Thrumming is video stenography carried out by a single person operating a camera. It was developed for the current world of inexpensive DVD. It is not intended for professional camera operators producing television or film, where sufficient personnel and equipment exist for indexing operations.
A “Thrum” is an audible signal, resembling a chirp or buzz. The “Thrummer” is the physical man-machine interface (MMI) on which a user generates recordable “thrumming” signals. The user programs meaning into the thrummer signal through a standard PC operating system interface (MS, Apple, Sun), and downloads these meaning to the thrummer carriage through a standard RS232 cable.
Thrumming signals are physically produced by the tymbal – a button-like device affixed alongside the condenser microphone of the camera. Like Morse Code, these signals can be extracted from recording by a mathematical algorithm and, if the user is saving the video to a file, the signal is translated and placed as metadata into the MXF track on the video segment. Wherever the video segment is spliced and re-edited, the thrum signal can be left on the audio track, and used for further indexing and video reporting.
Instead of requiring a keypad, thrumming is based on a touch-sensitive work-pad similar to the touch-screens used by bartenders and order-takers at fast-food restaurants. Beyond the touch-screen, however, the work-pad will bear little resemblance to these familiar work-screens ~ showing machine drawings, musculature, or maps – and multi-colored menus more typical of the “Yellow Pages.” Workpads designed for gymnastics coaches, OSHA surveys, or monitoring laboratory work-practices will be quite different from each other. Each uniquely defined menu is based around a specific “language of the work” or “language of the game,” pre-defined with the Thrummer product.
As a job moves through sequences of tasks, different digitized overlays may be required, but for most jobs these will not exceed two or three. The most important feature of the pad is that it allows its users to become quickly familiar with its layout, allowing for rapid, “single stroke” actuation. There is no fiddling with pull-downs, or hand-eye coordination of a mouse click --- you put a signal on the recording with just a point and touch. (examples of several 1990-vintage workpads)