In a video created specifically for interactivity and released solely for the Web, Tool’s Sam Jones gives fans endless remix control over the Cold War Kids video for I’ve Seen Enough (www.mtvmusic.com/artist/coldwarkids.jhtml), including the power to switch up individual performers mid-song and never miss a beat.
The original footage for the video, shot in a recording studio, was designed specifically to be presented in parallel parts online and then remixed by fans, even mid-play. The band laid down four distinctly different versions of the song. Each of the four band members was filmed on a darkly lit stage, playing their parts on vibraphone, guitar, bass, keyboard, standup bass, and more. These versions were recorded so the parts can be mixed together or played on their own.
The footage itself, from director Sam Jones (who made his name with the Wilco film, I Am Trying to Break Your Heart), feels like a documentary – if a band member isn’t playing, he’s relaxing against his instrument or just standing loosely, awaiting his cue while “listening” to the track unfold the way the fan designed it to.
“The idea was that fans would be able to create an interesting new variation of the track every time, a new listening experience,” says director Sam Jones, of Tool. “Plus, it’s just fun to play with – there are so many ways to mix the instruments and vocals, and so many chances to get creative.”
The interactive video demanded a high level of technical creativity, but the idea is simple: “At its core, it’s all about the music,” said Dustin Callif, Head of Digital Content at Tool. “As a music fan, I’ve visited websites that allow fans to control the camera angles or change the background, but I’ve always felt there was a missed opportunity to focus on the music.”
Tool reached out to its vast resources in the digital space and put together the best team to deliver on this vision. Together, they developed an innovative technical solution: the site streams four different videos at the same time, and advanced compression and streaming techniques allow for on-demand interactivity.
As a result, the experience is seamless. Every change the fan makes happens in real time, including every stop, start, or mid-stream instrument change. Without skipping a beat, a fan can silence everything but the vocals and bring in the drums, or start with the full band, pull the keyboard and add the xylophone, or sweep away the standup bass at the last minute and cue the bass guitar for the song’s closing notes. The remix possibilities are endless.
“As web creators, sometimes we get carried away with our tools, and we complicate things with Flash animation and long page loads,” Callif said. “For this experience, our singular goal was to allow people to change the music in real-time and feel as if they were in the recording studio with the band. We’re thrilled to be able to work with the band and Sam to put the music first, and to allow fans to experience the band dynamic firsthand.”
The Best Part for Tool and Sam Jones:
Sam was able to dream up something unique and the Tool team was able to deliver on his vision. Tool took on responsibilities from pre-production through the delivery of the final site. “We knew we wanted to break new ground with this site, giving fans not just the ability to easily mix sound and video in real time, but to create something entirely new, and to do it in a way that makes them feel even more connected with the band,” Callif said. “It’s so important to us to put together just the right team for every project, and this is a great example of why that is – we were able to blend a high level of creativity, endless ambition, and a deep understanding of what’s important to the fans. That’s how it worked.”
Client: Cold War Kids
Song Title: I’ve Seen Enough
Air Date: Web only
Live-Action/Interactive Production Company: Tool of North America
Director/Concept: Sam Jones
DP: Mark Williams
EP(s): Dustin Callif, Brian Latt, Jennifer Siegel
Flash Developer: Jason Nickel
Line Producer: Angela Jones Solomon
Editorial: Cosmo Street
Editor/Online Artist: Asako Ushio
Producer(s): Jerry Sukys, Justin Smollan
Songs Produced by Kevin Augunas and Greg Koller
Recording Engineer: Greg Koller
Interface Designer: Marcus Edvalson
Shoot Location: Ocean Way Recording Studios
Management: Monotone, Inc
Manager: Brett Williams
Bicoastal Tool of North America represents top-tier artists to the advertising industry. Tool’s collective of talent includes: directors, photographers, cinematographers, technologists, mobile content creators, and video game creatives. This diverse talent pool affords Tool the ability to serve as a resource for agencies across commercial and digital productions, packaging the best creative teams available to develop compelling advertising with our agency partners.
More info: TRUST 646 452 3388 (NY) 310 451 5153 (LA)