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This installment of Packaged Goods looks at the evolution of the music video in the age of the web, from fan videos that gain official status to artist-led video competitions, from video experiments on mobile devices to the return of long-form, nearly cinematic mini-epics.
For a while, it seemed as if a requiem for the music video would be in order. The days of heavy MTV rotation were definitively over, budgets were shrinking, and miserably compressed online versions of videos raised the ire of directors. But while MTV may have traded Snoop Dogg for Snooki and budgets are still nowhere near the halcyon days of old, advancements in online video technology, the birth of Vimeo and Vevo, and a new wave of filmmakers and artists willing to work outside the previously established norms have revitalized the medium.
This installment of Packaged Goods looks at the evolution of the music video in the age of the web, from fan videos that gain official status to artist-led video competitions, from video experiments on mobile devices to the return of long-form, nearly cinematic mini-epics. We will also welcome Miles Jay, director of several interactive experiences, to talk about his interactive video "White Doves" for Young Empires.
Director, Miles Jay, strives to push the boundaries of storytelling with digital integration. Recently, he was awarded a Young Director's Award in Cannes for his interactive piece 'Carly's Cafe' which puts the viewer in the body of a 17-year-old girl with non-verbal autism. Utilizing digital devices as storytelling techniques, Miles believes they can enhance narrative immersion for viewers. White Doves is Miles' first narrative using social media. Currently, he's finishing another social film for the agency DARE in Vancouver.
Featured works to include:
Psy, "Gangnam Style" (South Korea / 2012 / 4:10)
This hilarious blockbuster brought Korean pop star Psy to global attention, and its 2.1 million "likes" earned it the designation of "Most Liked Video on YouTube" in the Guinness Book of World Records.
Gotye, "Somebodies" (Australia / 2012 / 5:50)
Aussie singer-songwriter Gotye took the web by storm with his artful video for the track "Somebody I Used to Know", and the online video response was so effusive that he decided to pay homage to his fans with this follow-up video.
Blink 182, "Up All Night" (USA / 2012 / 3:20)
With the support of AT&T, Blink 182 (returning with their first album in eight years) located every single instance of fans unofficially using their music online and created a video composed exclusively of fan content.
C-Mon & Kypski, "More is Less" (Roel Wouters & Jonathan Puckey / Holland 2012 / 4:50)
This ever-evolving video allows fans to be a part of the action by simply using their webcam. At OneFrameOfFame.com, the band gives instructions on what actions need to be performed; fans then imitate the action, and their footage appears in the video for one frame. To date, over 37,000 people have contributed.
The Vaccines, "Wetsuit" (Poppy De Villeneuve & Partizan / UK / 2011 / 4:00)
The Vaccines' hazy-dazy single "Wetsuit" is matched with gauzy and carefree images of fine young things having the time of their lives at an outdoor music festival. All 3,000 images were sourced from the photo-sharing site Instagram.
Young Empires, "White Doves" (Miles Jay & OPC / Canada / 2012 / 4:30)
This interactive video draws on Facebook content to integrate viewers into a story of a young couple escaping their enslaved existence.
Chairlift, "Met Before" (Jordan Fish & m ss ng p eces / USA / 2012 / 3:20)
Following a young woman who leaves her university lecture hall and has a series of strange encounters, this video employs a choose-your-own-adventure format that allows users to create multiple versions of the narrative, which can then be shared via social media.
Linkin Park, "Lost in the Echo" (Jason Zada & Tool of North America / USA / 2012 / 3:30)
Directed by the creator of the interactive online horror film Take This Lollipop, this video for Linkin Park's recent single draws on users' Facebook content to create a powerful post-apocalyptic narrative.
Bobby Womack, The Bravest Man in the Universe app (B-Reel / USA / 2012 / 0:30)
Legendary soul singer Bobby Womack ventures into interactive territory with his Bravest Man in the Universe experience for smartphones and tablets.
Passion Pit, Gossamer app (Scott Snide, Snide Studios / USA / 2012 / 2:42)
Brooklyn indie rockers Passion Pit's app for their EP Gossamer features four different interactive experiences for the songs "Take A Walk" and "Carried Away." A generative music video draws on Gossamer's album art to create unique combinations that can be affected by touch, while a music remixer allows fans to play producer on the two tracks.
Death Cab for Cutie, "You Are a Tourist" (Tim Nackashi & RSA/Black Dog / USA / 2011 / 4:00)
Death Cab for Cutie performed and broadcast this elaborate, multi-camera, single-take video live, leaving no room for errors or extra takes, and pulled it off flawlessly. Bonus points for all the fun neon lights!
Ghostpoet and The D.O.T., "Trouble" (UNKNOWN & Passion RAW / UK / 2011 / 4:45)
Director UNKNOWN, in collaboration with Rizla's RizLab, created a wildly amusing live music video for this collaboration between Ghostpoet and The D.O.T. (The Streets' Mike Skinner and Rob Harvey from The Music), which allowed fans to choose in real time what bizarre scenarios the bemused band would be subjected to, from boy-band invasions to spontaneous disco parties.
Radiohead, "Reconker" (Clement Picon / UK / 2009 / 4:50)
In March 2008, Radiohead partnered with AniBoom to launch a competition for fans to create music videos for tracks from the band's album In Rainbows, with the winner taking home a $10,000 prize. The band was so impressed by the submissions that they ended up choosing four winning videos and awarding $10K to each of them, including Clement Picon for his video for "Reconker."
James Brown, "It's a Man's, Man's, Man's World" (Xavier Fauthoux / France / 2012 / 2:50)
As part of Saatchi and Saatchi's annual New Directors' Showcase in Cannes this year, the agency launched the Saatchi & Saatchi James Brown Music Video Challenge in association with Universal Music Enterprises (UMe), the James Brown Estate, the music video competition platform Genero.tv and BUG. Directors were given a brief to create an official video for a James Brown song, none of which have previously had music videos; Xavier Fauthoux's contribution for "It's a Man's, Man's, Man's World" was the winner.
Sigur Ros, "Fjögur Píanó" (Alma Har'el / USA / 2012 / 8:00)
For their new album Valtari, Sigur Ros launched the Valtari Mystery Film Experiment, in which a dozen filmmakers were given the same modest budget and free rein to create a video based on songs from the album. Director Alma Har'el created this hypnotic video for "Fjögur Píanó," an intense, drug-fuelled romance starring Shia LaBeouf.
Spiritualized, "Hey Jane" (AG Rojas / USA / 2012 / 10:20)
This gritty, brutal yet deeply affecting piece for British space rockers Spiritualized, which follows the struggles of a transgendered woman, is more short film than music video, demonstrating how music-driven narratives can exist online in forms that television restricts.
"Klingon Style" (Comediva / USA / 2012 / 3:40)
What is the Internet if not a place for well-executed response, send up or parody videos? Nothing! Here, K-Popstar Psy gets the Trekkie treatment.