To Conclude… (ASSESSMENT – ‘CONCLUSION’)

Now at the end of the module, it’s time to wrap it all up and get some conclusions on the go about the artefacts, my future development, and the module as a whole. We’re doing this in order of appearance, so I’ll present in the order they were made (note: all videos are now uploaded in compressed versions on the Vimeo Group):

Spectacle Artefact – ‘Mr Nice Guy’

He Aint No Mr Nice Guy – Or is he?

Well, what can be said about this? A lecturer told me not to do an artefact based on the ‘power of love’, yet having never really explored the stereotypical ‘romantic’ poetry in my own creativity, I decided to write a love poem of sorts, about a man losing a girl because she thinks he’s too nice and too boring. A sequel to my previous poetry video Two Minutes had long been in wait, so this seemed like a good time to make a ‘spectacle’ of myself, as there were certain parallels with my own life (and most others I’d imagine), and the content within the words.

Overall, the piece was met with high acclaim. Personally, I like it better than Two Minutes, ironically because of the audio (my first poem video was filmed using an internal mic – this was filmed using a reporter’s mic). The simple lay out allowed people to focus on the words, which was my intention. I’ve already cited John Cooper Clarke as an inspiration, yet perhaps should also credit this other ‘Cooper’, who has no doubt also influenced this production in some way or another:

As feedback was so positive, nobody really seemed to know how I could improve it. The only criticism was in the audio, which was the only major improvement from last time! Unless I shot the whole poem again, the audio was slightly off, but the feedback was good enough to confirm that this probably didn’t need to be altered, and was ready to head straight for the hand-in.

Power Artefact – ‘Another Revolution Artefact’

What Does It Take? – A glimpse of modern day revolutionaries.

With a chance encounter with a BBC radio host, I landed the creation of power artefact. Much lime the first post, it was a long anticipated sequel to a sloppier precursor created last year. The object was simple – film the protest march that occurs one year on from Millbank. Everybody expected violence – especially the government. What I got on film was a peaceful demonstration that showed the vantage points of both lines as the events unfolded. My neutral-yet-proletariat response in the interview showed my natural approach to the film, and developed my understanding of where I stood in proceedings. Without further interviews and footage, there was no final artefact to create, so this little experimental piece of film became my power artefact.

The problem with the feedback was in similar vein to the first one – simply, there wasn’t much of it. A few people here and there said it was ‘good’, but hardly enough to call it ‘positive feedback’. The main reason for this is due to a late design on my part – it was handed in two weeks after it should have been. This was due to me waiting for the riots – I couldn’t make my power artefact until the riots occurred. Sure, I could have made something easy and simple that didn’t really develop me, but… why would I? As I say, this had been a long awaited project. Two weeks was not a lot of time on the grander scale of things.

Regardless, the white balance was off throughout the whole film – technical error or creative error. I failed to obtain interviews from any long-time revolutionaries, which would have no doubt added to the piece. The slow motion footage worked well in some parts, and not so well in others. The audio was quite well done again I think (all artefacts concerned on this module are massive improvements on the audio faults of last year), and the music fitted the beat and rhythm of the march being portrayed.

The text was boring and uninteresting. It was the easy option, and although I argue that it was sort of the point to use bland, ‘capitalist’ text, indeed it was just down to laziness on my part at the end of the day. I’ve always considered text to be a ‘graphic design’ area of media, so I’m not too concerned about my lack of skills in title development – I’m opting to be a cameraman and / or director in my later career, so I believe developing title design skills will be of little benefit to me. Of course learn all you can – but I still have things to perfect on the camera side of things yet!

The BBC interview made it another artefact focused around myself (I’m not narcissistic, I swear!). I am usually a hermit when it comes to media production – it is strange (and in this case, entirely accidental) that I’ve become the central topic of all three pieces. I think people found the interview’s little window into my insight on things quite interesting, and it would be good, if possible, to use it in the final FMP project. Overall, it gave structure to this artefact, and made it something more than just a collection of clips from a protest (which is sort of what a lot of the film last year was).

Some said it could have been edited down a bit further – possibly true. I liked the slow beginning, showing what was happening at the rally point before the march began. I also liked a lot of the shots I’d chosen. In the first film, it took me twenty minutes to show what happened on the march. This time, it took just over five. As long as I don’t use much more footage in the final piece, my FMP should culminate in a highlight of all the marches I’ve been on (as indeed this artefact does show the highlights of the day’s events). Further structure for my FMP needs to be developed, but in terms as a further experiment into narrative, this artefact was a step in the right direction for me, and I couldn’t hope for more than that at this stage.

Memory Artefact – ‘Shooting The Sunrise’ (Film + Trailer)

I made a film of thirty minutes, which doesn’t really fit the ‘short artefacts’ mentioned in the brief, so I also made a trailer for it as well. Only the trailer is on the Vimeo group due to file size problems. The trailer is the one to be marked for this module, though if you have lots of spare time to kill, the longer film was equally a part of the production process, and the feedback was quite positive:

The Short Version:

The Long Version:

A Long Way Up – Another long-awaited project arrives at 360MC…

Originally designed as another of my FMP ideas, ‘Shooting The Sunrise’ first made it into 360MC as the ‘spectacle of nature’, before there was a little shift-around. It ultimately became my artefact around memories (specifically, my own), and compensated for me not taking part in ‘Britain In A Day’ like most others. Much like the previous two artefacts, this was an advancement upon past projects – specifically utilizing the archive footage I captured during my ascents on my mission to stop-motion a sunrise atop the third highest volcano in the world.

Of all three projects, this one got the most constructive feedback. A lot of people watched the thirty minute film (which I was quite surprised at actually!), with the audio again coming through loud and clear. The music at the end added emotion which some said even brought a tear to their eye. However music could have benefitted the film in other stages as well – something I can only agree with, as almost all of the film is without a soundtrack. The idea was similar to ‘Mr Nice Guy’ – no music allows the audience to focus on the words, and the camera footage from my handi-cam appears more realistic and genuine without music. But this was not a poem – it was, for all intensive purposes, a documentary. I quoted ‘Touching The Void’ and ‘Man On Wire’ as inspirations – they used music. I don’t think the final piece of music would suite any other parts of the film though, so perhaps the soundtrack I used for the trailer could be incorporated into it (all music regarding these artefacts were downloaded from online platforms, rights-free by the way!).

Again, the film could have done with further editing down. Things said about it mirrored what was also mentioned about my trailer – less shots of me, and more shots of the handi-cam footage with voice overs would tighten the structure a bit more. Definitely something to consider when I develop it further, and in other projects as well. Shots of me are boring anyway, so indeed – less of me, more of the volcano ‘stuff’. Some people also said the lighting was bad during my interview, which is odd because considering the lengths I went to to get the lighting right, I thought the lighting was okay. Bland perhaps, yes. But my face was well-lit enough to see my emotions as I recalled the events, which was the purpose of the three-point lighting. Perhaps I could make them brighter next time, but generally this part of the feedback was lost on me (I guess I’m no lighting engineer).

In terms of the music for the trailer, some feedback suggested the edit needed to be faster to fit the rhythm. However, upon trying this, I realised that the way I spoke was quite slow (throughout the film really), and thus making the cuts faster would not have worked. The way I tried to get around this issue was the slow the music down, which did in turn make it quieter as well. Unfortunately, upon comparing the two side by side, a lot was lost when the fast paced music disappeared. No doubt, the trailer worked better with it, so perhaps a re-edit, or a different soundtrack, will be needed.

Grading was done on both pieces of this artefact – again with the interviews mostly, as the archive footage looked most realistic just the way it had been recoded. The film definitely needs touching up in various places, which I intend to do next term. The trailer on the other hand – despite the mixed reviews – I quite liked. Perhaps upon developing the actual film further, I will get better ideas of how to adapt the trailer to suit the cinematic style of the finished piece. I am ‘comfortable’ with both artefacts – I do certainly agree though that there is further work to be done on Shooting The Sunrise yet (i.e. I think it’s not a bad for a first attempt).

Module Conclusion

Overall, I have successfully made three long-awaited films that have all been vast improvements on my previous works. Whether I am operating at ‘final year’ standard in terms of media production is not for me to decide, but this has been a module that has definitely developed my skills further towards becoming a fully-formed professional. I have demonstrated the abilities I already had, and have shown development in new abilities as well (particularly on the audio front). I have done plenty of research, but due to the nature of my ‘sequel’ projects, only the power artefact seemed to have any direct relevance to all the left-wing research I was conducting. This was a conscious decision though – once I start on my Final Major Projects in the upcoming modules, it is unlikely any poetry videos or the like will get produced until after the hand-ins.

It has certainly been a political module, and all the research will no doubt benefit my FMPs later in the year. It’s been interesting being shown the structure of society and how it operates and functions – it helps you to understand where abouts you’re aiming to fit into it when you leave. A successful module, which has been at both times academic and practical!

Spectacle Vs. Spectacle?

Can Socialism bring down Capitalism, or do the politics adhere to to the spectacle too much to change it?

This is a notion that picked up on Debord’s book The Society Of The Spectacle, yet most revolutionaries consider themselves politically informed and active. If politics cannot overthrow other politics, then it suggests the change we want (/ need) in this country is something that most of us would have difficulty grasping.

Politics are based on spectacle, but also on memory and tradition. Governments exist because it is ‘the way things are’, yet the combination of spectacles and memory creates the thing we call ‘politics’. To start a political group with different agendas may well be on the surface level a different political party. But when history and spectacles are considered, you realise politics are based upon rules and regulations. In order to successfully revolt, would political revolution work? Or, would it be doomed from the start, since you would effectively – win or lose  – be preserving history and the society of the spectacle itself?

Another way of considering this would be to look at Roland Barthes’ work on Mythology. Mythologies were based around semiotics and studies of symbols, and in some ways politics adhere to these rules. Elections need to be conducted in order to for a leader to be ‘officially’ chosen (spectacle). Rallies need to take place in order to gather support through peaceful demonstration (power and spectacle). A political party will need a logo, like the fist of the SWP. Why do we need a logo? For unity, identity, but also for traditional purposes. A party would need a symbol in parliament. What about the things said by the leader on the podium of such rallies and events? Identifying the bad, overcoming them with the positive and the new? Power of discourse, and also a very traditional way of getting voters in a society that psychologically cannot truthfully work anyway.

So if a revolutionary party is formed based upon the rules of yesteryear, surely they are on a fool’s errand, seeking to change the society when they are in fact preserving it. Isn’t this just another way of the bourgeoise allowing us to cater to our egos and our destructive inner-self? Allow us to go on rallies. Allow us to form parties, have protest marches and demonstrations. Even if we win, we lose. Absolute power corrupts absolutely and ‘all that’. Indeed, as previously discussed, taking money out the equation seems to be a very good way of breaking social spectacle and indeed breaking down capitalism. The change is not in those with the money and power – it lies with those without.

Socialism (and indeed Marxism) is based on these traditional political values. Situationism is based on these values. It can be argued that both attempts to insight political revolution (through art and through strike action) during the 20th century have both failed at achieving the influencing of capitalism to any great degree. Yet why are such parties and theories held in such high regard?

Perhaps it is not the need for revolution in the serious sense. Situationism was – for all intensive purposes – an art movement. It gave artists a platform to work on that tapped into the feelings of the society. Marxism is a certain type of academia – and idea that provokes and is still debated to this day. It brings people unity and purpose, and connects people through an ideal they can understand. I think there’s a sense of fun in revolution that is very important – it is sometimes the fun that eclipses the overall purpose of the revolt to start with. A recent film I saw called ‘Just Do It‘ had interviews with protestors, who acknowledged that they were fighting an uphill struggle. Some even thought that revolting against such extreme power elite could only prove fruitless anyway. They were there just for the friendship and the fun, and it was a nice way of looking at things. In all this anger and betrayal-filled political war-zone, it seems one aspect of humanity has decided to appear – the notion of simply enjoying life. Out of all the pessimism of my blog posts of late, it is nice that finally an optimistic light has shone through!

Back To School

Looking back on my work, I seem to have missed out one of best parts about the society of the spectacle – an idea that really intrigued me, yet is strangely not picked up on in my blogs. It’s the idea that in order to be passive, we need to be influenced from an early age. Schools influence us all from an early age, and they also influence our parents. Schools teach us the ‘western way’ – morals, ethics, and well as sciences, social acceptance and who to treat with respect. It teaches you the hierarchy of your country and where you’re going to fit into it. Or so ‘they’ may say.

I’ve already referenced the unveiling of all these truths at university as the ‘final joke of academia’, yet it is strange that left-wing politics would be taught to a school of intellectuals regarding the questionable reasoning of our own government. Governments need to keep audiences passive in order to keep control over them. The creation of the education system was, quite simply, genius. Education is a legal requirement, and why? It’s dressed to make your children look more intelligent if they go, but truth be told, more ‘socially acceptable’ would be closer to the mark.

We learn everything about our future life from school. What the school doesn’t teach us, we can learn from the environment around us – more specifically, the society we live in. Anything the school or the society doesn’t teach us, we learn from our parents. Sadly though, our parents all went to school as well – with a few minute changes, generally they were owned by the same institution, taught the same ethics, and have grown to be perfect role models for perfect children. Everyone in the society has gone through the same institution during their critical psychological periods whilst growing up.

So let’s mix things up – what about council estates? What about a really rough, deadly, toilet of a place? Nobody in an area like that is genuinely going to be law-abiding, respectful and what capitalism considers ‘socially-acceptable’ – they haven’t got the time nor the nerve for it. More over, they haven’t got the money. Socially acceptable behaviour and a lifestyle of the most essentially stereotypical nature can only be found with the rich people, which is why rich people are seen to be desirable, and the poor are not (it is the capitalist way). Extreme poverty in down trodden areas seems to have broken the spectacle though – spectacle that every person in the estate (presumably) has been influenced by, yet has been affected differently by the same media institutions.

If lack of money breaks the spectacle that capitalism tries to create, it’s funny that the recession has kick-started political activists all over the country. If everybody has money – even if only a little bit to buy clothes, watch The X Factor and go on a little holiday somewhere – everything is fine. If nobody has any money, then the society of the affected area seems to re-write moral values within their own culture, and create a new society. Schools in poorer areas are different from ‘respectable’ rich ones – the teachers will teach different things in a different way, and thus, you are less likely to follow the respectable academic path to university if you grow up in such a socially respectable area.

No Place Like Home – Is it socially undesirable to live here? Would you feel like you’d failed within capitalist society if you lived here? Are the people living here dumb and stupid? Why do we think this way… well, because that’s the way we were taught to look at such things. Every person living here has the potential to go to university and be ‘socially acceptable’, but the capitalist way makes it awfully difficult for them.

Is it really all about the money? The medium is the message – if an area is full of people without laptops, they are less susceptible to online advertising (and indeed monitoring). If televisions are used less, or the demographics of target audiences for various channels are not met, advertising through the TV works differently. If you’re not playing the latest games or watching the latest films, you fall behind on modern society. To put it simply (and not meaning to state the obvious here): the less money you have, the less money you are likely to make. The less money you have, the less able you will able to adapt to social norms. You will not be abele to afford to be influenced by the media. You will have no desire to be socially acceptable – nobody will care. You were taught to work and get money, but somewhere down the line the status quo went wrong. The government education institution told you to work to be socially acceptable, but got it wrong, so why owe them any allegiance?

When this happens, the social structure starts to break down. Everything is wrong, nobody has any money, and nobody other than the rich seem to have any power with regards to the society of the spectacle. The reason being – the spectacle has been broken, and capitalism is seen for what it really is – the rich feeding on the poor. The spectacle does not work on council estates, and people growing up in them are less influenced by the media or the education institutions – not because they’re naturally dumb, but because the society has grown and changed into something outside of social norms. Now they have no money, now they haven’t seen the latest film, played the latest game, or had the latest gadget. Now they are not socially desirable – they’re the dumb proletariat.

And of course the irony is that they are just as able to work as the next man – the best-paid jobs wont take them because they haven’t gone to university (they don’t fit the social norms). They are just as able to learn as the next man, but the best schools charge for older people to get an education (even when it’s a given that the free education they had wasn’t all that). I grew up on such an estate, but managed to make it to university – but as I say, my upbringing wasn’t exactly that of the ‘social norm’ anyway, so I felt if the opportunity presented itself, I had just as much ability to go as much as the middle to upper classes next to me.

The proletariat in the most run-down parts of town are – in some ways – half way there. The government has no direct influence over them, yet they do not realise the significance of this, as they have never learned of the significance of this. With the internet nowadays, every person can get a free university education of sorts, it just takes time and access to a decent internet connection. But they wont – and why? Because that’s not ‘the norm’ – the society of the spectacle tells them that they’re nothing (and tells us that they’re undesirable and dangerous), and  even though they’re not, they’ll believe that. School was really the only spectacle they ever really interacted with, so why fight it?

You Know What This Is – And chances are (unless you’re boring) you’ve tried it anyway – rich OR poor. It’s a symbol of what is socially undesirable, but it’s also funny to note that when a society first starts to break down, how much of this is available in the area is one of the first signifiers that the spectacle of capitalism is vaporizing. 

Thus, to conclude, we seem to have masses of proletariat already prone to rebel against the government. They’ll go down to London to protest and riot, then go back to bed and sleep like babies. There is no spectacle to break for them – their society is already broken. Only through socialism would an estate such as the ones I’m referring to ever recover (i.e. through the will of the citizens themselves, governed by other political heads who belong to the society as a whole). So if all we need to do is remove capital to break the illusions of capitalism… how important is the current global financial crisis? This could well be a signifier – the riots are just the first wave of society deconstructing itself. Nobody has any money, so we can’t cater to any psychological egos, nor can we dress ourselves up to be socially acceptable in any way. From a school’s perspective, we’re all poor people who have failed at life. And the cherry on top – we all know darn well it was bankers who got us into this mess. They’ve got loads of money, yet we all feel like second-rate citizens when it wasn’t even our own fault!

You can pair this fact with the facts that we now effectively own social discourse via the internet, and that the freedom of information act has made it hard for the government to keep secret operations from their societies anymore. Indeed, the poor are very poor and the rich are very rich. Everybody on both sides of the fence knows this. It is no wonder that the government has come down hard on rioters, and brings small armies to protest marches in London nowadays. When you look at the evidence, this is perhaps the closest England has ever come to full-blown revolution. If it hasn’t, it soon sure will be. Next week on November 30th, a mass strike is planned across the entire country. If I’m talking complete rubbish, it will not affect the country in any way… but I think it will. The question is, how devastating will the effect be?

I asked in an earlier post – what would it take to break the society of the spectacle? I think this is the answer – take away money, and you take away the illusion. Every government institution – schools and media corporations alike – are based upon a society built on money. No money, no society. No society, no spectacle. No money, no illusion. No money, no control. Trying times for everyone indeed.

I can’t finish this blog post without ending with a link to one of my all-time favourite films (though much like The Matrix, I doubt it will look the same after this module!) Educating Rita is a film about a working class woman who sacrifices everything she knows in search of a better life – of money and respect. Her tough journey of self-discovery is counter-acted by her bored and boozy academic university lecturer, who with all his knowledge has fully understood Guy Debord’s book and the society of the spectacle. In contrast, she wants him to teach her and give her a choice in life, whereas he only sees that he’s teaching her how to conform to social norms and be like everyone else, and in doing so losing everything that makes her a wonderful person. Intelligent and intriguing stuff, that given my background doesn’t really to be explained as to why it became an all-time favourite of mine. Here’s a clip:

Past and Present – The Protest Films of Then and Now (ASSESSMENT – ‘PROCESS / DEVELOPMENT)’

One year ago, I made a film about the student protests that occurred in London, ending in the infamous Millbank incident. It was my first ever media artefact that was longer than five minutes, and was an experiment into my abilities as a documentary maker, and also in my ability to construct an interesting narrative that held the audience’s attention. The link to the film can be found below:

The ‘Demo-Lition’ Protest March film

The film finished at around thirty minutes, and it explored several approaches to film making. Not only did it document the protest through my own eyes, with the events being seen as they unfolded, but it also voiced several opinions of the students who were down there. Some interviews were taken by myself, some by my reporter buddy who I met down there. The genre shifted from documentary to reportage at several stages, the white balance was off, and some of the editing was decisively sloppy. Overall, I heavily criticized the finished piece, and considered it something to learn from in future projects.

Here in 360MC, I’ve made a power artefact based primarily around the protest march that took place on the one year anniversary of the original film. Sure, the ratio of protestors and riot police were almost one-to-one, such was the expected violence. The only interview on my six minute feature for this module came from me. Putting the more obvious aside though, how must I have surely developed regarding the filming of such demonstrations?

Technically

On basic principles, the original film was shot on a PDX10 camera, the reason being that if the camera got broken, I wouldn’t have to pay such a heft fine. This time round, I used a Z5 camera, as my confidence in my ability to protect my equipment has grown. I still used the tactic of putting my equipment in my backpack and running around various locations, deploying as and when, but this time it was particularly hard to get interviews, as a Z5 camera almost requires two hands to film with, meaning I was unable to hold a microphone up to people’s faces and interview them.

With the white balance, it can be argued that it is still an issue. My skills instructor told me that the white balance should be updated frequently, yet in situations such as riots – where it is much better to keep the camera rolling – there is rarely time to perform such tasks. The sun appears and then goes back in. Clouds appear then break up. Sometimes you’re in a tunnel. Sometimes you’re in a square. It rarely occurs to me to change or update the white balance settings, so for future events such as these, using the automatic function of WB may go in my favour.

I experimented a lot with the Z5 slow-motion feature this time around. This function was not included in the lighter PDX10 counterpart used previously. The idea was to film the ‘action’ scenes in slow motion (i.e slow motion projectiles), but the only action shots I really managed to get on the day of the march was that of the helicopter. Whilst filming, I thought the slow-motion detracted from the flurry and the ‘panic’ of what happens when a protest turns into a riot. Unless what you are taking a video of is very clear and defined, putting it into slow motion hardly makes any sense. The slow motion shots of people walking along were just – in one word – boring. I can understand the use of slow-motion, but the benefits are few and far between for a camera that is significantly lager and heavier than lighter alternatives.

Alas

The Z5 also had several other benefits the PDX10 didn’t – primarily, one would argue, the option to film in HDV1080i high definition. This just made the film look more cinematic and clearer, and although this meant I had to re-calibrate all of my Final Cut Pro editing suite and compress files a lot more to get them onto Vimeo, ultimately the footage did looks a lot better. Shooting in HD is something that I have done with both my power and spectacle artefacts, and have lead to various issues that I knew I would have to face sooner or later. However, I managed to overcome all the differences, and I’m now quite able of shooting and editing in both HD and DVCAM, which being a media producer, is quite a good skill to have!

Here is a separate video I made identifying the various parts of the first film that went wrong – I’m pleased to say that none of the mistakes in the first film were a problem the second time around!

Demon-Lition’ – The Bits That Went Wrong!

Creatively

I didn’t grade any of the footage in either video, as I like the edginess of the bleak colours. Arguably, the dodgy white balance on both pieces means that grading may well have benefitted one if not both pieces. The natural feel to the footage I think adds to the realism – I am not going for a ‘filmic’ look, that would be more important in the intercutting interview footage.

In actual terms, one things I did learn in terms of logistics this time around was how to stay close to the action whilst avoiding getting sealed into danger areas by masses of police officers or riot squads. Given the protester-to-police ratio, it was quite difficult to avoid falling foul of ‘kettling’ at the recent protests. I had to climb around a construction area with my camera hanging out my bag at one point in order to bypass a crowd and slip down a side alley. Being caught in a projectiles fight between rioters and police is the worst place to be – there’s no point in getting good footage if your camera is going to get broken in the process. For this artefact, you may notice that I have positioned myself far from the action, and tried to use steady hands and the zoom to get closer to the action. This was a similar tactic from the first film – I will need a little more experience with protests before I decide to get closer to the action.

It’s a shame I haven’t managed to get any interviews with any protestors this year yet – that was the original intention. As a result, although my skills as a camera operator have been maintained, I have not developed creatively as much as I could have done on this artefact. I’m sure that as my FMP continues I will learn invaluable lessons in media production, but in terms of this media artefact, all I essentially did was film various shots, which (being a camera operator last year) I have done rather a lot of.

Going to the BBC Radio studio was a great experience. It was down to a tip-off from a friend inside the industry itself, whom I now owe a big debt (or drink). The place was unusually relaxed – I spoke to Mark Kermode once about radio studios, and he explained about how hectic and fast-paced they were. I was a little perplexed by the calm morning-show studios I walked into. One thing I have noticed about the BBC though is that they’re all really friendly, be it in London or in Coventry. They were welcoming and accommodating, but luckily having hosted my own radio show for a year on my local student radio channel, I was quite familiar with my surroundings, which helped to keep my nerves better in check, so I could focus on the questions. I think I should use less fillers in my talking next time… something that will only come with experience!

Academically 

It has occurred to me that I ‘may’ have ‘slightly’ misread the brief for 360MC, and that my artefacts are generally unrelated to the left-wing research I’ve been conducting. However, this artefact around the powers of the bourgeoise and the proletariat is certainly relevant to pretty much everything I’ve been researching. Everything I have done for 360MC will benefit my FMP into the riots and protests in some way or another. My research influenced the way I answered the questions on the radio, and helped to decide how I was going to approach my FMP, and indeed my power artefact for this module. I am representing the proletariat, without official institutions getting in the way. I find what I find – either they’re all crazy, or they’re normal people with a genuine desire for change in this country. If I can represent the latter, it will be a success.

As for myself and my own academic benefit, all this research into this FMP artefact has also benefitted me in terms of my 305MC essay, which I have created some posts to explore in more specific detail. It’s strange how my course suddenly became left-wing and political, yet I can see the relevance to us as media producers at this stage of our career – academia is finally leveling with us. They are part of a capitalist institution, the industry we are entering is part of a capitalist institution, and we now have a choice to make that will affect each of our lives – are we with them or against them?

James Murdoch’s Mac-‘There’s been a murgh’dah’-Taggart Speech

So no-one feels left out, I’ll just explain the joke:

This week, I’ve been asked to look into the speech of James Murdoch in 2009 on the digital age.

Firstly, I’ve been asked to to clearly define the point of the speech. Quite simply, it was there to inform people about convergent media and how all platforms of media consumerism are merging into one giant online platform. However, the bourgeoisie are trying to stop the convergence in it’s entirety in order to prevent the masses becoming too strong – they want to keep markets separate so that businesses can continue to reinforce ‘spectacle’ and the society of thereof. He says it is an archaic way of thinking, and is only there to keep the rich in power, and proletariat without. He concludes that independent media is the way forward, but will only be achieved if it benefits the society. This notion will only happen if the the society agrees to make it happen – a similar conclusion to my essay; nobody can accurately predict the future, so the society simply has to hold the firm belief that promoting convergent media can’t make the state any worse.

This speech of course relates to Power and Spectacle, and also incorporates pieces of Memory as well, from the old ways of thinking of separate media markets, to Darwinism. The emphasis however was not on the past or future, but on the present situation.

Key quotes that support the above analysis are as follows:

“This all sounds like a dynamic, exciting, thriving sector to be part of.Moving faster, being more interconnected, expanding its scope. And in some ways it is.
But the present is not as great as we tell ourselves.

You don’t need to scratch the surface very hard to see that opportunities for media businesses are limited, investment and innovation are constrained, and creativity is reduced.

This is bad for customers and society.”

“Tonight I will argue that while creationism may provide a comfortable illusion of certainty in the short-term, its harmful effects are real and they are significant.”

“Is this creationism good for investment? No. A heavily regulated environment with a large public sector crowds the opportunity for profit, hinders the creation of new jobs, and dampens innovation in our sector.”

“Indeed, the defining characteristic of the UK broadcasting consensus is the absence of trust.”

“There is an inescapable conclusion that we must reach if we are to have a better society.

The only reliable, durable, and perpetual guarantor of independence is profit.”

So put simply – creativity will make the market more diverse, and is the natural progression of the media industry, now being hindered by old-fashioned modes of capitalist thought. Do I agree?

I agree capitalism is an archaic way of thinking, yes. I agree with the conclusion that the society will only better itself if the society profits from it. However, therein is the juxtaposition – of society only cares about profit and benefits for it’s own gain as opposed to the gain of the government, doesn’t that make the ideologies of capitalism reinforced? Society must want to change for the benefit of the society, but not necessarily for profit directly. Profit can promote change, yes, but the true incentive surely lies in a context much deeper than that of money. Profit is part of a capitalist dialect – a society wanting to end capitalism so poor people can make more money is like saying you want peace in Iraq so that America can safely invade without incident.

Memory Artefact – Development 3 and Final Cut

My final memory artefact clocked in at about thirty minutes in length, but I realised this didn’t fit the module brief as a ‘short’ piece. I’ve decided thus to do a short trailer for the final piece to submit as the work, though the final film can be found below:

I constructed the film first by using what archive footage I had (taken randomly during the actual events). I edited all the parts that didn’t further any greater narrative, and then went through again and cut out all the least beneficial parts. What I was left with was about twenty minutes from an hour and twenty minutes of footage. I knew my interview sections thus needed to be ten minutes approximately in length.

The interview was actually quite fun to set up – again, I shot it in my bedroom like ‘Mr Nice Guy’, using a Z camera on a tripod. This time though, I decided to fake an interviewer – I used a hanger as a focal point for my eyes so it looked like I was talking to someone behind the lens.

The real trick was using the dedo lights for three-point lighting. I don’t usually take the time to set up such lavish studio settings, but I think they worked really well in making my bedroom look completely different. The blank background was intentional – if anything, it made the piece look more professional. I was trying to imitate the style of the documentaries that I’d considered previously.

For the final part, the stop motion was imported as a completed film sequence itself. This made it easier to grade and bring more colour out, and also to adjust brightness levels accordingly (when shooting into the sun, the auto-exposure went into overdrive, meaning I needed to change the exposure levels in the editing suites every so often to make the film seem more fluent). The music I used was a sort-of in-joke – I’d used it previously on a piece that I made for the charity whilst in Tenerife about sea turtles. I thought it suited the emotion I was trying to capture at the end.

Finally, I used simple documentary editing techniques to incorporate the relevant parts of my recollection of events with the archive footage. Making the initial shots interesting was the hardest part, as I didn’t take any videos on the first ascent, and thus had to use photographs. This worked okay, although generally photographs should be kept to a minimum with projects like this one. I felt I needed to explain the story of the initial climb, as it delivered the reasons for my mission to take the stop-motion, and also gave a bit of ‘exposition’ with regards my relationship with the volcano itself (to some degree, it is the other ‘main character’ in this film). Without the opening five minutes, the rest of film doesn’t make a great deal of sense.

Overall, I like the way it turned out. Initial feedback has been positive (some say it even brought tears to their eyes!), though this has been feedback on the actual film, and not the trailer. The trailer still needs to be made, so feedback in seminars will be rather limited on this artefact. I will create the trailer using clips from the film itself, and just muddle them up and overlap them in Final Cut Pro to an audio piece.