Music video world has naturally inherited a large part of cinema classification. However, the goal and the format of a music video is radically different than from a movie, and a number of aspects remain to be named and identified…
Over time cinema has been allowed a specific nomenclature for classifying styles and techniques. Some of these qualifiers can be fully or partially used in the music video universe, and another part remains without clear denomination, yet to communicate around a discipline it’s imperative to ask words on its concepts.
Generally technical jargon remains the same and only some music videos production methods deserve their own appellation.
For this genre to become more ambiguous, can we talk about music or thrill horror when we recover the old “Thriller” by Michael Jackson? For our part, we will talk about themes rather, but there is an open debate that you can respond in the comments below .
A music video can be cut in two fundamental aspects: those are the graphic style and format. We will discuss that in another article on the concept of visual style.
Today we will focus primarily on music video format and in particular to the first layer of this format. When we observe all the music videos there are two main format families that we termed “Display” and “Story”
Story music video
A music video is a separate discipline that cannot be fully interpreted in the same frame as a movie. Setting up a scenario in a music video involves new constraints related both to size but also to the music, you need to know how to combine the highlights of the title with the emotionally intense images. We can consider the musical comedy as a hybrid genre between these two extremes, of the movie on one side and music video on the other.
To belong to the genre of “Story music video,” a direction can be:
- Staging a full history corresponding to the overall story of the title (with some “neutral shots”)
- Staging word for word the text of the music. (I speak of a man who drinks while I watch a man who drinks …)
- Staging a story whose background is the same as that of the song but the form differs. A bit like a fable, the music video is a metaphor.
While some comments are better suited than others to the development of this type of music, there is no need of words to make a Story clip, see example below:
No official music video « The Devil’s Den » by Skrillex & Wolfgang Gartner directed by Arev Manoukian
Spy Plus Vimeo channel
Display music video
One class in “Display music video” family are music videos which simply illustrate about the music purely aesthetically, and without a real chronology like we can find in the story of a book or ‘a movie.
Usually found in these music videos, about 5 to 10 scenes (character (s) + suit (s) + finish) are cut into many shots (Focus on different parts of the scene, change of angle of view , different camera movements), and it’s these plans that overlap each other without a logical sequence .
In this kind of music video, effort is often put on production quality images (capture accuracy, lighting, makeup, costumes, sets, special effects …), and the subjects are often filmed singing, dancing, or playing a musical instrument. For efficiency reasons it is the most used music video format
Shot types found in the Display Clips can be cut in three major groups:
- Sequences imaging the words. i.e: If the words are “we are there, we are drinking” it shows the subject with a drink in hand.
- Face Expressions, attitudes or mimes. i.e: If the words are “i make money, i make money” I rub my fingers against each other.
- Words. i.e: If the words are “Super hero”, we literally see the word “Super hero”.
By illustrating the theme with these 3 types of shots we may get a video shaped without a structured story, however color videos are added to the remarks.
We call «neutral shots» the ones that don’t indicate directly the sense of the words (a singer in front of the mic, a group playing music, a group of dancers…)
Scream & Shout” de Will I Am feat Britney Spears
WilliamVEVO YouTube channel