Vampire Weekend – A Punk

Posted: October 21, 2010 in Anthony Szymaniak

Vampire Weekend’s A Punk was directed by Gareth Jenkins. It is a performance piece, all done with stop motion animation, the whole video is done in a long shot, but this doesn’t defer from who we are meant be focused on in certain parts of the song. Doing the whole video in a long shot does though allow us to see the whole band. The camera is in the same position the entire track, so the band members move closer. The lead singer moves around the most, to fit into different framing compositions, so that our focus is put in a certain direction.

The stop motion animation is incorporated into the music video very well as Match on action is used as the music is in time with each animation. For example when the drum beat is heard, the animation will be used to make the drummer beat at the same time as the actual beat is heard. This would have taken along time to film, as stop motion animation is made by taking several pictures with the slightest movement each time, the pictures are then added together to create the video, to get the music to match the animation is a big achievement as it is difficult to do.

Vampire Weekend has used mise-en-scene in the video, by having all the members dress up in bright knitted sweaters. The connotation this has is that they are neat and intellectual, but the colours of the sweaters show the connation that they are also fun and have a feel-good feeling. It is clear who the lead singer of Vampire Weekend is though, as he often moves to the front, still the other band members are visible though as the lead singer is positioned to the right. This is a frame is used to show the importance of the band members, the lead singer is more noticeable as he is further forward, whilst before your focus was on all the members as they were all in the same position. The use of Lead singer being positioned in the is way also adds to the promotional build-up, this refers to Goodwin’s music theory that,

“A music video is not primarily a commodity form, but a promotional one”

In the next part of the video is done with a snow theme. The four members of Vampire Weekend are lined up together, further forward to the camera making it seem like a mid-shot although the camera hasn’t moved, and three of the members of the band are on drums including the lead singer. Whilst there is the keyboard player further back then the rest, although he’s further back then the rest of the band members, it is his instrument that is heard the most, this is a good use of mise-en-scene as it shows that the keyboard player is an important part of the band, but he works more subtly behind the scenes.

Further on in the video a blue filter is used on the lighting for an underwater scene. The only member seen in this part of the music video is the lead singer so this restores power status back to him. Fingers are shown in front of the camera with paper fish on the end of them, the fingers move in a frantic way to add a feeling that they are out of control. The fingers are all pointing towards the singer as to show that the way this is framed, it makes us focus on him. This also has the connation that he is so important that even the fish follow him.

The last part of the video ends in the way that A Punk started, in a long shot with all the band members in a line, with the camera in long-shot. This shows that the level of importance is equal. Although at the end of the song, the music sounds of with the lyrics “Hey, Hey, Hey, Hey” on each “Hey” a band member leaves, and funnily enough it is the lead singer who is the last to leave, this shows his status and importance is higher than the other members of Vampire Weekend.

In conclusion, Vampire Weekends feel-good, fun factor is also submersed in the fight for dominance between the band members as a lot of the video is focused on the lead singer who is positioned, in the Point of focus.


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