One of my favourite design firms, BERG, recently posted a video on their blog showing some experiments they carried out to explore product imagery. The first of their experiments, Swiping Through Cinema, immediately reminded me of the cinemagraphs we covered previously, while Touching Through Glass reclaims some of the tactility lost with our current touch screen obsession.
The post titled Swiping Through Cinema, Touching Through Glass pulls together a number of threads of thought that are fascinating, but it’s the atmosphere and impact of the Rolex imagery that I find particularly engaging. Using video to shoot the 360° imagery allows the viewer to swipe through discrete angles of the product, but also through discrete time of the video. The short swipes of the finger create brief runs of motion amongst the stills which linger between swipes. The minimal run on after the swipe creates a sense much like the cinemagraphs of If We Don’t, Remember Me.
The sense of extended narrative is also evident in the Swiping Through Cinema experiment through the movement captured by the video. The second hand of the watch moving as you swipe puts the image at a distinct time & place other than the viewer’s. This feels to me like taking a sneak peek of the watch in someone else’s room, an intimate look at an object of desire. The high resolution images and closeness of the shot also encourage this intimate view.
Swiping Through Cinema also gives the viewer the ability to affect the focus, tapping or dragging vertically on the screen to pull the focus. Achieved by pulling the focus across the video as it was shot, this maintains the movement in the video while shifting focus. This could be seen almost a next step on from the light field technology that has been harnessed by the Lytro, which allows you to “tap to focus” on your shots after you’ve taken them. Adobe have just announced a software solution that could achieve a similar effect in Photoshop CS6, although without the intuitive user interface.
It seems like technology is slowly allowing artists to blur the line between video and photography, it is encouraging to see experiments like this which incorporate the benefits of photography into media which will thrive in the technological landscape. Maintaining a distinctly photographic sense in interactive and/or motive imagery provides and opportunity for both artists and their audience to engage with photography in new ways.