Interactive movies are claiming the web

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During my academic years I once created an interactive movie with a couple of friends. This movie was called Snapped and told the story of an unsecure guy. He had to make some choices in life and you could help him… if you didn’t do this on time he would automatically go for the easiest way. At that time we created this movie with a lot of sweat, blood and cursing in Macromedia Director. Those days are over, the internet and Flash have finally taken over.

A few months ago Youtube launched a new feature, the possibility to add annotations to movies. This created a whole new level of interactivity to movies, enabling creators to add links in movies on specific places and times. It was to be expected that interactive movies would be build, and Time Machine is one of them:

This way of interactivity isn’t exactly new in itself. Interactive movies have been around for ages, but never in an online social environment. It has to be sad that it still doesn’t look really sexy, embedding these giant buttons… but we can be sure that better possibilities will soon arise. I’m really curious what creative possibilities people will come up with when using annotations. Wouldn’t it be great to pick a famous story, split it in small parts, let people film 1 part and then connect these all together. This would be the first co-created movie.

Another good interactive movie on Youtube is Follow Your Instinct, which is actually an interactive Samsung ad:

Jeroen van Geel

Jeroen van Geel is founder/chief kahuna of Johnny Holland and the interaction director at Fabrique [brands, design & interaction], a Dutch multidisciplinary design agency. You can follow him on Twitter via @jeroenvangeel.

7 comments on this article

  1. Flo W. on

    Nice feature! Interactive film exists for long time and it never has a breakthrough. But I think interactive film is not already dead. There is some interesting stuff for interactive films.

    For example some image processing stuff (e. g. object recognition algorithm for videos) for context aware buttons/links in a video. See here http://www.acvt.com.au/research/videotrace/

    The other thing is the successfull research in interactive storytelling engines.
    http://www.interactivestory.net/
    http://www.storytron.com/
    http://www.csdl.tamu.edu/~leggett/ise.ppt

    Keep on blogging!

  2. I agree that there’s something interesting about interactive film despite the fact that it never caught on. This also because I believe that interactive film in it’s current form hasn’t reached full potential. I mean, there has got to be something more to it than just influencing the plot of the film.

    Within video games, the line between games and film is getting thinner every day. The story is getting more and more important and cutscenes and gameplay are thrown into a mix.If there is going to be a breakthrough in interactive film, I except it come from the gaming industry

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