Condition One is an immersive video player for iPad, which does some pretty impressive things with viewer perspective. I’d read about it last year and seen a promo video, but had suspected it might be a bit gimmicky, something that made the explosions of war look exciting and game-like. However, a demo was presented in an interactive panel session at the South by Southwest festival (SXSW) and there are now several more clips on the app showcasing its broader potential.
The app plays video in a way that replicates a person’s field of vision. By moving the iPad around in front of you, the focus of the video moves in the same direction and it’s as if you’re there, looking around you at what’s happening. Test videos have been made by a range of news outlets including the Guardian and the Washington Post, covering for example fighting in Libya, peak hour at Shibuya Crossing in Tokyo, and the Occupy protests.
Christian Pilling of Condition One explained during the session that in thinking about tablets and their uses, they realised that news websites often just repackage existing content for different devices. He claimed that Condition One is, instead, new content, which requires a new syntax and grammar. So far, the videos available are only small and streaming is not yet possible, but they’re hoping to change both of these things soon.
The CEO of Condition One is Danfung Dennis, filmmaker of Hell and Back Again -- which was nominated for a Best Documentary Oscar this year. This is why a lot of the footage available so far is war-based, but Pilling also stressed that they don’t see Condition One as just a news reporting tool - they see it as having potential for advertising, film and entertainment generally.
Being able to play around with it, I did feel immersed in each clip, war or otherwise, and so I’m interested to see where they can go with the app once videos get longer and more news outlets take advantage of its embeddable nature - it could be a really transformative tool for journalism and other audio-visual storytelling. It was often slow to load and did crash on me a few times, but I’m all for one of the key tech messages that was oft-repeated at SXSW - ‘release early and often’. It makes so much more sense to get a product out there and into the hands of people who will test it and give feedback.
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