After its recent coup as the first and only company commissioned by Bob Dylan to make a music video of his most famous song, Israeli start-up Interlude is putting its interactive video platform to work for the Israel Ministry of Tourism. A new interactive video by the Ministry presents potential visitors to Israel with a full range of Israel tour experiences, all in a five minute video.

Tourism Minister Uzi Landau introduced the video Wednesday at the International Mediterranean Tourism Market, going on this week in Tel Aviv. Using Interlude’s platform, the video offers viewers dozens of itineraries by making interactive selections as the video plays.

The video, called Discover Israel, features a visitor to Israel named John (his nationality is not specified, nor is his religious background) going around Israel with three people – Ronni, a tour guide; Amit, a young man he meets on the plane; and Sharon, a female Israeli friend. The three are stand-ins for the different experiences Israel offers visitors, with Ronni taking John around to historical and religious sites (Masada, the Western Wall, Via Dolorosa, etc.), Sharon enjoying Israel’s “good life” options (hotels, beaches, The Dead Sea, etc.), and Amit showing off Israeli options for an active vacation (snorkeling in Eilat, windsurfing in the Mediterranean, etc.)

At the beginning of the video, the viewer has John choose one of the three companions for a day of adventure, touring, or relaxation, depending on who was chosen. Each instance of the video features three or four activities, with footage of Israelis enjoying themselves, along with interesting tourism factoids (according to Amit, for example, Israel’s coastline was chosen as one of the “top ten most beautiful in the world,” although there was no attribution for that claim). After each segment, users can choose another scenario (for example, after leaving the Kotel with Ronni, you can choose the Western Wall Tunnels or the Church of the Holy Sepulcher).

Viewers choose a guide for a day of touring Israel virtually (Photo credit: Courtesy)

Viewers choose a guide for a day of touring Israel virtually (Photo credit: Courtesy)

Replaying the video gives you a whole new set of options. Altogether, the video provides 72 touring options, the Ministry said. The video cost NIS 687,000 ($195,000) to make, most of that in filming and production costs for the video itself. The Ministry did not specify how much it paid Interlude.

In December, Interlude released a video version of Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone,” 48 years after the song was first released. Conceived as a take-off on cable TV, the video allowed users to “change channels,” with characters in different scenarios — a cartoon character, a cook on a cooking show, characters in a supposed movie, comedian Drew Carey and audience on The Price is Right, and of course, Dylan himself — lip synching the words to the original recording.

After 'visiting' a site, viewers can decide what they want to see next as various points in the video (Photo credit: Courtesy)

After ‘visiting’ a site, viewers can decide what they want to see next as various points in the video (Photo credit: Courtesy)

The Dylan video, which went viral, as well as the Tourism Ministry video, are telling examples of the capabilities of the Interlude platform, according to CEO Yoni Bloch. “The Interlude interactive video platform combines multiple video streams into a seamless non-linear video experience. The platform allows real time switching between videos while always staying completely in sync with the audio.

The video, said Landau at its introduction, has something for everyone – and represents a commitment by his ministry to utilize the advancements of Israel’s high-tech industry to promote Israel. “This video represents a significant step in the overall program to reach wide and diverse audiences around the world,” said Landau. “Israel has everything the tourist could ask for, and our task is to illustrate this in the best way possible.”

Choosing a tour in Tel Aviv with Sharon (Photo credit: Courtesy)

Choosing a tour in Tel Aviv with Sharon (Photo credit: Courtesy)