Your Brain on Music: How to Turn an MRI Scan into a Music Video

How to Turn an MRI Scan into a Music Video

Ever wonder what your brain looks like while you're singing? No? Neither had I, but as this music video for the song "Better Man Than He" by SiVU (aka James Page) will show you, the answer is "pretty cool."

Directed by Adam Powell, the entire video was shot inside an MRI machine at Barts Health NHS Trust in London. To capture part of the brain responsible for speech, James had to wear a neuro-vascular coil (referred to by MRI technicians as a Darth Vader helmet).

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He also had to wear earphones to protect his ears, and a fiber optic microphone to communicate with the technician during the scan. The microphone is connected to a laptop and uses an algorithm to cancel out the noise from the scan so that speech and/or singing can be heard more clearly.

Powell and the MRI technicians took the data from two full takes of the song using Hi-Fi speakers and created a 3D data set of James singing. Next, they used a MATLAB program to add sound to the data. The rest of the processing was done using an open-source medical imaging program called OsiriX.

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Here's how they describe the process:

"First, we created movies of James singing (without sound) and "fly-through" movies of his brain (like on the previous page) using a selection of color scales instead of standard grey scale. Finally, we created different surface and volume renderings of James' head.

You can read more about the making of the video on the Barts Health website, and see more of Powell's work here.

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