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Best Music Video Directors

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Best Music Video Directors

This topic is all personal preference and opinion. I based my picks on who had made my Favorite Videos of All Time list, as well as who had made The Most Epic Music Videos of All Time list. I also based my decision on what these directors are doing now; were they able to evolve and keep up with the times or was their career success a one trick pony? For these reasons, my Music Video Directors list is only going to include three directors.

  Number Three on my list is Michael Bay, known for his blockbuster hits Bad Boys (1995) and Transformers (2007). Bay got his start in music videos and was responsible for one of most groundbreaking music videos of all time: “I’d Do Anything for Love” (sung by Meatloaf) in 1993. I remember watching that video every time it came on, and it was like watching a feature film or rock opera.

Number Two on my best music video directors list list is Spike Jonze. Jonze has made my two favorite music videos of all time: “Buddy Holly” (sung by Weezer, 1994) and “Sabotage” (sung by the Beastie Boys, 1994). Both videos are extremely entertaining and have huge lasting power. Both are set in time periods at least 30 years prior to their filming dates, which ultimately prove that content and not timely or modern “flash” is king. It’s not always about huge budgets; a simple, interesting, fun concept is what matters at the end of the day, as well as the ability of that video to connect with the artist’s audience. Spike Jonze has also had tremendous success in the film industry, with such silver screen hits as Being John Malkovich (1999) and Her (2013). It’s no surprise considering that everything he has ever directed has such an original feel. Even his more recent music videos–such as “Weapon of Choice” (sung by Fatboy Slim, 2001)–retain that unique quality.

Number One on my best music video directors list is David Fincher. David Fincher, in my opinion, has the best track record of groundbreaking music videos. He is responsible for “Vogue” (sung by Madonna, 1990), “Freedom” (sung by George Michael, 1990), and “Janie’s Got A Gun” (sung by Aerosmith, 1994). His epic success with music videos has translated over to film; he has directed The Game (1997), Seven (1995), Fight Club (1999), and the Social Network (2010). 

Music Video Companies

Ultimately, there aren’t that many successful working music video companies out there. The people who have found most success in this line of business are those who have worked by themselves and have outsourced what they have needed when they needed it. I think this is directly correlated to the nature of this line of work. You never really know when your next music video is going to be booked. You can have five music videos scheduled to film in one month and then not another for the next three months. It all depends on availability and timing in this industry, as well as potential clients’ ability to find you. On this same note, there really is no such thing as “great” cheap music video production out there… although there is certainly a need for it! This results in finding a lot of directors who work by themselves rather that incorporate a larger crew in order to save money for artists. Sometimes this is successful; sometimes it is not. My favorite music video company right now is Daniels, the duo who is responsible for the wild DJ Snake & Lil Jon video “Turn Down for What.” If you have not seen this video yet do yourself the favor and take the time for a good laugh. 

Music Video Producer

You’re going to be hard pressed to find the best music video producer. Most directors in this industry are their own producer, especially when working with independent artists. You would be more likely to find a music video producer within a music video company. In this industry, people have to wear multiple hats for years because you never know what kind of budget the artist is going to be working with. Sometimes there is room for a ten person crew, and sometimes there is just room for one person on the crew. Also, producers don’t get any of the real credit; it’s all about the director in this world. You will see the director’s name on the video most of the time and never the producer’s. 

If you are looking for a music video producer and director be sure to give us a call and check out our work on our portfolio page. 

If you just love music videos and want to watch them all be sure to check out the music video database by clicking the blue link. This will give you an endless amount of music videos to view. Music Video Companies





Greatest Music Videos of All Time

Like our last post on our blog about the best music video directors, this list of best music videos is also just a matter of personal opinion and taste. I based my decision off of what videos I re-watched the most, shared the most with other people, and what videos I could go back to years later and watch again. I also took into consideration if the video was groundbreaking in anyway. This list was difficult for me to create; there have been so many great music videos made, and on top of that I’m sure there’s been hundreds of other music videos made that I would love that I just haven’t seen yet. As a music video producer, it’s your job to watch a lot of music videos to get inspiration and keep up with the trends. It also helps guide your artists in helping them distinguish what they are looking for in their music video. In this list, I will name my Top Ten Music Videos of All Time. Again, remember that this is just my opinion. Keep in mind this is not the top ten most viewed music videos or most popular music videos of all time. 

                                           Number 10 

 I must have watched this video thirty times about two years ago as I was trying to duplicate this video; trying to recreate it was by far one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do as a music video producer. The video is called “On Hold” by Factory Floor. This video is a bunch of different actors performing different tasks, but the tasks keep happening over and over again in the exact mirrored way. The video starts to feel very hypnotic about thirty seconds in. It’s also a video that will stand the test of time for it’s sheer uniqueness. This video might make some people a bit sick. Number ten on my list of Greatest Music Videos of All Time is “On Hold” by Factory Floor. 

ON HOLD (w/ music by factory floor) from AB/CD/CD on Vimeo.

Number 9

This video is a pure guilty pleasure and just plain nutty. The video was actually directed by Eric Wareheim, a comedian from the popular adult swim show, “The Time and Eric Show”. I’m sure a lot of people will hate this video, but I think it’s entrancing in its strangeness, a fact which lands it on my best music videos list. Number nine on my list of best music videos is Bubble Butt by Major Lazer. 

MAJOR LAZER “Bubble Butt” from Eric Wareheim on Vimeo.

 Number 8

This is the best edited music video I’ve ever seen. They took a really simple live concert and edited it into an epic music video. Editing is where you can take a bad music video and make it good. In this case, the editor used incredible effects to showcase the energy of the live performance. As a music video producer and editor myself, I have so much respect for whoever edited this video. Number eight on my list of best music videos is Ni**as in Paris by JAY Z AND Kanye West.

Number 7

I love this next video for multiple reasons. The video feels more like a short film than a music video, which is great. The song is wonderful, but the video definitely makes it better, which means the director did a great job. As a director, you always want the video to accent and even improve the reception of the song. I really adore how the video is all backwards and filmed with = slow motion. The twist at the end is executed perfectly. A lot of people try to put in twists in their music videos, but they make them way too obvious and people know they are coming. I really don’t think people see this end coming. I also think the blue coloring is awesome in this video. It sets the tone and mood from the get go. Number seven on my list of best music videos is “Breezeblocks” by Alt-J. 

Alt-J (∆) | Breezeblocks from Ellis Bahl on Vimeo.

Number 6

This next video isn’t one of my favorite videos, but it has inspired and set the tone for some of my favorite videos out there so I felt it was necessary to include. The video is “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana. The video set the tone in the 90’s for alternative grunge. You have a bunch of kids at a concert enjoying the grungy atmosphere and they begin to mosh to the music. I think most videos in the 90’s had some form of a mosh pit in them. I’m sure you would find a lot of people who consider this one of the greatest music videos of all time but I enjoy it more for what it inspired. The two videos I enjoy the most that emulated this video are “Gotta Get Away” by The Offspring and “Bullet with Butterlfly Wings by The Smashing Pumpkins. I went ahead and included all three videos in case you wanted to take a look. Number six on the list of greatest music videos of all time is “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana.

 Number 5

This is a video that you will watch in 2016, that was filmed in the 1990’s, set in a show from the 1970’s, which takes place in the 1950’s… so get ready to do some time traveling. The video is directed by Spike Jonez, who actually has two videos on this list. The first video is “Buddy Holly” by Weezer. Weezer’s blue cover album was actually the first CD I had ever bought, and I wasn’t disappointed. I went in a HMV CD store and decided I was going to buy a CD at 12 years old. I had no clue what CD I was going to buy, but back then you could sample the CDs, so I gave it a quick listen, felt it had potential, and bought it. A few weeks later I saw the video for “Buddy Holly” and couldn’t help but think that it was pure fun. They really did a great job capturing the essence of the show “Happy Days” and somehow mixed the band in to make it look like they were part of the show. I imagine they had an editing genius who spent weeks making this happen. Number five on the list of greatest music videos of all time is “Buddy Holly” by Weezer.

Number 4

This is the second video on the list directed by Spike Jonez. Although this could easily be the best music video of all time for me, I didn’t list it as number one though because I didn’t feel it was ground breaking in anyway. The video is an adrenaline rush that keeps you laughing and entertained all the way through. The artists are dressed up as cheesy cops from the 70’s and are pursuing a bunch of different criminals. It’s a video you just need to see for yourself, although considering its popularity, you probably already have. Number four on the list of best music videos is “Sabotage” by Beastie Boys

Number 3

This is the most recent video on our list of greatest music videos of all time. America has always been a trendsetter when it comes to music videos, probably due to MTV’s success in the states. The world watches the American music industry. The music of American artists gets played in countries where they don’t speak or understand English. This is pretty amazing if you think about it; people love the music so much that they don’t care if they don’t understand most of the lyrics. On the other side of the coin, the general American population never gets taken by storm by a song that is in another language. The closest we might get is a bit of Spanish in a song, but the song generally doesn’t become iconic. Well, the artist PSY from South Korea changed that with “Gangnam Style.” With 2.5 billion views and counting, all of America was swept away a few years ago by this wild video. It was an epic music video mixing humor with a culture that Americans had never really been widely exposed to. This video was truly groundbreaking; we had never seen a song sweep the world like this that was in a completely foreign language to Americans. Number three on the list of best music videos is “Gangnam Style” by PSY.

Number 2 

This video is from an artist we probably need a seperate top ten list of best music videos for. Michael Jackson is number two on our list and it was hard to choose which video of his to put on here because he had so many personal groundbreaking videos. Thus, I picked my top two favorite music videos of his. I picked “Thriller” because it was an epic video for its time. No one had ever made a music video into a complete film. The video came out to be thirteen minutes in length, won best music video in 1985, and it was MTV’s first world premiere video. The next video I included was “Scream.” To this day, it is the most expensive music video ever made at a total cost of seven millions dollars. With inflation, that would be ten million dollars today. Number two of our best music videos are “Thriller” and “Scream” by Michael Jackson. 

Number 1

The best music video of all time is a controversial one. It is “Smack My Bitch Up” by The Prodigy. This video is extremely unique as it shows a first-person view of someone going through London partying. The main character gets into a fight with the DJ, samples a few drugs, and winds up a strip club. The big twist at the end is that we have been following a woman, not a man. A lot more takes place in this video, so be sure to check it out. First person videos are done often these days because of the availability of Go-Pro, but this was fifteen years before those cameras were invented. It is truly impressive that they were able to do this with those huge cameras back then. So again our best music video of all time is “Smack My Bitch Up” by The Prodigy. 

Smack My Bitch Up by The Prodigy (Completely Uncensored) from Max on Vimeo.



Greatest Music Videos of All Time 

We hope you enjoyed our top ten list of greatest music videos of all time even if you don’t agree with them. Be sure to comment and let us know what videos you think are missing. Also check out our next article, in which we will be counting down the top ten most expensive music videos of all time. 

If you’re looking for a more in depth list of best music videos be sure to check out this list of 100 greatest music videos of all time


Best music videos

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A live concert we filmed for New Orleans-based gangsta rapper Juvenile aka Juvi the great. (born March 25, 1975), Juvi is an American rapper, actor, and songwriter. He is also a former member of hip-hop group the Hot Boys.

Juvenile Concert {Phoenix Music Video Director} from Gordon Cowie Films on Vimeo.

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