Viral

A video I helped to make 8 months ago went viral yesterday. Fun fun.

For me, it’s a nice little ego boost to see people enjoying our work. The video, which is a reconstruction of Seven Nation Army using sounds and footage from scientific lab equipment, looks like this:

It went viral from Boing Boing, and even managed to make it to the CBS News blog!

It was on the Inside Knowledge project, where 4 of us embedded for 3 months with the Blast lab at Imperial. Lizzie was the architect, Anna the journalist, Ben the creative genius and me the camera geek (there was substantial blurring of these oversimplified boundaries, of course, because we’re all great at everything!).

I arrived at the Blast lab on a Monday afternoon, with a list in my pocket of the different sounds in Seven Nation Army and some scribbled notes on which aspects of their lab could fit sonically and visually. Having explained the concept to the guys running the experiment, I proceeded to stalk around for 3 hours, collecting most of the footage observationally. A few times, though, the guys took pity on me and blatantly helped out by banging, for example, a tyre with a hammer.

Then came the arduous process of the edit. Ben sat down with 40-odd movie files and started slugging away, chopping, changing, flipping and dicing. I ripped the sound files out of the movies, recorded a ukelele twang for the strings, and started cutting them all together. All of the percussive sounds are real (with some post processing), and the string-based stuff is effectively synthesised, though from a real acoustic string being plucked.

There’s flaws – we edited it in an afternoon, side by side, and only synched it up at the end – so parts work well and others are a bit off. But I think it works nicely to demonstrate our concept, and it shows how sense can emerge from a series of individually meaningless actions. And it’s also great to see that many of the sites who reposted the video actually went back, found out the context (about the Blast Lab and our project) and added their own thoughts and insight, rather than just saying ‘lol cool’.

Anyway – 60,000 hits and counting – I am going to be interested to see the analytics provided by Youtube about the process, and speed, of the viral rush. The dynamics of the internet fascinate me!

Here's an unrelated shot of an extremely busy Half-Term lottolab this week!

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Categories: communication, Science, Videos | Tags: , , , , , | 5 Comments

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5 thoughts on “Viral

  1. hi there, long time no see you!!! and now you are back as a virus??

    have a nice weekend!

  2. Very clever, well done and congratulations.

  3. Chris

    Clever and aesthetically pleasing. Enjoyed it just as much second time around. Go booger!

  4. Congrats on the success David. Great result for an interesting project!

  5. Evolve Media

    Very well done, and great camera work on your part. I love science and I love the White Stripes so the video was extra amazing for me.

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