Creating personal narratives helps people build meaning around their experiences. However, novices lack the knowledge and experience to create stories with strong narrative structure. Current storytelling tools often structure novice work through templates, enforcing a linear creative process that asks novices for materials they may not have. In this paper, we propose scaffolding creative work using storytelling patterns extracted from stories created by experts. Patterns are modular sets of related camera shots that expert videographers commonly use to achieve a specific narrative function. After identifying a set of patterns from high-quality storytelling videos, we created Motif, a mobile video storytelling application that allows users to construct video stories by combining these patterns. By making existing solutions used by experts available to novices, we encourage capturing shots with story structure and narrative goals in mind. In a controlled study where we asked participants to create travel video stories, videos created with patterns conveyed stronger narrative structure and were considered higher quality by expert evaluators than videos created without patterns.
Presented at CHI 2015