We’ve recently been prototyping a new exhibit with standard on-the-ground methods, and now we’re going to use the cameras to do a sort of reverse ground-truthing. Over our busy Whale Watch Week between Christmas and New Year’s, Laura set up a camera on the exhibit to collect data on people using the exhibit at times when we didn’t have an observer in place. So in this case, instead of ground-truthing the cameras, we’re sort of doing the opposite, and checking what we found with the in-person observer.
However, the camera will be on at the same time that the researcher is there, too. It almost sounds like we’ll be spying on our researcher and “checking up,” but it will be an interesting check of both our earlier observations without the camera in place, as well as a chance to observe a) people using the new exhibit without a researcher in place, b) people using it *with* a researcher observing them (and maybe noticing the observer, or possibly not), and c) whether people behave differently as well as how much we can capture with a different camera angle than the on-the-ground observer will have.
The camera should have the advantage of replay which the in-person observer won’t, so we can get an idea of how much might be missed, especially detail-wise.
The camera audio might be better than a researcher standing a ways away, but as our earlier blog posts have mentioned, the audio testing is very much a work in progress.
The camera angle, especially since it’s a single, fixed camera at this point, will be worse than the flexible researcher-in-place, as it will be at a higher angle, and the visitors may block what they’re doing a good portion of the time.
As we go forward and check the automated collection of our system with in-place observers, rather than the other way around, these are the sorts of things we’ll be checking for, advantages and disadvantages.
What else do you all expect the camera might provide better or worse than a in-person researcher?