Project Description

SONY SCREENBLAST

One of the first Over-The-Top (OTT) channel prototypes, it combined web content with a compelling 3D user interface.

When I took on the role of Director of Broadband Production for Sony Pictures, I was the only one of over 130,000 employees worldwide with the word “Broadband” in my title. You can imagine how much my phone was ringing when Sony Chairman Nobuyuki Idei gave his famous speech that proclaimed Sony as the “driving force in the new broadband content era”. Suddenly all sorts of terrified executives were rifling through the company phone directory looking for any mention of this “broadband” nonsense. My little operation in the termite-infested, unfashionably “off the lot” Sony office on Ince Blvd. had been discovered.

At the time, the far sexier movie marketing division of Columbia Tristar was getting all the attention. After all, they had Spider-Man, Dawson’s Creek and Stuart Little. Meanwhile, our little team was quietly producing broadband content and service prototypes that went beyond the browser. One such project involved a UX toolset from a company I introduced at the MediaOne Broadband Developers Conference – 8 Cylinder Studios.

I saw in 8CS the “Photoshop for broadband interfaces”. Take a PC game engine and use it for broadcast-quality interface, transition and dynamic content presentation. Map a 2D video stream to a 3D object. Move a camera through a stylized Blade Runner version of a cityscape, replete with video ads and live web tickers. I worked with them to envision an internet-powered streaming video service UX that felt like something you’d run from your couch. We came up with the working Screenblast user interface. It was gorgeous; light played through simulated fog as logos and elements flitted around the screen during transitions. Video played beautifully on angled panels, giving it a sense of scale and fidelity you can’t appreciate in flat 2D.

I presented Screenblast as part of a keynote at the MILIA convention in Cannes, France and was pleased to catch the attention of, and begin collaborative talks with, some colleagues from the Playstation group who were also in attendance. They immediately saw the potential for such interfaces within connected Playstation consoles.

My Roles:

Director of Broadband Production, Business Development, Evangelist