Some people say that our brains were never meant to process all the images surrounding us today and the barrage of information they release all at once. That may be true, but it doesn’t change the fact that it’s not uncommon to walk into a living room these days and find entire families watching television…and their tablets…and their iPhones…all at once.It may seem kind of insane to experience media this way, but it is what it is. The world has changed and how we’ll evolve with these changes remains to be seen. The bottom line is: People are watching video in new ways, on multiple screens, and there are things you can do in your video production to optimize their experience, and the ways you can benefit from it.
The Era of Optional is here…
Some videos have created characters to literally function as surrogates for the viewers by placing a mobile viewing device right in their hands, therefore justifying the second-screen as one the character is actually using and viewing themselves within the plot.
It’s a slick trick. Interaction with the viewer shouldn’t be forced. Remember, the age of interruption is over and the era of optional has arrived. Viewers want a choice in the matter. By giving them a legit reason for the second screen’s existence, they can decide if that reason is good enough for them to want to jump further in.
2nd screen content must be worth the work…
Another great use of the second screen is the way some forensic drama series are displaying case files and other such materials that may not be seen on the television screening of the episode. It’s another way of providing the viewer with the option of being immersed on a deeper level in the show. The information won’t make or break their understanding of the plot, but it can add to its effect by pulling them closer and making them feel personally involved.
We talked earlier about the chaotic experience that the second-screen viewing can be, so it’s important not to overwhelm the viewer. There’s a fine line between bringing the viewer further into the world of the story and bombarding them with too much detail so that the main conflict and emotion becomes cluttered and confused. It should never take away from the main-screen viewing and the central storyline.
Use the 2nd screen for something unique
If you want to do something important on the second screen, you must ensure to give some breathing room from the main screen experience. However, don’t do it just to do it. Make sure the content is worthwhile and serves a purpose. It must support the central narrative in some way. If the content could just as easily be up on the main screen, then don’t use it for the second one.
A couple other helpful tips: mimimize camera movements and quick cuts as much as possible and give important dialogue time to register. Lastly, the second screen doesn’t equal second rate. The quality needs to stand up to that of the main screen experience. A contrast in quality is another way to potentially distract the viewer.
The rules of the second screen are still being written. We’re learning that people can handle multi-screen viewing, especially kids, but you still need to be mindful that your video production doesn’t come across as an all-out assault on the viewer, leaving their head spinning as they try to keep up.
We’re on the cusp of a new form of storytelling, one that allows for the universe of the story to be greatly expanded to the point where the narrative is now, not just in the viewer’s hands like a book, but also contains the possibility for live interaction at their fingertips.
KVibe Productions is a full-service video production company. Whether it’s a product video production, a corporate video, a feature film, or a commercial production, KVibe offers the total package of multimedia services from development through distribution.