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>
A blog can be aligned to a digital portfolio, or that’s how I’ve addressed it for the duration of my University career. It’s an unparalleled platform to collect all types of media and showcase what kind of work and skills the individual has to offer. A blog site like WordPress, that is a free to join service, means that if someone wants to observe an array of works and projects you’ve been involved with, users can simply link them a URL.
Another great feature of blogging is the networking that I’ve been able to establish with both university personnel and even those internationally, that show up on the analytics of the site. Commenting on users posts and sharing content that appeals to an area of study is a fast knowledge transfer and something I’ve tried to showcase when making my own blog engage with others.
Commenting on others blog offers the chance to showcase some of your own research onto the next person by linking perhaps opinions of your own or a different insight into a similar topic or theme. I really took advantage of this with in particular the Devices in Public Space blog, where Sonny offered me the chance to head to his blog and check out what street photography and drone ethics in privacy perhaps co-existed and had mutual grey areas of. This was an interesting resource, that sparked me to leave comments on other users blogs where I believed I could offer further readings.
Blogging this semester has allowed me to embed knowledge that is close to my skillset, interest level as well as where I would like to eventually end up career-wise, and within the subject of BCM240 I’ve been able to explore some interesting topics and then weave my expertise in Drone commercialistion, application and regulation into the weekly readings. This has been picked up by teachers across the subject, and encouraged to continue into my final project for the class that aims to create a digital storytelling project. Through the use of my blogs and my Proposal I’ve been able to sponge information people have offered to me.
I’ve created a new WordPress platform that I actively link onto my personal university blog with a feature called “Re-blogging”. If you’re familiar with Twitter than it’s essentially a re-tweet . This means, publishing content with the authors name with it to appear on your own blog. I do this so that the users following both accounts are exposed to the content and I can showcase for what I hope to be a business mock up, to my followers, again, for useful feedback and exposure. It allows me to then run a more in-depth site for my drone research, whilst trying to create content for my ideas to re-think the narratives drones create in public spaces.
The layout of this digital portfolio is critical in showcasing a easy to navigate and resourceful website where the audience can read easily yet become informed, and I’ve made this possible with the addition of categories and tags. I’ve separated the Home and About tabs from the research content for ease of use and clear showcasing of the trajectory of my blogging/ project development. I’ve also included a Video tab for those who don’t particularly want to spend time reading and would rather a visual video understanding of the projects I am apart of. This links into the ease of which Videos and YouTube in particular. It showcases my ability in video editing, interests in content creation as well as mentioned before a chance for the audience to click play and watch visual skills to be viewed. The easy embedding option on a new blog-post means that it can be shared quickly to a greater audience. Hyperlinking throughout a post is another great feature that I try to incorporate into my blogging throughout research so that audiences have the options of further reading on a particular idea or topic, but can also show my audience that I’m researching what I’m talking about and can have a post that is reliable.
Something that I’ve received feedback from peers and tutors alike, is the visual nature of my blog and how it’s very basic and needed to be reflective of the resources that I was showcasing (eg. drones, new technology, video, internet) so i decided to change the background to something more visually appealing and that resonated the direction and nature of the blog. I have linked my twitter stream onto the side of the site so that updates on what I’m following as well as reflections of current ways of thinking can be an addition to this. I’ve customized it so that it shows the most recent first and allows those that chose, to cross over to the twitter platform itself and further follow me on that social media site. Another point that was raised was the About tab not reflecting me as a researcher online. This was something I was unaware could be changed, so with simple investigation, i learnt how to update the about page to reflect what the blog and myself were about, and necessary information about these two.
I’ve found that my writing style has improved, however, upon reflection and investigation of feedback my editing is still something I’ll continue to work towards in terms of grammar and use of contractions that all make up 1%’s of a page that distinguish a professional blogging atmosphere.
To conclude my reflection on a semester of academic blogging involving media, audience and place, I believe regular blogging and continuous feedback from staff, peers or complete strangers all direct to an ever improving platform. The internet has evolved so the ‘prosumer’ become ‘prod-users’ and we’re able to gain our content the exposure it deserves. I’m able to take what knowledge I have accumulated, and pair that with a research trajectory and showcase this on an open source and free entry internet database that gives a potential long tail affect the longer it remains. My job as an online researcher is to continue to acknowledge the sources I use and keep the atmosphere welcoming and easy to navigate for a growing demographic of users.
Technology has evolved at an unprecedented rate, which has given a lot of freedom to the public to communicated, be connected and entertain themselves at the slide of a button into a smart phone. The mobile phone is now multiple devices in one which means that jobs that would normally require a computer or perhaps another tool can be done with internet, gps and mobile signal.
With this amazing new possibility, and portability of most tasks in daily life, our attention span to commit to one singular media event can be hindered, as the interest tends to wander due to the vast majority of entertainment options easily and swiftly accessable to the individual via their phone.
“A recent study by Microsoft Corporation has found this digital lifestyle has made it difficult for us to stay focused, with the human attention span shortening from 12 seconds to eight seconds in more than a decade.” (Medical Daily, 2015) It seems the way of the technological trajectory that less is desired and consdiered more valuable. Take Twitter for example, we’re restricted to 140 characters or less which means people only want to read the headline and if doesn’t grab the attention in that amount of time then it often gets ignored.
“Heavy multi-screeners find it difficult to filter out irrelevant stimuli — they’re more easily distracted by multiple streams of media”
This framework from ‘Microsoft Canada(s): Attention Spans Research Report 2015’ breaks down the attention we give can be broken into 3 sections, thus;
The above info-graphic was something I used in order to plan my attention span activity. With these three ideas, I set up a space that included all the media devices I had in my possession and recorded the area when it become populated with people. I wanted to see how much attention is given to particular devices, and which devices lasted the longest. As an added feature of this activity, I’ve chosen my un-technological minded mum, Justine, (who helped with the TV spaces interview) as a reflection and extension of the findings from her childhood opposed to her viewing now. My sister, Nikita, was also present with this experiment who is 19 years old. The two allowed for a demographic change as they’re both from rural areas, with TV a major source of entertainment by location.
I decided to film this test in 360 degree video, as a proactive showcase of how technology has evolved so much that now the viewer can control what parts of the space they want to watch. Perhaps leave a comment below on how much you played around with the click and drag feature of 360 video, how much your attention wandered and which parts were more fascinating.
It was interesting to not that throughout the video, devices that weren’t particularly familiar to the subjects, weren’t given a lot of attention to none at all! This was reflective of how our attention span is on the decline, if we can’t focus and figure out hardware (and sometimes software) nowadays, they don’t last long in a consumer market. There was also a generational shift with my sister (19) gave things more of a “trial”, such as the mini Nano Drone, whereas Mum (43) didn’t want to break anything.
[Individuals within this video gave full consent to have themselves published on my university blog as well as YouTube]
**note: screenshots were used until the 360 degree software was fixed…it currently has issues converting file metedata.
Subjects interacting with various devices
L, Borreli 2015, Human Attention Span Shortens to 8 Seconds Due to Digital Technologies: 3 Ways to Stay Focused, Medical Daily, viewed 26th September, <http://www.medicaldaily.com/human-attention-span-shortens-8-seconds-due-digital-technology-3-ways-stay-focused-333474>
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Something that I’ve encountered over my years of studies creating and publishing content on YouTube is their policies around copyright and how these can affect the showcase of the video being released. Many videos of mine have a copyright viewing restriction (usually banned in some countries) or a monetization policy whereby the video can’t be used commercially (or I can’t get paid for the video work) and also advertisements may appear throughout the video. This is all because I’ve used music that doesn’t fall under a creative commons license and it copyrighted for use without permission.
Above is seen how an instance of media regulation was encountered by me, however I’m not against the idea of protecting someones intellectual property, I just believe if it’s stated within the video that it’s not for commercial use, showcases the artist and maybe a link to where to buy their music should be sufficient. A YouTube channel NoCopyrightSounds allows for this with the music credit to be displayed in the ‘About’ section of the content. This service is really useful for academics creating an aesthetic video and sharing works of others.
The spatial control this has on video distribution is limiting some creatives to express their works, and sometimes accidental policy by the YouTube algorithm can see content removed. One prime example where common sense hasn’t prevailed, is a video in Russia where a dashboard cam captured a meteor penetrating the earth, however, Google’s “Content ID system automatically filters videos for music”, and with this particular video, Leona Lewis’ song “Bleeding love” (which is almost inaudible) was captured, forcing the content to be unavailable in Germany. (The Verge, 2013)
This is an example of the controlling nature of media spaces and the damaging effects it can have on natural events being captured in a spare of the moment way. Built on from using music for aesthetic purpose, this video has no clear intention of piracy, it’s mere consequence.
Based on the weeks gone by throughout the semester, the topics of “Media Audiences and Ethnography” as well as “Personal Devices in Public Spaces” I’d like to combine these ideologies to put together a collection of case studies that indeed aim to “Persuade an audience to think about how media practises and experience are spatial in nature”. I’d try and look at this from a new perspective of a drone and how audience perception can be changed with the narratives or ethnographic research from a device that brings in a new ‘Disembodiment gaze’. With new technologies such as 360 degree video, First Person View or FPV and Virtual Reality or VR, the applications of a drone are limited only by the users imagination, to which I’d like to challenge, unlock and inspire.
“Three main dimensions of a digital storycircle are explored: multiplications, spatializations (or the building of narratives around sets of individual narratives), and habits of mutual recognition. “
Using this base from the Couldry reading, I’d like to explore the mulitplications as the various entry points to the usage of drones (VR, 360 cameras) and the multiple layers of user control they allow for commercial and leisure flight. Spatializations will look at the drone itself, the speculation from the public as well as the narratives the user and device create in a public space. And lastly mutual recognition I will apply to the policy and regulation of the human and drone technology in modern day public spaces and how this arises external thoughts of privacy.
What do you want to know more about?
I want to explore the fears, oral panics and doubts associated with media drones in public places. The idea that when purchasing these quadcopters is initial fear not helped by aviation companies with guidelines printed in yellow and black.
- What are people scared of? (Name? Looks? Colours? Sounds? Privacy? The camera attachment?
- Showcase what can be done with them rather than; should not, can not, must not
Who will your collaborators be?
I will showcase the devices I have acquired over my years of research and would like to showcase some personal footage that introduces someone with minimal knowledge into the drone’s narrative.
- I will thoroughly reference Adam Rothstein with his book “Drone” and his article “Drone ethnography”
- Perhaps if I find people across uni, the subject or class I can undertake surveys or Vox-pops that showcase peoples knowledge or lack of towards drones and then implement that into the project
What kinds of digital platforms might help you explore and present what you find?
- YouTube: this will showcase my personal flights/recordings and showcase some possibilities that are presented with the quadcopters. This could also showcase some interviews if I conduct them with people and their exposure to drones
- Prezi: This can imbed videos and text into a clearly user controlled platform to view at their discretion
Heading to the cinema in contemporary society is fast becoming a past-time in need of promotion or a new idea to rekindle the audiences to ensure its survival. On Thursday 25th August I headed to the cinema for the second time in a week, and saw “War Dogs” drama/ comedy based on a true story set in the early 2000s.
However the movie quality and content wasn’t the main focus this time, but more the physical parameters of the building, and the mechanics in organising this experience with a friend that is what I’m going to focus on. To gain a greater understanding of the implications that contribute to cinema attendance and perhaps trends in recent years we turn to Torsten Hagerstand’s three constraints for which I’d like to include my own experience to Warrawong Hoyts in relation to the scholarly meanings, these include:
Capability: ” limitations on human movement due to physical or biological factors. Thus, for example, a person cannot be in two places at one time. A person also cannot travel instantaneously from one location to another, which means that a certain trade off must be made between space and time.”(Hagerstrand 1970, Schonfelder and Azhausen 2010, p.38)
So we question, Can we get there?
Personally, I teamed up with a friend as we decided to carpool to the venue. This saved us taking two cars and using more fuel than was necessary. It was also a social factor as we had company on the way there, but more importantly to discuss what we thought of the film after it finished. This allowed me to attend the film comfortably.
Coupling: “the need to be in one particular place for a given length of time, often in interaction with other people. This coincidence of space-time paths is described (in an electrician’s jargon) as “bundled” paths in a station’s tube. In other words, your space-time path must temporarily link up with those of certain other people to accomplish a particular task.”(Hagerstrand 1970, Schonfelder and Azhausen 2010, p.38)
Can I get there at the right time with those involved?
This was something that was planned in advanced by the ability to look up session times and plan when the best time for both of us was. By leaving the house by 8:40pm we were able to allow time for food purcahses before heading in, to buy the tickets at the kiosk and also the 15min (approx) travel time it took to get there.
Authority: ” an area that is controlled by certain people or institutions that set limits on its access to particular individuals or groups.” (Hagerstrand 1970, Schonfelder and Azhausen 2010, p.39)
Am I allowed there?
The only factor involved with this constraint was the parking in which we had to determine whether the spots allocated were available to the public and also had an acceptable time period so we could watch the film and leave in time. This was achieved but all went into the decision process and planning of watching a film at the particular space opposed to at home.
Once we arrived at the cinema, the idea of the ‘Non-Places’ crept into my thinking, in particular the kiosk and waiting area before the cinema. These places refre to
“spaces of transition, designed to be overlooked on the way into somewhere” (s, Maloney 2016)
This was something i subconsciously accepted and expect each time i come to the space, which was interesting to notice the actual layout this visit.
Going to the cinema has quirky habits it evokes onto me, including trying to sit as central as possible while estimating enough rows back that I can view the movie without straining my neck upwards, but not too far back that it seems a distant blur. I also avoid the movies if the movie showing has a risk I might not like it, or simply it’s not a sequel or spin off of a film I’m already familiar with. Thursday’s successful cinema organisation was the first time I’d sat down to a movie I had no prior knowledge about which was exciting. Overall the space offers a distraction free environment and on this occasion a quiet space (as there was only 4 other people occupying the crowd) that allowed me to practice my own preferences whilst watching a film.
Schonfelder, S & Axhausen KW 2010, ‘Time, Space and Travel Analysis: An Overview’, in S Schonfelder & KW Axhausen (eds), Urban Rhythms and Travel Behaviour: Spatial and Temporal Phenomena of Daily Travel, Ashgate Publishing Company, Surrey, p.29-48.
Returning to my interviewee from week 2, Justine Jones and I talked about her introduction to the internet, computers and how it changed the way households thought about being connected and access to information.
Justine detailed that she didn’t actually have a computer until mid 2000s due to there not being a great need for them, or an ideology that they weren’t an essential part of the household. The first computer she had was a work computer that was an early laptop design however she detailed its physicality of being quite heavy and bulky. The way to connect to the internet at that point was through a dial up connection that she spoke of being a 15 minute process, “Normally we’d click ‘connect’ and go and make a cup of tea or coffee”. The process was taking the blue Ethernet cord from the home phone and plugging it into the side of the laptop, which meant no one could call the house phone at the same time the internet was connected. The laptop had it’s own space in the study or behind the dining room initially, however she detailed how a moral panic of being able to observe what “kids” did on the internet swept the news and current affairs, so eventually the family computer was moved to the loving room in full view of the occupants of the house.
The fist PC that Justine remembers was a 500MB system that cost around $4000 brand new. It had Windows 95 and took around 10 minutes to boot up. The main reason the desktop computer was purchased was as her kids grew up, more and more activities were being linked to online stimulus’. Things like maths online and interactive games were being advised as homework for primary aged kids to gain extra content, plus the ability to use things like “Google Images” to enhance a project with printed pictures.
In terms of progression and transition, she acknowledged that when the internet first entered the family home it was simply associated to a computer. Smart phones, tablets and TVs had no place in the internet world yet and the computer was the only entry point to the World Wide Web. However now, the TV subscription is linked to the internet subscription and hosted by the same provider. Phones take dominance in the television spaces as the phone and tablets have entry points to internet connections through the introduction of wireless connectivity. The TV is usually on in the background, however she said that when the internet was just accessible via the family computer, more interaction was had, and less time was spent seeking other peoples social lives and staying in the loop of the world wide happenings were done with news and current affair programs. Today, the main exposure Justine gets for news and current issues is through social media pages accessed through a smart phone connected to the household internet provider.