Research Goal

I want to modernize visual story telling and making in ways that are in tune with the modern social context. I want to create novel methods and technologies to support participation in mobile cinema, a new type of computational and visual narrative.

Mobile cinema is experienced in temporal and spatial narrative segments that can be delivered on wireless devices, such as PDAs and mobile phones, as the audience navigates physical locations and interacts with the environment. The mobile cinema story creator prearranges story webs, where the participant experiences stories as an investigator or a spectator. As the participant navigates physical space, s/he triggers distinct media elements; these cinematic story elements can be considered as embedded in the locale, often explicitly depicting events at the location where they appear. Mobile cinema takes as its starting point the truism that "every story is a journey." It can communicate a narrative that includes character, situation, and changes to a spectator who is moving through a physical environment. Although the participants may not see all of the experience, they still can experience what they think is a coherent narrative. The construction of such a narrative is complex because the creator must shape the story elements for the many pathways his or her audience may take.



Research Challenge

Technological challenge: How can a new mobile cinema system be aware of the audience's physical context, preferences, and responses? How can the system adjust story presentation without the audience's explicit input? How can the system support communication among mobile cinema participants?

Behavioral challenge: Why will people be willing to invest time, energy, or even money to participate in mobile cinema? What will be appealing mobile cinema experiences that differ from mobile games?

Authoring challenge: What kinds of new cameras and authoring tools can support mobile cinema production? How can a mobile cinema system support multiple ways of production for creating cinematic content?

Coordination challenge: What kinds of new technology can coordinate collective mobile cinema production? How can a mobile cinema system facilitate interaction among multiple participants?




Related Research

Four related domains inform my research: audience participation in oral and theatrical story telling, participation paradigms for interactive computational narratives, methods and techniques of context-aware computing, and coordination research. The first two research domains allow me to compare how human performers and interactive narrative systems handle, encourage, and coordinate participation by the audience. By incorporating approaches to context-aware computing, I am able to design mobile cinema in a way that takes into account the context of the audience/participant, thereby minimizing explicit negotiations between the participant and the system. Finally, research in coordination theory on topics such as team formation, goal decomposition and identification, and decision-making provides insights into how to shape mechanisms and technologies that encourage proactive synchronous video contribution to mobile cinema productions.