Viewpoints On Demand

Gilberte Houbart
Designer / Producer / Programer

Glorianna Davenport
Research Supervisor

How can an extensible database of media content be used to support a scaleable story? How much does the machine need to know about content? Are there other parameters beside sex and violence which should be responsive to a viewers request? How might such a request be made?

The project focused on journalists' access to information during the Gulf War. Three journalists from the Boston Globe newspaper and the Director of Information Services for the military were interviewed for this project. The resulting material was burned onto an optical videodisk for computer-assisted retrieval and playback -- a prototype of "the Smart VCR.".

Viewers use dials on their video screens to indicate their relative preference for each of the subjects offered, their relative preference for a particular story, and their prefered story length. Then, they request the story from the computer.

The production and delivery concept seems most appropriate to evolving news stories on topics such as war, elections, or urban planning. Annotations and links between annotations were determined by the creator.

Houbart G (1994).
"Viewpoints on Demand: Tailoring the Presentation of Opinions in Video."
MIT MS Thesis.