Sam Hill - 12th Sept 2013

Between them Arcade Fire and Vincent Morisset have been pioneers of the interactive music video. It pretty much all started with their collaboration on Neon Bible, with cursor-led interactivity that now seems quaintly rudimentary. Of course since then the Canadian art-poppers have pushed interactive boundaries with Chris Milk's 'The Wilderness Downtown' and with 'Sprawl II' - also directed by Vincent.  And because of these, we've had viewers around the globe freely entering personal information, seeing their hometowns via google maps and batting their arms in the air like cats on coffee all in the name of alternative music video.

So how much further can they push the common record buyer's technology?  Simple!  By involving the one item that surely everyone owns - a smartphone.

It's a good lure from the start.  The graphics and presentation are impeccable, so when the fateful question arrives - 'allow the use of your camera?' - you'd be silly not to say yes.  The viewer then visits a specific url on their phone, enters a five digit code and points their camera screen at the computer screen.

This sounds complicated, but it's actually surprisingly simple.  The interface and instructions are spot on - providing you own all the equipment of course.  All in all, it's pretty seamless (or was for us at least).  

Then, the interaction becomes clear.  Using the 'reflection' of your two screens you can control effects running throughout the video.  These range from focusing the camera on specific locations, to bleaching through one frame to another, to directing angular animations locked to certain points.

You can explore the effects, API and other technology used to create the video in this interesting addition to the site.

For a song that seems to be condemning internet relationships, it's a very effective symbiosis between to the devices. Interactive music videos will always be an aquired taste, but you'd be silly to pass up the opportunity to try this one. 

You'll have to head to to take part, but you can see the 'behind the scenes' below.

P.S There is an alternative: A non-interactive music video directed by none other than Anton Corbijn...


DirectorVincent Morisset
ProducerVincent Morisset
Production CompanyUnit 9

Sam Hill - 12th Sept 2013

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