Montreal band The Arcade Fire and Google have teamed to create a personalized and interactive music video experience using Google Chrome and HTML5.
Now, before continuing there's one thing I feel I should get out of the way: this project is best experienced, rather than read about in a blog post.
So, I think you should fire up Chrome, head over The Wilderness Downtown and enjoy. Then come back.
At the outset, the site asks you to enter the name of the street you grew up on.
Set to the song, We Used To Wait off The Arcade Fire's latest album The Suburbs, several synchronized browser windows that each play a different part of the video, including animated birds that react to the mouse cursor.
The personalization aspect of the experience comes in courtesy of Google Maps and Street View, which are used to bring scenes from the street the user grew up on into the video.
Bit of animation are even added on top of these images.
Part of the movie brings up an HTML5-coded paint program and invites the viewer (is viewer even the right term for this kind of undertaking?) to write a postcard to their younger self living on that street.
At the end, you are given the option to submit the postcard you created, which may be used in visual for The Arcade Fire's upcoming tour or possibly put on an "analog postcard," and sent to someone else has submitted their postcard, who will then have the option to reply.
First off, this really shows off the power of HTML5 as serious competition to Adobe's Flash platform, which would normally have been used for this kind of undertaking.
But more importantly, everyone involved in the project including director Chris Milk have really taken the static music video to a whole new level.
I expect we'll be seeing more like it in the future, but sadly, many probably not as well-done as this particular experience.