Pop CultureSeptember 15, 2017

EXCLUSIVE: Grayson Gilmour ‘Otherness’ video premiere


The Spinoff presents the video premiere of Grayson Gilmour’s ‘Otherness’ in 360° spatial audio.

Why are you doing all 360° spatial stuff? What’s wrong with tour footage taken on your phone? 

Curiosity. There’s nothing wrong with shooting something on your phone or making a traditional music video, I’m simply bored of that process and its outcomes; I try to avoid boredom or complacency in my work, for better or worse!

Who made it and how does it work?

A Taipei-based animation team called Finger and Toe put this video together. We had one chat via a translator to share some ideas, and from there I pretty much let them run with it, as I generally like to be quite hands-off with my videos; giving the director their own space and letting them interpret the music. Essentially you navigate 360° videos from a fixed point; looking around in whichever direction you like. Where I get involved is the audio side of things. I’ve mixed the track in a way where its elements move with you; instruments are placed in different spaces and allow you to ‘explore’ the track.

Are you expecting most people to view it with goggles on or two drag and drop it around on their screens?

One thing I’ve surrendered to in the process of making these videos is that there so many variables that affect their playback. Internet connection, CPU speed, browsers, apps, devices, the list goes on. When things go wrong the image plays ‘flat’, or super pixelated, or the eight-channel spatial audio folds down to two channels and sounds terrible. But I find taking risks and experimenting much more rewarding than playing it safe. Hopefully, most people will check out these videos using the Chrome browser, or YouTube android app with headphones – that’s the best combination so far!

This looks quite different from the ‘Hundred Waters‘ video, which employed the same technology but in a different aesthetic. What did you learn about 360° videos from the first one that has changed the approach in the second?

I got to try out some different approaches to the spatial mix in this video; spatialising elements can quickly move from being subtle, to wildly nauseating and destructive to the track – fun at first, but it wears off! I guess this is the issue of spatially interpreting a stereo mix; most of the instruments in this track are fairly typical of pop music, and perhaps not as suited to spatialisation as processed sounds/textures. What I’m really excited about is how this experience has shaped how I’ll go about making music in the future.

How does what people see relate to the song?

The song is basically about having your mind blown by someone, so this is Finger and Toe’s collective interpretation of that idea. I think there was around 30 or more people involved in painting some 1500+ frames for the video – drinks are on me if we meet in person someday!

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