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OVE Reflection

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.

Project Three: Presentation

Wei Yun: Our case study is the non-fiction interactive documentary of 89steps by uniondocs. It is an interactive documentary with elements of gamification about Martha’s apartment in the neighbourhood of Brooklyn. There was a part where we had to look for Martha along the streets and climbing up the stairs with Martha in real time. So, with this idea in mind, we had come across an interesting sketch from our project two, which was first person perspective. It allows viewers to put themselves in the narrator’s point of view. It gives a sense of participation when you are in the person’s shoe, observing what they see. we wanted to use this to give a stronger effect on interactivity.

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In project two, we were not very focused on exploring the narrative and non-narrative structure. This time we wanted to use our different online tools and services available to allow us to create a different angle on interactive online video.

PETER
Title: First person perspective re-appropriated through online tools and services

Sketches: 14 sketches

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PETER:
The sketch I will be highlighting is the use of a flash-based interactive film creation tool called Korsakow. Designed for non-programmers to easily input film clips and link them together based on keyword connections, the creators describe Korsakow as a tool to create database films that are interactive and rule based.

In our usage for this sketch, we aimed to create a Korsakow film that highlighted a demonstration of non-narrative structure in first person perspective. Utilising clips that Wei Yun had shot on her journey through the city one afternoon, I generated a korsakow film based on connection by numbered keywords, (e.g.. 1, 2, 3, 4.) The aim above all of this sketch was to test the ability and strengths of Korsakow to demonstrate whether it had an effect on the outcome of the portrayal of this short non-narrative film. I think its fair to say that whatever service you utilise to create a video will have an effect on its portrayal.

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PETER:
Future plans, we would go with youtube doubler or korsakow. We are wanting to develop our portrayal of first person perspective further as well and feel that we could explore both these services further to see whether we could potentially develop and explore a hybrid of narrative and non-narrative forms.

 

Project Three: Sketch Seven

This sketch was an attempt to develop a non-narrative clip through the confines of Vine focusing on first person perspective. I felt that it was actually easier to edit the film into something usable for Vine as the complexity of a multi-linear storyline was not present as there was when compared to Korsakow. This removed a layer of complexity as Vine is also deliberately designed to be a lot simpler to use. This is highlighted in the example that the edit screen of Vine contains buttons that are only labelled with pictures, not words.

Taking the footage that Wei Yun shot I placed these clips into a random order with no intention as to the composition of chronology. Well, lack thereof. To this end, I felt that the results could also be considered an experiment in montage. Even so, it highlights a type of non-narrative structure that Bordwell and Thompson consider as an ‘associational’ type of ‘experimental film.’ (2010, p. 368) The viewer may be put off by the disjointed nature of the Vine and may wonder why it is this way. Others may find some fascination in the deliberately disjointed nature of the Vine and may inquire as to why it was composed this way.

Reference:
Bordwell, David, and Kristin Thompson. Film Art : An Introduction. 9th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2010.

 

Project Three: Sketch Six

http://www.rtfold.com/findingmelbourne

This is a Korsakow film in a non-narrative structure that utilises footage shot by Wei Yun brilliantly elaborated on in a post here.

In my post for Sketch One I wrote:

I chose this as since Korsakow is an online service and the fact that it works with multiple clips, I decided to make the clips shorter for quicker loading and to play to the strengths and experiment with the design of Korsakow. I focused on working against a K-film’s inherent design of being a non-narrative by developing as much as possible my clip keywords to be of leaning toward a narrative by encouraging the keywords linking the clips to only develop in their correct chronological order.

In this sketch I worked in the opposite way to this by fully adapting to the strengths of Korsakow. I decided to link the clips together by numbering them but allowing all the clips to link together by connecting the numbers together as such. To this end, this allows the viewer of the film to journey through the clips as they like. Even with the intention of developing this as a non-narrative which I think was successfully achieved, Korsakow still expects you to elect a beginning and end for the structure. As such, this effectively allows the user to experience a non-narrative structure in a limited time frame.

Project Three: Sketch Five

This Periscope sketch was to test non-narrative through first person perspective in a live broadcast format. While the broadcast received no viewers, this was not the aim of it. In this context, the sketch was to highlight a basic non-narrative structure utilising an idea from a previous sketch. Descending a set of stairs, the viewer is placed in first person as seen in the reference point for these sketches 89 Steps.

In removing all elements that could point toward obvious understandings of a narrative structure, the clip is merely a vignette that removes the narrative elements seen in the original inspiration from 89 Steps. In the original idea, you are occasionally remonstrated from Marta off screen for taking too long to climb a set of stairs. While this sketch arguably has a beginning and end as the stair case must come to an end, this highlights the biggest weakness in utilising Periscope to broadcast a non-narrative clip. There is no opportunity to edit for obvious reasons as the main aim of the service is to broadcast something live.

One could argue that the majority of non-narrative formats are carefully planned  to achieve their outcome. To this end, with careful planning one could arguably use the service to portray what they desire. In another understanding, one could also argue that many clips broadcast on the spur of the moment could be a non-narrative as well as they are inherent in what occurs in the moment of the broadcast. A series of events could occur in a way to have a narrative structure or the opposite may occur where whatever occurs in the broadcast may have no discernible narrative structure.

 

Project Three: Sketch Four

The attempt in this sketch was to highlight attempts at utilising interactivity with viewers of a Periscope broadcast to help drive the delivery of an narrative. The idea of making a coffee was reused but this time opened up to the users of Periscope to see how they chose to drove the narrative.

The inspiration for this was again first found in 89 Steps which served as a springboard for further research. The direct inspiration for this sketch was to be found a recontextualisation of online video streaming service Twitch.tv. More specifically, an account called Twitch Plays Pokemon. In this, a user streams a ROM of Pokemon Red, a first generation Nintendo Gameboy Game. What was unique about this was that the user developed a system that would parse the comments of the broadcast and somehow turn them into commands to drive the game.

From this, I decided to conduct a simple experiment to see how interaction with users of Periscope could help drive the interactivity of making coffee. The exchange was pretty straight forward. In future, if I was to do something like this again, I’d have some contingency plans in place if any eventualities arose that complicated things. Going in through this, I let it happen as spur of the moment.

 

Project Three: Sketch Three

This YouTube video is an-almost screen capture of the Periscope broadcast. Periscope is currently iOS only with no web-equivalent. To complicate things, I currently have no access to decent filming equipment and screen catpure software for iOS is nigh on impossible to find, let alone use.

So hence the shocking quality of this video shot on an old iPad. Therefore this is more proof of the sketch to demonstrate how a real time online service could help define narrative of first person perspective.

This is a very simple demonstration as I proceeded to shoot the video with no preparation except for making sure that props in the video were conveniently located. One observation I can take from this sketch is that it is surprisingly hard to make a coffee with one hand!

Another observation to be made from this is the labelling features that Periscope offers. I’m thinking that since I labelled the video as something to the effect of ‘Making Coffee’ I managed to get 1 comment and a cumulative total of 19 views on a four minute video. As the broadcaster of the video, you receive stats in real time and it was interesting to see that like Swanston Street trams, viewers came in groups and not so much individually.

Overall, I feel that Periscope is a brilliant service for live broadcasting as while it is not a revolution in this regard, it allows greater accessibility because of ease of use and the ability to sign in with an existing Twitter account. As well, I feel that while the service could arguably be used to live broadcast scripted content, it requires strict execution.

Project Three: Sketch Two

 

This sketch was an attempt to develop a narrative clip through the confines of Vine focusing on first person perspective. Again taking the footage from the Periscope live broadcast I sought to re-appropriate the footage into the six second limit that Vine offers.

There isn’t much to say about this clip except to say that I felt it is at its most simplistic and raw in terms of composition and editing. That is to say that while yes, it is heavily condensed down to six seconds, the intent of the clip is present. It is a demonstration of a simple narrative. There is a beginning and an end to the clip in the telling of a narrative in showing how one person prefers to make a cup of coffee.

In utilising the service, this clip was well designed for it. It was really simple to take the original clip and condense it into this format. While the interface was a tad cumbersome in that it would have been easier to edit the video on a desktop, the app is well designed within the limitations of a mobile device to do edit the clip in this specific way. This would probably explain why there is the plethora of mobile apps today that exist to fulfill a single use within a mobile device.

 

 

Project Three: Sketch One

http://www.rtfold.com/coffee

The idea behind this sketch was to investigate the effects of first person perspective through the use of an online video service. We decided over the previous week to refocus our prompt from interactivity through online video services to, as inspired by 89 Steps, a study of first person perspective.

To this end, I was inspired by an element of 89 Steps where you are invited to click through a first person perspective of the character Marta’s apartment where you see her go about everyday mundane activities including in her kitchen. This inspired me to pursue an idea of making a cup of coffee from a first person perspective and to investigate this through multiple online video services.

The footage in this sketch is actually reused from another sketch involving a real time broadcast through Periscope but for the benefit of this sketch was split into 16 equal 15-second clips to be placed into Korsakow.

I chose this as since Korsakow is an online service and the fact that it works with multiple clips, I decided to make the clips shorter for quicker loading and to play to the strengths and experiment with the design of Korsakow. I focused on working against a K-film’s inherent design of being a non-narrative by developing as much as possible my clip keywords to be of leaning toward a narrative by encouraging the keywords linking the clips to only develop in their correct chronological order.

To this end, this Korsakow film highlights a narrative structure through a first person perspective utilising a service that is deliberately designed to work in the favour of multi-linear, potentially non-narrative and interactive films.

 

 

 

Project Three Prompt and ‘List of Things’

We have arrived at our prompt as such:

Working from 89 Steps and the notion of using interactivity to place the user in the first person perspective, the aim will be to see how narrative/non-narrative form is altered in varying forms of online interactive video. How can we use online video services to alter the perception of what are narrative and non-narrative forms? And as well, in this exploration how will we utilise online video services to determine whether they are merely a carriage to portray a narrative or non-narrative or can they be utilised as part of the hybrid themselves?

 

We have been roughly jotting down some ideas for potential sketches to explore our prompt. Some initial ideas for sketches include:

1. youtube doubler is a tool online that we thought about – so using that idea, we thought about users being able to time their own sequence with given footage

2. users interaction with ascending the stairs in real time in narrative form – try finding narrative form in a different angle

3. hybrid interactive online video by using live streaming in terms of participatory aspect (gives a live interaction working with both narrative and non-narrative)

 

 

 

 

In our initial exploration to develop our prompt, we also explored different areas of online video forms that could have potentially been explored further. Including our final prompt, we also looked at two others:

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