“All the world’s a stage, and the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and entrances, while the mole people burrow beneath.”
As the above quote from William Shakespeare and perhaps an Incredible Hulk comic book illustrates, one of my passions beyond scanners is theater. Ever since grade school, I was doing skits in talent shows, writing plays and eventually acting and directing in local community theater.
At first glance, theater and scanners wouldn’t seem to have much in common beyond fun acronyms. For scanners there are terms like DPI (dots per inch) or IPM (images per minute) while a theater director’s notes might say XUCL (cross up-center left). And of course MMPPSM (mysterious mole people per square mile) is used in both digital imaging and stagecraft.
Two acronyms from scanners that have been invaluable in theater are PDF (portable document format) and OCR (optical character recognition). PDF created a new standard for scanning and storing multi-page documents while OCR technology has long allowed scanner users to create editable text from scanned documents and meta-data for searchable PDFs.
In my theater work, PDFs have saved me from myself. Actors and directors make notes in the margins of their scripts for blocking, props, lights and other cues. Unfortunately, my handwriting is terrible. No really, my handwriting is like a doctor who is covered in bees falling off a cliff into a pit of weasels. It’s really bad.
Making notes on my scripts in my horrible scribbles meant I usually couldn’t read them again, so I began scanning the scripts into PDFs and using the comment tools to type notes. With this electronic annotated copy of my script on a tablet or e-reader, I no longer had to strain to figure out if I had written “exit UL door, cue music” or “dance with cat, shrubbery.”
A fellow actor/director had more than just bad handwriting to deal with. Over the last decade, he’s suffered from macular degeneration, a condition that makes reading difficult and often leads to blindness. As the condition progressed, he had to give up certain activities due to his eyesight, but like many, his passion for theater was not something he wanted to let go of.
His solution was to scan his script and use OCR to create an editable text document. Once in this format, he was able to use his word processing software to enlarge the text and invert the characters to white letters on a black background. The larger inverted text was not only readable on his computer screen, but he could print out the pages and use a portable magnifier device as well. Once onstage, no one would guess he only had peripheral vision.
PDF and OCR helped us pursue our passions and these useful tools are included with Epson document scanners to help you archive and create editable text from your important documents, from financial statements to the ballet scene notes for your upcoming production of Oklahoma!
As the immortal Bard would say, “Cry ‘PDF!’ And let scan the docs of OCR!”