SXSW 2011: Power Of Video

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SXSW 2011 is behind us now but what an awesome, albeit exhausting 9 days.

We were at a music video panel where the topic was creating great content on the cheap. On the panel we had people from OK GO’s team, a video director, and a few music entrepreneurs.  It was an interesting panel because it reminded me of a few important ideas while also giving me something new to chew on.

1. Concept Is King

When thinking about online video, the key is to catch attention. There are just so many videos being put up on a regular basis that your video needs to stand out.  There are many creative ways to do that, but the video idea is worth taking time to flesh out. The OK GO videos are all about the concept. One shot with a well choreographed sequence that’s ridiculous. The Director on the panel showed his video for the band “We Are Augustines”. The concept was simple: one long shot with the band mixed with a bunch of couples making out. The song is depressing but hopeful and the video just works so well with it. I’ve included it at the bottom of the post so you can see.

2. Thinking About The Concept With Money Constraints

If you rented a high-end camera for the weekend, could your concept be achieved on film with the short time frame?  Do you have friends who’d participate for free? How can you use the Iphone 8mm app to create something visually enchanting?

You can have grandiose concepts but if you can’t execute them with 0-to very little money it’s not going to happen right now. Be creative within the constraints.

3. Plan It Out & Practice

OK GO must have practiced a bunch to get their routines right as there are no real cuts in the video.  They were prepped for the video and not just making it up as they went.  If you have other people involved, having a story board (even if it’s just stick figures) can be incredibly helpful when trying to explain your idea.  Knowing what you want in advance and being ready for it will keep any costs you do incur, very low.

On a side note, the guy was saying you can rent a top of the line camera for $US1500-1800/wknd. Still pricey, but you can get the best of the best if you’re looking for something visually satisfying.

4. Long Form Is Coming Back

With the introduction of the Ipad, other tablet devices, and bandwidth being able to handle longer video; people are watching online videos longer than 3 minutes.  Artists can take time to create a long form video to create a real story that’s engaging and can take the artist-fan relationship deeper.  It’s still new, but watch for more of this coming down the line. Think of short films/mini documentaries as music marketing.

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