- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 10, 2007

Each week the Browser features some pop-culture places on the World Wide Web offering the coolest in free, interactive sounds and action.

Trinity Blood interactive

Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim Web site (www.adultswim.com) continues to lead in online viewing innovations through its recent release of a free feature that allows fans to immerse themselves in their favorite shows.

In development since October, its Interactive Video player premiered last month with the popular Japanese cartoon “Trinity Blood,” specifically the entire episode of “The Throne of Roses: Lord of Abyss.”

The player requires a broadband connection and latest browser Flash plug-in as it overlays small icons in the corner of the program’s screen that, when clicked upon, lead to a wide range of content. Viewers get a glimpse “behind the scenes” of the production.

It’s an extra that AdultSwim.com’s associate writer Chris Pasley thought of after seeing some of the variations Flash video software could offer and from his dissatisfaction with the state of DVD commentaries.

“You could listen to a 22-minute commentary and they could talk about one thing for 10 minutes and the viewer will miss what is going on,” he says. “So we wanted to create a more interruptive process where we offer more content into a smaller amount of time.”

The icons available lead to accessing production staff video commentary, the cast talking about the show, script passages, production notes and photo galleries.

In the case of “Trinity Blood,” more than 50 extras are available. These include lengthy clips of the ADR (additional dialogue recording) director, Mike McFarland, watching the episode with some of the crew. Also, viewers will find segments with the actors Troy Baker (Abel) and Phil Parsons (Father Leon) recording lines from the episode and even encyclopedic entries that cover the mythology and characters of the show.

The flexibility of the design allows for when an icon is clicked, the show moves over to the upper-right side of the viewing screen, while the new content is displayed. The episode segment can still be watched in its new position or returned to its original large size when the extra is completed.

Creative director for AdultSwim.com Jeff Olsen decided this type of presentation was the perfect way to unload a large amount of stuff on the inquisitive viewer.

“I am fairly hard-core anime fan, and I would want to see all of the information I could from a show in a contextual manner. Everything about the player fit in with that idea, so we just decided to throw in as much as possible, and (the home entertainment company that brought “Trinity Blood” to American audiences) Funimation was great in providing all of the material,” he says.

Viewers can also find the bonus content through a menu that easily lists the voluminous amount of material for immediate access, with the applicable portion of the show available in the upper-right-hand corner of the player.

The developer who coded the experience, Kenny Bunch, has actually created a dynamic template for the folks at AdultSwim.com who can now easily apply the interactive player to other episodes from their programming block.

Fans can expect an interactive for “Robot Chicken” next and at least one episode from every Adult Swim series to eventually follow.

The often experimental AdultSwim.com team has a few more tricks for visitors in the future that Mr. Olsen says will always be “more interactive and not just pushing content at people.”

Next, to arrive in May, an online application to develop viral video bumpers — short transition segments between shows — akin to the ones seen in Adult Swim’s cable channel’s offerings. If entries are up to the demented style of the programming, they may even appear on the air.

Have a cool site for the online multimedia masses? Write to Joseph Szadkowski at the Browser, The Washington Times, 3600 New York Ave. NE, Washington, DC 20002; call 202/636-3016; or send e-mail to [email protected]). Mr. Szadkowski also writes a Web-exclusive column for the Washington Times Web site where he reviews educational software and family-friendly video games. Check it out at www.washingtontimes.com/family times/romperroom.htm.

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