Meet the Visionaries Behind Some of This Year's VMA-Nominated Videos

The directors, choreographers, and other masterminds who bring the concepts to life in this year's VMA Professional Categories.

This year’s VMAs are all about celebrating the ‘art of the artist’, from concept to choreography to finished clip, and YouTube personality and rapper Dominic “D-Trix” Sandoval is here to guide you through this year's VMA Professional Category nominees.

Thought Beyonce just woke up like this with perfect dance moves for her “Formation” video? She had some help from choreographers Chris Grant, JaQuel Knight, and Dana Foglia. Don’t worry - those flames didn’t actually engulf The Weeknd in his “I Can’t Feel My Face” video; that’s the skills of Visual Effects Editor Bryan Smaller at work. And director Xavier Dolan is definitely to thank for those hours you spent curled up into a ball crying after watching Adele’s “Hello” video.

Check out all of the nominated videos and meet the visionaries behind the camera in these six awards for VMA Professional Categories presented by Orbit.

Best Art Direction

Art directors let you know if you’re in this world, or in some amazing vision of another universe. They set up their own worldly visions for music videos and transport us to that place.


Beyoncé – “Hold Up” (Production Designer: Jason Hougaard)

Fergie – “M.I.L.F. $” (Production Designer: Alexander Delgado)

Drake – “Hotline Bling” (Production Designer: Jeremy MacFarlane)

David Bowie – “Blackstar” (Production Designer: Jan Houllevigue)

Adele – “Hello” (Production Designer: Colombe Raby)

Best Choreography

Choreography can be many things - how an actor moves through a scene, the way a musician performs, or the moves of an amazing dancer. These nominees have spent years putting their styles in play.


Beyoncé – “Formation” (Choreographer: Chris Grant, JaQuel Knight, Dana Foglia)

Missy Elliott ft. Pharrell – “WTF (Where They From)” (Choreographer: Hi-Hat)

Beyoncé – “Sorry” (Choreographer: Chris Grant, JaQuel Knight, Dana Foglia, Anthony Burrell, Beyoncé Knowles Carter)

FKA Twigs – “M3LL155X” (Choreographers: Aaron Sillis, Benjamin Milan, Kenrick Sandy and FKA twigs)

Florence + The Machine – “Delilah” (Choreographer: Holly Blakey)

Best Cinematography

Cinematography is all about capturing the perfect shot so the viewer gets *all* of the feels.


Beyoncé – “Formation” (Cinematographer: Malik Sayeed)

Adele – “Hello” (Cinematographer: André Turpin)

David Bowie – “Lazarus” (Cinematographer: Crille Forsberg)

Alesso – “I Wanna Know” (Cinematographer: Corey Jennings)

Ariana Grande – “Into You” (Cinematographer: Paul Laufer)

Best Direction

Directors take a concept and work passionately to bring the vision to life - no matter what.


Beyoncé – “Formation” (Director: Melina Matsoukas)

Coldplay – “Up&Up” (Director: Vania Heymann, Gal Muggia)

Adele – “Hello” (Director: Xavier Dolan)

David Bowie – “Lazarus” (Director: Johan Renck)

Tame Impala – “The Less I Know The Better” (Director: Canada)

Best Editing

Editors take the ordinary and make it seem extraordinary by shapinge the image of a music video. They’re and masters of the art of visual storytelling.


Beyoncé – “Formation” (Editor: Jeff Selis)

Adele – “Hello” (Editor: Xavier Dolan)

Fergie – “M.I.L.F. $” (Editor: Vinnie Hobbs)

David Bowie – “Lazarus” (Editor: Johan Söderberg)

Ariana Grande – “Into You” (Editor: Hannah Lux Davis)

Best Visual Effects

Special effects editors are the unsung heroes of music videos - they make the impossibly dangerous, expensive and mindblowing all seem possible. They’re true originals.


Coldplay – “Up&Up” (VFX Editor: Vania Heymann)

FKA Twigs – “M3LL155X” (VFX Editors: Lewis Saunders and Electric Theatre Collective)

Adele – “Send My Love (To Your New Lover)” (VFX Editor: Jonathan Box, MPC)

The Weeknd – “Can’t Feel My Face” (VFX Editor: Bryan Smaller)

Zayn – “PILLOWTALK” (VFX Editor: David Smith)

Check out all of the nominated videos and meet the visionaries behind the camera in these six awards for VMA Professional Category presented by Orbit.