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A voyeur watches his boss as she works, but tonight she won’t be alone. As her new romance becomes intense, the watcher’s interruption provokes her to inspect his “work”. But she learns too much. In this still-shot, interactive narrative you can define your own viewpoint down a tragic path. Follow simultaneous perspectives of romance, jealousy and obsession to their ultimate conclusion.
Outline was a project created for a class at the Centre for Digital Media taught by George Johnson (National Film Board) called the Visual Story. Our assignment was to create a narrative composed of still photographs with intersecting character relationships that could be enhanced by interactivity. My team chose to create Flash-based interactive experience using black and white photography and complemented only by the sounds of breath. OUTLINE uses interactive navigation through a minimalist, split-screen Flash interface, where the user can craft their own moments through control of each “side” of the story. Two control elements were implemented to enhance and support the narrative: forced catch-up points along the way ensure the viewer doesn’t lose their way, and several automatic sequences that take the viewer through a dynamic scene quickly. Our story involves three main characters involved in a simple office romance that takes a brutal turn, and was shot at a graphic design studio in downtown Vancouver. We ended up with over 2800 high-res images to sort through, 438 of which were incorporated into the final Flash setup.
Writer - Editor - Sound Production and Design
I produced the “script” which was a series of descriptions of each shot which Matt eventually drew into a storyboard. We communicated a lot during shooting and with my theatre experience I would occasionally coach the actors. Finally when the shots were in Jordan checked them for quality and I eventually chose the shots which would contribute to the final story. Jordan and I also chose the various “catchup” points which were designed to help the user but not be invasive as to their experience. Finally I edited (and even contributed) to the breath sounds.
What I learned
It was exciting to take on a challenge that filmmakers and game designers all over the world are currently tackling. As the writer I quickly learned how difficult it is to incorporate multiple paths without sacrificing meaning or throughline. This was also our first team experience at the MDM and we were just learning what each other’s skills were. At times, despite our titles, on a tight timeline we learned to take on a number of roles to contribute to the finished product. Outline was an excellent learning experience as it was also my first chance to have my work coded into flash. I’ve learned that such tools require a lot of preproduction because editing with flash is a lot more difficult than editing video. Designing for interactivity requires a great deal of forethought. This was the first time in a long time working in a medium that I was not familiar enough with to change things myself once they had gone in, this was a bit difficult but it taught me to plan ahead a little more and reminded me of the challenges ahead in working in new, innovative mediums that require the skills of engineers and computer scientists.
Jordan Braun – Project Manager/Actor
To open the interactive flash version in a new window, click here and then keep clicking!
Or take a look at our trailer!
Nikon D80, Sony A100, Canon SD780, Adobe Bridge, Photoshop, Flash, Wacom pen tablets, Adobe Soundbooth and white chalk.
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Website content by Jen Dowding 2010; Design by M Emily M 2010.