This post was originally posted on the 29th of December 2010.
I first laid my eyes on WireWAX’s technology for producing clickable videos at this years (2010) Pixel Lab in Cardiff in July. Paulina Tervo of WriteThisDown Productions had used the technology for her documentary work on the Ethiopian village of Awra Amba, adding clickable sections that nicely and seamlessly let you know more about the subject at hand, communicate with the people of the village or take you to a shop to buy goods from the village. All in all, really neat and handy.
The really funky thing, technologically wise, is that everything is embedded in the video itself, you can take the video to any site anywhere and all the clickable things are the same. It’s a stand-alone solution that seems really really nice.
Since I talked to the guys and saw the service for the first time, WireWAX has taken off a bit more. No wonder, as the service to me seems like a no-brainer. If you want to show a video online, why wouldn’t you want to engage the audience more? There are so many possibilities, especially with touch screen devices, to bring the audience deeper into your storyworld and engage and excite them.
There is certainly the artistic view to be taken into consideration; one should not tamper with a video created to convey a message or a feeling. On the other hand, if the video (as all transmedia properties should be) is developed with all the different parts, technologies and storytelling devices integrated from the beginning, in this case the WireWAX technology, then that sorts the artistic issue out. The end result is also guaranteed to be better.
As for how to use the WireWAX technology in transmedia storytelling, I can see many possibilities. The creators talk of clicking oneself on to the next video in a narrative sequence; I think that it could be used in online treasure hunts (”looking for clues”) or in deepening the understanding of the storyworld that we want the users/audience to immerse themselves into (think a segment of ”Avatar”, filmed like a scientific / documentary film, with clickable sections that launches explanatory videos narrated by Sigourney Weaver, for instance). Or something much simpler – or more advanced.
I’d have a couple of requests, as a developer – if there isn’t already, there would be nice to have the possibility to ”hide” the highlighted areas, making it more of an exploration mission to find what to click. Also, it’d be seriously funky if the clicks could launch stuff outside the window – this might be a big nono, but if it isn’t, I’d like that.
Rosie Lavan also reviewed WireWAX for the Pixel Report.