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Beautiful Data by Toby Segaran, Jeff Hammerbacher

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Chapter 10. Building Radiohead's House of Cards

Aaron Koblin

Valdean Klump

THIS IS THE STORY OF HOW THE GRAMMY-NOMINATED MUSIC VIDEO FOR RADIOHEAD'S "HOUSE OF Cards" was created entirely with data. Before you read the chapter, you should watch the video. The definitive source for the video is the project's Google Code page: http://code.google.com/radiohead. On that site, you'll also find several other resources, including samples of the data we used to build the video, a Flash application that lets you view the data in 3-D, some code you can use to create your own visualizations, and a making-of video. Definitely check it out.

How It All Started

In September 2007, I received an email from James Frost asking me if I'd be interested in doing a music video based on data. James is a very talented music video director who has done work for Coldplay, Norah Jones, Pearl Jam, and loads of other popular artists. He had seen my Flight Patterns project (Figure 10-1), which used air traffic GPS data to visualize commercial flight patterns and density, and wanted to meet up to talk about doing a visualization for a music video.

A couple of months later, James, his producer Justin Glorieux, and I met up in LA for coffee and we tossed some ideas around. I showed them some of the projects I'd been working on and some technologies I thought would make nice visualizations. We discussed a couple of possibilities that involved Processing, a programming language widely used for data visualization. This direction ...

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