Every now and then you experience something completely new, a window into another world that you hadn’t anticipated, but one that may well become ordinary in a year or two. I’ve just been watching The Wilderness Downtown, an interactive and personalised ‘video’ that takes you back to the place you were born.
You type in your address or postcode and it weaves together music, film, animation and graphics with video images of your childhood home. It’s fantastic. (You need Google Chrome as a browser – it won’t work with Internet Explorer. Chrome is pretty good – I’ve been using it for a few months on my laptop; and it’s very easy to download.)
Jemima Kiss explains:
The Wilderness Downtown combines Arcade Fire’s We Used To Wait with some beautiful animation and footage – courtesy of Street View – of your childhood home – made all the more poignant for me because it was bulldozed a few years ago.
Thomas Gayno from Google’s Creative Labs described it on the Chrome Blog: “It features a mash-up of Google Maps and Google Street View withHTML5 canvas, HTML5 audio and video, an interactive drawing tool, and choreographed windows that dance around the screen. These modern web technologies have helped us craft an experience that is personalised and unique for each viewer, as you virtually run through the streets where you grew up.”
The Chrome Experiments blog explains each technique, including the flock of birds that respond to the music and mouse movements, created with the HTML5 Canvas 3D engine, film clips played in windows at custom sizes, thanks to HTML5, and various colour correction, drawing and animation techniques.
I’ve watched thousands of videos thanks to the curse of the viral video chart and nothing has come close to this for originality, imagination and for that inspired piece of personalised storytelling.