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Interlude's Treehouse: Interactive Video Authoring

COW Library : Art of the Edit Tutorials : Jerry Hofmann : Interlude's Treehouse: Interactive Video Authoring
CreativeCOW presents Interlude's Treehouse: Interactive Video Authoring -- Art of the Edit Review


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"Welcome to a new world of storytelling," invites Treehouse's Interlude, an early player in the world of online authoring and delivery of interactive videos. In this review, Jerry Hofmann finds an impressive and easy-to-use service for creating "smart video" for more engaging content.



Interactive videos have been around for quite some time (think interactive kiosks of the '80s and interactive CDs of the past), however the tools used to make them, have been, shall we say, less than friendly. At least a serious classroom course was needed to get you going in the software out there. Some of the ideas of the past required custom code … Expensive custom code.

Enter Interlude's Treehouse. It's an online, interactive video authoring site with little software for the user to download. The best part? It's free for non-commercial use!

Of course, commercial uses are expected, and pricing for them is determined on a case-by-case basis.

Check out their demo at http://interlude.fm/en/




Just push the arrow you see on the page. Really, go up there and click the link! You'll find it extremely engaging and even inspirational if you do! It will open your eyes to what will feel like a new form of interaction with video.

Treehouse supplies videos that allow the viewers to get actively involved with the experience. It's the viewer who selects a path in the story, the direction of the instruction, and the features of the product... they interact with the video. It's no longer a total couch potato experience. Except you can watch it and interact with it from your couch.

Treehouse plays on my iOS devices just peachy, though it takes a laptop or desktop to author it. Figures you'd need access to those media assets, right?

Once logged in to Treehouse you see a list of recent projects and quick links to tutorials, and the Playground where you can interact with other users, more about that later.





Click on the project of choice, and you're immediately presented with the project's contents, and work to date. Take a look at Treehouse's intuitive interface:





Interlude's cloud delivered self-service HTML5 app makes it a snap to create interactive videos they deliver world-wide online. The possibilities have always been endless for interactive but have also been cumbersome to work in, to say the least, and switching between streams on a DVD has never been as fast as what I'm seeing using Treehouse's solution.

With Treehouse, you simply upload your source media files on the right and they show up as clips. You then build a node based "Project Tree" with noodles (the arrows between the nodes) connecting multiple nodes, building a tree like you see above. I built the one in the picture in about 2 minutes.

Next, you drag clips from the library on the left over the nodes, let go and they "connect." The names of the nodes past the current node become the button names over that current node's playback! Obviously, you can name the nodes anything you want, or they simply take on the name of the QT movie or other asset you've dragged to it! Easy. Pie Easy.

You can preview your work to your heart's content. The software has fast response too, so you don't ever feel "hung up" waiting on a response – you just create. The only download (optionally involved) is a small free app that performs the proprietary and extremely high quality compression during upload. It's best to use the highest quality movie you can export, such as Pro Res as source. When you simply "upload" that big file, it actually is being compressed locally on your computer, and uploads the smaller file with this handy downloaded app. This is slick. And it's a very lossless-looking compression, to boot. Nice job, Interlude, make this extremely easy and high quality.

You can build custom buttons and more. Looping back to other nodes is no problem. The possibilities for interactive video have always been endless (however difficult to learn), but Interlude's Treehouse is a simple-to-use and very effective way to create, host and deliver interactive videos online. Treehouse projects deliver very high-quality, high-definition videos for a range of platforms including iOS. Distribution includes a range of social media sites including Facebook.

Interlude also supports an online community center aptly named The Playground where users can show their work as examples for other users' comments. Some actual users' work can be seen here: http://community.interlude.fm/gallery/





Treehouse even supplies an analytics dashboard with tools to check out the performance of your work. It tracks the total views, views per user, and percentage of users who interact with the whole video across different periods of time. You can filter these results by views, interactions per location, and types of devices. This means you can tweak your message, tweak your story, and build more and more successful videos.

It's part of the emergence of "smart video." The audience chooses a story direction, or just the part of an instruction they need to see again, and they become directly engaged, or not. If not, they see a narrative straight through, just like any other video. It can be seamless, too. The cuts between elements of the video are quick, clean and very fast indeed – faster than I've ever seen a CD or DVD change tracks. So, the experience for the viewer is very entertaining. No waiting.

Treehouse is pioneering something I truly think has nearly infinite possibilities and uses. Interactive videos can sell, entertain and be used to teach. Interlude is a very early player in the world of online authoring and delivery of interactive videos.

I heartily recommend you visit, set up an account for the cost of an email address, and give it a go. Whenever anything this innovative comes around it deserves a 5 COW award. Hands down, this is innovation staring us all right in the face.

Rating: 5 out of 5 COWs






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