Interactive Filmmaking: The Future of Digital Documentaries?
Thanks to support from Canada's National Film Board ("NFB") new interactive technologies are increasingly becoming a part of documentary filmmaking in Canada.
An example of the innovative work that has recently been supported by the NFB?
Highrise is a 3D documentary project that engages users in new ways.
One of the fascinating features of Highrise?
"On the main screen, you see a collage-like apartment building. You can click on each of the 13 windows. Behind them, 13 apartments in 13 different cities around the world are lurking: Chicago, Toronto, Montreal, Havana, São Paolo, Amsterdam, Prague, Istanbul, Beirut, Bangalore, Phnom Penh, Tainan, and Johannesburg. There are collages to be found here as well: a 360-degree view of the apartment’s interior, including its residents and their view of the city, composed of separate photos. The stories of their lives can be navigated by means of various clickable objects. Occasionally they are represented in still images with sound, at other times with real 360-degree films in which viewers can move about at their own discretion."
Of course, Highrise is just one project exploring these new storytelling tools...
As described in a January 9th, 2013 post to Yonge Street Media's blog: "Who hasn't had their interest piqued by something in a documentary and immediately pulled up Wikipedia to learn more? An interactive documentary can fold in the expanded threads so that users can pause the film and dive more in-depth, perhaps by providing additional relevant links or attaching supplemental photos and videos on a subject. Other works allow viewers to affect the images being presented."
"Interactive documentary is still a young form. The field is experimenting with novel ways to encourage viewers to become more engaged with its stories, whether by breaking free from linearity or by readily making supplemental materials accessible to explore ideas further. No longer confined to conventional broadcasting time constraints, interactive documentaries have new freedoms within the medium. They have the potential to not only reach larger audiences, but also to cater to audience habits such as watching videos in chunks rather than in one long sitting."