Research- Immersive Web Documentaries

An immersive site I looked at was the National Film Board of Canada’s catalogue of immersive websites. Including the interactive web documentary ‘Welcome to Pine Point’.

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 The immersive story tells how a once thriving town in Canada has become a forgotten land. Paul Shoebridge and Michael Simons (known as “The Goggles”) created the site, which lasts for around 10 minutes. It merges creativeness, emotion, and a powerful message, which connects the audience to the story, as characters from the town are individually introduced to the viewer.

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It was originally intended to be a book, as told at the end of the experience, which is why, at the beginning of the story; there are elements of storytelling through text. It is an effective way of informing the audience about Pine Point, combining text, video, animation/drawings, and music to create an all-encompassing experience that would interest a range of audiences.

As my idea for my immersive experience is a similar thing, about Hull College’s time in Memphis, Tennessee, I will consider using a similar range of effective storytelling in my own work. I have footage, sound, images and text that I could put together to create an efficient experience for the audience, much like ‘Welcome to Pine Point’.

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As well as involving real people throughout the story, the audience reads the story through a first person narrative, which creates a more personal and gives the viewer a sense of how real the story is.  The person informs the audience how he first visited the town of Pine Point when he was 9-years-old, “I was 9, living in Yellowknife, and travelled there for a hockey tournament,” which somehow deepens the personal element; this character has known first-hand what Pine Point used to be like when it was a thriving town. “Pine Point was the first place I ever went alone,” this introductory sentence sets the pace, theme and scene of the rest of the immersive experience.

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The background music adds depth to the website, engaging the viewer as they have something to listen to as they read and watch the animations and footage included. Also, the music that the creators have chosen does not detract from the story; it fits well and is appropriate for the content of the site. As well as this, the amount of text used on each page is not overwhelming; the viewer can read the information rather quickly as the right amount to tell the story is used. It is also set out in a way that is easy for the viewer’s eye to travel through the page without getting tired of the amount of text. It is almost like newspaper clippings have been stuck onto the page, which adds creativeness to the website.

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Once the audience has finished watching a video or reading the text, they can chose to click to the next page, or even go back a page if they feel they have missed some information or would like to go back to watch a video that they have skipped over; this gives the viewer all the control over the site, as they can decide which section of the story that they would like to be taken to.

Overall, I think that ‘Welcome to Pine Point’ is the very well designed, involving a range of mediums so that the audience would not get bored of the same thing throughout. This website is also the most appealing to me as I would like my immersive experience to be similar in content.

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