It’s been nice to see an increased awareness in the media community over the last few years of the opportunities to engage audiences on the Internet. There is a new batch of technologies becoming available that should enhance the kind of experiences, allowing for a level of interactivity and visual expressiveness that could match or rival the films themselves. I’ve been experimenting with some of these, and I wanted to share the results.
This is just a prototype, and there’s a lot of room for improvement in performance, aesthetics and interactivity, but I think it shows the potential of what’s possible. The graphics are beyond what we’ve generally seen on the web before, and it’s combined with the kind of portable data that has been spreading around the web for the last few years. I’ll try to clean up the code and get a live demo online soon.
For now, WebGL is only available in Beta versions of Firefox and Chrome (and maybe Safari?). They’re worth downloading early if you’ve got the guts for the occasional bug, and they’ll hopefully be released in the next few months. If you want to take a shot at developing with WebGL yourself, there are great lessons at Learning WebGL and at Mozilla.
I’ve got lots more demos coming, and they’re cooler than this one, so check back for more in the next week or so. I’ll be posting them on YouTube and on Twitter.
Yesterday, a friend lamented that he didn’t know of a way to send someone a link to a YouTube video so that it would skip to a certain point. He knew some actors who wanted to show off videos they were in without making people wait through the whole beginning.
Type or paste the URL of a YouTube video into the form
(Optional) Enter the desired starting time
Copy the link from your browser’s URL bar or…
When the video loads, play or scrub to the exact desired starting time.
Pause the video
Copy the link or embed code from the form at the bottom to get the link to this video at your starting point.
The format of the URL is pretty simple, if you want to put it together manually. http://chirls.com/v/VIDEO_ID/TIME
VIDEO_ID is that weird string of characters that comes after the “=” in a YouTube watch page link.
TIME is the starting point in seconds. This should not be less than 0 or more than the duration of your video. It must be in whole seconds.
If people find this useful, I’ll keep updating it with new features and bug fixes. Please leave notes and suggestions in the comments section on this post.
Update (March 1, 2009): I’ve changed the URL structure so that the time comes after a slash instead of a “#”, because the old format screwed things up when posting to Twitter and a few other small problems. The old format still works, so existing links should be fine. If you leave off the time, the page will load with your video starting from the beginning.
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