How many of you know anything about the band “Ok Go”? According to a post made simultaneously on the Official Google Blog and the Google Chrome Blog, they’ve recently teamed up with Chrome’s creator for a very interesting project of sorts. Google’s termed it a “Chrome Experiment.” The band’s website simply refers to it as an “all new video.” As for me…I’m not quite sure what to make of it quite yet.
Wait, Who are these guys?
Those of you who haven’t heard of them, go to Google and type in “OK Go Treadmills.” That’ll give you a good idea of what it is they do.
Formed back in 1988 in Chicago, Illinois; OK Go is one of the largest indie rock bands around. They’re known much more for their unique take on music videos than they are for their music itself- they’re better known for spectacle than song. Considering how good some of their music actually is…that’s saying something. You might think I’m framing this as a negative thing- trust me, it’s not. They’re among the first bands to utilize the internet as an art rather than a vessel for art. They’ve gotten notice from both Billboard and BusinessWeek, and Apple’s head of marketing referred to them as “the first post-internet band.”
It’s not just their art they’re known for, either. They’re very strong proponents of fan-rights: naturally, they’ve clashed with a few major record labels in their time. Most notably, they got into a rather large fight with EMI about fans embedding their videos. They said the fans should. EMI said they should not. Eventually, they parted ways after the whole affair launched them straight into the public eye..and now they’re a completely independent music group
Oh, they also wrote the smash hit “Here It Goes Again.”
Long story short, they’re kind of a big deal. Small wonder Google’s decided to partner with them for this project.
So what Exactly Did They Do?
The project in question is known as All Is Not Lost. And it is indeed a ‘new video’; as OK Go rather blandly stated on their webpage. But it’s also a hell of a lot more than that. Google lists it as an HTML5 music collaboration between OK Go, Pilobolus(the dance group in the video in question) and themselves, designed for the Google Chrome browser. So; OK Go, Google, and some professional choreographers/dancers have gotten together and…made a video? I know what you’re thinking- there’s got to be more to it than this.
Basically, in what must have been one of the most elaborate film sessions in existence, they basically filmed and choreographed their video in such a way that when you type a written message into the text area before watching the video, the dancers onscreen actually form the message. The video utilizes HTML5′s canvas technology to draw the video in perfect sync with the song.
I’ll repeat that. The dancers, in live action, form a message that you, the user/viewer, enter into a text box before watching the video.
You’re probably wondering- and rightly so- just how the hell they managed to pull something like this off, aren’t you? I know I was when I first heard about the project. Frankly, I was pretty near floored at the concept of it. Unfortunately, the blog isn’t exactly clear on how it was done. There’s a bit of information on the coding techniques used…but aside from that, nothing. I suppose that ultimately, it doesn’t much matter how they did it.
Because either way, it’s damned cool.
Unfortunately, I myself can’t speak to how it actually looks/runs at the moment- the most current developer release for Chrome is…rather temperamental, to say the least. That is to say; it’s plagued with frequent crashes; and it just so happens that this is one of the pages that outright refuses to load. I’ll be reverting to an older version, at which point I’ll let you know how the video looks.
A Special Message
This project’s been some time in the making- no specific word on how long. What’s more, the folks at Google Japan worked alongside OK Go on this project. You see where I’m going with this, right? In the wake of the tsunami that devastated the northern coast of Japan, OK Go put in their vote for the video’s name: All is Not Lost. Seems a fitting title given the story behind it, don’t you think?