Media Streams: Interfaces and Representations for Reusable Media

Marc Davis, MIT Media Lab

Seminar on People, Computers, and Design
Stanford University December 2, 1992


What do you do when you have a thousand video clips? How can we design applications and architectures to support the repurposing of video and audio information? What models of human-computer interaction will help us in constructing environments for working and playing with content-annotated media? To approach these and other questions we will focus on three principal subject areas: models of human-computer interaction and their effects on the types of artifacts we design; enabling technologies for current and future new media applications; and a detailed discussion of a research prototype for annotating, retrieving, and repurposing digital video. In discussing different models of human-computer interaction, we will examine old and new concepts of communication and their corresponding 'closed' and 'open' multimedia architectures. In investigating open multimedia architectures, we have focused on the design of 'reusable' media. Media Streams, the research prototype we will discuss, takes a departure from traditional 'clip-based' representations of video content inherited from single-use applications and utilizes a 'stream-based' representation in order to support the repurposing of annotated temporal media. In addressing the challenges of describing, visualizing, and manipulating video information, we combine automatic and human-assisted annotation of media content, use multiple views of video data at different spatial and temporal granularities, wrestle with issues of consensus and idiosyncrasy in shared representations, and have developed a visual language of cascading, compound, and animated icons for describing the complex structure of video and audio.


Marc Davis is currently a Ph.D. student in the Learning and Common Sense Group at MIT's Media Laboratory. He and other researchers at the Media Lab are building a system called "Media Streams" for annotating, retrieving, manipulating, and repurposing digital video. Davis' work is about providing powerful tools for a whole generation of TV viewers (himself included) to enable them to make video a personalized and interactive medium. Combining his various backgrounds in humanities, arts, and media technology, Davis co-founded (with Mike Travers) the "Narrative Intelligence" reading group at the MIT Media Laboratory. He is participating in the redesign of the BMW Museum's exhibits about the history of mobility and transportation. He spent this past summer pursuing his research at Mitsubishi Electric Research Labs in Cambridge, MA and recently co-led two workshops on virtual reality design ("Virtual Exploratoria for New Learning" and "BMW Musuem: New Models of Learning") at Expedition '92: Launching to New Worlds of Learning in Munich, Germany.


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