For the last few decades, music videos have grown to be an important part of the music industry. Once seen only as marketing tools, music videos eventually came to serve as a new medium where musicians and filmmakers could express themselves.
While there are countless amazing music videos all filmmakers should check out, below are some of the most innovative. Whether these videos used a clever animation technique or did more with less cash, they’re all worth enjoying — and perhaps even learning from.
“Take On Me” – A-ha
The music video for this catchy ‘80s tune left viewers mesmerized by its use of rotoscoping. This technique involves using a combination of live people and places with pencil-sketch animation. This style helped the video set itself apart from others at the time, giving it a strong romantic fantasy feeling.
This creative music video won a total of six awards at the 1986 MTV Video Music Awards, including Best Concept Video and Best Experimental Video. Aspiring filmmakers can learn from A-ha’s attempt at doing something different and unique instead of sticking to less-risky ideas.
“Sabotage” – Beastie Boys
This 1994 hit song came with a music video that pays tribute to classic crime series from the 1970s. It serves as a parody to the action-packed opening credits of fictional cop dramas like “Starsky and Hutch,” “Hawaii Five-O,” and “S.W.A.T.”
Although the video didn’t win any of its nominations at the 1994 MTV Video Music Awards, it remains relevant in popular culture. At the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, it was awarded “Best Video That Should Have Won a Moonman.”
“Thriller” – Michael Jackson
There was a time when people across the world weren’t just waiting for another feature film or music album to release. Instead, they counted down the days until Michael Jackson, the late King of Pop, would release another music video.
This is all thanks to his monstrous hit “Thriller” and the lengthy video that accompanied it. The effort Jackson put into this project made people start seeing music videos as not just a promotional tool but as an unique work of art.
“Here It Goes Again” – OK Go
Time and time again, American rock band OK Go has shown us how creativity will always be more important than how much money is spent. They have gained a following for creating numerous music videos that go viral on Youtube and social media despite budget constraints.
One of their best efforts is the music video for “Here It Goes Again,” which earned them a Grammy Award for Best Short Form Music Video in 2007 as well as the 2006 YouTube award for Most Creative Video. The video features one continuous take as the band dances together on treadmills.
“Sledgehammer” – Peter Gabriel
The music video for this 1986 song used a combination of live-action and stop-motion animation to create a whimsical experience that ties in perfectly with the song. From dancing oven-ready chickens to chalkboard roller coasters to faces formed out of food, there’s no shortage of creativity.
If anything, the video showed how far one can go with dedication and passion. Creating this video required Gabriel to lay under a sheet of glass for over 16 hours. This music video won nine awards at the 1987 MTV Video Music Awards, making it the video with the most wins.
“Lost In The Echo” – Linkin Park
The video for “Lost In The Echo” is unique in that it connects to your Facebook account and uses your pictures to weave the video’s narrative. It is one of the most innovative attempts at an interactive video that uses today’s social media technology to draw viewers into the world of the song.
Linkin Park won Best Interactive Music video for “Lost In The Echo” at the O Music Awards. Although most viewers found the personal photos humorous rather than moving, the video is a big step forward in the realm of interactive music videos.
Are you a filmmaker who loves music videos? Let us know your favorites in the comments below!