Digital Circus Offers Internet Viewers the Chance to Pick their 'Point of View'

Saturday April 28, 2001

Interactive “Point of View”. When DVD International released “Tender Loving Care” in 1998, the film was touted as the first interactive DVD Video where viewers can manipulate the plot via remote control. Now the company is touting those same features for Internet users who want to get a sneak peak at Point of View. 

On April 17, four chapters of Point of View were streamed over the Internet to promote the DVD which hit stores that day. As with Tender Loving Care, viewers can change the movies’ plot lines by answering a variety of questions posed to them throughout the film. Viewers watching the DVD can respond by using the DVD player’s remote control, while those previewing it on the web can use a mouse. 

The digital film was produced by Vancouver-based Digital Circus, the same company that produced “Tender Loving Care” which sold 8,000 units on DVD and 100,000 units on CD-ROM and was distributed by DVD international. 

“Tender Loving Care was shot on film and this one is shot digitally, and it’s much more streamlined,” says Digital Circus co-founder David Wheeler. “It’s more of a hybrid between a movie and a game.”

Prior to making films, Wheeler and his production partner Rob Landeros, developed the best-selling CD-ROM games The Seventh Guest and The Eleventh Hour. In some respects, watching Point of View on the Internet will be similar to playing a game. 

“With interactive streaming, users go to the site, watch the movie and change the picture as it’s going,” says Wheeler. “It’s a real challenge to apply our design to a streaming technology, and at best it will be a marketing tool.”

Point of View is a thriller about a reclusive artist who becomes obsessed with with her neighbor, Frank. Chapters of the film can be viewed at but only by users with DSL or cable modem connections. 

“The film streams at a high byte rate and a user needs a broadband connection to experience it, :explains Al Mattrick, director of business development for INSINC, a streaming company that is providing the technology for the Point of View site. The picture quality of equal to that of a CD-ROM. 

Based on recent studies, Wheeler estimates about 6 million consumers in North America have DSL or cable modem connections. Mattrick says that the site can handle several thousand visitors at any one time. 

“We’re confident we can handle traffic in the thousands,” Mattrick says, “but if the whole world comes at once, then we’ll have a problem.” Both Wheeler and Mattrick expect the audience will be staggered enough to avoid any complications. 

As technology advances, faster Internet connections delivering better picture quality will likely expand the movie-watching experience on the Web. “Maybe a year from now we’ll produce a movie that is only available on the Internet,” Wheeler says, “but right now we’re just interested in pushing the envelope.”