Monday, October 25, 2010

Two More Awesome Interactive Videos

1) Anthropologie Stop Motion Shoe Shopping:
(click on the picture to jump)

Not totally interactive-- but a fun little video that leads you to the shoes in the end. They also list all of the shoes as characters in the credits. Love.

2) Vevo-Andy Grammer's Choose Your Own Adventure Video: "Keep Your Head Up"
(the embed link was broken, but click on the photo again)

The video really does follow a "choose your own adventure" track pretty faithfully in both structure and aesthetics--but there are several things about it which are still fascinating:

a) the video has sign posts throughout where things remain the same regardless of versions. It has an over-arching structure and then little loopholes in between. So, regardless of which path you take you end up the same place about three or four times throughout.

b) they didn't just rely on the gimmick. It's well shot and there are some other cool camera tricks thrown in. Even Rainn Wilson makes an appearance (though you need to choose one path to get the most Rainn Wilson screen time... which involves two very specific choices). But--still, strip away the choosing your own thing, and it's still a fun video to watch.

c) They shot it in such a way that you feel as though the ending is personalized for you even though it may be generic. Each time I watched the end, I noticed different people in the crowd shots. One reason for this is because I just met different characters individually throughout the video... but also- they never focus on one person in the crowd "close-ups." So, in the group of two or three upon which they focus, I am going to notice the character that I met individually... and so I'm going to feel as though the shot was reflective of my journey, even though it will likely be the same every time you pick that choice regardless of how you got there.

d) They use jump cuts as a motif throughout the video as a seemingly stylistic choice that is common in pop-music videos... But these jump cuts also mask the substitution of the different "Reels" that you choose as you go. So they use the style of the video and editing to mask the technical mechanics of switching the options.

That's all I've got for now. Pretty cool.
(You can read more about it over at Mashable, or read more about the design firm-- Interlude-- which  works specifically with interactive video)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A (Very Short and Early) Theory of Web Video

Having worked on several videos for various blogs recently- my work has got me thinking about web video and content-- specifically: context and content.

I am going to attempt to keep this as short as I am able- but here's my general theory on making video for the web:

If the piece that you are making will live on a site with strong informational or aesthetic point of view--and not simply on youtube or in a black and gray video player-- web video should not focus on providing too much context. It is merely part of a larger whole of the site-- which includes the text above it, the photos beside it, the design behind it and, ultimately the comments below it. It becomes a piece of a larger puzzle- a piece that you need to experience in concert with everything else on the page to appreciate it.

A complication arises when the video gets embedded, or removed from the above mentioned context. But I don't believe that this encourages more contextualization in-video.

Embedding does in fact strip the video from its original context-- and it would thus seem that the video would loose it's informational and/or aesthetic value. However-- my experience with embedding is that there is always new commentary attached to the embed, because the impulse of the embed is to re-appropriate.

Often, bloggers "appropriate" things from other sites that they feel embodies the aestheic of their own space. So- when they embed a video from another site-- even though they may be stripping the video of its original content design by removing it from its page-- they are re-contextualizing it so that it becomes part of their own expression, thus gaining a new meaning and aesthetic value on their own site. The video gains new value and also new meaning-- and thus it is, again, important not to include too much "proprietary" information in the video itself. [Here- by "proprietary" -- I mean overt pieces of information or expressions-- things that will prevent a re-contextualization because they are too personal or convey too much of a sense of ownership].

Blogging is about a dual interest in personal expression and community expression. I know that I started blogging because I wanted to both express my own views on design, art, food and culture, but also because there appeared to be a strong dialogue between the community of bloggers that I read.  Embedding, borrowing photos, and other re-contextualization become a key part of that dialogue because it mutates and evolves the content itself according to the personalities of the bloggers involved.

I suppose, my frustration here is that photos and links have evolved the blogging space so that they are always a part of a whole-- see, for example-- The City Sage and how she re-appropriates and curates photos with her text into a post that is an aesthetically complete self-expression using borrowed content (expressed particularly well in "Palette Lust: Thunderstorms").

Because people are so used to watching video in a stand alone context-- they are not trained or simply refuse to see video in such a fashion-- as part of the whole. There is an expectation for it to feel like mini-television. But, hopefully, as more video appears in innovative and interesting contexts, the expectations and reception for pure web video as I describe above will become more adaptable.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Before and After

For the past several weeks I've been working with the lovely Amy Azzarito and Nightwood on the before and after of Amy's bedroom. Nightwood's furniture is really beautiful and organic looking and watching the transformation of Amy's room was incredible. Check it out:

The video is featured on Design*Sponge--which has been a favorite of mine for a long time. It's a total dream to see my work featured there and all of the ladies were really wonderful collaborators-- great ideas really just enveloped this project. Check out more in Amy's post.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Taking it to the Next Level

Anthropologie has finally done it. They've conquered video.

A few months ago I talked about Anthropologie's digital brand strategy and how much I admired the way they use various media tools to integrate their lifestyle into the everyday. And now they've taken web-video and exploited the 'reality' of the moving image to add even more contextualization to their product. ... and oh what beautiful contextualization it is.

Check out their moving display of October Outfits (or click the photo above). It really is taking 'catalogs' to the next level.

[Their ANTHRPOLOGiST exhibition this month also has so beautiful web video in it-- they visit P.E. Guerin, the nation's oldest decorative hardware firm].

Monday, October 4, 2010


My very good friend Kishori, who I have mentioned many times here, had a great post last week about Autumn cakes on her fun blog I Can Be Jello (which I assisted in naming, thank you very much).

The photos were taken by me-- so this is just a tiny bit of self promotion. But the cakes were also seriously seriously delicious. So you should visit and then make them both anyway.