abc television::the chasers media circus
While working for ABC Television on The Chaser’s Media Circus, my role was to design and develop interactive games and multimedia playback systems using TouchDesigner.
The following set of images is to give an overview of one of the multimedia and games playback systems programmed in TD for live operation during studio record on set.
Based on the original design by Boris Bagattini (Chris Wilson), the resident TD programmer at The Chaser’s Media Circus – I decided to look for ways to improve the workflow of adding content to the show, devise a system to be able to load and unload new games for the show as they were needed, and design a user interface that would allow for other members of the production team to operate if either myself or Boris was hit by a bus (apparently a common occurrence in Sydney).
Board of the News!
The premise of this playback system is to allow members of the game show panel to select an item from the board – usually the face of a politician in current media circulation – to which a series of video clips, images, and often embedded interactive games will flow on – relevant to the selected figure.
On the left is a floating UI window for the controls of the BOTN system, with options to flip board objects and reveal their respective content, open the board item, randomize the position of board items, output to the window, and mute and audio signal. Additionally there is an option to open a setup UI for each board item, for integrating and updating new content.
Within the board setup UI, there are options to add or remove content items, control what content is displayed in the front of the board item before reveal, and control its display size.
An option is also provided to open a separate TOX loading UI, where an interactive game can be loaded into the board item. The TOX loading UI provides options for path selection and folder checking, and the ability to kill and destroy TOX, so as once the game is completed during record – it can be unloaded from memory. This is to save any GPU resources, and keep all content embedded within the BOTN framework. All TOP and CHOP outputs automatically link and un-link with the BOTN outputs to save from having to open up the network editor during playback.
At the project level, a master ‘output’ system and UI was developed for master control over what is displayed during record.
Within this UI there are options for control over video and audio output, transformations, an additional TOX loader for when this may need to be re-purposed for additional games or playback systems, and the option to load in a static hold screen or trigger-able ‘breaker’ animation.
When the TD file is launched, UI elements automatically open up, floating on the operation monitor. Floating and scale-able UI elements was inspired by a need for a modular operation environment, where efficiency can be improved by closing unnecessary windows. All UI elements are mapped to key commands for easy opening and closing during performance mode playback.
All in all – working for the ABC was great fun having had no experience in television prior – Would do it again!