5 Key Takeaways from FilmGate Miami on Creating Interactive and Immersive Content

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FilmGate Miami is a growing conference, held annually in early February, focused
on interactive and immersive media. In previous years, I had projects featured
there and was invited to help the team curate the 2017 festival.

At Campfire,

a part of SapientRazorfish, we embrace these types of experiences because they are great
places to gain inspiration and knowledge that we can take back to inform our
work and share with our clients. Inspiring work was on full display at FilmGate
and creators shared many lessons learned:

· Embrace the limitations of a technology – The VR project Notes on Blindness:
Into Darkness
invites
the audience into a series of environments that show how the blind “see”.
Current VR headsets are still fairly low resolution, so the creator chose to
limit what is visually presented to the user. This naturally focuses the user’s
attention on the smaller details of the experience.

· User choice must be meaningful – Giving users agency is a key concept in any interactive work.
The interactive film Tantalum is a great example of an experience that
successfully gives users agency in a narrative through a limited set of choice
points. The audience uses an app to help direct the main character at five key
points in the story. Each point feels meaningful and important to the story.
(We worked through similar challenges with our interactive film for Infiniti
called Deja View.)

· Fish where the fish arePriya’s Shakti is an example of building an audience and using
technology to enhance an already compelling story. The project is focused on
raising awareness around violence against women in India. The creator chose the
comic book format because the target audience was young men. He added an
Augmented Reality component to the project, but it was an ancillary experience
to the main narrative.

· Blend analog with digital to create surpriseGiant VR is a VR experience that creates an unforgettable
moment through the use of haptics. A small rumbler is hidden at the base of the
seat and it rumbles when the bombs go off in the background of the VR
experience. (We often mix analog and digital to create moments of surprise in an
experience – an example of this is the Westworld VR experience we recently created with HBO.)

· Keep it simple – Native advertising
programs at The New York Times generate strong consumer engagement and increase
credibility. Nelly Gocheva, an Editor at T Brand Studio shared how their content approach focuses on
making media easy to scan, straightforward to interact with, quick to load and
simple to share.

Those
wanting to dive deeper into the kind of immersive work on display at FilmGate
should check out: 

· MIT Open Documentary Lab, another participant at FilmGate, maintains two great tools that surface trends and
inspiration in storytelling: Docubase and the Immerse
Newsletter
.

· StoryCode has a
comprehensive index of various types
of immersive projects and also produces a monthly newsletter called the Immersive
Media Dispatch
.

· Lance Weiler’s “Digital
Storytelling – a look at the last 12 months
” is a list of 38
interactive projects of note, released in the last 12 months.

By Mike Knowlton, Director Business Development, Campfire

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