Nowadays, the idea of a single without a music video seems unthinkable. But it hasn’t always been this way. Although the first music clip in history was from The Beatles, it was MTV that lead the boom of music with moving pictures. “Video Killed the Radio Star” by The Buggles, was the first music video broadcasted by the channel.
Music videos end up being a consequence of the recession that happened in the music industry in the 80’s. MTV intended to be the marketing vehicle that promoted artists and influenced consumers to buy their records. But more than promoting the artists, a music video sold (and still sells) style, fashion, and products.
In the Youtube Era, music videos make even more sense. How do you promote a band online without a video? Actually, artists have started to release more than one video for each single, including Lyric Videos, which are all the rage now.
With so much spam coming to you from all sides, how can you find music videos that stand out?
It isn’t easy, but some really awesome ones show up from time to time. And now it’s even possible to create interactive music videos, in which you can control the action. Interlude is a platform that allows you to do this, and according to the website, each person watches the same video about 3 times. It isn’t difficult to understand why: the story unfolds according to your choices, and there’s always the curiosity to see what’s behind the options you didn’t choose.
Putting aside interactivity, in a normal music video there are multiple directions that you can take. Illustrating the literal interpretation of the lyrics? Illustrating the feeling the music transmits? Simply showing the artist singing? Telling a story? Opting for effects our techniques that give the wow factor to a less intricate idea? The possibilities are endless and there are excellent examples of every one of these choices. Sometimes the most bizarre ideas are the ones that work best.
Telling a story
And speaking of bizarre stories… A music video that takes place in a funeral, where the two protagonists die and come out of the coffin, to celebrate their new life. A simple concept, able to tell a story and give the video its own liveliness (pun intended). I’m particularly enthusiastic about the cinematography of this music video, directed by Hiro Murai and cinematography by Larkin Seiple.
Flying Lotus – “Never Catch Me” ft Kendrick Lamar, directed by Hiro Murai
Taking advantage of the beat of the music
And telling a story in a not so linear way… While at the same time exploring the light and texture of the picture, giving it life even in black and white. That’s what Jarryd James’ “Do You Remember” brings us. The team knew how to take advantage of the simple colors and enrich them by changing the light. It’s interesting to see how a shot and a simple change in lighting can change everything.
Jarryd James – “Do You Remember”, directed by Jake Jelicich
Working your magic in After Effects…
The video “Nie muszę wracać” uses the beat of the song to create an equalizer of sorts, using holes in a net. There’s no story but there are visual effects that will leave you stuck to your screen.
Pezet x Jimek – “Nie muszę wracać” directed by Kijek/ Adamski
Video + Animation
When the shots themselves are simple and not much more than the artist singing, a little bit of animation can transform the video. In “For Everybody” there are animations that bring a new dimension the movements within the video. In the same vimeo account we can find other music videos that share the same aesthetic. Some weirder than others, but original nonetheless!
JUICY J – “For Everybody” feat Wiz Khalifa & R. City, from Ruffmercy
Even Justin Bieber has given in to this style. The music video of his last single with Skillex is mostly made up of frames drawn by his fans (or not), that drew whatever they felt like around his image. The result was this:
There are some even more out of the box concepts…
Like the 24 hour-long video from Pharell Williams, that makes us “Happy” all day. Or 360º videos that almost leave the directing to the spectator and drive us to interaction. It’s the case of Infinite’s music video for their single “Bad”. Imagination is the limit!
Yet sometimes simplicity is king
Like Childish Gambino’s video for “Sober”. One place, two people, and a conversation. A simple story that reaches us easily, with no great inventions. Another video directed by Hiro Murai.
Childish Gambino – “Sober”, directed by Hiro Murai.
About looking for more inspiration…
When it comes to escaping the more mainstream side of things, vimeo is the answer but you can also stay tuned to our Staff Picks!