CMP | Week Three

This week concentrated on the software Isadora, which creates an interactive platform to enable users to control a narrative. Isadora was originally created by Mark Coniglio, a composer, media artist and programmer. He produced the software as part of a dance performance. The idea was as a dancer moved into a certain area of the stage, then Isadora would pick the action up and react with it.

An example of how the software enhances performances can be seen in the video below.

Future of Memory from troika ranch on Vimeo.

We were able to play around with a trial version of Isadora; I managed to create eyes that follow the cursor on your computer screen as it moves. Other great examples included a sound function, in which as the user speaks, Isadora can hear this and produce an image of moving lips that synch to the users words. Another great idea was the control function. This is where the user can use the arrow keys to navigate to different pieces of narrative.

I feel Isadora is a great new technology that needs to be explored further. The user becomes pulled into the narrative, by selecting and rejecting areas they want to explore further, especially with the control function.

Unfortunately, the trial software doesn’t have the save function, so I was not able to upload it to this blog post. However, my favorite professional use of Isadora is used in this performance shown in the video below.

CMP | Week Two

Week two of Creative Media Practice enabled me to explore second screen technologies. Second screen refers to simply a second screen of content, which compliments the first screen. For example, a person could be watching a television show, such as The X Factor, whilst also playing on X Factor’s play along app on their tablet.

The first TV show to use the second screen was Grey’s Anatomy. The free app came out in 2011, and the video below goes into details.

In the words of Thomas Elsaesser, “… the default value of cinematic storytelling is rapidly becoming that of the interactive video-game and the computer simulation game” (Puzzle Films, Complex Storytelling in Contemporary Cinema, 2009).

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Filmmakers have now started to become creative with the way that the audience can use their second screens. For example Prometheus (Ridley Scott, 2012) on Blu-ray, enabled users to explore usual content such as storyboards and concepts for the films. However, the film could communicate with the app so users could see an alternate scene when the time is right whilst watching the film. Users could also flip the alternate screen on to the big television screen, and reverse it when the scene was finished.

prometheus

When creating two pieces of content to fit together, it’s important to make sure that one screen doesn’t over run the other screen. The user needs to make sense of the two pieces and see the two screens as complimentary to each other. “The second screen material just can’t be filler. It has to be information we want to know and the information has to connect to the character” (Joseph Saroufim, http://soundandpicture.com/2014/04/d-tec-creators-develop-a-second-screen-narrative-and-its-awesome/).

Our mini-brief this week challenged us to use second screen to enhance a narrative. It was requested we use at least three QR codes (quick response codes) to implement the second screen technology. You can see my team and I’s attempt in the video below, make sure you have your QR scanner at the ready!

Although the QR code is seen as a dying technology, the short film clearly represents how second screen technology can support a narrative. The users can gain a personal connection to the main character, through this technology, as the user is looking at the mobile phone screen that he is using. I feel that the second screen doesn’t interrupt the first screen as we filmed and edited this with this in mind. The same applies for the placement of the QR codes, also. We made sure there was enough time to scan the codes, and put them in an aesthetically pleasing frame.

However, it was very hard to make sure the user would play the content at the same time. I disliked the aesthetic of putting text on the screen to play the content at a certain time, but without it, the second screen would look unprofessional.

CMP | Week One

Last week saw the beginning of Creative Media Practice. This module fits into my final year of study at University and explores new technologies that create innovative storytelling. The two sessions looked at the use of three screens, or in other words, Triptych screening. Triptych can be dated back to the Middle Ages, where people used this form of narrative for worship, as religious iconography.

middle ages

“Spatial montage represents an alternative to traditional cinematic temporal montage, replacing its traditional sequential mode with a spatial one.     Ford’s assembly line relied on the separation of the production process into a set of repetitive, sequential, and simple activities. The same principle made computer programming possible: a computer program breaks a task into a series of elemental operations to be executed one at a time. Cinema followed this logic of industrial production as well. It replaced all other modes of narration with a sequential narrative, an assembly line of shots, which appear on the screen one at a time”

- Lev Manovich, http://www.manovich.net/DOCS/windows_montage.doc

Triptych first made an appearance in cinema in the early 1900’s with films such as Suspense (Lois Webber, 1913) and later came Napoléon (Abel Gance, 1927).

napoleon

My favourite example of Triptych from the past comes from a title sequence created by Saul Bass with the Grand Prix of 1966. You can watch the sequence here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5RILdsjeL_4

grand prix

Split-screen narrative gives the storyteller advantages to not only give the audience enhanced information in a stylistic way, but it may also be used to confuse the narrative. Much like the film Sisters (Brian de Palma, 1973), which tells the story of twin sisters with opposite personalities. The film concludes that the screens were actually telling the story of just one girl, but with a split personality.

sisters

Tryptich is now used today in numerous media platforms, from the likes of graphics, TV, cinema and the web. My favourite piece is HBO Voyeur (2007).

hbo voyeur

The session led to the start of one of four mini-briefs. This was to go out and film and edit a Tryptich screen. Myself and two others went on to present the video below the following day.

I like the 180 degree effect that the Triptych gives the audience, I can see this in a nightclub behind a DJ. As well, in an exhibition with the video projected onto walls, and the images on the left and on the right projected on walls that are at an angle to the middle screen, incasing the audience into the narrative.

However, the wobbling in the frames, I feel, makes the Triptych look out of sequence. Either a tripod will have to be used in the future, or it would be interesting to explore if the wobbling was to be increased, what effect it would have on the narrative. Furthermore, with more time it would have been nice to have increased the narrative, using each screen as an individual which then concluded and met up at the end.

Let the Fun Begin

I’ve been working for Liverpool SU for almost a month now, as a Digital Content Producer and as Marketing Supervisor for Byrom Street campus. Even though it’s been work, work, work, I’ve been having such a good time. Meeting and chatting to new people and engaging with all the events the SU has to offer, from Laser Quest, to filming club events, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed myself. It hasn’t come without its hard work, though! There’s nothing better than loving what you do.

I don’t officially start University until tomorrow, however, and that’s when the real fun begins. At the moment I’ll be concentrating on a report from my time at Lime Digital, creating ideas for a Production Project, and creating an Interactive Exhibition for a museum. I’ll keep you posted! I can’t wait to get back into the swing of things and get back into designing.

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Digital Content team trying out Laser Quest before the shoot.

New Year, New Jobs

Heading into my final year of University later this month, and I’m going to absolutely smash it. 

 

I’ve managed to secure myself another job at the Liverpool SU, as well as a Digital Content Producer. I’m now part of the marketing team working in the new Mini SU’s which are now spread across all five LJMU campuses. This is a new concept that only our SU have in place. I have also been promoted to Supervisor! Therefore, I will be reporting back to the SU how the Mini SU’s are working for students and what are the most common problems and questions that Students want to know when coming to University.

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First shift is on Monday, wish my luck!

Moving Day

I moved flats yesterday! I’m so happy, with brilliant views across the city of Liverpool, it couldn’t feel any more at home. 

Which is great because I’ll be in Liverpool 24/7 next academic year, whilst finishing my degree. My new job at the LiverpoolSU as a Digital Content Producer will keep me seriously occupied as well. 

I can’t wait to officially call it my home; there’s so many fantastic opportunities coming up for me next academic year. But, for now, I will enjoy the rest of my Summer…