Remark Office OMR can be used for much more than just grading tests and analyzing surveys. In this case study, read how one couple was able to host an Academy Awards party with the help of Remark.


Every year my wife and I host an Academy Awards party where ~ 30 to 50 guests vote on who will win best picture, actor, actress, etc. Ballots, filled out by our guests, were traditionally scored using a custom computer program as the winning results were revealed during the real time TV show. At the end of the night, the totals are tallied and prizes handed out for best score.

The Challenge

The biggest problem was getting all the ballots entered into the computer in a timely fashion. For years we have been using hardcopy ballots where our friends would fill out their selections and then I would enter their answers into a custom BASIC program (written by myself). The entry process was tedious and time consuming. I needed an OMR program to automatically scan in ballots and then assist in scoring the ballots as the show progressed on the night of the award ceremony.

The Solution

The Gravic OMR application (Remark Office OMR) allows me to scan all our guests ballots in 1/100th the time it took to enter them by hand. The results are accurate and precise and can be confirmed via images of each ballot along with a spreadsheet listing of results. Counting and scoring the ballots are expedited with the Gravic assortment of grading algorithms.

During the show, as the winners are announced, the results are entered in a grid row as the “Master Key “. At the end of the show, this Master Key is used by Advanced Grade with simple commands to score all the ballots. Within seconds, Gravic OMR provides many report formats that make reviewing results easy and fast.

Once the motion picture Academy releases the nominations in January, an Excel ballot is generated. These are printed and handed out to players weeks in advance. We also provide an electronic file via email, if the player wants to fill it out electronically.

Ballots are turned in about a week before the show. We offer 5 bonus points if turned in 5 days before the event. This motivates them to get them in for scanning. We allow walk-ins at the party and enter these by hand using the pull down menus in the data files. Too lazy to bring a scanner to the restaurant where we host the party.

In the meantime, I enter a blank ballot into the Gravic OMR software and create a template (“Ballot R3 2011 Template4.omr”) that corresponds to the ballot handed out to players. I create the fields around each category and type in the data fields that correspond the the ballot. I enter the corresponding Grading points using the Grade Wizard and save off the key.

I then run a test ballot, filled out by hand, and scan it using the Read Wizard and my HP scanner. I select 200 DPI and adjust the contrast to give a nice black and white image. Note: If any of the boxes on the ballot are too close to each other, I catch it here and adjust the master ballot before sending it out to players.

Now it is time to scan the players ballots. I do this in batches, since not everyone turns them in at the same time. I review the scanned results with the corresponding Gravic image and hand type in their name into the first field. I save off the data file as “Player 2011 rev#”.As new ballots are added, I rev the file name. We ended up with “Player 2011 25″(revision 25) that also included the master key entries from the night of the award ceremony.

The night of the awards ceremony, a master key ballot (hardcopy) is kept by me and one by my wife that records the winning answers. Using a laptop, I periodically enter them into the Player 2011 rev# file in the Master Key grid row. This is done using the pull downs menus inside the “Player 2011 rev# data file. I could leave the laptop in front of me all night and enter results live, however, with food and drink around, I prefer to keep it up front at a separate scoring table.

Once the show is over, I run Advanced Grade and load an answer key (a blank key preloaded with category points and potential answers). I load the Grid Row corresponding to the Master Key row (row #1) that has the real answers. I then review report #101 that shows the players names and scores, in rank order (select this under properties).

My wife then announces everyone’s scores from lowest to highest and hands out prizes.