A short while back, I talked about the beginnings of a new type of music video: the interactive music video. If you have yet to experience one of these marvelous little feats of creativity, you’re in for a treat, because everyone’s favorite treadmill enthusiasts (OK Go) have just released another sure-to-be-viral music number, and this time, they’re letting the fans participate in the choreographed shenanigans.
Earlier this year, Arcade Fire brought the concept of the interactive music video to public consciousness with their HTML5-based website The Wilderness Downtown. The site (which requires Google Chrome to view) has one purpose: to showcase the video for “We Used to Wait,” a song from the band’s most recent album. At the main page, viewers are prompted to enter the address of their childhood home. When the video plays, the site pulls satellite imagery of the address (directly from Google Maps and Google Earth) and incorporates it seamlessly into the playback. It’s an intensely personal viewing experience, and it’s hard not to be impressed while watching it all unfold.
Looking to infuse their latest video with a similarly immersive quality, alt rockers OK Go have decided to give interactive entertainment a “go.” They’ve created a website just for their song “All Is Not Lost.” The site, allisnotlo.st, works similarly to how Wilderness works, except that instead of an address, viewers are asked to type a written message on the main page, which the band members dance out during the video playback. The site uses multiple browser windows in unison, each serving a specific purpose and adding to the overall presentation.
The presentation, of course, is what’s truly memorable about the video. Sure, the song is catchy, and sure, the band does a great job of making the choreography feel unique, but seeing the band bring your words to life on the screen is what makes this music video an experience in and of itself. And as with any other modern example of technological innovation, you may just have to see it for yourself to understand the appeal.
For example, if a visitor to the site were to type a random message like “Endless Happy You Enjoy” into the text box on the main page before playing the video, this is what the video will look like:
Go ahead and try it out for yourself. We know you want to!
When you think about it, the idea of an interactive video is somewhat ingenious. Traditional music videos are great and all, and concerts certainly give us the opportunity to experience an artist’s work in a more direct way, but traditional videos and concerts are designed with mass consumption in mind. Interactive music videos, on the other hand, are meant to be personal. In the case of “All Is Not Lost,” the goal is to bring the viewer’s personal message to vibrant life—right on the screen. It succeeds in doing that, but more importantly, it succeeds in making the viewer feel (to an extent) like they’ve crafted part of the video themselves. Say what you will about OK Go, but this puts them a step ahead of their contemporaries on the visual front.
The only drawback? The site for the video is built exclusively in HTML5, which means you’ll need to install Google Chrome on your computer to actually participate in it. You can check out a pre-rendered version on OK Go’s official YouTube channel to get a feel for it, but if you want the full effect, you’ll need Chrome.
Personalized music videos are a relatively new phenomenon, and given their reliance on newer forms of browsing technology, it’s no wonder that most people still aren’t aware of them—most people simply can’t view them in the first place. Google Chrome has been available for a few years now (and it’s been more and more popular of late), but it’s still a statistical second to Mozilla’s Firefox, with 42.2% of internet users preferring Firefox and 27.9% opting to use Chrome. And sadly, most interactive videos can’t be viewed with Firefox. As Chrome and other HTML5-compliant browsers become more widely used, we’ll undoubtedly see more interactive videos pop up on the net, and with more frequency. But for now, we’ll just have to make do with what we’ve got. Fortunately, bands like OK Go are around to ensure that we’ve got quite a bit.
What do you think of the video for “All Is Not Lost”? Is it cutting edge or is it just gimmickery? Share your thoughts below.
Image by: marfis75