Music video conventions and techniques


  • Lyric interpretation – a music video which responds specifically to the lyrics, if the lyrics are “we are sailing on a sea of love” what would you see?
  • Exploring the meaning of the song – not strictly responding to the lyrics but interpreting the themes or “deeper” meaning behind the song.
  • Involves researching the band and understanding the point behind the song.
  • Allusion – a suggestive video which implies meaning or a “sub-text”.
  • It might for instance seem to be innocent but actually be rude/sexual.
  • Links to other artists – “Intertextuality”.
  • Videos that reference other music videos, tv shows/films.
  • Fans will recognise the reference within the music video.


  • Cutting to the beat – rhythmic editing, visually reinforcing the “beat” of the song.
  • Miming, playback and lip sync – carefully filmed sequence where either the artist or actor/characters appear to sing “in-sync” with the music. They mime the words as the song is played back.
  • Camera movement/angles – high and low angles, swooping or dramatic movements. There are different expectations for each genre of music.
  • Multi image – split screen, layered images or shots within shots.
  • Visually impressive – sometimes to show different “layers” in the music.
  • Effects/chroma key – slow motion, CGI superimposition.

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