Post 4: Introducing Billboards

Introducing billboards

 

As I have worked my way through this project my initial idea has been quite fluid in that it has changed and molded over time. As i focus on this topic now i am looking back retrospectively, therefore this post will be written in the past tense until such a time as i have caught up with myself.

 

In one of my earlier posts in explained in some detail my idea for a short film centered heavily around anti branding and featuring google glass. I followed this idea relatively far through the developmental stages. I even drew up a large mind map/vague storyboard exploring into the narrative and logistics of creating the video. The A2 sized mind map that i created can be seen below.

 

 I liked this idea and found the research for it both interesting and stimulating, I then had a change of direction however i still feel this video would have worked well. My Change of direction came following a one on one session will Phil Beards. Our discussion turned to what exactly i was trying to say with this video and what I wanted to impose upon the audience after it was finished. The main purpose of my project was to critisise and parody the advertising campaigns of large corporations and big business, the driving force behind this being the research I had conducted into some of the unsavoury business practices and overwhelming advertising campaigns they were using. Although the core idea was very strong, it was decided that the short film I had planned was a somewhat bulky and inefficient vehicle with which to get my point across. Achieving a production on a short student film such as this which comes across as slick and professional can be extremely difficult. The danger faced was that I would not achieve the high-end quality that I desired whilst also firmly embedding my message with the audience.

 

Alternative possibilities were discussed, still focusing around the same core messages and still attempting to keep parts of my previous idea. One part of my film involved animating over billboards whilst in the first person google glass view that i had envisaged. The new direction of my project involved becoming more active in the brilliant real-life anti branding works that were going on already. During my research i had found many different collectives often with some really interesting works performed out on the street. My idea was adapted to keep the core theme of altering adverts but to actually project onto real life adverts so that the public could interact. This new plan would Involve first photographing billboards then creating an animation that interacted with what was on screen. I would then use a projector to line up my animation with the actual billboard.

 

I followed this idea for a time by looking into other billboard graffiti that i had seen and also by scouting and filming billboards in and around the centre of Bournemouth. I liked the idea of billboards because they were large, flat structures that would show well on film and also I suppose because i had them in my minds eye as one of the more in your face forms of corporate advertising. Straight away one problem that i ran into was that many of the billboards in and around bournemouth were either disused or unkept. The fact many of the billboards were either ripped or blank would have made it very difficult to interact or in any way map and project onto them, this was only really the beginning of the logistical problems with this idea. The idea would have involved using a projector to fit the billboards so that my work could be viewed out on the street. I discussed this idea with our lecturer Bob in order to further explore possibilities. He said he was very keen on the anti-branding element and immediately gave me some great magazine, book and film titles to look into. The actual logistics of my plan though were not met with quite such a warm reception, he highlighted to me the need for some kind of generator or outdoor mains supply to power the projectors, and perhaps even a van in order to transport the equipment. My anti-branding animations are quite complementary and aggressive with their message in regard to the companies that i am parodying, copyright infringement being a concern of mine considering the very public nature my work was intended to be displayed in. it was also brought to my attention that i may run in to problems with the Police by setting up projectors in the street, obstructing the pavement and generally causing a hubub. This called for a further evolution of my ever-changing idea.

 

This led to me disposing of the live element of the billboard idea, the new plan being that i would simply film the billboards that I liked and then animate over them in post to create a short film. This idea did solve all of my logistics issues however I felt this then left the final video feeling somewhat bland and uneventful. In order to remedy this i set about creating a simple narrative around the piece in order to spice it up a little bit. My plan was to have a fictional tale in which the main character had a glowing orb he could throw at regular billboards in order to make them change (via post production after effects animations). The short film was to follow this main character, a disillusioned young man, about town as he threw this magic orb at various billboards to make the logos and text on them change. I wanted to add an element of excitement into the video by following him around on his bike and using some more extreme photography/music. I had even planned to use slow motion and GoPro shots. The danger this presented was that I may fall back into the trap I had set myself originally, that being the focus was shifting too far toward the aesthetics of the film and I may lose the core message that was so important to the work. I also attended a lecture with Tony Chance and described my idea to hi, similar to Bob he liked the theme however he brought up yes another logistical issue which i had not thought of how often do the billboards change? Another point we discussed again was the copyright infringement issue, the idea of faking my own advert first, then altering it later came up. Although this would have remedied the copyright issue i felt it also somewhat counteracted the point of the project so i decided against it, instead preferring to base my manipulations around ral adverts.  At this stage i had to think carefully and re-evaluate yet again. I had committed a lot of time into development/research at this stage so a complete change of direction was not even worth thinking about. Having already obtained some billboard footage i did indeed trial my concept of animating onto billboards in post by making a short test clip, which can be viewed below.

 

In this clip please note how the text changes at the bottom of the billboard, this is key to my project in that the text offers me a great opportunity to change the message of the particular piece of branding and parody the campaign. You can see below the original text was “Quicker journeys when you need them” as the board animates through you can see me delete and then mimic this text to instead say “Bigger profits when we need them”. This simple change of wording hopefully makes the viewer question exactly why the company (in this case TomTom) has really chosen to advertise here. Is it because they really care about you making it to your nans tea party on time? Or are their motives for advertising really related more to their revenue stream?

 

Technically this animation is extremely basic, and was made a fraction of the time i would want to spend on the real thing. The only real technique that was at all challenging was ensuring the cyclist did not interfere with the text and also wiping the board back to normal after the bus passes, everything else is achieved with some relatively simple geometric masking and scale and hue adjustment.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MHq2vepQwrM

 

This exercise did prove useful in giving me experience with this kind of after effects work and helped me to think about how i would film future shots later on in the project. Still on my mind though was that i really was not creating a powerful r memorable impression upon my audience as i had originally intended to do, it was at this point that the direction of my work then changed again.

 

As I struggled with how to make my magic orb idea feasible, and thought about if the effects of the ball would be diegetic or non-diegetic a new idea was thrown into the mix by Head Lecturer Phil Beards, the idea of experimenting with QR codes.

 

I have been vaguely familiar with QR codes for some time, yet I had not considered using them in conjunction with this project, at this stage i began further research into exactly how i could utilise this increasingly popular technology.

Post 3: Beginning my Research

Project Aims:

 

What might I like to focus on?

 

Branding

 

MUSIC

 

Anti- Branding Campaigns

 

Street Art-Into Digital Street Art   ( create graffiti at home on your computer )

 

Fun animation ideas, for example. People you don’t like explode.

 

Annoying corporate brands removed/altered.

 

Relevant/Interesting Links:

 

Paper on the subject:

http://www.acrwebsite.org/volumes/v33/v33_10337.pdf

 

How internet is becoming a powerful advertising tool

http://www.theguardian.com/media/2009/sep/30/internet-biggest-uk-advertising-sector

 

Poor business practice and lack of morality. Brands like Abercrombie – http://www.businessinsider.com/abercrombie-wants-thin-customers-2013-5

 

Homeless Abercrombie –

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/05/15/abercrombie-and-fitch_homeless-video-_n_3279454.html

 

Angry consumers, twitter –

https://twitter.com/pissedconsumer

 

Intertesting blog post related to the subject –  

http://www.bombingscience.com/index.php/blog/viewThread/1433

 

Culture Jamming –

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Culture_jamming

 

Really Cool anarchistic style of animation.

http://www.youtube.com/user/ddcollab?feature=watch

What wikipedia has to say on the subject:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Culture_jamming

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_movement

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-consumerism

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Czech_Dream

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adbusters

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reality_hacking#Reality_hacking

More culture jamming examples

http://sobadsogood.com/2012/07/23/22-brilliant-examples-of-culture-jamming/

 

Brandalism, film, absolutely perfect

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B0J099g3YwM

 

Wealth Inequality In America

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QPKKQnijnsM

 

Film relating to poverty:

http://www.youtube.com/user/WhyPoverty

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jqxENMKaeCU&feature=mv_sr

 

Quick post-research thoughts

 

I must decide exactly what message i am trying to portray.

 

Use of advertising techniques to spread the word, making use of their tools however using an anti brand message in order to raise awareness. With relation to fast food restaurants perhaps consider a war on waste. Bring in the idea of advertising being almost subliminal and how we could raise awareness or combat it.

 

Use of animation techniques and motion graphics in order to create and eye catching and powerful motion graphic. Use of social media in a similar way to brands, use of very short video to stir up interest.

Specialist Project: Post 2

 

Why did I choose Blurring brands, how will I develop the idea?

 

 When I first decided to do a piece of work that was related to anti-branding in the digital era one of the first things that came to mind was a popular plugin currently available for modern web browsers. This plugin is called Adblock Plus and is used to remove annoying ads from web pages and web videos. This is a plugin I have used extensively in the past and it really is brilliant in that it effectively removes ads from web pages, thwarts pop-ups and most noticeably removes annoying video adverts from the start of youtube videos. Some people may say this is unfair on companies paying money to market themselves, however I say life is too short for me to sit around watching the same advert 10 times a day so that a marketing budget is justified. So long as the plugin is free and legal, I am very much going to enjoy taking advantage of it!

 

Keeping in mind my admiration for this brazen attitude towards stopping big brand adverts in their tracks, I have begun to think how I could bring this idea forward from conceptualization into a piece of digital media.

 

Technology really is racing forward at an astounding rate, notably since the turn of the millenium. It seems the hot new tech just around the corner is augmented reality and portable convenience media. In my opinion a really hot looking blend between the face mounted impressiveness of the Occulus rift and the solve-all convenience of a smartphone presents itself in the form Google Glass.

 

Google glass is a powerful computer small enough to be mounted on a pair of glasses, and is paired with an optical head mounted display. The result of which is a robocop-like ability to have real time information displayed right in front of the user’s eye. Google glass can be worn all day in a similar manner to a pair of regular glasses, and can then offer information to the user when needs be. My idea centralises around the idea of branding working its way into this technology over time, to a point where they may find themselves bombarded with advertising 24/7.

 

An issue that I feel deserves some attention is the chosen form of media for my specialist project. A possible option may have been to try and create this idea for blocking advertising in reality. Perhaps by using the Occulus rift to create a virtual environment in which the brands are blurred out or even becoming more ambitious using real time augmentation. Making on decision on what medium required me to think carefully about what i was actually trying to create. I would say my speciality is in creative video with a focus on post production, as shown in some of my past work. I see the specialist project as an oppertunity to really push myself to the next level and create something of a high quality that will entertain. Keeping this in mind i decided to instead create a video featuring the technology aforementioned.

 

When it comes to putting this idea into practice i intend to use various filming techniques and some extensive after effects work. Over the summer i have been able to further increase my knowledge in Adobe After Effects and I believe I have reached a stage of familiarity where i could learn a wide range of new techniques, based on my now competent knowledge of the software.

 

The challenge for the is project is going to be explaining clearly to the audience that the focus of the video is this Google Glass element, and i plan to portray this by use of first person filming techniques, similar to my group project in first year where i used a head mounted gopro to achieve a first-person look of filming.

 

Due to my summer work i have been able to invest in my own gopro hero 3, it features full hd video recording and also the opportunity to film at 120fps for a slow motion effect. Experimenting with this type of filming again is something i am very much looking forward to and should also give my film a unique edge.

 

So the basic premise of my film is set, use a mix of DSLR and Gopro filming to create a film in which a protagonist used a google glass equivalent, unbranded of course so as to avoid copyright infringement. But how exactly will the adverts be affected/combated, and indeed what kind of advertising will be shown in the first place? I think the most powerful way to make clear the message of the video whilst also avoiding any lawsuits will be to carefully parody brands, so that it is still clear what the brand is supposed to resemble, but it does not use any trademarked logos or brand names. This may feel over cautious however I feel to have blatant and aggressive copyright infringements present may limit the scope of the film.

 

The message of the film is undoubtedly an anti-corporate one, and indeed much of my research thus far has been around corporate responsibility and corporate misconduct in the modern era. In the early stages of my planning for my project I considered creating a distopian style of film in which corporations had overtaken completely and everybody was miserable as a result. I considered a scenario in which branding was everywhere and the film would focus on convincing people to stop using the headsets completely in order to liberate themselves from the constant advertising. This reminded me in some aspects of my first year collaboration with Ned Hallet in which we created a scifi distopian future. I felt although interesting to work on this the topic was quite negative and down beat, this had the danger of resulting in a slow paced video. I have decided to change the focus of the video to create a far more fun and upbeat piece of work.

 

The beginning of the video will likely be similar to the plotline mentioned ave, with large amounts of branding constantly numbing people into a sense of being brain dead, nothing but pawns to the whim or large scale advertising campaigns ect ect.

 

The change of tempo and focus within the video will come with the addition of this ad blocking plugin. During early development stages it became obvious that simply blurring or removing the ads would be adequate but not necessarily entertaining. With this in mind I began further research into the exciting movements of anti-branding, guerrilla marketing and culture jamming. My plan is that the first half of the video will contain the annoying parody corporate brands appearing on the computer screen, the second half of the video will see these brands affected and manipulated by the Adblock plugin, often with comedic results. Considering this I call to mind a facebook ad on in which annoying pictures of babies (which are recognised I believe by facial recognition software) can be replaced with a picture of the users choice. I also have begun to admire the work of culture-jamming artists, which I shall continue to research and expand upon as the project continues. I also plan to look at various artists and typographers producing really fun exciting visuals. Replacing or parodying adverts with artwork of this style means that my fictional Plugin for the headsets could be sold as a way to spice up a humdrum day or lifestyle! In keeping with grown of artwork through social networks of creatives such as DeviantArt, I would suggest that a fictional collective could be made of people all adding fresh artwork and ideas to this plugin, the result being a large array of exciting drawings, animations and text that could replace the otherwise humdrum adverts.

 

My film would be set in the modern day but in somewhat of a different world in which technology was more advanced than is current, in a way that meant just about everybody could afford one of these headsets. Therefore the anomaly in the film would be for somebody to have downloaded the plugin, as opposed to the special focus of the film being the ownership of one of these devices.

 

The next stage for me is going to be moving towards the filming stage of the project. I have already borrowed a couple of lenses from the store and conducted tests with them in order to ensure that I can get the most filmic look possible from the shoot. I have a rough idea of the narrative however I would like to draw a preliminary storyboard in order to stimulate thought regarding what locations, actors and scripting I may have to use in the production of the short film. An important aim for this project is to experiment with and push forward the post production techniques used. As a reflection of this I think it is best to keep the run time of the film short, so as to ensure quality not quantity and to really get my vision across, as a rough estimate i think that 5 minutes would be long enough to introduce the concept, change the pace of the video with the introduction of the plugin and also include some really nice motion graphics.

 

Effect within after effects CS6 that I have little experience with is motion tracking, i would really like to remedy this. I think stylish animations tracked well within a  first person view could really give a great aesthetic and make for an exciting project. In my opinion the secret to success for this brief will be a concise story line, good standard of filming and exciting motion graphics.

 

Post 1: Begginings of my Idea

Why did I choose Blurring brands, how will I develop the idea?

When I first decided to do a piece of work that was related to anti-branding in the digital era one of the first things that came to mine was a popular plugin currently available for modern web browsers. This plugin is called Adblock Plus and is used to remove annoying ads from web pages and web videos. This is a plugin I have used extensively in the past and it really is brilliant in that it effectively removed ads from web pages, thwarts pop-ups and most noticeably removes annoying video adverts from the start of youtube videos. Some people may say this is unfair on companies paying money to market themselves, however i say life is too short for me to sit around watching the same advert 10 times so that a marketing budget is justified. So long as the plugin is free and legal, I am very much going to enjoy taking advantage of it!

 

Keeping in mind my admiration of this brazen attitude towards stopping big brand adverts in their tracks, I have begun to think how I could bring this idea forward from conceptualisation ito a piece of digital media.

 

Technology really is racing forward at an astounding rate, notably since the turn of the millenium. It seems the hot new tech just around teh corner is augmented reality and portable convenience media. In my opinion a really hot looking blend between the face mounted immersiveness of the Occulus rift and the solve-all convenience of a smartphone presents itself in the form Google Glass.

 

Google glass is a powerful computer small enough to be mounted on a pair of glasses, and is paired with an optical head mounted display. The result of which is a robocop-like ability to have real time information displayed right in front of the user eye. Google glass can be worn all day in a similar manner to a pair of regular glasses, and can then offer information to the user when needs be. My idea centralises around the idea of branding working its way into this technology over time, to a point where they may find themselves bombarded with advertising 24/7.

 

An issue that I feel deserves some attention is the chosen form of media for my specialist project. A possible option may have been to try and create this idea for blocking advertising in reality. Perhaps by using the Occulus rift to create a virtual environment in which the brands are blurred out or even becoming more ambitious using real time augmentation. Making on decision on what medium required me to think carefully about what i was actually trying to create. I would say my seciality is in creative video with a focus on post production, as shown in some of my past work. I see the specialist project as an oppertunity to really push myself to the next level and create something of a high quality that will entertain. Keeping this in mind i decided to nstead create a video featuring the technology afforementioned.

 

When it comes to putting this idea into practice i intent to use various filming techniques and some extensive after effects work. Over the summer i have been able to further increase my knowledge in Adobe After Effects and I believe I have reached a stage f familiarity where i could learn a wide range of new techniques, based on my now competent knowledge of the software.

 

The challenge for the is project is going to be explaining clearly to the audience that the focus of the video is this Google Glass element, and i plan to portray this by use of first person filming techniques, similar to my group project in first year where i used a head mounted gopro to achieve a first-person look of filming.

 

Due to my summer work i have been able to invest in my own gopro hero 3, it featured full hd video recording and also the opportunity to film at 120fps for a slow motion effect. Experimenting with this type of filming again is something i am very much looking forward to and should also give my film a unique edge.

 

So the basic premise of my film is set, use a mix of DSLR and Gopro filming to create a film in which a protagonist used a google glass equivalent, unbranded of course so as to avoid copyright infringement. But how exactly will the adverts be affected/combated, and indeed what kind of advertising will be shown in the first place? I think the most powerful way to make clear the message of the video whilst also avoiding any lawsuits will be to carefully parody brands, so that it is still clear what the brand is supposed to resemble, but it does not use any trademarked logos or brand names. This may feel over cautious however I feel to have blatant and aggressive copyright infringements present may limit the scope of the film.

 

The message of the film is undoubtedly an anti-corporate one, and indeed much of my research thus far has been around corporate responsibility and ndee corporate misconduct in the modern era. In the early stages of my planning for my project I considered creating a dystopian style of film in which corporations had overtaken completely and everybody was miserable as a result. I considered a scenario in which branding was everywhere and the film would focus on convincing people to stop using the headsets completely in order to liberate themselves from the constant advertising. This reminded me in some aspects of my first year collaboration with Ned Hallet in which we created a sci fi dystopian future. I felt although interesting to work on this topic was quite negative and down beat, this had the danger of resulting in a slow paced video. I have decided to change the focus of the video to create a far more fun and upbeat piece of work.

 

The begging of the video will likely be similar to the plotline mentioned ave, with large amounts of branding constantly numbing people into a sense of being brain dead, nothing but pawns to the whim or large scale advertising campaigns ect ect.

 

The change of tempo and focus within the video will come with the addition of this ad blocking plugin. During early development stages it became obvious that simply blurring or removing the ads would be adequate but not necessarily entertaining. With this in mind I began further research into the exciting movements of anti-branding, guerilla marketing and culture jamming. My plan is that the first half of the video will contain the annoying parody corporate brands appearing on the computer screen, the second half of the video will see these brands affected and manipulated by the Adblock plugin, often with comedic results. Considering this I call to mind a facebook ad on in which annoying pictures of babies (which are recognised I believe by facial recognition software) can be replaced with a picture of the users choice. I also have begun to admire the work of culture-jamming artists, which I shall continue to research and expand upon as the project continues. I also plan to look at various artists and typographers producing really fun exciting visuals. Replacing or parodying adverts with artwork of this style means that my fictional Plugin for the headsets could be sold as a way to spice up a humdrum day or lifestyle! In keeping with grown of artwork through social networks of creatives such as DeviantArt, I would suggest that a fictional collective could be made of people all adding fresh artwork and ideas to this plugin, the result being a large array of exciting drawings, animations and text that could replace the otherwise humdrum adverts.

 

My film would be set in the modern day but in somewhat of a different world in which technology was more advanced than is current, in a way that meant just about everybody could afford one of these headsets. Therefore the anomaly in the film would be for somebody to have downloaded the plugin, as opposed to the special focus of the film being the ownership of one of these devices.

 

The next stage for me is going to be moving towards the filming stage of the project. I have already borrowed a couple of lenses from the store and conducted tests with them in order to ensure that I can get the most filmic look possible from the shoot. I have a rough idea of the narrative however I would like to draw a preliminary storyboard in order to stimulate thought regarding what locations, actors and scripting I may have to use in the production of the short film. An important aim for this project is to experiment with and push forward the post production techniques used. As a reflection of this I think it is best to keep the run time of the film short, so as to ensure quality not quantity and to really get my vision across, as a rough estimate i think that 5 minutes would be long enough to introduce the concept, change the pace of the video with the introduction of the plugin and also include some really nice motion graphics.

Effect within after effects CS^ that i have little experience with is motion tracking, i would really like to remedy this. I think stylish animations tracked well within a  first person view could really give a great aesthetic and make for an exciting project. In my opinion the secret to success for this brief will be a concise storyline, good standing of filming and exciting motion graphics.