Video Storytelling, Two Ways

October 31, 2014

in Movie Reviews, Travel Tech

  • SumoMe

Recently the “Starz” network decided so sponsor an unusual movie-making contest: Give two directors the same script, allow them to produce two different films, show them both in theaters, and award a $250,000 prize to the one whose film gets the most votes via social media.

This isn’t a new idea. Hollywood has been turning out “twin films,” movies with similar story lines that are released at approximately the same time by different studios.

Twin Movies

But what if you, the movie-watcher, could switch back and forth between competing visual versions of  a film? Wouldn’t that be cool.

Yes, very cool.

And here’s how you can “test drive” such a “cinematic” experience.

If you’ve watched many YouTube videos, you’ll have noticed that many are two to three minutes in length. And believe it or not, that’s actually ample time to “tell” a “short story” on the “small screen” of your computer or mobile device.

But can what is clearly a product advertisement do so?

About a year and a half ago, I reviewed a 13-minute film posted on YouTube that very cleverly did just that using a Jaguar F-Type.

Honda has now raised the bar on such “shorts” by producing an “interactive” YouTube “twin movie” video that lets viewers decide which version they wish to watch and to switch between them at will.

Here’s the trailer for The Other Side.

Before watching the full-length (just under three-minute) film, and interacting with it, make a note of my suggestions for viewing it three different ways:

  1. First, just hit the “Play” button and watch the “cheery” version with the white Civic Type R.
  2. Then, replay the video, but press and hold the “R” key on your computer keyboard to see the “sinister” version of The Other Side with the red Civic Type R.
  3. Now, go back and replay it once again, but this time repeatedly press and release the “R” key to quickly switch back and forth between the two parallel, but different stories.

(Alas, I couldn’t watch and interact with The Other Side on my iPhone, although on iPad, a red “R” appeared below the movie and tapping on that let me switch between the two versions of the film.)

The reason that The Other Side works is that the “cuts” (separate bits of video that are assembled into the final film) for the “white” and “red” versions match well, leaving an almost seamless transition when switching between the two.

If this had been a “real movie,” the director might have shot two different drivers behind the wheel of two different cars, then had the film’s editor “match cut” the action as it shifted from one driver/car to the other, perhaps culminating with both cars stopping at the same destination, similar to what happens in this Honda ad.

Okay, okay. What has all of this go to do with “Travel”?

Today, travelers can shoot video using smartphones using a variety of digital still cameras and camcorders, and then edit the video on phones, tablets and computers, and share the finished “film” via social media or post it to video hosting services such as YouTube and Vimeo.

Here’s an example of one such movie I shot “on the fly” with my iPhone 5, and then later edited with iMovie on my iMac desktop.

But it would have been cool if I had been able to create two, different but parallel versions of the same movie with a keyboard “switch” so you could have flipped back and forth between those two versions.

That would have been very cool indeed, and maybe sometime soon you and I will be able to do just that.

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