Archive for the paper-based Category

wall scrolling for paper hangers

Posted in paper-based, tools on April 18, 2010 by visualraccoon

Folks, I was doing the paper thing long before I ever touched a computer.

I love the smell of grape watermarkers and the feel of butcherpaper under my fingers and being able to turn and see the whole group, and simply the raw size and physicality of big paper.

In fact, back in the day, raccoon did a series of tool designs for paper-based visual performing media.

The first system was developed by using the phrase “Group Graphics” as guiding light and problem definition. It was observed that groups of designers often wrote and drew together as part of thinking about a problem. Big pads of paper on a table could not be seen by everyone in a group, flip charts on a wall were too small, and black boards did not support color, high resolution or saving of images. The solution was the “Wall Scroll,” a large sheet paper dispensing system for use by groups.

Here we see the Wall Scroll in use by David Sibbet at a meeting of the CORO fellows, San Francisco, California, September 21, 1971.

(hey, David, I’d like that prototype returned to me if you’re no longer using it 8-)

More details and description of other systems on the wall scroll page.

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capturing the dynamics of paper graphic recording

Posted in paper-based, performing graphics, tools on April 1, 2010 by visualraccoon

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.

webcam on a stick

Posted in paper-based, tools on September 2, 2009 by visualraccoon

“Webcam on a stick” for live streaming of paper-based graphic recording to groups of 15 people.

Here’s how it works:

1. You use the medium you are comfortable with (paper and markers).

2. A webcam puts a live video image from the paper onto the screen of your computer.

3. Screen-sharing software transmits that live video image to the group.

4. Group audio via VOIP or land-line teleconference.

Choices for screen-sharing software include Skype, GotoMeeting (free one month trial), Adobe Connect, Googlehangout. They all have some kind of VOIP capability.

You can see how two 8 1/2 x 11 pages fit nicely into the frame. And then when you fill up the right hand page, everything just shifts left, oldest out of frame, and the new page is on right. Note that this small jpg doesn’t in any way do justice to the 1600×1200 resolution of the webcam; click here or on the image to see larger version. Be sure and stretch your browser out side ways to accomodate.

Full details at

BTW, the webcam-on-a-stick setup also provides a couple of ways to record your imagery as animation:

1. Gotomeeting (30 day free trial) used to netcast has a “record” feature (PC only)
2. The Evocam software records as well (15 day free trial)
3. For Mac users, QuickTime X on OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard has a record whole screen feature

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.