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There's multiple ways to get a story across in a music video. Some small, some big, with your biggest detail needing to be...UNIQUE.
There’s different types of music videos. Ranging from simple band performances, to full on story boards, and a solid mix in between.
The two latter ones are what we’re talking about here.
Stories within music videos do not always have to be insanely complex. They just don’t. BUT, this doesn’t mean let them slide by and fall into more music video cliches…
There’s enough “girl in red/white dress runs through the woods while brooding hooded figure follows…oh and there’s roses, she has roses”.
There’s many ways to tell stories, or more so get the “emotion” of the song, through in visuals.
This can be done by talent playing out scenes, overall mood + look of the video and it’s locations, and lighting of everything.
Lighting can convey certain moods for a video. Yes, you’ve got your base “light or dark” mood that is determined with lighting, but, color can also convey a lot.
I’ll leave detailed color theory up to your own research here, just Google it, it’s honestly interesting, but colors of things can absolutely convey a certain mood or feeling. Play that into your video’s Art Direction.
Red lighting could mean anger, or lust. Or maybe even dawning talent in darker shades, like Navy, Grey, or Black, can push the feeling of sadness. Those are small values that are adding to the story you’re telling.
Next, let’s talk about props for B-Roll.
If I had a dollar for every time a band has told me “this song is about depression and we think the person in the B-roll could be drinking alcohol and taking pills”, I would have more than enough money to never need hired for another music video. Honest.
How can you take that “depression” idea, and turn it into something a bit more unique for story? I’ll give you a direct example.
The production company we work with JECP, did a music video based off of this depression and anxiety idea, but went straight to artsy mode to convey the feeling and share the story.
All of which you can read in detail right HERE: FEAR CULTURE - "PHOBIA"
Rather than filming someone pounding bottles and crying in a black void space, we decided to give a physical embodiment to what depression and anxiety can be. For lack of a better term, we created a demon girl! We filmed this demon interacting with the vocalist, as she “drained the life” from him, and covered him in a black ooze, in turn infecting him. It’s a super sc-fi way to tell the story of how it can feel to battle with depression.
Of course a decent budget and lots of help was needed to bring this idea to life, but, in the end, the idea and execution wasn’t all that difficult. We just decided to get weird and artsy with it, and then did it.
You can do this. Anyone can story-tell.
Dig into the lyrics and the meaning behind the song, the vibe it gives off, the tone you want someone to feel as they watch the video.
Stripped down, songs are ways of telling stories, so, the visual aid with it should do it justice.
Sure, it needs to be visually cool, but for those bands who want to take an extra step into cinema magic, don’t be afraid to try and tell unique stories that feel like you could watch them at your local theatre.