Author Archives: zoekav

ROLE MODEL OF THE WEEK- THE HERITAGE SURVIVAL BAND FROM ZIMBABWE

Tony Tokunbo Eteka Fernandez

Image

 

 

ZEE Guveya & the HERITAGE Survival Band is a group of exceptionally talented musicians from Zimbabwe hailing from the country’s capital Harare.
Biography
ZEE Guveya & the HERITAGE Survival Band are a group of exceptionally talented musicians from Zimbabwe hailing from the country’s capital Harare. Their particular style of Afro-fusion draws on modern influences whilst upholding familiar traditional rhythms.

Lead singer and guitarist Zivai ‘ZEE’ Guveya’s talent was first discovered at the age of fifteen when he began working with Dr Thomas Tafirenyika Mapfumo as a multiskilled musician playing the guitar, marimba and mbira. The early part of his career with Dr Thomas Tafirenyika Mapfumo saw him record five albums and touring throughout Africa, Europe and North America before relocating to the UK with the HERITAGE Survival Band, a compelling, insistent dance band weaving shuffling and hypnotic up-beat chimurenga songs with fast-beat sungura music. Veteran performers all who…

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Viewers’ perception of Stereoscopic 3D (S3D) cinema

 

 

S3D has been around for many years since 1890 when the first stereoscopic production was patented involving two films projected side-by-side and viewed on a stereoscope, since then, there has been a slow growth in terms of technology, better understanding among viewers, complexity in production and delivery of S3D films. For this reason it may be argued that the end product tends to be pricey compared to 2D films. A lot of independent filmmakers are involved in producing award winning 2D films and their numbers are increasing at a rate not comparable to S3D films created by big production houses, which may possess all the resources needed to produce a S3D film. Because of the complexity of the process involved in S3D film production, and time and costs involved in delivery of such films to the cinemas, it is interesting to find out what the audience thinks about the S3D experience as opposed to the traditional 2D.

An online survey was carried out to gather viewers’ opinions about S3D cinema experience and 214 people participated of which 84% of them had watched a S3D film. The participants’ backgrounds and professions ranged from finance professionals, acousticians, civil engineers and filmmakers amongst others, 78% of them were males and the majority was between 21-29 years of age. Europe had the highest number of participants (65%). When participants were asked about how often they are going to the cinema, 54% of the participants responded “once a month” with only 2% “more than once a week”.

From the S3D films that have been milestones (Fig 1) in the last 10 years, Avatar has been the most watched by 34% of the participants; Hugo comes second at 16%. Although other S3D films and conversions from 2D to S3D were released between the three years period between Avatar and Hugo, these two remain the major milestones in S3D filmmaking. Some critiques have admitted that Hugo has finally made 3D worth it, rather than another S3D film to make more money.

Figure 1: The number of 3D movies watched in 5 years

The cost of watching a film in 3D at the cinema was mentioned by a number of participants. More than 10 participants expressed concerns with regards to the price of these films.

“The cost, when 3D films first came to the cinema you paid an extra 3-4 pounds and got the glasses for free. As time went on, you pay more to watch the film and then they sting you on the glasses as well. I am against profiteering in any form.”

“I don’t feel it adds that much in the experience to justify the increased price.”

Whereas some participants do not consider price an issue:

“It’s the best format (so far) for films, and I’ll always choose it if given the choice, even when it costs a little more.”

Nevertheless, the majority of participants in this survey spoke favourably about their S3D experiences. Over 50% of the responses indicate that S3D gave people a better visual experience, while 50% of them felt that 3D offered them a more immersive experience and 40% thought that it was more engaging and enhanced the viewing experience especially when the S3D film included action scenes (Fig. 2):

“Given the choice, I only tend to choose 3D when there is something about the film that can really be enhanced by 3D i.e. action, explosions, good or graphics. If it was a simple comedy or romantic comedy, I would choose 2D.”

Even with the issue of discomfort posed by the use of glasses, the experience of S3D for most of the respondents prevails:

“Stereoscopic 3D is normal vision. Flat 2D is an abstraction. Therefore 3D permits involvement with the story without the distraction of having to visually interpolate natural vision. There are many, many other reasons as well, including the impression of immersion, which also helps the storyline.  In general, it is a much more enjoyable experience.”

 

Fig 2


Figure 2: Description of 3D Viewing Experience

However, some concerns were also raised on how uncomfortable having to wear the polarised glasses for viewing S3D could be. More than 20 participants articulated that they struggle with the distraction of glasses and some times they have to constantly take them off and back on again. This often results in headaches and on extreme cases, nausea. A couple of participants with bad eyesight and one with Amblyopia (Lazy Eye) said the use of glasses would never work particularly for them and any other individuals with the same condition therefore S3D is not appropriate for them. Some argued that immersiveness could be brought out in a film without the need for flashy special effects or ‘cosmetic’ tricks:

“…it turns film-watching into a ‘theme ride’ activity rather than enjoying the art.”

And so far S3D drawbacks:

“Outweigh the moment when the spear, the fist, the hammer, the snake, the gun barrel, the fruit and the wood plank lunge at me for a cheap thrill.”

Some participants commented that the conversion of 2D films to S3D is cheating the viewers in the sense that S3D film’s storyline is normally written with visual effects to increase depth in mind, therefore 2D conversions to S3D priced the same with an original S3D seem like ripping off the viewers:

“Most 3D films have it applied afterwards (not shot in 3D) so I don’t see the point in paying extra for the gimmick”.

To add on to this, some non-supporters of S3D commented that more effort is put on the technical part of the production rather than the plot of the story, which makes the storyline of most of these films shallow.

Although respondents cited some disadvantages of S3D (Table 1), 62% of them would choose to watch a S3D film to a traditional 2D. This may mean that, although S3D viewing may have its flaws, it is still being favoured compared to 2D viewing.

Also, despite the fact that 3D television sets may still be costly compared to an ordinary set, 56% of participants would buy one and anticipate that if the S3D viewing experience moved into homes, it may reduce the cost of cinema tickets. 19% replied that they already own a 3D TV set and have a better understanding of the technology behind S3D:

“I own two, 3D televisions, 1 passive polarized and another active shutter, both are nice but I prefer the passive polarized.”

However most of the 44% who would not buy a 3D TV set think that it is too expensive and the technology is unnecessary and it has been described as a technological gimmick to maximise the profit of some companies.

Table 1: Choice between watching a 2D or S3D and preference of TV set

Question: Choice between a film being shown in 2D or 3D 9 (with glasses) at a cinema

Answer

Response

%

Traditional 2D

59

38%

Stereoscopic 3D (with glasses).

96

62%

Total

155

100%

Question: Preference of a TV set with 3D compatibility

Answer

Response

%

Yes

76

56%

No

60

44%

Total

136

100%

This survey analysed the opinions of 214 people with regards to S3D film watching experience. From the results of this survey the majority of participants agree that S3D viewing supersedes 2D viewing. However, in order to improve this experience even further to remedy the issues caused by uncomfortable glasses, cost or the issue of the picture being ‘too dark’, and to make the technology more inclusive (for people with eyesight problems) more research and development need to be done in this area. This entails technological companies and research institutions to come up with advanced solutions to facilitate the process of capturing, editing and delivery of S3D films, as well as to improve the viewing experience. One may argue that if there is a faster, easier way of producing a fairly good product, the cost could be reduced greatly.

This research is not comprehensive, but it offers an insight into the viewers’ perception of S3D films and consequently brings up some issues that need to be considered and addressed in further research.

This is my analysis of findings from a research study carried out through a survey that Sharon George and I designed. 

 

Spreadable Media Artefact 3

For my third Spreadable Media Artefact, I am writing about the Research Project on Stereoscopic 3D (S3D) that i explained in detail here. This is a research on viewers perception regarding the future of S3D. For this project my classmate, Sharon and I have chosen to get our primary data through a qualitative research method. For this method, we formulated a questionnaire in the hope of getting opinions from respondents. When this survey was ready and passed by Dr Patera, the next task was to get responses. For this kind of research to work out well, it requires a substantial number of responses to validate the results. At the time, an online survey seemed to work well with the time frame that the survey had to be filled in, result analysed and then write a journal paper on the the subject. Lectures from Social Tech module about spreadability came in hand. The survey was pushed on Facebook, Twitter and email just to mention a few. I asked my followers on twitter to re-tweet the survey  using hash-tags; #3D, #stereoscopic #mscret.  within 72 hours a hundred responses were realised and an online magazine 3Droundabout and Stereoscopy News picked this up and within 5 days they both had made articles in their magazines about why the research was being carried out and where to find the survey. Through social sites, relevant and influential people were able to pick the survey and they further increased the spreadability by positing on their website.This process proved very useful on the research by reaching a different crowd from my social sites of probably more friends and family rather than a different one, perhaps consisting of a professional crowd. Since carrying out this survey, I have had tutors and classmates forwarding links related to S3D, for example there has been a call out for a journal paper here,

I am considering sending one or both.

P Woods, Faculty of Education, University of Plymouth, 2006 http://www.edu.plymouth.ac.uk/resined/qualitative%20methods%202/qualrshm.htm.

Spreadable Media Artefact 2

I have been searching for companies where I could perhaps get a work experience during my Masters degree year and among the searches, there is a company that stood out to be what i could fit in. A Television (ATV),  an independent television production company which was launched in April of 2012 focusing mainly on African programming. Its mission is to promote citizen media. The company’s overview is that; it is a project that contributes to the growth of media in Africa and believes that by doing so ATV  will be contributing towards openness and the development of African voices. I started following the Executive producer Crispen Sachikonye on twitter and requested him to be one of my connections on LinkedIn so that I could understand what really goes on at ATV. ATV broadcasts to its African viewers through satellite for a few hours a day. All the content ATV broadcasts comes from its viewers, the main communication between ATV and its viewers is through their Face book page found here where the majority of them are active. Viewers send their greetings, photos, stories, own tracks of music and short films. All this constitutes to the content to be broadcasted for the day. The criteria of which artefact will be featured on say the ATV’s Face book page as well as on the TV channel is through nomination of best among a number of posted daily. ATV’s daily news bulletins are posted on YouTube as well. Some of the artefacts that gets broadcasted on ATV are; ‘Model of the Day’, ‘Usay’, ‘Picture of the Day’ among others.

With a level of professionalism associated with linked in, I saw it fit to communicate to Crispen  through LinkedIn despite the fact that he is affiliated to most social sites. The email that I sent to him was basically asking to find out more about what ATV does as a company and getting to know how they are making the use of social media to carry out their work. He asked me to visit their office at the Dock House, Salford Quays for an informal tour. Upon entering their premisses I recognised their News room background, I had actually seen that on YouTube in one of their daily news broadcasts but did not know the connection to ATV prior to my visit. I then explained my background to Crispen including past and current projects and what I was currently studying. The talk of ‘Social Technologies’ part of my MSc degree is what caught his attention, from my explanation and what he has gathered from following my blogs was of some interest to ATV.

Crispen asked me to work with Mark Cockcroft and Michael Rudolph, staff at ATV to launch ‘Story of the Day’. This is whereby viewers send  a story to ATV via face book or tweeter or email for a chance of it being published as a Story of the Day on ATV’s Face book page, as well as the TV channel. Now ideas and inputs on how this is going to be possible and efficient will be communicated in the next blog post.

The Wilhelm Scream REMIX

One of the Three Media artefacts that I am supposed to post as part of my Social Technologies module, ‘Spreadable Media’ artefact 1 assignment as mentioned here in one of my blog posts, I chose to do a super-cut video Remix of the Wilhelm scream from any film scenes that used the sound effect.

From an Audio background, video is a bit of a foreign entity to me, I have cut and pasted audio but have never really tempted to do video editing. I first of all downloaded all the videos that I thought would be very useful for this operation. Now that i had files sitting on my hard drive, next step was to start the cutting and pasting process. It hit me that my files were in a .flv format which is a format not supported by the editor software I was going to use to create this supe-rcut. There are lot of free video converters on line but most of them support PCs and my interface is a Mac, now free Mac compatible are available but some of these will imbed their watermark on your converted file and this is not what i was wishing for. To make it worse some links online will actually mislead that the converter is compatible with a Mac or free but after downloading and installing I would realise that this is not the case.  After hours of trial and error I approached one of my class mate Natalie Smith, whose speciality is Film, she really helped me find a suitable convertor and recommended a manageable editor software for a novice on video editing as well as a really uncomplicated converter. With all videos converted I had to start editing out the “screams ‘ and putting them together in a sequence I thought would make desirable viewing below is the REMIX video that I managed to come up with;

The Wilhelm Scream REMIX

Spreadable Media Artefact 1

One of the requisite of my Social Media Technologies module is to create media content that can be spread through social media platforms. The media content could be anything ranging from an image to a video to a photo. The content should be decent enough to get views/hits on the social media platforms. I could team up with another student who has their idea that can easily work together with mine. There is a risk that this content may not get so many likes and hits from viewers. My idea is; To create a super-cut video of the ‘Wilhelm Scream’ cliché.

“One sound effect that has found a following with many sound editors and observant movie
fans is a distinctive scream named Wilhelm.” (Lee Steve 2005 on Hollywood Lost and
Found.
Steve Lee (2005) through Hollywood Lost and Found, said that in 1951, the Warner Bros produced a film ‘Distant drums’ which was directed by Raoul Walsh the scream was recorded for one of the scenes in the film then Ben Burtt used the scream in the Star wars and named it Wilhelm after the character that let out the scream-Wilhelm. Today there is a Wilhelm Scream Store with T-shirts, tote bags, mugs and other memorabilia on sale featuring the official Logo of the sound effect.

The Wilhelm Scream Logo

Creating a super-cut video of the Wilhelm Scream may be quite challenging considering that some compilation videos have been produced already. It means that I have to try to match the others and/or even produce a different ‘feel’ altogether. This project will actually involve a lot of work,

  • At least I have already picked a topic
  • I have to locate sources of material, now I have found a list of quite a number of films that have used this scream in one or more scenes. This is well and good but I will need original footage of the films.
  • I have to download the video or rip a DVD. I have to work on legalities here, some of the footage or films maybe copyrighted and I need to research more on how to solve this issue.
  • The next stage will be to choose a video editor software, cut the clips line them up and finalise on the order of appearance. I think here that is the stage were I have to use my creativity. Which films from the list can I use for this? Am I going to use text on the screen for every clip? Am I going to cleverly choose a sound track for the video, bearing in mind that I do not compromise the original sound on the clips. Am I going to use narration at the beginning of the video? Do I use a screen with rolling titles of the films where the clips have been taken. These are just thoughts I have been pondering on, what the end product should look like will depend on my creativity.

Compilation video of this Cliché with that has the most number of view

For now this is my only idea and I have to keep thinking of some more.

Bibliography

Lee, Steve. “Sound Effects – The Wilhelm Scream.” Sound Effects – The Wilhelm Scream. N.p., 17 May 2005. Web. 20 Nov. 2012. <http://www.hollywoodlostandfound.net/wilhelm/&gt;.

Baio, Andy. “Making Supercut.org.” Waxy.org: Andy Baio Lives Here. N.p., 16 May 2011. Web. 20 Nov. 2012. <http://waxy.org/2011/05/making_supercutorg/&gt;.

Research Project update

A few weeks ago I posted a blog explaining one of my research projects here. This research in ‘The Future of Stereoscopic 3D’ has been a very interesting journey although quite involving. Sharon George and I have created a questionnaire survey  using one of the online survey softwares, Qualtrics. We formulated questions and went through our supervisor for approval. We then made it live but the challenge was to make it available to as many people as possible from anywhere in the world. I have just realised that what I have been learning in the Social Technologies module has surely made the publicising of this survey link more manageable. The use of hash tags on tweeter has proved very effective in this operation. With the hash tags used for example #3D or #stereoscopic, the survey got picked by an online 3D magazine 3Droundabout. The publisher made contact with us to run an article in the magazine with a brief overview of the research why we are carrying out this particular research and also a little bit about us the researchers. The article can be found here. Another online 3D stereoscopy news website picked the tweets about the survey and made another article here. We are using social sites, emails, and even word of mouth and just letting people know where to get the survey.  In 24 hours the survey had reached almost 80 responses.

When we created the survey, we included contact details and there has been very positive responses from respondents. For most of these emails, common is a question of whether we are going to be publicising the results and when. Considering the presented interests on the subject by the respondents, we will be publicising the results. Up to now we have 133 responses, and counting. We anticipate to close the survey in a week and a half’s time then start statistical analysis and then concluding on the research question ‘Is Stereoscopic 3D the future of Film making’.

The survey can be found here.