This time I’m going to talk about one of my projects. It was the second project in Andreas’ CTIN 543 class. The requirement was, briefly speaking, telling a non-linear story. Generally, our understanding about non-linear is “different choices lead to different consequences”. But due to the restriction with technology, we were not able to give players unlimited freedom; what we could provide were prefab options.
That was not I wanted. In my opinion, although artists were able to create a great story by providing options and corresponding endings, as soon as players feel that “I can’t find what I really want to do in these options”, the system is broken. So how to fix this? How to provide players with infinite freedom, or at least make them feel it’s infinite? Fortunately, I was reading something about postmodernism. In postmodernism theories, one opinion about audiences’ attendance said that audiences’ understanding about the artwork was a vital part of them. To which I totally agree and thus had this idea: Why didn’t I just create linear stories, but let audiences watch them in a non-linear way?
I decided to make an interactive film. I combined together four films, each was mimicking a surveillance camera monitoring a different room of the same house. Three of them were bedroom and one was living room. All four films started the same time and had parallel timelines. Audiences can switch among four cameras to watch the residents move around the house and minding their own business. They could choose to follow a character from one room to another, or just focus on one room to see what’s going on. If they thought they missed anything, they could play back. In this project, I wanted give players “freedom” in both time and space.
To give the sense of believability, all footage was shot from a 45 degree angle, and rendered black and white, as if it really came from a surveillance camera. All sound were muted.
Also, Julian helped me to build the interactive part. We used html5 to manage the playing, because I wanted audiences were able to switch from on video to another at the certain time point continuously, and no existed video player were able to do so. The interface was like:
These films were shoot separately. To make sure there were no bugs when one people walk from one room to another, I used sketch to control the timeline (please forgive my terrible hand-writing):
You can see there were two gaps on each timeline. They were power shortage, which meant I can pause the shooting at the moment. It was because the length of these videos were about five minutes. If I did each in one shot, it would result in many rework. So I split them into three parts each.
There was another advantage about faking CCTV shoots: I didn’t need to record dialogue. Actually, in the original video, you could hear I was reminding what actors and actress should do loudly