It takes a skilled videographer to capture the vibe of a song and work with an artist to create a clip that tells a story. A track could be amazing, but it's hard to top the satisfaction that comes from actually seeing the emotion on a rapper's face while they're spitting the hottest bars of the year.
From distortion to animation and amazing cinematography, these music video producers have mastered it all. And whether they've learned from hands-on experience or scoured the sordid depths of YouTube, they know how to piece together the visuals to give meaning to a track and take it to the next dimension. It may take hours or even days to edit the perfect video, but watching the four-minute result is always worth it.
Here are six of South Florida's music videographers that take the crown for "best." While there are a handful of others making noise, these guys truly know how to work a camera and deliver for the hungry fans.
Just because you’re not born and raised South Florida doesn't mean you can’t ride our waves. Originally from the Dominican Republic, Paul-Vincent Alexander tackled the fear of being the “new kid in town” by diving head-first into the local rap scene.
“Miami is rising, but there is so much room to grow; don’t hold yourself to whatever the local standards of 'great' may be," says Alexander. "No matter what city you live in, attention to detail is a must."
He made his first short film about three years ago, but has been shooting music videos since last October. Strapped with his Panasonic GH2, Alexander has worked with everyone from Miami rappers Impact Lincoln to Broward’s local band Twelve’len.
“In music videos, I lean towards less effects and more story-driven content,” says Alexander, who shows off his narrative chops in his latest collaboration with videographer FXRBES in Twelve’len’s "You and I" video.
Roberto "WaterPasta" Mario
Since 2010, Roberto Mario has worked with all of your favorite artists on both a local and national level: Denzel Curry, check. Trina, Check. Birdman, check. Zoey Dollaz, check.
While he's enjoyed some crazy success, Mario doesn’t rely on just his equipment to get the job done. A versatile videographer, he lets each job dictate how the shoot will go. "You’ll probably see me running around the city with a crane and a steadicam and the next day I’ll be shooting with a flip phone,” Mario says. “Most of my success came from my mistakes and downfalls. While I shoot with a Red Camera Scarlet Dragon, it is not equipment that makes a video great."
The West Kendall native specializes in cinematic distortion, as displayed in Yung Simmie’s "Full Metal" video — Now you see it, now you don’t. He creates a visual adventure, cutting back and forth between scenes and creating quick illusions you might miss if you blink.
“Learn constantly and become obsessed with refining, no matter how grueling the process might seem,” says Unkle Luc, a crowd favorite when it comes to music videos in South Florida.
Our rap video-resident Unkle Luc first touched a camera back in 2006, and the rest is history. Most recognize the North Miami shooter for his trippy videos, such as Nuri ft. Robb Bank$ and Sir Michael Rocks in "Content Censored."
Luc's videos create another dimension for viewers to fall into. A straight forward point-and-shoot video just doesn't cut it.
“I like videos that are unrestricted in terms of what can be expressed,” he says. He masters this by adding filters, mirror effects, and animation to his videos.
Kids go crazy when they hear their Unkle Luc has worked with Robb Bank$, Kodak Black, and Future. With his Canon 5D on his hip, Luc is unstoppable.
MARSMARSMARS specializes in live performance videos, but he also won’t turn down a local rapper’s music video. After four years of practice and a shooting a few free clips here and there, he's created a household name for himself.
“Doing free videos for people can expose you to a different crowd,” he says. "This gives you a chance to practice and try new styles."
The video style of Xali’s "FuckWitDaGawd" gave MARS a chance to do just that, putting a new level on visual effects and distortion. Xali’s video captures him in the car, spitting rhymes in front of a shed and a cross, but with the crazy effects, you’d never know it was that stripped down.
MARS captures all of his magic on his Canon 70D. You might also catch him with a shoulder rig and lights to get the perfect shot.
Jorgie of Jorgie Films is always the kid at the front of your favorite rapper’s concert, hustling to get the best shots.
“I like shooting music videos. The whole idea to bringing the song to a picture is awesome, but I love documenting music events as well,” says Jorgie.
With just two years of filming under his belt, he's managed to document a few of the hottest events in South Florida, including Travi$ Scott at TakeOffxLanding, the new Dope Entertainment festival in Tampa, earlier this year.
Jorgie treks all the way from Royal Palm with his Canon 5DM3 to Broward and Miami to work with some of the biggest names in the rap game. He's collaborated with SolomanDaGod and KZBOII, but is probably most noted for his work with WifisFuneral.
“One of my first music videos was with WifisFuneral; at the time he was called Izzy Killz," says Jorgie. "After, I started growing with Wifi and I started to develop more of my creative side.”
Flowercop started shooting skateboard videos in 2012 on his iPhone, but noticed he really had a skill for video and upgraded to a Canon 6D.
“Study the craft and ignore the hype,” preaches Flowercop. Ignoring the hype landed him where is now: shooting the best of Broward County.
"I developed a passion for what I was doing and tried to always learn more about film and DSLRs," he says. "That's what keeps me going, the thought that there is always more to learn."
One of his best videos to date is Money Makin Marc’s "Lunatic" video, in which he transforms the Miami rapper’s cutthroat lyrics into a visual that tells a story. Flowercop matches piano in the artist's beat with a pianist that carries the story of the video along.
While many videographers get a little out of hand with the effects, Flowercop proves that keeping it simple gets the job done.