Arcade Fire's 'The Wilderness Downtown' is a New Breed of HTML5 Music Video

I'm a few days late with this, and at the speed of the Internet that might make this old news. But as someone who's currently evaluating the relative merits of HTML5 vs Flash (for the interactive implementation of my project 3rd Rail), I was intrigued by director Chris Milk's interactive video for Arcade Fire's latest album The Suburbs. Built entirely in HTML5 (which means you'll need a compatible browser to experience it), the multiple window-spawning video makes very clever use of Google Maps and its streetview feature to personalize the video for your own hometown.

After watching it a few times, I've found that the video's effectiveness comes down to a few things: whether they have a good street view shot of the location you input initially; whether you have a powerful computer or not (it works flawlessly on my hackintosh, but falls apart on my laptop); and if you're on a Mac, whether you use Apple's window-viewing Exposé feature in the middle of the video, which can kill the multiple-window experience. Regardless, head on over and check it out, and let me know what you think of personalized video experiences like this. 3rd Rail is similar in that we'll premiere a video project wherein everyone's experience is slightly different. Was The Wilderness Downtown able to find your hometown location?

Link: The Wilderness Downtown

Your Comment


There was no street view for my home in Florida. But it's in the sticks, so no surprise there...

September 6, 2010 at 3:33PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


Finally got the chance to scope this -- quirks aside, pretty f'ing amazing. Loved the ending. Check this out people!

September 13, 2010 at 2:23PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM