Six Music Videos Influenced By Film
In an age of intertextuality, it is of no surprise that film has heavily influenced all other video products that exist. The music video is unique in it’s artistic power and indelible ability to drive creative invention within film based media. Historically, music videos have been proving grounds for cutting edge film techniques. Music Videos have given pioneering Directors, such as the Scott brothers, a space for experimentation that often leads to new forms of expression. In the years after MTV’s release the average shot length in an American film dropped from ten seconds to six. And in the digital age music videos have only continued to forge brave new paths into the amalgam of digital interactive storytelling and traditional film narrative.
Documentary Legend: Praise You by Fat Boy Slim
No one knew what was happening in 1999 when director Spike Jonze directed Fat Boy Slim’s Praise You. It is one of the most famous – and only – examples of a relationship between documentary and music video. The guerilla shooting style is testament to Director Jonze’s skill in capturing relationships between absurd and awesome. In the video, Jonze leads a dance troop that spontaneously breaks into a dance routine outside of a Westside movie theatre. With a budget of only $800 the music video has gone down in history as one of the best ever.
Art & Animation: Power by Kanye West
So while Kanye actually thinks he is Jesus, in terms of the music video production he really is. Kanye West may be the biggest dick head under the sun, but his music videos are actually something else. It has been commented that Power "marks a change in the way we look at music videos as a medium - it's less a music video, more a modern art montage” says Chris Ryan. The video features unreal special effects – drawing on references from many great CGI films. Power is not only a visual spectacle, but also a unique route for rap music video to take. The juxtaposition is glorious - praise Yeezus.
One Shot Wonder: Call Your Girlfriend by Robyn
Call Your Girlfriend – song by Robyn – was conceptualized by Max Vitela. The music video was shot in a single take. Technically, this is insane (and extremely cinematic.) By employing the use of single steady cam shot Director Viteli is telling one extremely streamline, interpretive narrative through Robyn’s unbelievably rich choreography. The lighting is extremely self aware – a salient aspect of stylized cinema. A 3:1 crop is an unusual, but fitting choice in this clip. Not only is Robyn the coolest fox ever, but also her music video are always unbelievably cinematic which just assures you she really is the best Swedish export.
Editing Gold: 99 Problems by Jay-Z
One of the many powers of the music video is the creative editing options that can be made. Jay Z is one of the originators of the avant-garde music video – opting for original ideas for videos in the rap genre. The video was nominated for Video of the Year, and yet the most resounding quality of the clip is the editing. Mark Romanek knew exactly what he wanted and the video has been cut to cinematic standards of pace and mood. While there is no one singular defining narrative storyline, so much can be derived from the editing choices – the image matching and the motion changes.
High Budget Gone Bad: Roar by Katy Perry
I guess while there are great things derived from film that is found in music video, there are – thus – downsides too. A lot of time (in both film and music videos) the higher the budget, the less authentic the piece. Katy Perry may have selected to apply a uninventive mandatory visual to her commercialized product and in the case of the music video – Roar – it is just tragic. By the three-minute mark when Katy Perry has now personified the tiger I think it is fair to say that artists should learn from filmmakers mistakes – bigger isn’t always better. Just because the cost of Nokia to plug their product may have covered the entire production budget, doesn’t mean it has to look like an awkward corporate concept.
More is Less: Paradise by Cold Play
While this music video practically went viral within 24 hours of its release, it makes a lot of sense as to why. It was an extremely relatable story that was executed really well. So while it is not the most resounding piece of music video art in the world it certainly mirrors the romantic comedy in terms of genre. It’s nice. It’s comfortable. It doesn’t question any preconceived ideas of story and film making and sometimes that is the purpose of cinema too – just to feel really fucking good. The minute the elephants align you just feel happy – and that is an important part of film as well.
By Danielle Pearce