The Barr Brothers of Montreal had a bunch of iPod touches and a desire to shoot a music video at the Grand Canyon. So while on tour they hauled their instruments to an edge of the Canyon, set up the iPods and commenced playing. To their surprise, other tourists offered to shoot footage and so they did. The result is an edited music video for the song, Beggar in the Morning.
The story of the video is interesting in that the version shared by the band on YouTube and that based on interviewing the band for MTV Hive differ in a variety of details. For what it's worth, my guess is that The Barr Brothers abbreviated the tale given the limitations of text on YouTube but, either way, it's another creative low-budget music video solution.
The Barr Brothers - Beggar in the Morning
Here's the YouTube version:
"When we left Montreal to tour the States last fall, we had one goal above all else: film a song at the Grand Canyon. Two weeks later we arrived at the canyon and set up our instruments on one of the ridges. A small audience gathered around and perched themselves on various rocks and spots close to the edge. We passed out iPods that had been given to us by the Manhattan Apple store and declared open season. Our friend Samara Chadwick edited this together using the footage shot by our new friends from the canyons edge. Thanks to the crow for making an appearance (can you spot him?). Enjoy!"
It's a fun tale and a decent video for Beggar in the Morning that depends quite a bit on the editing though the closing dialogue with the audience during the final credits are a nice touch.
According to MTV Hive they got the iPods, which I assume are iPod touches since they're the only ones that can shoot video, for doing a free show at the Apple Manhattan store. It's unclear if they'd actually planned it ahead of time since Brenna Ehrlich reports, based on an interview with Brad Barr, that they were driving by the Grand Canyon and decided to stop. Barr told her:
“I think I just personally wanted to see the harp at the edge of the Grand Canyon...I was really curious what the acoustics would be like up there, too. We thought it would be a fun thing to shoot and probably a cool visual experience.”
But what I find most interesting is that it wasn't planned as a tourist-shot video:
"The band decided to use the iPods to film the performance and commenced setting them up — placing the Apple devices on rocks, hanging them in trees. Soon, however, a group of curious tourists offered to play film crew, and the band played a five-song set at the edge of the canyon for their impromptu audience."
The reason I'm pointing this out is not to play Detective McJournalist but, assuming that Barr shared the full account with Ehrlich, the role of serendipity was a big part of making the video. The Barr Brothers probably would have gotten as good a product or maybe even more interesting footage by scattering the iPods about the landscape. But the involvement of tourists who seem to become fans, judging by the closing exchange, adds a friendly touch to the tale of the making of the video.
This making of account is also a reminder that you can make interesting moves with consumer hardware and fan involvement that gets the same attention as a gimmick yet is closely tied to one's music making. And taking advantage of serendipitous moments can add to the work in a creative way.
Hypebot Features Writer Clyde Smith maintains his business writing hub at Flux Research and blogs about dance at All World Dance. To suggest topics for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.