Dynamic Rehearsal Project Update
For the next phase of our tangible user interface project, I drew up the following use scenario:
Our system is created for the general use of a theatrical production team: director, cast, and crew. A typical user has extensive experience in theatre, but not with computers. With the assistance of our system, they will be able to enjoy the benefits of computer-assisted analysis, review, and documentation of rehearsals without a basis of knowledge about computers or programming.
The system will record the rehearsal process with video, audio, location information, and text. Video and audio will be provided by an installed video camera, location information will be provided by RFID tags worn by actors, and text will be automatically sourced from notes being taken by the director, stage manager, and other members of the production staff. With computerized pens, we will be able to digitally record the notes being taken by these users. All interactions take place within the theater space.
The interaction with our system is primarily with the Microsoft Surface. The video camera will be linked to the Surface, automatically recording when the Surface application is activated in Rehearsal mode. Actors only need to wear their RFID tags when they are onstage (to record at what points they enter and exit the stage space) and production staff members only need to write with computerized pens, which electronically record, convert and transfer their notes to the Surface. All other interaction is with the Surface.
At any point, any user can log into the Microsoft Surface application tailored to their production, which will store and sort the data recorded during rehearsals. Upon logging in, a user is provided with a tailored selection of recent rehearsals. For the most common user, an actor in the production, the Surface application would provide a number of workspaces: an area within which video and notes from the most recent rehearsal could be reviewed, an area within which the most recent unread notes for the actor could be reviewed, and thumbnails with which older rehearsals and notes could be accessed. With these workspaces, a user is able to both review their performance and quickly see which areas of the production need further work.
To begin a user’s interaction with the Surface, they only need to place their hand on the surface to bring up their workspaces: recent rehearsal, recent notes, and thumbnails. Once these spaces are open, they can be moved around the surface and resized as necessary. A user can replay video, shuffle through notes, mark notes as read, and compare rehearsals to review their progress. Within the main workspace, there are three main elements. At the top of the space is a global timeline of the entire rehearsal. The times in which the given actor was onstage are noted on the timeline with a color-coded bar, as are all notes for the actor. On the left side space is the video display and an expanded timeline, showing a more specific portion of the rehearsal. The section highlighted in the expanded timeline is noted with brackets; identical brackets also appear on the global timeline. The expanded timeline can be pushed to the left or right to move to a different point in the video. On the right side of the screen is a list of notes relevant to the highlighted portion of the rehearsal and to the current user. Each note is displayed with markers to show what type of note it is and which user it pertains to. Notes can be marked as read or unread, and notes that the user is finished with can be discarded. The full list of notes is also scrollable at the top and bottom. Notes in the panel are also sortable by character or type by selecting the tabs to the right side of the panel. This notes panel can be collapsed into the workspace if the user is solely interested in the video.
The system can also be user collaboratively, with multiple users. To join the review process, a second users needs only to place their hand on the surface, which will add their profiles to existing workspaces. The most recent shared rehearsal will occupy the recent rehearsal space, and any recent unread notes targeted to both users will appear in the recent notes space. Together, multiple users can watch video, discuss notes, and review their progress. In expanded rehearsal panels, information about all active users are displayed: on the global and expanded timelines, the appearances of all users are denoted with extra bars and in the notes panel, only notes pertinent to all active users are displayed. Information about a certain actor can be deactivated by selecting the appropriate tabs to the right side of the notes panel. Multiple users may choose to open more than one expanded rehearsal workspace to compare videos.
With this system, a theatrical production team gains the ability to record, analyze, and review their progress without having to alter their usual rehearsal routine. Information in the form of video, audio, location, and text is put together to provide a comprehensive record of the rehearsal process. The system will aid in the review process and facilitate a more collaborative approach.
Our team also worked to put together the following storyboard elements, though recent conversations have led to some basic changes.
a bird’s eye view of our setup
(the large purple areas are audience seating)
our main interaction screen on the surface
our main collaborative screen on the surface
a more detailed interaction storyboard
More about our proposed changes to come!
Tagged as tangible user interface, theater + Categorized as TUI