Oscars 2011: Break Out the Third Screen!

I enjoyed the Oscars from a three screen experience: HDTV, laptop, and iPad with the ABC Backstage Pass App, which cost me a buck. At one point I whipped out my cell phone to update Facebook – just so I could have a four screen experience. Yeah, I’m a bit of a dork. Anyways.

I loved the social experience that was the 2011 Oscars. As one Tweep put it, “I’m watching Twitter watch the Oscars!” which was really the epitome – well, that plus the fact that James Franco tweeted video of him walking on to the stage for the first time, and continued to upload pics and vids to Twitter throughout the night. I followed him on Twitter immediately, and then watched his number of followers jump by the second. Cool.

The Backstage Pass app was impressive, aside from the super obvious lack of Twitter. That bothered me. I mean, why wouldn’t they integrate it? Too hard? (I don’t think so…) Did they want to stay focused? (Maybe, but people using the app are also probably going to be tweeting.) Wouldn’t it be great promotion if they pre-included each tweet with an ABC hashtag or something? (Did they just not care?)

Image courtesy of LostRemote.com


The level of control within the app was fabulous. I could touch any cam, and immediately see what they were shooting. The raw feeling (fast zooms, focus corrections, pointing at the floor while moving for the next shot) really appealed to me. Maybe because my background is in video production and I love seeing behind the scenes stuff, but it just felt HONEST!

When I watch TV, there’s always a surreal feel to it, like it’s not actually happening. It’s been edited and corrected and soundtracked – but this had none of that. I kept seeing the camera man’s hand as he adjusted the lens and that made me feel like I was part of the fun.

It all comes down to the level of human connection I felt during the experience. At one point I was surfing through camera angles and caught Natalie Portman talking to someone. She wasn’t posing for pictures or being interviewed… she was just chillin’. Aside from the fact that I adore her, watching her across the entire United States smiling and laughing before the big show made a grin break out on my face.

And that’s the power of social engagement in mainstream media. It connects us to the worlds we escape to and allows us to view our favorite movie stars not just as beautiful faces on the screen, but as real, human people! That’s my absolute favorite part.


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