Archive for the ‘english post’ Category

Background informations about the WE project

Thursday, April 18th, 2013

In this post you will find some complementary information to the english part of the Walking the Edit website.
Walking through some questions, concepts, answers…

Looking back on our way (lessons learned).

Even in a software centric approach, human decision and choices are very important (in the design of the algorithm, for example): the resulting interactions have to create an immersive experience for the user, leading to a complementary approach to storytelling. The resulting “algorithmic movies” should not be taken as replacements to existing “hand made movies”, but as a new narrative continent, where stories unfold through the connections between content, users and places.

The difficulty and the challenges of this project are in finding a right and interesting balance between authorship and (inter)active users, between designing a story and designing a storyworld, between a framed narration and an open experience.

Video-making is not the same anymore. Working in direction of a mainly computational approach (database, metadata & algorithms) is different than creating footage that will be edited by a human, in a traditional way of mastering narration. The way content is created has to be adapted (think heterogenous combinatoric of view points and the value of footage in regard of long term usages); the way content is edited is undergoing a paradigmatic shift (the spatial coverage of videos via a “spaceline” vs. the temporal embedding via a “timeline”); the way content is finally presented and received is also evolving (from a central “here & now” to a networked “everywhere & everytime”, that is furthermore giving a more active place to the viewer, becoming a user)…

In short: all necessary “intelligence” (knowledge) has to be linked to the content (digital documents).

The author is not at the same place anymore. He / she has to take a step back, and see things from “above”. The “story” (what happens) is taking place not through a predefined, editorialized content stream, but through a framed scenography made of interaction possibilities (the UI) and narrative links dynamically made out of the content elements (the database). The responsibility and “value” of the author is therefore not in the “final cut” (closed object), but in his capacity to produce a dynamic community around content and usages.

In the end: the author of the platform is not alone anymore: there are the authors of the content (the video footage) and there are the “authors” of the output (the movie).

Problem setting & “solutions”.

Problems: 

How to create new stories and connect them with our context (place, time and scale) ?

How to get people involved (in a project, in a community, in a place) ?

How to use technology in a way that is focusing on human needs and desires ?

Solutions: 

Focus on the experience. The story is like the destination, and the experience is like the travel. If people are able to travel on their own, they will get engaged, implicated and connected to the final destination: their story.

Use the machine (hard & software) natively. Trying not to reproduce without translation existing mindsets and creative reflexes: the camera as a computer with an eye, the editing software as an algorithmic toolbox and the final screen of the user as a creative device for interactions…

Build your own platform. As at the begin of cinema where creators where building their own cameras (wood, metal & glass), we are now able to build our own “engines” (mainly through software) to create, combine and share content: in iterative and cyclic flows…

Bridge & translate the new technologies to the human scale. Not pixels, nanoseconds and Human Computer Interactions (HCI) through technical devices, but meters, the duration of a individual breath and the whole human body…

In short: use the computers as connected calculators (the content is living and evolving) and not as an amplification machine (the content is closed and simply copied).

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An interview in english

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

This interview was shot in 2011, i just found it on the web:

This interview was done within the MOB conference at CIANT in Prague. CIANT is an international platform for research, production and presentation of creative use of information and communication technologies within the arts, often intersecting with various scientific domains.

 

Another one that was shot in september 2012 at the NTAA exhibition at iMAL in Brussel:

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Walking autumn news

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012

Here are some news about the latest evolutions of the “Walking the Edit” project.

  1. We received this summer a financial help from the OFC (Swiss Federal promotion of cinema culture) for our Memoways software – we are working hard to build up a software platform that enables us to make new adaptations and projects like we are just doing (next point);
  2. We are working on new adaptations: Brussels, Montreal, Basel and Bagnols-sur-Cèze. Brussel and Basel are happening within artistic exhibitions that are already open, Montreal will be a light&fast adaptation within the FNC festival and the little town of Bagnols in the south of the France will present it’s adaptation to the public in june 2013;
  3. We are still in the process of building the iPhone app to let the visitors “walk their own movies”… If everything is going as it should, mid october there should be a first version of the app on the appstore (fingers crossed);
  4. The team is growing: around Ulrich Fischer (project leader) and Nicolas Goy (main software architect), Fabrice Truillot de Chambrier + Stephan Burlot joined the team as software builder for the Memoways MAC OSX application for the first and iPhone app for the second. In the next days another developer will join the team in order to rebuild the WE website on a new CMS, to be able to add additional features like better video player, an embed-code feature, better search and above all more visualization possibilities of statistics and metadata (the details about the video clips that are played, as text, graphics and on the map).

The next steps will be:

  • presentation of the Walking the Edit project and the Memoways platform at the FNC in Montreal, also in the FNC Pro conference;
  • presentation at Dizaïn in Paris the 23 october
  • more presentations to be announced…
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Spring news

Monday, April 9th, 2012


Still from WE shooting in Geneva / Pauline Julier

Time passed since my last english post about the iPhone app. As explained here, we (the developer Nicolas Goy and I) build a new company called Memoways in june 2011: the idea was to separate the technical developments from the artistic issues. Memoways is in charge of the whole technical aspect (software mostly), with the aim to be as generic as possible, and C-Side Production of the production of artistic adaptations over Memoways (like Walking the Edit or Heritage Experience). With the Memoways ecosystem, it will be possible for any content producer to build up projects like Walking the Edit or the Smartmap, with his own content, with full control over content, metadata and the “rules of the game”.

Since the last 10 months, we did following things:
- we build up a new database, a webapp to control the database, API’s to get access to the data / metadata, and a new version of the iPhone app
- the whole Walking the Edit ecosystem is now running on Memoways – we added also two new websites to this new system: Heritage Experience and the Smartmap

That was a lot of work, done almost exclusively by Nicolas. As explained in this and this post, we decided to change our strategy in october 2011.
From October until February, we did following things:
- try to rise money (business angels or early stage investments) -> response no: we are to early (“great project and idea, but you are 3 to 5 years to early. There will certainly be a market for this kind of solution, but not now – we cannot take the risk to be too early”)
- try to get some funding (from institutions) -> no chance by now (long stories, to keep it short: experts in Switzerland prefer read simple documents in german, even if it is possible to send french versions… another surprising statement: “your project is too innovative” after saying “where is the innovation ?” -> read: they did not understand the project on the paper)
- try to find new institutional partners in research and for building up new adaptations. Here, some success ! We had the chance to get in touch with Michel Deriaz from the ISS at the University of Geneva: we build up in very short time a dossier for the CTI (for the result, see above) – some other collaborations are “in the air”…
- we made some investigations and tests to find the best solution to build up our system in an efficient way: we wanted to use an existing DAM like Kaltura to concentrate on our core needs (editing engine, handling of subjective metadata within specific projects) – but it turned out that relying on other solutions is not flexible and powerful enough for our needs. So in the end, we will build up our own DAM (relying on Amazon S3, Zencoder and Heroku).
- we made a mockup of the first version of the Memoways application. It turned out (for many reasons, we will come back on this one later) that it would be better to develop a native Mac OS application than a webapp (an application running in a browser). We found a talented developer with a lot of experience who will be in charge of building up the native application. Our roadmap is the release of a beta version until the end of the year: we should be able to work with our new tool at least at the end of 2012.

There is still a lot to be done, but the good news are:
- all the work done since 2008 is not lost: even if many things have radically evolved (the whole server architecture for example, from a dedicated server to cloud services), we gained a lot of precious experience that will help us to get faster to a reliable result;
- there are now 2 very talented developers with complementary skills: each of them can concentrate on his part (server / client);
- some new adaptations are showing up – see below.

In two days, we will start building up a new adaptation in the south of the France (Bagnols sur Cèze): called “Mémoire vive”, the project will start now in april and will be released to the public in summer 2013. More information will follow…!

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New points on our path

Saturday, October 29th, 2011
We are in a fast moving world (especially regarding technologies, they evolve all the time, new paradigm change arrive every 6 months – in short, nothing is stable, we are all together on a boat that is carrying us on a trip that nobody is leading really) but we are also “backed” with rigid views on our world (the new has to establish itself as viable economic path before we accept it, our attitude regarding technology is very much tinted with our need to measure, plan and master everything – in short, we want to be sure that this boat belongs to us and follows our orders).

How those two antagonist streams do affect a project like Walking the Edit and our young Company Memoways ? It’s simple: we have to prove that the new ideas are not only theory, but 1) work and 2) bring money in. All that with very little money to begin with.

Our system has proven that it’s working (see Walking the Edit movies or the Smartmap), even with only 20% of the functionalities that we would like to implement.
We have done a lot until now, but it seems that it’s not enough (for many reasons, too long to explicit here). So we have to react to be able to stay on that boat, by bringing our specific, innovative and surprizing ways to “pull” and “push” the memory of this journey…
But to react, we need some more “fuel”: without money it will be very difficult to continue.
So now we have to prove that there can be a viable economic development for this new kind of open and playful interactions with the digital world; as there is no comparable project that has build up a working economic model, we have to project that the value of the individual and singular user experience is the creation of a potential economic value. It is not given, but as many other people try to develop strategies to engage user with a given (story)world, it seems that there is a global movement towards more experience creation on the road to the value creation.

Memoways - as a tool to “play” with our shared audiovisual memory through a personal way of interacting with the digital world – is in short two things: a new conceptual architecture of bridging existing technologies together and the vision of taking this digital world not only as a way to master our real world, but to extend our human needs (food for the body and the soul) to the digital world. And our human needs are not only to be able to go from point A to B as fast as possible or to find the most powerful way to get access to the bank account of a user – we as human being need to be entertained, intellectually and emotionally challenged; in short: to be able to use the available tools (may they be digital or not) to build working and sharable links between our dreams, wishes and desires and our daily reality.

All that being said – what road will we be able to build and what path can we share ?

Read our new roadmap; read here to get the new strategic positioning.
Those are the technical and strategic waypoints – about the more conceptual and artistic branches, we will still continue to work through possible research projects.
There is still so much to research, to try, to play with…

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WE for iPhone – it is coming !

Tuesday, September 6th, 2011

Picture by Charles Ayats

The road to publish an application on the appstore can be long: for many different reasons our 4 beta applications where not able or ready to be officially distributed.
Now that we changed a lot of things in the application (from a web app to a native application; from a server / client relation to an almost client only solution; from a audio stream to an internal audio playing solution) and we built up a complete new server solution (powered by Memoways), the WE app for iPhone is in the approval process at Apple.

We should know in the next days how it works out and if the following application will be freely downloadable by any iPhone user.

The app icon

The app works like this:

Once you have downloaded the WE app’ from the Appstore  you just have to:
1. Launch the WE app’ on your iPhone, go to the Packages tab
2. Select the package you want to download (choose the city you are located in; you will be able to use the packages in any other location, but it will not really make sense).
3. Be sure to be connected to the internet with a good WIFI connection – press load, and wait until the package is completely downloaded on your phone
4. You are ready to go ! As the application is working with the GPS of the iPhone, it will work correctly only if you are under the open sky
5. Put on your earphones
6. Start the recording of your walk: press on the start button
7. Walk, listen, look… walk, run, stay still…
8. Stop the recording. You can now name the walk
9. To be able to view the movie, you just have to publish your walk: select the right walk and clic on publish. At the first publication, you will have to create a user, so that the walk and the movie can be linked to the right user
10. Watch the resulting movie on the Walking the Edit website – you will find it under the name you gave to your walk.
There is still a lot to be done, like following things that should come in the coming version:
- Login: add Facebook login
- Record: bubble view mode, like this kind of visualisation (coming from another beta version of the app)

- Record: add more information layers (to know who is the author, when was the footage created, see some tags and so on)
- Walks: have access to more information (lenght of the walk, kilometers, average speed, number of collected videos and so on)
- Watch: a new tab that let’s the user watch directly the published movie on the iPhone
If you have a question, feedback or a suggestion, we are very happy to read your comments if you send us a mail.
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English news

Friday, June 3rd, 2011

With the summer 2011 comes the first english post in this blog. There are more and more non french speaking visitors, and writing in english will force me to write down things in a more simple and direct way…
I apologize for the english that certainly will not be perfect but hopefully understandable !

So, what are the news, what is going on with this project ?

First, the main big thing that is under work just now: we just created a new structure called “Memoways to commercialize the toolset that is behind the Walking the Edit project.
This toolset is mainly composed by a database managed through a custom CMS and linked with API’s to the client applications (the iPhone app’, the website); a separate post will give more insight into that toolset.
We will separate the artistic adaptations (like Walking the Edit and Heritage Experience) from the more generic uses that can be made with this toolset (in a touristic or historic perspective; in combination with an ARG game…). The version 1.0 of our webapp (based on the Cappuccino Framework) will be out during this summer; the underlying database is almost created. After the creation of an user account, anyone can use this app to upload, manage and specify personalized user scenarios in combination with mobile computing uses; the subscription system will be based on a Freemium model.
But, who is “we” ? Mainly 2 persons: Nicolas Goy (the lead developer working on the WE project since more than 3 years) and Ulrich Fischer (who build up the project in 2007). There are other people working with us – the website with more detailed information and the blog of this new entity will arrive in a few days: stay tuned !

Second, we are developing the version 1.0 of our iPhone app’ which should be available as a free download on the iTunes store in the next few weeks (end of June I hope !).
The app will have following features:
- walk and record your movie (this part is already working in our existing beta version) – you hear in realtime the sound of your movie;
- have a graphical overview of your movie, in real time, through our special “bubble view” mode (see here for a simulation);
- watch your walked movie (this is a new feature) – you have access to your recorded paths and movies to watch them directly on your iPhone.

Third, we continue to work on presentations and demoing the whole system.
Several doors for specific new adaptations are opening and under discussion; it is too soon to give any concrete news by now but there will be updates on this in the next weeks.

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