Monday, May 09, 2011

How to Make a Hit Youtube Music Video - Part 2 - Choreography Featuring Paula Abdul, Britney Spears, Michael Jackson, Katy Perry & West Side Story

Here we go with part two of my curtain lift on making successful videos. Today we will talk about the importance of choreography. Ever since entertainers have been entertaining, groups have learned to use motion in unison, to catch the audiences attention. In live shows, this can be seen early with the Rockettes:

In my previous segment you saw how both Simply Irresistible and Rough Stuff featured choreographed dancers. Along with sex and vintage convertibles, choreography is the third most powerful tool in a video makers arsenal. Let's go back again to the golden age of video, 1982, and see early examples of this choreography:

At 3:52 when at last the choreography finally kicks in the video starts to exert its appeal. This video made Michael Jackson a star and his moves and videos all were about choreography. This video was really just a remake of Westside Story's elaborate opening scene gang choreography which made Westside Story a classic coming of age story for youth growing up in the early 1960s:

The choreography also doesn't come on til about 1:50. This made for more memorable scenes. Let's flash forward to the late 80s when Paula Abdul went from being a choreographer for the Los Angeles Lakers cheerleaders to a pop star:

Here, Paula Abdul's 1988 hit The Way That you Love Me was ALL about choreography and it ended up carrying her less than stellar singing talent all the way to the bank. The videos she created were visually crammed with lots of synchronous movement. Oh, yes, a few cars were thrown in for good measure.

Let's continue forward to the turn of the century, a young pop sensation named Britney Spears reaches the top of the charts with what else: sex and choreography. A great example can be found in the 1999 smash hit Oops! I Did it Again, which keeps the viewer entertained with synchronous movement:

Paula Abdul had better choreography, than Britney's video, and so this video relies a bit more on the whole Mars/Spaceman elaborate stage set for a bit more visual impact. The red jumpsuit is a great detail, as red and yellow wave-lengths of light (or in this case red & orange) when combined attract the human eye faster than any other color combination. So putting your lead singer in red is not a bad idea, if you can incorporate it easily into your video.

The backgrounds are really all just window dressing and unnecessary for a hit video. As you can see, choreography is a key element in successful music videos. Generally, mixing and matching elements we have covered so far is a sure-fire road to video success. Sex, Classic Convertibles & Choreography.

Katy Perry takes the convertible/sex combination route to success here with Teenage Dream:

Cheap as heck to film, since this one required no choreography needed at all. Almost anyone could make this video on a shoestring budget.

Seriously folks, this is the gospel truth to video stardom. It's not rocket science.

Let's review.

Here are your elements again:

1) SEX

Let's think up an example video:

A)Your lead singer, cruises around the (desert, beach, city nightlife) in a convertible.

B) He/she exits and arrives somewhere where there are lots of pretty women/men dancing around in synchronous movements.

That's it! You're done! Hit video-making was never easier. When in doubt, always add more than one element! Most videomakers try to mix and match at least two from the elements above. Do you see now how incredibly easy it is? Before you know it, you will be making music videos with the best of them. Many hit videos were filmed in a day or two on several thousand dollars expense. A convertible rental, some models/dancers hired for a day's worth of shooting and then it was all finessed back at a sound studio for packaging and public consumption. With today's video technology and editing, it's easier than ever to make a video that will climb the charts.

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