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  • 07.17.12

Bobby Womack Enters The Mobile Age With A New Android-Powered Video

B-Reel creates an interactive music video for mobile phones and tablets designed to showcase the capabilities of Google Chrome for Android.

Mobile browser technology is pushed to new heights in an interactive music video for Bobby Womack’s “The Bravest Man in the Universe,” the title track off the singer’s first album of new material in 18 years.

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Created by B-Reel and premiering today, the video, made for mobile and tablet users, depicts a man’s journey into space while showcasing what’s possible with the Chrome for Android mobile browser. (In addition to being compatible with Chrome for Android on the Galaxy Nexus/Nexus S and Transformer Prime Tablet, the video can also be accessed via Safari iOS5 for iPad and iPhone. Go to bravestman.com on your mobile device.)

A teaser for “The Bravest Man In The Universe”

The project presented a learning opportunity for hybrid production outfit B-Reel in that the company’s animators and developers were required to create an interactive music video specifically for a mobile browser. “While mobile and desktop browsers largely share the same features and functionality of HTML5, the way these features are technically implemented and how they perform varies a lot between mobile to desktop,” says B-Reel creative director Patrick Ehrlund. “So, for us, a lot of time was spent understanding what are the more processor intensive tasks in a mobile browser at a very low level.”

“We know how desktop browsers work, and the main differences in their implementations of new technologies. That allows us to code with a clear idea of what will work or perform well and what won’t,” B-Reel developer Jaume Sanchez adds. “In the mobile browsers landscape this knowledge is not as translatable as we’d expect. One of the most common ways of adding interactivity to a web page is attaching event listeners to our elements and modifying their behavior on the fly, modifying their CSS properties with JavaScript and letting the transitions take care of the in-between states. This approach in mobile doesn’t scale too well, so we tried to use pre-defined CSS animations and use JavaScript to modify their values as less frequently as possible. Here’s where all the power of CSS key-framing and easing functions really shine.”

While the expectation is that the technology whizzes attending the I/O Conference will gain knowledge from and be inspired by B-Reel’s creative use of mobile browser technology, it is also hoped that the video for “The Bravest Man in the Universe” will demonstrate all that Chrome for Android can make possible to a wider, less tech-savvy audience.

Beyond that, the video could help introduce a new generation of fans to a soul legend they might not be familiar with. XL Recordings is behind Womack’s comeback, and music producers Damon Albarn, also the frontman of Blur, and XL Recordings founder Richard Russell, who has worked with talents ranging from The Prodigy to Adele, gave the singer’s classic vocals a modern update on his new release.

About the author

Christine Champagne is a New York City-based journalist best known for covering creativity in television and film, interviewing the talent in front of the camera and behind-the-scenes. She has written for outlets including Emmy, Variety, VanityFair.com, Redbook, Time Out New York and TVSquad.com.

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