As a new studio within the Bachelor of Communication (Media)’s new structure, it has been interesting to see how Online Video Experiments has evolved over the course of the semester. As an initially quite confusing subject, I have configured a new way of thinking regarding online video consumption.
My experience prior to this course was based around practical filmmaking, working within the traditional structure of pre-production, production, and post-production. This is a fairly rigid system, and while this provided me with technical skills from a production standpoint, the process lacked a certain fluidity and freedom.
One of the aspects of OVE that I have really explored and enjoyed was the freeform nature of video creation, focusing on video as more of a concept than a structured format. Elements such as micro-video, which eliminate pre-production and configure post-production within the phone, allowed me to broaden my skills in regard to becoming more flexible with my production skills.
The structure of OVE has led me, along with my classmate Nethaniel, to develop a new and innovative video service based around the existing mobile application Snapchat. Our investigations started by exploring all of the various affordances and constraints of the app, and then applying to our own research.
12th of March 2015
BLOG POST 1
This was my first attempt of grasping the intentions of the studio, and I chose interactivity as a main topic to focus on. While this is a very broad topic, I thought it was a good place to begin, as it covered multi-platform media practices. As I discovered throughout the course, interactivity is a huge concept to cover, and while we touched on notions of it, I never dedicated any of the following projects to it entirely.
There was a conscious decision to move away from interactivity, and instead explore the practice of skate video across different services. It was after this first project that I collaborated with Nethaniel and began experimenting with a variety of video platforms.
CHANGE OF DIRECTION
The beginnings of our current project started as a collaboration of our Nethaniel and I’s original presentations-interactivity and skate video. We spent a good portion of our experimentations focusing on the technical aspects of skate video, and deconstructing that as far as we could. This included film burns, transitions, and style of cinematography.
From this point we decided to relate more directly to the studio prompt:
How have video, computers and the network shaped online video practice?
We reshaped this to:
How has video and the network shaped online skateboarding practice?
Some of the concepts we decided to explore were the process/style of skate video made on mobile devices. The impact that this had in regard to framing the content received is quite important. There is a much quicker method of production when it comes to mobile content, less planning is involved, but a greater reach is achieved as well.
Some of the major issues I had during this semester were about balance. I found it personally difficult to manage projects that integrated the studio prompt, individual prompt, case study/s, as well as the agenda of each assignment. While this was hard at times, it did keep me within the framework of the subject. This was particularly helpful as it is quite easy to get lost with explorations regarding online content. The constant communication with the tutor and other classmates was a very necessary part of my successful progression through the subject. Constant reinforcement of the guidelines gave me direction through what is a multi-layered subject with many different facets and goals.
From the blog post, Conceptual vs. Achievable I discussed notions of creating something that is feasible to create, as opposed to brainstorming unachievable ideas. While it remains very important to push the envelope creatively when experimenting with online video practices, having a usable artefact to show as a prototype as a final product often changed our thinking. For example, we thought of using combining the application Snapchat with the adventure camera GoPro, and spent some time developing this idea. When we presented this to the class, it was undoubtedly a video experiment, and satisfied our brief of exploring a video practice. However, it was difficult to think of a way that this could be realistically presented, with our limited knowledge of app design and connections with either of these two companies this wasn’t an option. By drawing this particular experiment back to a more basic level, we began experimenting with what we did have access to-the app Snapchat. This then led to many video explorations, and finally to our prototype.
PROCESS OF SKETCHING
As mentioned above, I have spent the past two years creating film in a structured and planned way, with the majority of the decisions made even before touching a camera. The process of sketching turned this on its head, by using video as the primary means to investigate an idea. This would start as an idea, such as ‘how can we create effective skate video in Snapchat’, then after a brief brainstorming session, we would film a multitude of videos that involved this prompt. Our theoretical discussion that followed was informed by our video work more so than our brainstorming.
Even late in the semester, Nate and I found that we were operating on quite a theoretical and planned way, without creating any content that backed up our ideas. I found that it was much easier to explain a concept with a tangible piece of content rather than with brainstorming. This is one of the main positives I took out of this studio, and I think it will be applicable to many of my future projects involving online video as the major medium.
In addition to creating video, other visual devices really contributed to framing my work within OVE. Mind-maps, wireframing and visual brainstorming allowed me, as well as others, to visualise concepts I had trouble verbalizing, or explaining through writing. These visuals, which were often no more complicated than arrows connected certain concepts, were developed and eventually formed a key part of our prototype.
This was reinforced as a positive step to clear communication by our multiple presentations given to the class without visuals, which resulted in quite a lot of ambiguity amongst peers and the tutor. Once we began integrating simple, easy to follow visuals, it not only helped our audience understand, but helped us to articulate and formulate a more concise definition of what we were trying to create.
Here is a few of our early sketches:
From the beginning of the semester to now many things have changed. The way that I interact with online video has expanded in many senses. I think in particular the different tools and services that we explored shaped the way I create new content. For example, physically creating video that works specifically with the affordances of the app Snapchat changed my creative process by considering a much wider set of variables and affordances than working with traditional linear video.