SXSW: Are We Thinking Big Enough When We Think Of Video?

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 56 views 

Editor’s note: Emily Reeves, director of digital innovation and insight planning for advertising powerhouse Stone Ward, will be providing contributions to Talk Business & Politics from the South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive festival in Austin this week. She is providing additional content on her observations from SXSW at Stone Ward’s Waiting For The Elevator blog.

Most of us use video on the Internet as just an extension of our TV: we passively watch.

But so much more can be done to engage the viewer that we shouldn’t even call them viewers anymore. We could call them participants.

From choose your own adventure to virtual reality, augmented reality to crowd sourcing the end product, video can be much more than static entertainment.

The audience can be collaborators to the stories that brands are telling.

In fact, the story is not told to the audience, it is experienced by the audience, with each person walking away with a slightly different story. When the audience helps drive the narrative, they feel ownership in the experience and spend more time with the messages.

Are we thinking big enough when we think of video?

While it may seem that virtual and augmented reality are still too futuristic to really consider as channels for telling stories, in reality, virtual reality for the masses is one year away. Augmented reality for the masses is three years away.

Virtual reality makes the user feel like they are in the story, almost like they are on a really good theme park ride.

The viewer is in the center of the experience and should feel like he or she is the camera. Google Cardboard is an affordable (approximate $35) DIY device that is a surprisingly good virtual reality experience.

In one presenter’s words from SXSW, “It works a lot better than it should and is good enough for now.”

Augmented reality uses the same technology as virtual reality, but layers technology on top of real world experiences (i.e., Google Glass).

Users continue to touch the real world while interacting with virtual objects around them through the augmented reality technology.

For several years now, we have known that video is the preferred method of consuming information.

Will our audiences in the very near future demand video interactions to get their news and information?

If SXSW predicts the future, then yes.