Most music promos are still shot in cinema dimensions. But the interactive film for Mark Ronson track Pieces of Us is a video for the vertical age. Shot for Instagram Stories, and combining stickers, polls and AR effects, it’s an innovative take on what music videos can be.
A collaboration between Sony Music’s 4th Floor Creative and Facebook Creative Shop, with creative direction from production company Marriage, the video follows a bored teenager who swaps ‘romantic’ fish fingers with her dad and his girlfriend for a night at the club. From the costumes to the interiors, it has a strong 1980s vibe, but also reflects the visual language of Instagram with its playful use of AR filters.
The video was filmed in Hackney, east London and was shot exclusively on mobile phones, with effects added in-camera in real time using Facebook’s Spark AR platform, instead of during post-production. Creative Shop says this allowed the team to explore a more agile production process using tools that are “available to anyone, anywhere”.
“The process was quite lean,” says Jane Kinnaird, Music Lead at Creative Shop. “We worked with the director and artists to find a concept we liked and to define the role of AR in telling the story. We then prototyped the effects in parallel with storyboard development.”
Visual effects were loaded onto four mobile devices on the shoot, which allowed the actors to see what the final video would look like. “The really interesting aspect of this is that it affects artist’s performance – when they can see themselves in camera, sometimes in selfie mode and with the effects applied, it affects how they are acting and performing,” she explains.
While the use of mobile phones and real-time effects sped up the process, shooting in a single day in the midst of a summer heatwave threw up some unexpected technical challenges. “It was a pretty hot day in London and we were shooting for hours – that meant the phones started heating up and that affected framerates,” says Kinnaird. “We literally had to cool off phones with ice trays at one point!”
The video premiered on Instagram Stories, where it was posted in two consecutive 24-hour cycles before being shared in full on IGTV. Viewers could engage and react using stickers, polls and AR effects, and were also encouraged to share their own take on the video via Stories.
It’s an inventive use of Stories and IGTV – and an unusual approach to launching a music promo. “We wanted to create a music experience that fans and the community could take part in, not just passively consume,” adds Kinnaird.
Great Work is part of Inspire, a partnership between Creative Review, Facebook and Instagram to showcase outstanding creative work across both platforms.
Facebook and Instagram’s Creative Hub was launched to help the creative communities understand mobile marketing. The online tool allows creatives to experiment with content formats – from Instagram video to Facebook Canvas – and produce mock-ups to share with clients and stakeholders. It also showcases successful campaigns created for mobile. Try out the mock up tool at facebook.com/ads/creativehub and see the inspiration gallery at facebook.com/ads/creativehub/gallery