A couple of years ago I read a statistic on the Internet that claimed that there were more animated music videos produced in 2009 than in all the years up to 2009 combined. This seemed hard to believe even with the use of Flash, After Effects and other computer programs making “animation” production within the reach of anyone with a laptop.

But then I noticed that video hosting sites such as YouTube and Vimeo had tons of “songs’ listed on them. These video sites probably now have a song selection that rivals iTunes. The song videos are songs accompanied visually by artwork, usually the song’s CD cover or a photo of the band.

If any artwork or photographs are used in film, even if it’s just one, the film can be considered “animated”. Animated film refers to the manipulation of still artwork as the visual basis for a film and even the simple cross dissolving between still photos constitutes animation. By that definition there certainly are a boatload of “animated music videos” being produced.

A “real” music video, that is; a film that can work as an interesting piece of visual information that is in sync to a piece of music rather than relying on character dialogue or voice over narration, is still an exciting and effect promotional tool and self contained entertainment product.

A recent example of some interesting music videos are the new Van Halen videos that have surfaced on the web. Some criticisms have been that David Lee Roth’s lip syncing is bad. In the video for their new single, as opposed to the fan footage shoot live at a preview show performed in a small nightclub, the band is acting as though they’re performing the song but they know we don’t really want to hear how they really sound now, we want to hear the recording. Yes, Roth’s lip syncing is off but that’s his way of telling us he knows that we know he’s lip syncing and that he is probably actually sing live along to the record and therefore isn’t really lip syncing (to those in the room at the time).

The live video is interesting in that whoever shot it was standing in front of the bass amp. The drums are there but the guitar is barely audible and the vocals are nonexistent. If it wasn’t for Roth’s lips moving you’d think the tune was an instrumental. But the extremely bad mix serves a purpose. Wolfgang Van Halen’s bass is up and center and makes it clear that he is indeed an exceptional bassist who deserves his place in the band despite any whispers of nepotism. And it presents a bit of a mystery in that although Roth’s lead vocal is completely buried in the mix, Wolfgang’s backup vocals are loud and clear. Why would the lead vocal be buried but the back up vocals clear? Wouldn’t they both be coming out of the same P.A.? Perhaps what we were hearing was Wolfgang’s vocal monitor that would have been right in front of him and therefore in front of the videographer and with only his vocals coming through the monitor that’s what the video picked up. Even if the back up vocals were prerecorded tracks it does seem strange to get the back ups and not the lead vocal.

If anyone doubts the effectiveness of the music video in today’s music scene just realize that we’re discussing a twenty-something year old band who haven’t had a record out in years and who haven’t had a hit in a decade because of a homemade video some fan shot in a tiny little bar in New York. That’s the continuing and ever growing power of video.

Source by Neal R Warner

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