With your typical film soundtrack, the music will obviously score the visuals—complementing the action on screen with sonic texture and general tone. But what does it look like to reverse the process and have video score the music? "Pandora's Box" an ever-changing online video in support of French indie outfit Isaac Delusion's debut self-titled album—out now in France, and hitting the states this fall—may have the answer.
As users listen to the song, a database of 600 short video sequences appear so the visual movement matches the beat, while simultaneously matching the track in both mood (explosions go hand-in-hand with the chorus) and music elements (finger snaps get corroborated by cuts of finger snaps). Random sequencing makes each video one-of-a-kind.
Experience the personalized music video(s) here: http://www.infinitepandorasbox.com/
Created by Studio Clée—comprsied of Alizée Ayrault and Claire Dubosc—with additional contributions from Romain Avalle, the project includes 600 videos and 1500 possible slots, yielding a seemingly-infinite number of combinations. After 20 seconds, you get the option to share the unique video with friends, where they can either watch your personalized video, or experience a fresh, reincarnated one. All get adorned with eye-catching vintage stock footage—cuts from North By North West and other 20th century gems—taken from the Prelinger Archives, a public domain database created in 1983.
Ayrault and Dubosc explained that the video experiment was inspired, first and foremost, by the song's title, which naturally refers to the well-known artifact from classical Greek Mythology. But Delusion's song itself tells the story of an intimate (though ambiguous) relationship—convincing the two designers that it was impossible to summarize such an abstract topic in a five minute video. Rather than make narrative a narrative that gives a narrow interpretation of something as subjective as poignant human-to-human connection, they decided there shouldn't be only one music video, but thousands, millions... an infinity.
The other source of inspiration came from the track's composition itself, a electro-pop jam made of sample-based patterns that repeat at a fast rate (about 136 beats per minute). "We envisioned our video editing to fit a similar construction," explained Dubosc, "finding a balance between mechanical occurrences that would illustrate the music, yet have more freedom with the images associated to the lyrics, and give room to a more poetic, literary take on the track."
Worth adding: the infinite video-to-sound combinations sparks the feeling that each time you experience "Pandora's Box," you're absorbing it for the first time again, since each watch is both unique and ephemeral.
Alyzée explained that she and Dubosc physically made the video by "Chopping the sound according to what felt right to us." Though subjective in nature, "Each video-sample in the sequence has been cut and associated to a specific folder that we [assigned]." Then, when you generate your own version, the platform they created randomly picks from each folder, as if it were a lotter-like image associater.
When asked to describe the possibly fascinating (or even Freudian) audio-visual relationships that could emerge through their Platform, Dubosc explained that there the rhythmic qualities of the sound get "concrete embodiment" with the visual cues. Footstomping drum beats actually get paired with images of feet stomping, while the opening staccato guitar lick will get paired with fragmented body motions—like a woman eating a pickle in jump cuts, or a kid winding clocks. The creators also organized the stock footage so it sometimes literally relates to the lyrics, while other time it correlates to the specific mood at various parts of the track. No matter what, every experience with "Pandora's Box" will be personalized and downright memorable—just be careful when opening it, you never know what might pop out.
Experience the visual odyssey for yourself here, and for more information on Isaac Delusion, head over to his website.
For more on the ever-changing video's creators, visit Studio Clée.