Swampy Freddie is from here :) http://mailchimp.com/replyall/
It's a really cool and sneaky effect. I think they load a fading JPG, then subtly swap it out with the video once it loads - which is exactly the same image / size. The JPG is probably frame 1 of the movie, so the smoke doesn't jitter.
I like they're keeping the theme, though I still think the last one was absolutely perfect.
For your inspiration - http://404sites.tumblr.com/