There was a time, when along with ad spots, the music video was the perfect playground for directors to flex their creative muscles on vast budgets, exotic locations and cool toys. It’s been a few years now since that was so, which for better or worse has seen music promos fall mainly into one of two categories: the stylistic, effects driven promo or the high concept, stripped down promo. The three finalists in the Rushes Soho Shorts Music Video category are a nice spread across the two types.

If you happen to be a kick ass filmmaker/photographer working “in media such as video, 8 to 35mm film, 2D and 3D animation, Stop Motion, photography, illustration, painting, screen printing, sculpture, collage, knitting, holograms, and more…”, and are launching a side project as a musician under the guise of Woodkid, who on earth could you trust to create a video to turn heads? Yoann Lemoine of course, being as he’s you and all.

I was thinking of how best to describe the monochrome, heroic fantasy epic that is Iron and the only word that truly fits is audacious. It’s a promo that feels epic in nature yet never overblown. Now we’re in between Game of Thrones series, I think Lemoine should fill the gap by expanding the adventure of Iron into a full video album.

Grey backdrop aside, Peter King and David Procter’s (Agenda Collective) promo for new Matador signings Esben and The Witch’s, Marching Song (which caught our eye back in August) is a completely different beast. The duo introduce us to the band by straight cutting from individual head and shoulders shots of the band members, but with them suffering increasingly severe injuries on each go round as they lip sync through the track. It’s an as simple as can be concept – the only ‘flash’ elements being the shadows and lights playing across the band’s faces – but it’s one that’s a captivating match for Marching Song’s bleak melody.

You could be forgiven for thinking that Marching Song holds more than a passing resemblance to The Scaramanga Six Walking Through Houses promo which predates it, but in the comment discussion over on Promo News, King asserts that the band came to him and Procter with the concept after being inspired by a Women’s Aid domestic violence awareness campaign. In fact Paul Morricone, director of The Scaramanga Six promo weighed in to point out that their promo had itself been inspired by a poster campaign about abuse towards bus/rail drivers. I guess a good idea is a good idea.

Greasy spoons, caravan sites, grey skies, terraced backstreets, bordered-up shops, empty seaside towns and their inhabitants…

Researched for over a month and shot on a mix of Canon 5D and 7D cameras with the addition of a 24mm tilt-shift lens, Aoife McArdie’s Rushes Soho Shorts Music Video winner Isles for Little Comets, gives us a warm three minutes of what it’s like to feel at home on this island of ours; It’s a film about British Idealism and loss.

The ultimate praise that any promo director can hope to hear is that their images surpassed the original track by turning you around on a song you had little affection for beforehand, and after watching McArdie’s interpretation of Isles (a song I thought average at best) I’ve caught myself humming the tune whilst replaying her images in my head. Damn you McArdie!

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