Adding Interactivity To Video Technology – Samira Sabulis of Tagazu

video(Image Credits: freepik)

Video has always been about entertaining and sharing. With the social aspect of the Internet expanding at unprecedented rates, it’s interesting to consider that the way we have watched video hasn’t changed much since the first time motion was captured on film. You sit down, stare at a screen, and watch.

It’s true that videos now get further than they ever have before – social media allows us to endlessly share videos and truly see the amazing, yet dumbfounding six degrees of separation. This network of sharing has also given birth to the concept of virality, the phenomenon utilized by a few online platforms that have capitalized on mapping out human interaction with technology seemingly before it happens.

Facebook, Twitter, tumblr, Instagram: Behemoths of enterprise and innovation that have fine-tuned their knowledge of their users patterns of thinking online. The way we receive, digest, and deliver information has all changed due to these platforms. They have rooted us in the beginnings of behaviors that will change the way we engage with the world around us, as well as how we invent our futures. This is nothing new.

So why haven’t they touched the realm of video?

We all stare at our screens enough. The current counter-culture of our era is crafting itself around this very thought. There’s no need to spend any more idle time on the Internet – but why should it be idle?

This view that staring at a screen means that you’re not engaging is a bit cynical. The amount of things that you can do with technology these days doesn’t warrant the term “idle”. Neither does the progress of technology. With the younger generation born from technology comes a boom of innovation where the way we use technology doesn’t stop at simply using it, but interacting with it. Constantly improving, personalizing, and customizing the user experience.

Video has taken baby steps in entering this sweep of progression; interactivity in video is on the rise but is still embryonic at best. Interactive Youtube videos have Annotations and they are updated to a more promising Cards, but most interactive video as of now seems to hinder the experience rather than to enhance it.

In the face of this challenge, it’ll be exciting to see all of the ideas that come out of the current stagnancy. There’s a wall to video that hasn’t been touched since the invention of 3D movies, and companies like Tagazu, an interactive video platform, are looking forward to help change that. They want to make video novel again.

“The user deserves more than just being delivered a final product, and should be invited into every aspect of the video. There’s more to video than meets the eye, and the world should see that. That means bringing aspects of the Internet right inside the very video that you’re watching. This way, video becomes a pocket of information, where creators can put as much as they like and users can connect to in a totally different way. Every video viewer has their own unique interaction with a video based off of what they want to get from it.

Eventually, these changes in video will hopefully expand and become an integral in the creation process, leading to even more engaging videos. A new push for designing interactive video converts it into something that’s evolving – because video should never be static.

What type of videos will benefit from interactivity?

You might ask yourself, but can every video be made interactive? The answer is Yes… almost!

Making videos interactive doesn’t always work well. This has to be a well thought process and the interactivity has to have meaning and purpose that is consistent with the message intended.

What comes to mind instantaneously is shoppable videos, however the interactive applications go much further, education, and politics are interesting and untapped fields.

Lets look at each:

Shoppable Videos

Some spent their mornings at Tiffany’s; others, scouring pages upon pages of fashion magazines. Now, we can track fashion icons through the paparazzi, style blogs, or even follow our favorite fashionable celebrities on Instagram. Everything seems to be just a click away.

The fact of the matter is that high fashion is still relatively unobtainable, despite increased exposure through everyday outlets such as social media. Many sites now promote unique, individual style of everyday people, but actually acquiring the same exact name-brand pieces that we see in TV shows, movies, and magazines remains elusive.

There are countless sites dedicated to creating similar outfits to what characters wear on TV, and product placement has been around since the inception of motion picture itself. So, it’s a bit perplexing that in the year where nearly $600 billion will be spent by advertisers there’s no way to find out exactly what your favorite TV character is wearing without heavy research. The closest thing we’ve achieved is articles such as this, which is all well and good, but we’re looking for something with a little bit more efficiency. There’s nothing like a little instant gratification.

Having the ability to buy products from straight inside of a video is the next step in online and visual marketing. It’s simple: the products are already placed, all that’s needed is a way for consumers to find how to buy them.

Take for example, the popular CW show Gossip Girl. Centered around the luxurious lives of New York City’s richest teenagers, the show is a constant reel of fashion advertisements. The drama is only half of the lure for young teens – the other half being the glamour. Adding interactivity to TV, or even to post-production montage videos of the fashion featured on the show allows for the CW to earn sponsorship money all while the brands get instant purchases. If a purchase is just a click away, more people will buy. And if there’s a whole TV show centered around rich, NYC teens, it’s good to remember they actually exist, and are therefore in the market to buy. That’s not to mention that adding the ability to purchase products inside of a video offers invaluable marketing data for companies as to who is buying what, and when.

Interactive video promoting fashion doesn’t just have to be about buying, though. Adding the ability for viewers to engage with what they are watching and explore the fashion featured in their favorite TV show allows them to explore interests, too. Even if you can’t afford to buy all of the expensive clothes featured on Gossip Girl, an avid watcher can explore the items in each episode and learn more about brands, fashion trends, types of fabric, and more. For the young fashionista, that’s priceless knowledge.

Considering that brands are spending over one billion dollars on Instagram in order to be represented by fashion bloggers and influentials alone, we’ll be waiting patiently to see the new interactive trend take hold. The more places that products are housed online, the more opportunity for brands to connect with consumers in new, engaging ways.

Educational Videos

Over the years, there has been a constant struggle for teachers to adapt to the increasing amount of technology that is present in our everyday lives. Technology has not always mixed well with the classroom, and long-term integration of technology in the education field is still in progress. In previous decades, watching a video or movie in class was the highlight of a student’s week. In a world where attention is getting shorter and information is only becoming more and more abundant, will video still enough to engage students in the same way?

The simple answer is: no. Video as we know it is no longer what will keep students engaged in learning material. In the age of iPad games being pandered to mere 3+ ages, educational videos need to take a sharp turn in order to get with the times and really prove itself. This is where an under-utilized form of technology comes in: interactive video. Interactive video, just like the name states, is any kind of video that can “take user input to perform some action” – essentially putting the power in the viewer’s hands.

So what can this power do for students? In an interactive video, the viewer takes an active rather than passive role with the media they are consuming. Imagine a group of people on a trip to the museum. Even though they all arrived together, the group inevitably splinters off as each person heads towards the area of the museum that most interests them. The base information that is learned stays the same, but the details that each person chose to interact with is uniquely their own.

An interactive video works in the same manner. The various interactive aspects within a video are accessed based off the experience the viewer chooses, creating an engagement that not only leaves the viewer feeling in control, but one that keeps their interest piqued. For example, a documentary on dolphins could have interactive zones linking to various aspects of diet, reproduction, and behavioral habits. Someone looking for information specifically pertaining to a dolphin’s diet doesn’t have to sit through 120 minutes or more of video that isn’t relevant to their needs; they can go straight to the information that they are particularly interested in.

This could revolutionize education in all forms. Teachers have have always had a hard time tailoring one lesson plan to fit the needs of hundreds of individual students. As a teaching tool, interactive video has the ability to diversify teaching methods as well as tempos.

“New social media applications and a proliferation of new devices must be integrated into teaching to engage students,” claims a study by Cisco systems on the impact technology has on teaching and learning. Not only did that study find most students learn better when technology is involved, 62% of the teachers surveyed earlier believed videos helped make students more effective.

The benefits of fully integrating interactive video into a classroom setting clearly reflect the changing learning patterns and informational intake of the younger generation. Periodic mini-quizzes within a video can ensure no student gets lost and access to notes written on the video by both the teacher and other students can provide context that makes the difference in a student’s understanding of a concept. Being able to explore and discover detailed facts that pertain to a student’s own specific interests allows for higher engagement and overall better recall.

Political Videos

In the United States, only an estimated 57.5% of those eligible to vote in the 2012 presidential election actually did so, according to a report by the Bipartisan Policy Center. That means around 42.5% of the people who could have had a say in who occupied the highest office in the nation did not. The turnout for other elections, from the local to state level, is similarly low.

Many have talked about what keeps this “non-voting party” from the polls. One common argument is a lack of knowledge on the issues. When a dozen different candidates are throwing a hundred different facts at you, it becomes difficult to keep track of who said what or which statistics are attributed to which organizations.

This seems reasonable enough, but when evaluated this problem reveals a true deficit in our motivation to be informed, as well as an underutilization of multiple tools that can be used to educate the public. As an up-and-coming resource for an engaging, yet informative means of education (as we discussed in this previous article), interactive video fits the bill for eradicating this problem.

When watching a video of a candidate’s speech, there is no way to tell if what they are saying is actually true or not. In most cases, only those who follow candidates closely are even aware of such glaring inconsistencies, such as Mitt Romney’s ever-changing stance on abortion  through his many years of campaigning. Instead of having to dig for numerous articles in order to obtain this information, campaign videos for opposing candidates can feature hotspots that bring Romney’s flip-flopping to the forefront, calling into question what other opinions he might change.

Engaging supporters is also possible through interactive video. A single hotspot with branching options and interactive questions could be used to condense down a candidate’s entire platform in 5 minutes. This increases familiarity with not only the candidate, but knowledge of the key components of their campaign. Those looking for more information on your foreign policy or stance on immigration can get that information right away, straight from the source, without having to worry about weeding through layers of potentially biased reports from the media.

Interactive video also creates a compact form of communication in which every viewer gets to delve into the details of the issues and stances that are most important to them. Additionally, it is well known that ad space is expensive; saving 5 seconds in an ad thanks to making a video interactive could mean the difference between occupying 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and a failed presidential bid. Instead of packing in multiple topics in one ad and wasting both time and money, hotspots create pockets of information that fit right into the seam of a video.

For a democratic country, one of the most important aspects of maintaining good government is representing the people. Educating the public on candidates is therefore absolutely necessary in order to establish voter confidence, and furthermore to get people to actually cast a vote. Interactive video is a creative and engaging solution to reach out to younger generations that have stepped away from the voting booths and deeper into technology. Bridging the gap between the way that we have voted in the past and the way we now intake information, interactive video could play one of the most important roles in upcoming elections nationwide.


People want to be engaged rather than be addressed; they seek interactivity. Whether you are trying to elevate public awareness or simply working on your recent travel blog video post, it is important to stand out from the crowd. Posting videos on websites such as social media sites is a popular way to do it but there is more that could be done. We are all in quest to find a better way to get involved in videos and to seamlessly share stories and information. We have finally started to see new technology emerging which takes two-way communication to a whole new level by bridging the disconnect between video and viewer interaction. Interactive video platform is ultimately an answer to our quest, it lets you tag moving or still objects in a video so that no important detail goes unnoticed. Tagged objects become interactive hotspots that carry accurate and necessary information. Internet finally penetrated video itself and we now are free to create and explore new generation of videos and revitalize the existing ones.


About The Author:

This article is contributed by Samira Sabulis  – CEO of Tagazu -Taggable. Clickable. Shoppable. Easiest way to make video interactive .

With her unique eye, creative intuition, and diverse skill sets and experiences, Samira Sabulis embodies versatility. As a specialist in Directing, Producing and Public Relations, all while being fluent in a range of languages such as Bulgarian, Polish, Russian, and Arabic, she is constantly applying herself and honing her expansive set of skills.

Currently, Samira is the CEO of Tagazu (, an interactive video platform. For the last 2 years her ambitions drove her to create a platform that offers the easiest and most intuitive process for adding interactivity to post production videos.