Reflection upon reading the first chapter of ‘Understanding New Media’ by Eugenia Siapera:
People often misuse the terms ‘digital media’ and ‘online media’. They are in fact very different – digital media focuses more on the aspects related to the technology that made it possible, whereas online media refers more to the element of connectivity. What then is this ‘new media’ that is so talked about? According to Lev Manovich’s (2001) argument, it is the result of a convergence between the computational logic characteristic of the computers and the communicative logic characteristic of the media. Despite the many statements and arguments that have been made by various theorists and critics, there is one thing that’s for sure – media has always played an important role in the evolution of mankind since its beginning. It has brought up and influenced societal and psychological processes and practices, and will continue to do so. After dissecting the several theories and ideas surrounding this topic, it can be said that although new media is crucial in this discussion, we must also take into consideration how it influences cultural norms and perspectives, and also the many ways it takes part in society.
More presentations were done in the studio today, and interesting perspectives were brought up. For one, we discussed about what we felt was ‘online video’, in terms of audio and visual. Are both audio as well as moving graphics required in order to be deemed an online video?
As an example, let’s talk about songs uploaded to YouTube. A song could be in the form of an .mp3 but because YouTube isn’t accepting of that format, a stagnant picture of the album’s cover or a blank screen could be incorporated, simply so it can be uploaded to the Internet as a video. Would that be considered an online video then, when a user could listen to the audio without having to focus on the YouTube player itself?
After having discussed about it, we have found that it still is considered an online video, even if it lacked moving visuals. It may not carry the same purpose as, say, a music video in which viewers get to pay attention to what is going on, but that doesn’t change the fact that it is a video uploaded to the Internet.
Apart from that, we also got to see a case study on interactive online video, which was pretty interesting because it really gets the viewer involved. We were introduced to a documentary-like one called 89 Steps. Another form of interaction with its viewers would be when Wong Fu Productions created Away We Happened, a six-episode web series that invited fans and subscribers to vote for what would happen from one episode to the next. A case study on this was presented by another one of my classmates.
We also talked a little more about how the studio and its assessments will be run – that we will be more focused on what online video is compared to a video’s cinematic components. It’s not so much about the quality of the work; it’s the idea that’s informing the process, or the process that has emerged around it.
Our second project is due next week, and I am looking forward to seeing what my group mate and I will come up with. Take into consideration the production value and time invested, we were reminded. We might be confined to certain production constraints if we try something that’s difficult to do, so I hope that we would be able to come up with an idea or concept that is appealing, innovative and doable.
Looking back at the presentations that were done in class, I have come to notice the types of viewers of different online video practices. It was engaging to see what each student finds interest in. From comedy and tutorials to gaming and commercials, it is evident that the existence of online video is something that many rely on for both information and entertainment.
Doing this case study has further sparked my interest in the various online video practices that are made available to us. Its role in the media sphere is immense – it is a platform for people to share their thoughts and ideas; to publicise and advertise; to communicate with and even influence people all over the world. There is really so much more to what online video can do for people, and the fact that it has served such a great purpose over the past few years is simply overwhelming.
I’m beginning to see that online video is more than just a practice; it is an essential element to the world of technology. It is useful in so many aspects – think of the girls who look to online tutorials for makeup guidance; think of all the comedic videos that have made tiring days a little more bearable; think of how catch-up TV has made its way into busy schedules.
I’ve always had an interest in online video but never have I looked at it as such an important tool. It’s practically regarded as necessary.
The types of online video are close to countless. Each hold different roles and purposes, and all are essential in the media sphere. For the first project, we were told to submit a presentation that summarises the close reading of an online video practice. Through this case study, I was able to get a better understanding of the practice I’ve chosen and why it is present and made available to viewers.
I decided to go with video reviews, as I personally enjoy watching them in my free time. As unusual as it may sound, they are my go-to type of online video whenever I feel stressed or restless. It’s informative and fun to watch, especially when it comes to gadget reviews.
For this case study, I decided to go with one of my favourite tech-reviewers, Marques Brownlee. In the following video, he reviews Apple’s latest flagship smartphone, the iPhone 6. It was an interesting watch, seeing as how he is more of a Googler; he prefers the wide variety of Google programmes and services over what Apple has to offer.
1. What are video reviews? Reviews inform and educate viewers on a specific product or service in the form of a video. It is done by close inspection and discussion, all while providing one’s personal opinion(s) on the said subject. Video reviews can be as short as three minutes or as lengthy as twenty, depending on how concise it is.
2. What kind of things can be reviewed?
There is a wide range of things that can be reviewed – from games and gadgets, to food and cosmetics, to a service or programme. In the above example, Brownlee is a tech-reviewer reviewing Apple’s latest iPhone.
3. Audiences Reviews have been around for quite some time now, and it has gained a number of audiences, from tech geeks and potential customers, to creators and other reviewers. It also appeals to people like me, who simply enjoy listening to people talk tech.
4. How is it done?
To begin with, the product or service is purchased or attained. Some brief information is then given, before going into all the little details. It is then tested out. At the end of the video, the reviewer gives a short conclusion of how he/she feels about it.
5. Who does the reviews?
Some reviewers are paid to do their job, whereas some simply do it out of interest. And on the other hand, there are also people like you and I! Basically, anybody with a video camera is capable of making a video review. All it takes is some interest and enthusiasm.
6. When are reviews done?
Reviews are most popular when it comes to a new product in the market. For instance, the iPhone 6 is a relatively new gadget and Brownlee was among the first to review it when it made its appearance last year. Reviews also work when it is trending product or service – viewers are more eager to watch them if it makes a popular topic of discussion. Additionally, product reviews can also be done upon purchasing something at any given point of time, whether or not it is new to the market.
7. The importance of video reviews
It brings to light the pros and cons of a product or service, and provides essential information that are not usually highlighted in advertisements. Seeing as how it is a hands-on experience, reviewers are able to create content that describes his/her experience as a customer and consumer. This also aids the decision-making process for other potential buyers or users.
As it is for billions of other consumers, the web is my primary source of information when I consider a purchase. (Scott, 2013)
8. Individual opinion
The best part about reviewing a product is being able to be straightforward and honest. Be it praise or criticism, reviews are vital as they provide constructive suggestions for improvement, and also personal verdicts upon testing a product or service. For example, Brownlee compares the iPhone 6 with other flagship phones in the market – he expresses his distaste upon the smoothness of its exterior, claiming that it is rather slippery in the hand.
9. Feedback and comments
Video reviews are often uploaded to YouTube, and this usually allows consumers to contribute their personal opinions through the comments section. They give more insight to the product or service by describing their personal experiences. Most times, you are also able to see the type of consumers and they agree or disagree with what is being reviewed. In the case of Brownlee’s video review, the comments from Apple ‘fanboys’ and Android users are like the parting of the Red Sea.
When people come to you online, they are not looking for TV commercials. They are looking for information to help them make a decision. (Scott, 2013)
10. Role in the industry
With reviews, creators and developers are able to understand things from a consumer’s viewpoint. It encourages them to improve or upgrade their product or service in order to ensure more satisfactory results. It creates a standard. Furthermore, it is one of the ways that brands can receive recognition.
Having all that said, video reviews are an example of an online video practice that play a great role in the industry. It educates and informs, and even promotes a product’s strengths and weaknesses without being biased.
Sometimes advertisements are used to brainwash, but reviews have the ability to make someone come to his/her senses. You discover the good and the bad, and ultimately come to a conclusion. As a consumer, I find importance in video reviews because it helps me decide which brand or product I might want to invest in.
I actually began this case study excited about how much I like watching video reviews, but I’ve come to see and realise greater roles and importance in this form of ‘enjoyment’.
REFERENCES Scott, David Meerman. The New Rules Of Marketing Et PR. Hoboken, N.J.: Wiley, 2013. Print.
Working in a group has given me the chance to meet different people who are pursuing the same interest. As it turns out, my group mate is from Malaysia as well.
We discussed about what online video is, how it contributes to our society and its importance in today’s media. Online video has been around for quite a while now, and its widespread impact has given viewers exposure to various mindsets and ideas over the years.
After a short brainstorming session, we managed to come up with a mind map that explores the various functions of online video. There are many aspects to it, from its roles and where it fits in the media sphere. It is easily accessible, promotes freedom of speech and two-way communication through comments and feedback, and also works as a medium for advertising, publicity and entertainment. There is still a lot more to what is portrayed in the mind map above, and I look forward to further discovering them in the weeks to come.
It’s interesting how studios are organic, in the sense that it is open to different perspectives. Rather than simply describing what was done or what has happened, studios encourage you to contribute to knowledge by analysing the various issues or problems encountered. This practice would help students like myself to know where we stand and where we want to go from there. It’s all part of evolving as a practitioner – you understand what is happening with your practice and strive to be good at it.
It’s an exciting transition, really, when you get to engage with different people to produce content. You play, try some stuff and fail. Ultimately, that is what will bring success because one can’t expect to develop his/her practice unless you’re willing to explore.
‘Tis the beginning of a new semester in a completely different environment. Today was my first Online Video Experiments (OVE) class and it definitely is a breath of new air, after my six-month-long break back in Malaysia. New people, and new things to learn. It’s interesting – that’s for sure – and to begin with, each student is to have a blog in which he/she will post entries every week, be it after a class or whenever inspiration strikes.
One of the most important things about learning is being able to reflect on what has been thought about throughout the day. It ensures that your thought processes are in check and it gives you the opportunity to really ponder about what has been discussed in the studio.
This practice would encourage students to think about a specific thing that stands out to them, and blog about it. It’s a kind of practice-based research, where we are allowed to experiment and see what works and what doesn’t. It should be pretty interesting, and I’m looking forward to what’s ahead and what I’ll be learning this semester.