Monthly Archives: May 2015

The Rise of the Fan-made Music Video

After watching a lot of fan-made and “unofficial” music videos lately I’ve come to the conclusion that many are better than the official version. There are some obvious differences, production value being the most noticeable: Official videos tend to look as if there was a lot of money spent on them. But the ideas and execution of the videos are very similar.

Those who watch music videos tend to be influenced by what they watch. I suspect this goes back to the heyday of MTV and how the music video came into it’s own, however, the Internet does tend to homogenize the creative experience. You can see this when watching videos; they all tend to look the same. I can’t count the number of videos showing people walking. Just walking: Down streets, through the woods. And this is for both official and unofficial videos.

So where does a budding music video producer begin. Well, starting with production values, defined as the combined technical qualities of the methods, materials, or stagecraft skill used in the production of a motion picture or artistic performance. This means using all the resources at your disposal to make the best video possible.

Now don’t get production value confused with creativity. In fact, minus a large budget this is where the novice music video producer can shine. What is Creativity? This is tough to define. Creativity at Work has attempted to do so. The short version is, “The act of turning new and imaginative ideas into reality.” On their blog, Creativity at Work makes it simple with this graphic:


Imagination+Creativity+Empathy+Innovation=Value Creation.

There’s much more to making a video. Production value is not just money, places, and props. It’s people. And convincing people to do a video often requires leadership skills. Or the skills of a con artist. This is when you need to use your creative vision to excite others to be part of something great. When it comes down to the nitty-gritty the LA Video Filmmaker website has some very useful tips. Here you will find a very interesting tid-bit (in bold no less) that states, “The general trend is that the music video industry disrespects vanilla directors and meaningful storytelling.”

The point of this statement and the bulk of the article is that the producer should forget what the music says. The video should not recreate the story in the music. It needs to be conceptual. The LA Video article uses this Lenny Kravitz as a example:

However, if you don’t have the money to create space ship set with lots of effects consider this example by independent producer Jesse Locke:

This is a video mashup of the Oasis song, Cigarettes and Alcohol.

The mashup by Jesse Locke brings me to the final aspect of making a good video: Putting it all together. That is quality editing. His mashup is just not the quality of the images he uses but the way he has put them together. These are not just random images editing to the Oasis song, he has considered every image and its place in the video. He uses the same techniques in his Crave You (Adventure Club Remix) to equal success.

These are single examples and some very simple guidelines. Making something unique and standing out in the crowd means adapting a mindset beyond that of a student in a media class. More about that in an upcoming article.