DIY Reflection

For my DIY project, I was stuck between doing some sort of remix with a genre of music that I love or attempting to make a music video.  While I began both of these projects, they didn’t seem to work out as I was hoping, so I did something a little more personal.  I chose to create a digital story of my love for live music, which worked out perfectly.
A digital story is a computer-created video that includes pictures, videos, music, text and usually the creators voice telling a story to the audience.  The story that the author is telling reflects directly on the visuals being displayed so viewers can see the bigger picture.  Not all digital stories include an audio voice-over, but when they do, it definitely adds to the connection that the author gives to the audience.  Digital stories are usually personal, focus on a certain topic, and display a specific point of view.
I wasn’t sure which tools to use in order to create this type of video other than using iMovie, so I decided to stick with that since I had already used it before.  This way I was able to incorporate images, text, videos, a picture book theme, and my voice-over.  The theme that I chose was able to start me off in the right direction and get me in the mindset of telling a story to the viewers.  It helped emphasize that I wasn’t just reporting or telling a story, but was trying to get across that something like live music can become part of a life style and a hobby.
After exploring many different digital stories and trying to see which route people took in creating their videos, I decided that the most important aspect of what I wanted to do was tell my story, and through that, I wrote my script.  I wrote down everything that I wanted to tell my audience that was important to me and what I thought was necessary.  Talking about how much I like music wouldn’t explain everything, so I had to really emphasize the fact that going to concerts isn’t only a hobby, but it’s a my therapy.  For pictures and videos that I included I had to scan my computer for as many as I had taken and I was able to find videos on YouTube of shows that I had attended.  Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed creating a digital story as I had free range to be as creative as I wanted.  It was my chance to take something I loved and knew a lot about and make it interesting to where the audience would enjoy what I was saying, and hopefully enjoy live shows themselves.
While there are many other ways to tell a story like the one I told, using a computer instead of just creating a storybook or something like that helped me to incorporate different aspects that I wouldn’t be able to any other way.  I was able to use music, videos and my voice in order to bring it all together.  The video wouldn’t be able to connect to the audience in the way that it does if anything from it was missing.  Without personal pictures, my story may not be as easy to understand.  Without videos, they may not know what the kind of live music and festivals I attend are truly like.  As I have never used my own voice over any type of video, it became the most important aspect that allowed me to truly tell my audience why this unique hobby has become such a special part of my life.
This was the first class that I have ever worked with so many different digital genres before where I was able to express my thoughts and ideas.   This genre truly brought everything together as I was able to put a true meaning to what I was talking about and emphasize that this was something I was really passionate about.  Without the variety of modes I used, it wouldn’t have come together as nicely.  These different modes get the viewers interested in what I’m talking about and cause them to want to want to listen.  Without the different options I had, I don’t think I would have been able to ever create such a personal story yet include such an important meaning to it.

Remix Reflection

Charley Howe & Taylor Koelsch
Remix Reflection

For our remix, Taylor and I wanted to emphasize how, through social media networks, advocacy and awareness groups are not only extremely popular, but powerful.  It was important to us to talk about the fact that such groups exist on these sites and have a wide range of followers and supporters in a virtual and physical sense.  We were inspired to dig deeper on this topic by the Occupy Wall Street protests and such awareness groups like cancer awareness, and their use of these sites to gain support.  It was simply amazing to us to see how millions show their support over these sites and how they have their own little virtual world designated to a specific interest, concern, or support group.

Starting off this project, it was hard to find videos that directly reflected the message we were trying to portray throughout our remix. When finding videos, there weren’t many that talked specifically about social media groups and their variety as well popularity.  We found a few that talked about social media communication as a whole, which in some cases reflected our message, but there were also a large amount of videos on how social media sites, especially Facebook can be used in a business sense.  We cropped around the specific message of these videos and were able to incorporate their statistics, ideas, and background information regarding these sites.  This helped give people a better idea of how these sites are used and helped us narrow down our intended audience to mainly Facebook users, as well as advocates.

For many of the video clips we used, we only took short segments, which allowed us to take away their original message and help create ours.  We took videos designated to global disasters, Facebook parodies, business, and informational stats and were able to form them into a completely different message.  As hard as it was to do this, we had to in order to portray what we wanted to, since no videos fully related to our topic.  Looking solely at the clips we took, you may not even be able to tell what the original videos message was.  It would have been easier to use longer clips, but this was also more fun and made our video interesting and different.

We tried to make our video relate to a wide variety of people.  As of course it is much easier for avid Facebook and social media users to understand, it was also important that general advocates and others were able to see the transformation that these sites have had through awareness, protests, and support.  Since most of the social media culture is habited by a younger crowd, and in turn would be the main watchers of our video, we wanted to make it more relevant and interesting to them by adding the parody about the Facebook group “I Love Beer,” since those kind of groups are as well all over the place.   In order to give people a solid background on these sites without making it a tutorial or steering away from our main message, we gave a few stats and information for those who may not use them.  If we were to go more in-depth, our video would have turned into a tutorial on how to use these sites, and that wasn’t what we wanted.  But we used enough that we could safely back up our argument.

Through our video, we wanted to get across to our YouTube audience the positive effects of social media and different ways that they can be used, other than just keeping in touch with friends.  We wanted to show people the other benefits of communication other than just personal connections.  Social media has turned into a global networking environment where communication virtually endless in many aspects.  Social network sites are a place where everyone can have a voice and where common interests can be further explored.  Through the possibilities of Facebook groups, individuals can share thoughts and ideas with millions of others, which, in turn, can provoke the growth of bigger movements.    We want to emphasize the fact that through this type of environment, you can’t go unheard.  People will communicate, share, and help one another unlike any other form of media before.

Since old forms of communication are slowly disappearing, we feel as though social media is emerging as the new alternative.  Social networking sites in general, but specifically Facebook, are proving to be ground-breaking in this new turn of social communication.  We wanted to get a positive reaction from our audience and have them be excited about hopefully getting involved with this type of communication.  Our audience should see the other ways that they can use Facebook and social media sites.  It is also important to us that our younger audience recognizes that they can easily get involved, as unlike before, younger generations typically didnt show support for causes or protests.  Whether they didn’t know how or they had no way of doing so, they can show support easily through the wide range of groups that circulate the virtual media world.

When it came time to making the video, we decided to use iMovie since it was already on my computer and seemed like it would help us the most.  At first, using it was extremely confusing and we didn’t understand even the basics.  After watching a few YouTube tutorials on how to crop videos, include pictures and songs, we got on a roll.  The hardest part to figure out was the voiceover, but once we understood it, it helped add a lot to our video.  Once we figured out how to download the videos off of YouTube and convert them to be able to use through iMovie, we were able to get a solid start down.  There wasn’t much we weren’t able to do with this tool.  We could edit and add videos, sound, music, images, slides and the length and volume over them all.  Any little thing that may have been hard for us was easy to get around, but we never ran into much difficulty with anything once we learned how to use it.  Our only problem came when we tried to upload it to YouTube and they immediately took out the sound from the music we put in it.

Music Used:

The Time Has Come- Pretty Lights

Straight Heat-EdiT

Shakedown Street-  Grateful Dead

Polarize- Big Gigantic

Synth One- Ronald Jenkees

Gone Gone Gone-The New Deal

Sites Used:

Sites:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/06/occupy-wall-street-social-media_n_999178.html

http://www.nami.org/Content/NavigationMenu/State_Advocacy/Tools_for_Leaders/Media_Tool_Kit_Using_Social_Networking_Tools.htm

Videos Used:

Bosnia clip-http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FE7iIroguhY&list=PL81762E825442435F&index=12&feature=plpp_video

Definition of social media-http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U1y9IGPYpfE&list=PL81762E825442435F&index=16&feature=plpp_video

Facebook parody-http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dHi-ZcvFV_0&list=PL81762E825442435F&index=17&feature=plpp_video

Facebook-http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rts18_YO5GY&list=PL81762E825442435F&index=20&feature=plpp_video

Social media a fad?-http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CWaPlVliUaI&list=PL81762E825442435F&index=14&feature=plpp_video

Occupy-http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1fY93MGqjCQ

World clip-http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EhT3co2qNAA

Extra Shirky clip-http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=769txj9gfxM

Aside

YouTube as a Social Network

 

YouTube serves as a social networking site through its videos.  They serve as a communication vehicle and point to social clustering.  Users are on this site all day watching, commenting, critiquing and uploading videos.  Many have created a little world with one another where they subscribe and follow to keep updated on what their virtual peers are doing.  They talk to one another over their videos and often post videos of a similar kind to relate to one another.  Many of the more popular video posters are from large corporations or music artists, who post more official, copyrighted material.  YouTube is all about trial and error.  You don’t know when your video will get very many hits, or what the public will ultimately enjoy.  That’s why this site is labeled in the article as a “network of creative practice.” The website is designed for collaborative participation and helps people to do such in a very easy manner.  YouTube has also allowed sharing to be so easy that people can communicate by sending one another clips and links to what YouTube has to offer.  While it is certainly used to express yourself and share with those on the sight, a main function is sharing.  Digital literacies come from learning how to upload, communicate and collaborate through YouTube.  It is the way of understanding what to upload that will catch the publics eye and how to get your material noticed.

YouTube Culture

 

YouTube was launched in 2005 by a few employers of PayPal.  It started off as just a website aiming to remove the technical barriers to widespread internet sharing of videos, but seemed to turn into much more.  It became a huge public collaboration, allowing members to upload as many videos as they chose, connect with other members, and watch as whatever video they chose, all with ease.  With videos ranging from tutorials, comical jokes, remixes, music videos, and even clips of movies and shows, YouTube has provided the public with virtually anything they are looking for, and that’s how it became so popular.  It allows everyone to share online and lets almost anything up.  Looking at what the ‘About Us’ page said back in 2005, makes YouTube seem so much different.
“Show off your favorite videos to the world
Take videos of your dogs, cats and other pets
Blog the videos you take with your digital camers or cell phone
Securely and privately show videos to your friends and family
around the world
. . . and much, much more!”

Looking at this, it doesn’t seem like the creators were expecting YouTube to become such a sensation.  Now with the sloagan “Broadcast Yourself”, it is evident that you can find almost anything.  This allows users to share anything theyed like, allowing others to view anything theyd like.  With so much effort being put in by people around the world, we can essentially say that YouTube is run by its users.  Without them, the site wouldn’t exist.  By uploading such a wide array of videos, YouTube has become its own little virtual world that can be explored for hours.  What’ s so unique about it is that each video that comes up under a search has been put up by a different person.  It is simply up there to share and benefit others.

Copyright, The Public Domain, and Creative Commons

 

The copyright law gives credit to the creator of a specific work, allowing them to take ownership over all uses of this material unless given permission or the user has been demanded a payment in order to use.  This law stands in the way of many things and can almost make creating works extremely difficult since there are many things you have to be careful about.

The public domain consists of works that have expired copyrights or works that can not be copyrighted.  Mainly files that were created before 1923 exist in the public domain since their rights have long expired.  These files are open to the general public for use where no property exists.  In Bound By Law?: Tales from the Public Domain, they talk in depth about public files and incidents where copyrights take place, where they often necessarily shouldn’t.  Through incidental tapings or anything of the such where there is something in the background that they don’t have rights to, that is considered copyrighted material, and they will be fined no matter what.  I personally was amazed by this.  I never knew that even by capturing the Simpsons in the background of a film or capturing a sports game where a fan yells the line of a famous song can have such strict rights.   I think the fair use law should come into play more often.

Creative commons is a website that allows the public to go and create legally through the laws of the Internet and copyrighted material. It comes in handy when you aren’t sure what can be of use on the Internet.   Since there are so many rights surrounding the uses of such material, this website allows the public to build upon free use material in between the legal limits.

What Is A Remix??

 

I personally found all three videos to be extremely interesting.  I’ve never thought so in-depth about remixes nor have I noticed how much is remixed.  I was amazed by the first video that talked about Led Zeppelin and how much they took from other artists.  It caused me to take a step back and think about other music I listen to on a daily basis is taken from other musicians.  I was also amazed by the second video when it showed all the movies that have copied one another and replicated scenes from previous movies.  It almost ruins some movies when you see what’s not “original.”  It is interesting how essentially everything is a remix.  Even Bob Dylan used 11 covers for his first album, which I thought to be pretty incredible, let alone shocking.  The youth have taken copying to a whole new level when it comes to this specific type of “copying.”  The last video touched upon computers and the evolution of them and how each one took something from another.  It has come, and made easier through technology like the computer, that remixes are developed through copying, transforming, and combining.

Comic Reflection

Charley Howe

Digital Writing

October, 2011

Comic Challenge Reflection

 

When we were first assigned this challenge to create our own comic, I was very frightened and had no idea where I would take this or where I would end up.  To make it worse, I was given free-range to pick my topic and make it as long or as short as I wanted, make it funny or serious, and I had to pick which programs I wanted to use.  I have never gotten into comics, nor did I know much about them until we started this chapter in class.  When the day came to actually start brainstorming, nothing came to mind.  I researched multiple topics that I could dig deeper on and possible convey through my comic with my own spin.  I was nervous at the thought of having to create my own story line, let alone try and make it funny, so I resorted to a place that had its own stories: the news.

I wanted to settle on a story that was interesting, something that could be perceived in many ways, and most importantly, something that most people know about, or can even relate to.  I decided to turn to Occupy Wall St.  The past few weeks I have been following the protest and watched as it spread all over the country.  Seeing people I know even get involved made me think that there was a story behind this that I could relay through a comic.

For my first comic, I took a step back and realized what these protesters were really doing.  While I am not disagreeing with their message, nor do I necessarily support it, I perceived the whole motive of the protest to be slightly contradictory.   They are marching Wall St. in anger of corporate greed while they show up to protest one way or another supporting these same companies.  They are wearing the companies’ clothes, using iphones, taking pictures with $800 cameras, carrying nice bags, and they are all complaining about not having money.  I thought this view was essential to portray first.

The second comic was a little harder to decide what to do.  Through watching videos and looking at pictures, I noticed that this protest was going on all over the world and every age, race, and background all coming together at once.  I settled with using an older protester and a young protester and telling a story of how the generations have changed.  To me, it was important to incorporate the use of technology, style of living, and the fact that celebrities are now showing up to protest against Wall St., while many of them are extremely overpaid.  Through both of these, it seemed to me that some protesters don’t even know the full reason they are there, so I made that clear as well.

When it came down to making the comics, I originally thought of just using pictures, which I believed would help send a stronger message.  But when I had to find the exact picture I was looking for to use in each column, I got caught.  I started on “Comic Life” but needed some sort of cartoon characters to incorporate, which this program didn’t offer.  I made my way over to “Pixton” where it was only cartoon comics, but those themselves wouldn’t have worked either.  I had to decide how I was going to combine them and came down with ‘screen-shotting’ the cartoon characters I chose to use then pasting them into comic life.  I wasn’t sure if I wanted to make it one big collage, or if I should use rows.  I almost combined the two for each comic and made some pictures bigger than others, used a large picture as the background for one of them, and used speaking bubbles instead of statement boxes.  This showed which pictures I wanted to make more important and the ones that had pictures allowed the reader to see them more clearly.  I found this method very useful for both comics.  I was able to use multiple columns, with different shapes and my own format, and came out with the exact comics I was envisioning in my mind.

For both of the comics, the words and images I used were important in reflecting one another in order to send the reader the message I was trying to portray.  By using speech bubbles in both comics, this allowed me to write the comic in a form that would help the reader connect and relate to the story.  By using actual pictures from the protest, the reader can see first hand what my comic is talking about.

I thought about McClouds definitions of the different types of comics that can be created during this whole process and found myself using a few of them.  At first, I thought using mainly word-specific would be the most useful and help make the most sense, but when I was not able to find all the images I specifically wanted, I got stuck.  When I began to use the cartoon characters, I resorted to the opposite, word-specific.  Although, there was one part of my main comic where picture specific came very much in use.  At the end, I showed a large picture of protesters all wearing nice clothes, using fancy cameras, and pointed all these out with just simple words throughout the picture.  Since the words were short, and the picture was clear, the reader could see exactly what I was trying to show.  Looking back at my comics, I seem to have used inter-dependant most of the time, as both words and images were extremely important when it came down to expressing the story.

The reason for making my comics about the protest and doing it with my view in mind was to relay a different side that not many people are thinking about to the audience.  This causes them to take a step back, as I did, and see what I am seeing.  I thought it was important for the audience to be able to understand my comic, therefore, making it about something as global as this, my message could get across more easily.

Looking back on my comics, it seemed important to me to make the comics interesting to the reader. I tried to make it appealing to most people, but that can often be hard to fully accomplish.    As I have never really been into comics, nor fully understood them, I wanted to catch the audience’s eye.  Using actual pictures in addition to cartoon characters appealed to me, so I believed that my audience would think so as well.  Using speech bubbles and these characters as actual people that were “present” at the protest and even making one involved, allowed both of the comics to seem more real.  Instead of just telling a story or summarizing what was going on, I tried to make the comics tell the full thing in only a few words and with clear and complimenting pictures.

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