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First Bachelor Thesis

Music video
Navigation for creating music clips Completed with the aim of graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Engineering From the St. Plten University of Applied Sciences Media Technology degree course

Under the supervision of

FH Prof. Mag. art. Markus Wintersberger

Completed by

Max Wittmann MT081107

St. Plten, on

July 29th 2010



the attached research paper is my own, original work undertaken in partial fulfillment of my degree.

I have made no use of sources, materials or assistance other than those which have been openly and fully acknowledged in the text. If any part of another persons work has been quoted, this either appears in inverted commas or (if beyond a few lines) is indented.

Any direct quotation or source of ideas has been identified in the text by author, date, and page number(s) immediately after such an item, and full details are provided in a reference list at the end of the text.

I understand that any breach of the fair practice regulations may result in a mark of zero for this research paper and that it could also involve other repercussions.

I understand also that too great a reliance on the work of others may lead to a low mark.



Wittmann, Max, mt081107



Video Kills the Radio Star. This is the song title by the Buggles from 1979. MTV started their program with this video clip on 1st August 1981. This is the start of a new area for music video commercialization.

This Bachelor work contains a short trip to the past, analysing video clip productions and looking at actual developings on MTV and new media for excample YouTube. Navigating to my channel: You can have the experience to follow my analyses thou the last thirty years of music video history.

Looking on actual Productions in the own country, discovers the new opportunities in low-budget video clip productions. On the other side there are huge amounts of money in productions from superstars that are not very intelligent and innovative.

Connections between movies, video games, and the fine art delivers a wide landscape of background for music videos. There are everywhere citations, copy, paste and plagiarism but also devastations for great directors from the past.

In first it is a short outgoing into the clip universe, and trying to navigate thru the last century.

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Table of Contents

Declaration Abstract Table of Contents Introduction Chapter 1: What is a Music Video Chapter 2: Appearance in media Chapter 3: Techniques Chapter 4: Connections Chapter 5: Video Clip & art Chapter 6: Low-Budget Conclusion List of Figures, Graphs, Screenshots References

II 3 4 5 6 9 11 12 20 24 25 26 27

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Watching MTV the whole day makes me put my head in the ground. - Chris Cunningham, Director of Music Videos

The quotation is similar to Becks song "MTV Makes Me Want to Smoke Crack". He describes how nice the world in Musictelevision look like. Nice pictures/nice girls/nice colors. This made him sick and he feels like smoking crack.

The start of music video television in Europe begins with MTV. It turns out, video now makes the radio star, thanks to that fateful day back on August 1, 1981, when music ventured into the realm of television. (CNN News, 1981)

Video thrills the Radio Star (VttRS)

by Henry Keazor and Thorsten Wbbena. Most of this thesis is based on this book. It was published by transcipt Verlag, Bielefeld was released in 2005. Further research on music video directors, Informations come from DVDs and Internet:

Dave Meyer, Chris Cunningham, Michel Gondry, Spike Jonze, Mark Romanek, Jamie Thraves, Jonas Akerlund provide a wide spectrum for analysis. These are few of the top stars in business. Study the work of their portfolios gives you a clear idea how a good Music Video has to look like and you gain a lot of experience.

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Chapter 1: What is a Music Video?

Promotion / Commercial / Art?

We watch TV everyday. It`s normal that every film contains music, and every TV spot has a jingle. Nowaday it`s normal that musician has a video clip. What is a video clip? For which purpose? It`s a commercial for the band, for the music: The formula for clips means: Message = Produkt = Person. (Daniels, 1987 p.168) The product is not an object like in common commercials, it`s the artist or the band who is going to be promoted. The music is the product which is going to be promoted. (Dieter Daniels 1987 on p.165.)

Music clips are much more than only a commercial. They have an esthetical value. The genre Music video, has a special art form. Producers and directors have become famous for their work. Directors Chris Cunningham, Michel Gondry and Spike Jonze are three men from the Master of Arts. Usually it is the clip's director (and the record company whose production is being promoted in the clip) who is chiefly responsible for the clip it-self. The Professor of Pop Andrew Goodwin archives very simpl the essence of directors work with this important statement.

Dave Meyers is the director of for Missy Elliots clip Work it. Its a masterpiece in this century; take a look at this multiplestage music video.

{} To make it simple in the first, layer it is a typically HipHip-Clip. The language of this category is very characteristic jung girls with hot pants, hot men, salacious choreography, luxury, champangner, sportcars always reprehend to HipHop and R'n'B-Stars. {} (VttRS, 2005 p. 16f)

It is amazing how many layers Work it persist. And how many details are included. The major issue of making good clips pay attention to music, text, and picture relations. In fact this means the cutter has to arrange the pictures to the existing music. In most cases the music defines the pictures.
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In really good music clips the picture matches the music perfectly, this is a great compilation of an entire artwork. Important directors such as Lasse Hallstrm (clips for ABBA in the 70s & 80s), Jamie Thraves (Coldplay in 2002) and Michel Gondry (Bjrk in `95) always produced something new, innovative. Often the directors went from video clip to film and produced cinema movies such as Gondrys Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind in 2004.

The conception of clips is very important. For example Chris Cunningham uses different methods of collecting ideas for his videos. One of the most discussed clips is Windowlicker.

It`s a more commercial video for Aphex Twin in comparison to his other work. For Cunningham the sound was pornographic, so he wantet girls arses and a endless limousine. This clip brings it ad adsurdum by using common dabs. It starts with a car driving arround near sunny Venice Beach. Two Latino boys were discussing, in ghetto slang, while driving the car. Then they see two beautiful girls next to the street. After a long unserious discussion the boys were shifted away by a long limousine. A white man impressed the girls, so they get in the limousine, where suddenly the girls get man heads. Its a parody that could not been better constructed. Its just so cankered-godawful accounting with the genre R&B and HipHop. (p.446 VttTRS) It was 1998: At this time people definitely know Chris Cunningham. (Quoted from DVD Cover: The work of Director Chris Cunningham, 2003)

"Stop making sense?"

German video clip director Rudi Dolezal, 1994 (VttRS, S.9) archives this concisely: "Der Hhepunkt des Videobooms ist vorbei. Es wird nicht mehr (wie zu Beginn der 80er Jahre) fr jede Idiotenkapelle automatisch ein dazu passendes Video produziert. Andererseits ist von
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einem Niedergang der Videoclips natrlich keine Rede. Gute und inspirierte Knstler werden weiterhin gute Videoclips brauchen und sich diese auch als knstlerisches Statement leisten. David Bowie, Peter Gabriel, die Talking Heads, Queen oder U2 - sie alle beherrschen aber auch das Medium Video als Kunstform. Sie haben Intelligenz, Erfahrung und Budgets, um innovative Musikvideos produzieren zu lassen."

The future of musicvideo seems to be going from low-budget productions within youtube & co distribution very well. So people with less knowledge and little money perhaps produce a lot of clips for their private channels on the web.

David Fincher concentrate different ways of intepretation: to supply other interpretations, to be less specific in your references, and to provide a leap into another perspective. A video can`t be so cencrete that there is just one interpetation; someone is going to see it at least ten times so you better be able to give them something that they can constantly see new things in.

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Chapter 2: Appearance in Media

The History of music videos:

Oskar Fischinger (1900 1967)

His carrear starts in the 20s Fischinger was an abstract filmmaker. He experiments with simple forms and colors which are in motion and he presented his work on multiple projections, and multiple screen performances. Together with Jordan Belson they created cinematic multimedia experiments for a lot of visitors in europe from 1926 to 1959. The pioneer of filmmaking is known: Hes recognized as the father of Visual Music, the grandfather of music videos, and the great-grandfather of motion graphics. His films influenced generations of filmmakers, animators and artists, even continuing today. (Leonardo Electronic Almanac Vol 16 Issue 6-7, 2009)

Figure 1: Oskar Fischingers "Allegretto" 1936

Fischinger described his Raumlichtmusik concept; he believed all the arts would merge in this new art. He wrote of The new art: Room or Space, of Light and Music: Of this Art everything is new and yet ancient in ist laws and forms. Plastic Dance Painting Music become one.

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Figure 2 from Belson's film Allures

Scorpitones: The early television. It's a "Film Jukebox" invented in France in the early 1960's and also the precursors of todays music videos played on it. (, 2010) Television as mention at the beginning of the 80s MTV the MusicTeleVision conquered the households. (VttRS, p. 55) Queen set 1975, and for a lot of people the first music video, Bohemian Rhapsody It releases as a promo video which was directed by Bruce Gowers. (p. 11) Then Internet in the 90s developed to a peer-to-peer (P2P) sharing community. People all over the world starting to share their music (and also videos) with other users. The peak reaches the P2P Application Napster from 1998 until year 2001. ( the YouTube area starts 2005: This is up to now the best way to get access to music videos. But the better alternative Vimeo exists since 2004 ( The video-centric social networking sites provide users to upload and store their videos. For commercial videos, such as music videos are, you better take a look on YouTube.

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Chapter 3: Techniques
The process making a music video.
The media film exist historically longer than the musicvideo. Thats why most things technically and historically came from films and where integrated into the short clip form on several layers. Focusing on the technical and narration layer there are some recent used techniques like: (page 167. Vttrs) Common used stylistic elements: Time: rewind: playing the sequence reversed. Slo-mo (Slow Motion): Means to slow down the speed or to make the speed faster than realtime. Effects: Morph: One Object transform into another. Mostly a computer generated effect Splitscreen: Several things happen at the same time. E.g. from Francis Lawrence 2002 the clip Destinys Child Emotion Perspective and camera: POV (Point of view) Zoom: Fast zooms. Eg. Blink 182 All the small things Dolly: designed to create smooth camera Editing: The cut Is at the rhythm of the music. E. g. Spike Jonze,1994 clip from the Beastie Boys Sabotage its a homage of criminalfilms in the end of 70ies subliminal messages: A lot of these effects were placed for ads. Its just noticeable subconsciously.

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Chapter 4: Connections
The connection for Music Clips to TV, Films, or real events appear frequently. We are living in a sample world, specially in music there is a permanent remix and repition. So the clip directors try to give his video to a special relation. Since the 70s and 80s video games are like video clips. Compare Junior Seniors Move Your Feet the style is visually from Atari adapted.

The circumstance that a video lives from the pictures, makes it easyier to use known structures (but its equal that spectators identify them or not) up to a (even critically) conflict with the just quoted models. These models shold be identified and understood. (VttRS, p. 198)

Spike Jonze Weezer Buddy Holly (1995)

The ralation to a US-TV serie called Happy Days is very closely to reproduced. The set is the same the look of the 50s and also the location, the surrounding and even the barkeeper is from the original. In the center of course is the band Weezer and playing on their guitars. (VttRS, p.181)

Beastie Boys Sabotage (1994)

It is related to a television program of the 70s. The Streets of San Francisco is a TV serie, which had been very cheap imitated, but this look work pretty fine in combination with fast, action scenes cut to each another. (VttRS p. 182)

Jennifer Lopez I`m Glad (David LaChapelle/2003)

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It is quoted from flashdance. Lopez does a memorable dance performace. Figure 3 David LaChapelle (VttRS p. 198)

Correlation Videoclip and Motion Picture

Music videos are propably the most creative filmmaking being done right now. [] That`s what movies should like. (Quoted by Swallow, 2003, p. 21 and 13f) Before 1980 there were only a handful of well staged, well crafted movies a year. Because of music videos, there are more cinematographers, production designer, and more thoughtful craft people now. Movies have never looked better. (Quoted Reiss/Feineman, 2000, 0:01:02) - David Finch

Motion Picture Directors make a Music Clip

It is some kind of gilding when a Director, who does epic motion pictuere makes a short, fast, fidget clip. The clip would be more narrative and better in dramaturgy. For excample: Jackson Thriller (by John Landis & Martin Scorsese) Price 1.5 Mio $ (compared to Mercer, 1999, p.105) It was a commercial success before the music video was produced. (p. 248)

Music Clip Director try to make a Motion Picture

Acceleration of visual content and the chance to narrate the story wild, fast and free of consequences as the Video Clip. Moreover there will be a motion picture with high technically developed effects in the motion sequence. Frozen Moment, Bullet Time, Time Slice or Morphing are only few effects which come from the clip universe. Excample: Torque Joseph Kahn

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A fast bike movie, fast cut and amazing speed. Jonas Akerlunds first Motion Picture Spun is even faster and better. It establish a record with 5345 cuts in a 90minute film. (vgl. p.247) (VttRS, p.250)

Tarsem Dhandwar Singh get his breakthrough, with the clip Losing my religion (R.E.M.) in the year 1991. Singh came from the film school and the musicvideo got several awards and prices. The video is melodramatic and very dreamlike and contains reproduced scenes of the Italian painter Caravaggio and Tarkovsky like film style. Michael Stipe sings the lines "That's me in the corner/That's me in the spotlight/Losing my religion" It is a phrase from southern USA to express how temper or civility he is.

David Fincher
To supply other interpretations, to be less specific in your references, and to provide a leap into another perspective. A video cant be so concrete that there is just one interpretation; someone is going to see it at least ten times so you better be able to give them something that they can constantly see new things in (Reiss/Feineman, 2000; 0:01:02) this honors Janies got a gun perfectly The Aerosmith-Clip tells a crime story in the background of Aerosmiths live performance. (p. 262) Very similar the next clip for Madonna Express yourself(1990) Its based on Fritz Lang Metropolis (1926) silent movie. It delivers the message The heart mediates between hand and brain The amazing costs of the 5 minutes clip mount up to supposed $ 9 Million. (p.165)

Andrzeij Tarkovskys did the motion picture Stalker in 1979.

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Figure 4: Madonna - Express Yourself

Mike Lipscombe recourses Finchers Magazine Wars in Anastacias song Why would you lie to me? The glossy magazines become alive, so that cover stars interact with other figures of the magazine.

In Bryan Addams Here I Am colossus go thou plains of north America while the lead singer performs and a cowgirl is next to him. Both of the music videos are similar. Mike Lipscombe reproduce the concept Finchers (but in black and white) video to Rolling Stones-song Love is strong. (p. 274) Fincher likes to put subliminal images into films. Se7en there is a frame of Mills intention to kill Doe. And also in Fight Club, a penis is shown at the end of the film. (p. 275f)

Spike Jonze

Figure 5: California - Wax

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Daft Punk Da Funk Is Jonzes idea to break rules everywhere. He arrange a human who has a dog head (some kind of mask), but not a single person gets attention of this. (p. 280) Bjrk Its oh so quiet Cares about love, the quiet passages of the song Bjrk comes peaceful, nice and quiet just like the real world. If the tumultuous love uprors she and a lot of people begin to dance and jump around. This contrast makes the whole clip very emotional and alive. Jonze In this clip the principial preference to musicals and choreographys.

Figure 6 Bjrk In Skys the limit Jonze assigned on a classic of Alan Parkers (1976) shooted gangster and musical parodie called Bugsy Malone. The circumstance that Notorius B.I.G. (Biggi) was murdered shortly before the creation of the clip. This brings Jonze to assign the positions of actors with kids. The style of the hip hop video turns into a classic MTV rap. The boys try to attract the girls with expensive suit, bling weapons, luxoury villa and big partys in their pools. The parody about the whole settings Gangsta rap of macho boys, who are really only jung boys. Arent the impess and power demonstrations immature? Arent the expensive cars, villas and pools not only toys? Isnt the own gang and party in the club just kindergarten?

the main principle in his videos is to make bizarre and absurd incidents in audio to a matter of course. To narrate without the oversubscription the same Jonze starts his motion picture Being John Malkovich in the year 1999. In the next century Jonze produced the movies Adaption and Where the Wild Things Are and for MTV Jackass. (p. 284)

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Michel Gondry (p. 288)

Rolling Stone Like a rolling stone

Spike Jonze says in an interview about Gondry: For every video, Michel would not only come up with a concept, he would come up with a whole new technique For the Rolling Stones he introduce the Frozen moment. The Images freezes and with multiple cameras make a 3D effect possible. This technique were found later in Matrix (Bullet time).

Cibo Matto Sugar Water Its not only a outbid of Jonzes Drop (Pharside) in previewsly year. Moreover it is some kind of endless circle which can be played in loop and could be seen equivalent to M.C. Escher graphics (p. 293)

Gondry directed the two films Human nature and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind Like Spike Jonze the movies have not the dramaturgy of the music videos, although they are well made and single sequences are high valued.

To do one more time a cross reference to video games and the relation of lyrics to visuals, Californication provides allusive. The song by the Red Hot Chilli Peppers from 2000 delivers a lot of Pop history (in the lyrics), the look of computer games (Tomb Raider, Indiana Jones, GTA), and allusions to California (which seems to be an island of this computergame). The members of the band were all taking a survival course throu Hollywood, with the film industy, stars and dreams. Like in an action game the

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players jump throu forests and escape from dangerous animals. They are doing extreme sports, for example surfing with a snowboard on the Golden Gate Bridge. This clip ends up in a spectacular earthquake and all members of the band fall into gap, that the quake causes, and they meet together under earth when they morph into their real persons in a virtual world. Its great work of the directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris. In an interview what "Californication is Anthony Kiedis says: It's not a sexual reference. "Californication" is really just the act of the world being affected and saturated by the art and the culture being born and raised in California. Travelling around the world, no matter how far I go, I see the affect that California has on the world. It's about that good and bad, beautiful and ugly. (MTV Achive, 2007)

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Chapter 5: Video Clip & art

The fact that music videos often orientate to visual art (fine art) is not astonishing. It is not very surprising that clips in media follow the methods, pattern, esthetics and ikonographies of fine art.

(p. 315)
On the one hand art stands over art. Artist faces and analyse of their previewsly artsits. Ultimatly they give their excample good reputation in kind of homage. Or artist try to develop and overtrump the work of another artist. On the other hand these artist of the so called high art orientated on the low art, Low art means press, film, television, comic strip. (p.318) Scratch-Videos: George Barber uses the loop technic. Also Godley & Crme scratch the frames forward and backwards like turntables. Rockit

Chris Cunningham
Get a part of his inspiration from fine art. 1997 the music video Portishead Only you attend on Bill Violas 1992 installation called Nantes Triptych. (p. 319)

Figure 7 Figure 8: Chris Cunninghams The music and the video delivers a lonely, mysterious feeling. In contrast to Cunninghams next work: Flex Underwater love/fight

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a man and a women stay in water

Bjrk All is full of love The contrast that Robotic and Synthetic love in heaven

Monkey drummer A mix of human, ape and robotic result the perfect drum-machine (p.322)

Thomas Pieds
One-T (feat. Cool-T) The magic key (2002) (p. 326) The animation is the similar style as William Kentridge does it. It is the simple black and white pencil drawings. Surplus value the story tells about bad drug experience and criminals.

Director Mark Romanek

The Red Hot Chilli Peppers Cant stop (2003)

Was inspired by the One-Minute-Sculpture of Erwin Wurm. The concept basically was to give a feel of an art installation space talks Jeff Cutter the camera man who spokes about the location in a large hall.

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The idea was to freeze a moment (for one minute) and stay on a position while doing something creatively. The band of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers performs a couple of funny sculptres. Even when the sculpture dont hold on and collaps at least it has its measure of slapstick comedy. (p.335 339)

Michael und Janet Jackson Scream 1995 (Most expensive video of all times) "Scream's" $7,000,000 price tag is more than twice as much as the next most expensive music video (Puff Daddy's "Victory" at $2.7 million), and it's easy to see why: he spent $5 million alone on 11 sets. Yet while watching the video, it all seems incredibly wasteful, not coming close to the film quality of "Thriller", "November Rain," or "Victory." (, 2010) Siencefiction video clip. The parallels to Stanley Kubricks 2001 A Space Odyssey are numerous. The architecure is empty and only Janet and Michael Jackson are on the ship in space. On their fly they hear news about injustice crime, what Michael let him scream. The whole system sucks. (p.345)

Franz Ferdinand Take me out (Jonas Odell/2004)

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The band presents herself as a cognizant traditional and well known of history of art. By taking access to El Lissitzkys band Kraftwerk. Suprematism was an art movement focused on fundamental geometric forms (particular the square and circle) which begins 1915 in Russia. (p.357) The visual alternation is also Dadaism and Surrealism forms a collage. At the begin there are the band on newspapers, but later they become more robotic and finally get some kind of hybrids. While the music is getting more and more stomping mechanically you see a robotic-foot (which is known already of Clip Herbie Hancock Rockit, 1983) (p. 361f)

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Chapter 6: Low Budget

Creating with low sources intelligent Video Clips. Students have now access to low priced equipment. Specially in Austria it is a huge chance for young artists and bands to land a music video. The oppertunities are big and it would become easier with YouTube, Vimeo & Co to launch his own Music Channel. Take a look on my Youtube Channel wittmannmax I have created a playlist with actual videoclips from the low-budget sector. Take a look Low-Budget MusicVideos Here are few examples: The Discoparty Brothers Disco, Disco! Party, Party! Omar Sarsam & Marc Bernhuber Austrian guys are making a funny video with modern techics. For shooting they choos a Canon EOS System, which provide a technically high resulution and a wide depth of field range LIPDUB - I Gotta Feeling (Comm-UQAM 2009) ReShooting the original by the Black Eyed Peas At the Universit du Qubec Montral in Kanada 172 Students. With an extraordinary performance because the whole clip was an single shot. Meanwhile they got over 6 Million views on YouTube. Zoot Woman Memory Mirjam Baker and Michael Kren FH// St. Plten Students were shooting this award winning clip in Vienna. The clip wins the Golden Victoria for best Music Video!

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Videos have helped create an audience that is willing to go with an abstract approach and is better versed and more apprediative of things that people havent seen. (quoted Fincher, Reiss/Feineman (2000), 0:01:02) So the final conclusion Videos changes the cinema. In spezial video clips push the speed of narration in motion picture. (p. 276)

A simple but helpful tesis: To understand the message of music and to decode the meaning it is essential to understand the language. It is not naturally that everything is right decoded. As long the audience dont has the background knowledge. Finally never forget music videos are at last promotion for the artist in form of a short film. (p. 405 VttRS)

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Legends: figures, graphs, tables, symbols

Figure 1: Glass Up (Author, year, Figure 2: Nantes Triptych (BillViola,1992, ) Figure 3: Image from Belson's film Allures (1961), showing effect of interference pattern projectors. ()Jordan Belson, courtesy Center for Visual Music.) All other Figures are from YouTube and DVD Screenshots

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List of literature
Video thrills the Radio Star, transcript Verlag; 2005 ISBN 3-89942-383-6

Internet references
YouTube; channel wittmannmax Interview, Low-Budget-Production CNN News MTV Spiegel 1/2004 MTV Achive, 2007

Wittmann, Max, mt081107