Crossing the line: a field study of inhabited television
This paper reports on an ethnographic field study of 'Out Of This World' (OOTW, Benford et al. 1999) an experiment in 'inhabited television' combining broadcast technologies with a collaborative virtual environment in a live show. The study focuses on the work of producing OOTW and how personnel managed the manifold contingencies of working with complex technology. The use of a specially developed virtual camera control application is discussed together with the methods the director used for live editing views from cameras into a 'broadcast from virtual reality'. The challenges faced by the multiple professions involved (TV personnel, research scientists, actors) are documented and the viability of inhabited TV as a 'new medium' is assessed. Future technological refinements are briefly discussed along with some general implications for CSCW and 'media studies' of the work reported.
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