Pocket size interactive films: Embedding the mobile devices’ features, characteristics and affordances into filmic interactive narratives.

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School of Arts, Design and Architecture | Master's thesis
Degree programme
Master's Programme in New Media
93 + 7
Throughout the history of interactive film, creators have experimented with different modes of interaction to allow for the viewers’ agency. As interactive films have not yet established a standardised form, projects have continually been shaped by new technology. Over time, viewers have shifted from the cinema, to televisions, the personal computer and recently the mobile device. These devices further extend the interactive capabilities that are at the creators’ disposal. Therefore, this thesis proposes that mobile devices could facilitate new forms of interactive film that make use of these features. This study investigates the integration of the mobile devices’ characteristics, features and affordances into an interactive film project that is both viewed and interacted with on a mobile device. First and foremost, it establishes whether the mobile device can be successfully used by authors to relay interactive films. Secondly, it gives insights into design considerations for authors that aim to make use of the mobile devices’ features. Additionally, the thesis gathers insights into the use of game-engine technology for developing similar interactive film projects. The research begins with a literature review establishing the historical and academic context in regards to interactive- films, narratives, and interfaces, thereby focussing on mobile devices. Consecutively, a selection of projects is surveyed to garner insights into the current state of the art. These sections are then used to inform the practice-based part of this thesis in which the production of an interactive film project will be comprehensively documented. A concurrent think-aloud usability test, accompanied by a reflection on the outcomes and production process will conclude the research. The outcome suggests that mobile devices can act as successful vessels for interactive narratives. However, usability tests as well as reflection reveal that the thesis project cannot be strictly classified as an interactive film. Therefore, suggestions for future research as well as insights into the retention of filmic quality can be made in retrospect. Additionally, The use of game-engines for interactive film authoring proves to allow creators rapid prototyping and ease of implementation. Though their use might impact projects by over-complicating interaction paradigms more extensively used in game production.
Niinimäki, Matti
Thesis advisor
Hales, Chris
interactive, film, game, mobile, device, engine, affordance, feature