Video clips on Instagram cannot be more than 15 second long, but that has not stopped some creative film-makers from using the social network to reach their audience.
A film titled Shield 5 will be released in the form of 28 episodes over the month of February starting today. One 15-second episode will go up every day at 10pm.
Dubbed “social cinema”, this new way to engage audience online, tells the story of a security driver who is arrested for his involvement in a diamond heist and forced to go on the run.
“You have to be adaptable in this day and age, and as much as I like to identify romantically with the idea of people watching what I do on the big screen, most people do it on their iPads,” creator and director Anthony Wilcox told the UK’s Evening Standard.
“I think the main things that made this different to a feature were having to think about every single second and really analyse every single second to squeeze as much story and texture into this.”
The 39-year-old explains that the series was specifically designed to be consumed in episodic form even though that it will add up to a total of seven minutes.
Wilcox, who has previously worked on Hot Fuzz (2007), A Mighty Heart (2007), Layer Cake (2004) and Pearl Harbour (2001), hopes that viewers will appreciate this new way of accessing the story, just like the podcast Serial.
“The way people are watching things is evolving and changing all the time so it seems like the right time to try something different,” Wilcox told BBC. “We’re also going to use photographs along with each episode to help tell the story and add more detail.”
“I was excited by the limitations Instagram has, which is that videos are 15 seconds,” he said, adding that “weirdly it never felt limiting; it actually felt liberating”.
Wilcox is confident that the 15-second format and a story split into 28 episodes will not diminish audience engagement.
“We wanted to make the story as layered and ambitious as possible,” he says. “This is an experiment but I’m really confident the audience will enjoy it.”
Here’s the first episode:
The film premiered on February 1, 2016 at 10pm on Instagram handle @shieldfive.