A massive 240-degree projection screen weighing 7,000 pounds transformed Beyonce’s “I Was Here” performance for World Humanitarian Day into an emotional visual feast.
“It was the most incredible thing, and a lot of people were moved to tears,” Valerie Amos, the United Nations under-secretary-general for Humanitarian Affairs, tells Mashable. “We as the audience became part of it.”
While attendees broke out in tears at the UN headquarters in New York City this month, viewers at home were treated to the performance a week later in a stunning music video (watch below).
The “I Was Here” music video, showcasing the magnitude of the curved big screen, landed online on World Humanitarian Day as part of the UN’s social media-driven global humanitarian campaign of the same name.
I Was Here challenged people to do good deeds. Messages from participants and celebrities — including Michelle Obama, Lady Gaga, Oprah and Justin Bieber — reached 1 billion people across social media through friends, fans and followers.
How the I Was Here Project Started
“It’s not very often you get a call with the UN,” says David Droga of Droga5, the agency that created the I Was Here campaign and spearheaded its digital and social layers with the United Nations.
The UN followed up the call with news about participation from Beyonce, a superstar known to draw global attention with a snap of her rhythmic fingers or an on-air belly rub.
But behind the star power, the tech and the social media, World Humanitarian Day this year set off not only to honor people who have died working for humanitarian causes but also to celebrate and encourage ongoing efforts — however big or small.
“We wanted to drive home the fact that sometimes it can be daily gestures,” Droga says. “You don’t have to pack up your bags and go to the Congo to make a difference.”
The United Nations logo, projected onscreen above Beyonce’s head, quickly gave way to a fast-paced montage of humanitarian relief footage and stunning animated graphics so big and realistic “it felt as if the entire assembly hall was moving,” the UN’s Amos remembers.
She and other attendees — diplomats, host Anderson Cooper and relief volunteers — felt completely immersed seated in front of the 10,340-square-foot projection screen built by SuperUber.
SuperUber used 10 synchronized and mapped projections to fill the 240-degree screen. British music video director Sophie Muller and Kenzo Digital directed the performance and the “I Was Here” video.
On Twitter, #IWasHere catapulted into top trending topic lists across the world in such countries as the United States, Canada, France and Germany. The tweets rushed in from Twitter, third-party apps and Thunderclap, a “crowdspeaking” platform that amplifies the reach of messages.
Thunderclap’s website crashed for about 10 minutes because the response to the campaign was so enormous.
The campaign hit its goal of reaching 1 billion people in the final 20 minutes on Aug. 19 — a culmination of hard work from multiple entities that went into full throttle on Aug. 2.
The I Was Here website allowed participants to set a pin on an interactive map to show others where they’re showing support and what deed they’ll be doing. Nearly 15,000 pins had been posted within a week.
The site also listed humanitarian organizations at which to volunteer or donate funds. Amos hopes it inspires people to volunteer more than just on every World Humanitarian Day.
“A lot of work people are doing on a local level needed to be recognized,” Amos says. “But we don’t want this to be a one-off.”
Photo courtesy of Cliff Watts
Social Good Summit Information
The Social Good Summit is where big ideas meet new media to create innovative solutions. Held during UN Week, the Social Good Summit unites a dynamic community of global leaders to discuss a big idea: the power of innovative thinking and technology to solve our greatest challenges.
Date: Saturday, Sept. 22, 2012, through Monday, Sept. 24, 2012
Time: 1:00-5:00 p.m. and 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. each day
Location: 92nd Street Y, 1395 Lexington Ave., New York, NY
Tickets: $50 per day or $130 for three-day pass.
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