Moving Brands has created an interactive music video for emerging band Duologue that allows viewers to control the camera angle to create their own version while watching.
Shot on an elaborate Microsoft Kinect set-up, the final video is embedded in the Machine Stop website (see screengrab below) and allows viewers to zoom in, move around and experience the footage from different angles by clicking and dragging their mouse. They can also swap between two streams, of the band or dancer Jean Abreu performing.
If they don’t interact, the video will run as the final ‘director’s cut’ version (see video below).
The agency was approached by the band’s management company to create an interactive experience to reflect some of the themes and lyrics of the new song Machine Stop, which deals with confused vision, lack of sight and the sense of breaking free of a confining space. “Conceptually we liked the idea of the viewer being able to control what you see and where you are within the video rather than the director or the person who’s filmed it,” says Guy Wolstenholme, Moving Brands founder and design director. “So the element of handing over control in the video is quite strong.”
To allow for this control, Moving Brands filmed the video using Kinect, which allowed the team to capture not just flat film but a 3D map of the band and a dancer that also appears in the video. “Most music videos are a flat film, you can’t peer to the left or the right of the band,” says MB creative technologist Tim Brooke. “But because we captured the band using Kinect – instead of just a pixel of colour we have a pixel of colour and in-depth – we know where they were physically standing when we recorded it.”
This is by no means the first time music video directors have appropriated the Kinect technoloqy. The video below, for Echo Lake and shot by by Dan Nixon on Kinect, was released back in 2011, for example, as was the video for New Look’s track Nap on the Bow, which we wrote about here.
Last year, directors Jamie Roberts and Will Hanke used a unique Kinect rig to film a special 15-minute session of indie band The Maccabees for music video site Vevo.
Creating the interactive element for Machine Stop added another layer of complexity, according to Moving Brands. The agency developed its own tools to not only capture the performance (3D printing some custom brackets, for example, to allow handheld filming), but also to create a work flow going from the Kinect to the web player, and to write the interactive website, says Brooke.
The final user experience of the Machine Stop video itself still seems somewhat rudimentary with its ‘click and drag’ approach, despite the amount of filming and software development that has gone into the making of it – it doesn’t allow quite the mount of control it promises. But it is nonetheless another welcome example of what creatives can do by appropriating such new technologies, unpicking and re-configuring them for their purposes.
“I hope that we’re using a technology in a way that will make it more engaging,” says Brooke. “You will feel more part of it. It’s fun to experiment with different ways to tell a story, where the viewer can become more enganged, and look around the corner of things. People are starting to almost expect that they can engage with [content], and more of our media is in a place where you can choose your point of view… it’s only a small step, but it’s interesting to explore.”
Pink Floyd fans may recognise the cover of our June issue. It’s the original marked-up artwork for Dark Side of the Moon: one of a number of treasures from the archive of design studio Hipgnosis featured in the issue, along with an interview with Aubrey Powell, co-founder of Hipgnosis with the late, great Storm Thorgerson. Elsewhere in the issue we take a first look at The Purple Book: Symbolism and Sensuality in Contemporary Illustration, hear from the curators of a fascinating new V&A show conceived as a ‘walk-in book’ plus we have all the regular debate and analysis on the world of visual communications.
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