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May 12, 2008 9:53 PM   Subscribe

UK band The Get Out Clause made their newest video by performing in front of 80 of London's approximately 13 million CCTV cameras, and then requesting the footage via the Data Protection Act. The footage was then edited together into this music video.

This technique was apparently prefigured by Irish band The Frames, who used a single camera in a post office to make a £2 video. via.
posted by whir (60 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
(The music itself will probably not be to everyone's taste.)
posted by whir at 9:56 PM on May 12, 2008


Unlike other music which we all love.
posted by wemayfreeze at 10:01 PM on May 12, 2008 [15 favorites]


The idea is better than the execution of the idea - if only because CCTV footage is kinda of hard to look at (IMO).
posted by awfurby at 10:14 PM on May 12, 2008


awesome idea. too bad it couldn't have been done well and with a good song, though.
posted by mexican at 10:29 PM on May 12, 2008


I haven't seen the video yet, but it's been done before, and in a more pertinent context:

FACELESS.

In a society under the reformed 'Real-Time' Calendar, without history nor future, everybody is faceless. A woman panics when she wakes up one day with a face. With the help of the Spectral Children she slowly finds out more about the lost power and history of the human face and begins the search for its future.
posted by suedehead at 10:42 PM on May 12, 2008


Well done, I think, and clever. For those of you who take issue with the song, or the band, or what they were wearing or what their facial hair looks like or how they were standing: that's what you came away with, is it?
posted by freshwater_pr0n at 11:39 PM on May 12, 2008 [3 favorites]


and in an astonishing display of naiveté, they have unwittingly provided the prosecution with damning evidence that clearly shows them murdering the genre.
posted by subgear at 11:56 PM on May 12, 2008 [9 favorites]


For those of you who take issue with the song, or the band, or what they were wearing or what their facial hair looks like or how they were standing: that's what you came away with, is it?

Erm, so far only you have mentioned facial hair and the way they are standing, and only one person in the thread so far has said they don't like the song. So, um, what?
posted by awfurby at 12:04 AM on May 13, 2008


that's what you came away with, is it?

Isn't that the point? It's a pop promo video. OK, so it's a pop promo video with a gimmick, but given that's true of an awful lot of them, that really shouldn't surprise anybody.

Personally, I found the band so awful I couldn't watch make it to the chorus.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:08 AM on May 13, 2008


by performing in front of 80 of London's approximately 13 million CCTV cameras

And the thing is, in order to piece together a few minutes of film, they had to perform in front of every one of those cameras to find enough that were actually working.
posted by three blind mice at 12:16 AM on May 13, 2008 [2 favorites]


Gwyneth Paltrow's husband has really let himself go :(.
posted by basicchannel at 12:31 AM on May 13, 2008


I'm happy, hope you're happy, too. I've loved all I've needed to love.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:34 AM on May 13, 2008


I've never done good things
I've never done bad things
I've never done anything out of the blue, woh-o-o
posted by subgear at 1:02 AM on May 13, 2008


80 cameras at £10 per request. Hmm.
posted by Leon at 1:16 AM on May 13, 2008


Obligatory point of order: Manchester band.
Interesting tidbit: The alley they're playing in front of at 1m33s? I used to work down that alley. It smells of piss.
posted by Jofus at 1:18 AM on May 13, 2008


hitting an all time low................. anyway, this is a great idea and i wish i'd thought of it first.
posted by sgt.serenity at 1:25 AM on May 13, 2008


13 years ago Irish band The Frames (Including Glen Hansard - Once/Oscar Best Song Fame) did something similar for IR£2.
They used a post office security cam, for the video of their indie rock classic Revelate.
posted by therubettes at 1:37 AM on May 13, 2008


I would be extremely skeptical of this claim. It looks very much like a viral video PR scam. The production details on the supposed CCTV shots are much too good, and as someone who has tried to get hold of CCTV footage after a car smack, it's not that easy to just stroll up and demand the footage. I suspect they maybe did one or two clips and then created the rest for the marketing. I call scam!
posted by Duug at 2:05 AM on May 13, 2008


13 years ago Irish band The Frames (Including Glen Hansard - Once/Oscar Best Song Fame) did something similar for IR£2.
They used a post office security cam, for the video of their indie rock classic Revelate .
posted by therubettes at 1:37 AM on May 13 [+] [!] .


I apparently have a blind spot, just below the more inside!
posted by therubettes at 3:18 AM on May 13, 2008


Yeah - a lot of this looks like Manchester. On board the Metrolink, Castlefield, Salford Quays... But still, good video, and fun to try and guess the locations (for me at least!)
posted by samstarling at 3:20 AM on May 13, 2008


Nevermind therubettes, I thought it bore saying twice. I think the Frames video works really well, actually (and it's one of their better songs). Just goes to show that Glen Hansard has always been adept at finding new ways to get his work out there.
posted by tiny crocodile at 3:23 AM on May 13, 2008


The production details on the supposed CCTV shots are much too good

Yeah, I know from bitter experience that the cameras that get you when you drive into the congestion charging area without paying are good, but I don't think they're so good that they follow you around filming the guy on the back seat for a whole verse.

Also, at least some of these are clearly from Manchester, not London. One is shot at Salford Quays, and the shot inside the tram clearly says GMPTE (Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Executive) on the clip.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 3:25 AM on May 13, 2008


And from failing to preview, samstarling clearly beat me to it.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 3:26 AM on May 13, 2008


Nope. I did. :)
posted by Jofus at 4:09 AM on May 13, 2008


(Citation Needed.)
posted by Jofus at 4:09 AM on May 13, 2008


I don't think they're so good that they follow you around filming the guy on the back seat for a whole verse

They're in a cab, aren't they?

Good idea, wish I'd thought of it.
posted by goo at 4:16 AM on May 13, 2008


Worst attempt at faking up CCTV footage ever. Wee lines across the screen and everything like a cut scene from Metal Gear Solid.
posted by fire&wings at 4:17 AM on May 13, 2008


for other CCTV antics check out the Surveillance Camera Players

and long ago, when the first CCTV camera in the UK was installed in Bournemouth, one local resident decided to have a little fun
posted by jammy at 4:41 AM on May 13, 2008 [2 favorites]


Oh, I assumed you were saying they were a Manchester band, playing in London, jofus. Sorry.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 4:41 AM on May 13, 2008


I was a little opaque, wasn't I?
posted by Jofus at 4:49 AM on May 13, 2008


A great idea, but the end product looks just like the CCTV-style videos that are produced professionally every day.
posted by DU at 5:00 AM on May 13, 2008


Interesting tidbit: The alley they're playing in front of at 1m33s? I used to work down that alley. It smells of piss.

Can you name an alley/stairwell/shop doorway in the UK that doesn't?
posted by longbaugh at 5:25 AM on May 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


English journalist John Harris wrote a good article about requesting information from companies and organizations called The John Harris Files. An excerpt: "I didn't remember buying the autobiography of the US basketball star Dennis Rodman from Amazon on February 19 2000, but according to the bumf they sent me - and, in actual fact, my bookshelves - that's what happened."
posted by Kattullus at 5:38 AM on May 13, 2008


"Nice job, lads, but I'm afraid it's just not Internetty enough. Perhaps if you'd dragged a few treadmills around with you to jump on, engaged in lightsaber combat or used cats with bad grammar as your backup singers, then maybe we'd have had a real YouTube hit on our hands."
posted by Spatch at 5:41 AM on May 13, 2008


Liberty suggest there are around 4 million cameras in the UK as a whole. Roughly 1 per 14 people.

There are supposedly around 500,000 in London. I wonder about the privacy implications of the spread of CCTV, but saying 13 million when it's more like 4 million is a bit much.
posted by knapah at 5:47 AM on May 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


Pretty good idea
posted by dombruno at 6:09 AM on May 13, 2008


Note on British CCTV statistics: Usually they include privately owned cameras in the counts together with the government owned cameras. This always struck me as misleading.
posted by Goofyy at 6:13 AM on May 13, 2008


Yeah, the idea is right on, the song is a bit lacking...

This idea on the other hand is perfectly executed and the song is super-catchy.
posted by wmeredith at 6:25 AM on May 13, 2008 [2 favorites]


Would be better without close-ups of the hobbit dude. Gave me flashes of the traveling gnome.
posted by grounded at 6:42 AM on May 13, 2008


the idea certainly worked as they seem to have gotten lots of attention. they wouldn't be the first band to have a hit song because of a video. (also: they didn't get shut down on sidewalks and that crossing? I wouldn't be surprised to hear in a week or month that this was a much more professional production that we're lead to believe right now.)

I can't stop wondering about those freedom of information act requests for camera footage though. would overwhealming the authorities with mass requests result in them thinking twice about where to spy on people? how do british foi inquiries work?
posted by krautland at 6:49 AM on May 13, 2008


krautland: I can't stop wondering about those freedom of information act requests for camera footage though. would overwhealming the authorities with mass requests result in them thinking twice about where to spy on people? how do british foi inquiries work?

The John Harris article I linked to earlier should give you the flavor of it.
posted by Kattullus at 7:01 AM on May 13, 2008


Privacy International has an annually updated map & collection of survey information concerning Leading surveillance societies in the EU and the World 2007

The Campaign for Freedom of Information features a user's guide (pdf) to the FOIA-UK, along with alot of other interesting material
posted by jammy at 7:05 AM on May 13, 2008


their jeans have zippers.
posted by ericbop at 7:09 AM on May 13, 2008


That song (and video) by The Bird and The Bee was pretty darn good. Good show, wmeredith.
posted by oddman at 7:13 AM on May 13, 2008


CCTV news:
Street robbery and violence - two offences one might expect to be effectively tackled by CCTV cameras - have actually soared as cameras have proliferated over the past decade.

Robberies are 50 per cent higher than in 1998/99 and violence against the person has more than doubled since then.

Police patrols have diminished over that period often because, we were assured, we were now protected by CCTV.
-Daily Mail
Massive investment in CCTV cameras to prevent crime in the UK has failed to have a significant impact, despite billions of pounds spent on the new technology, a senior police officer piloting a new database has warned. Only 3% of street robberies in London were solved using CCTV images, despite the fact that Britain has more security cameras than any other country in Europe.
-Gauniad
posted by asok at 7:32 AM on May 13, 2008


Not sure I'm happy to take my crime stats from the Daily Mail. The Met reports a drop in street robberies during 2007, and an overall reduction in crime of 6.35% for that year.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 7:46 AM on May 13, 2008


A great idea, but the end product looks just like the CCTV-style videos that are produced professionally every day.
“But after the M.E.N. [Manchester Evening News] spotted some telltale signs that the footage was not all that it seemed, the band admitted that the idea of a CCTV video was a PR stunt.

The unusually clear images show them performing in a variety of Mancunian locations including on a tram, in the back of a taxi and at Castlefield.

CCTV footage showing the band playing in the back of a taxi that apparently belongs to Clayton cab firm Mantax also features in the four minute long video.

When we contacted the city centre firm they denied all knowledge of it.

Spokeswoman Bernadette Tabner said: ‘I don't think any of our drivers actually have CCTV footage yet. And even if they did it would not say Mantax on it. I'm the manager and if any request like this came in I would know about it and I don't!

Further clips show the band playing on a tram. Footage bears the label `GMPTE CAR 4'. But when we contacted Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Authority, they too denied that it was genuine CCTV film.

A spokesman said: ‘We do not hand over CCTV for requests like this. And our footage bears the label Stagecoach - not GMPTE. I don't know where `CAR 4' comes from either.’

We also spoke to Manchester city council who said they had received no requests under Freedom of Information laws for CCTV footage taken in Manchester.

A spokesman for the band admitted that not all the videos used were genuine CCTV images and said the group had been looking for a ‘fresh idea’ to promote their single.

And PR experts agree that regardless of their use of faked CCTV footage, the band have played a masterstroke in media promotion.

Rick Guttridge, Managing Director at Brazen PR - no stranger to publicity stunts themselves - hailed the launch as a `great success'.

He said: ‘When there are thousands of bands out there trying to get noticed this has made people sit up and listen. They've appeared on Sky and whether their music is good or not people will hear it. It's got people talking about them which is what I guess they meant to do.’”*
posted by ericb at 8:07 AM on May 13, 2008 [3 favorites]


This Sky News article seems to be the main source on this story, though a truncated version running in the Telegraph is more commonly linked to. It does confirm that both the band and the footage are from Manchester rather than London, sorry about that.

I've been a little hard-pressed to find more serious stories about this, and in retrospect it does seem likely to be some sort of PR maneuver, although the way the article is worded does imply that the band really did use CCTV footage.

To promote their novel idea, the band have just hired the man who helped break Oasis, Manchester PR, Liam Walsh. He thinks this video idea might help him sell the band.

"I've always liked them but it was only when they came to me with this idea and they showed me the video. I thought 'oh great, that's an angle' which is just perfect when you're doing PR," says Liam.

posted by whir at 8:08 AM on May 13, 2008


Or, what ericb said.
posted by whir at 8:11 AM on May 13, 2008


"To promote their novel idea, the band have just hired the man who helped break Oasis, Manchester PR, Liam Walsh. He thinks this video idea might help him sell the band.

'I've always liked them but it was only when they came to me with this idea and they showed me the video. I thought "oh great, that's an angle" which is just perfect when you're doing PR,' says Liam.

With Liam's help, The Get Out Clause are now trying to break into the mainstream."*
posted by ericb at 8:13 AM on May 13, 2008


Or, what whir said.
posted by ericb at 8:14 AM on May 13, 2008


I think ericb turned a post that was in essence just a link to a music video into something much, much bigger. perhaps this should be reflected in the title.
posted by krautland at 8:21 AM on May 13, 2008


The song is kind of blah, but I didn't think the execution of the video was so bad. Nicely put together overall, and the way this unsigned band is getting such a huge viral marketing boost in the last couple of weeks as a result has got to be good for them.

Nice Misfits reference too, btw, if somewhat at odds with the bland music here...
posted by Aversion Therapy at 9:07 AM on May 13, 2008


This would have been a much more enjoyable song about 10 years ago before anybody had ever heard of Coldplay.
posted by kingbenny at 9:14 AM on May 13, 2008


asok: additionally, not only is the CCTV not effective as a deterrent, but the police can't even make use of most of the footage.
posted by honest knave at 10:27 AM on May 13, 2008


fire&wings : Wee lines across the screen

They are usually called "scan lines", and it's an easy effect to duplicate if they didn't want to use actual CCTV cameras.

I actually keep an old 1970's TV camera in by collection-of-weird-stuff just in case I ever want to try to use it as a video effect. I know that with enough effort, I can fake what it looks like, but it's so much easier to just use the real thing.
posted by quin at 11:31 AM on May 13, 2008


Great idea!
posted by jimstimpson at 11:38 AM on May 13, 2008


and long ago, when the first CCTV camera in the UK was installed in Bournemouth, one local resident decided to have a little fun

I love how they maintain the tradition of aliens on the old Dr. Who, they often walked incredibly slowly (which killed the menacing aspect), particularly the Silurians.
posted by juiceCake at 12:58 PM on May 13, 2008


the way this unsigned band is getting such a huge viral marketing boost

I'm not sure the term "unsigned" has any meaning if the band has a PR team and professionally produced videos.
posted by cillit bang at 2:51 PM on May 13, 2008


GREAT idea. Major points for it, regardless of the music.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 8:18 PM on May 13, 2008


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