Thursday, July 29, 2010

Wirewax and Interactive Docs

This week I have contributed a guest post to the In Media Res blog about transmedia and documentary filmmaking. You can read my entire blog post over there, but I wanted to expand a bit about one item on my blog, as I was limited to under 400 words for the In Media Res post. This meant I couldn’t speak much about the technology on display - WireWax.

I wrote about the film Awra Amba: Virtual Village by director Paulina Tervo and how she is using a new technology, called WireWax as one aspect of her transmedia campaign. As I said in that post:

“The website will feature short documentaries expanding the story by focusing on other aspects of the community, chosen by the villagers themselves. By using WireWax technology, these videos will be made interactive for online audiences. In the example shown, the user can click on character’s faces for more background media, or perhaps click on a person weaving and be linked to purchase that person’s fabrics. This last act being not just a consumer purchase, but also an action that can help make the village’s production sustainable.”

You can watch the video and play around with clicking on characters, on items in the frame, etc. The site is currently in Beta, but I think you can get a good sense of what the technology allows. Paulina discovered the technology at the Power to the Pixel Cross-Media Lab, which I attended. During the week, she and her partner in the lab put together the short mock-up you see on the blog. What’s amazing is that when they premiered the clip to the group at the end of the week, we all learned that WireWax had been created by the camera crew who had been filming the panels all week. Amazingly small world! Turns out that in addition to filming panels, Dan and Steve had created WireWax. It’s a great tool to add interactivity to your video. You can try it out for free at their website, and they have a premium model for more extended use. While I’ve seen a few similar projects from other tech companies, this one seems to work great and they have some cool new features launching soon. They’ll be adding things like email integration, live discussion, Facebook integration (where you could see the Facebook profile for any face in a video, great for weddings and maybe for fiction eventually(?)) and more.

Check them out on their website and let me know what you think here or at In Media Res.

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