Category Archives: Other

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

Tony Tokunbo Eteka Fernandez

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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. 

 

Reflection; My Unique Experience.

Looking back at the last 7 weeks of my journey into Research in Emerging technologies study at University of SalfordMSc Digital Media: Video, Audio and Social Technologies degree, it has been quite involving than I thought. This is a 2 part module consisting of Research Methods and Social Technologies with equal weighting. The Research Methods’ half involves an assessment of a mini research project. Sharon George and I are doing a Quantitative Research into the future of Stereoscopic 3D Film making. The aim is to gather information from responses through a survey questionnaire found here using statistics and be able to conclude whether Stereoscopic 3D is the future of Film making or not. The other, Social Technologies’ half aims to develop my online presence and network know-how. I am expected to participate in the online sphere through participatory media production alongside the academic study of digital culture and practices. I will then put my network know-how into practice through the exploration of ‘spreadable media’ basically using Henry Jenkins‘ theory by creating media artefacts, monitor, measure and analyse their spread through, my wordpress blog, twitter, or any other social media.

As I have said earlier on, this is so involving and requires a lot of reading literature in my area of study including books, journals, blog post to mention a few. Although I was kind of expecting this, the level at which I have to do it is slightly different. I have discovered that I aught  to have a critical awareness of relevant depth and breadth of knowledge in a professional capacity and a good level of communication. I was uncomfortable about blogging when I started the module. I had to blog because it is part of my assignment and I am being assessed on it, but as I posted blog after blog, I feel I am becoming more expressive. I may still be quite conservative in the way I discuss issues because of fear of risking mistakes but I see an improvement each time I blog.  Before I started this module, I had quite a number of social sites signed up. The main purpose was to communicate socially with friends and family and also browse for any interesting news. Some of these sites have been redundant and my main communication tool online was through emailing. I think this is because of the fear of risks of making mistakes(as mentioned above) on public domains leading to embarrassment and perhaps being ridiculed by friends and by communicating through email has more or less avoided a lot of online presence thereby reducing the risks. Also I was uncomfortable about exposing my identity online due to the talk that ‘Internet is full of Danger’ such as identity theft or stoking. Although this may be true, the same danger may well be the same offline.

I have had a gradual integration into social media, by participating more, I have seen an increase in my presence on  already signed up sites and have recently signed up  for more. Through lectures by  my tutor Helen Keegan and talks from guest speakers, I have managed to learn more social medial sites that have a great importance to my line of study as well as in building my professional online identity. Although creating a blog was part of my course work, I strongly feel that this has brought out the other side of me that has been hidden through communicating and interaction.  Cristina Costa gave my class a talk on a number of  issues, what particularly drew my attention was the ‘open access learning’ whereby some academic, journals, theses or even monographs are available to the public free of charge. I imagine the joys of stumbling upon a piece of information that is very relevant to my research without having to pay for it and would like to share the same feeling with the next person. In that light, I have managed to gradually built on my diigo and bitly bookmarks. anyone in my line of study may just find one of my bookmarks useful to their research.  Another speaker Hugh Garry, presented an in depth lecture on spreadable media and I have managed to reflect on that here.

These seven weeks have been quite challenging, there has been some trial and error posts, a lot of reading and research into blogging or tweeting for slightly different purposes other than just social interaction with friends and family. Coming from an ‘always someone else’s duty to produce such work’ I feel I have done reasonably well, however I have to keep blogging regularly and tweeting more to maintain the following that I have managed to build and possibly increase it. A weakness that I have found out is, I may be blog-posting weekly but I am not engaging well by commenting or reblogging on other blogs. This interaction may just help traffic to my blog. On twitter I may be a bit passive too but I am picking up. I have been following quite a few people as well as @SirNige who is a moderator of #263chat, every tuesday at UCT +2 hours the #263chat have a chat topic each week and I have been quite active there. I have been discovered by followers and have discovered mine through this chat-room and a few re-tweets that I have done.