September 1, 2010


Arcade Fire continues to be the band pushing the music video form forward, this time with a personalised video that pulls map and Google Street View data on the viewer's home town and works it into a beautiful multi-stage visual and narrative journey.

Director Chris Milk and Google Creative Labs artist Aaron Koblin led the project, collaborating with a large team from, B-Reel, Google and friends like designer / developer mr. doob.

You'll remember Milk and Koblin collaborated last on another music video, for the Johnny Cash Estate. This time, though, they've pushed boundaries on how technology and creative ideas can work together and provided yet another wonderful showcase of the feature set of the Chrome browser.

After a viewer inputs the address of the home he or she grew up in and the video renders and loads, a multi-window journey through various satellite views of the viewer's neighborhood ensues, with a hooded figure running home as the various Maps and Street View images follow.

New layers pop all over your screen, as the browser senses how large your display is and uses the full area available.The satellite and Street View images are rendered to keep them uniform and ensure color grading is consistent.

At the song's climax, as the goal is reached, a drawing program appears and the video asks you to write a message to the earlier version of yourself that lived in that house. Keystrokes and cursor lines grow tendrils unto themselves.

The experience was constructed in HTML5 using its Canvas tools, according to the Chrome Experiments site.

The film goes a long way toward improving the perception of Google's toolbox, like many of the efforts in the Chrome Experiments series before it. But wrapping in Maps and Street View data goes even further. The bridge between plain but useful Google services and pieces of creative online content is wide. Building Brand Google into something other than a technology monolith depends on collaborations like this to show how delightful those elements can integrate with creative vision.

Arcade Fire, meanwhile, continue to excel in providing its fans with experiences worthy of the music. Remember, when the Neon Bible album arrived, the band debuted this great interactive video site. Now, with its Suburbs album debuting at the top of the Billboard charts the band has an equally worthy accompaniment..

Via Contageus

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