Grouper is a P2P file sharing program focused on helping people share videos with people they know. Their web site offers some very nice social video features. The home page has fabulous implementation of a “video wall.” It’s actually a wall of thumbnails, but it is also a dynamic Flash app that serves as navigation into the site. The images cycle randomly making it so you could use this as a primary video selector and not get bored. I like this because it transforms web video into a “lean back” experience similar to television or movies, which seems appropriate for a video surfing experience.
I’d love to know who made this. The Grouper web site is notably barren of credits. I particularly like the attention to detail concerning the how the thumbnails animate larger and smaller on rollover. This is the kind of thing Laszlo paid special attention to at when designing its animator tag. I’m always impressed with Flash developer’s who get it right, without extra support from the platform. If you play with the app you’ll notice that the enlarging animation is interrupted when your mouse rolls out of the image. Another nice touch is that the shrinking animation is slower than the enlarging animation, which causes a neat “trail” effect when you float your mouse across several images. Its particlarly nice in a circular pattern.
And, last but not least, I found one of my favorite web videos of all time while browsing the Grouper video wall: the llama song.
[update: I heard from Duncan Meech at Grouper who created the “video wall” I describe in this post. He used a tool called NeoSwiff that allows you to code flash using a class library that is very a stripped down version of the .NET base classes.]