Posted by: mallory527 | March 19, 2009

Music Video Review: Britney Spears-Circus

First off, this music video makes use of very soft color tones that seems to compliment each other.  Britney’s skin tone, her hair color and the jewelry in the first scene all are somewhat  similar and produce a warm and pleasant glow. This tan glow is visible throughout the whole video, interrupted only slightly by the brighter colors of the other performers’ costumes.  The brightest color that stands out the most appears to be red.  

 When analysing the video techniques used, in the first few seconds the usage of framing is very apparent.  Britney is being framed by the mirror, which is alternating from a medium close up to a standard close up, with extreme close ups being used on her dressing table and jewelry  (Setting Up Your Shots).  Moving further into the video, we see the usage of the silhouette technique, which assists with establishing perspective (Setting Up Your Shots). The silhouette technique is utilized when the spotlight shining from the background is much stronger than the lighting in the foreground, making Britney’s figure completely black.  This technique is seen throughout the video in scenes where Britney is alone along with when she is dancing with other performers.  The silhouettes are amplified by bright spotlights or brightly light backgrounds.

The usage of lighting seems to be very important throughout this video either as an illumination or as a cause of shadow.  Towards the middle of the video, as Britney dances in a type of alley with her other circus performers, the lighting brightens and darkens, sometimes making the character’s faces visible, other times, not.  This video seems to be using a “harsh top light” as seen in Setting Up Your Shots, because the character’s faces are shadowed rather than illuminated by the bright lighting.  In the scenes that utilize the spotlight to  emphasise Britney, a red, flat background is used, so that she doesn’t get swallowed by the light.

Most of the camera angles throughout the video are straight forward, without any real skew.  There are a couple of instances where the camera takes some low angle shots, making the man on stilts and ballerinas seem larger than they really are, but otherwise no interesting angles are attempted.  Zoom also is used very often throughout the video.  As described in Setting Up Your Shots, zoom can either be used in a slow fashion or more quickly.  In this video the zooms are quick because they are being utilized to attract attention to the dancers and Britney.

Overall, this video sets the correct mood and emphasizes the concept of  “the circus,” which is what I think Britney was going for.  The color choices and lighting all work to create a harmonious atmosphere that is pleasing to the viewer’s eye. However, if I were to change anything about this video it would be the choice of camera angles.  The angles were too straight forward throughout the entire video, which seemed almost out of sync with the circus idea.  When I think of the circus I think of fun, excitement, and action.  The use of one straight forward angle did not necessarily convey these thoughts.  Also, if there was more camera movement the video may possess more life which would in turn better communicate the theme of  “the circus”


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