An Intelligent Cinematic Camera Planning System for Dynamic Narratives

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Title: An Intelligent Cinematic Camera Planning System for Dynamic Narratives
Author: Jhala, Arnav Harish
Advisors: Dr. R Michael Young, Committee Chair
Dr. James Lester, Committee Member
Dr. Robert StAmant, Committee Member
Abstract: This thesis presents a framework for automatic generation of cinematic discourse of a dynamic story. The motivation of this research is provided by the need for more expressive camera control in the current dynamic story generation systems and the lack of formal research in the area of visual discourse processing/generation systems. Film directors and cinematographers have developed effective visual storytelling techniques. They have also articulated various rules for conveying the story to the viewer. The stereotypical ways of filming shot sequences are termed as Idioms. This thesis begins to formalize film idioms as plan operators, augmented with the intentional goals of the director, that represent communicative acts analogus to speech acts used in traditional natural language discourse planning systems. Discourse processing/planning systems have focused on generation of natural language discourse. This is an attempt to extend this research to the generation of visual discourse. The main questions that are addressed in this thesis are: • How does a visual communicative act change the model of the viewer and how can this be encoded in a formalism? • How can the presentation of a scene/shot relate to the actions taking place in the story world and the information being conveyed to the viewer about the story world? • What are the syntax and semantics of the visual medium of communication as they are specified by legal plan structures? I present a study of film idioms and their formalization as plan operators followed by a formal description of the viewer model used by the system. Next, I discuss the representation of the story world plan that is communicated to the viewer by the discourse planner and a formal definition of the extended discourse planning algorithm. Finally, a sample scenario for the communicative plan generated by the discourse planner written in Lisp and executed on the Unreal Tournament 2003(UT) game engine used as a visualizer.
Date: 2004-01-08
Degree: MS
Discipline: Computer Science

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