The Sheridan Faculty of Business was responsible for hosting the 2010 Ontario Colleges Marketing Awards. Keith Barnwell approached Animation and snagged Professor David Quesnelle but realized that he wanted interactivity with an animated co-host for the Quiz Bowl. They were led to Sheridan Interactive Multimedia and found Professor, Dan Zen (me).
Dan Zen thought to use his animating to sounds in Flash skills to make the idol mouth, eyebrows and arms animate to the voice of an unseen actor (David) behind the curtains. Yes… very wizard of oz – prompting facebook status lines, “I am off to be the wizard”.
The Quiz Bowl was amazing! 14 teams of four students each in an energetic round robin trivia showdown! The teams were made up of mixed Ontario College students in Business and Marketing. What energy in the crowd with fans all dressed up and chanting and energized by vases of candy! See the Flickr pictures here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/danzen/sets/72157625547244278/. Perhaps view as a slideshow.
Keith, David and Dan worked hard for a few months (356 emails) creating the tools and screens to operate the Quizbowl. Dan Zen built the tools in Flash with characters from David and direction from Keith:
- Main Screen: Osci talking Idol Head and score board
- Scorekeeper Tool: remotely connected to the main screen to change the scores
- Team Screens: two team screens with bobble head Hollywood mascots and questions, answers, timer and trivia
- Team Tool: brought mascots on and off stage, operated round robin questions and timers
Keith was the Master of Ceremonies, David was the man behind the curtain with Osci, Charlene was the scorekeeper, Dan Zen operated two computers each with dual monitors to coordinate the team screens and Joanna, a volunteer from IMM, helped keep Dan on track.
“I felt like I was a VJ mixing sounds and videos for a crowd of ravers! We had a curtained off booth with all this equipment and the crowd was so into the game and teams! Wow – what an experience!” recounts Dan Zen.
Osci and the Host had banter going all the time bringing up the score board and tucking it away – commenting on scores and team mascots – like Maryln Monroe made him melt… Dan Zen would bring teams on and off and handle questions and timers as follows:
- Mascots are dimmed and bobble heads stopped as the question is read
- If a team buzzes in before the question is fully read, they get a 30 second timer
- If they get it wrong, the question is fully read and the other side gets a 15 second timer
- If they first team gets it right, they wave flags and the timer gets put away
- If the question is completely read initially then the question is shown on both screens and both teams have 15 seconds to buzz in
- There are 10 questions per game and dozens of games over 4 or 5 rounds with tie breakers and extra questions
- Teams have to go in and out on their own screens and trivia is synced across two screens
These requirements made for quite the complex tools and operations but with the right hotkeys and menus, the event went almost flawlessly. There was a time when the question was flashed before it was read, the question was read and judges judged both teams had an opportunity to read it. There was also a contested question reading that resulted in a rematch including extra questions. The system handled this perfectly and it was a very proud moment to have planned so well.
Here are links to the tools with the Team Screen just set to animate randomly. The tools need to be run together in slightly special ways to work fully.
- Main Screen: SCREEN STATES: P – peek, Z – nothing, X – idol, C – score, V – idol & score, SPACE – toggle idol, 0-9 – volume (0 is off 9 is most sensitive), left / right – head tilt down – look down, up – head reset to normal, \ – head spin.
- ScoreKeeper Tool – (sample will not actually change the score)
- Team Screen – need to run the Team Tool in another browser to operate Team Screen
- Team Tool – run with the Team Screen to control the characters and questions
All in all, it was a wonderful experience using interactive multimedia for a presentation show like this. It was very successful.
The skills needed to make applications like this are learned in the Sheridan one-year post grad program, Interactive Multimedia. Sheridan also has a number of excellent animation and business/marketing programs. It should be noted that Sheridan swept the Marketing Awards held the following night.