Responses by Rare Volume.
Background: Rare Volume designed two interactive data experiences for the New York headquarters of WarnerMedia, now known as Warner Bros. Discovery. Each installation incorporates live social media data to reveal the liveliness and range of conversation surrounding WarnerMedia and its many subsidiaries.
Design thinking: The Hot Lines installation provides a view into WarnerMedia’s impact on popular culture through the lens of social media. A wall-sized touchscreen lets visitors interact with a film or episode to discover its most frequently quoted lines and watch video clips of these fan-favorite moments.
The Universe installation is a real-time visualization that captures the company’s numerous social media feeds and presents a comprehensive view of the latest activity around WarnerMedia.
Challenges: The client required an approach that allowed the visuals to constantly evolve but with minimal work from staff. To achieve this, we developed custom software to automate the analysis process of the Hot Lines installation. It works by extracting the closed caption track from broadcast-ready media assets and then scouring Twitter, applying natural language–processing (NLP) algorithms to identify the most popular moments automatically. The timing information provided by the closed caption track enables the software to trim the clip to the precise moment of the media. The software can also further refine the trimming timing using speech recognition assisted by a whitelisted dictionary derived from the quoted text.
Favorite details: The Hot Lines experience is completely generative and is composed from the actual script of the selected film or show episode. Each individual letter of the script is a particle that responds to visitor movement and interaction. While in idle mode, the screen of letter particles showcases the film poster as a typographic mosaic.
New lessons: The Hot Lines project gave us a reason to dive deep in studying the ways fans interact with their favorite shows, especially on Twitter. One thing we quickly realized was that their memories of a piece of dialog are usually close but not quite perfect, which highlighted the need for NLP algorithms. We also learned about the patterns of those interactions—the majority occur live or directly following the initial broadcast of the episode. Those realizations found their way not only into the back-end software but also the user experience of the installation.
Visual influences: A screenwriter’s script is the underlying structure and roadmap for directors and actors. Building upon the metaphor, the Hot Lines visual experience was designed entirely from lines of script pulled dynamically from closed caption data of WarnerMedia content.
For Universe, we looked to WarnerMedia’s rich legacy of science fiction cinema. From stunning visualizations of our galaxy to futuristic interfaces, we were able to pull visual inspiration from some of our favorite films and TV shows, such as Blade Runner 2049, Dune and Westworld.