Digital vs Practical Effects in Music Videos

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Music videos are stepping up their special effects in more ways than one.

Last week Kendrick Lamar and Rihanna awed the world with their latest music video, “LOYALTY.” The video was highly praised for its astounding cinematic effects, from sharks swimming through pavement, to a frighteningly realistic car crash scene, to Lamar dangling Rihanna over a deadly cityscape. It definitely raised the bar for future song artists and MV directors alike, but as thrilling as it all was, were all the digital effects really necessary to create such a compelling visual story?

In a recent article featured on No Film School, Bonobo's "No Reason" director Oscar Hudson shows viewers how and why he went the opposite direction, choosing to use only practical effects to make his vision come to life. Hudson managed to create his impressive shrinking room effect using only actor doubles, miniatures, and basically a camera on a string. Though much simpler in nature, the video is just as artistic and aesthetically intriguing as its digitally enhanced cousins, proving that cg graphics, while impressive, still have a ways to go before they can replace practical effects entirely.

Watch the “No Reason” MV and the behind the scenes footage below, and tell us what you think about digital vs practical effects in the comments!