In my last post, I raved about The Wilderness Downtown by Arcade Fire. In that post, I basically said all the reasons it was amazing and the meaning behind it. But, what does this mean (or could potentially mean) for the music video industry? First off, let's look at Chrome Experiments as a whole. "Chrome Experiments is a showcase for creative web experiments, the vast majority of which are built with the latest open technologies, including HTML5, Canvas, SVG and WebGL. All of them were made and submitted by talented artists and programmes from around the world." - http://www.chromeexperiments.com/about/ Google Chrome wants to show off how amazing it is and what fabulous things you can do on it. Now, let's look at the technologies used. This video was created using only things that could be used on Chrome. This included:
Google Maps & Streetview: these were used to generate the image of your hometown and house you grew up in. The Maps are rendered, zoomed and rotated in a scripted way to suit the song. Maps API is also used to create the route the camera takes to get to your house.
HTML5 Audio: this is what plays the music and keeps the timecode, so everything plays in order. This is probably the most important part of the 'film', as without the music, it is nothing. It also keeps the whole thing in time, so you get what you see when you should see it.
HTML5 Canvas: this is what they used to create the flocking birds simulation.
HTML5 Video: this allows the videos to be played at custom sizes and allows the viewer to watch the videos. This, along with the audio, is one of the most important aspects of this video, as without this, there would be no videos. Without this, the videos would all be too big, and the audience would have to scroll through them, which would make it harder to watch as they wouldn't be able to watch two or more alongside.
SVG path reader: this helps to create the handwriting. The SVG path reader, along with individual canvases for each letter, creates a generative typeface which is triggered by keypress.
Sequence system: synchronises the videos to play at certain times during the film.
Colour correction: this made the videos look prettier, as Google Streetview and Maps are just satellite pictures and not very visually appealing.
Does the interactive interface work? In my opinion, I don't think the interactive music video will be take off. Whilst it is a good, innovative idea, that will be a novelty for a while, there is not enough substance to it for it to be a successful music video. At first, I was too busy being amazed by the use of technologies that I didn't realise the music video is actually not very good. It's just a boy running around for two minutes. If they could get a balance between showing off new technology and actually having some substance to the video, it could work. There is also the impracticalities of this only really being accessible through individual websites. From my audience research, a lot of music videos are watched on YouTube and television. Whilst watching these kind of videos on YouTube may not be a massive obstacle, as Google own YouTube and could adapt it if it wanted to; however, these videos will definitely not be accessible on the television. TL;DR: these videos are definitely technically brilliant and use a lot of technology I would have no idea how to even look at; however, they are a novelty which I think will wear off quickly (if they even take off).
I found this fab music video the other day and I've been meaning to make a post about it all week. It's The Wilderness Downtown - Arcade Fire, although the song is actually called We Used To Wait. It's called The Wilderness Downtown, though, because the music video is actually an interactive film. And that's what makes this music video post-worthy. http://thewildernessdowntown.com/ - this is the link to the website. What you do when you go on it, is you type in the address of the place you grew up in, allow pop-ups and then let the website do the rest. It's an interactive Chrome experiment which involves Chrome, Maps, video and HTML5. The premise of the music video in itself is quite simple: it's a boy, running through streets, for the entire time. Simple, right? Yes. Boring? Not quite. What makes this video interesting is that fact that it incorporates your hometown into it. The album this song came from, The Suburbs, is about disillusioned youths and detachment from society as they come of age, and so this video is especially effective in achieving this message. The boy in the video is running away from something, although it is not clearly explained what. The best thing about this video is that it makes the message accessible to anybody.
All of these pop ups are part of the interactive experience. The pop up in the bottom right corner is the house I grew up in. The tree isn't actually there, it's superimposed over the top, to make it appear as if the boy is actually running through my hometown. The camera pans out to show the street at bird's eye view and a small black dot is visible, adding to this experience.
And that's the thing that makes this music video so personal and the message so easily accessible. The character is where you grew up; he's running past your house, down your street. This immediately transports you back to your childhood, and makes it easy for the audience to connect with the main character, as having them in a familiar location makes them relatable. It takes you back to where you grew up and puts you in the right frame of mind to really consider the meaning of the song and video. The teenage boy (from the looks of him, nearly a man) is running through the place of his childhood, trying to relive it and soak in as much as possible before he has to become an adult. Putting it in the viewer's hometown makes them remember as they were coming of age and having to grow up, when they were longing to be a child again.
TL;DR: THIS VIDEO IS FABULOUS ALL HAIL ARCADE FIRE.
I made a Powerpoint. It's about the conventions of pop music videos, seeing as we're making a video for a pop song. I will make another blog post (maybe even in the same post as this, exciting times) about how we will utilise or dismiss these conventions. IT'S ALL COMING TOGETHER.