One thing that I’ve noticed over the years at the Eurovision Song Contest is that pretty much anyone can describe what they like or don’t like about a song – it’s one reason why Juke Box Jury is not only an easy listen but allows for you all to have a lot of debate in the comments. Describing faults in a song is easy, because everyone knows what a bad note sounds like, how to describe it, talk about key changes, verse and chorus structures, voices that work together or not al all, and so on.
The same is not true about the visual side of things. From shot selection and framing, to adding in movement and depth, and telling a thematic story, the Song Contest is full of visual media, yet there’s not a huge amount of discussion beyond “that’s a hot mess”. In short, cinematography plays a large part in the Contest, but it’s not an area that is easily discussed.
Time to try to change that.
Taking a lead from Tony Zhou’s filmic series ‘Every Frame A Painting‘, I’m going to explore the visual world of the Eurovision Song Contest. Along the way I’m going to try to give you all a basic grounding in some film school techniques to help us all discuss the rehearsals and stage performances that we see on the screens ahead of the live shows in May. What works, what doesn’t, which countries are complementing the audible with the visual, and which are just filming a live gig and want to get in some flashy steadicam moves with little thought to how they work with the lyrics and composition?
This is ‘Every Song A Story’
Personal Connections With The Sound Off
In this introductory episode, I talk a little about the goals of ‘Every Song A Story’, before showing you how important the visual element is by taking away the audio. Why is it that one song works well with no audible assistance, and another song becomes a shadow of itself? How are these moments used to connect with the viewers at home (and in the Jury Room), and what happens if this connection is not made?
Now watch the second episode of ‘Every Song a Story’, as I talk about framing and storytelling.
Every Song A Story will run weekly throughout April. It might even last into May, and if we see something nice in Vienna there might be a special edition. We’re not sure yet how far this can go, so we look forward to your reaction a little more than normal. Leave your thoughts in the comments, or reach out directly to email@example.com.