Summary of Work – Adam

For submission 2 a lot of work was divided between members of the group.

This is an overview of my work within that.

Feedback Film

During our presentation on April 5th we took emails and names from every attendee. Our intention was to create a short feedback video that concluded the experience and perhaps gave the user pause about the way they interact online.
The video I created uses footage from April 5th of many of the users – the original intention was to create a personalised video for each person and send it out to them but with 27 emails it would have taken too much time and computational cost to personalise a video for every person.
As the aims of our project became more clear, creating personalised emails would have also strayed away from the point of personality shifting and changing based on interaction with technology. As such, a short ‘think piece’ was chosen, that brings into question and perhaps makes the user consider how they interact online.
Length was important – we want people to watch the video all the way through, and if it’s being emailed to them their attention may wane quickly.
According to Vidyard’s 2018 Video in Business Benchmark Report, 75% of the videos published in 2017-2018 were under 2 minutes, and just 46% of viewers stick around to the end of a video. I’m guilty of this myself – and with email being a slightly ‘outdated’ way to share video with things like Instagram or twitter, keeping it short and simple was my goal. While I originally aimed to be sub 1 minute, the footage of people interacting in a collage was interesting enough to hold attention. It clocks in at 1.10 which I think is a reasonable length to keep people’s attention. There’s also the consideration that people will engage more with footage of an event they attended, so the slightly truncated length is less of an issue.

Processing and Sound Integration

As we decided as a group to use processing to present our project ideas, I, alongside others in the group, helped with the integration of audio into the patches. With the sounds the audio team had created, I collected them all together and made sure they were properly organised for easy integration.
Making sure certain sounds played back when they needed to at specific points in the code, and making sure levels were somewhat consistent throughout for a smooth experience.
I also developed a small patch to ‘block’ the voice in a rather aggressive manner.  what this did was take the  audio in from a microphone (in this case, the webcam’s mic) and put it through a very quick delay before the output. The intention was something akin to the Speech Jammer apps that saw a rise in popularity around 4 years ago. These apps, with the quick playback of speech, confuse the brain’s monitoring of speech from the mouth. As it hears the feedback too quickly to process properly, the speech centre of the brain becomes confused and stuttered speech is the result. While this has varying degrees of success it’s an interesting phenomenon.
The varying degrees of success also extended to the exhibition itself with this work unfortunately. While it was fairly effective in an enclosed environment with the user speaking into it and being aware of it, using it in InSpace with a lot of outside noise and the general volume issues that unfortunately were present throughout, it was much less effective and essentially became a feedback machine. It could still create interesting sonic palettes, but had to be manually controlled so it didn’t get too loud. We also had the issue of communication to the user that this was a feature. By not giving them a reason to speak, many didn’t even notice it. But it is something that can be developed and thought about for future use, so it was an interesting addition nonetheless.

General Audio Work

The audio team worked together throughout to create audio that after development from submission 1 was worked upon in varying ways to create a cohesive sonic world for the project. It can be read about in more detail here.

 

Each member of the audio team tried their hand at creating audio for the first 2 interactive patches – each, after the question – plays a corresponding video.
This, coming off of submission 1, was thought of as a way to define what characteristics we wanted the audio to have as we developed it further. As you can hear in my examples, I went for a calm, eerie tone that made it’s way into much of my sound design throughout the process.

Setting Up the Space

Upon arriving in In Space, myself and the group worked together to set up our exhibition space in an aesthetically appropriate manner. While there were some issues with the space – mostly audio and light levels – we found an effective compromise to make the piece work.
Keeping all the processing files together in one patch on one computer was the original plan, but due to issues with slowdown we opted to use our own PCs and each run a patch – this meant we ended up with six of everything. While this was originally a response to an issue and an effective fix, it ended up making a strong aesthetic statement as people walked in to the piece. While some of the feedback has posited that keeping it to one PC would have been a cleaner option – and I can definitely see this as a valid point – I personally like the visual effect the six screens gave on the day, and made for a much more striking look, as well as a talking point.

Unity Project Test

In the initial development of our idea, coming off of submission 1, we looked at a much more straight forward  interpretation of our original idea. What developed into the more broad reaching final statements that were made in processing, originally one idea was to create a personality quiz – we eventually found that this became an ineffective way to get across our final point and developed it into the exhibition we presented.
I proposed working in Unity as I have some experience with it and integrating sound. So as a sort of show of ideas – much like some of my work in submission 1 – I built a small demo of a personality test.
This test stored the answers of each user and presented them with a random question out of a pre-determined bank. Upon answering this question, the players choice would be stored. The idea was to use this simple true/false system to give the user a ‘score’ – whether or not this would be visible to the user, an ending would be determined based upon what number they had at the end of the experience, giving them an ending. We also toyed with the idea of using two screens – the quiz on a touch screen, and a blank screen in front of the user. As they answered questions, the blank area would be populated with shapes or abstract interpretations as they went, creating an image for them. Again, this idea was scrapped as while visually interesting, it didn’t wrap around to the theme of personality enough to justify it’s inclusion. Perhaps this would be developed as it went on, but the group choice was made to take another direction, for the better.

Reflective Interviews

In the final stages of the project, the group decided to film small interviews with each member based around the 4 questions in the video. This was a chance to reflect on the project and each give our personal view on how we viewed the process and presentation.
The videos were filmed with a webcam due to time constraints, though it was fairly high quality so the video quality doesn’t really suffer for it. When the videos were recorded, they sat at about 15 minutes total, which we deemed too long for our video – also as we were working together throughout, some points were raised multiple times. Instead, select moments from each interview were chosen and edited together to make a cohesive video that allows each person to have their opinion but doesn’t go on too long.