Research- Immersive Web Documentaries

An immersive site I looked at was the National Film Board of Canada’s catalogue of immersive websites. Including the interactive web documentary ‘Welcome to Pine Point’.

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 The immersive story tells how a once thriving town in Canada has become a forgotten land. Paul Shoebridge and Michael Simons (known as “The Goggles”) created the site, which lasts for around 10 minutes. It merges creativeness, emotion, and a powerful message, which connects the audience to the story, as characters from the town are individually introduced to the viewer.

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It was originally intended to be a book, as told at the end of the experience, which is why, at the beginning of the story; there are elements of storytelling through text. It is an effective way of informing the audience about Pine Point, combining text, video, animation/drawings, and music to create an all-encompassing experience that would interest a range of audiences.

As my idea for my immersive experience is a similar thing, about Hull College’s time in Memphis, Tennessee, I will consider using a similar range of effective storytelling in my own work. I have footage, sound, images and text that I could put together to create an efficient experience for the audience, much like ‘Welcome to Pine Point’.

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As well as involving real people throughout the story, the audience reads the story through a first person narrative, which creates a more personal and gives the viewer a sense of how real the story is.  The person informs the audience how he first visited the town of Pine Point when he was 9-years-old, “I was 9, living in Yellowknife, and travelled there for a hockey tournament,” which somehow deepens the personal element; this character has known first-hand what Pine Point used to be like when it was a thriving town. “Pine Point was the first place I ever went alone,” this introductory sentence sets the pace, theme and scene of the rest of the immersive experience.

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The background music adds depth to the website, engaging the viewer as they have something to listen to as they read and watch the animations and footage included. Also, the music that the creators have chosen does not detract from the story; it fits well and is appropriate for the content of the site. As well as this, the amount of text used on each page is not overwhelming; the viewer can read the information rather quickly as the right amount to tell the story is used. It is also set out in a way that is easy for the viewer’s eye to travel through the page without getting tired of the amount of text. It is almost like newspaper clippings have been stuck onto the page, which adds creativeness to the website.

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Once the audience has finished watching a video or reading the text, they can chose to click to the next page, or even go back a page if they feel they have missed some information or would like to go back to watch a video that they have skipped over; this gives the viewer all the control over the site, as they can decide which section of the story that they would like to be taken to.

Overall, I think that ‘Welcome to Pine Point’ is the very well designed, involving a range of mediums so that the audience would not get bored of the same thing throughout. This website is also the most appealing to me as I would like my immersive experience to be similar in content.

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Creative Futures- Immersive Website Idea

Immersive website: A Memphis Adventure

My idea for my immersive website module of Creative Futures is a pictorial and video linear story/account of what I saw on my trip to Memphis in May and June of 2013. The first page of my design would feature polaroid framed images, as if they have been pinned onto a corkboard. They will be linked together with string to show the linear format and the step-by-step guide through each part of the Memphis trip.

The steps that will be included in my immersive website are: Beale Street, Sun Studio, Stax Academy & Stax Museum, Graceland, the Lorraine Motel & Human Rights Museum, and the Mississippi River. The story will also include scrolling text, personal images, and videos on the Sun Studio and Stax Academy sections.

Research- Immersive Websites

Immersive websites

The first immersive website I looked at in my research was ‘360 Langstrasse Zurich’, which is a virtual tour of some streets in Zurich. As the user travels down the streets of the city, as if they were actually there, notes scroll up and down the screen indicating places such as restaurants and bars.

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‘360 Langstrasse Zurich’ is immersive in the way it lets the user feel as if they are wandering and touring the city without having to be there themselves. The user can go to a range of places and explore Zurich, Switzerland.

The ‘360 Langstrasse Zurich’ is an easy concept and cleanly designed. I like the simplicity of this immersive website. It does not include video footage or animation, or cartoon, yet it is as effective as a website that has these means. Almost as if the viewer is travelling through a Google Maps plan, the audience controls the way in which they venture around the city, whilst also being given recommendations of places to eat, drink, and go if they were to ever visit Zurich.

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The site also can be controlled with the menu on the right-hand side of the page, this can take the viewer to the different categories of places, like a tattoo studio or a restaurant beer garden. This site has taken the minimalism of a Google Street View idea and used it to guide the user around, like a virtual city tour.

Langstrasse

The second site I looked at for my research was the National Film Board of Canada’s catalogue of immersive websites. Which included ‘A Journal of Insomnia’. This site is pretty straightforward. A lady’s voice introduces the viewer to the site, who can then pick a person’s story to follow. In this sense, it is much like the web documentary ‘Welcome to Pine Point’, as you get to know about each character individually.

a journal of insomnia

The first page of the immersive site is a title page, which looks like a digital clock face in background and the text used. The main feature of this web documentary is the voice over sound that features on each story. The visual feature is flickering, in the story of 29-year-old insomniac, Sarah, double image goes back and forth throughout, maybe indicating her inability to get to sleep as the images that flick between each other are a portrait of her face, and a bedside table with a clock. When the story is loading up, the background sound is a faint ticking clock.

Insomnia

Again, this website, like the ‘360 Langstrasse Zurich’ is simple and effective. This is much more documentary like, however. As it tells of facts with real subjects with a real disease. My web documentary, about my time in Memphis, Tennessee, will be a middle ground between the two of these immersive sites, as mine will be like a tour of places that I visited in the city, whilst also being an account of stories that happened whilst I was there with the college, which is similar to that of ‘A Journal of Insomnia’. The main difference that my website will have compared to the two of these, will be that I will include music, video, text, and photography.

The Victorious Hull!

Hull has been crowned the next UK City of Culture after a tough campaign, beating out other diverse cities such as Leicester, Dundee, and Swansea Bay.

The Yorkshire city, known for its fishing ports, William Wilberforce, and the Humber Bridge, was triumphant, defeating some of the UK’s most cultured cities to be honoured as the winning city.

Joan Venus-Evans, a BBC employee, said, “I think it’s probably the best thing that’s happened to Hull, certainly in my lifetime. I think it’s going to be an inspiration for all the young people coming through. It’s going to create a lot of jobs. It’s going to give us more of an identity and it will put us on the world stage.”

Fashion retailer, Diane Wilson said, “I hope that it generates more jobs in the city, because I think the city is lacking in [that department]. The city is down beat at the moment, there’s no money. This will potentially create more jobs, which gives the public more money to spend, which will liven up the city.”

The next step is to plan out what this title will bring to Hull, and what will happen with the job market, the arts, the city’s architecture, and tourists as a result.

“I think it will be a gradual thing. I think it we’ll have it in our minds for the next three years that this big event is going to happen in the city. I think gradually we’ll see improvements around the place. I think buildings will start to be renovated a little bit,” said Venus-Evans.

“The city also has visitors from near towns such as Grimsby; I hope that more people will come from other cities, as it will be nice to see people from further afield. The city is behind in the shopping industry; I believe this will boost Hull’s economy,” added Wilson.

It seems most people in Hull are looking forward to the great things that could come from Hull’s victory. Specifically, with Hull’s job market and diversity within the artsy careers such as architecture, theatre, film, and design.

“I think people will become more inspired to be creative. I think towards the event you’ll get more and more excitement building up,” Venus-Evans added. “I think you’ll start to find out what’s going to happen. In 2017, there’ll just be people coming from all over to the events that are being put on.”

Well done, Hull. The local people are proud!

Photography Exercise- Travel

The following images were taken for Creative Futures photography class to relate to my specialist subject: travel.

First image: taken on Beale Street in Memphis, Tennessee.

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Second image: taken from a train platform in Hessle.

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Third image: taken of a traveller near Queen Victoria’s Monument, Hull.

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Fourth image: taken of buses in Hull City Centre.

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Fifth image: taken of a Thomas Cook travel agents in Hull.

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Sixth image: taken in the Old Town, Hull.

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Seventh image: taken down Whitefriargate, Hull.

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Creative Futures

Over the month of November, our assignment brief for Creative Futures changed. Instead of presenting our specialist subject work for Writing for Purpose in the appropriate format for our Creative Futures submission, Sally Bentley gave us a new and more creative task list. This included researching and planning a web documentary relating to a topic or story that we are passionate about. This gives me freedom to design an immersive experience that would partner with the work I will produce for the Writing for Purpose 2 module, in the field of travel writing; specifically, about my time in Memphis with the Hull College music degree students.

CATS Week 6

Audiences and clients

Do you make a product to please an audience or to create one?

In the session we looked at Bowling for Columbine about the gun laws in the United States (which was mostly aimed at the American people who use and own guns), and An Inconvenient Truth about global warming (which was aimed at all members of society, but mostly people who own cars and other possessions that could be damaging the Earth).

Demographics: age, gender, social status, education, and so on.

We also looked at This World: Don’t Panic- which was a talk about how far humans have come, and the progress we have made as one people in the last 100+ years. This was aimed at mostly rich, well educated members of society, however, the audience at the talk was a very eclectic mix of ages, genders and races.

Remembrance- Photography Week 6

IMG_0508Poppies lay at the statue built in memory of the servicemen who gave their lives for the Merchant Navy. It honours the lives lost at sea in peace and war. The poppies where laid over Remembrance Day weekend.

IMG_0510Monument of Queen Victoria outside the Hull City Hall and Ferens Art Gallery. Unveiled in 1903 by the Prince of Wales, 2 years after Victoria’s death. The statue is in remembrance of her time on the throne, ruling Great Britain and the countries of the Commonwealth. (The toilets situated underneath Queen Victoria’s monument have been claimed to be some of the finest public toilets in England!)

IMG_0514Fish tail statue outside the Hull City Hall; marking the Seven Seas Fish Trail around the Old Town, created by artist Gordon Young as an art piece, it also relates to the memory of Hull being one of the major fish trading ports. The Fish Trail is now a major tourist attraction of Hull, you can buy a leaflet to help you follow the trail from the Tourist Information Centre. It references Hull and it’s ports: Prince’s Dock, Victoria Dock, Albert Dock, St Andrew’s Dock, and so on.

IMG_0532The bee-printed telephone box, located outside the Kingston Communications offices is a  to the Bee Lady; a tribute to Hull’s very own Jean Bishop, in recognition of her Pride of Britain Award for her fundraising achievements for Age UK, raising more than £100,000 in 14 years. The bumblebee print represents her signature bee costume she wears when collecting money.