The Magic Of The Music Video! – Alkaline Trio Month – Help Me

As you may know, I am a Video Editor – and one of the things (probably the main thing) that inspired me to work in television post production was actually music videos.

Music videos are one of my favourite things in the world and I spent hours and I MEAN literally hours when I was growing up watching them Even now in the modern world, I can find myself getting lost on YouTube watching music videos for hours on end – they are an addiction.

This month we are going to be taking a look at the music videos of Alkaline Trio. I have been listening to this band on and off since I was a teen but I had never seen their music videos. It was only when I met Matt Skiba last year and he was so nice to me that I started to take a huge interest into all of his music. The band have some really great videos but since I only discovered them recently I thought it would be a nice contrast to last months feature band.

Alkaline Trio – Help Me 

Why did you choose this particular video?

This video really sort of defines what music videos do for me – create magic, this video has so many graphics involved it sort of portrays the sort of videos that really amaze me and made me want to be an editor. There is so much to love about this video – the editing, the graphics, the narrative and the costumes.

So, what is the narrative?

Set in steampunk the band are driving a locomotive and realise that there is about to be a collision with another train that has a damsel in distress tied to the front where an evil villain is driving the train. The damsel is saved by Matt Skiba who rescues her with a jetpack and the train that they were on turns into an airship.

Favourite parts of the video?

help me 1

The first few shots again, I do not know whether this is a deliberate move by Alkaline Trio but all of their music videos first few shots are fantastic and really reel you in – not all bands do this but the Directors of their group most certainly does. The way it pans up the train, when I saw it for the first time i had to treble check it was an Alkaline Trio music video because of the style. I love the way that the graphics take the lead in this video and as an editor / Motion graphics designer it makes me very excited and it is one of those videos i could easily sit there, analyse frame by frame and write a dissertation on.

For example – did you notice the front of the train looks like the face of a skellington and the lights look like eyes going in different directions that it could metaphorically depict that this train doesn’t know what route it is taking and that it could lead to madness. The  way that you pan into the shot connotes that you are entering into this new world that is surreal and imaginative and you have to really expand your imagination to understand it. The front body of the train looks like the bones of a skellington and the steam around it highlights the fragility and coldness of the person that this train is trying to depict. OMG I am totally nerding out as an Editor sorry guys and girls I will stop or this WILL be an absolute essay. I really mean it, I could write for hours on this video.

help me 2

Another thing I love about this video is the lighting in the video when the band are performing – I am a huge fan of flares and color grading and the grading on this is superb and I really love the contrast between this and the other part of the song – it differentiates between the narrative whilst also creating this super effective landscape.

hekp me

Another thing that I love about this video is the use of motion blur – as a normal viewer you may not notice it but because I use Motion Blurs a lot in my job I see them everywhere and in the environment that this world is depicting they work really well. Also a motion blur heightens the effects and since graphics have developed over time these may not look as snazzy as they once did but the motion blurs really heighten it and push the stylings to work incredibly well.


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