Luke Bather - 30th Nov 2015

The final part of our round-up of MusicVidFest, the all-day music video conference held at BFI Southbank earlier this month, starts with the session that focussed on the importance of music videos and YouTube in how people consume music, and offered intriguing information about viewing trends, and indeed, the whole purpose of the music video. 

There was also a inspirational mastercalss on post production in music videos, and with a view to the future of music videos, influential people from each sector of the industry - including artist and now director Roisin Murphy (above right, talking with panel moderator Eliza Williams) - took part in Question Time, the final session of the day.

It had all started with Dougal Wilson and treatment-writing, followed by Mike O'Keefe's keynote speech, a cinematography masterclass and a look at future tech and videos. Find out more about those sessions here and herePhotos by Ben Meadows

Session 6: "Let’s Make Lots of Money! The Power of Music Video"

Presented by
Tim Mulligan - MIDiA
Panellists:
Matt Dicks - AEI Media/UKF
Matt Riley - AWAL - Kobals Label Services
Moderator:
Caroline Bottomley - Radar Music Videos

Tim Mulligan of MIDiA presented his company’s research findings in terms of audience engagement with some cold, hard and sometimes surprising statistics.

Starting with something that seems to go without saying in the current climate - YouTube, Vevo and music videos are almost inseparable, and fans want to engage with music videos on those platforms. The majority of billion-view videos on YouTube are music videos, making music videos 44% more popular than streaming services.

44% of music video consumption is done by people under the age of 35 - and using these numbers we’ve got to really rethink the role of the music video. No longer can it simply be seen as a promotional tool for encouraging people to buy the single - for more and more people now music videos are the best way for them to consume music, making the video a commodity in its own right.

Discussions centred around ways to use peripheral content (such as behind the scenes features) as extra levels of engagement and monetisation. Understanding of content and marketing is now “imperative” for directors who want to make a living from their art.

When the floor was opened up to questions, thinsg got lively as the subject of revenue-sharing was raised. On that issue, the panellists agreed that there’s no clear solution in sight. But it’s good to know we’re all thinking about it.

Session 7: Post Production Visual Effects Session

Panellists:
Christopher Watson-Wood - Ruffian Post
Kai Van Beers - MPC
Ninian Doff - Director
Vania Heymann - Director
Moderator:
Thom Trigger - Rushes

In a showcase of incredible talent from directors, VFX artists and post production houses there was a big standout piece that stunned both the crowd and the panel. Vania Heymann’s video for Roy Kafri’s song Mayokero was a self-shot DIY video done almost entirely by the director himself. Vania even brought along an accompanying VFX Breakdown video that showed some of the methodology behind the video (which combines practical effects and digital effects). This, in turn, had moderator Thom Trigger a little lost for words, as prior to this he was ready to make a point about VFX being an essential team effort.

For the most part that’s still completely true - not every director happens to be a magician in post production too, and there’s some true VFX artistry on display here from the likes of Ruffian Post, who worked tirelessly using a video game engine to create a world in which Darwin Deez could be the world’s worst boyfriend.

There was also a lot of discussion around a director’s process when working with VFX in mind - which is something that a lot of new directors with limited post production experience would find invaluable.

Session 8: The Future of Music Video: Question Time

Panellists:
Dan Curwin - Atlantic Records
James Hackett - Virgin EMI
Jamie Clark - My Accomplice
Róisín Murphy - Artist & Director
Sing J. Lee - Director
Moderator:
Eliza Williams - Creative Review

For the final panel of the day, the room took a look into the future and opened up questions to the audience.

The idea of artists directing their own videos was something that was discussed in depth. Róisín Murphy is one of many artists now venturing into directing their own videos, and she delivered plenty of insight into how she felt frustrated with ideas that were coming her way from other directors, who didn’t quite understand her work.

Representation of artists was a topic again discussed at length - on the one hand people argued that female artist/directors like Róisín Murphy and FKA Twigs now had more power over how they were represented in the medium, which is only ever a good thing – as evidenced by the video output from both artists. But on the other hand the audience asked whether responsibility for such representation should fall on the artist, or whether it should fall on the directors, producers and commissioners.

After much back and forth and no clear answers, the discussion moved onto the next bone of contention: money. That very familiar ghost that is revenue-share came back under discussion for a second time, and Virgin commissioner James Hackett pointed out that could lead to a conundrum of knowing who ‘earned’ the money. If a music video hits 10 million views on YouTube, is that because of the song or the video?

It’s the promo equivalent of “if a tree falls in the woods and there’s nobody around to hear it, does it make a sound?” All was looking a little bleak as we were rounding off the day, until one question from the crowd that came from a university lecturer who brought along his students. He asked should they just stop what they’re doing now, because it all seemed a little hopeless and suddenly the panel was alive with a resounding chorus of “No! Don’t stop!” and every single person reiterated that the industry is full of amazing, creative people and that’s something that absolutely needs to carry on.

All in all, MusicVidFest was a resounding success. In a series of talks, the attendees (from all levels inside and outside the industry) were given inspiration, they questioned all manner of subjects, looked upon the world in which they work from a brand new perspective and learned so much. Truly an indispensable event that can only grow stronger as people appreciate the insight it provides.

Luke Bather - 30th Nov 2015

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