An iPad app called “Autumn Gem” that is essentially an interactive trailer of a documentary by the same name about modern China’s first feminist, shows how the amazing promise of movie trailers on the iPad and other tablets.
The free app itself is well done and very visual as you can see (the main frame above is actually video, not an image), and as you would expect from the iPad. It features text, a voice over and a fair of amount of video clips from the documentary. The sounds, video and images are crisp to the point, and while there could probably be a bit more multi-touch navigation in the app (sliding between scenes, etc), overall it is a nice experience. What is really well done, however, isn’t just that all of that media is available in the app, but also that the app actually tells the story of the woman/film in about five minutes.
This is an app built for a documentary – and unless your name is Michael Moore, documentaries aren’t usually blockbusters – and the team that built the app and made the movie were able to put enough resources into the app to make it a really nice way to sell some DVDs (the film came out in 2009), which you can do right in the app. Now think about what a blockbuster – say one of the Twilight movies – could do with the kind of budget they have…
On the flip side of that, iPad apps could be a great relatively low-cost but high-distribution way to get the word out about independent films (and music/tours as well if you think about it). We often see games associated with major animated/sci-fi blockbusters – Toy Story 3 is a perfect example – but hopefully we’ll start seeing more free apps like Autumn Gem come out that allow us to while away a few minutes interacting and learning about upcoming films.
Trailers may never be the same again.