Music videos have become extremely popular since the 1980’s. Some people say that Disney’s Fantasia was the first music video, or set of music videos. However, music videos have come a long way since the 1980’s, let alone the 1940’s. The crafting of a music video is much harder than may people would expect. Music videos last for about four minutes on average, with enough time for a brief introduction and the standard three to four minute song itself. Those four minutes can take two weeks to make, and those weeks are going to include some of the most strenuous days that the creators will ever experience.
The first step in the creation of a music video is nailing down the concept. This can be a tricky part of the process when it comes to the behind the scenes creation of music videos. For one thing, especially when it comes to major music videos, music stars have a tendency to have a lot of their egos and identities invested in the music video and the song itself. Nailing down a concept that is going to satisfy them as well as the director, not to mention the general paying public, is going to be difficult at the best of times. Michael Jackson’s Thriller is probably the most famous music video ever created, and it is still one of the most famous music videos today after thirty years.
Some people talk about the video in terms of its tremendous underlying business sense. In fact, it was more or less a vanity project for Michael Jackson, who liked the monster movie themes and wanted to embody them in a way that really made sense for him emotionally. Nailing down the concept of a video like this can be terrible if it is mainly going to be a sort of vanity project for a pop star, but this is par for the course in the industry.
Once a concept is nailed down, the location of the music video has to be chosen. There are some mega-locations that are used for the filming of a lot of different videos, which is why savvy people can see lots of different commonalities between different music videos in a visual sense. Scheduling a shoot at these locations, or any location, can be tricky. The shooting of the music video itself takes two days, but these are going to be twelve-hour or fourteen-hour days where people are working nearly non-stop. People tend to shoot on weekends.
The important music video sequences are frequently filmed out of order. It’s an atmosphere that is simultaneously stressful and hedonistic in many cases, like a working party. Working behind the scenes at a music video can be a very curious experience on that basis alone.
Once the shooting is finished, it is time for the video editors to try to turn the typically disparate shots into coherent music video narratives. The video editors themselves are usually going to have to work non-stop in order to make that happen. A good portion of the two-week process is still going to be occupied by the editing.