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The Golden Age of Video

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Amy McGarrigle | 15:21 UK time, Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Growing up without MTV, music videos were largely absent apart from dodgy multi-media CDs, badly streamed web views, or ATL TV/2TV/No Disco on RTE. However, once Youtube arrived (and yes there was a time before youtube... only 5 years ago to be exact!), the DIY music video was truly born.

From then on, you didn't need to have a big label behind you to warrant a music video. Anybody could upload material, prompting low budget visuals for dodgy and great bands alike. Many alternated between unimaginative documentary style videos on the road or in the studio, or badly synced grainy live footage. They still possessed a certain charm, but there wasn't really great artistic substance to them, other than providing a slide show for the song. Some tried to work with a narrative, but they often just looked like cheap school projects shot on their parents' camcorder.

However, recently I've noticed a huge increase in the quality of locally produced music videos. Partly due to the affordability of decent equipment now and partly due to the new wave of local savvy filmmakers, unsigned music videos are no longer expected to be unprofessional.

Last week alone there were two great local music videos released online. Axis Of's new single 'Port Na Spaniagh' sees director Tristan Crowe make a rather odd but great piece of work that complements the song brilliantly. Although I have no real idea of what's going on (tasty patch lead?!), its shot in a really stylistic way with focus pulls, interesting lighting and manipulated speeds, etc which more and more local directors are experimenting with. Basically, I'm not a filmmaker, but I do know it looks impressive.

Then the next day I was linked to Clown Parlour's new video for 'Stanley Kubrick', which continues their tradition of great videos. Frontman Mike Mormecha could easily take to stage or screen if ever he decides to ditch the music, with his powerful performance being matched with another dark and well-directed video by Darren Lee.

Alongside this are the likes of the recent Kowalski video for 'Get Back', the stunning Ambience Affair video for their 'Devil in the Detail' single (below: using over 15,000 still photographs on a Digital SLR camera) or Black Bear Saloon's simply fantastic video for 'Face the Future'. Even the relatively straightforward stop motion video for 'Someone Help Me' by newbies Key of Atlas and the dance-athon video for Not Squares' 'Asylum' are full of charm. All the above being released in the last few months!

Simply put, the bar's been raised for bands and filmmakers on this island. We've come through the discovery period into what's possibly a golden era. Or some such nonsense. But lets get to the important question: who's gonna be the one to tackle the 9 minute, political steeped, shock thrill M.I.A. style short film?

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