While fireworks lit-up the Detroit River skyline, a different flash could be seen about an hour earlier.
People gathered at Riverfront Park, west of The Bistro, in preparation for the annual event. As was the case for most of the city, chatter filled the air as anticipation grew for the light show.
Then something peculiar happened: Civilians began dancing and quickly grew in number.
Eventually Windsorites realized that they were witnessing flashes of a different kind. Local dancers and people in the arts community were taking part in a flash mob. Using the growing popularity of such performances, The Mix 96.7 organized the event. Director/producer Gavin Michael Booth edited what had been filmed on nine cameras and had it ready for DJs to talk about the next morning.
“Wendy German from 96.7 approached me about the flash mob,” he said. “We’re old friends and she was looking for a production company / director to make sure the video presentation of the dance would be captured for the rest of the world to see on Youtube.”
In addition to radio station promotion, Booth felt it also highlighted the arts community in the area. He remains passionate about local arts and said sharing links through social media supports those in the area. Whether it be through ticket sales or smaller productions, Booth thinks every bit counts.
“It was a 96.7 promotion event as the dancers were all wearing shirts for the station,” he said. “It was outside of the 96.7 portable radio station at the riverfront. The amazing part is how it involved students from Walkerville Collegiate and a few dance companies in town like Nancy Pattenson’s. It’s just another fun and relatively new thing for our city and great to see so many people involved to make it happen.”
As dancers moved to Katy Perry’s Firework, filming presented a unique set of challenges. Having never edited or filmed a flash mob before, it was new for Booth. Still, he was ready.
“The fact that you only get one shot at it [was a challenge,]” said Booth. “You have to really make sure with any live event that you have everything covered, all cameras prepped, ready and set correctly – there are no redo’s. It’s also tricky to strategically place camera people without making it obvious they’re waiting for something to take place; you want the start of the flash mob to seem spontaneous.”
While he has ideas for executing his own flash mob, Booth doesn’t have the time. He does consider them a great promotional tool though, saying they’re almost like indipendant music videos for your favourite song. They can also unite people and showcase a variety of things.
“They definitely can be great for advertising,” said Booth. “Advertising a city, an event, a company, a dance troupe. It can serve to spotlight dancers and choreographers putting them together. On a broader spectrum I think they can illustrate that we still live in a really positive world and it’s something that unites strangers for a brief few minutes and puts a smile on everyone’s face. The world needs more of that kind of media!”