Category Archives: Integrated Media 1

Just A Tiny Detail

Click here if you can’t view the video below.

Just a tiny little detail from Zoe MacLean on Vimeo.

A holiday #SketchTask challenge video. The prompt was “A tiny detail” and I’m being sarcastic through the medium of video here. This was taken at Bà Nà Hill Fantasy Park, which is an indoor playroom slash theme park at the top of a mountain in Vietnam and I happened to look up at lunchtime and notice this door in the roof that was kind of inaccessible. Just a tiny detail really. Missing a whole staircase and all!

Holiday Blogging

Hey! Heeeeeey! HEY! Are you still there? Or have you migrated for the holidays also? My student feed has died off in the last few days, everybody is breathing a sigh of relief. No more blogging until next semester now, right? Wrong.

Why? Well why not?

Why not keep blogging over the break? Why not see what connections we can make between real life and what we’re learning in this degree? Why not keep up with the creative practices we’ve learnt this semester?

One creative practice I want to keep up over the holidays is that of the sketch tasks. I really enjoyed creating the sketch videos for Integrated Media 1 and I wanted to keep doing them through the semester and instead got bogged down with course work and I didn’t make time to fit in any kind of sketch work. Now that I’ve got a bit more time up my sleeve, I want to start making sketch videos again.

So I’m going to take a bit of inspiration from IM1 and a bit of inspiration from Fat Mum Slim who runs a very popular photo-a-day challenge through her blog and across different social media platforms (more here).

However, I think a video a day over the holidays is a bit too much, so I’m going to run with a different format of three videos a week. You can shoot and upload them whenever you want, all in one go or spread out across the week. I’m going to be uploading mine to Vimeo and cross-posting to Twitter and my blog. You can join in by uploading to Vimeo, Vine or Youtube and posting on Twitter with the hashtag #SketchTask. I’ll be doing a round-up post on here at the end of every week with some of the videos that I really liked, so make sure to tag your sketch tasks so that I don’t miss them!

So the aim of this game is to take the prompt and use it to create a video. You can be as literal or metaphorical as you like, but I’m going to highly encourage creative thinking outside the box. For example, instead of filming something to represent “odour” in week one, why not try and film like odour? How would odour see things? Another thing that’s highly encouraged is pushing yourself and your boundaries. If you’ve never tried a particular technique or method before, use these sketch videos to give it a go! Then, reflect on how it went.

Here are the prompts for the next few weeks over the holidays:

Week 1: 10-16 June

1. Odour
2. Purple
3. A tiny detail

Week 2: 17-23 June

1. Light
2. Hands
3. Something beginning with Q

Week 3: 24-30 June

1. Poetry
2. In the middle
3. The sky

Week 4: 1-7 July

1. Evening
2. Still life
3. Loud

Week 5: 8-14 July

1. Mail
2. Man made
3. Freedom

Week 6: 15-21 July

1. Looking back
2. The big picture
3. Nothingness

Semester two starts on Monday 22 July and if this challenge gets enough of a response and you guys want to continue through the semester, I’ll pop a new list up for those weeks too.

Six weeks of filming more sketch tasks to keep my creative muscles strong… will you join me?

Porous, Granular, Faceted

The three most important things in relation to networks. And networks are more important that the digital. The digital revolution is over, remember?

Porous

Permeable. Open internally (i.e. smaller bits that can make sense on their own) and externally (i.e. those smaller bits can link to other work outside itself).

A blog is porous. The internal openness comes from the individual posts that make sense on their own without the context of the whole blog, and can be linked to each other in different ways. The external openness comes from the track-backs, ping-backs and external links; the architecture of links that surrounds a blog and connects the blogosphere.

Granular

Smallest unit of closure (not necessarily narrative).

Single shots from a movie are granular (unless you can’t tell what it is). A blog post on it’s own is granular (although deeper than this, a paragraph of a blog post may be granular, as might a single, powerful sentence). A product on Amazon is granular (and porous as it can be added to a wishlist or embedded in a message).

Faceted

Like diamonds. Lots of faces where a face is a way to connect to another part.

Some facets matter, and some don’t. Like we talked about what things will be noticed and what things won’t be back in week 10 with the sugar and the water. The sugar won’t be noticing how wet the water is, because that facet doesn’t affect it. The water won’t be noticing how sweet the sugar is, because that facet doesn’t matter. What matters to the sugar is how warm the water is, how saturated it is and how much velocity it has. What matters to the water is how big the sugar granules are.

If sugar and water could talk…

Lecture Notes- IM 1 Week 12

The final week. The summary (?). The end of the road to which we held no map.

Well, not really. Integrated Media One (Won) is not really the kind of subject that has an ending and only in retrospect can I say what we travelled along was a road of any kind. We meandered through a thick web of information, theories and practice only to find at the end we’d been searching for something that doesn’t need to exist (closure). We can trace the path backwards, but it won’t shed the light on the way forward.

Future.

The future is shaped like this:

photo 1 (1)

Which basically means that I can be fairly sure of where I’ll be in one hour from now (still in front of this laptop, but working on an essay instead of a blog). It means I can be pretty sure of where I’ll be in one week from now, less sure of where I’ll be in one year from now etcetera and by the time we get as far out as five or ten years into the future, the possibilities are so wide it can be very difficult to know which point we will be standing at.

It’s sort of like a Korsakow film. When the film begins, the viewer knows they are at the “start SNU” (if one has been set I suppose), but as the film progresses, the choices for how it ends become wider and wider depending on the path they take. And that ‘path’ will change for each view or viewer. Old media is similar, a cinematic film for example has all these options, but the options are only available to the editor who then chooses which ‘path’ they want to give the audience who have no choice in the path they take.

k future

The digital revolution’s already happened. Its not about the digital any more, its about the network. We have to stop thinking in terms of ‘audience’ and start thinking instead of ‘communities of users’ who will interact with out work (whatever that work may be five years from now).

Adrian urges us to do things differently, in a way that makes a difference. “You create the industry,” he threatens (and promises). What a magnificent way to end the semester that began with “do cool things“.

Lecture Notes- IM 1 Week 9

Disruption.

Disruptive technology.

Disruption is important. Adrian wants to change (disrupt) the way we think about things.

“The world is deeply unstable… it’s a soup… an ocean of connections.”

“Unless you want to be an academic, no-one in this room will write an essay again. Ever again.” (Reminds me of my last athletics carnival at school, “after this I’ll never have to run ever again…”).

Blogs are disruptive. Blogs are  porous . In a blog, nearly anything goes therefore they disrupt the traditional “professional standards”.

bb vs blog

“In the making we express knowledge.”

Future making. Not knowing what might happen = moment of risk. Fight or flight, or stand your ground and make cool stuff.

Most of our models look backwards. Think ahead. Methods for future making. Methods for dealing with things you don’t know. Want future change, always.

Respond to the uncertainty of the making. Surrender agency to the system.

We are the “Media Blahs” of the future…

Spell Check

Can we all just pause for a moment and be thankful for spell check? I’m a terrible speller. It’s not because I’m not smart, it’s not because I don’t read enough and it’s certainly not because I don’t write enough.

It is partly because I’m a little bit lazy now and it’s just easier to let Microsoft Word or Chrome correct “necessary” each time I mangle it. I’ll also quietly admit that I’ll use the dictation app on my phone when I get totally stuck on how to spell something. “Siri, how do you spell…”

But you know what? I think knowing how to spell is important only up to a certain degree. Then knowing how to find the correct spelling can fill in the gaps. And I think this is something that’s happening all around us. Knowing how to film video or record audio or edit media or whatever else the industry needs of us is good, but more importantly we need to know how to find out what we don’t know when we hit the limits of our knowledge. Does that make sense? What I’m saying is if you’re going to create a multimedia piece for a company and you know the basics of filming and editing together the video parts of that piece, that’s good, but knowing how to find out that one editing trick you saw somewhere else is just as important. Knowing what questions to ask, and who to ask, is important too.

Back in primary school we used to use a dictionary to find a word we didn’t know how to spell. I remember a lot of students struggled with this concept, because how were we meant to find a word based on the fact that it’s ordered alphabetically and we didn’t know what order the letters were in it? But that’s where the knowledge of spelling rules helps. That’s where knowing the right questions to ask helps. “It could be spelt like this because of rule X/Y/Z, let’s start there…”

The metaphor I’m trying to draw from this is if you don’t know how to spell a certain word, but you know how to find out what you don’t know, you’ll be okay. And that applies to more than just spelling.

Do Cool Stuff

That was my introduction to this semester. Week 1, day 1, lecture 1 started with “do cool stuff”.

Today Adrian talked a bit more about ‘cool stuff’ and how to make it. Sort of. In a roundabout way. The lecture focussed a bit on heritage media and the way they can’t afford to take risks. We were basically being told to take risks. Do cool stuff.

Korsakow can be used to answer the ‘yes and’ question of “what will happen if…?”

Constraints generate sophisticated work. Like Adrian said way back at the beginning, one video of round things doesn’t make sense, 100 videos of round things and you’ve suddenly got something. Something because of a pattern. Patterns are created by constraints. Let’s create a rule and respond to it.

Sometimes it’s hard to find the pattern (especially in a k-film), the media is then dirty, messy, noisy, other, which makes it harder to understand. Why are these words negative? Dirty, messy, noisy, other?

Same vs Other

When everything is linked and we are in a “cluster of stuff” why do we look for clean, tidy, quite, same? Pay attention to the things that push back, the things that challenge, and use them to do cool stuff.

Lecture Notes- IM1 Week 8

So the last time I did a lecture notes post was in week 4. There was the Easter break, I got sick and then I just avoided the online world in general for a few weeks, but I’m back now, so lets carry on with it.

This week’s lecture was a throwback to week one, we talked about industrial media, or heritage media again, this time in terms of scarcity.

First up, heritage media is capital intensive, requiring huge amounts of money to make media, after the upfront costs required to establish a media-making model. The consequence of this is that everything must be produced with the $return in mind. As Adrian says “advertising only works if people are watching”.

Heritage media celebrates scarcity (because it makes advertising spots worth more). Newspapers could print 1,000 pages daily instead of 50 but they don’t because not only would it make the actual paper hard to manage, but because nobody wants to pay $10 for the daily news, and the advertising spots would be worth less. Television can only play one thing at a time and so will put the popular shows on at times when they  know that the most people will be available to watch (hence making the advertising spots more valuable).

Because of this scarcity, heritage media can’t afford to take risks. If one outlet finds a new formula that makes a lot of money and draws a big audience (eg. Masterchef) then the other outlets will copy that format (eg. My Kitchen Rules) and so television becomes a sheep chasing sheep model.

Where’s the innovation there? There is only so much you can do, it’s like innovation in the car industry. You might update the engine, move the fins or add racing stripes, but a car will remain a vehicle with four wheels and an engine for a long, long time.

In the post-industrial media age (which we are entering into), scarcity is not valued. Access to the means of production has been flipped and there is no longer a huge financial barrier to set up a media institution (free blog anyone?). Adrian notes, “once you take scarcity away … everything else collapses” and so we are on the cusp, in the swamp between heritage media and new media. We are the one who have to figure out what that means, how we can make money (and meaning) from it, and where it all fits in this post-industrial media age. 

Pay attention to the things that push back…

Korsakow Film Reviews

I’m going to talk about four Korsakow films that popped up in my reader last week (that actually had titles!) and do a mini review of each. The point is that in watching other students’ work and identifying what I liked and what I didn’t, I’ll be able to create a better project for the second assessment. Unfortunately, two of the members of my live assessment group didn’t show up, so this is also my own kind of way of addressing what I missed out on there, which is looking at what other students have done with their k-films.

Starting with The Nature of a City (which is a really clever title once you’ve figured out the theme). What I like about Lauren’s k-film is the different interface backgrounds, I find that they help pull her overall theme together really well and make it more obvious to the viewer what direction they’re going in.  The interface is also nice and easy to navigate, and choosing the thumbnails feels almost intuitive. I also like the text she’s used because the fragments are lyrical and that makes them flow really nicely in any order that you read them in. I don’t really like to looping of the clips, but I am yet to find a k-film in which I do like the looping, so that’s probably just a personal preference.

Next is Life by Issy. First impression is the title slide? Title page? Opening credits? I’m not sure what to call this, and I didn’t know it was possible to do, but it sets the mood and theme for her k-film straight up. Wow. This k-film has one of the most creative ways of using text that I’ve seen so far. Issy combines text below the video which links to preview text on each of the thumbnails. It creates almost a mini narrative for each video, but then the “narrative” so to speak, changes once the thumbnail is clicked. Life also has a clear ending, which is nice to experience. The interface background is also fitting as it draws the theme together and presents the videos within the context of “life”. I’d say this is one of the best k-films I’ve seen so far.

Potatoes is a k-film by Elizabeth who also uses the title/credit/opening thingy, though not to any effect. Elizabeth’s interface is similar to mine, all grey scale  however her background image is really fitting. Not only does it physically fit, but it also helps create the mood for the film. The text that goes with the videos here are lines from a Sylvia Plath poem, Potatoes, which makes the haunting theme even more apparent. I will say though, that the text needed to be visually different, as I found that it tended to get lost against the background image and so I sometimes clicked onto the next clip without remembering to read the text. Perhaps a different layout would have helped with this too as my attention went from the thumbnails to the video without going above or below too much. Now, the thumbnails! They were both really cool and very frustrating. Elizabeth used the same image for all the thumbnails (a black-and-white close-up of an eye) which essentially took a lot of my choice out of the viewing experience, as the “choosing” the next clip was almost like a lucky-dip. If that was the feeling she was going for, it worked very well, but I didn’t think it actually quite fit with this project. Also, I was confused as to why some of the clips were in black and white and some in colour, I felt that if they were all in black and white the project would have been a bit more harmonious. And again, the looping clips weren’t to my personal taste, although I can see why they almost worked in this film.

Finally, Ben created Melbourne Unknown. Holy smokes, this one is scary, scary good! Not like, super scary, but I hate horror movies, and this definitely has that spooky, paranormal theme to it. It’s also, hands down, the best k-film I have seen. Ben has taken the restraints of the task and used them in unexpected ways. A good example of this is the thumbnails. Instead of square thumbnails where a detail of the next clip can be seen, Ben has made long rectangular thumbnails that stack underneath the main clip and are so zoomed in on a point of light that it’s impossible to tell what the clip is about. I hadn’t even thought to do something like that with the thumbnails! This k-film also has a clear beginning and end, even though there are many different paths to take in between. In fact, the beginning and end clip help to set the mood, theme and idea behind the k-film quite nicely. Another thing I really liked about Melbourne Unknown is how the clips ended. Each clip only played once and most of them ended by a quick pan or turn towards a bright light source, enhancing the creepy, spooky factor in the clips and giving the overall project a feeling of something outside the clips. The only thing that Ben could improve in this k-film would be the text. The choice of text was really good, but no attention was paid to how it looked visually, perhaps a change of font, size or colour is all the text needed to be taken to the next level.

So, what I took overall from these k-films is:

  • Carefully consider the interface in terms of layout, background colour, thumbnail size and text position.
  • Pick appropriate text that will create links between the videos but also be able to stand alone.
  • Push the boundaries! With text, thumbnails, interfaces and “story progression” (for lack of a better term).
  • Loop videos only if there’s a clear purpose that the viewer will understand.
  • Use title slides/opening credits to add value to the project.

Clearly the more thought that goes into a project, the better it is, and I think it clearly shows where a project has been carefully considered right from the start. Some interesting points to consider going into the second k-film project making stages.

Titles! They’re important too, remember?

My RSS reader was filled on Thursday and Friday with such exciting headlines as:
– K-film Individual Task
– IM- Assessment 1 – K-film
– Integrated Media K-film Explanation
– IM Assessment #1- Korsakow Film
– Korsakow film (with or without an ! at the end)
etc.

Haven’t we explored how useful it can be to give a title to your work guys? I remember an exercise I did in my first year of my teaching course where we had a hypothetical child in a hot air balloon and ten things they carried with them. We had to choose what to drop out of the balloon to let it rise high enough to avoid a hypothetical mountain. I don’t remember the whole list but it included food, love, water, shelter, a name etc. As first year students, the name was one of the first things we allocated to drop, but afterwards our tutor explained that experienced teachers always left the name in as long as they can, because a name is so important to a child’s sense of self.

Our projects may not be sentient (or, as Adrian would suggest, they may be) but that doesn’t mean that naming them isn’t important to their sense of identity.

Just some food for thought.