Analysis of Spreadable Media Artefacts

Artefact 1 – Fantastic Beats and Where to Find Them Mobile Phone Filmed Video – October

Uploaded onto new Ammediacy You Tube and promoted on Twitter using #Fantastic Beasts hashtags and Reddit via Fantastic Beasts forums.

Analytics

The video was popular pretty much equally between the UK and USA with a few random people from the Dominican Republic, Belgium and Spain.

Over half of the viewers came from external sources, so either Reddit or Twitter, with the rest coming from different You Tube sources, mainly playlists, but with some from channels and suggested videos:

fantastic-beasts

Although most people didn’t make it to the end of the video, stopping halfway through. This was at the exact point the first creature segment finishes and the next creature is introduced. The video on average was watched up to 35 seconds, maybe the mockumentary element was not interesting enough to keep viewers for the whole duration!

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Further Sharing/Spreading

This was re-tweeted and liked a couple of times

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Successes

I found opportunities to keep this active online and to spread it further, for instance via a local Manchester social company promoting the film a couple of weeks after uploading:

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Areas for Improvement

I think I put this online a bit too early and didn’t find the peak time of when it was trending. I thought that there would have been more interest prior to the film release date, November 18th. People were excited to see it, but it didn’t intensify until the week or so before, specifically coverage in the press and online to tap into the anticipation of the fans.

Verdict

This was quite a modest success when you consider the limited network that I had to spread this on, my Twitter followers had not reached 10 at this point. The viewing figures have since increased steadily and slowly since initially spreading it online (5 or so each week) as the film has continued to screen in cinemas.

It isn’t dead yet….but is slowly fading away into the social ether.

Artefact 2 – Memberberries Video Remix – November

Uploaded onto new Ammediacy You Tube and promoted on Twitter using #South Park, #Memberberries, #Trump and other hashtags from other remix content, such as Walking Dead and Reddit South Park and Trump forums.

Analytics

The UK and USA watched the video again, but it was less poplar in the latter. I have relatives in Turkey, so this explains  views from here, but am not sure where the people from the USA Czech Republic or Canada are picking up the video from.

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This video was appreciated by a very male dominated audience, whereas Fantastic Beasts was much more equal in its gender distribution. Maybe more boys eat member berries?!

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Further Sharing/Spreading

This time the video was liked and shared three times on You Tube, compared to no activity for Fantastic Beasts.

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It was also picked up by random people outside of my network in this country and in Amsterdam where I got my first mention on Twitter:

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Successes

It resulted in my most popular tweet EVER with 839 impressions, people must need cheering up on a Monday morning!

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Areas for Improvement

It had a quick initial sharing success, the numbers went up quickly in the first 5 days, but after the Trump election drama calmed down views just kind of stopped and haven’t really moved since, despite efforts to re-spark interest. So it peaked at 53 and officially gave up, like most things during middle age.

Verdict

It seemed a popular video amongst Twitter that sparked the imagination of a few people on the back of a bad year for news, with some independent sharing, but ultimately if it doesn’t spread it is dead, which this now is. Roll on 2017.

Artefact 3 – 360 Photography Panoramas – December

These 360 tests were uploaded onto Flickr and promoted on Twitter under the #360 photography and little #planet hashtag.

Analytics

I also uploaded these images into 360 groups for further exposure:

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This was a new Flickr page that I set up and these results are based on just less than 2 weeks worth of online exposure:

Little Planet image – This was viewed 32 times on Flickr – This seemed to be the most popular image of all of them on here and on Twitter.

Crosby Panorama – This was viewed 13 times on Flickr – This was my favourite image so I was surprised it was significantly less popular than the other two.

Ainsdale Beach Panorama – This was viewed 31 times on Flickr – This was the second favourite image of the trio.

I have had 1 follower since creating the account and been asked to join on group, so maybe when more pictures are uploaded my traffic will increase.

Further Sharing/Spreading

My photograph of me taking photographs before I made the actual photographs seemed to be popular, with this Tweet gaining 235 impressions:

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Successes

My little Planet became my top Media Tweet with 129 impressions:

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It was made a favourite on Flickr:

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And re-tweeted:

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Areas for Improvement

I think that is difficult to upload VR pictures online, you seem to either need an app, specialist software, a paid plug-in,  or know coding to be able to upload them for interactive viewing. It would have been nice to have them as interactive images instead of static, maybe next time when I have less of a strict schedule to adhere to I can experiment a bit more!

Verdict

For the short time they were online they have received attention, but in terms on views they have been the least successful of my spreadable media artefacts. The numbers will most likely flat line now, but in terms of improving stats for my Flickr I just need to add more images to keep people interested in the page, which I intend to do!

 

 

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In Game Photography (IGP)

What is it? Just in case you don’t know, David Guilmore who writes for Motherboard (http://motherboard.vice.com/en_us?trk_source=header-logo) provides a brief description of in game photography, or IGP for short:

It is when a player documents a moment or scene from inside a virtual space. Players take a snapshot and upload it to a dedicated blog…Some are motivated purely by the beauty of the game, paying homage to the talent of the developers and designers. Other enthusiasts often explore specific or artistic themes, their work being slightly more reflective.

IN GAME PHOTOGRAPHY EXAMPLES

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Duncan Harris is a well known screen-shotter of games and has a lot of his work uploaded onto his blog here if you would like to take a look at his images:

http://deadendthrills.com/

Now that you know what IGP is (if you did already, I hope you just liked looking at the images).  I would like to reflect upon it in relation to my research project, which if you aren’t familiar with can read about here.

I have always played games and have always taken photographs, but have not necessarily connected the two together. Photography has been an in-game feature or topic in some games I have played such as in the Fatal Frame Series (2002-2008) where you fight evil spirits with your camera instead of a gun:

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Or Life is Strange (2015) where you are play as a Photography student who can manipulate time. This game encourages you to take pictures as you play, characters react to your images and you use characters own photographs to unravel the narrative of the game.

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A lot of new games let you take photographs such as the Metal Gear Solid The Phantom Pain via memento photos and and Final Fantasty 15 encourages you to take pictures as the characters on their road trip.

It is not a new concept to utilise photography in games, however IGP is slightly different as it is taking photographs to capture the game world through that still image, which is like we do in the real world. What is the difference between climbing around in the real world to get the right angle for a shot, or to explore an open world looking for an interesting environment to capture on screen? As you can from the example in the gallery, there is definitely consideration of composition, lighting, setting a scene etc. to formulate the best image possible.

I have been reading through these short essays on the subject of IGP by Eron Rauch:

http://videogametourism.at/content/hybrid-light-few-thoughts-future-virtual-photography

http://videogametourism.at/content/virtual-light-exploring-game-photography-and-photo-history

I think that his comments about photography not being an accepted in its own right most certainly applies to these new emerging types of photography via IGP and 360/VR processes. They seem to be a be deemed as gimmicky, or people don’t think they are ‘proper’ photography, or it is just seen a fun thing for social media. I have to admit I have struggled to find any academic material that is linked to this area!

As gaming continues to be the biggest and fastest developing creative industry in the UK why can’t photographic appreciation of games be considered art and transfer from in-game to galleries, or even just be taken seriously as examples of social interaction online rather than just fan art? It would be great to see game artists and developers work being shared online and in the real world as serious forms of not just IGP but just photography.

 

 

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My Digital Identity

It is a bit of strange situation to be in when you find yourself being both a student and a tutor. This is the second time that I have found myself in this position, first of all when I completed my PGCE and now as part of my Masters degree. Usually I just naturally reflect and respond to my two separate roles (being a tutor means that this way of thinking is ingrained into you). I find that what I learn at university can be applied into my job and vice versa; they mix together quite well as each informs the other.

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However, since the start of this project on digital culture I have had to consider my digital identity and how I am represented online. This is an issue for several reasons, the first being that I already have an online presence from previous jobs, such as art exhibitions/competitions and freelance work. This work is also a bit out of date now as I have been teaching for a while and not concentrating on new work for my portfolio. Secondly, as a tutor I have cut down my online usage to the point where I am suspicious about students being able to find me on Facebook or other social platforms. I like my students but I don’t want them knowing everything that I do! Thirdly, it is only since I have started my Masters that I have considered up-skilling and returning to industry. So this module has been the start of an action plan  on how to develop myself online.

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When I started looking at myself online I had to think about how I would move forward to create a fresh identity that does not have any previous unwanted baggage. How do I present myself as a student and potential employee, but also with lots of experience?

As part of this module I had to Google myself. As I have a very unusual name, I realised that when I search for myself I am the only thing that comes up and that everything I do also appears too. As a result of this search I  tried to dis-associate myself from old My Space accounts and an old Twitter account that I set up and did not use, as these were coming up first on my search….not what I wanted! Unfortunately, these processes seem to take a month or so to remove from the internet and are still lingering around as we speak.

Without being too put off,  I  also tried to manipulate my online identity with a new digital identity AMMEDIACY, an acronym of my name that also happened to be linked to the industry I work with, clever eh?! So I set up new online accounts under this name to see if I could sort my digital identity via Twitter, You Tube etc which I have posted content on, you have probably seen from my previous blog posts? I have LOADS of followers and subscribers, as you can see from below:

twitter-folowers-after-1-month

I have started to steadily build up an online presence under AMMEDIACY from scratch, I have all of my posts and images appearing in Google searches, but am still a long way off from finding a new identity yet that is exactly as I want it.  I have solved my issue of keeping my new project work separate from my teaching, but I still need to find a way to tidy up my online presence up and to link my real-name Google search and AMMEDIACY together to show who I am and what I can offer.

Maybe post-module this will start to come together….but for now I definitely have considered who I am online and crafting it together to form something that could work for me.

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ARTEFACT 3

This last piece of spreadable media had to link to my research project, so if you have read previous blogs you will know that this is looking at emerging photography and social engagement online.

After my attempt at using 360 photography apps, I decided to try to achieve a better quality for my images by using an SLR and tripod. I was passing by the coast and decided a beach setting would be a good day to try and get some images, not knowing that this would pretty much the coldest day of the year!

I went to Ainsdale sand dunes at lunchtime and later (after lunch and hot chocolate) to Crosby beach where the Anthony Gormley statues are situated to see the sun setting.

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I don’t have any special 360 equipment, specifically I don’t have a panoramic tripod head that measures turns or angles, or a wide angle/fish eye lens so was forced to take a bit of an ad hoc approach. I only did a spin on one level to create a spherical panorama to see how I got on. I took the pictures is RAW with a manual lens F stop 11, 1400 shutter speed, ISO 320 for Ainsdale and Crosby the settings were the same but the shutter speed was 1/500.

When I took the images I counted approx 5 shots per quarter to make 20 photos all together for the full 360 turn. I also tried this with 32 shots, with 8 turns per quarter to see if the amount of overlap made any difference to the quality of the stitching. I figured any more than that was going to be overkill if I wasn’t going to be looking up and down as well.

Hugin Stitcher

I used the free software Hugin to stitch the photographs together, this it the result:

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I think that this turned out quite well for a first attempt, there are no obvious ghosting or dramatic light changes and the panorama looks interesting to look at with the focal point of the statue and the glow of the sun setting. You can zoom in quite a bit before blurring as the resolution of the picture is very high and the stitching is well done.

I did try to stitch the sand dunes, but the run assistant crashed 5 times so I gave up!

Good results, but not reliable enough.

Photoshop Little Planet 

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I decided to edit a little 360 planet too as they seem to always be associated with 360 photography.

I think this one turned out well as it is a relatively smooth circle considering the environment of water pools, sea, hills, a shipping yard, wind turbines and beach. I think the Anthony Gormley statue on the off centre makes it look like he is the only inhabitant of this lonely looking planet.

Image Composite Editor Stitcher

I decided to use the Microsoft stitcher software to see if the stitching process was any smoother than that of Hugin. To be honest I think the stitching quality was similar, but I found that this software was much easier and quicker to use compared to Hugin. I thought the Image Composite Editor was more intuitive, but didn’t stitch quite as well with the lighting conditions on the beach as you can see the stitch joins upon closer inspection.

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Reliable, but not so good at stitching as Hugin.

Photoshop Little Planet 

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I don’t think that this planet worked very well as it is a bit lumpy on the outside and the long grass looks repetitive with harsh differences in the lighting. I don’t think the panorama for this image was the best to use as it was quite a repetitive landscape with not much of a focal point.

Online Sources for Spreading

Tumblr

I found it quite difficult to ‘put’ these images online. I didn’t want to just put it on the interactive viewer on Facebook, or pay any money to create tours with software such as Panoweaver.

So I tried Tumblr, as you have the option to slide around the panorama on their website and it provide links to external social media.

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Flickr
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Flick just shows them online in a normal gallery, but I am also going to post these into related groups to generate more traffic and see if I can re-edit the originals and use their 360 viewer.
These links will be shared on the social spaces I have online to see who looks at and likes my images!
These can be seen at:
https://ammediacy.tumblr.com/
https://www.flickr.com/gp/145419343@N07/419K9v7/419K9v

 

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Artefact 2

As most people are, I am still feeling slightly shocked about the American elections and the other events and milestones that have happened this year…let’s face it it has been a turbulent year.

I decided to use this dismay to influence my next spreadable media artefact. I wanted to make a comical, but serious remix about the elections and other events of the year in the hope that this tapped into the mood of online communities.

I love South Park and think that their satirical take on the elections is really spot on via the member berries plot. It has become a popular trend online and has spread as a meme. I saw that the member berries have a couple of Twitter pages  #memberberries and thought it would be a good idea to use them to inform the content for my video.

Like this one:

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I scrolled through the popular tweets of the past couple of months, each comment in the video is a genuine tweet of what people member (remember) and what they are talking about online.

I also went to a meme generator to make this for my video intro:

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I then found related creative commons images online linked to the tweets to form the visuals for my video. This became the remix content of 2016 with a mixture of serious and funny members from the year.

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I then finished it off with another meme generated caption:

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There were a lot of inappropriate members which I omitted. We have had a lot of negativity already this year, so hopefully this video will be a bit of light, but serious, relief for online users.

Please check out my remix artefact online on YouTube, Twitter etc….enjoy and please share!

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BBC Work Placement

I have spent the last two weeks at BBC Radio 4 Drama  so have been busy learning the different jobs and skills needed to work in this industry.

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It has been pretty hectic! I have helped with studio recordings and edits of different shows, on both the technical and production co-ordination side. I have been working with scripts, helping producers with new projects and meeting famous people along the way.  I can’t discuss the specifics as a lot of it has not aired yet!

It has been great to see that the audio technologies I learned on my course and my previous employment has quickly helped me to adapt. I have been able to slot in to the working days quite easily and get the most out of the experience.

Thanks to the BBC radio 4 team for the chance to build upon my CV 🙂

www.bbc.co.uk/radio4

Will miss my desk:

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……Plus the may lovely cups of tea and cakes I consumed.

 

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Participatory Culture

We have been introduced to the concept of participatory culture and how people can unite online. This post is just my thoughts on it.

People can connect through lots of different potential content online. It could be via gifs or videos on social media in the form of memes, mash-ups and super-cuts, from animal-loving sharers or to pro micro millionaire content. In this area of online culture it is pretty safe to say that the internet may be over-saturated with people’s homages, or comedic interpretations of their lives.

Insert over-the-top You-Tubers here:

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I have to admit, that I don’t participate fully online, I am online, but am more a casual coffee shop observer than a community member. However, I do love the doors that can open on the internet and that it can give an individual or group a chance. That the participation of people that have an idea can be much more meaningful than watching cat videos and the oohs and aahs they generate.

The participation of people who have a love or passion for the same thing can be powerful. Can’t get your book published? Do it online. Can’t get funding for your animation/game/film, put it on Youtube or Kickstarter. Want to help save the world? Become a digital humanitarian…wait what?!

http://www.digital-humanitarians.com/

Image result for digital humanitarians

If you do not know about the great work that has come from this type of online participation, then you need to go read about it and/or get involved. I was amazed when I was doing my work placement at the BBC Radio 4 Drama to see that people were using photography, coding and their drone filming skills to not just create creative projects, but to help save people’s lives after natural disasters.

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This is definitely creative online participation at its best, with people offering their talents to help out from across the globe and compiling their efforts into helping those in need. Without the instant connectivity of social media to spread information at rapid speeds, or using all the available mobile, new and emerging technologies to help locate people  and to rebuild communities, this kind of great work couldn’t happen.

The power of the internet has allowed people to come together to have the ability to change lives, or just distract someone from a bad day at the office. The internet is what you make of it and maybe I should look a bit deeper than I have done before.

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