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Looking Back…

9 Jun

The semester is finally over and I am about to submit both my blogs and Transient Spaces documentary. So it seems appropriate to reflect on the journey I have taken throughout the semester, and the process that has evolved through the making of my documentary.

When first given the task of creating a documentary on the topic of “community”, I was overwhelmed by the options available to me. However, due to the fact that the course was also investigating the topic of “social media” throughout the semester, I thought it would be appropriate to merge these two together, and create a documentary about the community of Facebook. This topic immediately intrigued me, because at first I was unsure of whether Facebook WAS a community at all, or whether it was simply a tool used to generate a “sense of community”. After much contemplation, I soon realised that Facebook COULD be described as a community, however in saying so it was important to mention that is is a virtual or online commmunity, and is inherently different to offline or real-life communities.

It was based on these discoveries, that I decided to create a documentary that would explore the characteristic differences of the online Facebook community, while also exploring community theory as a whole. To do this, I decided to create four mini documentaries that each had a different theme, and each related to a different concept evident within the community theory I had researched.

These four concepts (which are discussed previously in individual blogs) are:
– Community as a network or social system (Video 1)
– Community and boundaries (Video 2)
– Community and identity (Video 3)
– Community and social norms/habits (Video 4)

To make this concept a reality, I decided to interview a group of my own “Facebook Friends” who know the medium inside and out, and all have varying uses of the social medium. In an effort to make my documentary as engaging as possible, I specifically chose friends who I knew would enjoy being interviewed about the subject, and would have interesting opinions to share. I think this was one of the best decisions I made during pre-production, as I ended up being extremely pleased with the standard of content I was able to “extract” from my interview subjects. It was because of this that I encountered one of my biggest challenges – having way more content that I had first envisaged. While I stated in my learning contract that I would produce 4 videos that were 3-4 minutes each in length, after filming, I decided not to hinder the quality of the project by cutting everything down into tiny quotes. The result is four much longer videos (the first is 10 minutes, the second and third are around 7 minutes, and the final video is 5 minutes). While they vary in length I am quite happy with them, because the first one needed to be longer in order to introduce the topic.

Throughout semester, the ‘style’ or way in which my documentary was filmed has changed numerous times. Throughout my undergraduate degree, I have become accustomed to producing videos in groups and therefore having several crew members to assist with filming, interviewing and lighting. My first idea for filming the documentary subjects on a starkly lit, white backdrop (almost like an advertisement), proved to simply not be feasible. After much deliberation, I came to the decision to film the interviewees from the shoulders up, in their own “personal environments”. The intention behind this was to see the subjects in the area that they would normally use Facebook on a daily basis, and to create a sense of intimacy whilst giving the audience an idea of each individual’s personality. While I tried my best to establish spaces for filming that were relatively well-lit, all in all the lighting is not tampered with, and aims to give a realistic sense of each location.

Overall, the filming of my documentary went extremely smoothly. I believe this was most likely a result of my intensive planning of subjects, locations, camera techniques/shots and interview questions prior to the event. The only thing that really went diffently from what I expected, was the quantity of footage that was filmed. In each interview, I found myself getting carried away with asking questions, and momentarily forgot that everything I captured would need to be edited down for the final product. In saying that, the editing process was extremely lengthy. I may as well have moved into my friend Kara’s house, whose Final Cut program I was using to edit the film. All in all, the videos required 7 editing sessions to complete – each editing session being several hours long.

The addition of quotes, titles and music to my documentary made the final product far more polished. At first I was unsure if I wanted to use music within my documentary, but at the last minute I decided to source some Royalty-Free music and am thrilled at the result it has had. The two songs which are featured in my documentary were both found on freeplaymusic.com and are listed below:

– “Too Little Too Late”, from Tech Grooves Volume 8
– “Start Me Up”, from Industrial Dimensions Volume 2

By using the same music within each video, it is extremely apparent that the videos are part of a series, and are meant to be watched with the others. Interestingly, the biggest challenges I faced with this documentary was when I was uploading it to the internet. For some unknown reason, YouTube is not playing my videos correctly and the audio is playing out of sync with the video. In order to rectify this, I have paid to become a member of Vimeo and have begun reloading them onto it, with the hope that they will be compatible! I guess it the project wouldn’t be representative of me unless there was drama till the very last minute!!

Overall, I am extremely happy with the final documentary that I have produced. I feel proud in having successfully achieved what I set out to produce for this course, despite a hectic schedule of completing an Honours thesis at the same time. Despite the fact that I chose a documentary medium and process that was extremely lengthy and intensive in terms of work load, I don’t regret my decision. To be perfectly honest, I have impressed myself at the amount of content and information I was able to bring together about a concept that many of my classmates were dubious about. Having been an avid reader of my peer’s blogs – I have been able to carefully monitor their perceptions and input to my overarching project idea throughout the semester.

In addition to my documentary, throughout the semester I have made a concerted effort to engage with the three key topics we sought to explore (Social Media, Documentary and Community), and in doing so, have opened my world to new information and new technologies that I never new existed. One of the most significant ways I did this was by reading publications that had a specific slant on social media issues. I have used this blog to reflect upon relevant articles I read, divulge new social networks I discovered, investigate jargon terms that i don’t understand, contemplate information discussed in class, and comment on my general progress throughout the semester.

Despite admitting to a intense dislike for blogging at the beginning of semester, I have tried my best to be a ‘reflective practitioner’ and hopefully this is evident throughout my many posts.

“Facebook Friends” Part Four: Social Netiquette

8 Jun

This if the final of four videos within the “Facebook Friends” documentary series. This video explores the “Social Netiquette” of the Facebook Community.

“Facebook Friends” Part Four: Social Netiquette from Annabelle Clark on Vimeo.

“Facebook Friends” Part Three: The Facebook Persona

8 Jun

This is the third of four videos in the “Facebook Friends” documentary series. This video explores the concept of “The Facebook Persona”, identifying the effect of the Facebook community on personal identity.

“Facebook Friends” Part Three: The Facebook Persona from Annabelle Clark on Vimeo.

“Facebook Friends” Part Two: Social Network Boundaries

8 Jun

This is the second of four video in the “Facebook Friends” documentary series. This video investigates the idea of “Social Network Boundaries” within the Facebook community.

“Facebook Friends” Part Two: Social Network Boundaries from Annabelle Clark on Vimeo.

“Facebook Friends” Part One: The Facebook Community

8 Jun

This is the first of four videos in the “Facebook Friends” documentary series. This introductory video introduces the participants and the concept of “The Facebook Community”. Enjoy!

“Facebook Friends” Part One: The Facebook Community from Annabelle Clark on Vimeo.

Upload issues

7 Jun

Okay, so my initial plan was to upload my documentary to a Facebook group that I had created about ‘Facebook Faux Pas’, but it has come to my attention that due to the nature of the subject matter, the participants of my documentary aren’t so keen for their comments to be seen by their entire network of friends on Facebook. In order to upload it to a Facebook group that could then be shown for assessment, I would need to make it “public” and I don’t think this would be appropriate.

My second choice for uploading them was video-sharing site Vimeo, however this is also not feasible, as for free members they have a weekly upload limit of 500mb – and my 4 mini documentaries well and truly exceed that!!

So now I will be uploading my videos to YouTube! I am not overly disappointed with this, as I think they still have the potential to reach a wide audience on YouTube, and YouTube has allowed me to upload them at the highest quality. I have created my own YouTube “channel” called “FacebookFriendsDoco” and all videos will be able to be accessed there.

**** I am having to edit this blog, because it has just come to my attention that the videos which I have uploaded to YouTube – the sound is out of sync with the vision during the middle of each! I have no idea why this is, as the finished copies are perfectly in sync of my computer… clearly YouTube has altered them in some way! So now I am paying to become a unlimited member on Vimeo, and uploading them to it… fingers crossed it works for me!!

Who’s the 10th Facebook Friend?

6 Jun

Finally, I am in the final stages of editing my four-part documentary series for Transient Spaces. Today, all that is left to do is insert the music, adjust all the sound levels, and do a final editing check to ensure all edits are as “clean” as possible!

However before I upload the finished product, it has come to my attention that upon watching my Facebook documentary, viewers might wonder who is the “10th Facebook friend”. At the beginning of my first “Facebook Friends” video, a statement appears informing the viewer that ten Facebook friends were brought together for the filming of the documentary. However, anyone with good attention to detail will notice that only nine interview subjects appear in the actual videos.

Who is the mysterious 10th Facebook Friend?

Me, of course – the filmmaker.

In a slightly postmodern angle, I thought it would be nice to hint at the connection between both the filmmaker and and the participants. We are all Facebook friends, and are all equally involved in the production of this Facebook documentary. Whether viewers will notice this or not, I don’t know, but I like the idea that it references both the sub-community (between the 10 of us) and the larger Facebook community as a whole.