Ford MediaStation & MediaProcessor

Handcrafted user stories

The MediaStation forms an important component of the user-feedback and interaction experience during the show. Because it is audience-facing, MediaStation had to be visually impressive. Part of the specification was that it had to run on large, custom-built plasma touchscreens. MediaStation allows VJs to browse rapidly through thousands of pieces of audience-submitted content from text messages, images to videos.

The MediaProcessor is a back-end tool that automatically processes new media that is submitted in preparation for MediaStation by quickly and quietly performing various manipulations, such as thumbnailing, padding and resizing.

Both MediaStation and MediaProcessor were used at various motor shows in 2007, including: Geneva, Amsterdam, Frankfurt and Barcelona.

MediaStation01

MediaStation02

MediaStation02a


Technical Details

MediaStation and MediaProcessor were both written in C# using the .NET framework.
We developed the graphics rendering engine using the XNA framework.
At the time, XNA had no video support so we integrated DirectShow.NET for all video playback and processing.
We had to support the QuickTime video format up to PAL (720x576) resolution.
Our client set up a large media server which we communicated with using SOAP calls.
The UDP protocol was used to communicate with our client's video spooler machine to synchronise the MediaStations with the VJ's main performance.
During the shows, the software handled thousands of pieces of media each day. All the software was prototyped, designed, written, optimised and bugfixed within six weeks.
Three weeks were spent working from our offices, three were spent with the client for final testing and integration.

Technologies Used

  • Windows
  • C# .NET
  • Direct X
  • Visual Studio