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.