Edwin Nhukarume, Entertainment Reporter
THIS year has seen an improvement in the local music industry in terms of video production with some of the local songs getting nominations for international awards and others topping charts outside Zimbabwe.
We have witnessed songs of Winky D, Jah Prayzah, Ammara Brown, Hillzy and Tamy Moyo being nominated for the AFRIMAs.
Had it not been the quality of their videos, their songs could not have been nominated for the prestigious awards.
Besides nominations, Zimbabwean music videos are being played on international television stations Trace Africa and MTV.
Ex-Q, Takura, Freeman and other local artistes have their videos on the international screen, a significant development for our industry and hard to ignore.
Some of the local cinematographers behind the success of the videos doing well on the international scene said they are inspired by the song before they come up with the concept of the video.
Aaron Mheta of AM Pictures, who is behind Takura’s video Zvemoyo being played on Trace Africa, gave an account on how the song inspires him to come up with his piece.
“Well, the song determines the outcome honestly, it gives me the drive to create a very good concept as well as the budget.
“There are a lot of aspects that I have to consider to come up with a very good visual, the song, the outfits, location and props.
“These things when I put them together with my team we can produce the best,” said Mheta.
Although all the cinematographers have concurred on getting the inspiration from the artiste’s song, KMane (25), who is behind Janet Manyowa’s Nyasha Nengoni and Hillzy featuring Gary Mapanzure –TV Room nominated for the AFRIMAs, says he blends his creativity and the inspiration from the song.
“The process happens naturally to me. It’s a combination of what I see and what I hear from daily life.
“I then try to fuse all that into visuals that would stay captivating both on a local and international level.
“Half of the job is done when artistes craft a beautiful song.
“The visuals just aid to the beauty of the song already,” said KMane.
“TV room was a hit, even before I worked on the visuals I could tell this would be a good song.
“It’s up to us as video producers to make sure our thought process is also on the level of an international audience.
“We are now in a Global village so there is really no excuse for us to have substandard videos because we are from Zimbabwe.
“Our videos are being watched all over so we have to make sure every video we put in our all,” he added.
Despite making an impact internationally, KMane said their challenge in Zimbabwe is equipment to match other competitors in the world.
“Resources we have, personally I think they will never be enough but a good director should be able to make or do with the least resources available that’s how we expand our creativity.
“However, we are a bit behind in terms of gear equipment and studio spaces.
“This is a very lucrative market and I think corporates should consider investing in it by providing gear and studio spaces for creative,” he told H-Metro.
One of the most successful cinematographers in the local industry, Blaqs, has also lamented on the lack of resources in Zimbabwe, but he has – however, said that despite impediments they have managed to conquer Africa.
“The problem we have in Zimbabwe is we do not have a vibrant industry and no designers.
“We do not have indoor studios, the equipment is not enough.
“So in terms of resources we cannot compare ourselves with the likes of America and South Africa,” said Blaqs.
“Though we do not have much equipment, my work has become successful because I set targets for myself.
“When I started in 2015 I used charge US$300 but now I have tripled the charges because I am aiming to maximise the little resources I have.
“Since then I have never looked back. I have done productions that have been on number one in countries like Namibia, Botswana, Zambia and South Africa.
“So we are competing internationally though we have little resources.
“Sometimes it is all about the belief, dedication and setting benchmarks,” he said.