“Adaptive audio” for Marvel’s digital comics

Featured, Industry News — By on March 11, 2013 09:54

We are all becoming more and more used to the idea of consuming content on multiple devices, including TV and films. Thanks to Amazon’s Kindle and Barnes and Noble’s Nook, we’re reading newspapers, magazines, and books on our handheld devices too. Other publishing formats are also getting in on the act, and they’re looking to give us an even more enhanced user experience.

Over at SXSW (South By SouthWest to the uninitiated) in Austin, Texas, and bridging the divide between its original publishing format and the cinema, Marvel Comics is helping transform the comic book – or should that be graphic novel? – into a more rounded multimedia experience by adding “adaptive audio” to digital editions

Project Gamma is a collaboration between Marvel, Momentum Entertainment and music-planning company CORD and will be introduced later this year after making its debut at SXSW. The music will be “non-lyrical” and “event driven” and integrated into the reading experience.

Senior Vice President & General Manager of Marvel’s Digital Media Group Peter Phillips says “the audio is key to the story” and points out that the music matches up with all reading styles:

“The music will not speed up as you flip the page. It’s modulated in such a way that whether you’re a fast reader or a slow reader, it will stick with you, it’ll be by your side. This is embedded music to enhance the experience of what you’re already enjoying. And it paces itself to how you’re reading. So that’s really the key.

If there’s a piano expected to be on there for 30 seconds and plays music for 30 seconds, after that time is over it’s going to randomize in a way that’s completely intuitive. As you’re flipping back and forth throughout pages, it’s not going to be buffering; the audio will enhance that experience and take you back to where you were. You’re not going to hear any break in the music.

You may see different pieces sort of mixed and matched. Let’s say for example that you’ve got Nova in a story, and Nova’s got a musical piece that really matches up well with him and his character and then you see Nova in another story; you may hear something that you recognize again from Nova in a different book. What we are trying to do is make music match the feel of our stories and characters, so that means that there could be some repetition from book to book, but not in a way that it’s the same entire piece as when you read a different book”.

Marvel Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso describes the launch as a maiden voyage and promises, “We’ll get more sophisticated”.

Marvel’s digital comics typically cost ¢99, with no premium added for Project Gamma titles.

If you want to experience a digital comic book on your iOS or Android device, click here to download a free Guardians of the Galaxy or Spiderman title as part of a special SXSW promotion.


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1 Comment

  1. Tim Goodyer says:

    Interesting… you might want to look at Broken Saints, which was one of the first ‘motion comics’.

    It uses still cells that slide while a voiceover reads the speech. Music is good too. It was originally posted in series on the internet but is on DVD now.

    Made in 2001, with a very ambitious plot.

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