Concept in 60 Status Update

So, if I’m being totally honest, I haven’t done a lick of work on this since my rough draft presentation. I’ve been juggling presentations, research papers, and all the usual end of the semester insanity and it just hasn’t been very high on the priority list. Much of that other work has been completed now though so I can turn my attention back to my video. As far as what I need to do goes:

I still need to look into doing a bit of tweaking on some of the images. I want to change up the opening title card and might change some of the others as well. I also need to consider the possibility of  looking to find some images that are more connected to the other images for the end of the video (alternatives to the Crocodile Dundee images especially).

I also need to look into the music. I need to determine whether I want to go the more traditional vaudeville piano route, or stick to my original idea and go with something else. In either case I’ll need to do a little more legwork to cover my bases as far as copyright is concerned.

Other than that, I want to reevaluate the timing of the clips and or consider some transitions between images. I’m thinking that transitions might make the whole thing too busy, but I’m going to play around with them.

Then of course there is writing up the metanarrative, which as I mentioned during my rough draft presentation is where a lot of the more specific reasoning for why my video meets the criteria of the assignment will need to be addressed. (I took a less direct on purpose and I’ll need to make that clear.)

All in all I don’t think there’s too much to do (not to underestimate the time it will take to do all this, I definitely need to get started). I put a lot of time and thought into the rough draft precisely so I wouldn’t have as much hanging over my head as we head into exam week. I just hope it all works out and I can’t wait to see everyone else’s final product.

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Concept in 60 rough draft

Here it is folks! Love in the Time of New Media, the new romantic comedy from acclaimed director (not really) Kevin Pope!

Love!

Scandal!

Books!

Technology!

It’s all here in this action packed look at one man’s struggle to reconcile his love for books with the ever growing influence of technology.

Will he stay with book?

Will he find a new love in New Media Seductress?

Watch to find out!

Okay, enough fun for now. Basically, I wanted to go about this whole thing in  a slightly different way, so instead of making a video that outright explored my idea, I’ve layered it in the cloak of plot and subtext. Or at least I tried to. Essentially, I’m exploring that notion that as e-books, the internet, and other technologies become more and more accessible and more and more prevalent, that the print book will go buy the wayside. As you probably saw in the video, I say, no, it won’t. We’ll just find a happy medium between the two. 😉 As far as this cut, I’m probably going to play around with some of the images a bit, especially some of the title cards (the credits need some updating for sure) and some of the images that aren’t quite as clear. I might play around with the song too, I love me some Buddy Holly, and I think the song is fitting, but it’s so upbeat I think it makes the whole thing feel faster. If you don’t believe cut the sound off, and rewatch it. It felt so much slower when I did that, and easier to digest. But maybe I’m wrong. Then of course there’s that whole issue of it potentially getting flagged because of copyright or something.

Update: So while I was taking a shower, a thought occurred to me that might take this video more toward the sort of thing we’re going for in this project. My video, as a thing, reinforces my concept. I’ve blended “old media” and “New Media” together in a way. I’ve used still photographs, but manipulated them with a computer. I’ve taken a very contemporary sort of plot (I know rom-coms have been around forever but let’s suspend our disbelief) and used a much older style of film-making (the silent film) to bring it to life. I’ve also sort of upended that technique by replacing the vaudeville piano with 50’s Rock ‘n’ Roll song. I’m just sort of rambling because again this is one of those spontaneous bits of shower intuition but what I’m getting at is that to produce this silly video, I’ve used New Media to make Old Media and Old Media to make New Media. Basically, just like Meme Guy I’ve sort of gotten in bed with both.

I dunno. Maybe not. Just thoughts. XD

She Blinded me with Science! An Experiment in Non-print Presentation

So I chose to do the PhotoStory assignment and this is what I came up with:

(Sorry if the sounds not so great on this. My microphone is not a very friendly person)

It’s nothing fancy technologically nor even the most profound explication of “Ozymandias,” but I made, and I pretty much like it, so there.

Of course this particular assignment wasn’t just about making the video, it was about how this different format might influence the way we think about literary criticism. So first, here’s my traditional explication of the poem.

Ozymandias Explication

and finally, here is a brief look at how the two differ and what that might mean.

Explication differences

The assignment also asked for the script for the video I believe, but I didn’t have one, I just used an outline of talking points (and now I can’t find it). So….yeah.

Happy reading watching and whatever else you might be doing.

Honey, I don’t think we’re in Bermuda anymore: A vaguely related title to make a joke about the Rhetorical Triangle

Claire Lauer’s piece “What’s in a name?” raises some interesting questions about how the field of New Media, and yes, I’m going to use one of those questioned terms, discusses the wide variety of objects that exist within the scope of the field. In particular, she explores the various nuances of the definitions of the terms “New Media,” “Multimedia,” “Multimodal,” and “Digital Media.” At least that is her stated purpose. However, I believe that this really isn’t what she ultimately accomplishes. For me, this piece does less to explore the various definitions of each word, and instead explores the impact of, and on, the rhetorical implications of each word. And if I’m honest, that’s probably the more important discussion to have.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines each of the discussed terms as follows (I have excluded definitions that apply to fields beyond the one currently discussed):

New Media, n. :

With sing. and pl. concord: new means of mass communication considered collectively; spec. electronic means such as the Internet, CD-ROMs, etc. Also: the profession of working in such a field of mass communication.

Multidmedia, adj. and n.:

A. adj.

Using more than one medium of communication, artistic expression, etc.; (Computing) designating or relating to applications which incorporate a number of media, such as text, audio, video, and animation, esp. interactively.

B. n.

2. The use of a variety of artistic or communicative media; (Computing) the incorporation of a number of media, such as text, audio, video, and animation, esp. interactively.

Multimodal, adj.:

2. Characterized by several different modes of occurrence or activity; incorporating or utilizing several different methods or systems.

Digital Media: There isn’t an OED entry for this as a single idea.

If we look at these definitions, we can see that while they share some commonalities, they all include some mention of the technological aspect, and they all seem to include the notion of variety, each definition is also fundamentally different in some way. New Media seems to really be more the catch all term for the field by these definitions. Multimedia and multimodal appear to have practically the same definition, however you will notice that Multimedia also exists in use as noun, whereas multimodal is only recorded as an adjective. Digital media, I will presume, simply means technology created and or available in a digital format.

Yep, even these bad boys count.

Yep, even these bad boys count.

And these really seem to be the same sorts of definitions Lauer’s piece and the the interviews rely on. The real nuance seems to exist with in the context of the rhetorical situation. Almost all of the interviews in all of the categories seem to indicate that different terms are used to talk to different audience. The Subject and the Speaker may be the same, by changing the audience requires a shift in rhetorical choice. Likewise, the audience and the speaker may remain the same, but the subject changes and thus requires another shift in rhetorical choice.

And this is nothing new or innovative. Yes, the terms and ideas are more recent constructions, but this discussion of how the rhetorical situation influences our interaction (whether we be speaking, writing, or some combination of both, or even super future mind melding) has been going on since at least Aristotle’s day. And that’s what I really get out of Lauer’s piece. Not that the definitions that underlie our terminology are wobbly and inconsistent (they may be, but I do not get that sense here) but rather, as we use technology to access new audiences, and enter into new rhetorical situations, we must remain vigilant in our consideration of those situations and vigilant in our use of words, just as we ought to be in all of our writing.

"I hold that through harmony of ethos, pathos, and logos, we can finally determine that ideal pet is a cat!"

“I hold that through harmony of ethos, pathos, and logos, we can finally determine that ideal pet is a cat!”

Caption! From the eye hole comes the mean!

So, in “On Web Video, Captions Are Coming Slowly” Stelter discusses the how there is an ever increasing trend to push forward with the captioning of web content. While the push is obviously there, it needs to be done faster and it needs to be done better. This article claims that YouTube captions are “mostly accurate” well, I don’t know the data, but personal experience tells me that the YouTube captions are about as “mostly accurate” as a cigarette company circa 1960’s claim that cigarette’s didn’t kill you was mostly accurate. Sure the cigarette didn’t kill you, but the cancer caused by the cigarette sure as hell did.

Last fall I interned at a nearby high school two days a weeks. My mentor teacher was a fantastic educator, who happened to love YouTube videos as tools to teach her students. However, one block had a student with a hearing disability. Had the YouTube captions been accurate this wouldn’t have been a major issue. But the captions were so bad we had to rework entire lessons to avoid using them. Something we were totally willing to do, but it took away valuable time.

If you’ve never experienced how bad they can be, take a gander at some of the ones posted in this article.

Funny YouTube Caption Fails

These things are terrible, and I cannot recall that I have ever seen a time when they were any better. I mean, these are as bad as something you might find in this

Episode III, The Backstroke of the West

I seriously recommend reading through that whole thing if you didn’t. It’s hilarious. It’s a direct translation into English of the Chinese interpretation of the script (used to create subtitles and/or Chinese dubs I presume).

So the point is this. It’s great that there is a push to put captions on web videos. It needs to be done. And I applaud YouTube for trying to use voice recognition software to speed up the process. But right now, from my experience, it’s doing more harm than good. And that needs to be addressed.

I love the Values and Criteria Analysis: Part Deux

So, for this part of the assignment I’ll be using the wonderful video I posted in part I of the assignment that featured an Interview with Janis Joplin just days before her death in 1970.

For this I’m just going to go down the list point by point. So let’s dig in.

Core

I boil this piece down to one essential idea. That our culture’s artistic idols are people too, full of vulnerability and human failures, no matter how high we elevate them. And that’s what makes them great. We get a picture that Joplin is just like many of us, trying to be accepted, while simultaneously being ourselves, and living with a constant weight of rejection hanging over our heads. Of course there are other ideas to be drawn from the video, but then that’s the point, so it works.

Form and Content

This piece augment’s the interview audio with excellent animation that illustrates not just what is being said, but adds emphasis to many points (including informing that this Joplin’s last interview). Additionally, the use of Joplin’s own music adds more complexity and depth to the piece. Each choice is obviously very deliberate and defensible. As a video on YouTube, I believe that is is reasonably accessible as we use it in the heuristic. Though it may run into a couple of (easily overcome I think) issues with regard to accessibility in terms of those with disabilities.

Audience

It’s a neat video with excellent animation, great music, and I think that it really engages its  target audience, people with an interest in Janis Joplin as an artist.

Ethical Issues

The has a splendid credit role that gives credit where credit is due.

The Verdict

It’s fantastic and it meets all the criteria. Need I say more?

So, there’s that. Now let’s look at something from the class schedule.

“This is Scholarship”

by Catherine C. Braun and Kenneth L. Gilbert is a short film that explores the changing face of “scholarly” work. The film is accompanied by a page providing other facts and data, with a list of suggested readings as well a list of “works cited.”

So second verse, same as the first:

Core

The controlling idea here is that the notion of “scholarship” is quickly growing and changing as the role of technology in our lives expands. New technologies mean new forms a access, communication and all sorts of (potentially) great things. We must understand the scholarly works are no long just journal articles and books. That idea is present clearly. The supporting website isn’t exactly mind blowing, but it is usable and it fits the bill, so I can’t say much against it.

Form and Content

This video uses some interesting elements to illustrate its point. It’s particularly clever because this video, which is meant to show us that scholarly work can occur in many forms, is in itself, such a work. It uses sources and clear organization to convey the message, while illustrating the various points by actually doing them. For instance. Instead of just adding voice over, the video shows the program used to being used to record the voice over, interspersed with text overlay and other elements to show everything can come together in the end. Again, I believe it is accessible under reasonable circumstances as we have defined those in the heuristic.

Audience

This video is clearly aimed at people who do scholarly research, and I believe it engages that audience effectively. While it does you neat video tricks and music to be fun, it also makes a clear argument and presents solid facts, the hallmark of any good research. By having a website and other materials to add support for the video, the creators makes sure as many bases as possible are covered. As I said the website isn’t much to look at, but it serves it’s purpose and isn’t so bad to turn me away.

Ethical Issues

The video itself doesn’t contain a credit roll, but the supporting website provides a list of referenced materials, so the bases are covered.

The Verdict

It works. The website isn’t the prettiest thing ever made, but it’s usable. The video is clever and interesting. I believe it meets all the criteria, so, there you are.

Evaluation Heuristic Stuff

At their core, all of the evaluation heuristics we have looked at are rooted in the same set of criteria, derived from Kuhn’s criteria, and Cheryl Ball’s expansion of those. And really, they aren’t bad criteria at all. They cover all of the bases I can think of, and generally work as assessment criteria based on what I understand to be good practice.

Let’s start with the items that fall under what the other heuristics call the “conceptual core.” Really, for me, this boils down, to is the piece focused. Does it have a “thesis” (obviously it’s not all of the pieces we look at are going to really have a traditional research paper sort of thesis, but it ought to have a purpose, point, etc.) so to speak and does it follow through in it’s exploration of that “thesis.” It’s all pretty basic writing assignment rubric sort of stuff, really.  . But really, I believe that for our purposes as long as there is a purpose, and a main idea, and those are followed through with, then a piece is successful.

Next is the research component. Now, obviously some of the things we are considering aren’t “scholarly” multimedia projects. At least not in the sense that they’re a multimedia version of a research paper or something like that. However, even non “scholarly” pieces (which are perfectly okay) often draw from outside sources, and those sources ought to be acknowledged. It’s as simple as that really.

Form and content are where things get kind of iffy. The problem here of course, is subjectivity. So much of what “works” in terms of form and content comes down to an individual’s personal preferences, etc. In my view, much like the heuristics we’ve read suggest, as long as the choices made are justifiable, i.e. as long as they are purposeful and serve to further the piece, then they’ve met the criteria.

Creative realization is still something I’m not sure I completely grasp. Rather, I’m not exactly sure how it’s a separate category from from and content.  If there are technical problems and choices don’t serve the final piece, then clearly one has not realized their creative vision.

Finally, there are the additional categories Ball adds to Kuhn in her article, “audience” and “timeliness.” Audience, seems pretty straight forward and you might think that it would just sort of come along naturally with all the rest of this stuff. However, I do think it deserves a mention. It ought to be clear who the intended audience of  a piece is and a piece ought to engage that intended audience effectively. If scholars are the target audience then it ought to meet the expectations of scholars (things like credible research etc.) If the audience is more the general public then of course credible research is great, but no one will want to stick around for a boring paper reading.

The other added criteria, timeliness, I’m not as sure about. Perhaps it’s because I’m used to reading journals that are either decades old and full of (generally) dreary articles about even older books or are new and full of (generally) dreary articles about ancient books. While I understand how a piece can be “timely” I don’t really know that a piece necessarily has to be to be good. Timeliness, timelessness, all that just seems a bit too much. Sure I might be more interested in something that timely, but that doesn’t mean that something that is not timely doesn’t work and meet all these other criteria.

So there they are. Some thoughts. Nothing to fancy, or particularly controversial or revolutionary. Nothing particularly concrete  either, I obviously didn’t actually make a detailed heuristic of my own. But what’s here ought to be enough to set me up for contributing to the discussion.

Too Long, Did Not Read. Thoughts on Stuff Related to Reading.

Christine Rosen’s “People of the Screen”  touches on several of the important issues that are central to the discussion of the future of reading, media, and our lives as new technologies attempt to replace more traditional forms. In her discussion on reading, she states that reading on the screen is different than the reading one does with an old fashioned print book. While she cites, and I am well aware that there is research that has proven this to be basically true, I question the negativity she seems to imply is associated with this phenomenon. She puts  forth this notion that the fact that we no longer have to trudge through an entire volume is a bad thing, sharing with us the frustrations of one scholar who notes his difficulty with reading an academic work in print form (he found it distracting and difficult).

What is scrolling!? This isn't from the Dead Sea!

What is scrolling!? This isn’t from the Dead Sea!

But why is it such a bad thing? In another post on this blog, while discussing Robert Coover’s notion that hypertext will spell the death of linear narrative, I question why he feels that an author writing in a linear context needs to be blown into some sort of oppressive restrictive paradigm. I enjoy linear structure and question if there is an end to linear narrative, is there not also the potential for an end to linear argumentation? In that article, I hold that no, there isn’t, and the notion that such linear thinking will ever be completely replaced is mildly absurd.

But you must understand that my position on the issue is actually quite moderate. Just because I do no think that digital media and hypertext will signal the doom of linear narrative and argumentation, does not mean that I feel we must inherently be bound by that linearity in our consumption of it. With regard to hypertext as a medium for academic works, I think it could be utterly fantastic.

recursion1

In “Is Google Making us Stupid” by  Nicholas Carr, and “Is Stupid Making us Google” by James Bowman, the two authors weigh in on the debate over whether our new found access to vast amounts of information at the press of a button is making us, as a whole, less intelligent. Much of what they  touch is closely related to Rosen’s discussion as well. Do I know less because I have not taken the time to read in it’s entirety Jean-Paul Sartre’s Being and Nothingness and instead used the internet to gain a more concise understanding of it? Perhaps so. Or perhaps I just know a little less about the minutiae of Sartre’s work. Perhaps instead, the time I saved finding a more concise way of entering the text allowed me to also spend some time getting an understanding of Sartre’s opponents as well. Is it possible that I have gained an adequate understanding of both, without having taken the enormous amount of time and effort to completely read both? I believe that it is, and in doing so I have actually learned more than I would have otherwise.

The idea that rather than reading an entire piece, I scanned to find the information I needed is some sort of frightening notion is downright silly. People learned to skim and scan well before the screen came into play. In truth, the advent of the search feature has probably allowed me to skim and scan more effectively than ever before, allowing me a more reliable way to find and retrieve the information I need, while also saving me time, which I can then use to find and retrieve even more information. If I’m really interested in a topic and/or feel I need to have a more in depth reading nothing is stopping me from sitting down and doing so. If anything I am given more freedom. I become more productive, and while my understanding may indeed be slightly different, that is not necessarily an indicator that it is inadequate.

Of course there is one other big question hanging out there. What if it is not the new role of the reader that creates these issues? What if some of the responsibility also lies with the writer?

The Good, the not so good, and the probably not what this assignment was looking for: Values and Criteria Analysis Part I

So let’s start with something good. This animated video mixes music and animation with a recording of the last interview if Janis Joplin, recorded just days before her death in 1970.

There are many similar videos with a broad variety of famous individuals, including musicians, political figures, authors, and athletes. Each on is superbly animated and provides a brief, but poignant look at its subject.

This one featuring Janis Joplin is particularly striking because it shows us someone that is now seen by many as a very larger than life personality, a superstar of 60’s counter culture in a very vulnerable and human way. In the days just before her death we see the truth. That she’s not on some higher plane of existence or enlightenment. She is just another one of us, with her own thoughts, her own opinions, her own strengths, and her own weaknesses. And that’s where the power in her words really comes from. That’s what I love about this video. It’s short, and it’s focused, yet it tells us so much, and, in my eyes at least, delivers a message that is universal.

So now something not quite as effective.

Now don’t get me wrong. This video presents some very interesting ideas and I actually enjoyed the subject matter a great deal. But I won’t lie, it was boring as all get out to watch. Now, I understand that this is a multimedia presentation of an academic piece, but I still think this isn’t as effective as some other similar sorts of pieces I’ve seen. Is all the information there, yes. Is it an interesting topic, yes. But does this video get me excited about it or engage me very effectively, not really. Admittedly, I probably couldn’t do any better, especially since this is all put together by one fellow for a journal. But it I think it serves as an example of some potential issues with this sort presentation. I hate to say these things without being more detailed but I’m trying to keep things short for now, by the time this assignment is through, I’ll probably be able to express my concerns more specifically.

And finally, I’m going to go a bit off the rails here perhaps and submit the entirety of website as my last example. So ladies and gentlemen, if you’ve never been exposed to it I present to you

Cracked.com

Now I probably should have mentioned this before I linked it, but not everything on this website is totally clean. While there isn’t any nudity or anything like that, they don’t balk at using expletives, nor does it balk at discussing fairly risque topics. That being said. This site provides a plethora of information in comedic fashion. The site tackles politics, pop culture, history, music, technology, and just about any topic you can think of. The major articles are often lists with each item on the list being explained in a few paragraphs, usually filled with links to all sorts of other useful information and/or sources on the topic. But the site’s content also consists of videos, info-graphics, and combinations there off.  All that’s well and good of course, but admittedly you have to take everything with a grain of salt. But that’s for good reason. Anyone can write an article (though I’m certain that it does go through review, etc). Now obviously this isn’t the only sort of site that does this sort of thing, nor is it unique in being a raunchy but moderately reliable source of information you never really needed to know. But is is a great example of these things. And I think it’s an interesting example of the internet’s ability to allow the collective to create.

Also, as an edit. You’ll notice that I didn’t specifically address any of those multimedia heuristics up there because, to be honest with you, I forgot. However, after taking a note out of one of my classmate’s book I went and looked over the Kuhn heuristic from table 1 of Cheryl Ball’s piece (thanks Richard).  Upon looking that over, I think I’ve actually mentioned points that align each of these pieces of media with the heuristic.  Perhaps Cracked doesn’t do a good of job of properly citing things, etc. but then well documented researched articles aren’t really the point with that project. So I reckon that each of these, when compared to the heuristic, stands up fairly well. But I believe that my original point still stands. The Joplin piece, and Cracked are great because they’re engaging. The academic piece, not so much. And in our culture of short attention, all the best ideas in the world are lost if you can’t keep the audience engaged.

Now I am Become Death, Destroy of Linear Narratives. Thoughts on Robert Coover’s The End of Books and reactions to it.

In his article “The End of Books,” Robert Coover discusses the future of narrative structure of the novel as technology gives rise to new forms of story telling, particularly hypertext. He claims that the advent of electronic media heralds the demise of traditional print media and that the proliferation of hypertext is the harbinger of death for the novel and indeed linear narrative itself. It will, in his view, free us from the oppression of the line, of linearity, indeed even from authors themselves.

To that I have only one thing to say, and Jeremy Clarkson says it better so I’ll let him do it for me.

While the idea of hypertext novel and the interesting rhetorical choices the medium allows authors to pursue are incredibly interesting (and I do think we should push the boundaries and explore story telling through hypertext and other mediums) the notion that it will completely usurp more traditional forms is, to put it mildly, absurd. The rhetoric used in the debate seems to me to be overly dramatic, needlessly inflammatory, and decadently grandiose.

Print media, though prolific, did not doom oral communication, or indeed oral storytelling. T.V. did not kill film. Video did not kill the radio star. Hypertext will not kill the novel. It won’t even kill linear storytelling.

Chalk that needlessly convoluted story up to Time Lord interference.

Chalk that needlessly convoluted story up to Time Lord interference.

As Laura Miller notes in her response to Coover, if for no other reason, people read for plot. A good plot is enough to keep a great many readers chugging along. We like linearity. Indeed, even in hypertext, the notion is surely still to organize what we are viewing linearly, even if we might pick a different order with which to organize the various elements.

Take for instance William S. Burroughs controversial novel Naked Lunch. It is a mind boggling out there, drug induced, fever dream of a novel, written in the cut up style and organized as a series of vignettes. The claim is that one can read the vignettes in any order, but even in doing that one creates a linear story, and indeed, if a reader takes the time, they can begin to piece together the connections between the vignettes where they will more than likely discover that though it is presented non linear, a linear progression of events is present in some shape.

Such a prophetic novel.

Such a prophetic novel.

Imagine if I had written this post in a non linear fashion. Would you still be reading it? Would you understand what was going on? I think probably not. So what if this were a dense scholarly article? If hypertext is the doom of the linear novel, is not also then potentially the death of linear argumentation? I doubt it. Without structure and a sense of linearity, arguments make no sense. The same is true of other works. It is not until we take the non-linear structure and begin to fence in that we truly begin to understand it.

Just because the atom bomb has the capability of destroying the world twice over, doesn’t mean we’re going to do it. While think nonlinear narratives are interesting and may even flourish, I wouldn’t count the traditional ways out just yet.