The purpose of this assignment is to get you to use and demonstrate your creativity, knowledge of video production, camera operation and editing. There are two types of music videos: performance and concept. We want to practice film making and cinematography, so you are going to produce a concept video. However, within a concept video you may include the band performing. There are two approaches to concept videos, illustrative and interpretive. Illustrative literally illustrates the lyrics of the song. Interpretive allows for my imagination in interpreting the meaning of the lyrics. This type of music video may be more abstract. It is best to mix performance, illustrative, and interpretive to make a visually appealing and interesting story for a music video.


  • Treatment
  • Storyboards
  • Must be two (2) to five (5) minutes in length
  • Most cuts are one (1) to three (3) seconds. No more than five (5) seconds.
  • Start on black, end on black
  • Intro title / Ending credits


The better prepared that you are before picking up a camera, the less time you will waste during production.

  • Pick A Song: You may choose a popular song of your choice, but it needs to be appropriate for school. I don’t care what genre it is, but it may not have any reference to drugs, alcohol, sex or violence and cannot have any swearing! Every song has a story– find it, visualize it. Song that inspires the best visual imagery may not be the one you like most
  • Treatment: Identify the story behind your song and how you will be able to tell this story visually in your video. A few paragraphs describing what will happen in the video: the story, the characters, and the mood.Check out these sample treatments for more ideas.
  • Storyboard: Create a detailed storyboard of your music video. This is not just an outline of what you need to film, this is a specific frame by frame representation of what the finished video should look like. Remember change every 4 seconds. You need a minimum of 4 pages for your story board.


Once your treatment and storyboards are  approved, you may begin filming. I would suggest setting up the scenes for your video and filming them from one perspective and then running through the same thing, but filming it from a different perspective. Then you may want to change the setting or appearance of your actors based on the story you’re trying to tell.


Edit your footage. This is going to be the key part of the process. Each frame can only be 5 seconds in length, so a lot of time will be spent editing down your clips. I would suggest making copies of clips as you edit so you can re-use different scenes. Try to make the jumps go with the beats in the music and feel free to use transitions and effects as they add to the story.

[ Thanks to Mr. Hayes at the Edison High School MacLab ]




The band performs the song in dark, dramatically lit concert venue. two-thirds of the performance is filmed from behind the band.

We only see their backs — backs of heads, hands, torso, asses, feet. all the emotion is conveyed through the body language. we may catch slight glimpses of oblique profiles. but, they are just that — only glimpses. in the background of all these shots we see silhouettes of fans, creating waves of excited movement. we are teased for over two minutes with beautifully composed and dramatically back-lit images of the band – filmed from behind.

During the bridge, Chester rushes the front row and sings screaming into the face of a girl in the front row (still filmed from behind) — “Hear me out now!”

Then, he turns to walk back to the platform, and as Mike sings-speaks the very quiet lines (at the end of the bridge) we finally see his face — “I can’t feel the way I did before…”

Then, when the song kicks in for the climax, we cut to the band and finally see them perform from the front — amazing shots of Brad, Chester, Joe, Mike, Phoenix, and Rob performing the song passionately.

We also reveal a dark, strikingly designed and stylized set behind them. (not one so interesting as to distract from the band themselves.)

The tension and suspense engendered by not revealing the band for so long will be riveting.  When we finally do, the effect will be thrilling.

This simple concept will resonate with the themes of frustration and desire-for-acknowledgment that the song expresses so powerfully.



The song depicts the madness of the world in a very melancholic way.

The video, following the same spirit, will place the audience in the artist’s vantage point: looking with Gary down a busy street. It seems like one random day among any other day – a day that will never happen again because as soon as it’s gone, it will belong to the past. Cars are passing by, pedestrians do their business.

Children exit a school just below Gary – they stay together for a little while, talking and pushing each other around. Then one lies down, then another one, forming an angle. They all organize themselves to create the shape of a head. Two kids make the mouth of the face – by moving their arms, they can change the expression into a smile.

By simply moving body positions, the children will create a succession of shapes: a face, a bird, a house, the motion of the sea, an airplane, a horse, a spiral, a bicycle, abstract patterns, etc.

The video, instead of emphasizing the negative aspects of the lyrics, suggests a very optimistic alternative, or a nostalgic memory of a happier time.

We will slowly go back and forth between Gary and his POV.

DOO WOP (THAT THING) by Lauryn Hill


This is a high concept performance video with a unique visual twist, set around a block of streets, culminating in a block party. We will combine a 60’s and 90’s vision in the same frame. Lauryn will appear in both eras.

This will be achieved by shooting the video on anamorphic lenses twice. The two images will line up to give us a seamless wide-screen picture of the space.

Every scene will combine 60’s and 90’s action. The image of the 60’s will always appear on the left and the 90’s on the right. For example, a wide shot of the street will show buildings, cars, shops, sign posts, and people all styled in the 60’s, whilst the right will reveal a 90’s vision of the same street. These two diverse sets of people will appear to be physically sharing the same space.

This combined image will confront your sense of perception. It will be realistic and impossible at the same time. This time machine idea will be all the more striking due to the perfect line up of the two worlds. Only Lauryn will exist in both worlds. She is our narrator. She crosses the divide of time.

We are taking our cue from movies like “A Bronx Tale,” “Coolie High” and “The Five Heartbeats,” as well as contemporary based films like “Do the Right Thing.” However, the video story is not a literal interpretation of the lyric, rather it is an exploration of the two eras, their styles, their fashions, their dance steps, their attitude.

We start outside a brownstone with Lauryn and her two crews, one 60’s, one 90’s. She gets up from the stoop and begins to walk down the street. As Lauryn and her crew move along the sidewalk, we continually see both a 60’s and a 90’s vision of the same thing side by side. Beauty shops/hairdressers, corner shops, automobiles on the street, guys and girls just hanging out on the stoops and street corners. Guys chatting up/checking out girls, girls doing likewise.

As we turn the corner we see a block party is in progress. The streets are full of people. There is a band on stage, or rather two bands, a 60’s and a 90’s one. The floor is crowded with people dancing. The two Lauryns move through the dancing people and onto the stage, where the bands are performing. Stepping up onto the platform, they continue to perform but this time with the backing of the 60’s and 90’s band.

The audience responds to these two differing styles of performance with their own unique style of dancing. This is the heart of the video. In each shot we will see details of both 60’s and 90’s dance. We will immediately be able to see the change in dance movement and clothes, and hair and makeup between the two eras.

The art direction of both the 60’s and the 90’s will be immaculate. The details of the streets and the block party will be radically different. It will seem we have compressed 30 years.

In the 60’s image an old super 8 camera will be recording the event, whilst in the 90’s a new video camera will be doing likewise. We will see from time to time the point of view of these cameras. The image on the 60’s cameras will be grain and black and white, while on the 90’s cameras it will be lurid, digital video.

In each scene we will see both eras. In each scene we will notice the contrast and sometimes the similarities in action and behaviour.

Lauryn’s performance will be different in each era. The 90’s streetwise and confident, the 60’s more innocent. The band behind her in the 60’s is a traditional R&B outfit, Wilson Pickett meets James Brown, with a dash of The Temptations. In the 90’s it will be more eclectic with scratchers and mixers and the whole contemporary crew.

The vibe of the video is up, celebratory, the colours will be crisp and bright. This is not a dark ominous video. It will be shot on 35mm on Cinemascope lenses. The finished piece will be highly distinctive and emotionally uplifting, full of energy, life and passion. You will get the sense that you are there yourself.

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