Critical Report

This module has provided me with the opportunity to better develop my research, editorial and production skills in regards to online media. Through a weekly research assignment I have been able to grasp a broader understanding of the various methods that can be used through online media to best present the art of storytelling. Following on from this project we were then asked to complete two individual projects, one being a multimedia app idea pitch and the other being a storytelling exercise presented by our own choice.

When undergoing my individual storytelling project I entered the idea process with an open mind and so left all ways of presenting whatever I chose up for consideration. I felt it was more important to find a piece that I wanted to share and then decide the platform in which to do so rather than the other way round. With the content of the project being my main focus I then looked to find any relevant stories or subject areas focusing around the time of which I would be completing the project. It was from this research that I discovered the anniversary of The Great Escape would be occurring around the hand in date of our project. One of the most valued documents within my family is my Great Granddad’s diary which he kept as a prisoner of war in Stalag Luft 3, the camp in which The Great Escape took place. I felt this would be a great insight into the camp life that was taking place around and after the escape and so saw this as a great opportunity to present individual, historic content in a modern way.

After coming to a decision on what I wanted to complete my project on I was then faced with a vast amount of ideas and ways I could present it. The diary is very detailed including pictures, diagrams and daily accounts about life on the camp and so there was a number of ways I could approach this. I decided to write down all my ideas that I could have taken from the book which ranged from a cookery blog based on the recipes he wrote about or simply a daily blog uploading the diary account on each day of the week anniversary. It was when conducting research on the event I came across an audio slideshow that the BBC had produced with similar content from another prisoner of war who was at the camp at the same time, the link of which being below.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today/newsid_8369000/8369096.stm

I particularly liked the way in which this gave the user the opportunity to gage some context to the content that was presented in the diary as a family member retold the stories that she was passed down. This personal storytelling approach was one that I found most compelling and brought a much more raw insight to the piece. As a Radio Production student I felt confident with my audio ability to pursue this form of storytelling and so decided to create an audio slideshow.

Perhaps the most tedious part of this whole process was individually scanning the documents on the computer so that I could incorporate them into the slideshow. However, this gave me time to individually review each page and so when sat completing this task I began to organise the pages that I would want to include and began to consider the order they would appear. I felt it was first most important to consider the question of who and so provided the listeners/viewers with a bit of context as to who my Great Grandad was and how he ended up in Stalag Luft 3. When sifting through the content I also considered that there has been a lot of coverage over the years about the Great Escape, mostly telling of the story of how they did it. I felt it would be interesting to give a slightly different perspective and fresh content and so included the little anecdotes about camp life including the recipes I previously mentioned and what appeared to be a betting page where prisoners would bet when the way would end. Again, the drawings displayed in diary are incredibly unique in terms of content and so I tried to include as many of these as possible.

Once the positioning of the photos was complete my next task was to compiling a script for the audio. This I found very easy and quick to complete as it was just to compliment the order  I had already selected for the photos and was recorded on Zoom recording equipment. The editing of the audio was completed on Adobe Audition and then later uploaded to Adobe Premier which I used to complete the video editing. I used this software as it was software I had a pre existing knowledge of.

Overall I was happy with the result of this project as I felt it presented a historic account of an iconic story in a completely modern way. With documents like my Grandad’s diary I feel its important to not let them go forgotten and so digitalising this type of content allows the stories to continue for much longer on the internet. I was a bit disappointed as it would appear the last few clips of audio near the end were not perhaps to the same level of quality as the beginning, something that I should have review more closely.

The next project I was set to complete was a multimedia app idea to be pitched to our lecturers. I decided that as I have a strong interest in music that I would look to develop an idea that would support that industry. When beginning brainstorming for my idea I thought that the most successful ideas and inventions come from the solving problems, and so I understood that my idea needed to be something of use to an artist/fan to overcome an issue otherwise it would perhaps be not so successful. When considering this I thought of both sides of issues for the fan and for the artist. Whilst conducting some research I saw in an article that was published near the time I discovered that the band Mumford and Sons had banned the use of recording  mobile devices at their concerts as they felt it took away from the atmosphere of the concert. This is something that I’m sure many artists can relate to and can also sometimes be frustrating for a fan if they’re behind someone doing this. Now it’s very unlikely that all concerts across the world would ever be able to stop this and so I set to find a way to make this a benefit for the artist rather that an annoyance.

When reviewing fan footage of concerts I was surprised at the level of quality, both audio and visual they were able to capture. One project I came across came from one video editor who grew tired of waiting for Kanye West to release his official footage of his concert and so took matters in to his own hands by compiling an entire run through of the concert from various crowd angles all sourced from fan uploaded footage of this concert.

http://pitchfork.com/news/57647-kanye-fan-compiles-two-hour-yeezus-tour-film/

This video was a great success and recognised by the likes of NME and Pitchfork Media. It was from this I found inspiration. As a music lover when I do unfortunately miss out on concerts I look to social media to find the earliest footage that may be uploaded from the concert. Now as a fan I know I certainly would benefit and be interested in a platform that could allow me to see live streaming of the concert in full, as it happens. As an artist, surely if people are going to record your concerts anyway wouldn’t they rather that they do it on a platform that promotes their brand rather than social media sites which will gain money from advertising and views?

The platform I felt it was best to present this idea on was Spotify. As of early this year the national charts company now recognise 100 streams on the music streaming site to count toward 1 physical sale. Spotify also pay their artists based on the number of streams they receive on their page. I came to the conclusion that as an artist surely it would be more beneficial to come to some sort of agreement that allowed people to live stream their concert for a company like Spotify that could later increase their own revenue and sales figures by bringing more attention to their streaming page? I then looked in to the logistics of streaming from mobile devices and there was similar technology available and working now.

This project was one I most enjoyed as it gave me the opportunity to explore a wide range of online media and best understand the logistics of how these technologies work. It developed my research skills and provided me with opportunities to critically asses the best way to present various content.

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