Hey music video directors, what’s with all the titles?

A new trend of using titles appears to have broken out on music videos of late. But does every new promo deserve them?

A new trend of using titles appears to have broken out on music videos of late. But does every new promo deserve them?

The habit of adding titles (and occasionally even opening credits) to videos has been with us for a little while: for example, Flying Lotus’s video Until The Quiet Comes, which won last year’s video of the year at the UK Music Video Awards, came complete with this cinematic opening slate:

Recently though, the trend has spread to what feels like almost every video released. The credits come in a number of styles: in the past week alone, I’ve seen artistic examples, like those in the video for Die Antwoord’s Ugly Boy, top, and Flight Facilities’ Sunshine (feat. Reggie Watts), below:

And retro looks, such as this opener to Flyte’s Light Me Up video:

Meanwhile, the curiously spelt Astronomyy has opted for a touch of elegance in his Swim Deeper promo:

While the type chosen for the intro to FKA Twigs‘s Video Girl is frankly just a bit boring:

It’s easy to see why using credits appeals: it gives the videos a hint of movie glamour, offering the viewer a hook to draw them in. They work perfectly in videos that are like mini features, such as the Flying Lotus film, where director Khalil Joseph has created a beautifully shot short that is compelling from start to finish, and certainly justifies its cinematic start.

In lesser promos however, the titles can set you up for disappointment – when a great set of opening credits appears, I sit back, looking forward to a short but special experience. So when it turns out to be just another band mugging to camera, I feel a bit robbed. A great set of titles does not necessarily a great video make…. so only use them when they’re justified, people.

IIASA_115x115

Graphic Designer

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis
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Integrated Designer

Centaur Media