Tools for Digital Story-telling

Imagine that you've just taken a trip and taken all kinds of great digital photographs: Wonderful stills, but also great movie clips with sound and stunning panoramic shots. You want to write a letter to your Grandmother to tell her about the trip. It's got to be as easy as writing a letter to combine your text (text-primary) with your media, then zip it up onto a CD, so that Grandma can just insert the CD and read/watch your travelogue.

It's important to have all this, not just because of writing letters to Grandma, but because non-technical people need to be able to tell stories, using powerful new digital media, without having to learn Flash, Director, or JavaScript. Digital media literacy implies that people can not only consume the media, but can create it, too. I'll bet Shakespeare wasn't too technically minded. Before we get "Hamlet on the Holodeck," we have to make it as easy for the digital Shakespeare to write as putting quill to paper.

New digital cameras capture a pretty astounding range of media. Check out the panoramic shots and the "what it's like in a sidewalk cafe in Thessaloniki" atmosphere sounds (and video, almost incidentally) that I took with my mid-range camera at http://coweb.cc.gatech.edu/guzdial/37. How can we use all of these? Web pages alone don't quite cut it–too hard to produce, too hard to use with media like panoramic shots, doesn't allow the control that one might want (e.g., controlled views over panoramic images), and doesn't easily allow flexible use of media (e.g., could I play ambient audio in the background of a page of text and some images?).

A CS3911 team worked on the project during the Fall 2003 semester (Kyle Prevatt, Chelsea Morrisey, Eric Sedor, and Austin Lee). Here's the Windows version of what they produced: dst_install.zip

Brian Landry is working on this project in Spring 2004.

More notes on the kind of tool I'd like to see built: story-telling tool-Guzdial.pdf