreased during editing because there seems to be a somewhat greyish wash over the scene. There is a lack of natural lighting here also. Perhaps enhancing how mundane elderly life is. This stereotype is later broken completely.

The three protagonists are dressed in a way that reflects their age. These are stereotypical clothes that the elderly would wear. Warn out suits sporting dry, tedious colours. Greys and blacks. The man here is wearing a shirt and tie, very formal. The woman is wearing a worn out pink and grey shirt, that has a pattern on it that one may see in there grandparents house, as a bed sheet design. This is clearly not stereotypical to the drum and bass genre here, at all. The director clearly breaks away from the bright lights, extravagant colours and accessories associated with raves and further still the genre. Shocking us so much more when they begin their reckless antics.

The next scene is where the band are performing to a crowed. The mise-en-scene here really captures the essence of a music concert/rave. There are shots of the drummer and his drums. The Dj mixer. These all created the feel that the band is very professional, and also, that we are at the gig. The atmosphere is electric in this scene, which is completely juxtaposing the atmosphere at the beginning of the scene prior to this. We cant see much of the crowed at this moment. The focus is mainly o n the group and specifically on the vocalist.

Here we can see bands round the singers wrist. These are perhaps bands that are needed upon entry to raves and clubs. One may argue that the mainstreamer's of the audience will associate with this. Not because they are associated with the drum & bass genre, but because they are conventional and conformist to going to clubs and being in that popular circle. Wrist bands are also something associated with youth. He is seen also wearing an extremely baggy white T-shirt. Baggy clothes are conventional to this genre, due to the fact that when raving it is far better to wear less restricting clothes. It is the fashion associated with the genre, which is much more than a genre; mannysee it as a culture.

Then this whole theme of teenage recklessness becomes prominent throughout the entire video. The director shocks us greatly when they begin doing drugs, but before we are exposed to this, he gradually creates a slight sense of confusion, an example being when we see the three protagonists riding bicycles. Two bikes and one scooter; all symbols of youth. The shot is quite picturesque. Here we gain a sense that these are not ordinary, stereotypical old people.

They then begin smoking and drinking heavily. This is in the same room as where the old lady was eating alone in the opening scene. The director draws our attention to the record, spinning rapidly. This also promotes Modestep further, as their logo is in the middle of the record. On the table we can see Jack Daniels alcohol, being drunk from the same teacups as she drunk coffee from earlier. A bear cap, where the old man is drinking alcohol through a tube. Undoubtedly an accessory a teenager would own, or somebody of youth, not someone of age. Again we are speaking stereotypically. These are things that we associate with younger people. The old man then rolls a spliff. They all smoke it. Drugs are associated with teenagers and drum & bass culture. Media propaganda at times has lead us to believe that the music overtly promotes drug use, the director seems to adhere this somewhat illconvieved notion here. The genre is not about drugs. It is about togetherness and the beauty of raving. The drugs are not seen in a negative light. They bring the friends closer together, and there fun only increases, which reinforces the theme of friendship and togetherness in the video. Everything in this scene is stereotypical of society's view of a teenagers life.
See camera shots section for analysis of the mask.

We then cut back to the scene where the group are performing. We see the lead singer again and feel the atmosphere of a rave once more. This briefly acts as a break for the narrative also. This shot shows two ravers wearing sunglasses; which are accessories conventional to the rave scene associated with the drum and bass genre.

The next scene has an entirely different atmosphere. The mise-en-scene created is far more tranquil and soft (although contrasting with the hard sounds of the music). However, perhaps the mise-en-scene created here is to reflect this sense of freedom that the young have. They are by the beach, we can see beach huts in the background, boats and the water. It is a very beautiful image, away from the drugs and raving associated with the drum and bass genre. I believe it is there to reinforce the beauty of friendship.

After they are kicked out a pub, there is a scene leading up to the drop where they are lead by a beautiful younger women to a mysterious destination. We can see here in this shot how the director has manipulated his use of lighting to create this brief sense of mystery. Some may describe this lighting as low-key lighting. We can see brick walls and fencing in the background. They are being lead to a rave, and one may argue that the director is describing raves here as being quite dark. Audience members who are associated with the drum & bass culture will relate to seeing such scenes; darkened back corridors leading to illegal raves for example. It is familiar to them.

This shot really captures the essence of a rave. Togetherness. Crowed illation. There is a bright light, most likely a key light, to the right of the crowed of screen. This shines upon them, giving a warm, orangey colour to the shot, reflecting the warmth of the crowed at this rave. Here, leading up to the Drop of the song we notice something that is conventional to the drum & bass genre. The shinny, brightly lit hula hoop exhibits colours and shapes that would bee seen lighting a rave. During the scene in the back room of the rave the Mise-en-scene created by the director presents the themes of sexuality to the audience. There are women; half naked, in the scene wearing lingerie, dancing seductively over the two male protagonists. If one sees the protagonists as a representation of teenagers, than the women dancing upon them reflect the sexual lustful antics of teenagers. Some may argue that sex is extremely prominent in the drum & bass culture. Perhaps the director shared this view, and therefore wanted to adhere to these common conventions. The worn out couches and blackout windows create a sleazy feel to the scene. This seedy atmosphere is heightened further when one of the old men snorts cocaine of the girls back, who is positioned, back arched over, in a highly sexual manner. I must mention how the song has dropped here and the frantic dancing of the crowed is typical of drum & bass raves. It is not a manor in which you dance to house, rock, R & B etc. It is specific to this style of music because of the fast beat. Audience members that go to these raves will relate to this style of dancing.

The video does not, however, end on a sleazy note. We go back to more scenes of raving. In the new raving scenes we are bombarded with bright colours, flashing images, all for the purpose of creating the rave atmosphere and encouraging the audience to become more involved. It finishes on the theme of togetherness, depicted by the director showing them walking off down the beach, all three characters in the one shot. We can see boats in the background; symbolic of journeys perhaps. But they are stationary. Perhaps this is representing how their journey has come to an end. It is a beautiful shot to end with as it evokes feelings from the audience. We wonder if this had all been the dreams of these three old people, to be young once more. We also feel a warming, loving feeling as we have ended on a positive note ,(we could have ended on a drug overdose for example). The colours are, once again dull as they were at the beginning of the music video. One can interpret this as being a representation of how we must, eventually, succumb to age. But that we do not have to do it alone.

Editing:
In this music video a wide variety of editing techniques are demonstrated. The editing technique used most throughout, however, is jump-cutting. There are examples of this style exhibited everywhere in the video. Here we can see the first, in the first shot, the lady is throwing down her poker chips. Then there is an elliptical cut to a shot of the table being thrown over onto the floor. The jump cut is used expressively. Both to reinforce the recklessness of the protagonists behavior and to act as a break from the continuity editing used in the scene prior, of the group performing. It would suffice to say the use of continuity editing here would not work, as it would not capture the expression of the character, the old lady, lifting the table up so dramatically. This editing acts to prevent presenting a perfectly-contained story that unfolds before our eyes neatly. The story is impetuous and daring, and the hard cuts of the jumpcutting reflects this.

I have noticed, through my three textual analysiss and further studying of the drum & bass genre that jump cutting is an editing technique used in such a vast majority of the genres music videos. Perhaps this is because of the speed of the music. BPM of 160-190. The only editing technique that can really reflect the speed and hard sounds that come with the music is jump-cutting. The editor can manipulate the viewers sense of time whilst cutting on the precise beat.

Another example of where jump cutting is used. Here the old women is taking laughing gas. The jump cutting reinforces her displacement from the world through being drugged. As her figure changes the background remains constant, creating the dramatic affect of her moving away from us. As we begin on a close up- cut then to a mid shot- cut then to a mid/long shot. The jump cutting expressively suggests the drugged state of the character.

I must also note that if I had to give a percentage, on how much jump cutting is used in this video I would say 65 %. The other 35 % being other editing techniques. The technique is used greatly.

Parallel editing is used to a great extent in the music video. The director constantly cuts from scenes with the three protagonists to scenes of the band performing. Broadly defined, this allows the audience to both experience the cinematic narrative of these old people living the stereotypical lives of a teenager, and experience shots of the group performing in again, a stereotypical Rave environment.

Interesting also is how towards the end of the music video the three protagonists end up at the rave where the group are performing. This arguably reflects the inevitability of drum and bass and Modestep's music being a big part of the up 'beat, hectic lifestyles teenagers experience.

Here we can see how the drug preparation scenes are later edited to blur out the substances. This is due to the fact that you are not allowd to show the full preparation of illegal substances on the television. And in order to air there video- it was in need of this effect.

I have noticed also that throughout the video graphical editing is used relatively frequently. There are frequent shapes, of different shades and colours; white to green to yellow that swipe across the screen, over the image, as one shot cuts to another. They are extremely quick,(over in less than a second at times). Sometimes they appear in the corner of the screen such as this one. Other times they resemble the cracking sound and flickering off a record or tape recorder, (in this screen shot the vinyl begins to play and the effect of the graphical editing reflects its scratching motion. We can see here how it in fact also de-saturates the colour of the music video for a brief second.. The purpose of these, I believe, are to 1. Reflect the patterns and shapes seen in raves, distributed by the intense light machines. Secondly, to expressively smooth over the cuts between shots. Finally, there third purpose is to reinforce the theme of Youth in the music video. They resemble graffiti at times- and graffiti is clearly an art form associated with youth. They resemble the partly transparent stroke of a paint brush, that are frequently styled with the artistic painting technique of pointillism. (tiny tiny dots)

Slow-motion has been used to a great extent in this video. Scenes are edited to be entirely in slow motion, which increase the artistic nature of this video. It also seeks to slow down the music video before the drops, and then stopping after the drop. Speed is a key factor in this video and reinforces the speed of the music.

Throughout the video, when one shot cuts to another, nearly all of them do it exactly on the drum/bass/kick/snare beat of the music. One may, due to the nature of this being a music video, class this as rhythmical editing. It delivers a smooth narrative to watch where the actions of the characters coincide with the layers of the song.

Near the end of the video (3:34) the vocals of the song shout bring the beat back. At that moment the drum sounds increase in speed, and there are a sequence of shots that cut from one to the other extremely quickly. These shots show what has happened previously in the music video, almost like a flash back. It is over in around two seconds, but there are most probably over 15 shots that flash before out eyes.

We are reminded of the reckless antics of these three protagonists before the final shot where they are on the beach together and the setting is tranquil.

The shots that are in this sequence one may class as perhaps all being conventional to the genre. There is a shot of a spliff, then a cut to the protagonists on BMXs, then a cut to them drinking alcohol, then a gas mask, and so on- all iconic to drum & bass

SOUND
The music video starts with the diegetic sound of the protagonist drawing her curtains. Then of her turning on the gas, then the sound of her cracking and egg in a pan and finally her opening her record player and playing the vinyl. Perhaps the director wanted to engross the audience with the mundane tasks of life, but then what we experience later in the video is a complete opposite. Therefore showing the contrast.

These all act as an introduction to the song, call it the opening to the narrative. The setting is established and we identify with sounds that our in our own lives as an audience. The actual song starts after the vinyl is played by the old women; we can here the crackling of the old record and the isolated vocals of the groups singer. Once the first 32 beats of the vocals are finished, the song kicks in with a hard bass sound. All diegetic sound stops till around 37 seconds in

The scene 37 seconds in shows the three protagonists running into an off license store and stealing alcohol. The diegetic sound that is heard is not as loud as the main song, but clearly hearable. It is off the store owner shouting oi, get back here, before he chases the chaos causing protagonists out his shop. Perhaps the purpose of using this diegetic sound was to really draw attention to the carless and rash actions of these three protagonists that could arguably be symbolic of teenagers.

I must note that from my analysis, I can draw the conclusion that the director of the music video did not want to break up the fluid narrative with song breaks and excessive diegetic sound, perhaps because the story and song work so well in their simplicity. Also, where other genres will use complete sections in their music video where the actual song is not played and actors are given lines at times; similar to a short film, drum and bass music videos rarely do. The speed and tempo of the song is enough to, in itself, create the pace of the narrative. Drum and bass songs have moments where the tempo is slowed, there are big drops, fluid sounds, and it is because of this that engrossing narratives can so easily be laid upon.