Hello, new project!

In today’s studio class, we were encouraged to come up with something that is innovative and possibly hybrid. Upon receiving the brief for Project Three, Jia Jia and I began to discuss what we may be able to experiment with. What could we possibly do to create something different; something that has never been done before?

A video that was shown in class also talked about experimenting and playing around with ideas. The key is to not be afraid of trying new things, and to realise that mere silent thinking is insufficient. In order to create better work, we have to get out of our comfort zones and begin to look at different approaches. We have to look towards the goal we are trying to achieve, not limit ourselves to a rigid set of rules that we have to follow.

I’m quite glad that Project Three will allow us to produce sketches in various forms, from videos and drawings to diagrams and photographs. This would probably help Jia Jia and I further expand our thoughts and ideas. With less than two weeks to the deadline, hopefully we will be able to come upon a good clue as to what we will be doing to produce some well-structured sketches.

Playing around with Periscope

Jia Jia and I played around with Periscope today for one of our sketches, and I must say that I do find it quite intriguing of an app. Live streaming is far from a new concept, but having it as a mobile app sure is something different. It has received quite a bit of recognition from its release and since it was bought over by Twitter.

I first experienced Periscope when one of my favourite bands, Copeland, did a live stream of them practicing some songs in the studio. It was available as a shared link on Twitter, and I got to view the whole session on my Mac. I liked how personal it was, and how I was able to see what they were up to at that given point of time.

On a side note, I was once doing a Periscope stream when suddenly I found that I had 19 viewers. I got to see the names of most of them, and it was funny because I didn’t recognise anybody. They were just random people from all over the world.

However, the point is that I like how people can experience a specific moment with you. No doubt it’s a pretty great tool for when I want to watch my favourite bands and having a jam session, as with Copeland, I don’t feel as if it would work for our video reviews. Playbacks are allowed only if you choose to upload them, but normally people wouldn’t be able to view it once you’ve stopped streaming.

From a different perspective

Form over content! That’s what we’ve been reminded to do.

It is natural to get so caught up with a video’s content such that we forget to first deconstruct it and think about it in a different manner, and from different perspectives.

As we were in class today watching the final few presentations for Project Two, I began to further look into online video and how it possesses many functions that we may not yet realise. For instance, one of the presentations talked about how Vines give people the opportunity to better their creativity by constraining videos within a six-second limitation.

I find it quite fascinating, how Vine has managed to receive such tremendous support over the years. I mean, it’s pretty challenging to create an entertaining video within six seconds! I’ve come to learn that established artists work in very constrained situations, and this produces interesting responses. Vine has proven itself effective as a social media platform and its constant upgrades just goes to show that it will stay around for a while longer.

Apart from that, I have also come to realise the important of background music. Yes, I have always found it an essential element in most videos, but now I’m really beginning to look at it as something that has the ability to change a video’s feel or cinematic atmosphere. It’s probably something that I might want to explore over the next project we work on.

Advertising and YouTube annotations

Looking back at one of my classmates’ sketches and how he used YouTube annotations to guide viewers from one video to the next, it reminded me of a YouTube advertisement I once watched.

The advertisement held a non-linear sort of a narrative, encouraging viewers to make their own decisions, guiding the character in the story to come to an end point. It was a rather amusing advertisement, featuring a girl who was on her “time of the month”.

Although lengthy for an advertisement and in terms of finishing up the entire thing, it was an interesting take. I’m not sure whether it was supposed to be funny, but it was. My good friend was the one who shared it with me because of how comical it turned out to be, but I suppose the video achieved what it was trying to do – to get people to share it around, all while advertising their product.

I found it quite stimulating, how they decided to make use of YouTube’s annotations to create a storyline for their advertisement. It’s an unconventional way of promoting something, and that also reminds me of one of the sketches Jia Jia and I are currently working on.

We have decided to make use of Korsakow as one of our sketches, enabling users to choose the café they want to visit, or which drink they would want to “order” and have reviewed. This would give them an opportunity to engage with our video, encouraging them to make their own decisions and be a part of the review. It’s still something we’re talking about and working on, and I can’t wait to see how it would turn out.

Snapchat functions

I have been using Snapchat for quite a while now, and it is a social media platform that I quite enjoy. Today, Jia Jia and I decided to try using Snapchat for one of our sketches. We chose to go to Flipboard Café, and it was only then that I began to really explore all the functions the application had.

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For one, you could include a timestamp that would let viewers know the time at which you did a certain thing. Snapchat also provides stickers according to your location, so we could easily put a Melbourne one if we wanted to. They also have one where you could share the temperature of the place you are in. And if you’re looking to add a description of some sort, you could also add text to your Snap.

We found this quite convenient, especially when we were reviewing the café, because we were able to include quite a lot of necessary information following our Snapchat videos, and it felt very personal because viewers got to see things from our perspective.


Seth showed us a video on playful brainstorming and creative expression earlier this week, and the person in the video talked about how students in school are usually taught to get their first idea, and to focus on just that. Psychologists call it satisficing, which is “to accept the first plausible solution to a problem that comes along”. Satisficing is alright, but it is also proven that it “eliminates the possibility of significant creative accomplishment.”

I found this video very useful, especially when our goal is to work towards being a media practitioner with creative ideas and approaches. This would be a good reminder for all the sketches we will be coming up with.

Sketch #10: Audiences

Who are video reviews catered to? As we were thinking about the types of people who would watch videos such as this, we talked to several of our peers and eventually came upon the conclusion that the targeted audience is not so much a specific age group or working class, but rather, people who have the interest in knowing more about a certain product or service.

As the terminology used in video reviews would contain jargons, it may come off as too complex for those who are not usually exposed to that sort of knowledge. With that, some would rather listen to their friends’ individual experiences or look to others for advice in order to decide whether or not they should invest in a certain product.

As for those who find interest in upping their tech knowledge each time there is a new product in the market, the chances of them understanding or being enthusiastic about a video review would be significantly higher. It provides them with the opportunity to hold conversations with other techies, or to make better buying decisions, knowing that their preference would be based on what they feel is best catered to them, and not based on what their peers prefer.

There will certainly be people who fall in neither category – perhaps they would look to video reviews if they intend to make a purchase. However, if we were to make a generalisation, we’d say that the majority of people who watch video reviews are those who find interest in keeping up with all things tech.

Sketch #9: Brand loyalty and the decision-making process

Based on the two videos shown, which do you feel was better?

When we watch video reviews, we are – be it consciously or unconsciously – looking to find something that would help us come upon a decision. Whether it is to help us see what is currently best in the market, or to decide what better caters to us, or simply to find out just how good a product is, we would often be left with something to think about.

Seeing as how a majority of people are iPhone users, we wanted to see and evaluate the reaction towards the comparison videos we came up with. For this sketch, we decided to test the back cameras of the Samsung S3 and iPhone 5s. Both are decent models in the Android and Apple market respectively, and we wanted to see how their videos functions would play out in equal conditions.

The first part of the clip gives you an idea of the audio quality on both phones. The second part features a close-up shot of a watch (both phones were placed at an equal distance away from the object). The clip then ends by zooming into a scene, showcasing its colours and clarity. From the test we did above, we found that the Samsung did a significantly better job.

So, despite knowing that Android phones have better video capabilities, would one continue to stay loyal to their current brand (if it is an iPhone) or would they consider changing to something else? Although we only experimented with the phones’ video functions, but this is something that we found interesting; how video reviews have the power to test and influence a viewer’s mindset.

Sketch #8: Comparing with other products in the market

When you make a comparison to something else in the market, you introduce viewers to the context in which you are reviewing the product. As an example, we used three different operating systems – Android 4.4 KitKat, Windows Phone 8 and Apple iOS 8 – for this sketch.

All three have taken up most of the market today, and each have their pros and cons. The Samsung has many customisation features, but can be complicated to use for first-timers. The Nokia is stylish and innovative, but it lacks in the variety of apps. The iPhone is simple and has essentially everything you need, but customisation is minimal and might be considered a “downgrade” for Android users.

Having that said, when you compare the product you are reviewing to something else, it gives viewers a better idea of what they might prefer. As different people come from different backgrounds, they might be inclined towards different things. From which can they benefit most from? Is an upgrade necessary? Which would meet their needs.

This point is also amplified in Marques Brownlee’s video review, when he talks about the iPhone 6 and how he is a “Googler” and prefers what they have to offer, as compared to what Apple can do for him. By comparing it to something else in the market based on his personal preferences, he gives others a clearer understanding of his background and how it works for him. From there, viewers would slowly be able to gauge whether or not it might work for them as well.

Sketch #7: The basic structure of a video review

After studying Marques Brownlee’s review on the iPhone 6 as well as several other video reviews on YouTube, we have found that there is a structure that makes up this form of informational online video.

Of course, we begin by introducing the product – in this case, we will be using Apple’s current flagship phone, the iPhone 6, as an example for our study. We look first at its physical aspects, from its weight and overall dimensions, to the size of the display and other physical traits like the material it boasts or available colours in the market.

The reviewer would then begin to talk about the product’s internal specs. How fast is its processor? How great is the camera? How big is its internal memory and what is the screen’s resolution like? All these facts are necessary, especially when you’re talking about a tech review. In fact, this part usually takes up most of the video, as there is often quite a bit of information to cover when it comes to gadgets.

Then comes the comparison with other brands or models in the market. Comparisons are sometimes done with the product’s older model – for example, the iPhone 5s as compared to the iPhone 6. How has it been upgraded or improved? In other cases, it would be compared to a gadget of a completely different brand with nearly or the same internal specs. Which works better or produces better results?

Lastly, the video would end with the reviewer’s personal opinions. Although he/she would inject his thoughts throughout the video every now and then, but the final resolution often lies at the end of the video review – in what ways does the reviewer like or dislike the product? Why or why not?

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