Category Archives: video

Film at page 11

Videos in magazines? Angela Natividad notes that French publication Enjeux les Echos recently included video ads for Citroën DS3’s “Anti Retro” campaign, even with a little plug on the inside page so you can download the files to a laptop. The technology to insert disposable video into magazines, brochures or direct mail has been around for a while and is costly — typically $10.00 or more per unit, which works out to a $10,000 CPM, about 300 times that of a normal color ad in a marquee pub.

We’re entering an age of gimmickry as print publishers try to defend their old pulp-based models, which while dying still drive far more ad dollars per eyeball than web equivalents. Toss in the iPad, which conceivably could make anyone a publisher of book-quality material, and the old guards of text may soon die. Until then, enjoy the show.

Are you filming Apple pie?

Apple, the computer company, unveiled new Nano music players this week that double as video cams, and Slate asked the obvious question: why do little devices keep getting so damned complex? Turns out companies add features to defend higher prices, and consumers keep paying because they love features (despite the occasional odd industry reset to lower-quality MP3 formats or cheap Flip cameras). Even markets expect advances; investors are so calloused by Apple’s yearly leaps they dinged Apple stock this week, apparently disappointed the thumbnail-size music players only capture film images and do not yet levitate.

So: What happens if you play technology all the way forward?

When lenses and storage and GPS and wireless internet fall to the Andersonian price of zero, every device — your watch, earrings, wedding ring — will have video broadcasting capabilities. Video we said, not text. Psychologists debate whether 93% of communication is non-verbal, but it’s at least more than half; aeons of seeking high-quality mates while avoiding tigers have taught people to see the world with eyes. So the final pinnacle device of communication, a nanochip that records and shares the world in 3-D from your retina to our minds, will free our most human needs — to communicate visually, record the environment, share thoughts, and reach all the world. Like the lit highways radiating out from cities and small towns at night, our communication streams will spread from anywhere to everywhere.

The impact on business communications will be huge. Advertising, for instance, cannot possibly intercept the haze of all of those future broadcasts … because streams will originate from billions of individuals. The supply of ad inventory will reach to the sky, and prices for ad space will plummet as media publishers face competition in the air around them. Noted Ad Age columnist Bob Garfield calls this the Chaos Scenario (a bit of a punt, we think), but his point that ad media someday may be recalled as a passing 20th century fad resonates.

Riding the balloon

Of course advertising will endure, just in choppier weather. Marketers will still have voices, customers will still long to consume, and marketplaces for information will evolve to help buyers and sellers make choices. Advertisers may gain in the short term as increased competition for their dollars, driven by ballooning communication inventory, drives down ad prices. (You can see this trend most visibly now in the plummeting CPMs for online advertising space.) At the same time, advertisers will have to measure results carefully to ensure dilution of media does not weaken their results.

Perhaps one approach you should test in the coming year is content that you can film cheaply and pass to the masses for their own modification and replication. Is your organization comfortable using cheap video? Can you produce material nimbly and quickly, giving up draconian controls and HR legal constipation for rapid response? Have you practiced seeding images to the masses? Your customers are going to find and share film anyway. If you don’t get involved, they’ll just shoot apple pie.

Video: Anime

Inside a Boy: How technology sets creative free


About a week ago a young boy picked up our video camera. We found it two hours later filled with digital footage of Lego characters in the basement having a Star Wars battle and, scanning the clips, realized it wasn’t bad.

We thought of that as we stumbled across the above animation from the band My Brightest Diamond. Technology has democratized creative. Sure, professional designers often get bent out of shape by amateurs dabbling in Quark or Photoshop to create substandard layouts or logos, but it’s still a powerful progression that enables millions with talent to create what used to take a team of Walt Disney animators. My Brightest Diamond is led by Shara Worden, daughter of a classical organist and national accordion champion who recorded her first song at age 3. We weren’t able to find out with whom or how she created this animated music video, but we dig the vibe. Perfect for those of us trying to escape recession on a Black Friday.

Clip My Brightest Diamond – Inside a Boy, via One Plus Infinity.

Now you, too, can stick ads into video

Ray Bradbury once wrote that at a certain level technology appears to be magic. Well, now you can magically drop photos or videos on the surface of walls in any video. The brainiacs at Stanford have created a drag-and-drop technology that makes 3-D manipulation easy, a play on those ads behind the ball players in major sports games … and of course are looking at a business model where advertisers pay you, dear consumer, a few bucks to have their logo inserted behind Grandma in the Christmas home movie. The creators call it ZunaVision.

Is reality gone forever? About so. By the way, we can’t recall if Ray Bradbury said that about tech and magic, but since this is our blog we inserted his name anyway.

Via Dirk Singer and AdRants.

Tossing pumpkins at technology

So last Christmas we bought a high-end digital camcorder that is gradually collecting dust as we try to decipher how to convert and edit the video. And our friends over at Plaid have a simple $150 Flip camera that, well, actually makes it easy to record life. Like their agency creatives chucking pumpkins off a roof (we heard they were really, really angry at a client).

This points out two trends in technology — on one end, we get higher orders of complexity, of computer operating systems such as Vista that do everything but don’t quite work, of bloated software, 1,000 cable channels, BMW iDrives, overwhelming us with choice. On the other, we get simple tools downstream, like the camera on your cell phone that you actually use, or the sweet little Twitter that suddenly connects you to the world.

We’re going to buy a Flip. Lesson learned. Now will someone please simplify our damn TV remote.

60 seconds til landing

Photographer David Friedman has created a wonderful series of “60 seconds in the life of …” vignettes, by isolating subjects and filming them from unusual angles. It’s a nice, quiet reflection on how to really observe the world around us. Friedman is a former staff photographer for Ralph Lauren and we hear he once snuck on Neil Armstrong’s spacesuit during a photo shoot, when no one was looking. Nice.

As noted by Andy.

Samsung’s infinity screen: Maybe Ned Ludd had a point


This week it finally ended. No, not the battle between Hillary and Obama; just visual reality.

The image above is the latest tech toy profiled in Engadget: a Samsung 46-inch High Bright panel that has three unusual features: (1) it’s three times brighter than current LCD screens, (2) it’s so bright it’s visible outdoors, and (3) it was designed to be tiled — stacked side by side with invisible edges between the screens.

Get it? Suddenly people can build ultra-bright, ultra-high-res video walls of infinite height and width, laying visual bricks for walls or ceilings or sides of buildings with images brighter and more clear than reality. The costs to do this will be prohibitive in the next year or two, but soon, probably starting in Dubai and working back to the U.S. through Vegas, you won’t believe your eyes — because everything cast at you, inside and out, may not be worthy of belief.

In case of crash, make coquettish eye contact

Speaking of communication design, Delta’s flirty new in-flight safety video follows the psychological rules of human attraction. You see, people the world over use certain expressions to arouse desire. Women smile, lift their eyebrows, and gaze directly at you, and then look down and away to hint at shyness. (See woman in seat at video second :32. Really, we don’t make this up.) Men take a different approach; to signal strength, they lean back in their chairs and stick their chests out, like the captain here at the Delta helm. In fact, chest puffery is found across nature — snakes, frogs and toads also inflate their bodies to demand attention.

(See: Your boss.)

Which brings us back to how good creative captures attention, say, among passengers stressed out that their plane may come to a sudden stop against a mountain. Delta’s little vignette grabs consumers with basic cues — full lips, flirtatious hand waves, and lots of eye contact. We’ll remember that as we hug a seat cushion to our chest and jump out the exit.

Angelina Jolie redux: Will we like what we see?


Now that we’ve all glimpsed Angelina dripping in gold in Hollywood’s tech-marvel Beowulf, ponder this: What does the avatarization of celebrities mean for the future of communication? First, Tom Hanks looked eerie in 2003’s Polar Express; now, four years later, Angelina Jolie has better curves than real life and Ray Winstone sports an iron-man’s six-pack. The cartoon/human hybrids still look off, as if they are moving under water, but you can see where the technology is going. Eventually, CGI and motion capture and live video will converge to the point where any image can be air-brushed instantly. TV video has the potential to become real-time, full-motion PhotoShop.

Which brings us in a few years to a new world — where live broadcasts of anyone, say, a presidential candidate, could be tweaked/shaded/contrasted/hued/wrinkle-reduced to make Hillary or Giuliani look more beautifully handsome.

Artifice has always been with us. Back in college, a good workout buddy of ours went into modeling, and he told us a secret. “You know those women you see in catalogs?” he said. “None of them really look like that.” At age 20, that was a bit of a let-down. Now that we’re in our 40s, we look forward to our own airbrushing.

It’s coming. The technology will arrive. What will we do with it? How will it change us? We may enjoy the ability to project anything … but will we like what we see?