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250 Cameras, A Day Of Soldering, Zero CGI: Party's Mind-Bending, Strobe-Animated Music Video

The creative collective made a video for the Japanese band Androp using 250 Canon still cameras. Their flashes were controlled via a potent DIY cocktail of arduino, openFrameworks, and Flash.

Individually, the founders of Tokyo- and New York-based Party have created some of the most interesting music-driven videos of the last few years. Collectively, the Japanese/ American creatives are continuing their streak with an inventive new video for the track "Bright Siren" from Japanese rock band Androp.

At first blush, the video might not seem so special: It’s a band performing against a wall of strobe lights, after all. But, taken as a whole, the video's technical sleight of hand powers a rather compelling viewing experience.

Inspired by the song's lyrics, "not to make it a memory," Party created the video using 250 Canon still cameras; their flashes were controlled via a potent DIY cocktail of arduino, openFrameworks, and Flash. The effect is a “light animation” produced with no CGI at all.

The music video itself opens with a few shots that give a hint at how the effects were created, and then fades into the song and the performance. The band plays in the dark against a wall of cameras and strobes, which blink into words and shapes. Viewers also see the band's performance captured in frozen moment shots toward the end of the video.

The video appears on www.androp.jp/brightsiren with a companion "Making Of" segment. Viewers can also create a customized version of the video by typing in a message to be spelled out in light, see photos of the band taken by the 250 cameras and, of course share via social media.

The premise sounds tempting for those of you who like nothing better than spending the day soldering circuit boards, but according to Party, only the deeply committed will want to try this at home. Party’s Masashi Kawamura, who is no stranger to technically challenging videos, says Bright Siren was his toughest shoot yet; the process was staggeringly labor intensive, and hot.

Highlights included: “running around Tokyo collecting rental cameras and strobes,” a whole day and night wiring up the bullet boards with the camera and PC, and figuring out how to capture the strobes on camera. The Party team even solicited volunteers on Twitter to help with soldering (they got 20).

The shoot took place over 48 consecutive hours--day one alone involved building the set and shooting plates with the strobe wall alone; day two was for shooting the band. “In theory, we knew it would work, but we never had a chance to test out the whole 250 cameras until the day of the shoot,” says Kawamura, who directed the clip with Party's Qanta Shimizu. “All the teams were in tears when we saw the camera wall working.”

The result is a video you want to spend some time with, which of course works well for Androp, whose poppy number, we warn you, will be in your head for a while.

Check out the Making Of video here:

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