Indie-rockers the Vaccines are debuting their new video for “Wetsuit,” which was almost entirely crowdsourced from fan photos submitted through Instagram, the photo-sharing app for iPhone. The video follows a festival-goer in a red hoodie from daybreak to day-ending Vaccines concert. Other than brief video segments, the entire video is from Instagram.
Fans were asked to take pictures of themselves at festivals and submit them by tagging them with #vaccinesvideo. The band received nearly 3,000 photos and approximately 15,000 likes on Instagram. The project, put together by Anomaly, also had an international splash with people from 99 countries visiting the contest site. It was then up to director Poppy de Villeneuve to sort through and pick the best photos to use and in what order.
“We always talk about breaking down the barriers between the band and the fans,” says Justin Young, lead singer for the Vaccines. “We like sharing music with them, meeting them, interacting with them, as most bands do. So this felt like the ultimate interaction. Instagram was suggested to give photos taken on people’s phone a nice warm feel.”
That warm feel (thanks to Instagram’s vintage filters) fits the song well. “Wetsuit” has an end-of-summer, dog-days mood that the crowdsourced photos pick up. “It’s a journey; a day in the life. the song is quite nostalgic, and I think the photos and the character’s movements will prove nostalgic for all the people that went to festivals this summer,” Young says. “The song is about being young and being stupid and free.”
The biggest gamble, of course, is whether those photos would be any good. Crowdsourcing a music video has a lot of variables including quality of photo and how to make the video seem like more than a slideshow. “The main thing that we were surprised to find was just how good the imagery was,” says Paul Graham, founding partner of Anomaly. “This was normal people, possibly a little dizzy, around the fields of the world creating some beautiful shots. Together they really do capture that sense of what a festival, and a summer of music, is all about.”