(image credit: Tel Aviv University)
influencing the outcome of a story is not new. it has been done for viral marketing campaign video on YouTube and it was implemented in games. but to influence the outcome of a movie? that’s something new. this exactly what this system from Israel’s Tel Aviv University does – let viewers to influence the movie’s plot when viewing it.
the concept is simple. while watching the interactive movie, viewer will make ‘decision’ on behalf of the character in the movie at certain crucial moments. these crucial moments will appear on screen as an ‘action item’. one example is leading the character to choose a path – head into the forest or continue on an open road? each decision will influence what is going to happen next. if no decision is taken, the movie will proceed on a predetermined course.
the film length will also varies depending on the viewer input and it will also allows viewer to backtrack to the crucial points and make a different decision, just to see what happens if alternative action was taken.
by now, you might have notice this system will only work with touchscreen TV and portable devices like the iPad. sounds interesting enough, but sometime viewers just want to seat back, enjoy the movie and do nothing else. it will be quite a hassle to be constantly making decision. on the production aspects, it would most certainly increase the cost since now double takes are required for each decision juncture.
at the end of the day, watching this type of movie is more akin to a role playing game. it kind of blur the line between gaming and movie. when viewed by a group, there is the issue of who’s going to make the decision? would it be collectively decision or a single person’s decision? or would we end up spending more time arguing about what decision to take when watching the interactive movie? it will be interesting to see the outcome if this becomes a reality.
by the way, they actually made a movie, dubbed Turbulence, based on this new interactive technology for movie. it was screened in September at the Berkeley Video and Film Festival held in Berkeley, California and the film was awarded the Grand Festival Experimental Feature Award. well, call me lazy or traditionalist. i just want to seat back, relax and watch the movie.