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That epic Bob Dylan video you saw? This guy helped make it.

That epic Bob Dylan video you saw? This guy helped make it.

The Internet went crazy last week over an interactive Bob Dylan music video. The video (if you’re one of the 11 people who hasn’t already seen it) mimics flipping through TV channels and features actors lip synching the lyrics to “Like a Rolling Stone.” The infectious video had my entire office gleefully channel surfing and took over my Facebook News Feed.

Lucky for me, one of the team members at Interlude (the creators of the video) happens to be my good friend Austin Beer. So after I finished manically texting him about how successful the video was (see the screenshot below) I was able to pull it together to learn how the whole thing was created and what’s to be expected in the future from both Interlude and the industry of interactive media.

Specifically, Austin helped to develop the technological feasibility of the idea and ran the media management (syncing, cutting, encoding, and CDN management). It took the Interlude team about two and half months to create the video, though production was done in just four weeks. (Get this- the team produced enough content comparable to a feature film!)

One of the key takeaways from our informal interview was the amount of attention that Interlude put into making sure the video would be social media friendly before even starting to create it. Another key point- just how exciting it is that we’re all able to witness the technological evolution of storytelling.

Check out the interview below and let us know if you have any additional questions for Austin! He’s happy to respond.

How do you think this video will change the way music videos, internet videos, etc will be created?

Interactive videos have been around for a while, but now everyone and their tech-phobic parents have engaged with and loved an interactive video– they may even understand that interactive storytelling is different than linear storytelling. Storytelling is one of few realms that really has yet to be transformed by technology. I think the spread of this video will be considered a small but important step in how interactive video will become a new storytelling medium for the world.

What inspired the Interlude team to make the video in this format?

Vania Haymann, our brilliant in-house director, was thinking about how the experience of flipping through TV channels slowly rots us — doing something that is nothing. At the same time, a friend suggested having Bob Dylan be lip-synced by a cool rapper. Vania combined the two and discovered how the song “Like a Rolling Stone” could be interpreted in so many ways that this concept could really bring new perspective to the song and its listeners.

What was the response like on social media?

Just check out this reddit thread. If you can make Reddit happy, you’re set. My favorite comment came from reddit user Sinklife who said, “I think this is really the only video this song could have :)”

Was how the video would be shared on social media something considered before starting the project?

Always and it’s actually a major problem now. With Facebook’s recent sharing update limiting JavaScript calls, we had to cancel some amazing features. Big bummer.

What was the hardest part about putting the video together?

First it was trying to make 80 minutes worth of video in less than 6 weeks, for very little money. Then it was to get people to not think we were crazy when we approached them (See the Today Show segment!)

When did you know the video was a hit?

I think it was a couple hours after releasing it when all my friends started texting me out of the blue with things like, “OMG that bob Dylan video is AMAZINING”, “My entire office is watching it right now.” And when some big sites were saying we totally owned Kanye West.


Um this may or may not be what Austin is referring to. What, so I add letters to words when I’m excited. Big deal.

What was your favorite piece of coverage of the video?

“The First-Ever Official Video for ‘Like a Rolling Stone’ Is an Interactive Masterpiece” – Wired

Any teaser updates for what else Interlude is up to?

Our big thing right now is getting everyone to make their own interactive videos with our free tool, Treehouse. Also, look forward to a big short-film competition and maybe some other big-name music videos!

Do you think we will we see a boom of interactive advertisements/videos now?

DUH. Actually serious, I really do think so. People often watch videos 70% percent of the way through. Interactive videos? 300%. No joke. Interactive videos are simply more fun, engaging, and personalized. Moreover, interactive videos are a perfect fit for “create once, publish everywhere.” For video creators, it just makes sense. For brands, it’s a no-brainer.

How do you think technology has changed the way we approach reaching out to people?

All media tries to replicate the best conversation you’ve had with your best friend. Technology has helped most by making that experience more relatable by becoming more empathetic.

Any recommendations for what viral video we need to see now?

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