Thursday, 24 November 2011

Piracy/Copyright/Web Media Usage - An Analysis

(video somewhat related...)

Sir suggested that I do a write-up of all my random thoughts and pieces of background knowledge about the use of copyrighted material on the internet and the impact it has on media industries so here goes...

Piracy is an issue which affects the revenue made by intellectual property owners. Although this is a controversial thought among the "I WANT ALL THE FREE STUFF" community, I can understand why this damages the industries. Not because of this "that's stealing!" thought they want you to believe (it is not "stealing" the product, because in my eyes stealing requires taking an item away from someone; piracy does not take their original copy) but because a lack of revenue will lead to less profit being made once you've taken into account the fact that actors, camera crews, writers, finance staff, marketing teams etc. don't work for free (far from it in a lot of cases!).

There is a huge fuss at the moment about how copyrighted material is used and distributed when it comes to the internet.

Firstly, there is the way in which media (such as music, films and video games) is acquired bought. The most common problem for the industries is that it is extremely easy for people to just download a copy of an album/film/game as opposed to buying a legal copy of it. There are a number of factors which make me think that media and retail industries are bringing this on themselves, one of which is pricing. I buy things legally because I like to have a physical product for everything, however for many people this is not the case and they'd rather go with the convenience that downloading a film or whatever would allow. The problem is that quite often legal media distributors such as iTunes are overpriced to the extreme, with there being several cases where the download costs more than the physical product. To the everyday consumer it would make much more sense just to download it from a file-sharing site or make a copy of their friend's one as opposed to paying extortion for it.

The other factor which it is necessary to highlight is how the product is made available. Despite the fact that in this modern age it is possible for someone over here to receive a file from their friend in America or wherever in a matter of minutes, some businesses still have this idea that it's a smart move to release their product in one country a few weeks before they release it in another. The result is that people get tired of waiting and would rather just download it early.

This is one which annoys me to no end. The attitude of general media industry towards the use of copyrighted material in fan works on the internet seems really outdated. This is because in actuality if a fan of a band/TV show etc. wants to put a video on YouTube or whatever there is a great chance that someone will see the video and develop an interest in the product because of it. Personally, I'm much more likely to buy something that several people on the internet have made a recommendation about than I am from just watching official trailers. There is also the fact that a while back YouTube set up a Content ID system which allowed copyright owners to sign up to - this allows them to profit from advertisements on the page of any fan videos which featured their content. From a business perspective it makes more sense to take both a small profit AND free advertisement than to take the video down and randomly threaten legal action towards a group of kids who made some videos using the computer in their bedroom. Despite this, it should be made illegal to create FPS montage videos which use Drowning Pool music in the background.

So from this post, if you're a media content owner, be more open to modern methods of distributing your content; if you're a consumer, don't copy that floppy:

- HM

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Terminology/Key Word Database

This is the key terminology database which I will completely forget about update here and there with new key words.

  • Shots
  • Staging
  • Camera movements - e.g. pan, zoom.
  • Camera shots - e.g. close-up, wide-angle, bird's eye, shot/reverse shot etc.
    • Cuts - the way the different shots transition from one to the other.
    • Action Match - when two shots are edited together so that an action from one shot meets action from another shot.
    • Juxtaposition - set up between parallel storylines.
    • Jump cuts - often represent chaos/disorder.
    • Post-production - the editing stage; where the film is compiled together and necessary effects are added.
    • Diegetic Sound - Sound sourced from the scene.
    • Non-diegetic Sound - Sound which has been dubbed into the scene.
    • Dialogue - speech.
      • Costume - clothing
      • Props
      • Set - the location
      • Lighting - high key, low key, contrast levels etc.

      • Jenny Norris - disability representation. Says that writers draw on prejudice and stereotypes about the disabled to shape characters, which reinforces these negative viewpoints.
      • Karen Ross - said that the disabled want to address "respect issues" in the media, and that they want more authentic portrayals which make disability seem like an ordinary thing as opposed to something different.
      • Roland Barthes - Enigma codes/Mythologies [LINK]
      • Alvarado - Four themes/stereotypes in the media's representation of ethnicity - exotic, dangerous, pitied, humorous. 
      • Claude Lévi-Strauss - Binary opposition theory.

      Other Terminology
      • Signifier - the physical object presented to the viewer.
      • Signified - the meaning/mental concept conveyed by the signifier.
      • Representation - how people are shown/portrayed. [LINK]
      • Semiotics - the study of signs and meanings.
      • Verisimilitude - a sense of realism
      • Synergy - different companies working together to market a product e.g. the film company's brand being reinforced by merchandise manufacturers.
      • Proliferation - how easy it is to access
      • Four-quadrant film - aimed at the young, the old, male and female.
      • Parody - something which takes concepts from an original piece for the sake of satire.
      • Hybrid (genre) - borrows concepts from multiple genres.
      Audiences & Institutions

      • Audience - the consumer/viewing public
      • Convergence - how different technologies/companies come together.
      • Ideology - a common consensus of the 'ideal'
      • Institutions - Companies involved in production and distribution


        Monday, 14 November 2011

        Media product controversy... a marketing technique?

        I'm bored and I have the urge to write something, and it was either go on a massive rant about mainstream popular music or something or do a write-up of something that's (somewhat) relevant to Media Studies. I chose the latter...

        Here I'm going to look at some controversial media products and how the controversy has helped sell them.

        This ultimately applies in all different forms of media, one of which being the videogame industry. If we look at Activision's "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2" we can see that one of the first public trailers featured a scene which involved civilians being killed in an airport; there is a strong possibility this was to intentionally cause controversy as public controversy leads to free features in the press as well as the product becoming a general talking point. This carries on to hype the product to people of the general target market.

        This also happens in television - some TV shows which frequently draw controversy end up having a "cool" appeal to their target audience, such as the reputation The Simpsons had originally when it started. Controversy can also come across as deliberate in British soaps like Eastenders, where controversial storylines (such as the baby story last year) are teased before they are shown - this gives the Daily Mail and similar sources plenty of time to cause mass hysteria about how disgraceful it is - which again, builds up hype.

        - HM

        Tuesday, 8 November 2011

        Iconography Analysis

        As a homework task a few days back we were set a piece of work which involved creating a collage which represents ourselves. The above image is one similar to what I handed in (only that one had the top-layer images rearranged slightly, not shown here because I managed to lose the final .psd AND .png; I should not be allowed near computers).

        -- The background image is a radial blur abstract which (along with the multicoloured twirl in the bottom right) represents the fact that I spend way too much time messing around in Photoshop, as well as that I appreciate abstract artwork. It also has connotations with the idea that much of my mind doesn't make sense, hence why these two works don't show much direction.

        -- The screenshot of Bender from Futurama features the quote-text "Another pointless day where I accomplish nothing". This shows that not only do I like Futurama, I am also not very good at actual productive work.

        -- In the bottom left of the image I've put the Wings Over America live album cover; this is because Wings are the best band ever of all time and if you don't like them then your music is bad and you should feel bad

        -- The picture on the right is my electro-acoustic Artisan... this is only on here to show that I play bass (not very well!).

        -- The fire is on there simply because it looks good, and it fills a space that would otherwise be empty; which links to my stress for consistency within visual presentations - i.e I would much rather add something else to the work than leave an ugly empty spot.