Use of Music

A fellow multimedia shooter recently addressed the ethics of using music in video and multimedia stories. One question was, if music “evoke emotion that isn’t already there?” Does the use of music manipulate the viewer?

I’d like to hear feedback on this. In my book, yes music does manipulate the viewer. As does framing, lighting, cropping, choice of shots, choice of sound, pacing, etc. The same applies to writing. I think the reader is manipulated with choice of words, composition, what we choose to emphasize, and so on. I would argue that effective storytelling depends on manipulating the viewer, nudging the viewer in a certain direction. How much we do depends on the kind of story. Tools of creative manipulation are used less in news stories than documentary and feature pieces, for example.

Thoughts? Check out this example of Rwanda genocide victims, produced by Media Storm.

Intended Consequences


About Phil Carpenter

Hi all. I'm a newspaper photo/video journalist at The Gazette in Montréal, Canada, and I'm just reviving my film making skills from my university days, for the online version of our paper. It's been 13years since I began shooting professionally, four years at The Gazette, and a year since I've begun shooting and producing video stories and documentary shorts. I'm enjoying it immensely. In addition I have taught photojournalism at Concordia University's school of journalism, been a guest lecturer and panelist on classes and workshops on photo and multi media journalism. View all posts by Phil Carpenter

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