3rd August 09
Author: Adam Glickman
Following our piece looking at journalism (a review of the transformational change at the Telegraph Media Group) and fiction (interview with Jeremy Ettinghausen, Digital Publisher at Penguin), our interest in the profound changes occurring in the publishing industry continues with this look at the opportunities in mobile.
We often talk about the future of mobile media and what it will all look like, but what about the future of the mobile media of the past? The notion of carrying around your reading as reams of inked paper might disappear, but the written word certainly won’t. So it seems a very natural progression for print publishers to move from paper to digital by simply reformatting for small screen mobile devices. But the considerations are vast. And more importantly, how much do people really want to use their phones as reading devices anyway?
We recently met a company called ScrollMotion, a New York-based iPhone app developer that is hard at work answering these questions. The company have been steadily creating a suite of new tools for traditional print media companies to better engage their readers via apps on mobile phones, and in the process, quietly making publishing deals with a wide range of top-notch publishers. Their growing client list is impressive and includes Conde Nast, Hearst, Time Inc., Tribune Company, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Simon & Schuster, Random House, and Wiley.
3rd July 09
Wow, we’ve all become over-exposed to the hype around augmented reality, but we’re starting to see applications emerging which genuinely seem to add value and utility, rather than just make you go “cool!”
We spotted this simple, still slightly rough-looking, but potentially amazing app for the iPhone, which works off the phone’s video function. Currently only available for the London Underground, and for those lucky enough to have a 3GS, but follow-up apps across broader geographies and platforms can’t be far behind.
When you load the app, holding it flat, all 13 lines of the London underground are displayed in coloured arrows. By tilting the phone upwards, you will see the nearest stations: what direction they are in relation to your location, how many kilometres and miles away they are and what tube lines they are on. If you continue to tilt the phone upwards, you will see stations further away, as stacked icons.
Geo applications and brand experience-based applications seem to be emerging as two of the most interesting playgrounds for AR – we’ve certainly started putting our heads together on a couple of the brands we work with. Watch this space.
(For some existing BBH work that uses AR, see BBH Asia-Pacific’s work for WWF).
Thanks to Tim Bradshaw (@Tim) for bringing this to our attention this morning.
2nd July 09
Posted in Uncategorized
It’s turning into an unexpected week of musical delights here at BBH Labs. After the success of BBH New York’s work on the new Oasis LP launch, awarded Titanium at Cannes last weekend, comes something equally close to home.
Just launched today is some work for the band Sour, directed and produced by Hal Kirkland, Masa Kawamura (BBH New York), & their buddies Magico Nakamura & Masayoshi Nakamura.
We caught up with Hal & Masa (in between all their awesome work on paying client briefs) & they explained how the project came together. We we’re particularly struck by the challenge of starting with a budget of $0. Makes you think differently.
The project initially had a few challenges. The first was the nonexistent budget. The second involved the inability of the directors to film the band members LIVE, due to the band living in Tokyo and the Directors living in New York. On top of this they had their day jobs at BBH to contend with.
Rather than hinder the ideas, this ironically provided the framework from which the idea was born. Webcams as a medium were chosen because these days everyone has seems to have one. Sour also had a relatively strong fan base that paid constant visits to their fan site.
A message was sent out from there to ask fans to volunteer for the new music video. The production was inundated with responses from people all over the world the most surprising being a fan from a small town in Portugal.
The next few months were spent choreographing the performance. This was primarily done by the directors literally acting out and filming every part themselves so as to a detailed animatic, that in-turn would make it easier for their friends online to follow.
Once that was buttoned down the filming of over 80 people began. The directors wanted the action to be created from timed choreography to give it a more realistic feel and to make it more human. Relying on editing alone would have taken away the charm and from the spectacle of the coordination of so many individuals.
In case you’re curious, the song is about discovering your own color or voice in this world. It speaks of embracing your individuality in order to embrace what the rest of the world has to offer. So the use of the webcam and the idea of capturing people’s individual expressions as they collaborate to make a greater whole, made a lot of sense. We love it – the perfect way to start a long, sunny Independence Day weekend.
Sour is a Japanese post-rock band formed in spring 2002 by hoshijima (gut guitar/voice), Sohey (eub/bass), KENNNNN (drums/toys). They have released 3 albums to date, and the track used in this video is called ‘Hibi no Neiro (Tone of Everyday)’ which is the lead single to their first mini album ‘Water Flavor EP’ released on July 24 2009. For more information about the band, please visit their website: http://sour-web.com/
Here are some previous music videos that Hal & Masa have done for them:
‘Hangetsu (Half Moon)’: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vMGSH0J0dUU
‘Omokage no Saki (Beyond your memory)’: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6vVWb1M_rQk
Masa Kawamura – firstname.lastname@example.org
Hal Kirkland – email@example.com
Magico Nakamura – firstname.lastname@example.org
30th June 09
Without doubt our find of the week (the year?) here at BBH Labs has been this staggeringly cool flash application, from a Singapore-based band called Concave Scream. I’d never heard of them, and now I can’t stop listening to them.
Created as a piece of marketing content for their new LP, ‘Soundtrack for a Book’, it consists of data visualizations of the front covers of 50 all-time classic books (think Moby Dick, Alice, Pollyanna, Last of the Mohicans), brought to life and mashed-up with the soundtracks from the new LP.
It is completely customizable & interactive. Each of the 50 books can be played with using controls at top right. You can add or accentuate colours, change rotation speed, create wallpapers, or simply opt for a more randomized effect. Go full screen for best effects (top right).
In a week when smart new ways to launch music have been recognized and awarded (for example, close to home, BBH NY’s launch of the new Oasis LP, a Titanium Lion winner in Cannes), this takes that to another level.
We’re certainly guilty of getting over-excited fairly frequently here at BBH Labs, but this is genuinely staggeringly good. Best of all, it’s utterly beautiful in a mesmerizing way, with the vocal-less music from the LP completely complementing the visuals.
The actual CD itself is a fairly well-designed piece of work too (see below).
“[Concave Scream] have a lot of naïve aggression and a dirty kind of
sound, which I think makes them a lot more credible than the other pop
acts which seem to be singing just for the sake of singing, with no real
point of view.”
- Malcolm McClaren, The Straits Times
For more info: www.concavescream.com
Email us at: email@example.com
29th June 09
“Good designers must always be avant-gardists, always one step ahead of the times. They should – and must – question everything generally thought to be obvious. They must have an intuition for people’s changing attitudes. For the reality in which they live, for their dreams, their desires, their worries, their needs, their living habits. They must also be able to assess realistically the opportunities and bounds of technology.”
(Dieter Rams, 1980 speech to Braun supervisory board, from his Design Museum profile)
There can’t be many more legendary & respected designers around today than Dieter Rams. For over 50 years Rams has been one of the most influential industrial designers around, producing elegant, stripped-down and flawlessly balanced everyday objects in such enduring forms that one is hard-pressed to identify a design of his that hasn’t stood the test of time.
In fact, if you own an iPod, iPhone, or iMac you almost certainly owe thanks to Dieter Rams for some of the look, feel and simplicity of these products. His influence is explicit in the work of Jonathan Ive at Apple, most literally, perhaps, in the design of the calculator on the iPhone, but in fact across almost the entire range of Apple products.
(For more, including Q&A with Rams, click below)
24th June 09
Wow, are we looking forward to seeing this film in full.
“RiP: A Remix Manifesto” – a film about remix and copyright culture. It explores copyright issues in the information age, where the media landscape is being profoundly transformed, and the distinction between producers and consumers is becoming blurred, to say the least.
This is the trailer and it’s uplifting, provocative, challenging and inspiring, all at the same time. Full of complex debates and clearly coming with a strong point of view on how those debates might be – must be – resolved (so not everyone will agree with this, by any means, but heh, that’s good right?).
Features contributions from Gilberto Gil, Laurence Lessig, Cory Doctorow, and many more. We’re particularly looking forward to seeing the awesome Lessig in action again: “There is no way to kill this technology, we can only criminalize its use” – Laurence Lessig.
Download the film in full, paying what you think it’s worth: http://www.ripremix.com/
Check their blog: http://www3.nfb.ca/webextension/rip-a-remix-manifesto/
Follow them on Twitter: http://twitter.com/remixmanifesto
(Thanks to Marc Schiller – @marcdschiller – for the heads up)
17th June 09
We have been playing with this really impressive collaborative & spoken word tool, Bb 2.0, and melting our brains thinking about the possibilities, and where this could go next
Conceived by Darren Solomon, from Science for Girls, but with plenty of help from users, the tool is based around the insight that it’s possibly to play multiple videos on YouTube simultaneously. It’s similar to, but according to Darren pre-dates, the Kutiman YouTube mash-up videos (which are also awesome pieces of remixed art).
Darren & team go into the why and how in more detail in their FAQ, which are worth checking out. It’s an interesting experiment around using the crowd to conceive of and produce music, but one critical element stands out for us – the role of Darren as both editor (he filters and selects all the music chosen) and overall creative director (his vision, his direction, his imagination). In debates around the use of the crowd – in this case the musical talents of the crowd – the pivotal role of the editorial director is frequently overlooked. In a crowdsourced world the role of the ‘creative’ is more important than ever.
Thanks to @aaronkoblin for the tip off; his own version (kind of) of this is of course his pretty brilliant ‘Bicycle built for two thousand’ project.
13th June 09
Slightly spooky voiceover (always unnerving to have recorded ‘live’ pauses thrown in), but we’re enjoying the simplicity of these pieces about information architecture, stripped down to the bare essentials, and split into a piece on architecture and another on information. Cool animation too.
“By thinking about the architecture of how information is used, how it flows, and how it fits within the user’s world (its context), you can capture the essence of how to build a system that is not only intuitive but futureproof.”
Thanks to @daveElf for drawing it to our attention.
10th June 09
Posted in Uncategorized
We’re into this at the moment – http://bit.ly/68ypk
A super simple but very cool sinewave synthesizer. From the Laboratory of Andre Michelle – http://bit.ly/1iBh8
It’s remarkable, and a little scary, how even completely talentless people like us can produce something that sounds semi-musical in about 60 seconds.
When you eventually reach the limits of your talent, here are four rather more skilled proponents of the synth cranking it out in a remarkable & massively cheesy video from 1985.
And thanks to @fittedsweats for the recommendation.