In the digital age, an artist’s music is nearly as important as the marketing and visuals that package and accompany each original vision. For decades, music videos have played an integral role in delivering music to audiences, whether employing flashy set pieces, hypersexualized casts, or relevant social commentary. A good, or at least clever music video can help elevate the impact of a song; under the perfect viral conditions, it can become a global phenomenon leading to parodies, thinkpieces, and endless rotation.
Before the finished product can stream on your phone or computer, a music video must pass through several creative channels. In some cases, artists have such clear, unwavering visions that they often work double time in front and behind the camera. Such is the case with high art conceptualists like Alex Anwandter and Juana Molina. In most cases, however, artists rely on a director and production team to bring their vision to life, leading to an entire world of artistic expression where many pioneers of the visual medium have been left unsung.
To help shine a light on the minds behind some of your favorite artists and music videos, we’ve compiled a list of production companies across Latin America (and one from Spain). These creators are having a game-changing impact on music videos. Whether they’re stretching shoestring budgets or turning out massive visual feasts, the teams at these companies are molding careers and entire scenes through storytelling and arresting camera work, proving that financial constraints will always fall short to a resourceful mind.
Enciclopedia Color (Chile)
In 2011, Paulina Giustinianovich founded Enciclopedia Color, a multimedia production company that has shaped the visuals for much of Chile’s beloved indie artists from behind the scenes. Overseeing video projects, stage productions, websites, and even album packaging, Enciclopedia Color has stylishly turned shoestring budgets into lavish set pieces and instantly recognizable work. The company’s first major project was Adrianigual’s now classic “Me Gusta La Noche” video, and they have since art-directed installations for Lollapalooza Chile, created Alex Anwandter’s retro-digital lyric video for recent single “Locura,” and produced the vaporwave-inspired video for “Lluvia,” the all-star team up between La Favi, Tomasa del Real, Ms. Nina, and Deltatron.
Catalonian production company CANADA have been juggernauts of the music video game for a decade, thanks to the meticulous vision of co-founders Lope Serrano and Nicolás Méndez. CANADA first gained international recognition with the runaway success of El Guincho’s “Bombay” video, further expanding their renown through superb collaborations with Bad Gyal, Rosalía, El Último Vecino, and more. In 2016, they received an MTV Video Music Award nomination for their work on Tame Impala’s “The Less I Know The Better,” bringing their vintage vibes and pastel color palettes to mainstream audiences.
Fuerzas Básicas (Mexico)
Over the last five years, Fuerzas Básicas have catered to Mexico’s indie rock it kids using cinematic wide shots, ambitious one-take techniques, and stunning location choices. The team comprised of Fernando Bueno, Gilberto Hernández, and Santiago Casillas first found creative soulmates in Little Jesus, producing videos for songs “Azul,” “La Magia” and “T.Q.M.” They have since worked with Clubz, The Plastics Revolution, Tino El Pingüino, among others, establishing the company as a highly sought creative force.
Founded in 2011 by music video producer and director Konrad Cunha Dantas, KondZilla has become one of the most recognizable names in Brazilian media through flashy, big-budget productions and massive publicity campaigns. Their work with wildly popular artists like MC Kekel, MC Bin Laden, Karol Conka, and Nego Do Borel, among an army of others, have made KondZilla Brazil’s biggest YouTube account, boasting over 800 videos and 40 million subscribers.
Super Legítimo (Costa Rica)
One of the major consolidating forces behind San José, Costa Rica’s blooming creative paradise is Super Legítimo, which was started in 2014 by Kevin León as a zine listing bands and visual artists with the goal of streamlining a local indie infrastructure. Super Legítimo has since expanded into event and video production, space interventions, and street marketing. Make sure to check out their work with local artists like Ave Negra, Bengalas, and Arde Plutón in their expansive and psychedelic 2016 video mixtape.
Artok Productions (Puerto Rico)
Puerto Rican video lab and production house Artok is a collective of directors, producers, photographers, and editors crafting lush visuals for the island’s indie elite. Highlighting Borinkén’s breathtaking natural beauty in videos for Bairoa and SOJA and creating sleek, neon-lit sets, Artok has brought a fresh and locally grounded creative direction to the island’s music video landscape.
Estudio Trementina (Ecuador)
Ecuadorian production company Estudio Trementina was born in 2014 out of a scene-wide need for documenting the diversity of audiovisual projects popping up around Quito and beyond. Videos by Boris Vian, Stich SD, Nuevo Bravo, Paola Navarrete, and Pastizales feature a bounty of filmmaking techniques like intimate close-ups, ambitious choreography, and narratives that unfold in reverse. The company is also involved in small film projects, producing promotional videos and documenting cultural events like concerts and gallery exhibits.
Lo-fi, low budget, and oddly unsettling, Somos/Simios founders Alejandra Villalba and César Ortiz are producing videos for Mexico’s rabblerousing underground. The duo have developed a unique aesthetic around unusual lighting choices, out-of-focus shots and extreme close-ups best seen in clips for Mint Field’s “Ojos en el Carro,” Hawaiian Gremlins’ “Little Bird,” and El Shirota’s “No Quiero.”
Hai Studio (Brazil)
Where KondZilla has become synonymous with sensory overload, Hai Studio offers an intimate, community-centric glimpse into the minds of Brazilian indie artists, thanks to direction from Leticiah Futata and impeccable photography by Luciano Meirelles. Hai Studio has produced clips for Tuyo and Dow Raiz, highlighting social empathy and chosen family, while live sessions for LaBaq and Bia Ferreira capture interviews and performances in beautiful black and white, giving each song an air of cinematic solemnity.
Mambo Cine (Colombia)
Bogotá-based Mambo Cine has been infusing locally produced music videos with arresting storytelling and compelling cinematography for little over a year, rapidly developing a signature visual style. Videos for B King’s “No Sueltes Mi Mano,” Lil Silvio and El Vega’s “Eres” and Vicente García’s “Bachata en Kingston” all contrast different regions of Colombian urban sprawl against the country’s evergreen natural landscapes.