December 4, 2023

Most of the lists of “great music videos” are based on opinion. Some lists are not, but they should be. Why? Because the writer/reviewer usually bases his or her list on “what I like” or “what I think.” Is it possible to find some specific factors that make a music video better than average, even great?

We think so.

A music video might be judged “excellent” or “best” if judges give their opinion during a contest or a film show. This is generally a legitimate way to determine who is making good music videos. Sometimes it takes a few years for a music video to be judged “great.” If it stands the test of time and keeps people coming back it may be recognized as a trendsetter.

But what are the specific ingredients that make a music video great? What about those that were judged as outstanding from the start and have also stood up to close inspection over a period of years?

It may be tempting to make a music video that looks great and shows off your pretty face and your “acting” ability. But if you want to make a “great” music video you need to start with some other ingredients so that your efforts will last.

Try to get your message across in the first minute or two of your videos. Great songs with great lyrics are just as much a part of quality videos as anything else you put in. When you make a video, have something to say! A second part of this idea is the story. This is not the same as the message. You have to put together a video that has a beginning, middle, and end.

Entertain your viewers and listeners. This is certainly one of the most important pieces of your video puzzle. People spend their time and their money on things that entertain, excite and hold their interest. So try to find a good combination of message and entertainment value.

Dare to be different. Try to do something unique, of course, but don’t make this your only priority. Don’t forget to combine different with message. Otherwise, you may end up making a video that is talked about but isn’t really “great.”

Give your music video as much eye candy as you can. But don’t overdo the special effects or you risk becoming that music video that is all icing and no cake. Most great music videos don’t need a lot of special effects. The best videos use effects to add finishing touches but don’t rely on them.

Make your video with the future in mind. Try to make a video that will stand up over time. Many of the best videos are the subject of trivia contests and music history years after they were made.

Finally, pay particular attention to your camera angles, the level at which you record your music and whether you are trying to project reality or a fantasy world. Some of this is opinion but for the most part, these ideas are in every great music video.

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