No other video had an opening as arresting as Plural’s. That’s because it starts more like a film noir confession tape than a tutorial for a data pipeline admin console.
The opening shot fades in. Our protagonist, Michael Guarino appears in a small black and white frame surrounded by dark blue. The blank wall behind Michael gives us no clues to his whereabouts.
When Micheal introduces himself there’s almost a tremble in his voice, like he’s about to tell us something very serious.
Michael doesn’t make eye contact with the viewer, instead, he peers from under his brow at something — or someone — off-screen. Is Michael being held hostage?
Then he glances down in front of him. His laptop? A script his captor forced him to read???
It’s all very mysterious.
Finally, (five seconds in) it looks like Michael is going to tell us what the hell is going on — but then a slide changes. Michael disappears. Darkness. And then in big white letters, “Deploying Airflow using Plural” appears on screen.
Michael is not in danger, he’s just demoing a dev tool.
The reason I like this demo so much is its style. The black and white camera, which continues throughout the demo; the projector sound effects for transitions and other animations; the clever scale and crop effects to focus the viewer on different parts of the UI; the ambient typing noises when Michael is running commands in the terminal. It’s unorthodox, creative, and cool.
One of my favorite moments is at the end of the chapter called Plural Deploy. At 4:21 Michael says “everything is set up and ready to go” and then a distant, but enthusiastic “Yeah!” can be heard off camera.
Turns out Michael was not alone after all.
Michael, if you're out there, I hope you're safe. And I just want you to know that this was the best product demo of 2022.