PP1 Research Project

By Tiffany Tan (s3379763) and Christine Luong (s3381602)

ANALYSIS:

Click here to see the YouTube video.

REVIEW 1:

Jenkins, H 2010, ‘Transmedia Storytelling and Entertainment: An annotated syllabus,’ Continuum: Journal of Media & Cultural Studies vol. 24, no. 6, pp. 943–958

In the Journal of Media & Cultural Studies [Dec 2010], Henry Jenkins gives an in-depth analysis of the concept of transmedia and its relationship towards storytelling and entertainment. He begins by defining what transmedia is which provides a good entry point by clarifying any misunderstandings before he delves into specific examples. He defines transmedia storytelling as ‘a process where integral elements of a fiction get dispersed systematically across multiple delivery channels for the purpose of creating a unified and coordinated entertainment experience.’ Jenkins also brings up terms within the concept of transmedia such as the distinction between storytelling and branding. This is beneficial to determine the motivations as to why certain companies focus on certain areas of transmedia and not necessarily both branding and storytelling. While Jenkins does not talk too deeply about fan culture, he still draws brief attention towards the idea that extra narrative/character background (transmedia storytelling) encourage followers to engage more with the text (creating more meaningful internal connections with characters). Branding on the other hand is seen to play a more influential part in the financial side of transmedia to ‘enhance the franchise’s branding.’ Throughout the journal, Jenkins provides many well thought out real life examples of transmedia (e.g. Starwars) giving readers a much better understanding of this concept.

REVIEW 2:

Bolin, G 2010, ‘Digitization, Multiplatform Texts, And Audience Reception’, Popular Communication, vol. 8, no. 1, pp. 72-83, Communication & Mass Media Complete

Goran Bolin’s article ‘Digitization, Multiplatform Texts, And Audience Reception’ offers an analysis and insight into ideas surrounding transmedia. Bolin emphasizes that transmedia storytelling is not the mere use of multiple platforms.

Bolin contends that television still “hold[s] a prominent position” amongst other interconnected technologies including radio, the Internet, and mobile phones. For this reason, Bolin discusses the benefits of transmedia storytelling for increasing audience engagement of different television series.

Bolin explains that by combining other forms of media into the storytelling within a television program “opens doors for innovative narrative structure.” This is because the program is able to utilize the unique merits of each platform.

Bolin also describes the significance that transmedia holds within the realm of advertising, where it can be used to “influence audience expectation.” As a result, Bolin suggests that transmedia storytelling can be driven by market and artistic motivations.

Bolin goes on to state that the digitization of texts “is liberating for audiences and gives them a certain amount of power.” Thus, transmedia encourages audiences to participate in the production and expansion of the stories.

Overall, Bolin places a heavy focus on the difference between using different platforms, and actually using transmedia for storytelling. He also asserts a need for examining how audiences contribute to the text.

SYNTHESIS:

  • Films for transmedia storytelling can serve as entertainment in regards to Pokemon. Not everyone will watch every episode of the TV show unless they are huge supporters or fans. Even a person beginning an interest in Pokemon may be more likely to watch the film first (because it is a quicker process), then decide to watch the TV series (longer process that requires more commitment).

  • It’s not absolutely necessary to watch the film or TV series to know the characters. For some consumers, it is more about the entertainment seeing characters in adventure. They may only want to see characters go through trials and win and go through action sequences without having an emotional connection to want to find out more about character’s personal background. OR it could be the other way round, people who watch the TV series may already know facts about them e.g. their family, education, likes, dislikes without watching the films.

  • Transmedia introduced new concepts but more so as a sideline *extra stuff* but not essential to understanding serious concepts of Pokemon which means viewers are able to understand Pokemon TV series/film but may not pick it up as quick as others who are engaged with all platforms.

  • You get what you put effort in for. E.g. Watching T.V battle techniques for the games, or you could research techniques on google – you will still be able to engage with the gaming platform, but if you didn’t do these things, you can still play the game it will most likely just be a harder process. Therefore the Pokemon franchise exists of many media forms in which audiences can pick and choose the ones they want to engage in. They do not necessarily have to participate in all forms of media to understand what Pokemon is about.

  • Pokemon is seen via game consoles, card games, tv show, movies

  • Fan culture exists where there are online communities of Pokemon fans where they share insights/tips with one another. E.g. game forums

  • Downfall -> When you are given a Pokedex , if you are not a fan and do not engage with other forms of media, then you won’t understand the value of a Pokedex.

 REFERENCES:

Images-

adfpf1 2013, Deviantart, USA, viewed 15 March 2014
<http://adfpf1.deviantart.com/art/Misty-Brock-Oak-y-Team-Rocket-399985706&gt;

Archive Foolz, viewed 15 March 2014
archive.foolz.us

Bulbapedia, Bulbapedia viewed 23 March 2014
<http://bulbapedia.bulbagarden.net/wiki/Main_Page&gt;

Pokemon Wiki, viewed 23 March 2014
<http://pokemon.wikia.com/&gt;

Vesicularia, CBS Interactive, 2003, San Francisco viewed 23 March 2014
<http://www.gamefaqs.com/gba/563596-pokemon-sapphire-version/images/screen-15&gt;

Wikimedia Commons 2013, Wikimedia Commons, Philadelphia, viewed 18 March 2014
<http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Henry_Jenkins_posing.jpg?uselang=en-gb&gt;

WikiA 2006, WikiA, Tokoyo viewed 18 March 2014
<http://static2.wikia.nocookie.net&gt;

 UIO Faculty of Humanities, UIO, Norwegia viewed 20 March 2014
<http://www.hf.uio.no/english/&gt;

Information-

Bolin, G 2010, ‘Digitization, Multiplatform Texts, And Audience Reception’, Communication & Mass Media Complete, Popular Communication, vol. 8, no.1, pp. 72-83.

Bulbapedia, Bulbapedia viewed 23 March 2014
<http://bulbapedia.bulbagarden.net/wiki/Main_Page&gt;

Convergence is Here, 2012, Convergence is Here, Melbourne viewed 20 March 2014
<http://convergenceishere.weebly.com/mario-and-pokemon.html&gt;

Jenkins, H 2010,’Transmedia Storytelling and Entertainment: An annotated syllabus’, Continuum: Journal of Media & Cultural Studies, vol. 24, no. 6, pp. 943-958.

 

 

pReviews

Here is my “reflection, constructive criticism on others’ films” for the doco screening. Apologies to the ones I missed, I don’t have the greatest memory.

Hijra
Interesting subjects and good choice of music. The cutaways could have been a little longer. It was cutting to and from the cutaways and the interviews quite quickly and I didn’t have time to register what was in the cutaway.

Sea Shepherd
This film probably needed a warning about the semi-graphic images that were shown. (Maybe I missed it?) but I found it a little confronting. Other than that, it was a very relevant topic

Able & Game
This doco was really feel-good and enjoyable.

Generation Why
I thought the shots of the participants standing in front of the projector was a really interesting concept. It was a different take on the cutaway/voiceover approach and I found it to be refreshing. I also enjoyed that it was a casual look into politics; not too serious.

Jehova Who?
I found this to be very engaging, especially with the son as comic relief.

Behind the Bean
I noticed in the credits that there was a third coffee place that was shown, but that guy was only used as cutaway footage and not interviewed. (This is not a criticism. Just something I picked up).

Circus Stew
The beginning was a little confusing. I initially thought the doco would be about bombs. (Can’t remember why) but I guess it all made sense later when the phone interview was shown.

Strands
An interesting look into the different reasons for wigs and how people approach its uses. It might not have been very relevant to include it, but I would’ve like to know why the little girl needed to wear a wig.

 

CRPS
One of the girls from this group told me about their sound issues and I think that they were able to work well with what they had.

Compartment
I really like the visual design of this film.

Blue
This topic was quite unique. I enjoyed that it was so specific and that the participants all had that quality in common, but then I started to feel like it was too big of coincidence. I really doubt that anything was made up; it was just a feeling.

Client Liaisons
I loved the awkward dancing. It was spectacular. I wasn’t entirely certain of what the topic of the film was but I picked up that the participant was required to attend gigs. Maybe this could have been a tad more clear? Or perhaps I’m just a little slow.

More or Less
I really enjoyed the rawness of this film, as well as the choice of participants.

Long Story Short
Almost Notebook-esque. I enjoyed the initial thought that each of the participants were talking about each other. A very heart-warming film.

Just a Game
Good topic.  Enjoyed the satire.

The Things that Nana Remembers
Topic and participants were extremely engaging. The use of archival material was excellent. Didn’t drift off at any point in the film.

Henry the Magpie
I really enjoyed the narration. It was essentially the same film we saw in the rough cut screening, but almost entirely different at the same time. The voiceover brought in another dimension to the film. I was a little confused about who the narration was coming from though. Was it the baby magpie?

To be a Poet
An exceptional film. Short and sweet.

Colourcrux
A very interesting approach to a topic with the use of no participants. It was very visually engaging. The voiceover was clear and presented the information well.

Ending

We could not formulate an ending from the footage that we have. There was nothing said that was at all conclusive or that would wrap up the points. In the end, we decided that we would instead leave it up to interpretation (a skill we learned while making dramas last semester). It’s not the best ending. Mainly because it lacks a conclusion and it feels abrupt, but it really was the best we could do with what we had.

We decided on not using music until the credits because it would probably distract from what the participants were talking about.

Going through the atmos and foley I had compiled on the shooting day was really disappointing. Most of them were clipping because of the intense winds. Fortunately some were useable.

The Second Day

Day 2 of Filming!

We didn’t do much today. Just a bit of atmos and foley. Some pieces to camera. Some cutaways.

Highlights of the day included stepping in poop and seeing a sheep pee.

I was stupid and I didn’t pay enough attention to where I plugged the XLR cable into, so for the first half, I was recording in line instead of mic. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid. Lucky we figured it out. But I do think that the files recorded in line are still useable. We had a listen and they’re just a little softer, but that is probably okay because we only need them as background noises.

The techs also didn’t give us that little extension for the headphones. Fortunately Nam is a former media teacher and he had one to spare. Probably would’ve had to rely on the levels if not for that.

IT WAS SO EXCITING. I RECORDED CROAKING FROGS.

And so begins the editing. I’m a bit nervous about getting use to Adobe Premier.

The Hook

After reviewing the footage, we’re a bit conflicted about how we can use it to create an interesting and/or thought provoking documentary. We had initially considered focusing on the idea that meat processing was the most captivating part of Nam and his family’s lives. However, after having interviewed and seen their lives, this aspect is not something that they themselves place much emphasis on. So we have planned to show their lives as a whole, from the family, to the farm to the slaughter. The problem was that their position on meat was the hook for our film. We were going to make them seem like a normal farming family with that small difference, but they’re just SO normal. Talking and interacting with them was just SO normal. They weren’t preachy with their beliefs. Nor were they overly sensitive. We came to the point where we weren’t sure how to present the documentary without packing it full of interviews.

Since yesterday’s lecture about voiceover, I think that this could be the answer. We’ve yet to discuss this as a group, but I think that it could be an interesting way to tie all of the elements of our documentary together. We were already planning to use a voiceover of Nam while overlaying other footage, but I think that using one of us as a voiceover could also be very effective. We would be able to introduce people and ideas directly to the audience and everything would just make sense together. We’d hopefully be able to do it in a way that didn’t make the piece seem like some sort of scandalous exposé.

Hiccups

The day was full of ‘em

Okay, so reading the manual was most definitely not the way to go. Should’ve practised the more practical aspects. That was just stupid on my part. Fortunately Alex is the Master of Troubleshooting.

1. One of the wireless lapel mics refused to work

2. We couldn’t switch the PMD670 onto stereo

3. The shotgun mic couldn’t attach to the boom pole

4. Time on screen started going backwards

5. Screen read ‘Blank Card Full Card’

Not to mention the fact that me trying to be steady all the time and keep an eye on the levels lead to several instances where my fingers clicked stop and play. Hilariously enough, this particular PMD670 had recordings of an interview of Robin.

Anyway, so here’s what I learned:

1. Equipment won’t always work. Do tests while at uni, so we can ask for help if necessary

2. The manual doesn’t always have all the instructions you need, and neither will Google. Trial and Error is very handy

3. Check all equipment before taking it home. Though I really don’t understand why there are even any of these shotgun mic handle thingos that are not meant to be attached to boom poles, or why we were given this handle thing and a boom pole when they couldn’t be used together

4. Time going backwards means that the card is out of space

5. Macs are stupid and you should always empty your trash so that you can empty the memory card

Aside from these hiccups, we managed to get all of what we had planned to get yesterday and the weather was fine. Strangely enough, it only rained while we were having technical difficulties.

Tomorrow

THE SHOOT IS TOMORROW.

In retrospect, probably should have taken the Marantz out and played around again before this day. Only reading the manual was probably the stupider option. Hopefully, I’ll be able to have a test during setup time just to get my head around it again.

I’m quite happy that we decided to use lapel mics instead of booming the interviews. I fear it would be difficult for the boom operator to swing appropriately. And I think it makes sense to use lapel mics anyway, because it IS and interview.

We plan to have the family show us around the farm first, so that become accustomed to the presence of the camera. Alex thinks we won’t need me to sound record at this point. And I agree. I think that it may be difficult for me to keep up with the walking and that the lapel mics would rustle while the walk. I’m not sure if booming this segment would have been the better option here, but we do plan to use the in-camera sound recorder.

I HOPE IT DOESN’T RAIN.

pilf

Get it? I flipped ‘flip’?

Okay, anyway, I forgot to blog responses the first three videos from the first three lectures, so here are a mixture of them.

Clay Shirky: How Social Media Can Make History 
Shirky began by discussing the changes in media, how previously all media was either good at creating conversation and bad at creating groups or good at creating groups and  bad at creating conversation. Whereas now, the Internet provides platforms for many-to-many communication.
Shirky used an Earthquake in China as an example. He explained the in a lot less than the time it took for China to admit there was an Earthquake, the world’s media had already found out about it because of how many Chinese citizens had been reporting it on social media. Shirky described the people as citizen journalists, non-professionals who were able to provide content despite their supposed lack of media knowledge. Additionally, this issue lead to radicalised protests from the citizens and all of this information was going onto the internet for all to see. China’s only option to censor this material was to shut down servers. This example shows that through the use of social media, ordinary people are able to make a difference.

Seth Godin: The Tribes We Lead
Godin talks about how creating and spreading an idea has a lot behind it. He has formulated a new way of looking at how movements are created. Godin says the these movements are aided by the existence of ‘tribes.’ These tribes are the way in which ideas are lead and how they connect people. He explains that unlike the views of traditional media, they do not force ideas on people and they are not based on the use of money. It is interesting because social media essentially gives everyone the ability to have an influence. And it is this point that Godin makes when we talks about leaders.
It is the leaders that are about to make the change. It only takes one person to see a rule or set of rules that they want to change. From there they need to form a group of true believers who will go out and find more true believers, and eventually the idea grows and the connections that are made, create the movement.

Alexis Ohanian: How To Make A Splash in Social Media
Ohanian, a co-founder of the website Reddit, describes how its users were able to create a viral interest for something that may not have necessarily received as much attention. Users of this website can post text and pictures for other users to vote up or down. Ohanian talks about one specific example where reddit users made an influence in creating a group of people voting for a specific selection in a Greenpeace campaign. This campaign was to name a whale that Greenpeace was using to combat Japanese whaling. Despite the fact that a majority of these reddit users may have been disinterested in this issue of whaling, they had banded together to vote for the option of having the whale named ‘Mister Splashy Pants.’ This shows the great commitment of internet users in forming groups and creating interest for certain ideas.

Henry Jenkins: Participatory Culture
In this video, Jenkins really draws a line between participatory culture and participatory media. He takes a look into several cases in history where participatory culture is relevant and utilised, and he makes the point that it is something that is not a recent change in human behaviour, but is instead and innate desire to be a part of something. Jenkins explains how the systems of large-scale communication has been dispersed through the internet and how the greater access to information allows participatory culture to flourish. People throughout history have been able to utilise the technology that was available to them, in order to participate in change. Jenkins explains that participatory culture is the rich side of learning, where people want to be involved in change and they each value each other’s opinions. They also work hard to collaborate and form teams despite the distance, and have as a result, created many global groups striving towards the same goals.
Essentially, despite the growing amount of participatory media, the culture behind participation has also existed. It is now simply more available.

Henry Jenkins: What is Participatory Culture?
Jenkins talks about groups with common interests that have and create spaces where they can support each other and respect the creative process. They have a training process to acquire skills, as well as giving each other the opportunity to give and receive feedback on certain projects.

Points to remember about the Marantz

Here goes

A common problem with lengthy voice or other recordings is difficulty in locating one or more specific passages for playback. The PMD670 has several ways to mark or tag specific record starting points.
Out of each of the suggested ways that we can easily locate specific passages will be by using the time and date that marks the end and beginning of each track. I think this would be the easier method despite the fact that we will probably have to listen to every track anyway, in order to figure out what is said when. There are controls where we can edit the files within the recorder, however I think this would be too time consuming and be a waste of battery.

When power is on the PMD670 is constantly saving 2 seconds of audio input. This is called pre record cache. When recording is started by sliding the REC switch, or resumed from REC PAUSE by sliding the REC switch the pre-recorded 2 seconds is recorded.
Not too sure how relevant this will be for recording on the day, but I think I’m going to try to turn this on, because you don’t know what you may be able to record in those two extra seconds.

The microphone attenuation switch permits the direct use of microphones that differ in sensitivity. 
0dB: No microphone attenuation.
-20dB: Input from a microphone(s) connected to the XLR MIC IN jacks is cut by -20dB.
Factory default: MIC ATTEN switch at 0dB.
We do not want any attenuation. I must remember to keep it at 0dB.

The ANC (Ambient Noise Cancel) switch lets you choose to reduce ambient noise before recording on the internal microphone or MIC inputs. Ambient Noise Cancel positions do not change the memory used in recording. Examples of low ambient noise sources include: traffic, air conditioning hum, and wind noise.
Considering that the Marantz has no separate knobs for the fader and the gain levels, I think that this is the perfect way to make sure that there isn’t too much background noise included in the sound recordings.

At LIMITER peak sound levels that would distort the recording are limited.
MUST REMEMBER TO MAKE SURE THAT THIS IS NOT IN EFFECT. It totally confused us in class when all the recordings came out to be soft and useless.

What’s the point?

That is the question we have been struggling with for the past couple of weeks; what is the point of the documentary? What is the message that we are trying to put across? How do we want to portray this family? Louisa recently spoke to Nam and I think the direction we’re headed in is geared towards just telling Nam’s story; how he got here, where he came from, why he chose this belief system, how his wife and children have become a part of these practices. I think it was really important for us to have had this information given to us before the actual interview, because I think it’s important that we aren’t blindsided by information. If we at least have some sense of what Nam will tell us, we will know what kind of questions to ask; the kind of stuff that will be relevant and important to telling the story the way we want it told.

An interesting point that was brought up this week in the tutes and in the lecture was the fact that these participants that we have are not actors and they are likely to feel uncomfortable with cameras. It is interesting to point out that the length of time that the participants spend around the equipment can change how comfortable they are. I think that this is something that will vary and I’m not sure how we will tackle it. Some participants may become more natural in front of the cameras because they become used to the presence, but I think that some may become unnaturally comfortable, if you know what I mean. Louisa has said that Nam expressed his shyness and discomfort. Robin also talked about that light that turns on on the camera when you’re recording. He said that this could impact the comfort of the participant. Fortunately DSLRs don’t have this light AND DSLRs are much smaller in comparison to the Z7 and EX3. The downside is having to learn to use the Marantz PMD670, but I guess that’s also an upside because I’ll know more! Yay! And I actually am enjoying using this independent recorder. I don’t have to be plugged in everywhere, it’s quite hassle-free and it transfers to my computer pretty quickly.

I’ve started my hunt for music, though I probably should have a little while ago. I’ve been searching through the archives of my favourite online musician (who happens to let people freely use his music), Josh Woodward. Just a sidenote, his cover of Psy’s Gangnam Style on YouTube is very worth the watch. In any case, Josh’s music is very guitar-based and I think this will be perfect for our documentary. Farms are associated with country music and country music usually uses guitars.