Interactions with the moving image question the ideas of the interface and of the image sequence. On one side, the human-machine interface which articulates functions built for the user. On the other side, the cinematic image sequence – the shot – which articulates forms imagined by a creator.
To perceive possible interactions, both ideas influence each other. Their roles meet. The image sequence behaves a bit more like an interface. It becomes a vehicle for the transmission of data not only of time, space and action but also that of a system or network. The interface behaves a bit more like an image sequence. It becomes a vehicle for the communication of a culture, of a creation or a worldview.
Such remix opens on an hybrid, technological and cultural object.
This remix of concepts also guides design choices. It guides the collaboration among creators (designers, developers, creative coders) around the moving image. For example, the choice of an icon for the interface is considered in relation to a choice for the composition of the image sequence. Graphics from an interface can be worked from an image sequence and vice-versa.
Pixels from the shot influence a user’s behavior.
Pixels from the interface inspire an emotion to the viewer.
Cinematography is no longer a stranger to interface design.
What are the motivations for merging the ideas of image sequence and interface? Cinematic creativity for the web. Interface design for cinematic content. The necessity, for cinema makers, to dig deeper into the matrix of information that is a cinematic image stream? The necessity to articulate cinematic shots with the web? As cinematic image sequences capture unique perspectives on the world, cinematic interfaces articulate the dialogue through it.
Moreover, the motivations are driven by the context at stake. By the opportunities that open up for cinematic creativity. The path from analog to digital keeps alive the phenomenon of the moving image. The illusion of motion still manifests. The dynamic visual continuum is still a serie of static images.
If interaction design borrows from cinema (the storytelling, the scenario, the storyboard), cinema makers can also carry methods from interaction and ux designers (the maps, the concepts, the wireframes, the personas, the specifications, the interaction flows) to their art.
The user is now called for new behaviors when interacting with images. More significantly, the mobile web opens possibilities for interactions with moving images. In that context, cinemakers and designers collaborate to communicate with developers and creative coders.
New practices and experiments emerge around moving images. New grounds and issues reveal for moving image makers. We are at a border between production and distribution. A border which opens on new modes of participation within the flow of cinematic experience. The people in or behind the shots is also the community that can carry the cinematic bits. «Cinema as Cultural Interface» act as another guide for the design of interactions.
The interface does not restrict cinema to what it was or should be. An editing software does not freeze cinema within a format that belongs to the past. Rather, interfaces and image sequences start to talk. A cinemaker can consider the concept of interface within his cinematic project. A camera shot becomes a field upon which an information architecture can begin.
Understood as a sequence of data, the shot is perceived for its components.
For the informations we can extract from it.
For its points of interactions.
In his theory, filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini brought the concept of cinemes to describe a primary unit of cinema perceived beyond the shot. In the same way, if technologies allow to segment a video sequence and to detect blobs of pixels, the frame is no longer delimiting the field of cinema :
The actor can be extracted. His action can influence a user action;
The contours of an object can be traced. Its form can become an icon of the cinematic interface;
An alpha channel can be generated on an element. The space thus created can call for a mashup.
Combining methods, the interaction designer works with the cinema maker to communicate these possibilities.
Each shot wires with the web.