For my final, I set out to crowd source what would hopefully be deemed The BEST Music Video Ever to be created.
I set out with nothing but a blog and ambition, much like I had a few years ago when starting the This Dance is a Cliché project. With TDIAC, I simply had an idea, set up a blog, and started emailing people. It took a while to really take off, but within a few months I had received emails from people in other countries, who weren’t even connected to anyone I had met. I had been written about on random blogs. The link had changed hands hundreds of times and was far removed from its original source.
I wanted to use this same model, prompting people to send in just a few seconds a piece of their quintessential video moments (for me, inspired by Jeffery Osborne’s “Stay With Me Tonight” video, which I think is the epitome of 80s videos all in one package: the lead singer lip syncing down a crowded street, active outdoor scenes, a live concert scene, sychronized jazz choreography with dancers in shiny bodysuits …).
I set up a Tumblr blog with instructions for people to create short videos, upload them to Youtube or Vimeo, then send me the links. I emphasized that the quality of the video was unimportant and that the content was key. I later set up a Facebook page for the project, allowing even a lower barrier to entry because it is possible to record video directly into Facebook.
I was to take on the role as director, and with this role came a few self-imposed rules:
-All submissions must be crowdsourced. No clipping pre-existing material was allowed.
-All solicitations for submissions must happen online. Shoving a camera in someone’s face does not count.
-All submissions received must be used.
I emailed dance friends, friends who had contributed to TDIAC, the ITP student list, used Facebook and Twitter and tried to get the word out as much a possible without being utterly annoying (even though I think I probably was).
After 2.5 weeks, I was left with only 7 submissions, or roughly one submission every other day. But most of them were really good. A couple were filmed with high quality cameras and came to me edited with music already, leaving me with pretty great content to cut.
As an experiment to attempt to get more submissions, I also tried to crowdsource via Mechanical Turk, offering $1 per HIT. After 24 hours, I only received two results, and they did not meet my criteria. This was sort of a control to test my instruction set and made me realize that creative interpretation is key to this process. It can’t really be broken down in a set of steps like a recipe.
My original plan, since this was a music video, was to allow for kind of a “glitch effect” with the audio. Each clip was expected to have different audio, and I was going to just let the audio in each clip clash. I asked for the submissions to be set to music, but of course not everyone followed the rules. After compiling my submissions, I really only had 3 that had audio at all, and I was also seeing an emerging club theme happening, so I decided to just use one audio source, which came along with Rick Wray’s submission. I also padded the visuals with a couple iPhone videos of my own.
I plan to keep the project going and will post new iterations of the video (or maybe start from scratch with the next round of submissions).
Since submissions came through Facebook and email, I haven’t yet posted all of them on the blog, but all of the pieces will soon be dissected and posted. It would also be wise to have a simple FTP upload process for submissions as this project moves forward, since I did have a couple of people tell me they tried to email me movie files directly, and they were obviously too big. Reducing the steps involved in the submission process may further lower the barrier to entry, allowing for more spontaneous submissions.
So, without further delay, here is my version of THE BEST MUSIC VIDEO EVER: