Click Here for the Digital Storytelling Project: Drone Protagonist
Drones burst onto the media scene at an unprecedented rate, and like any new technology there’s optimists and skeptics. The idea behind this project was to demonstrate the trajectories and stories that are on offer, have been showcased in the past, and to perhaps encourage other creatives and public individual to think about how the spatial nature of these devices offer a whole new paradigm in the way we convey content.
I have a passionate background with the drone quadcopters, and it’s something I want to eventually build a career out of and own in abundance, so using these particular devices were a no brainer and something I could offer scholarly, factual, aesthetic as well as real world applications to that could persuade an audience to think about how media practices and audience experiences are spatial in nature. Of course, with passion and knowledge widely spread out across the chosen topic, comes problems in narrowing down a definitive timeline of a project. I had plans for a major looks into the assembly, the different types of drone and what they’re doing for the device’s reputation, a demographic showcase of the mindset of people when they think about drones, as well as having a whole heap of drones that I personally would review and showcase to people. These ideas were all likely to be projects in their separated state. I had to fine tune my thoughts into a collective and informative piece that still constructed a story that would cause people to think differently about a technology.
This project was aimed at the general public and creatives alike who were unsure, skeptical, skilful or experts in the field of drones and their application towards tasks and aesthetics. This meant that it was both informative but also had room to grow, or showcase works of others that were more advanced than what I had access to. It also creates discussion, feedback loops as well as teaching myself personally from those who had opinions or useful criticism. I wanted to make this publically available, and for it to incorporate an essence of social utility outside of a “university only” style. Something I could have improved on this was the wider opinion of outside perspectives. Different age brackets, different individuals from various geographical locations as well as a greater number of all these factors could have generated more talking or focal points. This can be developed further to which I have every intention of doing in creating a digital portfolio of knowledge that covers everything there is to know about attitudes towards this technology.
I touched on this before, however the way in which I condensed this into a singular linear trajectory was probably my biggest hurdle. I discussed heavily with my tutor and we decided to attack the project in a broad sense, that would open opportunity for debate, discussion as well as general conversation about the device. The intention with this method would be to showcase all that is good in comparison to the bad, to perhaps initiate people to think in terms of what Can be done, and then whether or not it should be done.
Another challenge was not having a personal drone that could film regular or “conventional” drone shots. This meant I couldn’t run with the original idea in doing reaction videos around the university and film in real time (from a drone) what people think or reacted like when a drone took off in front of their eyes and flew around a university setting. This could be another interesting approach later in my research studies as a first hand or primary research tool.
In terms of “gear” I was also not equip to conduct vox-pop type surveys, to which I substituted a survey monkey approach. The challenge with this was that I couldn’t approach people outside of the classroom for their opinions. A vox-Pop is effective in that it can get raw footage and thoughts people have on a topic by catching them off guard and recording whatever springs to mind. Again, another consideration for further insights into public opinion.
Prezi as a platform was amazing in the way that the user is able to embed links that convert straight away into view-able content without leaving the site. Vimeo, YouTube and images requiring a simple hyperlink credits the sources as well as being easily navigated around the presentation.
Another huge aspect of this project was shifting the control from drone manufacturing companies telling the audience what to do with this technology. Prezi is almost a metaphorical representation of this attitude because the viewer isn’t subject to a linear presentation viewing point. They can skip as fast or a slowly through the slides as they please, view as much or as little of the video as they like, as well as skip to particular points of the presentation and click and drag their way to viewing different content. The zoom feature on images is also a user friendly feature.
Lastly, YouTube for the drone footage content I have aggregated is a free platform that works well with Prezi. It allows sharing options to be widely available and the footage I captured to be fully 360 degrees supportive.
Results and Future
The results from the surveys included that for a future program or an extension of this research, demographics play a huge role in the way we consume media from drones and their spatial significance in public areas. Peers and classmates who completed the survey in terms of what’s commercially available seem to just want to know more about these aircrafts and perhaps creatives like myself need to keep producing new content that’s publically available to see their potential. Another interesting aspect is the association with the words and connotations. This can be traced into production and consumption in an Asian pacific region where the word drone in certain languages connotes negatively in correspondence with words similarly, ie. Buzz, vulture, Dark.
This project is something I can use for my professional portfolio of an overall understanding of the drone implementation into society. Media industries will see the introduction of these devices for more detailed and raw footage, and having started to get people thinking about their positive impact they could potentially have if embraced and trialed with them, only has the capacity to have more around. Manufactures could definitely also benefit with this kind of research too with the way they build, market and in some cases limit their products. If we’re going to change anxieties about these devices we use in public spaces, it’s going to start with the quality and quantity of available footage we can get from creatives like myself, showing people what CAN be done.
Couldry, Nick, MacDonald, Richard, Stephansen, Hilde, Clark, Wilma, Dickens, Luke and Fotopoulou, Aristea (2015) Constructing a digital storycircle: digital infrastructure and mutual recognition, International Journal of Cultural Studies, Published by SAGE Publications, viewed 25th October 2016, <http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/54412/1/Couldry_Constructing-a-digital-storycircle_2014.pdf>
Nesta, n.d., Drones: a history of flying robots; A collection of links, videos and recommended reading on the subject of drones, Nesta, Viewed 26th October 2016, <http://www.nesta.org.uk/drones-history-flying-robots>
M, Schroyer 2013, Man whose RC drone was shot down over Turkey protest returns to the skies, DIY Drones, viewed 25th October 2016, <http://diydrones.com/profiles/blogs/man-whose-rc-drone-was-shot-down-over-turkey-protest-returns-to>