eDance Discussions in Manchester

1 02 2008

Today and yesterday Anja, Helen, Sita and myself have been getting into the nitty-gritty of the eDance project software requirements in Manchester.  Helen and Sita arrived (after what sounded a monumental train journey for Helen!) and we got straight into discussing their experience of using the mish-mash of software we have given them so far!  Of course, this software hadn’t been working 100% smoothly (as it was being used in a context it had not been conceived for – namely all running on one machine without a network).  However, they had managed to get some useful recordings which we had they had sent to us, and we had already imported them onto our local recording server before they arrived.

We started by discussing what Helen and Sita found was missing from the existing recordings.  This included things like the fact that the windows all looked like windows (i.e. had hard frames) which made it hard to forget that there was a computer doing the work.  This was expanded with further windowing requirements, like window transparency and windows with different shapes, which would help allow more free layouts of the videos.  We quickly realised that this could also help in a meeting context, as it would help AG users forget that they are using computers and just get on with the communication. 

 We also discussed having a single window capable of displaying different videos; this could make it look better in a performance context, where you wouldn’t want to see the movement of the windows, but want to change between videos.  It was also desirable to split up the recorded video into separate streams that could be controlled independantly.  This would allow different parts of different recordings to be integrated.  This would also require the ability to jump between recordings, something that the current software does not allow.

 We moved on to talk about drawing on videos.  This would allow a level of visual communication between the dancers and choreographers, which can be essential to the process; it was mentioned earlier that much of the communication is visual (e.g. “do this” rather than “move from position A to position B”).  Drawings on the videos would enable this type of communication – although for effective communication, the lines would need to be reproduced as they are drawn, rather than just the line (i.e. the movement of the drawing, not just the result).  We realised that there was a need to have tools for the lines, as you may want lines that stay for the duration of the video and lines that disappear after some predetermined interval (and of course a clear function to remove lines).

 We finally discussed how all this would be recorded, so that it could be replayed either during a live event or during another recording, including the movement of windows and drawings on the screen.  We realised that this would need a user interface.  This is where we hit problems, as we found that it would be complicated to represent the flow through the videos.  We realised that this may be related to the work on Compendium – this is where we left this part as Simon was not present to help out with this!



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