M83 and the Rise of Cinematic (Fan) Content


Anthony Gonzalez - M83

Anthony Gonzalez – M83


Messier 83 (also known as the Southern Pinwheel Galaxy, M83 or NGC 5236)

Right ascension 13h 37m 00.9s
Declination -29° 51m 57s
Distance 14.7 mly

Nicolas Louis de Lacaille discovered M83 on February 23rd, 1752 at the Cape of Good Hope.

It contains six supernovae.*


M83 – Outro

In 2001, a band was born in Antibes, France; which is a small, Mediterranean town located between Cannes and Nice. Now known as M83, this group of musicians takes its name from the barred spiral galaxy known as Messier 83.

M83 is a young band that has generated a relatively mature body of work for its age. The band is the birth child of Anthony Gonzalez. Gonzalez grew up as a big fan of 80s music, electronica and John Hughes films (and the soundtracks of those films – The Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink, etc.) And these musical influences are immediately apparent in the sounds that Gonzalez generates with M83.

Gonzalez has a great sense for building music and he has a gifted ability to create and orchestrate very large sounding arrangements; songs that seem to easily spread out across a high and wide sound-scape. If you are new to the work, M83’s music sounds like it delivers the soundtrack of your next favorite film – only you have yet to discover that film.

M83 summons the best that Simple Minds, Peter Gabriel, New Order, Kraftwerk, Depeche Mode, Cocteau Twins, My Bloody Valentine, Tears for Fears, Vangelis and others had to offer in the 80s. However, the sound is updated for the 21st Century. Each song is intricately woven and spun tightly – the resulting sound epic, romantic and cinematic. For music lovers, it’s reassuring to see this level of natural and inspired musicality emerge again.

After their emergent years of band building and sound refinement, M83’s 2005 release of the album Before the Dawn Heals Us cosmically coincided with the launch of the newly-minted video-sharing service named YouTube. Immediately recognizing the benefit of allowing their fan base to have creative latitude with their songs, M83 openly allowed their music to spread on YouTube as the soundtracks for Millennial-generation video projects. The band supported and requested user generated videos for their songs and, subsequently, their music was lifted up and socialized organically throughout the digital landscape. Like myself, most M83 fans first discovered M83 on YouTube.

As an up-and-coming creative endeavor, M83’s embrace of the emerging user-generated content culture of YouTube proved to be a win-win strategy – one which only seems to fuel their now massive following. 

When user-generated content first emerged as a possibility for bands/brands/products to harness earned media and its reputation-building potential, the video content was less than stellar and often-times low quality. Webcam material was the norm and the footage that was not webcam-centric was typically captured with camcorders and Flip-style cameras – with most footage leaning to a range of 320p -to- 720p resolution (with varying frame rates). Overall UGC production quality was terrible, with only a relatively small percentage of that content considered broadcast-worthy… perhaps the top 10%.

However, UGC production values have risen dramatically over the past two years; fueled by an increase in general camera quality & features, new footage capabilities and widespread video-editing capability (some, of course, better than others). 

Broadcast-quality 1080p/24fps HD video has now infiltrated the prosumer (and consumer) digital single-lens reflex category (commonly referred to as DSLR) as a valued feature and product specification. And because the new footage features are embedded in camera systems that are already highly optimized with great lens glass, dynamic metering and low-light capture capability, the footage quality can be quite stunning. This high-def footage is now starting to penetrate video-sharing websites like YouTube and Vimeo.  I like to call it UGC-HD.

Furthermore, many studio film directors now employ the use of DSLR cameras on-set as a means to capture multiple angles for each film/shot sequence.

The M83 Outro music video above (a song from their latest album, Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming) was created by a couple of up-and-coming cinematographers, Jeremy Searle and Josh Franer. It is just one of the many fan-made M83 videos that are spread across the digital landscape. However, what makes this video different, is its overall production quality. Jeremy’s and Josh’s video, with minor lifting and adjustment, is completely ready for broadcast TV – and that represents a massive shift in user-generated content quality.

UGC-HD has the potential to be broadcast-ready. Content creators (of any skill level) now have access to film making-tools which have broadcast-output capabilities.

As a brand, you should take advantage of the UGC-HD content potential by enabling your creative-leaning fan-base to produce content that is similar to the video quality above (there are a lot of art school kids out there than can be catalyzed).  Yes, you should protect your intellectual property, but do, however, give young filmmakers like Jeremy and Josh the latitude to personalize their experience with your brand.  In return, much like the video above, the Jeremys and Joshs of the world may create a unique, quality-content experience that rewards your brand with original content and provides your fans with something new to enjoy.

With the HD video production-value shift in mind, there’s a strong chance that your UGC-HD content may even be more original and entertaining than what can be found on broadcast TV. The video above certainly reflects that fact.  It will also enjoy a much longer shelf-life – and over time has the potential of garnering thousands of minutes worth of exposure for your band/brand/product.

// Christopher Jones



* Messier 83 Wikipedia


Copyright © 2011 M83
and Jeremy Searle and Josh Franer


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