Toronto’s R&B superstar The Weeknd has struck gold with his most recent hit single “Starboy” featuring Daft Punk. The video has more than 35 million views, and The Weeknd has more than 7 million followers.
Here’s how musicians can utilize The Weeknd’s methods to make videos with an incredible view count.
1. Use iconic imagery to catch the viewer’s eye.
Regardless of whether a viewer finds it tasteful to use certain icons in music videos, using iconic imagery in videos has always been a way to catch the eye. Whether it be religious imagery, an Air Jordan logo, or a pyramid, a viewer’s eye is trained to respond to iconography.
In “Starboy”, The Weeknd wields a neon cross to wreck delicate items in his house.
2. Use choreography.
Although “Starboy” does not rely on a dance to make the single popular, The Weeknd definitely knows a few moves. The choreography in the “Starboy” video is simple, but it’s quite effective in making viewers want to move to the music.
It is always a bonus when musicians can bust a move, but more importantly, the music must make listeners want to dance.
3. Have high-quality lighting.
So much of what makes The Weeknd’s “Starboy” video successful is the use of light and shade. The subtle shadows bring out the bright neon cross, as well as the lights shining on The Weeknd’s cars in his garage.
Having proper lighting is more important than having a great camera.
The Weeknd is nearly topping Billboard’s Hot 100 right now. Although he hasn’t relied on the video to make his song great, the video is an extension of the song. Viewers connect with great videos. The formula for making a great video includes using iconography, lighting the set properly, and choreographing simple, effective dance moves. Follow these steps, and with a great song, you can reach millions of views.
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Will Randick is a blogger and educator working out of the Bay Area.