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How you can use Near-Life to make an interactive video in 10 easy steps (in less than 10 minutes)

Graphic image on how to create an interactive video

Team member Ellie explains how she used Near-Life to make an interactive video in 10 easy steps and in less than 10 minutes.

Here’s the interactive video I made

The 10 steps that will enable you to make your first interactive video in 10 minutes

  1. Once you’ve set up an account with Near-Life and have the necessary media, you can go onto the platform. I’m going to be using free resources from Near-Life’s Academy to demonstrate (find links below).
  2. Click ‘Create Project’ to get started and name your project. You can then click ‘Add new scenario’, where you should name your scenario appropriately. Then you can select the countdown, whether to have feedback and scoring, and whether to allow replay at the end of the video. You can also edit how the text will appear, as well as the buttons users may click to give their answers. You can alter all of these decisions later by re-entering settings. Depending on the type of video you’re making, the ideal settings will differ.
  3. You’ll then be taken to a page with a node on it. Nodes are used to build the interactions. You can upload media by clicking an orange button in the bottom left of the screen and dragging and dropping each clip to the right node, or you can click ‘edit’ on the first node and upload all of it from there. Once the media is on and you’re on the node, you should select the media format to be in video rather than slide, and select the right first clip. The ones from Near-Life are numbered which may help you
  4. Then what you want to do is use the countdown on the node to scroll along and find where the interaction begins. This could be right from the start, but in this case, the options for where to go on holiday appear a few seconds into the video. 
  5. Once the countdown is lined up with when the options appear, I can then add hotspots or buttons. To start with, I’ll click hotspot rectangle and show you how to hotspot. Once I’ve clicked this, I can alter the size of the hotspot rectangle to fit around my first option. I then name my hotspot, decide whether I want the area to become highlighted when the user hovers over it, and set it to jump to a new node. Then I can duplicate this and place it over the Norway option, name it and set it to jump to a new node. I do the same thing with New York. This means the three areas of the screen will each take me to a different place when I click on them. 
  6. You should make sure to name your node also, so it’s easy to keep track of the pathway. After that, you can also set a default. Defaults decide where the user goes if they don’t interact with the video. In this case, I’ll direct them to a different node, which will tell them they didn’t interact with the video. However, you may set it to default through the same pathway as though they were interacting.
  7. You should now have 4 more nodes on the screen without any media, so you can start going on to each of them and finding the scene corresponding with that decision. So if someone clicks Cyprus, the next scene will have ‘Sun sea and sand’. This is why labelling your media appropriately is so important so it’s easy to coordinate.
  8. Now I’ll show you how you could use buttons instead of hotspots for the user to give their answers. Go onto the node labelled Cyprus, change the format from slide to video and select the corresponding piece of media. Then create your button group. Name it and decide the button size. I give the two options for activities in Cyprus. One of them is to go treasure-hunting, the other is to sunbathe. Type the text you want to appear on the button, and decide where you want the video to jump to when the user clicks it. It’s pretty much the exact same process as hotspots. 
  9. I can now repeat this process with the other destinations. So I go onto each and create buttons and options so the user can decide which activities to do. The different choices for activities are in the names of the media, as well as which destination they match with. So in Norway, the winter options are to sleigh, or to ski. In New York, the options are to go to a restaurant or see fireworks. 
  10. Finally, once your video is complete, you should run through it to make sure everything’s how you want it to be using the preview button. When you’re happy, you’ll want to click the publish button on the bottom left of the screen. This will then allow you to share the video and gain insights into how your audience has interacted with it.. I’ve already published this video, so to set these changes live, I need to republish it. Republishing it also wipes all the current insights about users’ interactions with the video. 

Here’s the real-time recording of me making the interactive video in less than 10 minutes

Resources to help you further

You can gain access to the same free resources used in this video and try it yourself by checking out Near-Life’s Academy and downloading it from there. You’ll also gain access to more explainer videos and a step by step guide for creating your first interactive video. You can get guidance for adding overlays, adding defaults, scoring, sharing, analytics and more. If you already have some of your own media in mind, you can crack on following the same instructions. 

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