Artist Insight: Roger Avary on the art of music video

“Short film as a form is very rarely seen. Music videos have given the short film a venue to be used by the public in mass entertainment. This being said, I’ve always felt a little weird about the way music videos are constructed. It’s a great place for filmmakers to begin and to experiment. There is a danger, though, to using the specific grammar of music videos in feature films. There’s physiological differences between (music videos and movies). It’s not just emotional or psychological.

Television works with refresh rates, while film works with the persistence of memory. Film runs at 24 frames per second and it is still images flashing on the screen. It activates beta cycles in your brain and you become an active participant in piecing together the still images. With video you work with refresh rates, and the scan lines are constantly refreshing the screen. Because of this your mind is not an active participant in creating the motion on the screen. It activates alpha cycles. This is why people can veg out on TV.

To overcome this, the grammar of music videos has come to have quick cut shots with lots of movement. It’s a way to constantly stimulate the viewer. What happens when you transfer this into cinema, where its not needed, is you get highly erratic filmmaking techniques. When it translates to the film, it becomes a bit overpowering.”

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