Synthetic Movies


John A. Watlington

S.B., Electrical Engineering

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1987

Submitted to the Media Arts and Sciences Section
in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements
for the Degree of

Master of Science

at the

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

September 1989

© Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1989
All Rights reserved.


The introduction of digital video to the personal computer has generated interest in the integration of image sequences into the user interface. Traditional means of representing an image sequence lack the manipulability desired, requiring that an alternative approach be taken. Previous work in the field of computer graphics and videodisc applications suggest synthetic movies as the solution. A synthetic movie is a movie which is composed as it is viewed, from a description of the movie.

This thesis discusses synthetic movies and their application to the user interface of the personal workstation. An example application, Video Finger, is presented. Video Finger uses a synthetic movie to convey information about other people sharing the computer workspace.

The work reported herein was funded in part by a contract from CPW Technologies.

Thesis Supervisor: Andrew Lippman
Lecturer, Associate Director, MIT Media Laboratory

Table of Contents
List of Figures
Previous Examples of Synthetic Movies
Basic Components of a Synthetic Movie
Video Finger: An Example Synthetic Movie
Video Finger: Software Description
Video Finger: Data Preparation

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