Its safe to say that I had a different idea going into Online Video Experiments than what would eventuate after 12 weeks. In amongst the studio pitches, it was the only one that stuck out at me that I really wanted to do. I wanted to extend my skills in video making, especially in an online atmosphere, as they were severely lacking in regards to professional practice. With this in mind, I entered Online Video Experiments thinking much along the lines of what would later be described as traditional, linear video. Terms such as nonlinear, participatory, interactive and first-person perspective are terms that I would leave our studios with but did not enter thinking about. Now while I of course had heard these terms many times in casual observation of various things I’d read and witnessed online, it wasn’t in the context of deliberately considered online video production where this studio would place me.
Perhaps the above thoughts were first highlighted in the brainstorming that we had in week 1 where in one of our first studios we brainstormed on the ol’ butcher’s paper and Post-it notes.
We touched upon what online video meant to us. Of course the vast majority of students (myself included) came into the brain storm from a standpoint of YouTube etc. and springboarded from there. From here, we launched into what came to define the background of our exploration into what we did for the rest of the semester. That is, the case study that defined Wei Yun’s and my final prototype: 89 Steps. The original case study is here.
With our case study chosen and our group assembled, we moved onto Project Two. I was glad that Wei Yun came to me to form the group. I suck monumentally at finding group members to work with so it was divinely inspired that Wei Yun came to work with me. Turns out, she was probably the most amazing group member I worked with throughout the semester. Anyway, for Project Two we divided the work evenly much like we would in the later projects. For this one, I contributed the sketches and Wei Yun compiled the theory end of things for the presentation. I remember at the time that my big motivation for producing the sketches was to find things around me that could be utilised to produce sketches without the help of others.
It was probably the lazy way out but on a schedule where everybody else I could find was busy and the fact that I was still getting used to being back at uni after a year off, I was peachy keen to get the sketches done. In hindsight, after our presentation we received some good feedback which was something that we’d come to hear time and time again: the KISS principle. We were overthinking things.
So getting a little more help for Project Three from Seth ie. getting more involved by asking him questions instead of going it alone for Project Two, we refocused on simplifying our prompt to look at first person perspective instead of interactivity. My big problem up until this point was that I was focusing myself on the tech aspect and getting lost in that. I’m all for new shiny things but it took Seth to tell me that I was getting too one sided in my focus on the projects. So constantly reminding myself that I needed to focus on our hybrid narrative and the KISS principle, Wei Yun and myself collaborated a lot more on this one. Even so, we never actually met in person to work on the projects as we found we worked just as well remotely. We communicated through Facebook Messenger as our schedules were difficult to match up but perhaps this was indicative of the new way that collaboration is headed. Wei Yun shot her own footage and this I compiled into a Korsakow film.
So far to this point in the semester (about ¾ of the way through) I felt that I’d successfully engaged with the course meaningfully. I was starting to get back into a good rhythm with uni after being away for so long and I was trying to keep up while balancing full time work. I challenged myself to keep going and to look at the readings and to keep blogging. Unfortunately, working for a month straight with two days off started to take its toll. I had trouble challenging myself to find the time and so my blogging was suffering. It was pertinent to me as a reminder of what Seth said back at the start of the semester that getting his PhD was only possible through regular blogging. Going forward for the future I must remind myself to do all I can to keep a regular blog.
Coming to the end of semester where everything was culminating toward presenting our final prototype, I realised that the course had taught me a few valuable lessons when developing a new idea: always look at the bigger picture, don’t overcomplicate your ideas and always seek feedback. Too often I get caught up in beating myself over whether something I did was developing the right way. Its far easier to get an outside opinion than be your own worst enemy. This is especially true of sketching where external feedback drove our exploration. Sketching, as Seth pointed out is pivotal as the course was designed to thrive through practice based research. In hindsight, I could have done more experimenting with the sketches especially headed toward our final prototype as it highlighted to me that going through the iterative process of sketching was a vital driver of our development.
Overall, Online Video Experiments has highlighted to me what it takes to develop new ideas and has also challenged my preconceived beliefs in regards to online video. It has shown me a new way of approaching how to create content for online consumption and that these ways of creation can be utilised in other projects as well. OVE has challenged me to put down paper (so to speak) and go and do. As a media practitioner, I have to remember that the best way to create and experiment is by doing.