Chris Milk, Arcade Fire, and Google team up to create interactive music video

Do you remember the last time you were truly blown away by something on the internet? If the answer is “no”, then you haven’t yet experienced The Wilderness Downtown, a short film/ music video featuring the song “We Used to Wait” by Montreal-based band Arcade Fire. The video uses a ground-breaking new web technology, HTML5, and Google Maps to create an interactive experience for the user that is powerful, emotional, thought-provoking, and just plain cool. In short, it will blow you away.

Chris Milk, director of music videos for artists such as U2 and Kanye West, joined Arcade Fire and several developers at Google for this project. When users visit, they are invited to type in the street address of where they grew up. The film then begins, with browser windows popping open and closed in a choreographed  fashion, camera angles changing, and street views of the user’s neighborhood playing prominently. Video, graphics, and text all come together in a seamless display, the perfect blend of artistry and technology.

And speaking of the technology, this type of video was not even possibly until fairly recently, when browsers became HTML5 compliant. Currently, only Google Chrome and Safari support the experience.

When Chris Milk was asked by NPR’s Guy Raz if this is the future of music videos, he replied, “You know, I don’t know if it’s necessarily the future of music videos. It’s a future.”

“It’s not a television broadcast.” he continued. “It’s not a projection on a cinema. It can change in real time. It can adapt. It’s a really interesting new technology, and it’s a really interesting tool to use as your canvas.”

“Really interesting” seems a slight understatement, as three million people and counting have already experienced the beauty of HTML5 in The Wilderness Downtown.

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