Monday, July 21, 2008

Video Insider: 'All Things Video' Takes On Whole New Meaning -- And Look

'All Things Video' Takes On Whole New Meaning -- And Look

IN CASE YOU HAVEN'T YET downloaded the Piclens  Video Browser to your desktop, let me be the first to introduce you to a new type of video viewing interface that neither looks, feels, or smells anything like television.

The interface itself looks to have been developed primarily for searching scores of tagged photos in a 3D X/Y/Z configuration that literally lets you fly through photos, images and videos using your arrow keys.  The 2.7 MGB download is light, fast and allows you to search from Google, Flickr, YouTube and even DeviantArt's libraries with a few simple keystrokes and control of your arrow keys.

Aside from it occasionally crashing Firefox and not yet being Safari-smooth, it provides us a peek into the type of search capability and speed that is likely to go from a current novelty to a broad consumer requisite in the next 18 months or so.  

Let's put aside for a moment the blazing speed at which Piclens allows you to search Google or flickr images, and just talk all things video.  When you self-select the YouTube setting and enter your search criteria, you are greeted by a 3D WALL of video thumbnails -- stacked three high -- and trailing off into a Z-axis horizonline that makes your infinite video results not just amazing to see -- but with a touch of your arrow key, becomes a blazing journey through all things video.

This is nothing like television, that's all folks.  This isn't even like another online video player platform.  This is WALL O'VIDEO that turns moving through video search results into something more akin to scanning through microfiche at the library (remember that?).   

Is this a good thing?

Cooler.  Faster.  Free.  How can it not be?  There are no banner ads, no clunky-branded UI, no text to distract you. Just scores of video results -- stacked and racked and for your high-speed perusal.  Once your mind goes from keypad-driven results to touch screen on your phone, then things really start to become interesting.  

The trick will be how advertisers ultimately insert themselves into such a non-linear, blazingly fast search interface without having to settle for what amounts to a 10 frame logo impression that just flew by (and broadcasters thought PVR was a challenge.)   One can foresee the time when polite and swift interfaces like Piclens become the norm for searching content, and then, where will that leave the presenting sponsor?  "Oh,yeah... Ford did a flyby about 80 pixels ago."

One can only speculate whether or not new search interfaces such as Piclens and SearchMe might become mainstays for consumers.  But one thing's for certain:  The days of clicking our way through page after page of cascading SERPS might quickly be coming to an end.

Which presents a unique challenge to those of us on the creative side, who marvel at the functionality -- yet are stymied by the means in which we can unobtrusively place advertisers adjacent to and within these new interfaces.
From this creative's perspective, I welcome the challenge and propose that we had better get busy thinking about how and where our clients play in this new age of user-centric interface design -- and stop limiting our thinking to when our :30 spots are going on the air.

In this age of "all things video," it's time we started taking the "all things" portion of online video user experience design more seriously -- or, all things are bound to just fly right by us.

Alan Schulman is Senior Vice President/Executive Creative Director of imc2. An industry leader in the development of ad units for new and emerging platforms, Alan currently stewards digital campaigns for such global brand marketers as Procter & Gamble, The Coca-Cola Company, GlaxoSmithKline, Nestlé and Johnson & Johnson.

Video Insider for Monday, July 21, 2008:

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