MEDA302 Wk1: Prank videos are trash, but Rickrolling is an art.

This week we looked into what constitutes art, craft, and research, and how these terms work together and what they can mean. The group I was in was made up of Shaun, myself and Nathan. Each of us has an interest in digital media, but we decided to look into other interest which may fall into our categories of art, craft and/or research. This included film making, Dungeons and Dragons, poker, 3D modelling, numbers and Pythagoras’s Theorem, and prank videos.
We decided to focus in on prank videos, as they were an interesting conflagration of craft (with there meticulous construction and detail in editing and set ups) and research (figuring out what will attract views, how to influence viewers into sharing, and what will attract attention in public), yet significantly lack in their art value.

It was an interesting medium, as many Youtube content creators (which is where most prank videos are found) would consider themselves artists or some degree of film maker, yet very rarely would a prank video be considered as such, despite the fact that there’s substantial evidence that they attract more views.

For example, here is a recent comedy sketch by Thomas “Tomska” Ridgewell. \

Here are the people involved:

-Written and Directed by Thomas ‘TomSka’ Ridgewell (http://youtube.com/tomska)
Produced by Rebecca Hewett (http://twitter.com/beckahewett)
Co-Written by Eddie ‘Eddache’ Bowley (http://youtube.com/eddache)
Cinematography and Colour Grading by Ciaran O’Brien (http://twitter.com/ciaranobrien)
Editing and Camera Assistance by Elliot Gough (http://youtube.com/elliotexplicit)
Music by Todd ‘LilDeuceDeuce’ Bryanton (http://youtube.com/lildeucedeuce)
Visual Effects by David ‘Hoolopee’ Post (http://youtube.com/hoolopee)
Sound Design by Dan Pugsley (http://danpugsley.co.uk)
Sound Recorded by Tommy Bartlett (http://twitter.com/bomtartlett)
Baby Painting by Chloe Dungate (http://youtube.com/scarfdemon)
Produced by Colour TV (http://colourtvlondon.com)
1st Assistant Direction by Matt Holt (https://mattholt.co.uk)
Focus Pulling by Matt Choules (http://mattchoules.co.uk)
Art Direction by Amelia Annfield
Production Assistance by Rebecca Day
Location Management by Rupert Bowkett
Assistant Production by Leah Draws
Gaffer & Camera Assistance by Rachael Hutchings (https://twitter.com/HutchRachael)
Sparking by Oren Locke and Dylan Gillah
Police uniforms & vehicles provided by Uniforms & Weapons Emporium UK

Featuring Matt Rook as The Chief (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm4092360/)
Lee Nicholas Harris and Chris Martin Hill as Policemen (http://www.imdb.com/company/co0468831…)
Eddie Bowley, Elliot Gough, and Dale Monie as SCO19s
with Chloe Dungate, Jack Gilmour, Astrid Clark, Matt Ley, and Kat Inglis as Hostages
and introducing Wynter-May as Baby With A Gun

This video has, in its two months since release, garnered 1.8 million views. Impressive!

However, this video, a sequel to the incredibly successful Chair Pulling Prank Part 1, has managed to get itself a whopping 3.4 million views in just one month!

 

As you can tell from watching, one clearly has more time, effort and professionalism put into it. So why has this simple prank video managed to outshine a polished piece of work?
That is exactly what I aim to discover over the next few weeks.

MEDA WK 13

During this last week I took a large step forward toward the end of my project. I collated a number of items from my childhood/teenage years, and set them up to form the silhouette of a city being attacked by a Godzilla style creature.

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This multi-layered shadow play work used a forced perspective to create an image. It’s a culmination of the themes and processes used throughout my group and solo experimentation. From looking at how shadows interact in the first week, how the placement of objects effects the pattern of light in the second week and third week, the impact that shadows can have on how we view objects from the fourth week, bringing still objects to life/giving them new life and meaning from the fifth week, and the solo look and jamming of using silhouettes of city skylines to tell a story from the sixth week.

Feedback from this work was that the addition of interactivity or movement would help to cement the idea of play even further into the work. As such, I will be attempting to add a secondary light source which can move, to add an additional perspective.
The main aim of this project is to show how the perspective of someone playing is different to how the act of playing looks.
For example, a child playing with Lego creates their own world, even beyond what the blocks visually represent.
Often a person playing video games creature a further story in their head from what simply appears on screen.
Each of these and more are represented in the work by old school game cartridges, Lego blocks and toys, and other collated pieces from my personal growing up.

The final element that my project requires is that moving light source, which will be added through something like a train set, or anything that the audience can move to shift the perspective.

MEDA WK 12

This week the group continued to work in the same space and bounce ideas off of each other, but Jade and myself worked on separate ideas, while Izel and Isabelle worked together. Matt was absent again.

For this week I brought in a collection of items which I believed could help me with shadow play. These items included a roll of five cent coins, a container of mints, and other round, thin objects. Using these and a light, I constructed a silhouette of a city skyline. This week was a smaller scale project, but it felt more fulfilling than the past few weeks. I was not particularly fond of the groups ideas to use real organs, as I was more keen to work with light and see what we could do with it.
I was inspired in part by the popular web hoax “The Demon on the Hospital Bed”.
2014demonbed.jpg
This is an image which appears to be a dark figure dancing on top of a patients bed, as seen through an old monitor. The poster of this image claims that the person died a few hours after this.
This image is actually an optical illusion. The “demon” figure is actually a combination of a coat in the background, the patients leg, the guard rail of the bed and a few other objects placed around the room.
I worked with the idea of unreal objects in my cityscape, which is actually a series of different objects projected to look like buildings.

Initially, I constructed a small silhouette using only five cent pieces, however the scale for this was too small, so I expanded this and added other cylindrical pieces.

The feedback I got on this was mainly positive and I plan to continue this project in the coming weeks.

MEDA WK 10-11

I was absent in week 10 due to illness, however the group worked on light, using a single, swinging light to create animation. When I heard of this, it sounded really interesting and I decided to pursue it further in later weeks.

However for this week, the group decided that we should sit down and have a critical discussion on what we were doing. We felt that the group was unmotivated, and this was due in part to a lack of direction. We had kind of just been moving from one project to another, not really thinking as to why we should be doing what we’re doing. The group quickly dissolved as we began a mind mapping process, and all that remained were myself and Jade, which actually turned out to be a blessing in disguise. We, along with Mat, managed to discuss a lot of interesting topics of light and dark, death and life, reanimation and ethics, as well as many others.

-Our mind map topics-

Jade and I also made the difficult decision to split from the group. We felt that we were being restricted by the others, as well as restricting them from what they were more passionate about. As such, starting next week we will be working on our own projects.

MEDA WK 9

This week was not the most productive. A busy week lead to stress, which lead to forgetfulness and as such, I failed to bring in any jars. As I was not the only one, this meant that Jade was the only one to bring in jars, meaning we had three. Well, four and a cup, once we scavenged from the kitchen.

The group has decided to project organs onto the jars to give it a laboratory feel. We decided to use fruit as placeholders, kind of like our mannequin head from last week.
To be honest, this week was kind of a bust. The projections didn’t really work well and the jars didn’t hold the image well. We tried experimenting with water, and then paper, but it didn’t really work because the glass of the jar distorted the image. Again, we included projected video and sound, similar to last week.

During our discussion Mat suggested that we should use less transparent projecting subjects, such as milk. He also questioned why we didn’t just use real organs, and I expressed that I felt the project was about projection more than it was about the laboratory feel. Our theme had been light based the whole time, and that was something that I felt we should continue.

Due to this, we looked a little bit at bringing life to the lifeless, in a similar was to our heart projected on a potato. We decided to continue to attempt to project life onto other objects in our next project.

MEDA WK 8 – Face Projection

This week we (Jade, Izel Isabelle and myself) continued to work well as a group, working to continue our process of projection and face hacking.

We continued our working with projectors, and Jade brought in a mannequin head for us to project onto. We did our best to match the faces onto the head, with varying degrees of success. We had a rotation of six heads from various sources. We included moving and still images, and each head had a backing track associated to it (for example the Pirates of the Caribbean theme for Johnny Depp and mechanical noises for the robot head). By far the face which worked the best was the robot head. It fit the general shape of the head well, and we managed to align the eyes, nose and mouth really well. Even those which didn’t fit the shape well (like The Hulk’s) worked well in terms of providing humor and life to the work.

We still have a long ways to go to come to the level of our inspiration:

 

There was a bit of disparity in the work loads this week, as it felt like Jade and I contributed more than the others, as the struggled to get on board with the ideas and workings. We also had an extra addition to our group, Matt.

We also continued to collaborate on a theme, which we previously had not looked at. During our class discussion, Mat suggested that perhaps a face isn’t what we want to map onto, due to technology constraints. We then discussed and developed the idea to project onto jars filled with water, which we decided to do next week.

MEDA WK 7 – Projection and Shadow Play

Beginning in week 7, Izel, Isabelle, Jade and myself began to work on some interactive projection based works.

Our first concept was to look into projection mapping and shadow work. The group decided to make two elements to feature this week; A multiple light source work which focused on shadows, and a projection based work which I was more a part of. Both of the works were a re imagining of Olafur Eliasson’s Your Uncertain Shadows.

In the project that I helped work on, we aimed to showcase a prototype of a potential future project. Eliasson’s work uses the person’s shadow as the projecting device. As the person cuts off the light, the shadow changes and the image is different. We decided to make a video in Premier which had a silhouette in the middle, representing a person walking in front. The aim was that we would use sensors to track the persons movement. Then, as they walked across the projection screen, they would remain in shadow, but the background would continue to have trippy colorful fractals. In a way, it is a reversal of Eliasson’s work.

We also made the silhouette that of The Incredible Hulk’s, just for a bit of flair.

Outcomes:

  • Our group will need to research how to use arduino and sensors if we wish to continue this path
  • Editing from the projector is best, as it allows us to check and change on the fly easier
  • The colours were clearer in the projection work, but the shadows were more effective in the light based work
  • The group worked well together. We decided what we wanted to do, did it, and discussed it really well.

 

Jade suggested that next week she brings in a mannequin head to project onto, and we as a group agreed that that’s a good step forward.