Workshop XIMPEL — Creating an immersive interactive video using YouTube within 1 hour


S.V. Bhikharie and A. Eliëns
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Workshop aim:

Video as a communication medium has become an undeniably powerful tool to present your message, spurred by the advent of online video portals and the widespread usage of Flash as the defacto video plugin. However, as observed by Alexander et al. (2007) in their article “Beyond Launch: Museum Videos on YouTube”, launching a video or game is one thing, but defining a communication strategy that attracts the attention of users over a longer period of time and creates a bond with potential clients is rather more demanding. And even more importantly, however well-meant and serious the message is, why would people pay any attention whatsoever to it, if it does not immediately arouse curiosity, and why would potential clients explore the further o ering if ff the effort to do so is or may be seen as too demanding, given the fact that competitors are very likely one or two clicks away.

XIMPEL resolves the tension between immediate attention and convenient exploration by allowing viral clips to act as an interface to a rich repository of other (interactive) video material, as well as other interactive applications including casual mini-games and geographical maps (like Bing or Google Maps). In other words, XIMPEL allows for interactive storytelling with an immersive navigational structure. With the introduction of version 3.0 of XIMPEL, YouTube video support has been added, allowing users to directly stream (fragments of) clips from the popular video portal.

Since XIMPEL aims to be accessible to all, the underlying technology for the creation of an interactive story is an XML-based playlist, offering a standardized and well-known way to define your own interactive experience. For more advanced users, XIMPEL offers possibilities to extend the core with custom media types (for example mini-games) and score and evaluation mechanisms; it is even possible to embed XIMPEL within another application. For this workshop, the aim will be to produce an interactive story using YouTube video clips within an hour.

For this workshop, we will create an interactive video in two steps:

1. Create a story graph that specifies the flow of the interactive story (15 minutes)
A story graph has one starting point, and typically offers multiples choices that create multiple branches. Branches can crossover and flow from one branch into another, ultimately leading to an end point. To prevent an exponentially big story graph and keep the interactive video manageable within the given time, we will limit the number of end points to a maximum of 2.

2. Define a XIMPEL playlist using video fragments from YouTube (45 minutes)

Based on the story graph, an XML-based playlist is defined using a text editor. After making a selection of Youtube clips, we use XIMPEL overlays to link the appropriate video fragments to each other. The end result is your own customized interactive video production using YouTube.

Alexander C., Burnette A., Dark D. Hart D, Rossi J., Minor N. (2007), Beyond Launch: Museum
Videos on YouTube, In Proc. Museum on the Web 2008, Montreal, Canada

Eliëns A., Huurdeman H., van de Watering M., Bhikharie S.V. (2008), XIMPEL Interactive Video -
between narrative(s) and game play, Proc. GAME-ON 08, Nov 17-19, Valencia, Spain