The past two weeks have been the final stage of laying the groundwork before the project really starts coming together. In the coming two weeks we will (hopefully!) begin to see all of our hard work start to transform into something tangible (and awesome).
Despite running into a Unity bug that kept us from constructing an entire test walkthrough as we had wanted, we’ve still been making lots of progress. I referred to Jill’s research to write the scripts for all the POIs throughout the tour and the intro video we’ll have in the initial photosphere. I then rewrote these scripts twice based on Enda’s scratch recordings of them and feedback we received during the midterm presentation. I organized these into a spreadsheet that included the location of each POI and the kinds of multimedia (image, video, animation) that will accompany each.
Also in the last few weeks as the skeleton of the project has formed, we’ve been thinking of some ways to really make the tour stand out, and to make it as engaging as possible. Because of this, I want to construct animations in Blender for some of the POIs that will play alongside the narrations. Only some of the POIs lend themselves to this, but I’m thinking crumbling tombstones in Library Square where the monks were buried, a red-brick quadrangle in Front Square to show what the area once looked like, and putting a “For Sale” sign on the campanile with the story of the race up the structure, for example. I think it would add a sense of history “coming to life.” We’ll see how it fits into the schedule, but I’m set to begin this weekend.
Also, based on Vivienne’s comment at our mid-project review, I wanted to find a way to add a bit of a personal touch to the project. Originally, I had thought perhaps adding quotes of anecdotes from previous students would work, but then I decided we could be a bit more ambitious. I have worked with green screens in the past, and wanted to see if there was a way we could record people actually giving testimonials and then stick them into the photospheres to tell their stories. Enda had seen that the Easy Movie Textures plugin had a Chromakey shader, and I have worked with green screens in the past. After a few tests with green screen footage ripped from YouTube, he was able to make the person look like they were really in the scene. What’s even better, his dad’s work has a full green screen studio, equipped with a camera and lights. We’re going to test it out ourselves on Tuesday, with the hopes that we’ll get people in and recorded by the end of the week. I’m excited to get back into a studio and do some shooting!
The final add-on idea is a companion website, which we had discussed at the beginning of the summer. I wanted the website to be a bit more than a marketing landing page, so after speaking with Enda we decided we should also have the ability for people to submit questions that hadn’t been answered in the tour. These questions would be added to a database, where we could potentially have an expert answer them. This would serve the dual purpose of allowing users to engage with Trinity beyond the initial tour, and showcase our programming and web development skills. Jill and Ying have happily agreed to take on this challenge.
Speaking of shooting, the steadicam (Stayblcam) finally arrived from the States. Adrian was able to do some test shooting with it last week, and while it’s not as smooth as a dolly, it definitely helps with some of the up-and-down motion we were having problems with initially. Thanks to Jill and her hard work securing filming permissions, he’s set to do the final shooting this week. Combining this along with the ambient sound that Ying has been designing should really help bring the project to the next level.