Who, and what, is in the line-up?

The countdown for the release of Harvey has begun. So as we head into the final two weeks, we thought it was time for the complete show-and-tell.

the line-up of Harvey character models
The “Harvey Army” created over the course of this year by the character-artist team

The character artists have been nose-to-the-grindstone all year, and we’re proud to announce that Harvey is going to be quite a diverse environment. We have a great line-up of historical characters: Minnie Becker, Stout Secretary; Bill Neubauer, elevator operator; L. D. Harvey, first president of Stout; Lillian Froggatt, head librarian; Mary McCalmont, chemistry teacher; Verne Fryklund, third president of Stout; and Cal Peters, artist-in-residence. As for background characters, though, you’ll see more than 30 different characters wandering the halls and filling the classrooms. We’ll have fresh faces and tons of background chatter to keep the Harvey environment new and interesting.

The classroom and environments line-up is even longer. We have 10 rooms and hallways fully populated with characters, objects, and games ready for you to explore. On this 10 room list is the theater, President’s office, textile room, sewing room, millinery classroom, library, tea room, food lab, chemistry lab, and Cal Peters’ studio.

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Textile room
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Theater
First floor hallway, main entrance

Action!

Hello! We’ve been hearing a lot about what the 3D artists and digital humanities students have been up to lately but not much about our digital cinema students. This post, written by Ava and Rachel, brings us up to speed.

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Digital Cinema students Tyler Anderson and Tony Pha reviewing takes.

The creation of a work of film is separated into many stages. Speaking most generally these stages are pre-production, production, and post-production. Over the course of two months, we have worked heavily on the pre-production stage, including location scouting, storyboarding, creating wardrobe and prop boards, as well as blocking out shots on location. In a concentrated story form like we are creating for the beginning of the Harvey Game, this stage is essential. Since we are shooting on an off-campus location, the Mabel Tainter Theater, communication between the teams, within our team, and to those at the Tainter, all have to line up and be worked out before anything can be done.

The first time we are able to work on set, different challenges became immediately clear. From our initial storyboards, we had a clear idea of how our video would look, but often it’s a bit more difficult to actually create these ideal images. The spaces within the Tainter also posed interesting problems to solve. For example, the “Rare Book Section” is actually a few closely-packed shelves in a back room. Sometimes our initial storyboards had to be tweaked, or we came up with new ideas on the spot. The most frustrating part of filming is actually the communication stages. Having everything planned, yet waiting for the “Okay” is difficult to have patience for, but is worth it in the end.

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Sara Westman temporarily acting as the protagonist for the short film; pre-production is painstaking.

Our next steps will be to shoot the final version of the film with our actress, and then work on the post-production stage. This will include a lot of color correction, as well as some digital compositing of shots to really give the feel to the library we’re looking for. Sound design will also come into this stage, as sounds will be added and edited, and some music potentially added to heighten the mood. We’re looking forward to seeing our short film integrated into the Harvey Game.

Re:Humanities 2015: A Digital Humanities Gathering

Last week the Harvey Digital Humanities team participated in the annual Re:Humanities conference hosted by undergraduates digital humanists at three liberal arts colleges in Philadelphia (Bryn Mawr, Haverford, and Swarthmore). The conference included the work of students from diverse schools, including UCLA, Yale, Princeton, and Queens University (Ontario). These students brought their biggest and brightest ideas to showcase a wide range of digital humanities projects.

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An image from Hillary Cleary’s (UCLA) historical game “Pope Burn: A Game for Dissenters,” which highlights a little-known 17th century pope-burning processional.

The projects included Hillary Cleary’s “Pope Burns” game, which details the historic events behind an 17th-century London processional that culminated by a crowd burning the pope in effigy. Cleary created this game for the same reasons we are building Harvey: as a way to curate the past and educate the public on the events of the past. And she wanted to create something rather than write another twenty-page paper. The spirit of maker culture animated the student projects. It is an exciting time to be a student.

Whitney Trettien, who will be starting as a new professor at UNC–Chapel Hill, kicked off the two day event with a keynote address exploring the multiple ways that objects can be immortalized and how this benefits those of us who take the time to stop and look at them. Her speech “Destroying the Book to Come” gave examples of how old books have been digitally awoken—giving their messages and ideas new life. That’s what we hope Harvey does for the content that is trapped in the archives.

In the same way that Trettien beautifully introduced the conference, Wendy Hsu’s closing keynote wrapped it up in a way that made us all step back and look at our digital humanities world in a different way. “Enacting Humanist Possibilities: From the Academy to the Publics” contemplated how these new, digital technologies can change the ways that our public institutions—schools, universities, municipalities—engage the general public. Hsu imagines a deeper involvement of citizens and ordinary people in public work. Looking at the community of western Wisconsin and UW–Stout alumni, Harvey has similar goals to create a new way for people to interact with this institution and our shared history.

Throughout the conference The Harvey Game sparked interest across the board. The chance to present this project at the poster session really caught everyone’s attention and made them think about a whole new way to represent the Digital Humanities. With many comments along the lines of, “I never would have thought a virtual game could be a humanities project.” The Harvey Game really represented the amazing and innovative work that The University of Wisconsin – Stout is instilling in its students. We can’t wait to see what comes next.

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A group selfie with the student presenters.