Humanity is in charge of its own future

I personally find the idea of technological determinism unrealistic. Technology is something created by humans, by individuals. someone needs to have an idea and to develop something before that piece of technology springs into existence. The idea that technology controls the development of itself is ridiculous.

While some areas of technology may follow a predictable path, or follow on from one another in a logical manner, this is a matter of physical and intellectual limitations in the development of knowledge. There is always a person or group that thinks something amazing before technology develops. lets take the human element out and see how well technology develops. It is controlled by humanity, and developed by humans.

Project Brief 4 Reflection

My group was assigned Technologies as a media idea for this project. I personally – as I think my group also did – struggled with this project brief. We admittedly ended up presenting content of which the connection to technology is a bit feeble. Social media is driven by technology, no doubt, but we did not manage to focus our content on the technology side of things any more than a few throws to the introduction of the iphone. On top of being somewhat off topic through much of the artefact we created, we are also missing references to the research we have done. Overall, I’m not convinced the final piece related to the topic or project brief.


This I think is due to a number of things. Initially, we probably chose the wrong area to focus on, deciding to research social media in regards to the news. We then found ourselves straying away from technologies and more into institutions, focusing more on news rather than technologies. A group talk with Rachel confused all of us and took us back to square one, at which point we should have abandoned the realm of news and social media and anchored ourselves on something really technologies based. We did not do this, in fact we followed much the same path we had before, with some improvements, but not all that much closer to successfully tethering ourselves to the topic. Another talk with Rachel again took us back to square one. At this point we had shifted away from our research but no closer to ‘technologies’ . We were running out of time so we rushed a script with not a great deal of research or focus. We essentially took pockets of knowledge we had gathered and threw in a few opinions, and voila, our script. This is a pretty good synopsis all of our conceptual issues.


Let’s have a look at the artefact we created itself. The format we chose turned out to be far more work than it was worth. Doing a tv-news style report instead of a radio segment was unltimately a bad decision. First of all, news rooms have graphics departments, we do not. I have had very basic experience with photoshop, but I had neither a copy nor the time to produce the graphics that this format needed to be at a decent standard. Most of these graphics were literally created in Microsoft Powerpoint, I’m ashamed to admit. Secondly, our recording space turned out to be very noisy. As much as I tried to eliminate the noise, it would always compromise the dialogue. In retrospect, We should have used l’appelle mics instead of those mounted atop the cameras to prevent this. If all three of us (I’m probably the worst offender here) took some more time to rehearse and memorise our lines we could have saved some time and made the final recordings look and sound more professional. Also, If we had had a director/camera operator instead of putting all three of us in front of running cameras we could have ensured zoe was appropriately framed at all times which was unfortunately not the case.

In regards to editing the film, there were no major issues but there is some significant planning that could have been done to make the process easier. Having a director/camera operator would’ve allowed us to break up the takes, maybe labeling the takes at the opening of each shot, would mean that it would be easier to identify the best take, and find the section I am looking for. The way we did the shoot involved sitting in front of rolling cameras for 10-20 minute takes (my idea) which turned out to be very time intensive in the editing process.


Overall I think the group made a bad decision early and we never decided to abandon a bad topic. I think the delegation and execution of responsibilities could have been more efficient. If we played to our strengths instead of trying to split it all evenly I think we could have created something more thought out and better executed. I’m treating this project brief as a very valuable learning experience. In my opinion, a lot of what can go wrong did and I now have some ideas on how to avoid the same issues appearing in future group and individual assignments.

We Have Decided Not To Die

Yesterday in the Media 1 lectorial, we examined Daniel Askill’s film We Have Decided Not To Die. I personally found the film frustrating to watch. In film (and art in general) I prefer a clearer representation of events and ideas. In my mind, film is a medium of communication; if the film does not communicate effectively then I struggle to appreciate it in the way that some others do. I do however understand the attraction to the ‘film as art’ idea, in that it is supposed to make you think, question, and decide your own meanings and interpretation of the text. I just struggle to engage with it myself.

Askill’s film does have some narrative and non-narrative elements, so it is particularly difficult to put into one of the two categories. Some people see the correlation between the titles, the parallel nature of the three events and the distinct three acts as enough to put it in the narrative section, which is completely justifiable. Others see it as a collection of beautiful cinematography with no real meaning or story. I see both sides objectively, and feel that I am obligated to conclude that the film does have a narrative.

This does not mean I enjoyed or understood the film, or think that the narrative is effective. I think that an effective narrative should include the three points that Dan explored in the lecture (character development, plot, and resolution), which I found to be lacking in Askill’s film. Maybe that’s just me being closed minded.

Comedy News in Australia

Only 3 days ago I submitted the following vlog for my Popular Culture class, outlining some of the influence and power that The Daily Show with Jon Stewart has on the American public and the political landscape in the US. At the end of the vlog I mention that Australia is yet to see a hard hitting, valid and credible equivalent.

As if on cue, yesterday I ran into the first episode of The Weekly on YouTube. The shows first aired on 22nd April of this year (5 days before I posted my Vlog), and in my opinion has potential to fill the vacancy in satirical but powerful ‘fake news’ programming in Australia. In the following clip, Charlie Pickering clearly outlines very valid points, and some harsh truths in a well thought out, well researched and well written piece.

There are obviously signs that the show is very young (only one episode) but I think that the program shows some promise. It will be interesting in the coming months to see how the show grows and what impacts it may have.


Importance of Clean Editing

While watching Jon Stewart interview Neil Degrasse Tyson on The Daily Show I noticed that some of the editing done on the interview was not done well. Most interviews that I’ve seen that are abridged are done in a way in which it is near impossible to tell where it has been cut, making the experience of that person or interview feel more genuine. In this example (at 2:00 below), the cut is very sudden. The audience stops laughing very abruptly, and Neil doesn’t even appear to have finished his sentence, nor does he have time too put his hand down to where it sits after the cut.

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart editing team normally does very well but on this occasion the result is clunky and uncomfortable. This goes to show the importance of smooth editing for continuity and appropriate selection of material to bookend shots.

Project Brief 3 Feedback

Today we had to give and receive feedback on our portraits for Project Brief 3. These are some of the comments my group had for each other.

My Portrait: As I mentioned in my own reflection, some of the still images disrupt the flow of the film. The film could have benefited from some panning or animation on these images in order to appear less disjointed. I did get good feedback on the use of music and audio levelling.

Haylee: Technical proficiency and planning with regards to quality of audio recordings as to avoid noise and achieve cleaner audio could use some work, but the content and construction itself was very interesting.

Daniel : Cinematography and audio quality was great. It has clean good flow as a result of clean, smooth editing. Some more texture (more diverse imagery) could have been effective in regards to giving the film a more dynamic feel.

Sandy: I love the comedic moments in all of Sandy’s work and I think if he could capitalise on that a bit more it would be fantastic and a bit more coherent in the general feel of the piece. Audio mixing could use some work but the concepts are good and very entertaining.

Jac: Cinematography again was aesthetically pleasing but like Daniel, more texture in subject matter could make for a deeper and more interesting representation of the subject. Technically very well put together and enjoyable to watch.

Project Brief 3 – Portrait

“A Little Bit of Ben Langdon”



Beginning with what I believe to be successful about the piece, I think the overall editing style is not only pleasing to watch but accurate in its reflection of the chilled atmosphere the combination of cinematography and music is creating. I think overall the video comes together very pleasantly, but there are a few moments – almost exclusively with found materials – that do not flow quite as smoothly. i think these problems stem from a lack of thematic and aesthetic consistency. An example of this is the Guns ‘N’ Roses image sandwiched between two images of other bands on stage. The huge colour difference (black or white backgrounds) doesn’t flow as smoothly as it could have.

I also had trouble with my audio equipment (RODE NT1-A recording through Audacity) during the interview, which I didn’t realise until the recording of the interview was complete. I did do a couple of sound checks, but still ended up with some odd noises and jumpy recording. I learnt the hard way to always do multiple and thorough equipment and checks before recording. Luckily, the room in which we recorded is very quiet and good for recording, so the audio from my camera turned out high enough quality to use. The only negative result from this is a small amount of noise heard under the interview, but it is not a big issue overall.

I did find that the use of found footage can be great in conveying ideas about people and can say a lot more than what you may have access to creating yourself. The words “Foo Fighters” carry more weight when accompanied by an image of them (or Dave Grohl). As I mentioned above however, it is important to find the right materials.They need to accurately convey the idea as well as fit into some kind of theme, which i do not think the image I use when Ben speaks of teaching music does well. Thematic and aesthetic consistency are necessary – unless otherwise intended – are important in making an effective and pleasant piece of audio-visual media.


Self Portrait – Project Brief 2

Unfortunately I didn’t get my hands on a copy of Adobe Premiere early enough to complete the task using it, and therefore used the inferior Windows Movie Maker program. I thought that in such a simple task this wouldn’t be an issue but I ran into some problems with separating audio from video and displacing it, or using it elsewhere. This meant that I couldn’t use certain audio sections – particularly in the in relation to the cars – and had to record new and very different audio to replace it. I also found that WMV is far too simplistic to create nice, subtle transitions between photographs.

In that specific section, where the audio of a conversation with my friends about cars plays over the pictures and video of my own and my friends’ cars, my idea was to reinforce that the passion we for cars is also a highly social activity. I think that I could’ve communicated this point better if I had a better audio track, but unfortunately due to a number of factors I had to take what i could get when recording only a day before submission. I guess this is also a time management issue as well as a creative one.

I think the most successful imagery in this piece is where I lay out the contents of my bag(s) and pockets depending on where I am going. These ten seconds say a lot about me, very clearly and efficiently, and with a consistency in aesthetic that I find pleasing. I do think however, that the lack of a distinct audio clip for this section to separate it from the others takes away from it a little bit.

The least successful part of my piece I believe would be the text “My only request: Take me back to Berlin’ appears to be thrown on the end without very much thought or coherency with the rest of the piece. Having it’s own audio track for a single photo is not consistent with the rest of the piece and resulted in a clunky feel, despite the fact that I do like the photograph itself.

I declare that in submitting all work for this assessment I have read, understood and agree to the content and expectations of the assessment declaration.

Story Editing Exercise

Today we worked on an exercise in which we had to construct a group of events that could be arranged in any order to create some form of narrative. The group I was in was weighed down by the desire to create an interesting written story. We clouded short points with excess detail and as a result found it difficult to interchange and rearrange the elements of our story. In order to conduct this exercise effectively more concise events were needed, and what would’ve been lacking in the description we gave could’ve developed in the minds of the audience in the space between the events. While you could say that the group missed the mark a bit, it was effective in teaching me the power of the space outside what the creator scribes, whether written, drawn, animated or filmed.

Blood in the Gutter

It may be nitpicking but I find an issue with his initial premise – that we all must have faith that everything around us exists when we do not. I do understand that he is merely making a point but never the less, I dispute the use of it in general. These sorts of assertions become dangerous the closer the René Descartes’ “Cogito ergo sum” (or, “I think, therefore I am”) you get. McLoud asserts that everything beyond your own sensory perception is subject to question of it’s existence, but why stop there? Who’s to say your senses are any decent indication of reality? The effects of various drugs and mental illness’ alter the sensory perception of the subject, its not that farfetched to say that your existence is actually completely different to the way you perceive it.

Now that my personal objections are out of the way, we can move on to what’s actually being said in the chapter, regarding the existence of negative space and the interaction with said space. Comics are indeed one of the most fragmented media forms in regards to narrative, and therefore require the most active participation (generally) of the audience to use their imagination to fill the gaps and generate meanings. The example used of making the audience drop the axe in their own mind, using their imagination to decide the speed and force of the impact. This occurs in what happens in the ‘gutters’ of the comic panel; the negative space in which action is not portrayed by the artist.

This made me think about the film and cinema experience in a different way. Very powerful ideas can be suggested to the audience in the negative space, what the audience doesn’t see or hear, in the gaps. Horror, thriller, and other suspenseful genres use this a lot, creating a negative sound and/or visual space, which the audience’s mind attempts to fill with their own action. This is orchestrated by the film-maker (a good one leads the audience in the direction they wish to) and may or may not be an accurate reflection of the reality of events in the narrative, as shown in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Alfonso Cuarón, 2004)where using the crows and the sound of the axe falling the director leads the audience to believe that Buckbeak has been executed which is later revealed not to be true. Playing with the audiences imagination and participation in understanding the narrative can be very powerful if done well.


Scott McCloud, 1993, ‘Blood in the Gutter’, Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art (Northampton, MA : Tundra Pub) pages 60-93