The Classification Of Music Videos

At present, MV is an artistic pattern to express vocal in audiovisual language, not only displayed on television but also released through different networks due to an increasing development of technologies of digitization and network. Therefore, Vernallis argues that music video has entered a new aesthetic era, characterized by new digital technologies, new kinds of cross-media authorship and new transmedia potentials for expression she refers to as the ‘mixing board aesthetic’(Vernallis, 2013, 5-6ff).

Music video can be divided into different categories. Firstly, there are a huge number of concert music videos with documentary style. Just like  ‘Jam’ in 1992.The video was composed by Michael Jackson, dancers, bands and live audiences. The shot cut frequently among these four subjects. Besides, the change of rhythm effects the speed of editing and the movement of shot. Therefore, the high-speed editing and fast tracking shot highlight the scene feeling of spectators.This kind of documentary style focuses on low-tech minimalism, instead of special effects.

On the other hand, auteurs enjoy creating narratives to heighten the interesting of audiences to music. Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ for example, which is directed by John Landis (1982), begin with a narrative style and horrified background sound of horror film. The fragmentary editing style and multiple cuts of different roles of Micheal Jackson reflect a utilization of psychological montage, moreover, the application of special effects also helps to create vividness of special characters.The most important element is the set of suspense, which may let audiences feel more curious about videos.

Furthermore, the existence of singing and dancing music video is quite popular. However, the majority number of these MV reflect a sense of sexual embodiment and a man-centered background.For instance, Bruno Mars’s ‘Uptown Funk’ begin with a close-up to the body of woman, and the attention of actors also follow along with the movement of the lady, which aims to satisfied a sense of voyeuristic urges.The representation of gender and sexuality is very common in those kinds of MV. However, i have to admit that ‘Uptown Funk’ is a successful production, which utilizes multiple mise-en-scene and film technologies. For example, the diversified, exaggerated costumes of character and various colorful scenes make it possible for video to achieve a unique fashion sense. The speed of editing and various angle of shots cooperate with the rhythm of music from beginning to end.iTwo extreme high-speed editing emerge when the prelude and interlude are going to finish, and the shots are switched frequently between close-up and medium shot, following the sound.


Overall, these three categories of movie video possess different aesthetic features.The concert MV owns more scene feeling and more appealing. Besides, the narrative music video is more vivid and interesting which quite similar with musical film due to the different suspense set. The last category possesses more sense of rhythm, and may present a stronger personal style through the design of mise-en-scene and choreography.



Carol Vernallis (2013), “YouTube Aesthetics”: Unruly Media, New York: Oxford University Press, 127-154.


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