Projects 2010 > You're So Happy I Want To Die > Journal
In true final thoughts style here is our last post (sob!):
In August we held our public testing of our early theatre captioning prototype. Since then Yousif our programmer has been working hard on finessing the most successful element of our responsive captioning project. This was the mechanism for showing a character’s emotions, at times when the actor’s voice changes pitch and volume enough to trigger a response in the captions text.
Yousif programmed the animation coding himself because existing programmes are incompatible with our aims. The programming is now more responsive and has smoother animation, so changes in pitch and volume can be registered and compensated for, allowing the audience to see more clearly the changes as the text stretches and elongates and removing the unnecessary “twitching”. We are also developing other text effects to connote various emotions.
It’s very exciting and important work, and we are looking into a way to copyright the prototype.
We will hold a second test in December, when we will present two subtitled scenes to an invited audience of fans and supporters.
It’s been a heartening journey for me, because we have made connections with programmers who love what we are trying to do with captioning. And response to the 10 minute segment on See Hear on BBC2 in September was fantastic, with some major London Theatre’s among those expressing their support and interest in the research. This is just the beginning.
Having just got back from doing another completely different job it was fantastic to come back to Tin Bath and hear how much the prototype has been progressing. Yousif, Sophie and I had met in London during Sept to evaluate our progress and since then we have been making much use of skype and Yousif has been making huge progress with the prototype and has discovered lots of new ways that the text can respond to the actors. We are still working towards our aim of being able to capture in the text the emotions that a deaf audience would miss because they are tone dependent and not necessarily apparent just in the lines. We feel that we are making progress with this but obviously we need to do a next stage of testing to ensure that our thoughts about matching text effect to emotion accords with what the audience see. Having made the decision, based on our August tests, to cut all pictures at this stage and focus on the text and the colours, fonts and effects on the text as way of conveying emotion and story we are still trying to discover the rules of how to manipulate the text to do this.
We have also found a new actor who will be taking over the role of Alexis. Although I am sad to let her go, as a director I feel it is a necessary step so I can watch how the captioning develops from a more objective perspective. There seems to be a real possibility of developing a system that could be the future of captioning and the support of everyone we have come into contact on this scheme has given us a real confidence boost that we are on to something. Sandbox has been an incredible opportunity to focus our fantasies and start the journey of making them reality and it feels like we have made an incredible progress but obviously there is a long way to go. If anyone knows of a rich millionaire who can help us fund the next stage of development that would be brilliant. Thanks!