DJ Shadow ft Run The Jewels – Nobody Speak
Directed by Sam Pilling
Director of Photography: David Procter
Pulse films productions.
Music Video Production
This music video has been out since 2018 but is still one of the best music videos I’ve currently seen. It’s visually pleasing and interesting although it’s entirely shot in one location. The characters miming the lyrics at the beginning captures my attention straight away, it feels strangely calm yet tense until the chaos begins. This is another extremely well-directed music video by Sam Pilling. You don’t lose focus as the story builds and metaphors behind the chaos make it entertaining.
The DOP, David Procter, did a beautiful job of lighting the extreme wide shots to the close-ups. The lighting is clean and has a style of a grand Hollywood film look which fits the setting for this music video incredibly well. In terms of camera work, there are no groundbreaking shots in this music video but instead, it has the right balance of movement and stills adding drama through slow motion. This is a common discussion at Oliver Brian Production as we feel that slow motion really adds another element to music videos. It makes the production feel expensive regardless of the budget. In this instance, it works well with the story and chaos as it keeps the audience focused.
J Cole – Middle Child
Directed by Mez
Director of Photography: Sing Howe Yam
Music Video Director
An extremely well-executed directorial debut from Mez, to say he had half a day to come up with the treatment for J Cole is clearly impressive. There’s not much of a narrative to this music video but instead, it has hidden meanings along with heavy juxtapositions in certain scenes. This has been done by having Cole in situations where you wouldn’t normally place a black American male.
This music video is based over 7 locations. You first see Cole as a silhouette in the dark followed by lightning which subtlety reveals the first outdoor location which is positioned similar to a church. The juxtaposition here is Cole in a tracksuit with his hood up yet the rest of the characters behind him are in suits. The DOP did a great job by having the lightning flashes throughout the performance shots outside as it helps the backdrop change, similar to a flashing transition.
My personal favourite shots in this music video are the dirt track car scenes where Cole and his team are driving around the muddy track. They had the camera mounted on the bonnet of the car focusing on Cole rapping whilst going over the bumps on the dirt track.
In terms of lighting in this section it seems some shots driving around is completely natural light and the posing shots may have had some fill.
This music video blends well between each scene as it has the gritty elements mixed with a high budget look. The Director of Photography did a great job lighting the sets with a stylish look but keeping the outdoor scenes dramatic with light flashes and contrast.
Jorja Smith – Let Me Down ft Stormzy
Director – Hector Dockrill
Producer – FAMM / Pulse Films
This is another one of my recent favourite music videos. The reason is purely because of how much it feels like a scene from a cinema film. The narrative is fairly simple but the locations really make this video stand out. The camera operator does a great job with the camera movement, always feeling like you are following Jorja through one scene to another. This feels entirely shot with a steadicam, a piece of equipment we have recently been discussing investing in due to seeing the results that they add to a music video production. A great tracking shot example in this music video is when Jorja is walking up the stairs and the camera pans away from her reflection in the mirror to following her. This is an impressive shot that adds a creative element and this is something that could only be done with a steadicam.