Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

“Just a Reflektor” Brings You and a Smartphone Into Arcade Fire’s Latest Video

The band Arcade Fire has come out with another interactive music video designed to inspire and provoke, push the limits of Web technology, and make your laptop fan work in overdrive.

ArcadeFireReflektorJust a Reflektor” combines a Web browser, webcam and smartphone to include the viewer’s point of view in the video, with the phone (or mouse) used to control what’s illuminated. It’s a neat way to make the experience of the video more visceral.

Like the band’s “The Wilderness Downtown” before it, “Reflektor” was made using Google technology, specifically the Chrome browser, which it requires.

The short film was written, directed and produced by frequent Arcade Fire collaborator Vincent Morisset, and filmed in Haiti. Credits include the Google Creative Lab, the company’s internal imaginative product marketing agency, and UNIT9.

On a tech explainer page that breaks down the various effects used in the video, the band highlights technology including the JavaScript Library three.js, WebSockets and the open-source TailBone project.

“Just a Reflektor” is also open source.


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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus