Music Videos gone Interactive: Success or failure?

Why we aren’t seeing more interactive music videos?

Music videos have always facilitated experimental art because there is an existing script, soundtrack, and tone to work with.  The music provides an existing creative framework which heavily narrows the focus to production.

What’s not successful about the music video platform in interactivity?

I explored these five unique pieces (that each explore a different method of music video interactivity) to find some answers:

1.Ellie Goulding “Lights”

-User-navigated environment, emphasis on visuals

2. Arcade Fire “The Wilderness Downtown”

-User-stimulated environments, emphasis on bridging gap between “Arcade Fire” and audience

3. Cold War Kids “I’ve seen enough”

-User-controlled instrumentation, mild usage of interesting interactive visuals

4. Chairlift “Met Before”

-User-controlled narrative, emphasis on story, no interactive audio/visuals

5. Red Hot Chili Peppers “Look Around”

-User-controlled narrative, engaging content, many options to choose from

While most of these music videos had limited use of interactivity in some way, RHCP’s “Look Around” really engages with the viewer by making there ample options of things to play around. Allowing the user to scroll between four videos, each starring one member of RHCP doing something silly, gives enough footage that we don’t lose interest.  Hidden in each video are highlighted items you can click to see personal footage of band members just being, well, human.

With the five music videos above, the interactive waters have been tested and my diagnosis is that we need to make these videos more interesting, via more content, more interaction, or more narrative.  My favorite pieces were Chairlift’s “Met Before” and RHCP’s “Look Around” because the narrative pulled me in–and after all, isn’t that what makes a music video successful? Great music is what gets you a video, but it’s not what makes a video great.

Video has always been about telling a story, and you can’t engage with your audience without one.  Cold War Kids “I’ve seen enough” impressed me with its creativity, but gave me no reason to stick around for the whole song after I’d worn out the interactive capabilities.  Ellie Goulding’s “Lights” was awesome for about 30 seconds, but then I lost interest after I realized I’d be seeing nothing new if I kept playing.

Maybe as this technology becomes less fresh, we’ll start seeing some real blockbuster interactive music videos. Until then, I’ll just enjoy this one:

“Pulse of the City” Plays Songs to the Rhythm of your Heartbeat

 

One of the many fascinating projects displayed at San Fransisco’s Urban Prototyping Festival this year is “Pulse of the City.” Below are excerpts from their website as well as a wonderful article from Nathan Hurst at WIRED:

“The Pulse of the City team incorporated a lot more than one digital element. A heart-shaped sculpture, bigger than a parking meter, made of cardboard and auto body putty, Pulselinked an EKG board to a pair of copper handles to measure the pulse of anyone holding it. Then, with an Arduino, a midi shield, a handful of LEDs, and an XBee radio, it generated a light and music show, and shared pulse information to the web.

‘We programmed an algorithm that takes your heartbeat and makes a unique tempo, drum beat, and melody,’ said George Zisiadis, who created Pulse of the City with Matt Ligon and Rachel McConnell. “It’s the first time people ever have a sense of what they sound like.’

Of course, a portable cardboard structure isn’t quite ready to be a semi-permanent installation on a street corner somewhere. Like all the other projects, Pulse of the City was a prototype. And like the others, it’s open source. ‘We’re not going to travel around the country and install these, but anybody can,’ said Zisiadis, noting that plans for the device would be published on GitHub and Instructables.

In fact, the open-source nature of the projects represents both an opportunity and a risk for their dissemination. While it means that anyone who wishes could follow along and build their own, it doesn’t necessarily mean they will.

‘In terms of spreading, from the outside there’s somewhat of a mentality that open source is kind of magic, and if you put it out there, amazing things happen on their own,’ said Levitas. And while that’s partially true, it still takes outreach to spread the word. Now that the festival is over, GAFFTA plans to meet with each team to discuss how to proceed. Most will begin a crowdfunding campaign of some sort, said Levitas.

‘There’s not really a central node for public design, public technology,’ he said. ‘We hope to become sort of a central resource to that.'” (Nathan Hurst, WIRED)

And from the Pulse of the City UPF site:

“Pulse of the City playfully empowers pedestrians with self-awareness of their heart rates by translating them into unique musical compositions in real-time. It simultaneously streams this heart rate data to the internet for anyone to explore and analyze.

The project is designed with maximum scalability in mind. Each pulse monitoring station is simply and cheaply built and anyone can add to the network of pulse monitors across the city, the country, or even the world.
By truly understanding the literal pulse of our cities for the first time ever, we hope to inspire a broader sense of civic community and humbly facilitate a constructive dialogue on how to design the healthier and more livable cities of the future.

Project by George Zisiadis, Matt Ligon, Rachel McConnell and Rich Trapani.”

Source, Image Source 1: Pulse of the City: Urban Prototyping Festival 2012

Image Source 2: Nathan Hurst, WIRED magazine

Willow’s “Sweater” makes a beautiful music video on one stage with Projection Mapping

Everything shot in studio with 3 beamers projecting on a floor and two walls.

Directed by: Filip Sterckx
DOP: Pierre Schreuder
3D animation / Editing: Filip Sterckx
Production: Pierre Schreuder, Filip Sterckx
Technical support: Aitor Biedma
Production assistant: Nils Goddeeris
Thanks to: Het Depot, Stake5, Cools multimedia, Tom Brewaeys, Birgit Sterckx, Antoon Verbeeck, Pieter-Jan Boghe

YEARS-by-Bartholomäus-Traubeck

Years by Bartholomäus Traubeck

WANDERLUST

A record player that plays slices of wood. Year ring data is translated into music, 2011. Modified turntable, computer, vvvv, camera, acrylic glass, veneer, approx. 90x50x50 cm.

A tree’s year rings are analyzed for their strength, thickness and rate of growth. This data serves as basis for a generative process that outputs piano music. It is mapped to a scale which is again defined by the overall appearance of the wood (ranging from dark to light and from strong texture to light texture). The foundation for the music is certainly found in the defined ruleset of programming and hardware setup, but the data acquired from every tree interprets this ruleset very differently.

Thanks to Land Salzburg, Schmiede, Pro-ject Audio, Karla Spiluttini, Ivo Francx, vvvv, Rohol.

traubeck.com

Thanks to Mark Kuykendall

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