Quality of local music videos leaves much to be desired

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Jeremiah Ndjoze

We have seen the local music scene being flooded with a wide range of daring, often audacious music videos, some of which were catalysts for endless social commentary. Yet even though the quality has somewhat improved, there remain so much room for improvement, with local critics urging musicians and music producers to invest heavily in the production of music videos.

It goes without saying that the quality of Namibian music videos has improved greatly when benchmarked against the period when the industrious Boli Mootseng and crew brewed a couple of the pioneering visuals for Soul Makhosa, a yester-years popular television programme for the public broadcaster, NBC TV.

Be that as it may, it has emerged that the current crop of music videos still leaves a lot to be desired. This according to music industry pundits Emil Seibeb and popular event MC and Radio host, DJ Max-T, whose real name is Max Tjundje. Television producer Seibeb is responsible for the production of one of the musical TV programmes on the public broadcaster, including the once popular and now discontinued programme, ‘Whatagwan.’ The legendary Mootseng was also the brains behind Whatagwan programme and the programme’s first executive producer.

While admitting that he is not a visual connoisseur, Seibeb has formed an opinion that very little is being done creatively to enhance the quality of music videos in Namibia. He was quick to confirm that it is rather hard say what a “good music video” is, as creativity is mainly subjective to the individual audience.

“However, technically a bad quality video can be observed easily as there are basic video production principles or rather rules that must be followed like; doing white balance, proper framing of shots avoiding jump cuts as well as simple things like colour correction – which some video directors blatantly ignore.”

He further stressed that local videos often come short of proper storylines and avant-garde ideas, and as such fall even shorter of telling unique Namibian stories.

“The pretty, half naked girl doing a slow motion stare into the camera before rapidly shaking her behind between a group of guys, holding some beverages is very clichéd and boring. There are other great and unexplored ideas to play with, and we can do it with a very low budget,” Seibeb maintained.

The NBC producer also blasted the prevailing notion that everyone that can afford a camera is now a video director, and everyone who can afford studio time is a recording artist.

“My opinion is that as industry insiders, we should avoid entertaining mediocrity and low-quality products and encourage fellow creatives to first fall in love with their art, before feeding it to the masses. Once you fall in love with what you’re doing, the fame will automatically come in totality,” said Seibeb. He urged the artist community to go the extra mile in producing their audiovisual merchandise.

“Let us challenge ourselves, build a set and paint a wall, design costumes, empower our designers and set builders/designers, perhaps explore with animation, invest in hair and makeup, and rehearse – even for a video rehearsals are needed,” Seibeb said.

His dream, he said, is to one-day stumble on a music video that oozes thorough production planning at first glance. He cited the video of Township, a song by Ru CuteGeek featuring Miss H as a perfect example.
“One could see the passion and character in the production, effort was made with costumes and location,” Seibeb said adding that it is imperative for musician to outsource some of the video production elements to people in the know.

“We are not all writers or creatives, pay a visit to the college of the arts, Google, talk to people, let someone write for you a concept. We (including myself) must stop entertaining mediocrity. We must stop calling every experiment “art,” Seibeb blasted.

NBC’s Otjiherero language popular show host, DJ Max-T, echoed the same sentiments. Max-T urged the musicians to ensure that they get a sense of their budgets before embarking on a production.

“Great music videos don’t have to be expensive or extravagant. Some of the most creative, memorable music videos in history are simple, shoestring productions. But of course, there are those that are multimillion-dollar affairs. As such, knowing how much money you have at your disposal beforehand can ensure proper production planning,” Max-T said.

He stressed that an impressive amount of artistry goes into making a great music video, and simple aspects like proper choreography alone can take a good video and make it iconic.

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