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Interactive video authoring – six key considerations for choosing the right tool for you

Choosing right tool for you

As video has slowly but surely taken over the world, people have been searching for new, innovative ways to engage their audience. 

Interactive video has grown in popularity in recent years as a powerful method of increasing engagement and improving knowledge retention. As it’s not just a passive experience, interactive video is more fun and you’re more likely to remember it as a result. 

In addition, as technology has evolved to make more interactive and immersive content possible, VR has also become an important consideration for creators looking to open up new storytelling possibilities. Ofcom in the UK published a recent report to suggest that viewers remember 360 and 180 video content by as much as 90% more than standard 2D footage. Imagine the potential in the learning design space? 

If you’ve already bought into the idea of interactive video, VR or both, the next step can be a little daunting. How can I create my first interactive video? What interactive video software should I use? How can I build a VR Scenario? Is VR affordable? 

There are various technologies out there and all have their pros and cons. Whether you’re looking to use interactive video and VR for learning design, to deliver immersive storytelling for entertainment or marketing purposes, or to create full media video games, here are six key considerations you should bear in mind:

1) Flexibility 

If you have a specific project in mind with clear requirements, flexibility may not be the most important factor for you to consider. But if you’re new to the world of interactive video and VR and want to experiment with different approaches or use it for a range of projects, you may want to choose a platform that will allow you to work with different types of media. 

For example, some tools offer either interactive video authoring OR Virtual Reality capabilities. Some may only allow you to use 2D video, others may only let you use 180 or 360 video – and some only allow you to use static content such as images or slides. 

This means it’s important to consider what kinds of media you’ll want to use in your initial project, but you should also think about how your interactive content is likely to evolve. It’s well worth keeping your options open as the world of interactive video and VR is only going to grow, so a flexible authoring tool that lets you do all of the above may be a sensible choice. 

(Just so you know – Near-Life CREATOR lets you create interactive content using 2D, 180 and 360 video, as well as static images or slides, offering you full flexibility to use whatever media suits each project best. 

2) Affordability 

Who isn’t looking at affordability as a key factor in choosing the right authoring tool for them? Some of the enterprise tools are very expensive – there are providers that charge you thousands of dollars for a single project. But know that there are other, far more affordable options out there that can deliver the same level of functionality at a fraction of the cost of the tools marketed to big corporates.

Some platforms, instead of charging per project, charge you annually or even monthly for a subscription to their authoring tool. For example, Near-Life is one of the most affordable interactive video authoring tools out there, letting you create hours of interactive video and VR content with a simple annual or monthly subscription that costs less per year than a single project from some providers. This is because we are passionate about making interactive video and VR accessible to everyone. 

And if you’re already creating branching video scenarios by other means, say with a generalist elearning authoring tool, it’s worth noting that the time you would save creating branching scenarios with an interactive video authoring platform would mean the tool would pay for itself in no time. 

3) Ease of use 

With a lot of elearning authoring tools and other video authoring tools, developing interactive video scenarios can be a complex process. It’s worth looking for a tool that’s been specifically designed to aid storyboarding if this isn’t a world you are familiar with yet. This makes it easy to generate concepts quickly and share prototypes with shareholders. With complex interactive VR scenarios or interactive video projects, getting the design right from the outset can save a lot of time and money. 

Here at Near-Life, we make sure it’s as easy as possible to get your ideas into a shareable, testable format. And the simple drag and drop capabilities allow you to populate your interactive scenarios quickly and easily once you’re ready to start creating your interactive content. 

4) Integration options 

Integration is a key factor to consider when you choose an interactive video authoring tool. The tech landscape is complex and you may already have existing tools in place for sharing your content – this might be an LMS for learning or perhaps you tend to share your content on your social media platforms and website. 

If you’re a learning professional, it’s likely you’ll want your interactive content to be compatible with SCORM, xAPI or LTI to make it easy to integrate and track content. Non-learning professionals may be simply looking to embed their interactive videos on their website or to share them on social media to maximise engagement with their audiences. 

When choosing a provider, you should absolutely bear in mind how you will use the content once its created, so you can make sure the integration options work for you (and remember, Near-Life can do all of the above simply and easily). 

5) Advanced functionality 

Interest in gamification has continued to grow over recent years. It increases engagement and makes the process of playing interactive content far more enjoyable and immersive. We’ve adopted game-design principles in the creation of our interactive video authoring tool here at Near-Life, to make it easy for our users to create game-like content. 

That means you can track scores, monitor achievements and set conditions – it’s not like any other video authoring tool out there. Whether it’s branching narrative, in a choose your own adventure style – or a more complex quest, with puzzles to solve – you can add these gamification elements easily at Near-Life. It takes your immersive content to the next level – and allows you to deliver truly engaging interactive experiences – using 2D video, VR content or even static images. 

6) Scalable web VR

Speaking specifically of VR, one of the key constraints with virtual reality is that it is often siloed. You need a specific app or you can only access via specific hardware like Oculus Quest. 

However, some interactive video and VR authoring tools (like Near-Life) use Web VR technology that means you can share VR at scale, with no constraints. Anyone with a smartphone and a simple cardboard or plastic headset could have a fully immersive experience – and, even without, you can still play directly via your laptop, PC or tablet. 

For smartphone or headset users, interactions can be carried out using ‘gaze input’. For those looking to share VR learning projects or interactive VR media projects, the barrier to uptake is much lower. Web VR allows for the most universally accessible of all VR content. 

In conclusion

So there you have it. Six key considerations you need to think about before choosing the right platform for you and your needs. Happily, Near-Life scores well against all of these important considerations, because we’ve designed it with our clients’ needs in mind. 

If you’d like to learn more about why Near-Life is the right tool for your interactive video and VR authoring needs. Please go ahead and book a demo

And if you’re already confident it’s right for you – you can get started right away with a free trial.

Need to find out more? Get in touch with our team.

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