David Papp Blog

The tech behind Honda’s brilliant The Other Side video

Honda’s newest online commercial is nothing short of brilliant on so many levels. They released it as a short film called “The Other Side”. This video is a double-sided interactive film. As you watch this video, you can press the “R” key which toggles between the humble dad version of the video over to the criminal underworld version. It is so addictive that you constantly press “R” over and over while watching, helping Honda reinforce their brand and bringing film watching to a whole new level!


This short film was shot on a 35mm in Slovenia and Croatia over the period of 6 days. We are marveled by the complexity that would have been involved in shooting this double narrative. The shots in one location at day had to precisely match the shots in the other location at night (sometimes shot in another country). The work was edited using Final Cut Pro X and there is a fantastic detailed technical write-up by the editor.


How did they get the “R” key to work?

There are 2 sides to this, desktop users view it using Honda’s YouTube channel and tablet users get to enjoy this amazing experience in a self-contained HTML5 website. On the YouTube side, they are using a custom gadget which they styled to look just like the ordinary YouTube player. But really behind the scenes there are 2 separate video players kept in sync the entire time showing each side of the day/night film. The HTML5 website keeps both films in a single double-width video and uses the Web Audio API to switch between the left and right channels of a single audio file.

9 thoughts on “The tech behind Honda’s brilliant The Other Side video”

  1. Although the idea is great, isn’t the whole “two videos playing at once” overkill for older computers? I mean, if a user has an old-ish PC with no serious video acceleration from the GPU, it can’t even play ONE HD streaming video without stuttering.

    • Well, honestly, if your computer is that lacking in performance, you should consider replacing it. A lot of computers under $500, even under $300, can run this advertisement smoothly. An Intel HD Integrated Graphics card is basically is all that is needed to run it, and that’s really low for computers. Almost all laptops that are using an Intel processor have Intel HD graphics, and if they don’t, they have a dedicated GPU which will outperform the Intel Integrated GPU.

  2. The traditional place to research information is usually not the YouTube section. It’s an impressive concept, I think. I mean, it’s pretty obvious that people are not only sharing videos when they share a film or a moving image. What Honda is doing is, it basically is showing us the kind of experience it is sharing.

  3. Watched the video and absolutely loved it! Thanks for sharing! Would love to see such a feature expanded upon in more videos, possibly even games and movies, in the future.

  4. Making interactive commercials or adversiments like this is a great way to get someones attention. I mean people are probably going out of their ways to watch it, and I’m sure a good number of them watch it more than once. Its a clever way of marketing and I bet its very effective, and I like this kind of adverstizing way more than the usual “in your face”, “hear our brand name 15 times” or “the other brand sucks” kinds of commercials.

  5. That was just amazing to experience! I, of course, have never seen anything like this done, but that was really cool to see and pretty fun too. Made me want to watch it again in several different ways. I commend them for putting the whole thing together, syncing the material, and the creativity they used inside the videos and how to work the video. Oh, and the car was nice too!

  6. This is a nice concept. Even if it isn’t completely solid it’s a refreshing idea and I think it will lead to more interesting ideas and tech in the future. They have the right frame of mind, I think.

  7. It was a great experience to watch and a great advert for Honda! The ad company behind this should really be applauded. The use of the R key is clever, and the link you shared about how they did it is a must read. Thanks!

  8. haha! I don’t know whether to rejoice because of the innovative of the idea and the degree of attraction obtained, or instead be alarmed at the thought of the possibility that very soon a flood of interactive advertising will become the norm and not the exception.

    Having a new generation educated to interact with interactive advertising could be rather detrimental. I can see babies interacting -from their cradle- with their advertising hologram!

    Thumbs up to Honda for their creativity.

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