Writing with Lead: A video remix analysis
Far too often we are confronted with the ever so common video remix. A bold form of creativity where an artist takes existing video clips along with audio clips and combines them in to something new. The YouTube video “Lead Breakfast” is a audio and video mash-up of the famous cult classic film “Pulp Fiction” directed by Quentin Tarentino. The video itself was posted in July of 2012 and it was created by Nick Bertke a popular music producer and remix artist. Nick has clients such as Disney and Microsoft and mush of his work has been displayed in museums around the world. The remix “Lead Breakfast” simply takes audio from the film “Pulp Fiction” and pairs it up with video clips that match with the audio to make a complex three and a half minute rhythmic experience. In this particular remix the author has spliced several video clips to show many at the same time using some framing techniques not limiting the viewers creative absorption to just one clip at a time.
A good place to start the analysis is to go in depth with Scott Mcloud’s triangle concept to pull apart the remix piece by piece to fully understand what parts and pieces we have. In the first second of the remix the audio says “Hey Kids” and the door slams on the camera. I immediately reference being a child and watch those old commercials that said something along the lines of “Hey Kids! try this!” or “Hey Kids! Check this Out” trying to get our attention to go out and buy something as a small child and this statement itself has made a iconic impression, grabbing my attention. What happens after that in the video is nothing short of reality. Mcloud’s triangle has reality in one corner, the iconic realm in the other with abstraction at the top. The video, if you have not seen pulp fiction, can be very gory and unpleasant and with what we have talked about in class, this remix video is certainly in the corner of reality, most of the remix is in this category as well. At 0:56 seconds you can hear words of profanity and a very disturbing picture of the actress in the movie overdosing on cocaine, this is reality and is as clear as can be. Since there is no animation or visual effects in the remix itself we will discuss what could be more abstract and iconic instead of reality.
Right after the last clip we discussed pops on, at 0:57 seconds there is a quick flash of two people standing on stage which look to be Marilyn Monroe and Richard Nixon. The movie used these people to act as two iconic celebrities from the past to play as restaurant employees and the whole world knows how iconic these people are and the author must have used them not only as the audio fill but also to show recognizable faces in the film besides just the famous actors in the movie. The entire video shows heavy drug use and iconic images of needles and guns along with alcohol and cocaine. Some parts of the audio are a bit iconic as well, such as the class shotgun reloading sound but also there is significant ‘clap’ sound which is the briefcase slamming against the table but it is the sound that keeps the rhythm going and gives you that classic iconic beat that people are very familiar with.
When we take a closer look at what is abstract is this remix there is evidence of a very un easy feeling when looking at all the clips being played, but where are the marching guards coming from? the whole video makes sense in its own way but the marching guards are a very hard image to follow. I can assume the audio is the low un-describable sound coming from the video, but the marching backwards and the movie don’t match up as well and I would be curious to see what the artist’s intention was. The audio in the ‘chorus’ part where the guards are marching is a bit of a dark mood to it and it does fit well with the remix as a whole, but I love how the artist thought of this particular part and decided to play it backwards and found out you get this low “hmmmm”-ing noise, very interesting and very abstract.
When pulling these videos and putting them on YouTube, how can one get away with not recognizing the rights to the movie itself? When researching I understand that the artist has many affiliations with many companies but I have yet to find one that he has not affiliated with and writes a disclaimer about the film company. The artist uses everything from the movie, all the sounds, all the audio is all ripped directly from the movie. Even the Iconic framing technique as the video pans from left to right is based off of the intro to the movie, he simply replaced the actual movie clips with clips that sync up with his audio. Where can we draw the line and say that is against the law, or can we draw the line? I think as long as you clearly explain where the product came from and how you made it different it should be ok to use at your disposal, I think much more creativity and art would show up if people we not scared of the copyright laws that many companies have on their products.
– Casey Cotcamp