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Announcing Scalar’s Timeline Layout

 

Ever wanted to arrange and display pages in your Scalar project along an interactive timeline? Or paths or tags? Ever wanted to showcase a collection of media chronologically? Or a collection of media annotations? Today, we introduce Scalar’s new Timeline layout which will allow you to do all of this and more.

Powered by Knight Lab’s Timeline.JS, this new layout option will display, in chronological order at the top of a page, any content contained or tagged by that page. Each item on the timeline will also display the thumbnail, title, description, and link for its content when clicked. But as with our Google Map layout one must add appropriate metadata to items arranged in the Timeline layout in order for Scalar to plot them appropriately–namely, every piece of content to be displayed must include dcterms:temporal or dcterms:date in the format month, day, year, hour, minute, second.

If that sounds complicated, it’s really not. But just in case, here’s a step-by-step set of instructions for getting going with our own  Timeline layout.

Figure 1. Metadata tab on Scalar’s page editor.

Step one: Add metadata to content in your Scalar book. Whether you want to add media, pages, paths, tags or annotations to your timeline, the first thing you need to do is navigate to the edit page for each of the items you’d like to include.  Once there, select “Metadata,” in the page editor (see Figure 1), and select “Add additional metadata” from the drop down menu. Then, within the metadata dialogue box that pops up, tick the box next to either “Temporal” or “Date” under “dcterms” and click “Add fields” at the bottom-right of the dialogue box. You should now have a new field under Metadata in the page editor called either  “dcterms:temporal” or “dcterms:date,” depending on which you chose. Now enter either a particular date in the form of MM-DD-YY (e.g. 07-21-88) or, if you like, a particular date and time in the form of MM-DD-YY hh:mma (e.g. 07-21-88 2:59 AM) into that field (see here for all supported formats). You can also enter a date (and time) range in the form of MM/DD/YY hh:mma-MM/DD/YY hh:mma (e.g. 07/21/88 2:59 AM-07/22/88 3:31 PM).

Figure 2. Timeline layout using a tag structure.
Click on graph to enlarge.

Step two: Add descriptions and thumbnails to content in your Scalar book (optional). Our Timeline layout will also display an item’s description and associated thumbnail. To add a description to an item, simply enter your text into the description field just under the page’s title in the page editor. To add a thumbnail click on “Styling” and choose “Thumbnail” from the dropdown menu. Then select an image from your media library or enter a url for the image’s location on the Web.

Figure 3. Timeline layout using a path structure.
Click on graph to enlarge.

Step three: Gather your content. Once you’ve added temporal metadata to the items you’d like displayed in your timeline, create a new page (or alternatively, use an existing page) and either tag those items to that page (Figure 2) or add them to the page as a path (Figure 3).

Step four: Select the Timeline layout. Finally, set the current page to the Timeline layout via the drop-down menu under “Layout.”

That’s it! You’re done.

We hope you like this new feature, and as always, we’re really excited to see what you all do with it. Let us know what you think, we’d love to hear from you.

 

Announcing our new Scalar Trailer

Our new Scalar trailer is finished and up at its permanent home over on our Features page. This video highlights the updated features and functionality of our latest interface, Scalar 2.

We’d like to thank the following users who allowed us to showcase their exceptional projects, and more specifically, their compelling uses of Scalar, as part of this video.

 

Jeremy Kagan’s E-Textbook, Keys to Directing, published in Scalar

 

Keys to Directing is rich and informative… Acquired over decades of directing, teaching and in-depth conversations with fellow filmmakers, Kagan’s depth of knowledge is evident in every word, his wisdom matched by the palpable affection and respect he clearly has for the mysterious, difficult, joyous craft of directing. A uniquely valuable read for the filmmaking novice and experienced director alike.

‐SHAWN LEVY, film director of Night at the Museum

Keys to Directing, according to its author, Jeremy Kagan, is a “living” eTextbook that offers an in-depth examination of a director’s essential responsibilities. In addition to being a Professor at the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts, Kagan is also an Emmy Award winning director, writer, and producer of television and feature films. While his film credits include Heroes (1977), The Big Fix (1978), The Chosen (1981), and The Journey of Natty Gann (1985), Kagan has also directed episodes of many celebrated television shows, counting among them, Picket Fences, Chicago Hope, The West Wing, and The Guardian.

Figure 1. Kagan analyzes a four-person shot from Casablanca.

Kagan’s Keys to Directing presents a comprehensive study of its subject moving from chapters on casting and rehearsals through to directing and camera movement. Many sections offer ample real-world footage, sometimes in the form of classic scenes that invoke particular techniques under discussion and at other times, with Kagan himself in revealing behind-the-scenes rehearsals and experimental actor run-throughs. The section on camera movement, for example, covers a myriad of topics –nineteen in all- from camera lenses to green screens. Here, Kagan shows his readers “how to tell [their] story with the camera” by offering detailed analysis of techniques used in classic film and television scenes as well as diagramic breakdowns of camera and actor positioning within those scenes (see Figure 1).

The Introduction to Keys to Directing is free, but the full e-textbook is $20.

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The Alliance for Networking Visual Culture

The Alliance for Networking Visual Culture was created with the generous support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.