The negative impact of “Cancel Culture” and how it affects our society

Should we cancel the “Cancel Culture”?

The term “Cancel Culture” isn’t new to us, but believe it or not, it only became universal after 2016, and all because of Twitter. When the singer Kanye West released a song that had a sex reference about Taylor Swift that she did not approve, his wife, Kim Kardashian, posted a video claiming the opposite, giving birth to the hashtag #TaylorSwiftIsCancelled, which would soon initiate the canceling wave.

That was the first of many similar cases, where someone, usually famous, says or does something that people do not agree with and the internet community decides that they should be “culturally blocked from having a prominent public platform” (Vox).

But how far is the “Cancel Culture” going and what is it doing to our society?

Can the “Cancel Culture” be beneficial?

First of all, it’s important to acknowledge that the “cancel culture” is valid a lot of times and it is used as an important tool for political and cultural changes in our society. People that have committed irreparable mistakes should be punished and accountable for the consequences of their actions, and it is extremely important for us to be able to point out those errors and claim justice.

The problem begins when we start putting those people in the same category as people who have said or done something with no intention of harming anyone at all but innocently did. There should be a difference between the “call-out culture” and the “cancel culture”, and the lack of division between those groups of people can be very problematic and irresponsible. 

What are we doing wrong?

On the talk show “The View”, the actress and activist Jameela Jamil, who is known for criticizing the approaches of the “cancel culture” on the internet, said that “[…] we now just cancel everyone and what that’s going to do is, it’s going to devalue progress and stop people from wanting to change because they think they will forever be cast aside because of their one sin from the past that they want to improve from, and if we want people to change we have to show them that there is hope to be reaccepted into our society”.

What I think she means by that is that we end up making people afraid of asking questions, questions that might help them learn in the future and become a better person, because of our attitude towards people that have shared a similar behaviour, consequently slowing down our society’s development and scaring possible allies, which is almost the reverse effect that this culture is trying to achieve.

I believe all criticism is valid and necessary, but it’s essential that it comes with an opening for a dialogue or a discussion, not to justify the mistake, but to educate the person who has committed it. We all make mistakes, but there is always room for improvement and if someone demonstrates that they are actively trying to change, they should be given that option instead of getting shutted down.

How can we change it?

It’s safe to say that we are all more educated today than we were five years ago, and that’s completely normal, we’re constantly learning and evolving, and that’s what makes us human. As the progressive Aaron Rose pointed out to Vox, by rejecting the urge of canceling people, we’re not giving up on accountability, we’re just simply defending the idea that people are not incapable of compassion and change.

The way I see it, the issue is when someone is constantly unaccountable and has the privilege and opportunity to change but refuses to do so. With that, I do realize it’s easier to condemn people than ideas, especially ideas that are embedded in structures that we still have today, but I’m much more interested in the root causes as opposed to the symptoms. 

In the words of the television host Trevor Noah, for the Breakfast Club Power radio station, “as a society, what do we hope to do with people who have wronged us? Do we wish to banish them of civilization or do we wish to educate them, inform them, punish them when necessary, and then rehabilitate them and have them come back into our society?”

We often don’t realize the power that the internet has and how platforms like Twitter have given voice to many marginalized people around the world. The “cancel culture”, for a lot of those people, it’s a way of using the only power we have, the one of ignoring the other, to force the people who are in actual positions of power to do something, but we have to be very careful not to undermine it.

Image shows the PTZ Panasonic top camera the PTZ AW-UE150

PTZ Robotic Cameras Trending Upward through 2021

by Orinthia Babb

On March 5th, Winnipeg based Inland AV was hired to do audio-visual work for the University of Manitoba’s “Visionary Conversations” event: How Can Our Community Come Together to Combat the Impacts of Drug Addiction? Over 300 people visited the Bannatyne Campus for this final instalment of the series before U of M President Dr. David Barnard retires in June.

Image shows the stage and panel of Dr. David Barnard and 9 guest professional speakers on Addictions.

Photo: Orinthia Babb. Community professionals discuss combating drug addiction in Manitoba. (L-R) Dr. Kathleen Buddle, Danny Smyth, Dr. Ginette Poulin, Dr. Erin Knight, Rick Lees, Mitch Bourbonniere, Dr. Tamara Taillieu, Dr. David Barnard 

Inland AV’s audio equipment set-up included at least 12 microphones, 4 cameras, and the black backdrop for the stage and the Jumbotron screen. 

The U of M’s female camera operator recorded the entire event from the back of the room. During the event’s Q & A period, an audience member was projected onto the screen as they asked their question. But there wasn’t a camera operator at the front of the room. Enter the PTZ camera that Inland AV set up.

PTZ or Pan-Tilt-Zoom cameras are great for capturing live events and are operated with a remote controller. This is an advancement in capturing more camera angles at public events without having a physical body, large camera, or tripod take up valuable floor space or block attendee views.

Below are some viewing angles captured by the PTZ remote-operated camera on the stage. Photos: UM Today website (Event recording screenshots from PTZ camera angle views).

PTZ Camera Wide Shot
PTZ Camera Zoomed in on two speakers
PTZ Camera Zoomed in on one speaker

PTZs Offer a Nearly All-Inclusive Solution


Panasonic.com: PTZ AW-UE150

Today’s professional PTZ gear like the Sony BRC-X1000 4K promotes it’s almost silent operation; Clear Image Zoom 18x (4K), 24x (HD) (that can be doubled); crisp image capturing even in low light; and the capacity to take cinematic 24p images.


AVShop.com: Sony BRC-X1000 4K

While the award-winning Panasonic PTZ AW-UE150 camera boasts features like 20x optical zoom, 4K/UHD 60p high-quality video output, and a 75.1 degree viewing angle.

But it’s that 75.1 degree viewing angle feature that also proved to be a limitation during the live event. Because unlike a real person, the pan feature was not able to adjust to an extreme wide shot in the far right part of the room to capture an attendee’s question on screen.

“The PTZ cameras are great, but they do have limitations. You can only pan, tilt and zoom so far. I mean it’s not a person, so you can’t make adjustments during the event,” said Matt, one of Inland’s AV Specialists.

The PTZ camera was able to get great shots of the guest speakers directly across from Barnard. You would agree this was impressive–if you were paying attention. And that’s one of the key benefits of these IP cameras, they can be set up in areas that are not obvious but still get the job done. 

As Broadcast Budgets Shrink, PTZ Demand Set to Grow

The industry expectation is to do more with less as traditional broadcast media fades. As Video Journalists, you need to be good writers with skills to manage cameras and take photos. 

Adrian Pennington of the Broadcast Bridge discusses this driving force behind the rise in demand for PTZs. He outlines the facts that the high-quality technical improvements, installation flexibility, more creativity options, and lower costs and size compared to traditional ENG cameras make a strong case for robotic cameras.

“The need for people to acquire cost-effective, good quality video with limited skills and experience continues to rise. New addressable end-user markets are opening up; more businesses are exploring ways to communicate with video; existing users are now looking to replace aging products, and prices are decreasing…”, says Adam Cox, Senior Analyst – Imaging & Pro Video at Futuresource Consulting.

After an explosive year of demand in 2017, Cox projects a 37% growth in the professional PTZ market from 2018 – 2021. The cameras are also excellent as video surveillance cameras with more overall range. Robotic PTZs may be a new wave of IP technology, but they still need a human remote camera operator to function.

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The Power of Twitter in the News World

(Picture by Roberto Baldwin / Engadget)

It’s no surprise that Twitter is one of the most powerful social media nowadays when it comes to sharing information with one another. But how did a website that wasn’t originally designed for the purpose of news become so reliable when it comes to verifying information?

First of all, due to its wide accessibility, Twitter has a much more practical way to consume news when compared to newspapers, for example. So, is that enough to make people use it as their main source of information? Let’s break it down a little.

Real or fake?

One of the biggest issues with getting your information from online platforms is that we are often not sure if the source we are using is trustworthy or not.  With Twitter, there are some tools that can help us manage that better, such as verified accounts, headlines, trends and hashtags.

Verified Accounts

Almost every single company will have an official Twitter account, especially big news organizations. Why? Well, it’s a fast and easy way to post any kind of content, and the ability of knowing if an account is verified or not allows you to identify the accuracy of that information.

Now, that’s easier illustrated with business once they don’t usually post fake content about their own brand, but with news that can be a little tricky. Thankfully, Twitter has around 25% of verified journalists, which can guide you through searching what information is real or fake.

In fact, 75% of Twitter users get their news from the platform, being the majority Millenials and Gen Z, who represent around 65% of all users. Being able to select the kind of content directed to you is something that the newer generations have found very suiting. 

On top of that, Twitter users are able to interact and to see other people’s interactions with a post when they click on it. Those interactions can be helpful for the public to collect more information about a determined subject and for the companies to analyse their response to it.

Headlines

Twitter is also well known for allowing a limited number of characters on a post. Some of you might be familiar with the term “clickbait”, which is used to define headlines that immediately catch the reader’s attention and make them want to click on the link to know more about it. 

On Twitter, headlines considered “clickbaits” end up being the most effective ones, due to the flow of engagement of the users when on the platform. But then again, if the clickbait is fake, that could ruin a company’s reputation, so you might want to be careful with that.

Trends and Hashtags

Another useful tool on Twitter is the tab located right beside your timeline, called “trends”. Trends are purposefully directed to your location, interests, and the accounts you follow, so that the user can easily find or search for anything at any given time.

When it comes to promoting news content, just like any other social media platform, Twitter takes advantage of the famous “hashtags”. Hashtags are probably the easiest way to get some extra attention to a certain post or subject people have been talking about lately.

According to the website Oberlo, Twitter users spend an average of 3.39 minutes per session on the platform, so the expectations are high when it comes to quickly finding what they are looking for. That’s why hashtags are so important for both the public and the companies in the business.

Other News Features

As pointed out by the website My GSC, Twitter “is now known for its up-to-the-minute communication from reputable “breaking news” accounts” due to features such as live news broadcasts and placing breaking news tweets at the top of user timelines (Forbes).

The Future of News

It is still early to say if Twitter will eventually overcome the traditional massive media communication platforms, such as Television and Radio, but its influence in the news world leaves no doubt that the competition will only get tougher with time. 

New streaming service brings new ways to watch short films and series.

If you have a quick few minutes to spare on your daily bus ride or lunch break at work it’s an attractive draw to pull out your phone and watch something. Quibi hopes to video content specifically with these habits in mind. 

Chief Executive Officer of Quibi, Meg Whiteman, stands on stage during a keynote speech at Consumer Electronics Show 2020.
“We believe we barely explored all of the capabilities of our mobile device and how they can transform storytelling.” Meg Whitman, (Chief Executive Officer of Quibi), on how they aim to be to T.v. what T.v was to radio.
Image from Quibi’s CES 2020 keynote.

A streaming service just for your phone. 

This April a new streaming service is launching, and it has a few distinctions to set it apart from the growing sea of on-demand services. Quibi is focused on providing content for the people who like to watch on the go, probably switching the orientation of their phone as they go.  As explained during a keynote at CES Quibi hosts and produces high budget short films about 4 to 10 mins long. 

Quibi’s crown innovation is that it uses technology that is in modern smartphones to tell a story in ways that cannot be told in just a traditional screen. It could be as simple as using the Gyroscope to sense the orientation of your screen. Depending on how you hold your phone when you move your phone mid-movie from landscape orientation to portrait it will switch to a different shot that will fit the new aspect ratio. 

Films that adapt to how you watch. 

You might think, “Wait doesn’t ‘hu-flix-prime+’ already turn my show right side up. ?”  Yes, it does, that’s all it does. Quibi’s content doesn’t just re-crop or shrink the show to fit the screen, which is what most of the streaming services do. Quibi developed What they call Turnstyle Technology.  it will switch seamlessly, to a different version of the same film that will use the full screen of the phone, no matter the orientation. 

two pictures of the same shot from Quibi Original series, Shape of Pasta. It shows the composition of the shots depending on how you hold your phone.
This is how Quibi’s Turnstyle would look like. While some shots are simple ‘crop to screen’ conversions, some shots and elements are recomposed to properly fit whenever you decide to turn the screen. (Images grabbed from Quibi’s 2020 CES Keynote.)

Quibi also showed off how this Turnstyle Technology can be used to offer the opportunity to have the audience interact. In a Short Thriller titled “Nest”, turning your phone from landscape to Portrait changes the shots from a traditional widescreen thriller scene, to a view of what interactions the main character is having on her phone. 

Smart Films for Smart Phones.

Technologies Quibi plans to use from your smartphone include the time of day, camera, and GPS. Quibi is offering all these tools to their content creators to let them creatively figure out how they can use these technologies to tell their stories. 

For Steven Spielberg, he set out to make his horror series “After Dark” only watchable once the sun goes down. Another example of Quibi’s use of smartphone technology is unlocking episodes once your phone reads where you are, what time and whether or not the sun has set or not. 

With new creative tools being brought out from smartphones it will be interesting to see how more storytellers will tell their stories and take advantage of the new tools. For $10 a month ($7 if you don’t mind ads) it will also be interesting to see how many people flock on to this new service that is trying to innovate and set itself apart from traditional ‘Hu-flix-prime+’ services.

The Future Of Entertainment

Make a choice: Do you want to engage with your media passively or actively?

[Source Photos: THE POST- RILEE LOCKHART- example of the choice.]

Interactive storytelling is a form of digital entertainment in which the story line is not predetermined. The author creates the setting, characters, and situation which the narrative must address, but the user experiences a unique story based on their interactions with the story world.This allows us to build complex narratives that include loops, guiding viewers back to the main story when they strayed too far, giving them a chance of a do-over.

NETFLIX BRANCHES OUT

The December 2018 premiere of Netflix’s Black Mirror Bandersnatch offered consumers a new way to experience the entertainment they’re watching. What viewers might see as a simple choice, such as which breakfast cereal a character begins the day with, could affect the whole show’s story line. There are other choices to make as well, some of which change the plot, and some of which may not.

Viewers aren’t watching these interactive films just once. Rather, they are watching them over and over again to find each ending and post maps of the plot lines. I think I sat on my couch for nearly three hours straight trying to find all of Bandersnatch’s choices as it followed a programmer and designer through the process of game development.

[Source Photos: ETSY- dice used in DnD to play an interactive storytelling game.]

CONTROLLING YOUR OWN DESTINY

Dungeons & Dragons provides a way to understand and expand what Bandersnatch explores. Role-playing games let players pick characters with multiple traits, such as strength, health and special skills, and work together to achieve story-driven goals.

Role-playing games started with players gathered around a table, keeping notes on paper and rolling dice to incorporate the role of chance and probability into the adventure. A human game master coordinated everything, keeping track of what was happening and working with players to advance their stories and the overall plot of the adventure.

ILLUSION OF CHOICE

With Bandersnatch, Netflix used software to process viewers’ choices and deliver the appropriate video. When watching and “playing,” I wondered if there were too few choices. The show offered only two choices of breakfast cereal, and the viewer couldn’t choose to skip breakfast, make eggs, or open the freezer to grab some ice cream. But maybe there’s a very good reason for these constraints.

FUTURE OF INTERACTIVE MEDIA

There will be more interactive movies. Netflix has built its own software for Bandersnatch, which it can use for other stories too. There are already several addictive interactive kids’ shows, including Puss in Book: Trapped in an Epic Tale and Buddy Thunderstruck.

Gamers are already familiar with this style of film, interactivity, and branching narrative. Cinematic video games, like Indigo Prophecy and Heavy Rain, let players make choices in dialog and other cinematic aspects, all of which alter the endings. 

As technology continues to grow and expand, so do movies. Choosing your own ending adds a twist and excitement to entertainment today and will be the future of Media. 

Foldable Phone

The Future of Folding Screens

With all the new “foldable phones” will this become the new industry standard?

With companies like Samsung and Motorola coming out with their new foldable flagship devices we are seeing a new trend come to the phone market that may become the new standard. So far this trend has only popped up in recent years and everybody is still testing things out. The question is are they worth the extra $1000 premium and does their functionality make it that much better than what we are used to?

What purpose do they serve?

The whole idea of foldable phones is either to fit more screen size into your pocket or make the same size screen we are used to a smaller form factor but do we really need that?
The problem with this concept is that these foldable phones are becoming almost 3 times the size of regular phones causing you to either need big pockets or a separate way of carrying it. What do you get in return? Slightly more screen space or the same screen space that becomes about as useful as a normal phone. The whole idea of the Motorola Razr and Samsung galaxy z Flip is just to make a normal phone half the size but because of the physical requirements of battery and screens, you get a much bulkier option to fix a problem that isn’t there.

Are they strong enough?

The first flagship foldable phones from Samsung were released to influencers to review them and within days creators like Marques Brownlee either accidentally broke them or had dust get in the hinges of the device ruining the screen. Marques explains more in this video.
Now while the second rendition of the phone is shown to improve the dust issue. The screens are still fragile. Samsung said they improved their screen by adding glass to it in their new “Z Flip” as their screen was previously made out of soft plastic, But under further review by phone repairman JerryRigEveryting in this video, it is shown it is a very thin sheet that does not add any scratch resistance to the device.

Should they become the new standard?

So should we all have folding phones in our pockets? As of right now with the technology we have the short answer is no. With the future ahead though it is very likely we will see every company try a rendition of this and who knows maybe it will get better. Right now however I don’t think that it is worth it to be spending an extra $1000 that is a lot more likely to break from everyday use with normal wear and tear and that is not that functional to an ordinary user. If you are a big baller and can afford to buy or repair a phone after every trip to the beach? then sure maybe these are the phones for you, but as it stands these phones are really just talking points that make your phone experience likely worse if not terrible.

Point and Shoot Photography (How to capture incredible images)

The Capture

The best way to select a perfect photo is by deciding whats feels important to yourself. It can be a selfie, family portrait, wide landscapes, or even your pet dog. Choosing a photo is a personal choice, and that’s what makes a photo unique.

To capture the best photo, the camera that you need is in your pocket. The smartphone’s camera is one of the best commonly used devices to capture images.

The way to find out what the best camera is, you will need to know three categories:
-Capture Resolution
-Video Display
-Printing Size

Or you can visit TechRadar to find out more about cameras

Romania

Camera Angles

There are many different angles to capture an effective image. Each of these angle shots will give different contrasting effect to the image. The higher the camera is the stronger the contrasting effect will be. The lower the camera angle is the less contrasting effect will be.

Here are some examples of camera angles for your image:
-Birds Eye View/Aerial
-Eye Level
-Point Of View (POV)
-Overhead
-High Angle
-Low Angle
-Worms Eye View

marinauzelac

Shot Sizes

Now that you understand what type of camera angles there are. Next, we have shot sizes. There are many different types of shot sizes that can tell different narrative value.

Here are some examples of shot sizes for your image:
-Extreme Close-Up (ECU)
-Close-Up
-Medium Wide Shot
-Wide Shot (Full Shot)
-Extreme Wide Shot (Long Shot)

www.studiobinder.com

Lighting

One of the important elements of a camera is lighting. You can use any kind of lighting, but that depends on the mood you are going for.

Author: Broden Halcrow-Ducharme

Hatsune Miku – A Virtual Sensation

Hatsune Miku is a world renowned pop star. Having done live concerts internationally and she’s been officially featured in an estimated total of 1,764 songs and 977 albums.

She’s sung music of almost each and every genre, and her “net worth” is approximately between $2.3K and $3K.

But the thing about Hatsune Miku that sets her apart from all the other pop stars out there in every which way, is that she isn’t real!

Image result for hatsune miku live
Miku performing live as a hologram. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJwGWV914kBlV4dKRn7AEFA

Hatsune Miku is a singing voice synthesizing software developed by Crypton Future Media, with a voice based from Japanese voice actress Saki Fujita. A software that exists for the purpose of providing a singing voice that can be manipulated by anyone who owns the software. Essentially, she’s an electronic vocal simulator, based on a human voice. And given the image of an anime girl for marketability.

Approximately 6 million copies of the Miku Vocaloid software have been sold worldwide. Earning a total of approximately $120 Million+ USD (both in software sales and music).

With that many copies sold you can expect that there’d be a lot of songs created with her voice, and you’d be right! “Officially”, she has around 1,764 songs, but that’s not even counting the “unofficial”. If you count every song ever posted, you’d have a number closer to 100,000. And after the release of her english version, her international availability skyrocketed, only causing her numbers to increase. 

Image result for hatsune miku vocaloid
Hatsune Miku Vocoloid version 3, English edition. https://ec.crypton.co.jp/pages/prod/vocaloid/cv01_us

Of course, Miku isn’t the only Vocaloid, but she is the most popular. Other popular vocaloids created by Crypton Future media include Rin&Len (a duo), Luka, Kaito, and Meiko. They often accompany Miku during her concerts, and perform songs of their own.

Despite the fact that Miku isn’t real, she has performed at live concerts worldwide. 

Now how might a computer program perform “live” if she isn’t real? Well, with top of the line holographic technology, Crypton has made it possible for Miku to hold live concerts where she performs several of her more popular songs. Each of her animations for every concert are uniquely created by animators, so that no two concerts are the same. 

From the perspective of the average individual, this would all look extremely strange. Large amounts of people celebrating an artist that isn’t actually real. But Miku’s fanbase is vast and very dedicated, and when looking at how her songs are created, it becomes a bit more clear as to exactly why that is.

All of her songs, save for a few, are produced by independent artists who own the Vocaloid software. While there are a ton of legal troubles, especially when we get into the huge kerfuffle that is software piracy, Crypton has developed a fairly solid system for content produced by fans, by having a website dedicated to fan/customer creations.

https://piapro.net/intl/en_for_creators.html

A fanmade song can become “official” and even used in concerts if it’s popular enough, and meets certain standards. 

With that in mind, this means that theoretically, anybody who owns the software has the potential of producing a song that gets officially recognised by Crypton. Because of this, a very strong community has been formed amongst Miku’s fanbase, since a majority of the people producing her music are also her fans.

A wonderful example of Miku’s closely knit community would be when the popular music artist Wowaka, who was largely known for the songs he created using Hatsune Miku, passed away from heart failure at a young age. Both fans of Wowaka and Miku all around the world made memorials and tributes to him.

Even Crypton themselves during the 2020 Miku expo in London paid tribute to Wowaka. When Miku performed “Rolling Girl”, a song produced by Wowaka, it was preceded by a message thanking Wowaka, and the crowd can be heard chanting his name. 

Then during her performance she was given the same model and animation that she had during her very first performance of the song.

Wowaka tribute showcased in the 2020 Miku expo in London.

With a community as interconnected as this, it isn’t difficult to see why Miku’s popularity is as immense as it is. Miku, and Vocaloid in general, is quite possibly one of the most interactive pieces of modern technology ever. With pretty much her entire image being built from the ground up by the community. Crypton Future Media are the ones who made the technology, but it’s the fans and individual producers that made Hatsune Miku who she is today. Not just a virtual pop star, but an interactive one.

MINECRAFT LIBRARY OF UNBANNED JOURNALISM

Reporters Without Borders, also known as Reporters Sans Frontières, are leading a unique movement inside the well known game Minecraft, based around placing blocks. With more than 250 million players each year, the game has for thee first time been considered as a hub of free speech.

Birds Eye View of the library. Source

Governments around the world bring down the “ban hammer” on journalistic freedoms, with the attempt to censor their local and national press, a virtual library has been created to host articles written by journalists which were censored online.

The players are storing worldwide news for the public through a creative loophole, using ingame mechanics and books to preserve articles from around the world.

Library Entrance. Source

“Inside, you can find articles and information about the journalists that are being censored in their own countries,” said Robert-Jan Blonk, senior interactive producer at production company MediaMonks, which helped build the library, in an interview with Fast Company. “We share these stories through the books that live in that library, and people can just openly read them, because even in the countries… where these journalists are from, you’re able to play Minecraft.”

The library itself, which also received some design help from design studio BlockWorks and creative agency DDB Germany, features a fantastic circular rotunda with flags from countries around the world, off of which you can find each of the wings in the library organized by country.

All Readers and gamers can also choose to download the game and map, and for example “walk” their characters into the Russia wing, pick up a book, and read an article from grani.ru, a blocked site in Russia that reports on the government and protests in the country.

Book withing the Library being viewed by a player.

Even the work of Jamal Khashoggi, the journalist assassinated by Saudi agents in 2018, can be accessed and read among the overabundance of books in the library.

The contents of the library can not be changed by players; however they can add more. If a repressive government tries to shut down the server hosting the game, other servers and hosting backups can take over in its place according to Fast Company.

“With so many people playing the game, there’s always a version live, so they cannot take it down,” says Blonk.

According to BBC The server can hold a maximum of 100 players at a time, making it extreemly hard to acces because of the sheer number of players trying to log on at once. Despite this cap, the server been visited by 3,889 players from 75 different countries and the world has been downloaded over 7,000 times.

Statue of “Reporters Without Borders” Symbol. Source

The library itself has been created with an impressive scale. Because of its enormous size, multiple teleports have been set up so visitors can avoid getting lost while exploring. The first thing you see as you approach the structure is statue of a fist holding a pen the official Reporters Without Borders symbol for press freedom.

As far as all digital hosts, for any kind of sensitive information go, The Uncensored Library in Minecraft is the first of its kind. Safeguarding information within an online video game is an idea that definintely has never come up before.

Check out the The Uncensored Library – The Film Created by the RWB.

What is TikTok and why is everyone obsessed with it.

Like the many people sitting at home board out of their minds, I decided I was going to download the app TikTok to try and really get an understanding of what it is and how it took over the social media world by storm.

According to TikTok’s website, it described as being “the leading destination for short-form mobile videos” with their mission being “to inspire creativity and bring joy”.

TikTok reminds me of another app that was very popular when I was younger, that app, of course, being Vine. The only differences between the two apps are the length of content that could be uploaded and the ability to repost content.

In Vine the videos could only be 6 seconds, making them seem more abrupt but unique as a culture was shaped over the years of vines existence.

Tiktok videos could be as short as fifteen seconds or as long as a minute giving the user more time to put out their content in a more completed form. The second difference is that you cant repost people’s content on your personal TikTok page like in Vine, all content needs to be yours, I can appreciate this because I feel most apps do nothing when it comes to protecting your own personal content.  

Maryam Mohsin wrote an article that included ten interesting facts about the social media company. Since launching in 2016, the TikTok user base has grown to over “500 million active users worldwide” making it “9th when compared to usage from other apps”.

The ages range when it comes to users and this app, though “41 percent of TikTok users are aged between 16 and 24”, there has been a huge increase as “in less than 18 months, the number of US adults TikTok users grew 5.5 times”.

I’d credit that to the simplicity of the app and mainstream internet challenges that go viral eventually being featured on the news or platforms used by adults.  The app is very simple to use but easy to get lost in, the for you page is essentially where your content might end up if it goes viral.

The for you page reminds me of a slot machine at a casino, much like pulling a lever over and over your constantly swiping up going through content which is nice until two hours go by and you have no idea where the time went.  

(Just an example of what the For You page looks like, the four icons on the right from top to bottom are the content creators page with the plus being the follow button, the heart is the like button, the voice memo is the comment section and the arrow gives you the ability to share the content via text or Snapchat)
image from https://www.pocket-lint.com/apps/news/149869-best-tiktok-tips-and-tricks

There is such a wide variety of content for that for you page anyone could really get involved with the app, I saw hunting videos, dancing, lip singing, life hacks, comedy sketches the list goes on and on.

I really do like this app, I feel like any new app especially nowadays is a breath of fresh air due to apps like Instagram, Twitter and YouTube’s domination on social media.

I saw videos that pulled my heartstrings, made me laugh and even some that made me questioned myself as to why I got this app but truly if you’re a content creator TikTok is a perfect way to share and show how your content is made.

VR AS THE NEXT EMERGING MEDIA PRODUCTION TECHNOLOGY AND EDUCATION

Image result for vr in education

Virtual reality is one of the biggest advancements in technology. Not only can it transport you into a different world it can also help teach. In 2015 the New York Times released their own VR app that helped teachers show their students some subject material as it was able to let the students explore the barren tundra of Antarctica. The possibility and the ability to also not only read the paper but to go to the scene is a work of wonders when it also can enable journalists to put the reader in the actual scene that they were reporting on. During their release phase of the VR app the New York Times also donated some VR headsets that would help students learn in a non for profit after school program that at the time was being run by a man called Travis Feldler who was the founder of the organization called TechRow Fund.

With VR anything you want to teach becomes possible especially when its something as easy as the stars.

But why is it important for Education?

In today’s world especially with how Covid-19 is affecting the planet this could help teachers keep their students interested when they are at home. Even in the Universities and Colleges that are being shutdown, it would make learning a lot easier.

When it comes down to the difference between having video calls or having a VR classroom I think there is also a lot more possible that you can do. Sure having a video call with the students can be easier but at the same time how do you know they’re paying attention and not just agreeing with the teacher? Then if they also don’t have a Camera, they could not even be there but just joining the call either way just to make it seem that they are paying attention.

When it comes to the Virtual Reality though you can actually have a room and you can tell whether or not people are in the room just by how many people are there. Because of how advanced the headsets are even the slightest of movement will set them off and show that they are there, plus when it comes to VR you would have to leave the room which isn’t as subtle as just shutting off the camera.

How VR can make a story come more to life.

Imagine when you read a news article online that you could see it and hear what was going on. Well with VR, it is making it possible to have a 360 degree journey through what the journalist is writing. Most of the VR videos that the New York Times have released are no longer than 10 minutes which can make a boring article really come to life. It can also make it more interesting by putting you on the scene such as on Pluto or out to CERN where they have the large Hadron Collider and the possibility to learn about them.

Conclusion

This kind of Technology can and will revolutionize the way society can get their news. It is also a way that humanity can learn more about the stars and space without having to go on the missions. We could be on the edge of a new dimension and learn more than we would from a regular day out in the world and not know what we are missing.

eSports: A New Production Frontier

eSports in 2019 are still in their early stages of development here in the west but for some companies, the early stages are over.

The arena filled with people watching Overwatch

eSports is a multiplayer video game played competitively for spectators, typically by professional gamers that either represent a country/city or even are just made-up teams. 

“Esports traces its origins back to 1972, when a Space Invaders Championship yielded 10,000 participants. Fast forward to 1998, and the legendary Starcraft 2 tournament on PC boasted more than 50 million online viewers, 17 million of those coming from Twitch.”

Now Overwatch, the biggest eSport in North America is also a game that came out in 2016 has hit a stride in the eSports scene for not only bringing people from all over the gaming community together but traditional sports fans as well.

Though the original intention when developing the game was to keep it from becoming a large competitive game and keep things very open to all players and player type. Now that mindset is still at the core of the game but things have changed over the last 4 years.

Now, some people don’t consider eSports a real sport even though players and fans would passionately argue that it is. The eSports website site states that “With USD $5 Million in prizes, thrilling storylines, guaranteed player salaries, and cutting-edge production value, the Overwatch League is the world’s premier eSports league”

So Why Watch Instead of Just Playing a Video Game?

The digital format of eSports offers something that traditional sports can’t offer–the player’s actual point-of-view. Being able to see everything from the character the player is currently playing.

This point-of-view feature is truly next-gen in the gaming world. In the Overwatch League series, there are multiple camera angles displayed for fans just like in a physical sports tournament.

Being able to be instantly transported to the action is something that simply can’t be done in sports like football or basketball since you as a viewer are put into the game visually. And it’s that total immersion that fans could only dream of.

So How Does This Work?

On top of having a camera crew in the stadium and a separate crew filming the analysts, the team behind the Overwatch League has implemented a faux crew in-game to help capture the action.

The crew play as a ‘spectator’ who cannot be seen by other spectators or by players and have no collision so they can get into positions and make camera movements of the like that you have seen already in live sports.

After that, they just use the switcher to change between shots. You can see examples of this below.

If it’s the behind the scenes thing that you’re are into might I suggest this video. Though not as in-depth can give great insight into how the operation is running.

So why eSports?

Since eSports have become very popular in the last few years a lot of companies have been trying to adapt to the viewer base it draws in.

Some are multicasting on their respective channels and live streaming. But even though some eSports are televised most are live-streamed for free on sites like youtube or twitch and dont require you to pay a cable company or the sites themselves.

But for some companies, it’s about keeping fans happy. Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic, companies like the NHL and F1 have been hosting simulated games that you can view on many different streaming platforms like Twitch.tv.

Now the push for this seems to indicate that without the progress that eSports has made, this way to view traditional sports would not be as common.

Lady typing on a laptop.

Standout Layouts by Using In-Design

InDesign is Adobe’s software which is used for creating Magazines or designing pages for print and web. Attractive typography and graphics can be created in InDesign. 

Ever since I beginning school, I was very fascinated by Magazine Layouts and wanted to know how these designs are created. But in my IMA program at ACC, I get to know about the techniques which are used to create attractive layouts. As well as some software which is used to make designs and one of the good software is InDesign which I liked the most.

After Photoshop and Illustrator, we learn InDesign which was part of our Digital Design program in IMA. I did some work on In-design such as magazine layouts, Facebook and Instagram covers. Not only in Digital Design but it is also used in the Visual Communication program. Nowadays, I am working and learning the InDesign software in Digital Imaging and Graphics Program.

With this software, users can learn about layers and how to work with layers, create and edit text frames, move, scale and crop graphics. Additionally, users can also learn how they can adjust the space between frames. InDesign is also useful for adding captions to graphics frames or shapes such as circle, square and others. Users can add not only text but also images into frames, adjust the text around the object. After that, they can resize the shape of the frame and content to fit as their choice.  

With the help of different tools in InDesign, users can create simple or basic shapes and convert the shapes into complex graphics. In-design allows the user to import, PNG, JPEG, PICT, PDF, PSD, TIFF, and EPS, and the user can set the transparency setting of images or other graphics.

InDesign works on spreads and master pages, which is helpful for creating Magazine layouts. InDesign also provides templates for different layouts like books, magazines, web pages as well. Users can select any of them because most are free provided and they just need to put their own text and images in those, which is very easy to use, and tutorials are also available.

Users can also make a margin and bleeds when printing at the end or beginning of the design. InDesign works on both either RGB or CMYK. Which are very useful for any format for web or printing. InDesign is very similar to Illustrator, but it may not be widely used as Illustrator used, while it is also an excellent software for creating Magazine layouts.

I love to work on InDesign. In many documents, it is very flexible and easy to use. I am just using the theory of ACC “Learn by doing” and getting experience.

AE

How to Place Video in Text or Shape in After Effects

Adobe After Effects is a creation of digital visual effects and motion graphics such as titles and animation or visual effects such as compositing, explosions, lightning, etc. In a video editor, you can cut things, rearrange things, adjust the audio, adjust the panning, etc.

In addition to using complex camera movements and unconventional angles, having stellar visual effects and eye-catching can also be very useful for capturing the attention of your audience. An interesting graphic technique commonly used by filmmakers is to play video within a form or block of text. As complicated as this trick may seem initially, it is actually very simple to do it within Adobe After Effects.

So, if you are someone who is looking to try this technique in one of your next projects, do not miss this video, which will guide us through the process of composing a video in the framework of a way or text.

To begin, you must create a new composition within After Effects according to your own project/video specifications. Then, continue adding a new solid layer while choosing a suitable color for the background.

Next, you’ll create a shape or text layer of your choice, just make sure that the item you created is on a separate track (that is, do not create a masked shape in your background layer). As a side note, if you want to align your newly created graphic to the center, go to the alignment panel on the right side where you can adjust the desired position accordingly. Once you’re done with your graphical element, import your video clip into After Effects and place it into the composition, positioned below your shape/text layer.

In the timeline, navigate to the Track Matte settings and click the drop-down menu on your video layer’s Track Matte Properties. Of the available options there, you’ll want to select the Alpha Matte (form layer name here). As a result, your footage will automatically take on the form of your shape & text layer. 

If you want to go further with this effect, you can experiment with other Track Matte options. 

Optionally, you can link all your layers using the Parent & Link function, which can be quite useful when you want to animate the graphics and make your video more visually appealing by adding movement to your entire composition. Just be patient, take your time, be creative and see what else you can bring to the table using this simple but extremely effective composition technique.


IMA’s Tools

The Interactive Media Arts program is a course at Assiniboine Community College. It covers a wide variety of material in many different applications that can achieve all kinds of results.

The majority of applications we use in the IMA program are all a part of Adobe Creative Cloud. So far the only exception is in Web Design. For creating images we use Photoshop and Illustrator, for creating videos/animations we use Premiere Pro and After Effects, for audio we use Audition, and for layouts we use InDesign.

Photoshop, in the most simple of terms, is a much more refined and complex version of Paint, but it has much more than just brush and eraser tools. There are dozens of tools and dozens more complicated features.

In Illustrator you can make images in a much different way than Photoshop. As you zoom in on an image, you will eventually zoom in far enough to see that the image is made up of squares. But images created in Illustrator are made of vectors and no matter how far you zoom in, they won’t blur until you export them. Illustrator does have less complicated filters and editing tools than Photoshop since working in vectors works a computer much harder than if it was using pixels.

Premiere Pro is meant for lengthier and more professional productions such as movies, shows, and documentaries. It has many tools, some in common with Adobe Audition but only the most basic. Since they are all a part of Adobe though, they all work well together and you can easily edit a sound in Premiere using Audition.

After Effects is meant for smaller animations or productions such as simple commercials and animations. It is simpler and easier to use than Premier Pro since in After Effects you are usually making the footage yourself where as in Premiere Pro you are primarily editing already acquired existing footage.

Audition is meant for all sorts of audio editing or creations. You can lengthen or shrink, cut or add, simplify or complicate any sounds you want. Programs like this are how movies create incredible roars for non-existent creatures by layering over and prioritizing aspects of similar real life creatures. You can also use Audition to turn certain sounds into something completely different than the original.

InDesign isn’t particularly meant for anything specific. You can use it to quickly put together a general layout for a website or brochure, or use it to make every page in a book look similar with the same formatting quickly.

The variety of applications we use is amazing and each of them are so incredibly complex with endless ways to utilize them.

Wait, that’s NOT me?!

A look at ‘Deepfakes’

“What even is a ‘Deepfake’?” people probably ask whenever one is mentioned, or “Did you see what *insert name here* said on this video?”. Chances are, you have a vague idea of what a Deepfake is, and if you do, likely it’s met with thoughts of disdain or bad intentions, however, as I hope to explore in this post, that is not always the case. This post will explore what a deepfake is, as well as try to combine facts and opinions into why its not as unethical as people may think, after all if it’s on the internet, it has to be true.

What IS a Deepfake?

A simplified definition of deepfakes is to superimpose a face onto another body, using A.I systems to gather information and compose several images of all angles to form a fluid movement and appearance. These can be almost photo-realistic if the right captures and movements are used.

The Controversy of Deepfakes

The first well known usage of a deepfake was surrounding a celebrity scandal, using a celebrities face imposed on a compromising body. It was proven to be fake but at the time it caught a lot of controversial opinion. They have since garnered a rough reputation and recently, Facebook has even banned most videos pertaining them, however a few exceptions are allowed.

The Exceptions:

While anything that would tarnish negative light on a persons image or reputation is banned from Facebook, hopefully soon other media platforms will follow suit. There are few cases that are deemed acceptable by the terms. These include anything made for satire or entertainment purposes, as long as it is pointed out that the face being used is a deepfake. It should also be noted that political reasons are still under question, and considering that other political ads are allowed to follow rules of parody, as well as lie during their ads, it should be assumed that political deepfaking would not count under this rule.

The Good of Deepfakes

Not all the controversy of deepfakes should be believed however, and they have even done some good for the entertainment industry. This could include probably the most popularized example of Carrie Fishers ‘Princess Leia’ in Disney’s ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’. This case includes the recreation of Carrie Fishers face from her younger years to be including in the telling of the story. Many other companies are moving into the Deepfaking scene, some have been using it for a while now, including Marvel (which has pretty much got it down by now), and other entertainment personalities such as YouTubers. As long as the use is ethical, and it is used in a meaningful context, I personally see little to no issue in the use of deepfakes.

a person sketching

Design Process For The Win

I know for a fact that whenever you are assigned a project that requires 10 sketches, you make them after. That doesn’t help you. In fact, you are putting yourself at a disadvantage, the other routes you could have explored likely would have resulted in a more refined final product. I am sharing with you my go to design process that will work for more than just assignments, but first of all, a story to emphasize the importance of having a design process. Enjoy!

There was an occasion in which I did not follow the design process, it was a mess. Once I heard the description of the assignment I had a semi-clear picture of what I wanted to do from the start. I didn’t sketch the idea or anything. Fast forward a couple days to where I’m about to start working, I try to make something, anything,  but nothing is working. The layout is wrong, some of the elements look off. It was a disaster, and I realized that so I tried to switch ideas a.k.a. disaster part 2. I eventually went back to my original idea, sketched some things out and got feedback. I never was pleased with the end result but long story short, follow your version of the design process described below.

My Process

Once I’ve heard the outline of the assignment I make a list of what I already know and start drawing, quick sketches to make sure none of my ideas get lost. You don’t need to draw the whole thing, elements that you plan to include are a great place to start. If you’re having trouble finding somewhere to get started check out my other blog post: How To Find Inspiration.

The more feedback the better. Photo Credit: StockSnap on Pixabay

Get some feedback on your sketches. When conducting surveys, the more replies you get the more accurate your results will be, something I’ve also found to be true with feedback.  I usually show one of my friends or a family members my sketches because I like to get a range of perspectives.

Take note of the feedback you were given and apply it in the next set of sketches you make. It’s good to get feedback but you have to use it effectively for it to be worth your time.

I combine all my sketches and feedback to make a final sketch so there’s no guesswork on my computer. It’s only once I’ve completed that final sketch that I will even open my computer. While I’m working, I keep my original inspiration close by and a mood-board if I have one.

Stay inspired. Photo Credits: Cottonbro from Pexels

You can use the design process for more than just school projects, it’s applicable to almost any situation that comes your way. It’s a form of problem solving.

I’ve included a link to interaction-design.org that includes a step by step design process and a worksheet you can follow.

I hope you found this helpful, thanks for reading!

Picture of Desktop space

My Design Process

Most designers have some sort of moral code that they use so they know where and when to start their work and how to create it productively. This is considered the ‘Design Process’ and it’s never really the same for everyone. So I’m going to tell you a little bit about mine, and how I am able to produce results in a relatively low time.

The Starting Phase

At the beginning of any sort of project that I’ve begin working on, I always try to ask as many questions as I possibly can. Not only does this provide me more information than what was originally given, but it helps support my ideas that I might have because I know the things I can and cannot do.

Additionally, while I’m first starting to work on my project, I tend to also create expectations and deadlines for myself so I know I won’t fall behind at all. If for whatever reason I do happen to, I have a back-up plan in place to help cushion that fall.

The Brainstorming Phase

Once when everything is set in stone, I begin the brainstorming phase. At this time, I usually have my sketch book and pencil with me so I can doodle and get the ideas I have out onto a piece of paper so I don’t loose track of them. To gather these ideas, I usually try finding inspiration on the subject and go from there.

In this field, a lot of work can either be completed independently or through group work. With that in mind, my methods may shift a little bit depending on how/ who I am working along side.

The Creation Phase

The creating phase is where most designers go crazy. This is where all your ideas become fully formed and all you need to do is create them. This could minutes, hours or even days, but it doesn’t matter because we enjoy the time to create things and like doing the best that we can. At least for me, that’s how it feels.

Revisions

Lastly, when everything is set in stone, most designers like to end quickly so they can move on to the next project. That’s not me. I push through that urge and look for the fine details that I may have missed because that’s what the client, instructor, etc… will be looking for.

To end, this is my design process. Most of the components of it can be used universally by other designers, but everybody does their work differently and that’s what allows us to have a wide range of creative freedom, and that’s what this world needs.

Adobe Creative Cloud Programs

Throughout my high school career, I never once considered going to design school. I never took any classes in school that had anything remotely related to this program so coming into this was a big change in gears for me. Sure I would attempt to draw doodles on the side and paint sunsets for paint night but other than that, my skills were very limited. Unless the KidPix program I played on in Elementary school counts?

Learning Adobe Illustrator has been one of my favourite tools that we have learned how to use, along with After Effects, and Photoshop. I often find myself in my spare time going into some of these programs and playing around with them. Finding new buttons to play with, since there’s so many. Testing out different secret brushes I find or new tools I discover. Adobe Illustrator is like your digital pencil and paper, though actual pencil and paper are always quicker to get your ideas out. It’s so fun to experiment with the different drawing techniques and effects to achieve the perfect look that you couldn’t do on paper. Adobe also has a neat feature where you can import your physical drawings as graphics to draw with digitally. 

After Effects is a designers key to start learning animation. While you probably can’t create Disney/Pixar level animation with it, it’s fun to try and it’s a great tool to start understanding how animation works. Creating title sequences for popular movies and tv shows can be recreated with After Effects and enough patience. It’s neat to see a finished product that you’ve made that people recognize, or a concept that you’ve originated yourself.

Photoshop being used on a Mac. Photo by Tranmautritam from Pexel

Photoshop is basically the definition of image manipulation. A cat head on a shark? Photoshopped. Unrealistic celebrity pictures? Probably photoshopped. It’s a great tool for photo editing, collage making, and image manipulation. Postcards, posters, birthday cards, just about anything can be made with the help of Photoshop. While I don’t think Photoshop is the most exciting of the programs, it is the most versatile out of the three I think that can be used for more things. 

Illustrator and Photoshop combined are a power house for graphic design. While Illustrator and After Effects are best for animation and titles. The skills I’ve learnt this far into the program are skills I never thought I’d learn to do. The old days of iMovie slideshows and iPod drawing apps are long gone with these programs and tools they all provide to create the best work.

Person wearing two different shoes

Hybrid Designers – why you CAN have it all

The usual order of a web design process goes like that: designers take care of the looks of a website and developers put those plans into reality. But then there are those professionals who can’t just do one thing for the rest of their lives. Deciding between the two sides comes hard to some people. And if you’re into both of these fields, then what even are you?

“You’re a hybrid designer, Harry…”

OK, maybe that’s not exactly how it goes in the movie, but you get the point. One article by Ashley Gainer sums it up nicely: “Very few designers will actually design a site and then code it from scratch. And those designers who do aren’t really designers at all. They’re hybrids.” Because designing and coding often seem like two different worlds, it’s not easy to find people who have both of these approaches packed into one brain. That’s also why they earned the special name “unicorns.” “Many believe they exist, some know someone who hired one, few claim they saw one in the past, always in strange circumstances” – says Katherine Martinez, a UX designer and developer.

Not an actual unicorn / Photo by mark glancy from Pexels

Why are hybrids so special?

Let’s dig deeper. There must be something great about them besides the fact that they’re hard to find, and there is. Hybrids see the web design process from a very different perspective. They can, at the same time, think about the looks and the mechanics of what they’re creating, which allows them to reach that sweet spot, that perfect balance between what’s possible and what they want to be possible. This is the kind of thinking that has the potential to save a company lots of time and money, which is why hybrids are so in-demand.

Reasons to become a hybrid

Well, as mentioned, one reason to become such a curious creature is for those big companies to fight over you. “One-stop shops and hot commodities” (again said by Martinez) – that is what the startup world sees when they think of hybrids. Job prospects are pretty sweet in this case. But money shouldn’t be your biggest influence here. Besides a decent income, being a hybrid designer seems to be the perfect option for people who would die of boredom doing just one thing all the time. Also, it’s kind of cool to be able to create the whole deal from top to bottom on your own. There’s something really satisfying in being knows as the “digital Swiss army knife professional” (Martinez yet again).

A possible view into your future / Photo by OVAN from Pexels

But after all…

However exciting being a hybrid designer seems, it’s not the only right, universal option to choose. We don’t all have to be well-versed in every possible direction – that would be insane! Focusing on what feels right for you should be the goal. You can be a die-hard HTML fanatic who’s having a hard time choosing colour palettes. You can be a design master, severely disturbed by any type of computer code. And maybe it’s better that way. Otherwise, instead of unicorns, we would just have a ton of people hating their jobs, and that would make keeping up the “nice Canadian” stereotype really, really hard.