We live in an ever-changing world of technology. One aspect of these changes in technology is the constant push to make media more interactive. Content creators have experimented with this interactive movement in interactive films, television shows, music videos, and advertisements.
The alternative rock group Linkin Park released an interactive music video for their single “Lost in the Echo” in June of 2012. Viewers of the video would sign in with their Facebook credentials and some of their photos would show up in various parts of the video. It was an interesting idea, but I found it funny instead of moving because of the choice of photos.
Another band that has experimented with an interactive concept is Arcade Fire with their “The Wilderness Downtown” short film accompanied by their single “We Used to Wait.” Viewers are asked to type in the address of the house they grew up in. From there, the short film pulls up various “pop-up” windows with produced footage, mixed with Google maps generated graphics (including street view photos) that slowly make their way to that exact address. It is an interesting use of interactive media, but it comes across as a little creepy, but you can decide for yourself at thewildernessdowntown.com.
Skittles candy has explored the interactive world with advertising for their Touch Campaign. These advertisements encourage the viewer to place their finger on an on-screen Skittle. From there, the viewer has an interaction with what is happening on-screen related to them holding their finger on the image. Soon after the success of these commercials, Skittles started another contest where independent producers could send in their own “Skittles Touch Ads.” This made the campaign even more interactive. Is this a trend that we will continue to see evolve in the future?
Television shows like Breaking Bad on AMC and Dexter on Showtime have drawn viewers into the “complete experience” with the introduction of a second screen on another device. Apps that sync with the live television premieres of shows receive viewer feedback instantly after plot points are displayed. The app pulls up questions for the viewers as well as trivia and polls. I was curious during an episode of the final season of Breaking Bad, so I decided to give it the old college try. My verdict was that it seemed a little odd, but it definitely pulled me into the story more than I previously was. The app pulls up different and significant plot points from past seasons connected to what was happening in the current episode. I definitely would have missed some of the significance of certain things that were happening had it not been for Breaking Bad’s Story Sync.
A German film titled “Last Call” takes this concept of a 2nd Screen experience one step further. As the first interactive horror film in the world, the movie is essentially controlled by a viewer who communicates with the protagonist through a phone call. Moviegoers are given flyers as they enter the theater encouraging them to text their number to a service center. Software that was developed for the film randomly selects a member of the audience and calls them. That one moviegoer is then in control of the characters’ fate via voice commands. Do you think there will be many interactive horror films that take advantage of this technology?
Another film that has taken steps into the interactive world is “App”, a Dutch film released last April. The film follows a 21-year-old girl who is addicted to using her smartphone. Moviegoers download an app that is used to sync with the story line in a number of ways. Rather than a phone call like in “Last Call”, this app displays video on the audience member’s smartphones. “There could be two people in a room with a bomb ticking, only they don’t know about it…on the second screen, the audience would know how much time is remaining.” An interesting concept, but do you think it will it catch on?
Alright, what’s next? These are some examples of how interactive media is being used now. It is even more interesting idea is to think where interactive media may be headed in the near future. Is it possible to accurately predict where the interactive industry is headed? No doubt, interactive media is going to grow in coming years, especially as more and more people are used to the interactivity of smartphones. This is of course just my speculation based on what kinds of interactive media we have at this moment, but I would like to hear what you think…
Do you want to live in a world of more interactive media? In what ways do you think interactive media is going to change in coming years?
– Rob Bauer