Home Shark Week Embraces Web 2.0

Shark Week Embraces Web 2.0

Any fan of the Discovery Channel looks forward to one special week every year: Shark Week. Next week will be Discovery’s 20th Shark Week and they’ve pulled out all the stops and fully embraced web 2.0 on their website. There’s a Shark Week widget that lets fan embed shark news and features on their blogs or social networking profiles (they launched the widget in Facebook flavor, as well), there is a weekly podcast, and earlier this month they let the crowd decide their primetime schedule via an online vote.

But the most impressive feature of the website, is the Shark Week Video Mixer — a very well done flash video editing tool stocked with clips of sharks to let users create their own video mashups. I’m not sure if Discovery made the editor in house or if it was licensed from a third party, but it is one of the nicest flash editors I have seen, mimicking well the traditional timeline feel of software editors that people are used to, such as iMovie.

The editor is divided into 5 tracks: graphics, transitions, videos, sound fx, and music. Users are given a 60 second timeline onto which to drag clips, effects and music to create their video. The clips are all high quality shark footage or footage of Discovery Channel personalities from such as Mike Rowe (“Dirty Jobs,” “Deadliest Catch”) or Jamie Hyneman (“Mythbusters”). The video editor smartly lowers the volume on the music when playing a clip of a human talking.

Really the only lame part of the video editor are the transitions, which are distracting and silly cartoon interludes, rather than traditional fades or wipes. Dragging clips or effects to the trash removes them from the timeline — smartly imitating iMovie. You can check out a video I made at this link.

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