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Afternoon Delight: iPhones Help Turn Lemons into Lemonade
by Jerome Weeks 22 Oct 2010

Having all their music instruments stolen didn’t stop a Brooklyn band from taking a subway ride and cutting a new music video … that’s gone viral. But how did they do it?


Afternoon Delight is a daily diversion for when you’re just back from lunch, but not quite ready to get back to work. Check back Monday at 1 p.m. for the next one.

A sad but not unusual event: A young band has all its music instruments stolen. But in this case (in fact, this month), the members of the Brooklyn band Atomic Tom happened to have the iPhone apps for each of their instruments — like Pianist and iShred Guitar.

So they made a new video recording of their song, “Take Me Out,” while riding the B train into Manhattan. Or perhaps it was just a publicity stunt (for the band? for Apple?). In which case, it worked — the video has gone viral.

What none of the press coverage has detailed, though, is how they did it. For instance, were the video and audio recorded on an iPhone? (The credit at the end of the video says only, “Sights and Sounds by iPhone” — and that’s what the ‘second’ iPhone that comes in the frame at 2: 00 and 2:14 suggests.) Although the camera work is clearly handheld and the lighting occasionally over-exposed in that this-is-real-and-raw mode, the editing is professional enough (check out 3:18 and following — how many takes did that require?).

And if the phones are jacked straight into some recorder, how are they amplified to be heard in the subway? All the iPhones in use on camera are clearly plugged into something, perhaps the Mac laptop that drummer Tobias Smith uses as a table surface. But oddly enough (it’s hard to tell because of Smith’s blue jeans), the laptop itself doesn’t look plugged into anything.

I’m just asking.

So … any informed guesses from musicians / sound techies / iPhone phanatics?