Music videos

A forum for sharing views on the art of film, video and AV sequence making as well as on competitions, judging and festivals.
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John Roberts
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Re: Music videos

Post by John Roberts » Fri May 08, 2015 8:42 pm

A.K. Williams wrote:...but as far as amateur film-making is concerned would not include them within the 'amateur film-making world' as I know it, this is not intended to 'reduce' music videos to a 'lower' category, but to a 'category' of their own, entirely valid as I see it.

Tony Williams
I'm not following what your validity is, Tony. If you are saying you would not include music videos within the 'amateur film-making world' would that include BIAFF? How about if I rolled up at your club (if you are a member of one) and said I am an amateur filmmaker, but I only make music promos? Would I be excluded from the club or sent to the naughty corner? Would my videos never be shown or entered into competitions?

I am not entirely sure what defines a music video sufficiently apart from other genres - such as abstract or experimental films or films with complicated time lines such as Sin City, The Prestige, The Limey etc - enough to warrant an entire category of their own away from the amateur filmmaking world? The 'film to music' production is well established within amateur filmmaking circles, so why should a music video be excluded? Art, flow, pace, cinematography, sound, lighting, sequence and composition can be just as equally valid within a music video as any other film, and sometimes these elements have to be handled with greater care because you have to work within the confines of the piece of music chosen.

I can see no validity in excluding any particular genre or category from a community already struggling against falling attendances. If a certain film is profane, sexist, racist etc then decisions would need to be taken on a film-by-film basis, but to 'not include [an entire genre] within the amateur filmmaking world' makes no sense to me.

John

Bob Lorrimer
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Re: Music videos

Post by Bob Lorrimer » Sat May 09, 2015 11:14 am

but as far as amateur film-making is concerned would not include them within the 'amateur film-making world' as I know it, this is not intended to 'reduce' music videos to a 'lower' category, but to a 'category' of their own, entirely valid as I see it.

Tony Williams

I have to take issue, Tony, with your above comment as I feel you are overlooking one of the fundamental principles of 'Amateur film Making.'

ALL films, whatever the 'genre', which are produced by Amateur Film Makers are Valid within the existing Club system...it can be no other way.

Whatever 'genre' of film You produce ... I will watch ... in the expectation that You will, by return, view mine! That is how it works irrespective of category...We will all find ourselves watching films which we may not admire, for whatever reason, because it is the only way in which we can expect an audience to watch our own!

It is often the case that one can 'take away' or be 'inspired' by something which we see in Categories of film making which are not our preference. Music Videos encompass all the creativity and disciplines of the more 'traditional films' and therefore sit quite happily within the Club System from my point of view.

A.K. Williams
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Re: Music videos

Post by A.K. Williams » Sat May 09, 2015 2:05 pm

Well chaps, I was not suggesting a blanket ban on music videos, but simply expressing my own views on is it a film? or is it a piece of music?
I would quite happily watch any music video if presented to me just as I quite happily watch anything else to which someone has dedicated time and effort into producing for general viewing. I think, however, that to do justice to both areas in a competition setting particularly(BIAFF included), then the music video, for instance, might well be overshadowed by the 'film video' purely in terms of scope, range and duration and should therefore be judged against other music videos in order to provide suitable comparison, hence my belief in a separate category. If you put a film around a cast list of actors for example, how can you compare it with a music video or are we to view the contributing performers as actors with lyrics, if any, as their script?

Tony Williams.

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John Roberts
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Re: Music videos

Post by John Roberts » Sat May 09, 2015 9:06 pm

I can see where you're coming from Tony, although I have to say a music promo should be no 'less' a film than any other. You are right in that you can't compare your 'cast list actors' film against a music promo in exactly the same way you can't compare the cast list actors film to a documentary or animation. The acceptance of varying style or genre is already 'built-in' to most competition rules (you can't enter a documentary into a fiction competition for example) and apart from the very top level of special awards at BIAFF each film entry (fiction, documentary, animation, music) is judged and awarded a result based solely on its own merits and not in reference to any other entry of any other genre/category.

I don't buy the idea that scope, range and (particularly) duration automatically makes a better film that might overshadow others, there are so many other factors involved as I know you will be aware. How the producer uses the tools and imagination available to him to get his message across as memorably as possible is paramount so therefore the key elements we discussed before of pace, edit, composition, lighting etc are equally valid for all film genres, with the music promo perhaps allowing more acceptable flexibility of these aspects than most other genres will happily take. If a competition wishes to award a 'Best Music Video' award (as I was honoured to receive at this year's BIAFF) then music promos should rightly be compared to other entries in that category, but any 'open' competition is exactly that - open :)

John

A.K. Williams
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Re: Music videos

Post by A.K. Williams » Sun May 10, 2015 12:39 pm

Fair enough John, we seem to have reached some form of agreeable disagreement which, I think, boils down to me not being as 'passionate' about music videos as you clearly are and of course when a certain level of creativity is displayed in their making and presentation, then they deserve all praise coming their way, I was not at any time suggesting they were anything 'less' by the way.

A thought did occur to me re. the Michael Jackson 'Thriller' album as pointed to by Tim Stannard during the course of all this, that the stage presentation was more 'Theatre' than anything else, bordering on the musical maybe? or is that what you aim for when in the process?

Congratulations on your BIAFF award this year incidentally (I wasn't aware), no wonder you were a 'bit' irritated by my comments.

Tony Williams

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John Roberts
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Re: Music videos

Post by John Roberts » Sun May 10, 2015 3:02 pm

Hi Tony - I wasn't in the least bit irritated by your comments, I think we have all had a useful discussion on this thread not least to highlight the differences between how some filmmakers view music promos. I mentioned in an earlier post that nothing polarises opinion as vehemently as a music promo, I often wonder why this should be the case (more so than it does against fiction or documentaries for example) and any constructive discussion about the merits of any aspect of any genre that some filmmakers are not keen on benefits everyone.

Believe me, your comments are quite mild compared to some I have received because you are at least willing to watch them, even if they are not your cup of tea. More than 50% of judges I have come across so far are totally dismissive of music promos, regardless of the technical or artistic creativity that has gone into them! They are simply 'the spawn of the Devil!"


Of course, what can one say about 'Thriller' the music promo. The Library of Congress have described it as 'the most famous music video of all time!" Incidentally, you might not know that the video was shot well after the release of the album, as an attempt to reverse declining sales of the LP. The rest, as they say, is history! And yes, it is very theatrical, very 'filmic.' It is whatever the creator or producer required it to be in order for it to be successful :D

John

ned c
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Re: Music videos

Post by ned c » Sun May 10, 2015 3:25 pm

Now recovered and back to normal (impossible my wife tells me). An important point made by this discussion is what I call the "genre clash" and the impossibility of comparing films from different genre; even the difficulty of defining a genre. I enjoyed John's music video and the band it featured but how do you compare it with "Copy That"? Well, you can't; can a music video hope to win the top award in open contest? Probably not. But this does not stop with music videos; narrative films, documentaries, video art, animation have characteristics that make it difficult to compare them with each other. Perhaps there should be a top award for each genre rather than "best of show".

ned c

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TimStannard
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Re: Music videos

Post by TimStannard » Sun May 10, 2015 4:51 pm

ned c wrote: Perhaps there should be a top award for each genre rather than "best of show".
Perhaps there should, Ned. But then we get the counter argument that films which don't neatly fit into pigeonholes can't be fairly judged.

(Incidentally, Ned, it was good to meet you at last if only to briefly shake your hand before you inexplicably moved seats after Session 1 on Sunday at BIAFF. Perhaps you were avoiding me for some reason :shock: )
Tim
Proud to be an amateur film maker - I do it for the love of it

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fraught
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Re: Music videos

Post by fraught » Sun May 10, 2015 11:21 pm

TimStannard wrote:
ned c wrote: Perhaps there should be a top award for each genre rather than "best of show".
Perhaps there should, Ned. But then we get the counter argument that films which don't neatly fit into pigeonholes can't be fairly judged.
If you gave the submitter the genres to choose from on the entry form, it would be up to them to get the genre right. You could easily pick out 5-8 standard genre's that could cover the whole spectrum... roughly. :)
Only Boring People Get Bored
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TimStannard
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Re: Music videos

Post by TimStannard » Mon May 11, 2015 6:19 am

fraught wrote: If you gave the submitter the genres to choose from on the entry form, it would be up to them to get the genre right. You could easily pick out 5-8 standard genre's that could cover the whole spectrum... roughly. :)
But where would I have put "Tut Tut!"? I listed it as "comedy/music/education" but in any of those categories alone it is very weak. It only works (my opinion, of course) as a combination of all three.
Tim
Proud to be an amateur film maker - I do it for the love of it

A.K. Williams
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Re: Music videos

Post by A.K. Williams » Mon May 11, 2015 11:29 am

There might well be an age-related 'appreciation gap' where this subject is concerned I've begun to think y'know, the music video is a relative newcomer where the film-world is concerned and as a consequence there might well be a tendency for the older generation of film-makers and indeed film-viewers, to treat it with a certain level of disregard. I was quite gob-smacked to learn that the 'Thriller' album video was made well after the album itself in order to improve on sales, did think that both were aligned from day one.

Tony Williams

(Think we need a new post)

Michael Slowe
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Re: Music videos

Post by Michael Slowe » Mon May 11, 2015 11:35 am

In my view all this talk of genres and whether films should be categorised is ridiculous. A film is a film is a film. Of course many different types of films are produced, just as many different types of paintings are produced, and music and literature. It is difficult to compare some with others but judges have to view the piece dispassionately and decide whether it entertains, informs, provides food for thought and generally succeeds.

How can you separate the audio (music in this case) from the visuals? The whole point with this particular art is that they are indivisible, one interacts with the other. It doesn't make any difference whether the aim is to promote the music or not. In the 1970's I made a number of films (yes, films, on 16mm), purely cut to music, they were hugely popular and successful (all shown at the NFT actually), were they 'music videos as currently defined? Have a look at some on You Tube, they should come up somewhere although their site confuses me no end!

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John Roberts
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Re: Music videos

Post by John Roberts » Mon May 11, 2015 12:46 pm

I agree Michael - audio/music and visuals are inseparable in our art, even 'silent' films were never silent! I further agree that judges have to view a piece dispassionately but to do this requires at least a basic understanding of any category/genre of film the judge might be presented with. Re your films cut to music, I would say that if the primary goal of the film was to promote an amateur or semi-pro musician or performer then they would probably be classed as 'music promos' but if the film was cut to the beat and pace of a piece of commercial music (which may be relevant to the visuals but completely replaceable by another piece of music) then they wouldn't be. That's just a very basic definition. Fabio Bezoari of Sheffield and Chesterfield clubs often cuts the visuals of his travelogues to the beat of the background music, to great effect.

Tony - you might also be interested to learn that A-ha's song 'Take On Me' was released twice previously and flopped both times (even with a music video supporting one of the releases, although not the music video). The third song release was delayed until the second video was finished (because it took a very long time to rotoscope) and the song and video were released simultaneously. The video won numerous awards and helped catapult the band to instant international stardom...

John :D

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