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Siggraph Post-mortem, part 2

January 21, 2011
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Now it’s time to talk about the things that didn’t work so well:

  • File sharing: Yeah, I told that this worked quite well, but we also had our hustles with it. First, we were sharing files with 6 people through Dropbox, and some of them had reached their space limit. Having to delete things in a rush in order to have a new rendered paper updated is not the safest thing one can do. Second, although we used version control for the paper itself, we didn’t want to deal with merging and conflict resolution on Latex files, especially at 4am on deadline’s eve. So, we decided to use a “token” for some of the files, which was a bit messy sometimes. Next time I’ll make sure we use a locking mechanism or a better communication schedule.
  • Communication: although we coordinated things quite well during the process, some things could’ve worked better. First, the mail server of one of our collaborators from abroad stopped working close to the deadline, leaving him almost “isolated” during the last 10 hours. Second, next time I’d make sure we schedule more group meetings through instant messengers, as those greatly improved the overall organization.
  • Prototype building. Although we had some design and building skills, our prototypes could be greatly improved if we had somebody with more experience in hardware dedicated to that task. Our sub-group comprised mostly of computer scientists, which is quite unusual in the camera culture group (most people are engineers or physicists). In the end we had nice prototypes, and the issues we had with technology were all detailed in the limitations section of the paper, but this is something we can still improve.

Of course there are more details, but I really can’t share them at this moment because they are related to the research subject. To finish, I’d like to acknowledge our team and some others who collaborated with the project: Vitor Pamplona, Jan Zizka, Everett Lawson, Ramesh Raskar, Manoel Oliveira and Esteban Clua were directly involved with the project and paper; Pedro Thiago created nice 3d renders to illustrate some concepts, Cintia Bartz was photographed and filmed using the prototypes, which is included both in the paper and as extra material sent to the reviewers; Taya Leary for keeping our lab area full of food all the time; Andy, Doug, Abhi and the others from the Camera Culture group for the comments and the great time we had this season.

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