MUSIC VIDEO IDEAS
FOR MUSIC VIDEOS, IT’S ALL ABOUT THE IDEA
This magazine cover can inspire a music video idea. What is the picture saying? What does it say to you? What type of music video would this shot fit? TAKE AWAY THE WORDS/LETTERS…Would this be a good music video look for Jay-Z? Or JT? We think so. We’ll show you how to come up with hot music video ideas on this site. If you’re looking for actual ready-made music video ideas, whether it be professional, 1st time, or music video ideas for school or class, then check out this book. It’s the only book we could find for quality music video ideas.
SO HAVE YOU come for Music Video ideas, tips, how to create cool, high concept music videos? Got a HOT SONG, and need some visuals to match? We’ve got you covered. KEEP READING, we’re just getting started…
But this site isn’t just about ideas, it’s about inspiration, it’s about ensuring that the craft of the music video stays hot. So, take a look around. We hope you enjoy. We’re music video makers and filmmakers like yourself, so consider this a joint quest for music video ideas and inspiration, hold the cheese All the best, MVI.
“I looked at the rhythms, and I replicated an abstraction, which made my videos closer to what the musicians usually meant in the beginning. I could never be exact in my work, and that was a good thing” — Michel Gondry, Director
TAKE A LOOK AT THE FOLLOWING IMAGE ::
USING MAGAZINES AND IMAGES FOR MUSIC VIDEO IDEAS
THIS IMAGE can be used to spark an idea for a music video. This is how I come up with ideas. I start looking at images. At the very least, it should get the wheels in your mind turning. By the way, it’s no mistake that this image was chosen out of the, prolly, hundreds of images taken by the Cosmo photographer to be the featured image on the cover page.
- What if she was singing in this sort of setup?
- It’s dope that everything is shades of red or white
- I like how the text is unbalanced, if I use text, I’ll keep that in mind
- It’d be cool to have the inverse of this with a black and white color scheme
FOR HOT VIDEOS, STUDY HOT IMAGES
The more you study images, the more chance you have to create dope music videos. Not saying copy, but put your own touch on something you like, basically that’s what everybody does in the industry.
Study where the light’s coming from. Which side is the light coming from? Remember that. What color schemes are used? Remember that.
This doesn’t just apply to in-your-face flashy videos. Imagine if the lighting was much lower how you can set the mood to a more chill song….
NOW LET’S LOOK INSIDE THE MAGAZINE ::
MUSIC VIDEOS ARE ABOUT UNIQUE SPINS ON SIMILAR PATTERNS
OMG, NOTICE how the theme is similar in color, but different, right? Making music videos don’t have to be complicated or expensive. They just used a white background, then a grey background; then they styled her up real nice and put a fly dress on her. Soft light. Simple. Sexy. And notice what I call the star-maker shot.
PUT THE SINGER/BAND ON A PEDESTAL…VISUALLY
I remember I was at an event – a discussion with John Singleton, Director of Boyz ‘N the Hood, “2 Fast 2 Furious”, “Remember the Time” Music Video Starring Michael Jackson…and he was giving a clinic on directing film and one of the things he said is to always look for ways to get your stars iconic shots. Shots that put your star on a new level. Like the low angle shot of John Wayne as he walks out the door in the great film “The Searchers.” Or the musical medley of images in the first 10 minutes of “Purple Rain.”
This is what he meant. That shot is a memorable one and one that will have women saying “Oh, she’s cute.” and Men saying “Yo, she’s hot.”
So step one, stimulate your mind by looking at images. Don’t necessarily wed yourself to them, but get some images floating around in your head. Also, you’ll find that a lot of singers/bands will have their own concept of what they’re looking for. If you stay within that framework, you can still inject some of your creativity into the video.
Next time, we’ll talk about the The Music Video as Short Film with a film structure, and we’ll have some other tips and goodies. Right now, we’re working on a manual which will teach you how to come up with really strong music video ideas. So look out for it
Looking for music video ideas you can use right now? we recommend “MAKE A MUSIC VIDEO: How To Make A Hot Music Video.” it’s a book of music video ideas that you can use for free to adapt to your project. It’s available on Amazon.com.
CHECK THIS OUT ::
I LIKE to collect images in a file and keep them for future projects. It’s good practice to do that. Occasionally, I buy photography magazines and books by photographers. One person’s who’s work I KEEP in my repertoire and that’s THE PHOTOGRAPHY OF THIERRY LE GOUES… All of his photography is phenomenal. Check out his website.
OK, SO CHECK OUT THIS VIDEO BY BILAL FOR THE SONG “SOUL SISTA”
NOTICE HOW singer BILAL and the Music Video’s Director NZINGHA STEWART used Le Goues’s images as reference point for the video. They used the Black, White, and Grey tones to “color” the video and used body position, camera movement, color tones….all to build a nice monochromatic work of art that fits the song. And it’s all done in a minimalistic style. It’s a nice video…
THE SHORT FILM AS MUSIC VIDEO ::
Music videos aren’t only about taking abstract images and splicing them together into some sort of unifying overall image. Believe me, that has it’s place. But, you can also create a short film as a music video. Sometimes, this can be more compelling than flashy imagery…
BEGINNING, MIDDLE, AND END
Most music video directors start by making short films and one of the things we first learn is that a film must have a beginning, a middle, and an end. This means that we must start off the film on one level (usual a normal basic life moment) and then something happens to usher the story into the middle portion of the film. This middle portion is all the obstacles that were a result from what happened at the end of the beginning portion until finally, there’s a serious moment at the end of the middle portion that takes us into the final resolution.
I won’t get into the technical details of story structure, but I said all that to say that if you approach the story in that way then there must be a cohesive storyline. But there are some classic examples out there. From Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” to Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face”.
MUSIC VIDEOS AS SHORT FILM EXAMPLE ::
I love this music video by Drew Barrymore, she puts a spin on “West Side Story” and it comes out superb. If you can find the extended version then watch it. Notice how she uses a creative way to communicate. Check it out:
MAKE YOUR PERFORMERS “ICONIC” ::
CLASSIC EXAMPLE of using a music video to make the performer a star. Notice how 50 Cent was introduced. Very iconic, he was put on a pedestal and introduced to the world. This was his debut song to the masses (there was some mix tape material floating around). Brilliant. It’s not enough to just throw an artist in front of a sheet or a bare wall and have them perform, there has to be something iconic. Coincidentally, if you did have an artist in front of a bare wall, that doesn’t mean you can make the shots iconic, you could use the camera angle or style of dress to do that…
SOMETIMES, SIMPLICITY IS BEST ::
The following music video featuring Janelle Monae is simplicity at it’s best. The whole video is of her interesting face. Don’t you find yourself studying parts of her face. In a way she’s giving all of herself to us which allows us to take in the theme of the song even more. But this should spawn some music video ideas for sure.
One the first thoughts I had is what if instead of a person, it was a talking bear? Or what if we start with a very dense and rich image that we have no clue what it is and we slowly reveal it throughout the whole song and at the end, what is revealed is central to the them/lyrics of the song?
That would make for an interesting music video and if the song is good, it’ll force us to watch the whole “film.”
Check out this video:
THE 5 BASIC TYPES OF MUSIC VIDEOS ::
There are a number of basic music video schemes that if you simply follow them like paint by numbers you can pop out a basic music video. And if the lighting’s good and the song is tight, then you can roll with one of these:
- All performance. The band or performer performs the song in one or many interesting locations. Cut together, it makes for an interesting little featurette on the band or performer. Very low budget. This is where the importance of camera angles, lighting and design come into play. It’s easy for this type to be uninteresting.
- Performance with storyline. A light storyline is introduced that is pretty close to the idea or theme of the song. The artist is still prominent.
- Short Film Music Video. The entire music video is a short film told in pictures (although it may contain some dialogue scenes). The artist may or may not be in the video and there is very little lip syncing on camera.
- Abstract. These are conceptual music videos that rely on very interesting or shocking imagery to amuse the audience. As you see in one of the music video ideas, a concept can be built around an arbitrary idea and result in an interesting music video.
- Party or club video. Can include a club, a house party, an outdoor performance – anything where there’s a large crowd assembled who are watching a performance. This does not include a live performance music video which is another basic video.
Mosta videos fall within these categories although a lot can be a mixture of these.
THE MUSIC VIDEO PROCESS ::
To make a music video, you need an idea, to come up with an idea, you need a song.
I’m going to simplify the process for you, because a lot of times, we complicate the process to the point of collusion and then our true creative vision is blocked. Or, our egos are so involved that we fail to harness the creativity that the song dictates. That’s not to say that some music video directors don’t have a n innate ability to step into a project and impose their ideas onto it and develop a hot music video because it happens all the time. Also, there’s nothing wrong with experimenting and trying new things, but you better make sure you…
AVOID THE CHEESE
How do you avoid the cheese? Well, one safe way to do that is to watch successful videos, get a sense of their structure and timing – get a sense of how and why things work for those videos. There’s nothing wrong with taking a concept and putting your own spin on it either…
But what’s really important in the medium of music video production is the following:
It’s very important…hire talented people to work with you. Because in the end, your music video is as good as it looks, or at least 90% of the success of a music video depends on how it looks. And that’s on several levels: visually (cinematography), production/set design, wardrobe, color choices – everything that contributes to the “visuals” of your video.
THE PROCESS OF MAKING MUSIC VIDEOS
The process of making music videos is both rewarding and tedious. You wouldn’t think so since music videos on average take about 2 days to shoot. The number used to be much higher before the advent of digital technology and hand-held HD cameras. But one thing has remained constant throughout the process: the creation of the music video idea.
If you don’t start with a great idea that invokes some sort of feeling from the person making the creative decisions, then it would be hard to create a successful music video in my humble opinion.
And what is a successful music video? A successful music video is one that gains the band or performer more fans. Also a successful video is one that becomes synonymous with the band or performer in a positive way.
Most times, the band or performer has an “image” to establish or maintain. In this case, the director or producer has to come up with an idea that considers that image.
Also, budget is a major component in creating music videos. Sometimes, an idea that is of the highest quality in concept is overlooked for an idea that is not as high concept, yet the idea is chosen because it is more budget-friendly.
In the end, you can go a number of ways with a music video to make it stand out. Unlike in film where you get aren’t locked into the rules of image or style.
So in general, the process is this:
1) An artist has a song that needs a video.
2) The producer or record label puts out a request for treatments/bids.
3) Directors/Production Companies submit their conceptual
4) Producer or Record Label selects the concept that best fits their needs.
5) Production begins with money being disbursed in a deposit system.
6) After the shoot, the real fun begins. Editing.
For the purpose of broadcast, the final edit is then taken to a transcriber who will add closed captioning. The final work is delivered to the label/producer and they do what they have to do to get the music video aired on one of the music video networks.
If you aren’t going that route then there’s an alternative. Youtube can bring about huge success with a band or performer that is good. There have been several cases where current celebrities were “discovered” on Youtube (Justin Beiber).
Also, if you have an album for sale, you can gain all of the financial benefits of funneling the video traffic to where they can buy songs from you directly. Then, it’s possible through word-of-mouth that your album may become successful in it’s own right.
USE PHOTOS TO BUILD YOUR MUSIC VIDEOS ::
When I was an editing teacher for a short while at Connecticut School of Broadcasting, I did something to help the students to understand editing more: I took a series of pictures and laid them out on the floor. The pictures “magically” told a story. Then I moved the photos around and they offered another story. The students seemed to have an “ah-ha” moment.
If you’re really stumped for a music video idea, find a bunch of pictures and start arranging them until you get something interesting. Then write the story out as you see it. You can also do this with random words. Take a series of words and arrange them different ways and that’ll kick start the creativity. For example:
…How can you film your main performer(s) in those situations and get an interesting music video? Well, the creativity is in the randomness of the words. If you focused on depicting your performer(s) in each of those situations and find a way to have a unified theme throughout each situation, then you’ve got an interesting music video. You can play with the order until you come up with something cool.
Have a look at these photos:
Re-arranging these photos will give you entirely different music video ideas…
MUSIC VIDEO IDEAS BASED ON MOVIES ::
Movies are very good resources for music videos. Why? Because movies provide iconic images that people remember, and you can piggyback off of those keen memories by referencing movies. It’s difficult to go wrong by recreating popular scenes in movies, but you do have to know how to “put your own spin on it.” Usually, the movie scenes supplement the meaning of the song in some way. If you choose to go this route, be sure to not violate any copyright laws….
USE A “MIND MAP” TO DEVELOP MUSIC VIDEO IDEAS ::
Ran across a really cool blog on film production and this guy shows how using a mind map can help you to organize your thoughts and come up with a great concept and action plan for doing your video. Check out the photo and check out his site!