No Lights, No Camera, Action…

If you are one of those people out there that are craving something new that holds up to the age-old agency comment of “something that has never been seen before”, then look no further then this new music video for Radiohead.

If this piece had been completed a little earlier it would surely be sharing space with other pieces at MOMA’s recent outstanding exhibit, Design and the Elastic Mind. There were no cameras or lights used to create this video; instead Director James Frost utilized two complex technologies to capture data in real-time. This video is a great example of bending technology to exercise one’s artistic expression. In this case, we can see how our entire world is built out of and dependent on data.

There is also an online component that uses data from Thom Yorke’s performance of the song and allows any visitor to move the data around as he performs. There are also a coupe more full 3D shots that can be manipulated on that page. Frost also mentions that the data will soon be available for download, so everyone will have creative freedom to manipulate the information.

Here is a great interview with James Frost on Creativity Online. Also check out the making of video.

Related Post

DK hits NYC’s South Street Sea Port

About the author

Jon Saunders

internet surfer/designer extraordinaire





making of more interesting than the video. aw.

Marc B.

Shot with lasers. That’ll sure guarantee a successful musicvideo, NOT.

Technology over content doesn’t work too often.

Indeed a yawner.


You shouldn’t judge this video by how it looks. It’s more about process and experimentation and less about what the final piece looks like. Maybe down the road some studio will implement these tools to make something more visually appealing.


Don’t judge a video by how it looks? That’s the point! HOW IT LOOKS!!! ’cause the ground was already broken when inventors did their testing… Now do something cool…


I gotta agree with the above comments. It’s a unique idea that produced some pretty interesting visuals, but more akin to a screensaver than a music video.


more fascinating than the video is the online component. the ability to rotate around, through, above, etc. an object in 3d and in realtime will be an incredibly valuable visual tool for more than the visual arts community. it’ll be interesting to see where this tech is in 20 years. It’s kind of like data visualization’s version of “pong.”


I sure hope that’s sarcasm.


why the hope of sarcasm? no sarcasm was intended whatsoever. i thought the “video” itself was ok. it didn’t really look terribly different than other things i’ve seen, but i prefer to consider the promise the tech holds — which may have been radiohead’s point. this tech may prove invaluable in such fields as medical or engineering (distance learning, problem solving, etc.). how about using it for police work? imagine investigators going back years, even decades, later to study a 3-dimensional visualization of a crime scene that forever remains in pristine condition. seems to me it could be an incredibly powerful tool to either convict or exonerate. not every advance in visualization is solely intended to be used for artistic purposes, but this clip shows that though the tech itself may not have an artistic intent, it can be applied to achieve artistic results.


The post title would be more accurate like this:
“No lights, no camera, no action”


The look feels like it’s already been done… remember the Justin Timberlake video that blind did?
the talented NIN video from D2?
Check em out, get back to me. :)


Using Max and Krakatoa…..the data is easy as pie to rerender….

Just a simple Turn Table i made…

Now if i could only figure out Youtube compression…

Mark Theriault


That video has a very similar effect and I think it was done over a year ago. Its hard to say this radiohead video is original or “something that has never been seen before”




It reminds me of the time when directors shot people walking through xray machines and thought it was some kind of art.


reminds me a little of last thursday


reminds me of the marmite I spread on my toast a week last tuesday and that day I went to Rymans


oh yeah, I saw you…did you check out those new staples they have in now?


kind of like watching old people eat


I agree with A_Lurv, United Visual Artists got there first on this idea. Can’t understand the critism though. It’s good to see a video take its time, and make the most of simple beauty. Would a lens flare and glow have helped you like it more?


I suggest you check your video art history books…


Have to say I disagree with most of these comments. I thought it was brilliant.


what exactly is brilliant about it? i love when people say that.


ok.. why. it’s absolutely nothing innovative in any way.


Conceptually, it’s brilliant.
Creative common licensed source, ready for mashups… no camera usage… a breakthrough.

the final product though, it’s not that great. It would work great in a interactive medium, to let people play-as-watch messing with visualizations in real time. The final product is also not revolutionary, there are already a number of pieces with similar looks, done through different technology – even the Justin Timberlake clip.

I think the thermal camera videoclip that was posted a while ago (don’t remember the band) had a more interesting aesthetic result at the experimental front.

there are big chances that someone will grab the original datasource for this video and render a more awesome idea from it… let’s wait and see.


It’s just ok, lukewarm of a result. Could have been much much stronger. I don’t think the technology they are speaking about was utilized in the most artisitic of realms. Don’t you have total control in a 3D package to do anything once you have the data in? Don’t you have a ton of mileage to explore as a artist once in composite also? Doesn’t Radiohead deserve something a bit more progressive with the ability of tools out there currently?


I created a new version of my google data.

I wanted to create something more elegant. Its still just a turn table but i think the more colorful idea could have brought more beauty to an otherwise dull piece and brought out the “in rainbows” ideals.

Mark Theriault


I do not like it.
But I do not like RadioHead, so do NOT mind me.

Simon Robson

OK, so here’s a shot about a different perspective:
Whilst watching the vid, i was struck by a few of the lyrics. They seemed to be in tune with some stuff I’ve been reading recently. “Forget about your house of cards”, “The infrastructure will collapse, voltage spikes, put your keys in the bowl, kiss your husband goodnight”. I think they’re talking about the impending energy crises and the worthlessness of the urban environments we’ve built up around us, especially when there’s no power for them any more. Now look back at the video. The technique draws everything in such a fragile way. We see power lines and buildings blowing away. At the end people laugh and party together, “denial”. If Yorke and co are talking about the impending energy crises and the impermanence of things, then I can’t think of a better way of showing this…


its a futile act to try and pin down lyrics and visuals…

Although there are visual references in the song that seem a little verbatim to the lyrics, I don’t think it’s tiresome or boring.

The fragile quality of Thom Yorke’s voice works well with the transient nature of the imagery.

That synchronous abstract relationship, is what makes this a strong video.


Tough room. Christ.


god forbid someone has perspective. if it wasnt for radiohead no one would even care. even the white glove tracking project is more interesting than this.


Of course the glove rocks. Billy Jean is classic…


suprememoves is my new Hero.

Agree also with Deocliciano.
Radiohead are totally overrated. Straitjacket Fits were doing this music a long time ago-but with more grunt, less whinning, no prog.


For this video to be a complete success.

We will need to see the same shit in everyones reel on the far left in the coming months…

Just a matter of time…..


I don’t get how these bands are even comparable. They are completely different.


this effect is soooooo eighties. i mean c’mon guys, move on!


The video was okay, but I was thinking this maybe a new way of creative if the process was refined for web3D.

Think about it for a second. You have 3d info from all angles of Radiohead (pretty good details considering it’s all vector dots). In a Tv format where the angle is locked down, it’s really kinda dull after a while, but image if you were to take the vector tracking data and put it in a Flash interactive movie.

Being able for a user to watch a video (and it’s effects) in any angle (or zoom in and out) in real time.

Push the tech a little further and you have music videos that have user interaction and envirnoment. Kinda like, “hmm U’m bored with looking at the main singer, let me check out the drummer, or the mosh pit in the audience in the video”.

Now that would be freaking cool.

I know. I know. “too much tracking data for the web to handle”. etc etc… but remember how far the web and computers have come in the last 10 to 20 years. The limitations will eventually be removed as technology advances.

When that day comes, a video like this maybe seen as one of th pioneering videos for interactive music videos.

Just a thought.


the problem with interactive filmmaking with multiple POVs that let user define it themselves is that it puts too much control in the users hand. they will not be able to create an editorial experience that matches one that was labored over for weeks and months. when there is no clear objective to accomplish with a interactive experience the experience soon becomes like wandering around in a ghost town…it starts to to get boring.


Sorry for the bad spelling. Whenever I get a creative idea I kinda like to get it down on paper and correct myself later. Sorry again for my badly spelled first post here at Motiongrapher.

Comments are closed.