Cyanotype Music Video: A Unique And Creative Approach To Visual Storytelling

The Basics of Cyanotype

Cyanotype is a photographic printing process that produces a cyan-blue print. It was invented by Sir John Herschel in 1842 and was originally used to make copies of drawings and diagrams, but it later became popular as a photographic printing process. The process involves coating a surface with a light-sensitive solution, usually a combination of ferric ammonium citrate and potassium ferricyanide. The coated surface is then exposed to UV light or sunlight, which creates a chemical reaction that results in a blue print.

The Rise of Cyanotype Music Videos

In recent years, cyanotype has become a popular medium for music videos. Cyanotype music videos offer a unique and creative approach to visual storytelling, as the blue tones and vintage feel of the prints create a dreamy, nostalgic aesthetic. One of the most notable examples of a cyanotype music video is Bon Iver’s “Holocene.” The video, directed by Nabil Elderkin, features stunning shots of the Icelandic landscape, all captured using cyanotype printing techniques.

The Creative Process of Making a Cyanotype Music Video

Creating a cyanotype music video requires a lot of planning and preparation. The first step is to come up with a concept that fits the mood and feel of the song. Once the concept is established, the next step is to plan the shots and locations. The filming process for a cyanotype music video is unique in that the scenes need to be shot with a UV light source, usually a large-format UV light box. This means that the filming often takes place indoors or at night, to avoid interference from natural light. After filming is complete, the cyanotype prints are created using the same process used to make traditional cyanotypes. The prints are then scanned and edited to create the final video.

The Advantages of Cyanotype Music Videos

One of the advantages of using cyanotype in music videos is that it offers a unique and distinctive look that sets the video apart from others. The blue tones and vintage feel of cyanotype prints create a dreamy, otherworldly aesthetic that is perfect for music videos. Another advantage of using cyanotype is that it is a relatively inexpensive process. Unlike traditional film or digital video, there are no expensive cameras or equipment needed, and the prints can be made using relatively inexpensive materials.


Cyanotype music videos are a unique and creative approach to visual storytelling. They offer a distinctive look and feel that sets them apart from other music videos, and they can be created using relatively inexpensive materials. If you’re looking to create a music video that stands out from the crowd, consider using cyanotype as your medium.