Impact of Digital Traces on the Appreciation of Movie Contents


Moon-Hwan Lee, Seijin Cha, Tek-Jin Nam


Despite technologic improvements in home video systems, minimal research has been carried out on the potential to enhance the audience’s reflective state and content appreciation. We explored the value of video systems that leave digital traces to support the movie-watching experience. By developing video-watching systems involving the application of a digital trace, we investigate how the movie-watching experience changed. We conducted semi-structured interviews with participants after they had experienced the systems. Our findings revealed that the digital trace became a source of deeper reflection on the storyline. Active trace logging was useful for revisiting impressive scenes and for encouraging audiences to express their thoughts. The passively generated digital trace acted as a catalyst for interpreting the storyline from a self-oriented viewpoint. We found that the digital trace might support content appreciation as a developmental process. We then discussed issues related to designing video systems with a digital trace mechanism included.


movie, appreciation, digital trace, slow technology, research through design.

Journal Article Link

Research Approach


We explored the value of video systems that leave digital traces to support the movie-watching experience. By developing video-watching systems involving the application of a digital trace, we investigate how the movie-watching experience changed.


Research Prototypes

#1. Pit-a-pat Player

The Pit-a-Pat Player is a video-playing system that gathers audiences’ digital traces in active and passive modes to support movie appreciation. The Pit-a-Pat player consists of a sensor glove and software that shows videos and traces. Inside the sensor glove, a pressure sensor, pulse sensor and Galvanic skin response (GSR) sensor are included.





#2. Ticket Printer

The Ticket Printer is a video-playing system that generates a ticket containing images of audiences and scenes from movies as digital traces. The hardware part of Ticket Printer consists of a small camera, a thermal printer and a display. This hardware is used to collect digital traces (photos of audiences) and print out stills from movie scenes.




#3. Patina Viewer

The Patina Viewer is designed to transform digital trace (the number of watching content) to graphical patina on digital content. The Patina Viewer allows users to watch video content overlaid by implicit patina depend-ing on the number of times the video has been viewed.



Field Study Setting & Result


We conducted semi-structured interviews with participants who had used the design systems in a room decorated to look like a general home environment. During our study, we allowed participants to experience each design system. We then discussed how their movie-watching experience was changed by means of the digital traces in the video systems. We also asked them about any unintended consequences that emerged from the application of traces in the video systems, and about design opportunities relevant to video-watching devices and services.


Our findings reveal that digital traces can be a source of reflection and detailed appreciation relative to movie content. Participants also felt attached to movie content that was overlaid with a unique trace layer. The systems also raised concerns with the participants about the storing of an individual’s traces.

  • Supporting, revisiting and encouraging audiences to express personal impressions by active trace logging
  • Passive traces as catalysts for self-oriented interpretation
  •  Supporting movie appreciation as a developmental process
  •  Making audiences attached to movie content overlaid with a unique layer
  •  Concerns about applying digital traces