How designers use digital video technology to enhance a user’s interactive experience in interactive media products
In this essay I will be analysing the transformation that Interactive Media has gone through and how Digital Video Production designers have used it effectively to enhance the user’s experience. Interactive Media is media that can be interacted with. It is media that the audience member can change and have an impact on. One reason that Interactive Media is generally considered a good thing is because it allows the user to feel as though they have control over the media they are consuming. They can decide how they want to view it or in some cases the outcome of the narrative. One of the draw-backs with interactive media is that the audience may end up with a different interpretation of your media product than the one you intended. For example, if I make a film and I only want it to be played on a HD T.V, if someone then buys my film and plays it on a standard definition T.V, they will have a different reading of my text than I had intended.
The first form of Interactive Media would be a VHS tape. VHS tapes were one of the first ever form of home video media, and completely changed the face of home media forever. For the first time you could watch a film in the cinema, go home, wait for months and months and months and be able to watch it at home, provided you had the T.V that was able to play it. The interactivity with a VHS was the simplest form of interactivity, the only part of a VHS tape that was interactive was the fact that you could pause, rewind and fast-forward it to any section that you choose. Although it seems quite simple now, at the time this was a big thing, to be able to take home, watch and re-watch at your own leisure.
Intro into what exactly Digital Video Production and Interactive Media actually is
Start with the history and move forward:
VHS and no regulation it helped interaction by giving the customer the freedom to choose when and where they watch things.
CD and disk/disc. CD and discs helped by giving customers greater control over when they could watch. Games came in onto the DVD’s, bonus features, scene selection.
Next up came DVD. DVD stands for Digital Versatile Disc and was a major step forward after VHS. Not only did you have greater control over where you could commence and end your viewing experience, including a widely used feature such as scene selection, you could have your experience enhanced through various extras included within DVDs now. One of the extras implemented in many DVDs is interactive games. For example when purchasing the “Shrek 2” you had the option of being a judge in a sing-off between the show’s characters. This enhances the audience’s interactive experience by giving them several different endings to the sing-off, giving the audience a deeper level of interaction between the character.
Sky+ is another form of interactive media enhancing the audience’s experience. Sky+, introduced in 2002 (HD in 2006), was another break-through for digital video designers attempting to use interactive media to enhance the audience’s experience. Sky+ gave users a similar experience to VHS, but with much greater control. Users could record one program whilst watching another. This allowed the user the ability to watch a wider variety of products.
The first brand to first bring in on demand television was 4oD. 4oD is a service by channel four that allows internet users with a T.V license to watch some of their favourite programmes online. After 4oD the BBC came along with BBCiPlayer. BBC iPlayer was much slicker, a much better app and many more people used it instead of 4oD. Although 4oD was the first, BBCiPlayer had taken over. This competition turned out be healthy as it led to 4oD adapting and becoming a better product.
As the market for on demand television grows, more and more businesses are starting to take advantage of it. One of these businesses are Netflix. Originally Netflix was a DVD mailing service, inwhich you would order a DVD and they would send it to you for a monthy subscription fee. In around 2007, Netflix began instant streaming movies which quickly took over from their DVD rentals and eventually became their main business. More recently Netflix have begun getting exclusive content and even started producing their own . This is an example of a digital video designers having to consider the interactive element of their product. On May 26th Netflix released a new season of the critically acclaimed Arrested Development all at once. This model of releasing entire seasons of a T.V series, is fairly new. Recently Netflix have began to offer exclusivity with their customers as they have grown into a bigger and bigger organisation. They have created their won T.V shows, the most successful being House Of Cards, which has gone on to win three primetime emmy awards. They also acquired season four of Arrested Development. Arrested Development was a programme that aired from 2003-2006 and a revival has recently arisen solely on Netflix. Another interesting step by the company was to release the entire season all at once.
The next step in digital video production and how designers use it to enhance the user’s experience is via the internet. Digital Video Media has now gotten to the stage where it can be viewed almost anywhere. This is due to the introduction of smartphones and such services and 3G streaming. This allows us be always connected to the internet, where connection is available. So now, digital video designers also have to be wary of the user viewing their product on the go, on a smaller screen.
Digital Video Designers have also started making ‘interactive videos’, where the viewer has a choice of multiple different choices the protagonist can take. The viewer can actively change the outcome of the protagonist to a predetermined ending. “TotallySketch” is a group on Youtube who frequently design this type of digital media video. Here is an example of one of their interactive videos:
Being in the era of the internet and Youtube, digital video production is significantly more important if you are looking to break onto that platform. Another internet entrepreneur that frequently designs his digital video with interactivity in mind is Philip DeFranco. He is the creator and head of two news channels on Youtube: The Philip DeFranco Show (hosted by himself) and Sourcefed. With the PDS, Phil always asks a queston to his audience at the end of his show. The answers that Phil enjoys the most will appear at the end of the news show, sometimes the comments provoke a direct response from Phil himself. This gives the audience more of a reason to comment on show, as it makes them feel as though they have an impact on the show. The PDS is also regularly influenced by the audience sending Phil topics that they want to hear him talk about. This gives the user the idea that the show is in someway in their control, that they can tell the host what they feel should be reported on.
With Sourcefed, the interactivity is done in a similar way to the PDS, in that they ask a question at the end of every news story. However instead of showing the best comments in the next segement, they go through the best comments of the week in their show “Comment Commentary”. This gives the user an incentive to comment on the videos throughout the week. Sourcefed also have a show called “Table Talk”. This is a talk show inwhich they take viewer suggested questions and discuss them. As the show is almost entirely dictated by the user, it gives them a level of interactivity that is rarely seen