“Paradise” by Coldplay – Music Video Review

The music video of Coldplay’s Paradise tells the story of a trapped “elephant,” or a man in a elephant costume at least, who escapes from its cage and eventually makes it home back to Africa. The story is linear and follows the “elephant” through out the whole video as a main character

The first shot of the music video is a sunrise over the African plains, which serves the purpose of setting up the location of the video and shows that the video is beginning with the start of a new day. The sunrise shots are also used to display the recording studio, the director’s name, the name of the band and the title of the song. Screen Shot 2015-11-09 at 11.40.41 PM Screen Shot 2015-11-09 at 11.38.29 PM Screen Shot 2015-11-09 at 11.40.34 PM Screen Shot 2015-11-09 at 11.38.23 PM

The “elephant” is the main character in the music video and is featured in the majority of the shots, in order for the shots not to feel repetitive, the directer made deliberate choices when framing the shots to add variety. Throughout the video there were close ups of the elephant’s eyes and face, medium shots of the elephant walking and very wide shots of the elephant riding the unicycle in the African Plains. The wide shots of the elephant riding the unicycle down the street were not framed by using the rule of thirds, but rather by being symmetrical.

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The elephant is framed in the middle of the road with each side being completely symmetrical.
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Another use of symmetry to frame the character, this time with the head off to reveal the lead singer of the band. This is the ONLY shot with the elephant head off, even when they are performing onstage at the end of the video. This shot legitimizes the video more because the viewer knows that (for at least this shot) it is the leader of the band underneath the costume and not some stunt double (or a real elephant).

Besides the framing of the video, the director added variety to the shots by changing up the speeds of some of the clips. The video features regular speed shots, slow motion as well as time lapse shots to give the viewer a more diverse range of clips rather than just shots at regular speed.

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The time lapse shots were also used to show that time had been passing.

Some other important shots in the video to set the scene included the footage of planes taking off and landing in other areas of the world. These shots keep the story moving and indicate a change in location for the next scene. It would be interesting to see if the shots used to transition in the story were stock clips or shot specifically for this music video.

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Another theme common in many shots through out the video was the use of lens flares when the camera was filming characters and pointing in the direction of the sun. These lens flare appear to natural flares caused by the sun but it is always possible that they were enhanced and corrected in post production.

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Another interesting shot in the video was the footage of the elephant looking off into the distance at his friends. When he first peers at them they are completely out of focus (middle shot) and when it transitions to being sharp (right shot) it indicates that the elephant located his friends. This shot gives the point of view of the main character and engages the viewer.

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