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>
Looking at Drones was something I initially wanted to carry into a Cyber cultural extension from their agricultural usage. I wanted to link them to human capacity and challenge the speculative narratives they carried within a local context of my hometown in relatively small rural area. General awareness of their emergence was little and therefore creating a disadvantaged implementation into the corporate sector to perhaps improve a fast-changing technological shift, especially in government workspaces.
As an aim or goal for this digital artefact I wanted to explore ways a quadcopter fitted with a 360-degree video camera could address the ways prevalent culverts (or drainage pipes under the roads) could be inspected, observed and surveyed better and most importantly safer for less costing and less time taken to do so. The artefact was to build a custom drone that hasn’t yet been seen or released in the commercial market that would be something the Roads and Maritime Services would consider innovative and consider implementing into their regular workspaces. The drone has been trialled for observation of large bridges, but not the culvert area, which is where I focussed on. The device isn’t a finished product ready for testing. However, I plan to continue working on it and taking it into future classes, projects and workspaces whilst I continually build on the expertise it’s started giving me. The drone will hover in the air, however the controls are yet to be properly configured which will be done by Rise Above Solutions (an Australian Based Drone expert dealer and service provider) along with a safety inspection in terms of motors, Lipo batteries and propellers. This is so that when the remote control is ready for take-off no unexpected breakages arise leading to an unsafe environment for those around. Once this is completed further testing and flights can be recorded.
Though the artefact isn’t complete, the achievements and overall skillset it’s proven is something that has grabbed my full attention. Firstly, the expertise I’ve gained from this build is amazing and something I’m proud of. YouTube was a great tool that I’ve used and taught myself how to use and build electronics, from soldering wires, to attachments of motors, to battery testing. Then the hardware of the cameras I’ve touched on stitching software and how it can be a timely process, GoPro usage was something I’ve learn new skills in and created other videos of the things that interest me. The lights and switch soldering to the battery was something I learnt from the original soldering tutorials as well as flight expertise, knowing how much thrust etc. to give the drone when wanted to pan or fly forwards, as well as knowing processes into calibrating a remote control, and how this is a pivotal step when buying a universal remote.
Lastly, this project has allowed a whole new aspect of networking. I’ve gained contacts within Rise Above Solutions that I’ll be able to meet with and discuss options for future builds including Rafi Mehdi, the director of the company whose detailed he’d be happy to help in future. Douglas Simkin, UOW tutor, has also detailed of his friends that would be interested in looking at the build whom he’s acquaintances with. Then there’s those I am working with at the RMS, in terms of project managers, Regional Area Managers, and Board members whom I’m giving a presentation to in Bathurst on the 17th June as a progress report on the drone project. All of these are exciting and something I put towards future career prospects. This is due to having thinking about the cybernetic relationship with the drone, the pilot, the camera lens, and the new “bubble” perspective 360 video allows users to think about new possibilities within surveillance.
N, Wolchover 2012, What if Humans had Eagle Vision?, Live Science, viewed 18th April 2016, <http://www.livescience.com/18658-humans-eagle-vision.html>
Rothstein, A 2011, Drone Ethnography, Rhizome, Blog, 20 July Viewed 13th April 2016, <http://rhizome.org/editorial/2011/jul/20/drone-ethnography/>>
Suchman, L. 2009, Connections: the double interface and constructing the cyborg body. 1st ed. ebook MIT OpenCourseWare, p.15. viewed 22 April 2016, Available at: <http://mitocw.eia.edu.co/courses/anthropology/21a-850j-the-anthropology-of-cybercultures-spring-2009/assignments/MIT21A_850Js09_sw01.pdf>
Chris Moore, 2016, #dronestories, prezi lecture, DIGC335, University of Wollongong, 3rd May 2016, viewed 5th May 2016, <https://prezi.com/b9fp3pnjfqew/dronestories/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy>
Chris Moore, 2016, Cybercultures Week Two 2016 (w.2), Prezi lecture, DIGC335, University of Wollongong, 8th March 2016, viewed 24th April 2016, < https://prezi.com/poqmln3hslyh/cybercultures-week-two-2016-w2/>
Small UAV coalition 2014, About us/Current Rules, Small Uav Coalition, viewed April 30th 2016, < http://www.smalluavcoalition.org/>
Fredrick Lardinois 2015, Talking Drones With 3D Robotics CEO Chris Anderson, Techcrunch, Viewed 30th April 2016, < http://techcrunch.com/2015/01/11/talking-drones-with-3drobotics-ceo-chris-anderson/>
Konstantin Kakaes 2015, Drone Regulation – Privacy and Property rights, PDF, New America, Chapter 3, viewed 2nd May 2016, < http://www.iapad.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/DronesAndAerialObservation.pdf#page=29>
Street Insider, 2016, 360fly Partners with Livit to Offer First Live Streaming Platform for Mobile Virtual Reality, Street Insider, viewed 1st June 2016, < http://www.streetinsider.com/Press+Releases/360fly+Partners+with+Livit+to+Offer+First+Live+Streaming+Platform+for+Mobile+Virtual+Reality/11417004.html>
Ballesteros, A 2014, DJI F450 Quadcopter Assembly, online video, 30 March, YouTube, viewed April 10th 2016, < https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3noy4Dhvhx0>
MultiRotors, M 2014, How to Build the DJI F450 Flamwheel Drone With Naza Flight Controller and DT7 Radio, Online Video, 18th April, YouTube, viewed april 12th 2016, < https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ER2GxMo0X3E>
360fly Support, 360Fly and Livit Team Up to Offer live Streaming of 360 degree video, 360Fly, viewed 1st June 2016, <https://support.360fly.com/hc/en-us/articles/218071267-360fly-and-Livit-team-up-to-offer-live-streaming-of-360-video>
Parrot Mini Drones, Maclane Airborne Night Drone, Parrot.com, viewed 1 June 2016, <http://www.parrot.com/usa/products/minidrones/airborne-night-drone/mcclane/>
This week I would like to draw on the patterns of legacy media control and the way we are limited on the internet nowadays with surveillance and the idea of a “walled garden“. An interesting connection and almost cycle, is in comparison to medieval land ownership and the idea of obeying an authoritative figure, in comparison with brands like Apple and their attempts to stem the flow of information content.
“The Stack” is then reached when vertically integrated walled gardens form together to create a property organising system. This establishes limit-able viewing factors on how we use and distribute content. The idea that the internet is a free open system is challenged with the idea that ‘sharing is stealing’. The following Prezi allows users to see the effects of this idea, and goes into copyright, mass amateurization and the idea that the former consumers of content are now considered the biggest prodUSER.