Declarative Camera Control for Automatic Cinematography

David B. Christianson, Sean E. Anderson, Li-Wei He, David H. Salesin, Daniel S. Weld, Michael F. Cohen

Animations generated by interactive 3D computer graphics applications are typically portrayed either from a particular character’s point of view or from a small set of strategically-placed viewpoints. By ignoring camera placement, such applications fail to realize important storytelling capabilities that have been explored by cinematographers for many years. In this paper, we describe several of the principles of cinematography and show how they can be formalized into a declarative language, called the Declarative Camera Control Language (DCCL). We describe the application of DCCL within the context of a simple interactive video game and argue that DCCL represents cinematic knowledge at the same level of abstraction as expert directors by encoding 16 idioms from a film textbook. These idioms produce compelling animations, as demonstrated on the accompanying videotape.

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