Overview: Computers allow anyone to become an amateur filmmaker at home with ease using programs such Windows Moviemaker and Apple iMovie. However, for newcomers, the interface of such applications can be complicated and daunting. Working with my classmate David Golan, we proposed an alternative video editor that brings home movies away from the computer and back where they belong, the living room television.
We created a simple, yet robust physical interface in the form of a television remote that anyone can pick up and start editing video right away. We also wanted to create a fun experience for the family that utilized an intuitive control scheme. The remote can be tilted up and down to make selections, rotated counterclockwise and clockwise to rewind and fast forward, and a quick “chop” up-down action makes a cut in the video edit.
The physical device is composed of an accelerometer and simple buttons. The software interface was created with Processing.
My Roles: User Experience Design, User Research, Physical Computing, Rapid prototyping, User testing
Research: Video Editing software (Final Cut Pro, Windows Movie Maker, Avid) can be pricey and also has a certain learning curve when it comes to both the preferred operating system (MAC or WIN) on top of the software's learning curve. Most people are also already comfortable with remote controls.
Remote Construction: Remote design had to lead to intuitive use and natural movements; mimic TV remote to offer familiarity, yet keep the number of buttons to a minimum; select and back/cancel button to navigate menus; accelerometer to do everything else; LED for feedback of button pushes. The remote is comprised of two pushbuttons, a LED, and an accelerometer. We housed the breadboard and Arduino in styrofoam and placed a plastic half-pipe as the top case. For more information on the circuit and construction.
Function: You tilt the remote up or down (then back to resting position) to cycle through the main menu. The select button and cancel/back button are self-explanatory. If you choose to add a shot to your edit, after selecting a video file from the “bin” listed on screen, you then have to set an in and out point to cut a shot for the edit. The active axis of the accelerometer is now the horizontal one, where rotating clockwise fast-forwards and rotating counter-clockwise rewinds. Once select is pushed to pause the video, the axis then shifts back to the vertical where you have to do a “cut” or “chop” motion, basically tilting from up to down, to set an in or out point. Once the out point is chosen and stored, you return to the main menu where you can continue adding more shots to the edit, you can review the current edit, you can export the current edit to a .mov file, or you can review past edits exported through the I-Ve interface.
Challenges: Choosing when to have users press a button or use the accelerometer. making processing interface intuitive and well-suited for our remote; unstable accelerometer values; perf-board is difficult to solder correctly; finding suitable materials for construction; lots of user testing.