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Experts comment on Bunji’s polarising music video
Since its release on May 17, the music video for Bunji Garlin’s hit song, Differentology, has been quite polarising. On social media Web sites such as Facebook, Twitter and You Tube, Bunji Garlin fans have responded with hearty congratulations or expressed their immense disappointment with the long-awaited video. So what exactly makes a music video appealing? In his review of the video, technology columnist Mark Lyndersay said “much of the video is layered with pointless colour grading and hokey directing decisions.” On his blog at Lyndersaydigital.com, Lyndersay remarked that while the Differentology video had all the “elements” to make a good video, it was ultimately “kind of weird looking at it.”
Directed by Nigel Thompson of Black Ice Studios, the Differentology video was partially shot on location at a quarry in Valencia and interspersed scenes of “mud people” with Carnival costumes and party motifs. The video also included viking imagery, with Garlin dressed in helmet and fur in some scenes, since he is the self-titled Viking of Soca. In an interview with the T&T Guardian, Lyndersay shared what he believed were the criteria for a good music video. “For me, a good music video expands my understanding of the song. The very best ones can make you think about a song in a whole different way and really appreciate what the artiste was trying to do with their music,” he said.
For others, there seemed to be a general consensus that music videos have some sort of emotional connection to the song. Walt Lovelace of Beach House Entertainment said: “A successful music video is one that could generate some kind of positive emotion out of people.” Lovelace has directed countless videos for artistes such as 3Canal and David Rudder. His co-director on many of those videos, Danielle Diefenthaller said the video must provide viewers with an “enhanced feeling” for the song. She added that the video must sell the artist as well as the song, especially if the song is already popular.
Another artiste and director, Remy Yearwood, said music videos do not always need to tell a story. In a telephone interview with the T&T Guardian, Yearwood said music videos can be a literal interpretation of the song lyrics, abstract or even delve into magical realism. “Regardless of how you decide to do it, the video should always tap into the energy of the song. There’s two ways to consider it. The video could be good and it could be effective. When it’s good, you get a general consensus and most people like it. When it’s effective, it creates a conversation and that can be positive and negative.”
Whether the video is good or bad, a popular song will remain popular, said Lyndersay. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a music video that was so bad that people stopped listening to the song, particularly if it was a good song to begin with. If the song is awful, a good music video won’t save it, and a bad music video makes for a happy bundle of ‘let’s forget that ever happened.’”
The video’s quality is dependent on the type of equipment used, however. “Of course equipment matters. As in any discipline, you need to have the correct tools to execute your trade. The better the tool, the better you’ll be able to execute it. Especially if you want things to reach a certain standard,” said Yearwood.
Another important factor is editing. According to Dieffenthaller, “Editing is everything. It’s all about the timing and directing and knowing when to cut and make transitions.” Both Lovelace and Dieffenthaller agreed that access to high tech equipment had grown tremendously since the 1990s. “Back in the day when we didn’t have any fancy studios or lights and it was about telling a story but doing it simply. Technology didn’t keep us back from editing. Now, technology has so levelled the playing the field that it really is important to know how to craft,” said Dieffenthaller.
However, even with quality equipment, editing and intriguing visuals, music videos can still generate debate. “Music videos are a funny thing because everyone will interpret differently. There is no law and rule on if it should have a story or not. Music videos are like paintings, whether people feel good, bad or indifferent, at the end of the day, it’s my painting,” said Lovelace.
What Bunji Garlin fans are saying: These comments were retrieved from comments under the video on YouTube and Bunji Garlin’s Facebook and Twitter pages.
YouTube subscriber Shadzee said: “Some parts of this video were quite clever but the overall product was hindered by the inability of the director/editor to connect all the scenes in a cohesive manner, in fact many scenes should have been left out altogether. I feel that if Mr Garlin was attempting to make an art-house style production he should have held on to that idea an not try to appeal to the ‘wine and jam crowd’ by inserting in the random “wining pit.” It completely killed the credibility of all that he tried to put forward.”
YouTube subscriber Carlos Noel said: “I LOVE IT....I seen a lot of negative comments for how confusing it is and it doesn’t honor the typical imagery of Carnival, and blah blah...., but I respect Bunji for staying true to the title of the song, which clearly emphasizes that he is aiming to be “DIFFERENT”. Big up 2 Bunji for such an artistic video!!!!!!”
Twitter Kardinal Offishal @KardinalO tweeted: “You are who you surround urself with. @BUNJIGARLIN inspired me with this video. MAWD!”
Facebook: Kizzy Kennedy said: “Tears came to my eyes watching this video......... just love bunji.”
Marla Loney said: “Love love love. From the first time I heard this Song it give me goosebumps. De video do the same. May god continue to bless u with the talent u have.”
Top Ten Trini Music Videos:
Here’s a T&T Guardian list of Top Ten Trini music videos. Do you agree with the selections? Let us know by sending us your selections on Facebook and Twitter. (Videos listed in no particular order.)
1. Blue - 3Canal
Directors: Walt Lovelace & Danielle Diefenthaller (1997)
2. Big Truck - Machel Montano & Xtatik
Directors: Danielle Dieffenthaller & Walt Lovelace (1997)
3. Stress Away - Kes the Band
Director: Ryan C Khan (2012)
4. Ataklan Naked Walk
Director: Walt Lovelace (1999)
5. The Madman’s Rant - David Rudder
Director: Walt Lovelace (1996)
6. Ah Digging Horrors - Remy Rembunction & Mighty Sparrow (2010)
Director: Remy Yearwood
7. Yorktown Heights Buffalo and Back (2012)
Director: Micheal Mooleedhar
8. Chutney Bacchanal - Chris Garcia (1997)
Director: Danielle Dieffenthaller
9. Don’t Stop - Shurwayne Winchester (2007)
Directors: Sheldon Felix & Lisa Wickham
10. Females Welcomed - Trinidad James (2013)
10. Over the Mountain - 3Canal (2003)
Director: Walt Lovelace
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