Lots of interactive video news this week. The Emmys had its Interactive Media awards, the head of the NBA spoke out about wanting to be more like Twitch, and Apple's ARKit breaks down boundaries for filmmakers. Then there's Roku making moves in voice control and Amazon putting Alexa in smart glasses via bone-conduction.
It's a weird and wonderful time to be in media!
Filmmakers are using AR and Apple’s ARKit to create extravagant short films
ARKit has only been available to developers for a few months but it's already captured the attention of the film and video industry. One such example is Duncan Walker, an independent game developer, who created a short film in just a weekend that mixes 3D effects with real footage.
Perhaps more immediately practical, AR gives filmmakers an unprecedented ability to visualise their film on location. For example, a location scout could hold her phone up and create the scene, placing actors and props into real-life locations, and save that as a photo or video for reference. A director on set could use her tablet to visualise special effects that might only exist as green screen or props. AR really breaks down the boundaries between what have traditionally been very siloed aspects of video production.
“People are really used to looking through a director’s viewfinders and seeing what’s in front of them. What AR on your phone can let you do is present what the framing will look like. ‘How will this look if I put a five-foot actor over in that corner underneath this sign?’" -- Jesse Vander Does, co-founder AfterNow
Interactive media awards at the Creative Arts Emmys 2017
The Creative Arts Emmys recognise achievements in content creation, animation, nonfiction and reality programming, and special presentations. In the last number of years a new category of awards has begun to emerge - Emmys which honour Interactive Media.
The awards for Interactive Media include:
- Outstanding Original Interactive Program which honours work not directly related to an existing show
- Outstanding Creative Achievement in Interactive Media within a Scripted Program, and Outstanding Creative Achievement in Interactive Media within an Unscripted Program, both awards recognise interactive experiences for both scripted TV, documentary, nonfiction, reality and reality-competition programs
- Outstanding Innovation in Interactive Programming which encourages pioneering interactive experiences
Many of the winners have previously been featured in Rerun. But some of our favourites include The People House - Inside The White House With Barack And Michelle Obama, a 360 experience which won Outstanding Original Interactive Program, and Stranger Things VR Experience which won Outstanding Creative Achievement in Interactive Media within a Scripted Program.
Future of TV
The head of the NBA wants his games to look more like Twitch
We've seen this year that even live sports are not immune to a drop in ratings. The head of the NBA, Adam Silver, thinks the answer to that lies in how sports are broadcast.
Silver, whose league has made a point of embracing Twitter and other digital media outlets, argued that traditional TV broadcasts of NBA games and other pro sports have been essentially unchanged for the past 30 years. It’s “almost like a silent movie,” he said.
It's hard to refute that point when it comes to the presentation of sports broadcasting. Silver mentions Twitch as an example of the direction that things could go, and it's something we here at Rerun would love to see. Twitch's streaming and esports broadcasts are a hotbed of experimentation and innovation. In fact, just this week the Madison Square Garden Company, owner of several sports teams including the New York Knicks, hired Twitch VP Nick Allen as its new head of esports.
Roku is doubling down on voice, may be building smart speaker
All signs are indicating that Roku is getting serious about voice control. They have started to recruit heavily in audio and voice control positions. Some tasked with the responsibility of “building a center of audio excellence” at Roku.
With companies at the lower end of market producing cheap TVs on razor-thin margins. It would seem logical to add a cheap voice-equipped speaker into the mix. We can expect this speculation to come to an end soon, as any announcement is likely to happen before the company goes public later this year.
Hulu’s Craig Erwich on what ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ Emmys mean for streaming service
Hulu’s adaptation of ‘The Handmaid's Tale’ by Margaret Atwood’s has become the first show ever produced by a streaming site to win the coveted Emmy for Best Drama Series. However, Hulu senior VP of content Craig Erwich doesn't place much importance on the fact that Hulu is a streaming platform.
I don’t know that there’s that much importance to the fact that we’re a streaming platform. I think the importance is that there are a lot of new players in the scripted business… I’m not sure it means a lot to the consumer that it’s a streaming service versus a linear subscription service with a digital option, versus a broadcaster. That’s an industry distinction.
At Rerun, we think competition created by these new entrants to the market are raising the standard of creativity, quality and innovation in storytelling. This ultimately benefits the viewer.
When is the internet going to change TV ads for real?
This Recode Media podcast with Simulmedia CEO Dave Morgan delves into linear TV advertising, why it’s still important for big brands, and what’s exciting about the possibilities of personalised TV ads.
'The fact that everybody in America gets the same ads, at the same time, for the same products, has never made that much sense. I grew up in a small coal town in western Pennsylvania, my mother’s still there. There’s one Starbucks 55 miles away, probably not another one for 80 miles? I live on the upper west side of Manhattan, there’s more people on my block than in my hometown, and she gets the same ads'.
Amazon's Alexa is gettin' all up in your bones
Amazon is reportedly launching its first wearable device, a pair of smart glasses powered by Alexa. The glasses will use bone-conduction technology so that the wearer alone can hear Alexa. There won't be any display or screen built-in, which would suggest that Amazon could get a slim form factor that's very close, if not identical, to existing glasses.
While it sounds like a more discreet and personal way of using a voice assistant than Siri for example, it'll be interesting to see how it works in public. Time to rewatch the movie 'Her' this weekend perhaps...