British singer NAO has released an interactive music video using artificial intelligence technology from Microsoft.
The London-based R&B star created a video for the song Orbit that her fans can personalise by entering their birth date, making the dancers’ poses match the viewer’s astrological sign, and changing the colours on screen.
NAO used cameras in Microsoft’s volumetric capture studio in San Francisco to record her movements before the Azure Custom Vision Service matched the footage to constellations. Developers use the Azure tool to label images, before a machine learning algorithm trains it to recognise new, similar pictures.
The video to Orbit features NAO and others dancing in a zodiac-filled night sky, and the AI highlights when their bodies match the position of the stars.
“I wanted to do something a bit different than a straight-up performance video; something that matched the epic nature of the song,” the 31-year-old BRIT Award nominee said. “I hope it gives viewers a new and interesting way to engage with me, my music and the themes of my album. Using technology and choreography are both new to me so a lot of thought and hard work has gone into this video experience.”
Orbit is from NAO’s latest album Saturn and the video focuses on a Saturn return – when the planet returns to the same place in the sky that it occupied at the moment of a person’s birth.
NAO added: “I wasn’t a follower of astrology but as my friends and I hit our mid-to-late 20s the phrase ‘Saturn’s return’ kept cropping up in conversations, so I started looking into it. The concept really struck a chord with me as my life pretty much turned on its head around that time and I felt like I was entering a totally new phase of my life. The idea that Saturn is the planet of lessons, and some of those lessons are very painful, really tuned into how I was feeling at that time.”
After watching the video, fans can share an image of NAO posing in their astrological sign, along with their own Saturn’s return.