VIDIXA

VIDIXA

CREATIVE DIRECTOR

CREATIVE DIRECTOR

I was working as the Creative Director for the Innovation team at Nagra / Kudelski, a Swiss company founded 77 years ago upon the launch of their high quality recording devices for the film industry. This $509M company is behind the scenes in many aspects of media including their OpenTV platform and Nagravision and cybersecurity.

One of the architects came up with the idea for a crowd sourced metatadata ecosystem for television and movies and the company decided to invest in it's development. Over the next 18 months we researched, designed, coded, and tested a complete system enabling authoring and publishing of synchronized metadata compatible with all media properties. The team decided to codename the project Metagravy.

I was working as the Creative Director for the Innovation team at Nagra / Kudelski, a Swiss company founded 77 years ago upon the launch of their high quality recording devices for the film industry. This $509M company is behind the scenes in many aspects of media including their OpenTV platform and Nagravision and cybersecurity.

One of the architects came up with the idea for a crowd sourced metatadata ecosystem for television and movies and the company decided to invest in it's development. Over the next 18 months we researched, designed, coded, and tested a complete system enabling authoring and publishing of synchronized metadata compatible with all media properties. The team decided to codename the project Metagravy.

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THE PITCH

THE PITCH

One of the key factors in getting our ambitious project off the ground was securing partners and contributors. We researched deeply into the legal issues of synchronization and media rights as well as the habits of viewers using mobile devices while watching TV and movies. I created a deck with as much pertinent and descriptive material as I could and we started recruiting not only contributors through a social media campaign, complete with an entire community management group, but also our parent companies many media and infrastructure partners.

One of the key factors in getting our ambitious project off the ground was securing partners and contributors. We researched deeply into the legal issues of synchronization and media rights as well as the habits of viewers using mobile devices while watching TV and movies. I created a deck with as much pertinent and descriptive material as I could and we started recruiting not only contributors through a social media campaign, complete with an entire community management group, but also our parent companies many media and infrastructure partners.

PROMOTIONAL VIDEO

PROMOTIONAL VIDEO

Because our product was all about realtime media, and because the concept was sometimes difficult to explain, I also storyboarded, produced, directed, and edited a video that tells the story of a family using our system to share the experience of watching a movie together.

Because our product was all about realtime media, and because the concept was sometimes difficult to explain, I also storyboarded, produced, directed, and edited a video that tells the story of a family using our system to share the experience of watching a movie together.

RESEARCH

RESEARCH

It was crucial for our MVP that we don't try to boil the ocean - the legacy of visual media is unimaginably large, and the metadata that could concievably be created to accompany any moment in any media property is exponentially so. I set up a lab and started learning from participants using a paper prototype to discover what they might find most compelling not only to consume, but to author as well.

The most fascinating and unexpected takeaway was that users expected numerous semantic connections between isolated pieces of metadata that the architects of the database had not imagined. While the expectation that the connection from a character to the actor playing that character, to the social life, trivia and gossip about that same person makes perfect sense, it became a new requirement for the database and changed the information architecture considerably.

It was crucial for our MVP that we don't try to boil the ocean - the legacy of visual media is unimaginably large, and the metadata that could concievably be created to accompany any moment in any media property is exponentially so. I set up a lab and started learning from participants using a paper prototype to discover what they might find most compelling not only to consume, but to author as well.

The most fascinating and unexpected takeaway was that users expected numerous semantic connections between isolated pieces of metadata that the architects of the database had not imagined. While the expectation that the connection from a character to the actor playing that character, to the social life, trivia and gossip about that same person makes perfect sense, it became a new requirement for the database and changed the information architecture considerably.

INTERACTION DESIGN

INTERACTION DESIGN

Interaction design was a big deal. We needed to figure out how an author could add categorized metadata to a media property more or less in realtime with accuracy. The value proposition stated that the annotations must be frame accurate and belong to a set of categories that had been validated as interesting through my use studies.

Interaction design was a big deal. We needed to figure out how an autor could add categorized metadata to a media property more or less in realtime with accuracy. The value proposition stated that the annotations must be frame accurate and belong to a set of categories that had been validated as interesting through my use studies.

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We received a few patents for our solutions to the challenges our system needed to overcome. One of the most interesting solutions was using edit detection to find scene boudaries allowing annotations to snap to the beginning and end of any shot that had a hard cut. Although our solution still required hand work to place metadata accurately in sbots with dissolves, more than 90% of the edits in any movie are straight cuts.

We received a few patents for our solutions to the challenges our system needed to overcome. One of the most interesting solutions was using edit detection to find scene boudaries allowing annotations to snap to the beginning and end of any shot that had a hard cut. Although our solution still required hand work to place metadata accurately in sbots with dissolves, more than 90% of the edits in any movie are straight cuts.

VISUAL DESIGN

VISUAL DESIGN

Visual design for this project was really fun because as a consumer product that accompanies their experience with media properties that are often very finely crafted from cinematography to art direction to visual effects, we needed a really compelling, rich and colorful look and feel. One of my innovations her was to create a dynamic palette sourced from the film itself and kept stable by what is essentially an incredibly slow  continuous rolling dissolve.

RETROSPECTIVE

RETROSPECT

UX best practices suggested several strategies for success which were ignored by product management. I had just finished reading Lean Startup and Lean UX at the time and insisted that we launch early with a single feature or 2 and concentrate on social media and analytics. The decision instead was to build a substantial and very complex system that required a considerable leap of faith by many parties, most notably the contributors upon which the entire system relies. While it is frustrating to put so much good work into something that eventually gets defunded, the learning was really valuable because it underscores the insight that UX provides into the nature of experience and successful products far beyond interaction and visual design. One of the most fascinating and gratifying aspects of UX is that your users will tell you exactly what to do if you can simply listen and observe accurately.

UX best practices suggested several strategies for success which were ignored by product management. I had just finished reading Lean Startup and Lean UX at the time and insisted that we launch early with a single feature or 2 and concentrate on social media and analytics. The decision instead was to build a substantial and very complex system that required a considerable leap of faith by many parties, most notably the contributors upon which the entire system relies. While it is frustrating to put so much good work into something that eventually gets defunded, the learning was really valuable because it underscores the insight that UX provides into the nature of experience and successful products far beyond interaction and visual design. One of the most fascinating and gratifying aspects of UX is that your users will tell you exactly what to do if you can simply listen and observe accurately.

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