capturing the dynamics of paper graphic recording

Capturing a graphic recording session for re-presentation to folks who weren’t there is a perennial problem. The final frame in one big image loses the dynamics of development, whereas video is too much information, takes too long to watch, and is too big for convenient distribution.

But taking a sequence of static pictures of the “key frames” — as determined by the graphic recorder herself* — creates a very useful representation of the dynamics. These frames can then be merged into a time-lapse animation showing the developmental flow of the text and graphics.

It is important that the person doing the graphic interpretation of the event should also pick the key frames, because that allows her as interpreter to choreograph the unfolding of the display in the significant steps as she sees (and is drawing) them. The recorder can take the pictures herself through use of a remote control for the camera. Or she can signal an accomplice when to take a picture via previously agreed upon unobtrusive hand gesture. And then using Photoshop the frames can be stitched together into a movie.

Here’s one frame from the (click here to see) time lapse movie of Sunni Brown working the images at this year’s SXSW (vimeo link should play on any computer, pretty low resolution).

(thanks to cw for both photography and PhotoShop-to-movie conversion)

And click here to see full 1280×720 mp4 version, in which most of the text is quite readable (link will play in Quicktime, high resolution). And easy enough to make very readable — this was an experiment shot from the audience, no tripod, and in a dim auditorium with ISO pushed to 3200. If the camera was straight-on to the paper, a little closer, on a tripod in a normally lit room, and higher-up (notice the guy’s head?), then the time lapse record would be totally clear in every frame (even down to smallest text).

Some folks report problems with the mp4 version, so there is also a wmv version (link should play in Windows Media Player, medium resolution; and also, oddly, sometimes in the Safari browser).

In either case, it’s fun to manually move the slider in your movie player to step forward and backward through the frames.

*It should be noted that for this first experiment, Sunni did not pick the keyframes; in fact, the choices were left up to the photographer, who did an outstanding job of selection.

Content on Visual Raccoon is licensed under a Creative Commons by-nc-sa 3.0 United States License unless otherwise indicated. Comments are property of the commenters.


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