May 21, 2010

"The 5th Screen:" Your Environment Being Part Of The Story

Tero Ojanperä, executive vice president of Nokia, and McG, director of Terminator: Salvation talking about how the "5th screen" is the environment you watch content (1st screen= theater, 2nd= television, 3rd= computer, 4th= mobile; I first heard the term when Isabella Rossellini started her "Green Porno" series with the Sundance Channel, and how she thought cartoons were the easiest to watch on tiny mobile screens).

I've been saying this for 4 years. In fact I wanted my thesis project to be an example of this, but chickened out and did a regular film (Joy, which I haven't shown anyone since I left Savannah). But at the time, the only real "mobile" video device was a PSP, and wifi was nowhere near as ubiquitous as it is now, so the technology wasn't really available then. Now's the perfect time.

However, for this video shot at Fast Company's Innovation Uncensored, McG's not really talking about the 5th screen Ojanperä's talking about. He's really describing the 4th screen (mobile), and how we're able to access video at any time and any place, and then replying with the usual snobbish "you can watch the fat person slip into the pool or watch the Godfather, but we wouldn't want to watch the Godfather on a small screen." Unfortunately, it's exactly that mindset that's prevented interactive video from hitting mainstream.

However, I can't be too critical, because what I wanted to do with interactive filmmaking has already been obsolesced by augmented reality, though AR hasn't really gotten into the "storytelling" capability as much as I had hoped (which makes sense: the first applications of AR need financing to continue R+D, so the first applications will be, for example, businesses directing customers to their stores). The only example of "story" I can think of off the top of my head is this billboard PSA in Amsterdam and Rotterdam that reminded pedestrians of public violence that would go unreported.

Where am I going with this: I predict in 4 years, to celebrate A Hard Day's Night's 50th anniversary, the entire film will be an interactive AR experience, where you can walk next to 3D Ringo as he trips on the tire at the riverbank.

That is, if we can get Yoko to sign off.