Cover image for Thirty frames per second : the visionary art of the music video
Thirty frames per second : the visionary art of the music video
Reiss, Steven, 1958-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Harry N. Abrams, 2000.
Physical Description:
272 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 25 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PN1992.8.M87 R45 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



In the foreword, Jeff Ayeroff argues that music videos changed advertisements and films and promoted visual literacy. In 2000, for example, the director Spike Jonze won the MTV Best Director award and was nominated for an Academy Award for best director of Being John Malkovich. On the other hand, it is argued that MTV shortened an entire generation's attention span with its fare of what Michael Shore called "a bastard offspring of art, falling somewhere between the mini-movie and the maxi commercial." After the book's introduction, 60 directors (Jonas Akerlund, Paul Hunter, Jim Blashfield et al.) follow alphabetically with a concise description of their work and large, trippy color video stills of Sting, Madonna, and Nine Inch Nails. A graph and accompanying text on how music videos are made is an interesting feature. No notes or bibliography. Annotation copyrighted by Book News Inc., Portland, OR

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Reiss and Feineman's luxuriously illustrated book is a sort of meditation on the question, "Is music video an art form?" It is full of the quirky camera angles, arresting colors, and arty atmosphere of both music videos and those Calvin Klein commercials featuring brooding young models, frequently in dishabille. It opens with generally fawning critiques of leading music-video directors, which, printed in tiny type, seem rather an afterthought, definitely intended to take a backseat to the lavish graphics. So get it for the glamorous pix, and acquire some questionable genre criticism on the side. That genre, by the way, is basically the rock video, and there is nary a hint of the cowboy-hats-and-fringe ambience of country music videos. A note of caution is, perhaps, necessary: there is some gratuitous nudity herein, but it is quite tasteful and perfectly in context. Again, think Calvin Klein commercials, with a soft "R" rating, as opposed to the approximately hard "PG" for television. And remember--this is ART. --Mike Tribby

Library Journal Review

As MTV's 20th birthday (August 1, 2001) approaches, pop culture mavens can look forward to more books like this and Mark Romanek (LJ 5/1/00), which tout the music video as art and the music video director as auteur. Reiss and Feineman, a freelance producer and journalist/publisher, respectively, acknowledge that there is more trash than substance out there but that substance is a potent minority. Take Spike Jonze's stirring homage to Les Parapluies de Cherbourg in Bjrk's "It's Oh So Quiet" (1993). Strangely, however, the authors sometimes chose poor stills from superb videos. Those familiar with the landmark pep-rally-from-hell clip for Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" (1991) will wonder why Kurt Cobain's arm tweaking his Fender was selected as the representative shot. Like Mark Romanek, this, too, often fails because music videos just don't pause well. Still, with nearly 400 stills, 55 profiles of leading directors, and an insightful introduction tracing the music video's precursors, this is the best overview of the music video aesthetic for the general reader available.DHeather McCormack, "Library Journal" (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.