Short Formats: Music Video

Our last stop before going deep into narrative short films is the music video.

Similar to the viral promos, videoclips are selling something discreetly, but the process to make a music video to work is more aleatory. I mean, it can literally be anything.

A good music video idea doesn’t need to match the desired song like a glove, they mostly don’t, what you must look after is that it ought to correspond to the artist’s image. This is really simple to visualize, let’s start with Radiohead’s House of Cards music video.

It wasn’t even used a camera for it, which means it is totally a videoclip weirdo. And totally fits Radiohead as a band. You can’t visualize Katy Perry with the same music video. This is her California Gurls just in case you need an example:

Boobs.

Yet, usually the concept for a music video comes from a discussion between guys like you and me and the musicians themselves. So if you get an idea for a music video right now you have two choices: Keep it in your closet; Try to sell it to some local band hoping to kick off your videoclip career. It’s not easy to into ths industry, but none of the business we talk here is easy to be part of.

What is interesting about the music videos is that they can be anything. They can tell a little story, like Michael Jackson’s Thriller. It can be a shot of your artist’s face singing, like Sinéad O’Connor’s Nothing Compares 2 U. Or even the same basic idea with a twist, as Björk’s All is Full of Love Perhaps just a concept to use as reference, like the grotesque at Nine Inch Nails’ Closer or cop movies as Beastie Boys’ Sabotage. Or it may only be “Christopher Walken dancing” or a bunch of hipsters on treadmills. I could give a thousand examples of how different music video concepts may be between them, but that would only prove that they can be anything as long as it fits the musician/song.

What actually matters is that the music video industry has changed a lot in the past few years, since MTV gave preference to Jersey Shore over videoclips. Nowadays the main vehicle for video clips is the internet and that means everything is valid now when it concerns to format. We just recently had Kanye West’s 34 minutes mini-movie, Runaway, with more than 11-million views on Youtube. This makes runtime not a problem anymore. Then you have Arcade Fire’s We Used to Wait, which uses an HTML5 interactive platform to generate the music video.

It’s a great time for good ideas at music videos. Please yourself.

This is the fourth article of the series Short Formats. You may check the others by clicking here.

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