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Music Videos are not what they used to be.


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#1 elvworks

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Posted 21 February 2006 - 03:39 PM

Maybe this is just me venting.

Music Videos (MTV/VH1, whatever) used to be the place where you have some of your most cutting edge stuff. Now, almost all the videos are saturated and overexposed. They look really horrible, and most of them look the same. It appears now anyone can have a music video. Just get your camcorder, saturate your whites so they bleed right through the screen onto the viewer's living room floor and get a bunch of people dancing in someone's backyard. Or under a bridge.

I know saturating the white color spectrum is partly style, but I think many use it to hide the fact that their using video.

But I do have to say, once in a WHILE, I still do come upon a nice music video that is really creative and visually appealing. And they stand out more because of all the other crap that is on there.

Rick
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#2 Josh Bass

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Posted 21 February 2006 - 04:06 PM

Um. . .aren't most of the music videos you describe shot on 35mm? Whatchu talkin' bout, Rick?
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#3 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 21 February 2006 - 04:40 PM

As far as I know, most music videos are shot on Super-16, some on 35mm, a few digitally.
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#4 Ryan Puckett

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Posted 21 February 2006 - 04:50 PM

When I first started doing music videos I had a lot of the same complaints. I kept thinking back and reminiscing over how awesome most of the videos were when I was younger. After getting a chance to see a bunch of old music videos I realized that they have always been pretty lame, and repetitive.

There are usually only one or two standout videos a year, and all the rest are knockoffs of a previous style. Everything comes in waves, and this isn't any different then other pop culture products.
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#5 Wendell_Greene

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Posted 21 February 2006 - 05:57 PM

I'm not sure where you're watching these videos [maybe Blastro?} but the main channels of MTV and VH-1 rarely play music videos, and the ones they do play are from a very tight playlist culled from top selling/mainstream radio artists. Nearly all of these are shot on film, mainly Super 35 .



The videos you see on the alternate channels of Viacom: MTVU, MTV2, MTVJams, VH-1 Soul and BET, and on competing channels like FUSE, are also, for the most part shot on film: 35 and S16, along with a few on HD [Varicam mainly] and video.

99% percent of the hip-hop/ R&B videos are shot on film as are the majority of videos for Country artists on CMT. The high end beauty look that is specific to these genres of music demands the use of film and hours spent in the telecine suite. I also have to say that the new Vision stocks in 16 are amazing and this allows some of the lower budget projects to be able to shoot on film as opposed to HD or SD video.

As for breaking new ground, music videos or "promos" as the Brits called them, are really nothing more than commercials promoting the artist's and their song. So only cccasionally, rarely even, does one come along where the artist, director, song, concept, label, stars and 99 other variables align perfectly at the right time and place so that something magical happens.

Nevertheless, there are plenty of examples of outstanding music videos shot on film.

Search no further than the work of Director Chris Milk on videos by Audioslave "Doesn't Remind Me", Modest Mouse'["Ocean Breathes Salty"] or "Touch The Sky" by Kanye West, or Floria Sigismondi's work for Fiona Apple's "O'Sailor" and Patrick Daughter's new video "Gold Lion" by The Yeah, Yeah Yeahs" or Dave Meyer's work with Missy Elliot "Lose Control" , Daniel Askill's video for Sia "Breathe Me" or my personal favorite, the beautiful "Glosoli " by Sigur Ros

[FYI, You can watch this and all the other videos I listed on Yahoo Launch. You'll have to wait as a 15 or 30 second advertisement plays prior to each video you select to view. Sorry, but there's no such thing as a "free lunch". ]
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#6 elvworks

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Posted 21 February 2006 - 07:17 PM

Well, my point was more of what they are shot on, but how they look as well as many appear overexposed. I used the word camcorder as an exageration and I certainly didn't want to ruffle anyone's feathers who have done or are doing music videos.

As a whole, I just don't find as much enjoyment as I used to in them. Many look the same, without distinction. Maybe it's the music, I don't know.



Rick
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#7 Dan Goulder

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Posted 21 February 2006 - 07:58 PM

Ah, the incredible shrinking attention span of the modern video editor... In fact, people with Epileptic tendencies should avoid MTV altogether. Rather than creating a video to rhythymically follow, and perhaps even enhance an already created piece of original music, we now find more and more situations of a video concept in search of a song. Songwriting has become an inconvenience one has to endure in order to have a soundtrack for his or her video, which has taken on the greater importance.
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#8 Jamie Metzger

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Posted 22 February 2006 - 12:48 AM

Not to be rude, but why the hell would you shoot anything on super 35 if your not going to be projecting it.
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#9 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 22 February 2006 - 12:58 AM

Not to be rude, but why the hell would you shoot anything on super 35 if your not going to be projecting it.


Well, assuming you can afford it, because it looks better. Even on standard def television broadcast, you can tell the quality difference between 16mm and 35mm, although it's gotten closer. But most high-end dramatic TV shows, commercials, etc. shoot in 35mm for the picture quality.

As for why they shoot specifically Super-35 (Full Aperture) for TV, it's just because there's no reason not to -- why not use the soundtrack area on the negative for picture info if you're not going to make a contact print with optical sound? I'm not sure that you are aware that 4-perf Super-35 has a 1.33 : 1 aspect ratio, the same as 4x3 TV. And 3-perf Super-35 has a 1.78 : 1 aspect ratio, the same as 16x9 TV. In case the reason for your remark was because you thought Super-35 was a widescreen format, which it isn't necessarily. It just means exposing the Full Aperture width instead of the Sound Aperture (Academy) width.
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#10 Josh Bass

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Posted 22 February 2006 - 01:18 AM

He's right, though. . .


All the videos these days do seem to look the same, in terms of the color scheme/color correction techniques used. It transcends genre, too. . .rock, rap, country, they all have that "look" to them. Only exceptions I can think of are the rare video like the one Sarah McLaghlan (sp?) did a while back on DV, where the video literally spells out all the corners they cut. Oh, and that NIN video on DV. I'm sure there's a few more, but they really do all pretty much look the same.
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#11 Rik Andino

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Posted 22 February 2006 - 03:55 AM

Well, my point was more of what they are shot on, but how they look as well as many appear overexposed. I used the word camcorder as an exageration and I certainly didn't want to ruffle anyone's feathers who have done or are doing music videos.

As a whole, I just don't find as much enjoyment as I used to in them. Many look the same, without distinction. Maybe it's the music, I don't know.
Rick


Maybe you're growing up...

I've done enough videos to know that it's mostly crap.
And they're usually aimed at the kids (MTV's core audience is teenagers)

As most people grow up their taste get more sophisticated..they realize most of the stuff on TV is crap.

However there is occasionally that great standout video
And that's what most of us aim for.

But you can't say that film industry is any better...
Go to your multi-plex--you'll find that 80% of the films playing are crap as well.
The good thing is that good films or videos really standout from the muck.

Anyways don't let your life get all bent outta shape because you realize that Music Vids suck.
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#12 elvworks

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Posted 22 February 2006 - 09:38 AM

I grew up? Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo! :o When did that happen, I was trying to hold that back for as long as I could.

You're right.



Best regards to everyone,
Rick
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#13 Filip Plesha

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Posted 22 February 2006 - 03:08 PM

Maybe this is just me venting.

Music Videos (MTV/VH1, whatever) used to be the place where you have some of your most cutting edge stuff. Now, almost all the videos are saturated and overexposed. They look really horrible, and most of them look the same. It appears now anyone can have a music video. Just get your camcorder, saturate your whites so they bleed right through the screen onto the viewer's living room floor and get a bunch of people dancing in someone's backyard. Or under a bridge.

I know saturating the white color spectrum is partly style, but I think many use it to hide the fact that their using video.

But I do have to say, once in a WHILE, I still do come upon a nice music video that is really creative and visually appealing. And they stand out more because of all the other crap that is on there.

Rick



While I share your visual taste on this matter, I must object to some things you said

As far as I know, most of them are shot on 35mm film, so there is nothing to hide. The blown out highlights are just a silly trend.
It's like people are afraid that their images will look boring and ordinary (and they probably would because of lack of imagination in some cases) that they do wierd stuff to the image to make it look different.

If you have a boring flat image, just crank up the contrast, and it's fixed, that seems to be the idea today.

I don't think this helps in any kind of film look. In fact it makes film look more like video in my opinion.




Not to be rude, but why the hell would you shoot anything on super 35 if your not going to be projecting it.


I think it's quite the oposite. Super35 is better for TV than projection, because in telecine it doesn't matter, while in a lab you have to use an optical printer to get a print.

And as David says, even 65mm looks smoother on SD TV
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#14 Bill Totolo

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Posted 22 February 2006 - 03:17 PM

If you want to see some truly great music videos check out www.chrismilk.com

Most don't feature the band, have a social issue as a theme and feature personal remembrances of the director's childhood.

Very personal filmmaker. Check out Audioslave; Modest Mouse and the latest Kanye West video.

Chris operates most of his own stuff and likes to combine 35 and super 16. He's also a big fan of reversal stock.
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#15 Johnny W. Ching

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Posted 22 February 2006 - 04:54 PM

If music videos started being shot low contrast, with less saturation, will you start complaining about that. If you don't like music videos stop watching them. :)

I just watched about 30 minutes of music videos and most of them didn't have blown out highlights, and most of them didn't share the same color scheme, as you mentioned. Actually most of them were really well shot, and edited. We must be watching different channels :)
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#16 Wendell_Greene

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Posted 22 February 2006 - 06:23 PM

I think the problem is that people here don't like the artists or the music in most music videos, so they're biased and end up confusing CONTENT with CRAFT. The initial poster of this topic indicated that all the videos he saw look like they were shot on a "video" and he used the word "camcorder" . Perhaps if he would give specific examples of videos, it would be helpful

Now here is a partial list of some of the cinematographers who have lensed music videos for artists on major labels in the last year alone. The source is from International Cinematographers Guild Magazine. I offer than not one of them has done any work on a music video that looks like it was shot on a camcorder. Nor is their work indistinguishable or interchangable:


Jonathan Sela
Max Goldman
Joe Labisi
Harris Savides, ASC
Malik Sayeed
Martin Alghren
Danny Hiele
Jeff Cronenweth,ASC
Ramsey Nickell
Pascal Lebegue
Chris Soos, CSC
Karsten "Crash" Gopinath
Eric Steelberg
Vance Burberry
Jeff Cutter
John Perez
Maz Makhani
Omer Ganai
Tom Marvel
Adam Santelli
David Mullen,ASC
Claudio Miranda
Matthew Libatique, ASC
Pierre Rouger
Martin Coppen
Stefan Czapsky, ASC
Bob Gantz
Michael Bernard
Christopher Probst
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#17 elvworks

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Posted 22 February 2006 - 07:15 PM

Wow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

If you're going to quote me, please quote me and not type what you remember I said. Or just scroll up and re-read it. It appears that there are several here that shoot music videos, I'm not out to belittle what you do, I am just making an observation across the board.

I have access to MTV, MTV2, VH1 and even some spanish networks where videos are played. From what I see, most, (I didn't say all) look the same, or undistinguishable from another and pretty much look ridiculous now. Especially the hip-hop ones. The whites bleed through so I used the word camcorder because that's what it looks like. But I also said there are some that are really nice and visually appealing. I am not talking about those when I say "camcorder." And I am aware that many are done on 35mm.

So please understand, I'm not talking about the good ones although they are few and far apart, I'm talking about all the other stuff that we are inundated with. I just see a steady drop in quality when it comes to videos in general.

As far as music tastes, I grew up on Hip-Hop/Rap/Rock/Country/Classical, etc. etc. etc. You name it. Whether the song in that style is something that I like, I guess that is to be argued. But I've watched videos for their production values when I didn't even like the song.

It's amazing how everyone flipped out instead of just not even listening to me. Maybe, just maybe, I might be on to something. If you are making videos and it looks good, then that's great. If you are making videos the way I described, then it's up to you to take critism the way you want. It almost sounds as people are defensive about this.

Now what I do, is put the VCR on the six hour speed, tape six hours and later zoom through all the undesirables.

Hey, if I'm alone on this, then fine.
Rick

Edited by elvworks, 22 February 2006 - 07:16 PM.

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#18 Wendell_Greene

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Posted 22 February 2006 - 08:56 PM

And I am aware that many are done on 35mm.



So you were using the words "camcorder" and video as hyperbole to describe the look? Because that would explain why you wrote this in your first post:

I know saturating the white color spectrum is partly style, but I think many use it to hide the fact that their using VIDEO


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#19 elvworks

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Posted 22 February 2006 - 10:06 PM

Now you're quoting me but taking what I said out of context.


It was a pleasure,

Rick

Edited by elvworks, 22 February 2006 - 10:07 PM.

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#20 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 23 February 2006 - 07:29 AM

I have the same agent as Martin Ahlgren (also a fellow swede, BTW) here in London and he really is extremely good. Fortunately for me he's so busy in the US that I seem to be getting more of his work over here, which I don't mind, haha. Check out his website and prepare to be frustrated - www.martinahlgren.com.

Jonathan Sela is another young DP that really is frighteningly good in that glossy kind of way. I remember being very impressed with his video for Britney Spears 'My Perogative'. Very evocatively shot and at very low light levels. He also did a gorgeous video for Alicia Keys in scope (when she's a waitress at some diner).

I think he's shooting the new Omen movie in Bulgaria or something now. You can check the teaser trailer online - very nicely shot as well.
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