“Choose” is the title of the project which emerged from Erik’s thesis and for which I was chosen as director of photography.
“Choose” is not just a name, it is the spirit of the project. You choose the path which the video will take. “Choose” is interactive, an interactive music video.
Unlike other interactive videos, Choose doesn’t stop while you are choosing. At several points in the video, you are given three choices – shown as small pereview videos. If you don’t make your decision in time, a random choice will be made by the computer. The flow of video and music is not disturbed.
Depending on the way of counting, your choices can create up to 162 different versions of the clip.
The team which produced the visual parts was small and therefore conveniently flexible. Only seven people were involved, including actors. Some scenes were even shot with as few as three crew members.
As in the music video clip for Final Kings, we used almost every piece if equipment that the studio of our university could offer: A Sony DSR-VX2000 camera, a crane, four 500W spots and a control monitor. Unfortunately, the studio couldn’t provide us with enough lighting power for the outdoor shootings. Instead of spots we used our trusty foldable reflectors, which already lighted most of “Höhenflüge”. Tje downside of this approach was an increased dependency on weather, but fortunately we had sunshine most of the time.
For lighting, our extra-small team of three – director, director of photography and actor – was kinda suboptimal. Without human help it became very tricky to align the reflectors and keep them stable. We didn’t have any tripods for them, so we had to lean them against the wall or other objects and balance them. The slightes wind blow would destroy the light setup. Fortunately, it was almost windless.
The night-shootings at a parking lot weren’t much easier. Again, we didn’t have strong enough spots, so we had to use car headlamps and street lighting. The latter would have been automatically turned off at midnight if there hadn’t been a friendly night watch who called public services for us and persuaded them to keep the light burning for the rest of the night. Thanks a lot!
Similarily interesting to make was the final scene. Florence, the actress, should watch through a window in the night. Here face had to be reflecting in the window and raindrops had to flow down on it. The problem: The most dominant objects in the picture were an ugly railing from outside and the reflection of the walls from inside in the window. Needless to say there was no rain running down the window.
With the support of some large drapery we could cover the unwanted reflections. Erik, the director was outside simulating rain with a small water gun, and I was inside holding a large black cloth to cover the reflection of the wall.
There was noone left to operate the camera, so it recorded on its own while we tried to hold up the scene. Unfortunately, the autotimer-photo doesn’t show the scene in it’s full weirdness… it was great. ^_^
Currently, there are three versions of Choose. An interactive version, the original prototype and one “linearized”, non-interactive version.
The interactive version is based on VVVV, which needs to be downloaded first.
If you do not want to download new software, you can try the old prototype. It is based on Shockwave which is supported by many browsers. The downside is that it is very unstable because it was not originally designed to be used on a website.
As an alternative, there is a non-interactive version of the video. It is a common video file, has only 5mb and requires a DivX-compatible player.
Both versions are available for download at Erik’s Choose pages.