If you’re a regular visitor to Open2Study’s classrooms, you may have noticed an odd thing: almost all of our presenters are left-handed and able to write backwards, and in mid-air!
You may have asked yourself, ‘What are the chances of so many southpaws finding jobs in the same industry?’
Good question! The answer, of course, is, ‘Slim!’
Writing left-handed in mid-air
What you see on screen is the result of one of Open2Study’s most dynamic features – the acrylic screen. This ingenious piece of gadgetry, designed and produced by Open Universities Australia and Pips N Pixels production house, enables the presenters to write or illustrate without having to turn their backs on the audience. The bonus is that, to the viewer, it looks like they’re writing in mid-air!
Reading when it’s written backwards
In developing this process, the Open2Study production team had to overcome a few technical challenges. One of these was how to create dynamic text on screen – text that an audience could read in real time even though it was written backwards.
Fortunately, the world of post-production makes this possible. We just record the vision, then flip the final image. Of course, the side effect of this is that our presenters appear left-handed. As you can see with Amir, his haircut is actually reversed; his fin bends to the right and not the left.*Please note: no hair follicles were damaged during the making of this film.
Avoiding the distraction of reflections
Another issue to overcome when using a giant sheet of plastic is reflections. The acrylic screen acts like a mirror and reflects everything in front of it. This means that the production team has to effectively black out everything in the studio, including cameras, walls, lighting stands and people. To achieve this, large camera hides had to be designed and built to allow the cameras to move but not be reflected – even the studio walls had to be completely blacked out.
The results are convincing and the feedback from our students has been great. But the next time you watch one of the presentations, do spare a thought for our presenters who deliver their subjects to this strange, two eyed beast.
Ah, the lengths we go to, to make learning easy.