Dear music video directors:

Why is that "RGB split effect" still not going away?

I have a new theory on it, though: it's nostalgia for the kind of gear that everyone had back in the 19A0s -- back when we all watched our LaserDiscs on small 3-gun front-projection televisions, and every time someone slammed a door in the house, the guns would twitch out of alignment. You remember that, don't you? Don't you?

Seriously though, I think the only time this effect has been put to good use was in Extraball by Yuksek and Amanda Blank, but in that case the halftone dots make it clear that they're referencing mis-registered print, not video. Most often you see it used as an apparent reference to "old, broken televisions" but televisions never broke that way so what the hell.

Here's a more typical offender, which I happened to see just today. Raised black-level 20% to make it feel "old-timey"? Check. Inserted video "glitch" effects that have never, ever occurred in nature? Check. (e.g. 0:36, 1:03).

See that filter-sweep knob on your fancy DJ mixer? Yeah, don't use that.

Other things that make me immediately hit "next" on a video without watching it:

  • Precocious children. Seriously, stop having ten-year-olds lip-sync your music while doing cute or terrible things. It's not original. It's not creepy. It's just boring. (Ok, I will grudgingly make an exception for M83. And there is a Zombie Exemption. But these outliers are very few and far between.)

  • Traditional animation of the hand-drawn, paper-cutout or stop-motion variety. I feel weird saying this, but I have come to despise hand-drawn animation. Every time I see it in a music video I assume that what happened is that someone's final project for their first-year animation class just had a soundtrack slapped onto it. (That goes double for anything that was obviously made with Flash.) It seems cheap and lazy.

  • Live performance videos. You have to be almost-impossibly charming to make a two-camera live shoot not be boring. It is not the same as being there.

  • Videos made entirely of repurposed "found footage" of old industrial films. I have a huge amount of respect for the Prelinger Archive, but come on... seen it.

  • And of course anything set next to a pool or a car, but that's an indicator that it's not really a music video but is actually a softcore porno with a soundtrack extruded from some kind of autotuned Ministry of Sound pink slime machine.

I watch a lot of videos. I have opinions.

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DNA Lounge update

DNA Lounge update, wherein this battle station is now fully operational.

Things I Learned as a Field Biologist #639


3) When your feet start to bleed - and boy, will they ever - don't panic. The hole that appears to be eating its way into the space between your 4th and 5th toes on your right foot won't go any deeper than a full centimeter (you know this because you stuck your finger inside of it and then measured the extent of the bloody seepage on your pinkie finger... the hole is that wide and deep).


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