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A peek inside the world of indie reggae music videos

The industry of making reggae music videos on a budget but with fair to good quality has on its own become an art form. With the accessibility and ubiquity of recording and editing equipment, the rest of it comes down to creativity.

We are visual people. The saying a picture is worth a thousand words was not made without reason. So as far as music goes,  reggae music videos are very important to the marketing of a song or artist. Given reggae music’s lack of major label money, there will be no million dollar video budgets. Music videos are however critical to the success of releases.

It does not matter what kind of backing the music has. The industry of making reggae music videos on a budget but with fair to good quality has on its own become an art form. With the accessibility and ubiquity of recording and editing equipment, the rest of it comes down to creativity. A lot of it rests on the vision of the music video director and editor. We caught up with a player in the field, Steven “Streetz” Bernard, and asked him a few questions.

AM: How many music videos do you produce a year, month?
SB: I produce about 15-25 music videos each year. Typically 10 of them being major projects.

AM: What is the average budget for a reggae music video created in Jamaica?
SB: The average budget for a video ranges from $2000 to  $5000USD.

AM: What is the most expensive reggae music video you’ve ever directed?
SB: Most expensive one was Mya & Jah Cure. That was shot for a budget of around $50k. It’s not yet released publicly.

AM: Do you have a favorite video that you’ve directed?
SB: My favorite music video would be Beenie Man featuring Chris Martin – Me and you.

Damian Marley and Streetz
Damian Marley and Streetz

AM: Who’s the biggest name artist you’ve ever created a music video for?
SB: The biggest artist I’ve worked with so far is Damian Jr Gong Marley.

AM: What difficulties do you typically face in creating independent reggae music videos?
SB: The biggest difficulty is not always being able to creatively do what I want due to the budget.

AM: Which video that you’ve directed has the most views online?
SB: The video with the most views is probably Alkaline – Company or Mavado – Settle Down

AM: If you weren’t a music video director what would you be doing?
SB: If I wasn’t doing music videos I would probably work in marketing or real estate.

AM: How did you get your start creating music videos?
SB: I got my start by getting a camera from my cousin Boozy. I started off by shooting music videos for him in Los Angeles before I came to Jamaica, and started doing videos here.

AM:Which artist that you’ve never worked with you would most like to make a video for?
SB: I would love to work with Tory Lanez. His videos are always extremely cinematic. I also would love to work with Migos. They are extremely futuristic and visually always ahead of their time.

Go behind the scenes of Beenie Man’s Living Life video with SwagTV.

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