March 29, 2014

BTS: This Interactive Music Video Lets You Control the Action. Find out How

Bombay-4Interactive media may not be a staple of narrative filmmaking, but it's certainly making itself known in music videos. Last year, we saw the work of several big name musicians and groups contain interactive elements, like the special navigation in Pharrell's 24-hour "I'm Happy" video, the ability to "change channels" in Bob Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone", and controlling animations in Arcade Fire's "Neon Bible". Now, we get to go behind the scenes with the creators of Bombay Bicycle Club's music video for their single "Carry Me", off the album So Long, See You Tomorrow, and find out what gear, techniques, and software they used to pull off their interactive "Orbital Video" project.

First of all, here's the official linear (non-interactive) version of the music video, but if you want to go straight to the interactive version, click here.

The team behind the video is the award-winning Powster, an interactive and motion graphics company that provides "bespoke innovative content, concepts and app builds for the entertainment industry." They've made available their entire process, everything from shooting and stop-motion, to grading and editing, on a website made especially for the video.

The video was shot on the Canon C300 and the Canon 7D, grading with DaVinci Resolve, animated with DragonFrame, and edited with Adobe CC. All of these elements were put together using technique Powster calls "Orbital Video" in order to make the video interactive. Here's a basic description of the process from the "Carry Me" site:

All 9 takes are synced up so that the change is seamless -- HTML5 video tags, JavaScript, and CSS transitions are used to position and frame the video dependent on the user interaction. Using HTML5 meant we could allow this to work across all devices which allowed video to play in-line in the browser, without an app install.

What this technique allows users to do is seamlessly switch between camera feeds, allowing them to "move" and control the action of the subject. Creative Director Set Thompson explains this further in this PVC interview:

The whole idea was to be the first to make a linear piece of video footage interactive by allowing the user to switch between feeds, yet keep them in sync. We filmed nine different camera feeds at 1080p resolution, animated them, and edited them together in Adobe Premiere Pro CC. We had nine post-production processes on screen at once. Combined they were 5,000 pixels wide, so what we were trying to manage and edit was immense. We actually had to trick our graphics accelerator card and Adobe Premiere Pro CC so we could scale down every piece of footage and then scale each one back up in nested sequences, and retain quality. It was the opposite of most other workflows today, where everyone wants to work with media at maximum resolution.

Check out this BTS video below (which was shot with a Canon 5D MarkIII and GoPro Hero3 Whites).

https://vimeo.com/82044534

Again, you can check out the interactive video here.

Be sure to check out the "Carry Me" website for more information on the techniques Powster used to complete this interesting project.

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