The article, The Life of the Chinese Gold Farmer, it talked about the life of people who make a living off of playing an online video game. The people who work in this kind of occupation are paid in real money by collecting fake money (the currency of the game, in this instance, gold from World of Warcraft). I was honestly in shock when I read this. I can’t believe how much the Internet has become as much a society as the actual world we live in. People can live two separate lives, one real and one virtual, and now they can actually make real money from their virtual lives. Dibbell states that, “it is no mere conceit to say that M.M.O.’s are just as much economies as games.” Virtual games are no longer solely a form of entertainment; they can now be used to generate income. Virtual games are turning into their own economies, which in turn are converging with our own real life economies.

 

Image

(Taken from: http://img.sxsw.com/2014/spg_images/IAP19512.png

The Internet seems to be merging with the real world at a very exponential rate. A recent example of this is from the Linden Lab Case Study where IBM used Second Life to host a virtual conference about virtual games. One of the reasonings behind it was, “why not hold a conference on virtual worlds in a virtual world?” The conference consisted of over 200 people who were given instructions on how to navigate SL efficiently and comfortably. Overall, the conference seemed to be a glaring success, which also cost only 1/5 of what a normal FTF conference would have cost!!  The Internet is not only becoming engrained as a part of our social realms, but now also as a part of our economic and occupational worlds as well. Real life seems to be converging with technology. It both frightens and excites me to see how not only the Internet but technology as a whole is going to shape, change, and assimilate with reality in the next few years. 

Image

(Taken from: http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-mWaY6pvhEwQ/Tz0vxzSnvvI/AAAAAAAAAlY/eI8Fdx3Suyw/s1600/Game+ON.JPG)

On my way back from spring break this year, I sat next to a 19 year old college student who was telling me that he worked as a Beta tester for a big gaming company. When I asked him how much money he made from such an unorthodox job, he said he made about $45,000 a year! This absolutely blew my mind. He told me that the job didn’t even take up that much of his time, and that he was able to work as a Beta tester and go to school full time with no issues. It amazes me that people can make a living off of a virtual world. Gaming seems to be surmounting itself as the new “super” market next to Hollywood and professional movies. Games are creating new markets, new jobs and are fostering free enterprise; I can’t wait to see what the gaming industry is going to have in store for society a couple years down the road. 

 

 

 

Advertisements

are the virtual worlds we have created abstract versions of the world we currently reside in?

What I found really interesting about the Living in Virtual Communities article was that is reminded me of a lot of research methods that I learned about in some of my other classes. I am first and foremost a Communications major. One of the classes that I took last semester was called Communications Research, and revolved around research methods and methodology. One of the things I found fascinating about this article was that the research methods that Carter used to study online communities and societies were, to my surprise, almost identical to how this type of research would be conducted in the real world. She described her research methods as the following: “As well as practising ethnography, I carried out other qualitative research methods including questionnaires and offline semi-structured interviews. Towards the end of my research I also met four of my informants face to face. Although my primary objective was not to compare online and offline contexts of social interaction, I saw these offline meetings as providing useful backup when discussing authenticity and truthfulness”.

 Image

Carter used questionnaires, created demographics of the ages, ethnicities, nationalities, etc. of the online users that lived in certain sections of the online community. I found that fascinating, especially with all the other readings we have been doing throughout the semester where research is beginning to point in the direction that virtual communities may actually be more literal translations of the real world than we might have previously believed. One such example being how a Disease specialist used online communities as a way to do research on how virtual players would react to a virtual plague because it might relate to real world circumstances.

 Image

 It blows my mind that research is beginning to migrate to the Internet to conduct sociological, anthropologic and other kinds of research on humans and human interaction. I am really interested to see what this kind of research will lead to in the next few years as we begin to learn more about the Internet and how people interact on it. I think that we will start to see that the Internet is more or less a virtual, man-made abstract representation of our own universe. In other words,  I think as time goes on we will begin to see more similarities between the virtual worlds that we have created that coincide with the reality that we currently live in. 

The Creative Process…Down to the Wire

 

I can’t believe how fast this class has flown by. We’ve learned a lot, gone through a lot of material and a lot of different programs and digital editing techniques in the last few weeks. It’s interesting to see how it’s all come together. So far, I have to say that by far our biggest milestone is coordinating F2F meetings with our group members. We all work and go to school full time, and have very different schedules, so it’s been hard trying to find a time when we all can meet up and start filming. However, Sam and I managed to find some time on Friday to be able to shoot a few scenes for our final project. I think they came out well, and I’m excited to see the finished product.

 

Another milestone was how we wanted to structure the final project. No joke, we had to structure and re-structure the storyboard 3-4 times so that it was fluid and made sense, without any continuity errors. Two hurdles that I anticipate in the coming weeks will be finding time to finish filming (with our busy schedules it might be tough-but also because we all have final projects or exams in our other classes) and finishing the editing.

 

For our group, we’ve been using google docs for the majority of the creative process. We designed basic scripts for the characters in a google doc, made the storyboard in google presentation, and we use a GroupMe to coordinate everything.  It is hard for us to meet F2F so we all connect virtually to get the work done. However, we all plan on meeting before Thanksgiving break to shoot some more scenes for the final project (hopefully finish the shooting) so that I will be able to get started on the editing during break, and get it done early in the following week. Our goal is to get the project done early so we don’t have to worry about it interfering with other classes. This final project is going to take a lot of work, and we don’t want to underestimate it and have to rush to get it done

Creative Commons

Background Music: 

http://ccmixter.org/files/_ghost/25388

Movie:

Picture:

Scrapbook Sunburst Background in Deep Maroon from BackgroundsEtc

 

I think that this week’s assignment is both very interesting and very practical/useful for us to know. Nowadays it seems like everyone is getting hit with DMCA takedown notices, or being accused of copyright infringement. The big corporations are definitely trigger happy and do not hesitate to go out for blood and go after someone. I think that knowing how to use CC is definitely a great way to be able to use some really cool media without having to worry about being sued.

I think that the song I linked to can be a very useful part of my final project. It is a very mellow, soothing, relaxing kind of song. It is perfect for an introduction, and can even be used during parts of the video itself as background music to give some flavor to the movie. I think that without background music the video might appear to be bland and uninteresting.
The video that I chose I thought was a really cool effect. It is a very subtle effect, but when that kind of stock footage is used the right way, it can be really cool. I have some experience using Adobe After Effects, so I will most likely use this piece of stock footage in the title introduction that I design. It will be in the background, and I will probably overlay some text over the top of it, explaining the project, what it is for, who made it, etc.

Creative Commons

 

(Creative commons and what it is all about. Borrowed from: https://techntuit.pbworks.com/w/page/20307622/Creative%20Commons)

Finally, I think that the picture I found, again, was really cool. I’ll probably use it in a similar fashion as the movie footage I found. I will either put it in the intro, and overlay text on top to explain the video, what it’s about, who it is made for, etc. or I will put it at the end of the video and overlay a credit reel on it. Credit rolls without a background image or anything (just blackness) can appear to be boring or bland. I really like this picture so I’m definitely going to be creative with it

Storyboarding (After)

As I said in my previous post, I never really liked storyboarding. Although I agree that it is an essential step in the creative process, I never enjoyed actually sitting down and doing them. I found it to be a little difficult to crowdsource the storyboard with my group members online, because we initially weren’t sure how to properly divide up the work. We ultimately decided on dividing up the script we wrote into scenes, and we each took a scene to storyboard on the powerpoint google doc.

Storyboard

(An entire wall dedicated to storyboarding. Borrowed from http://www.michaelspornanimation.com/splog/wp-content/k/Bd1%20sm.jpg, https://www.google.com/blank.html)

It is sometimes difficult when you are virtually communicating with your group, but I think that we did a good job dividing up the work. I have to admit, that actually forcing myself to write down my ideas for the different camera angles helped me get a better grasp of the story, and the creative direction that we want to go in. We are still generally sticking to the same storyline, with the genie and the screencast still being big parts of the story. However, I have a better grasp of how I will want to edit the clips together, and how each scene could be shot so it will be fluid, entertaining and seamless from shot to shot. Even though, again, it’s not my favorite part of the creative process, I can’t help but admit how helpful it can be.

Storyboarding (Before)

So this week for class we’re supposed to be designing a storyboard for our final project. Storyboarding is a really interesting part of the creative process. It allows you to draw out exactly how you want each scene to be shot. When I used to shoot movies, storyboarding was never something that I ever really did that much – I always had a general idea of how I wanted each shot to go down in my head, but I never really wrote them down or drew them out (amateurish, I know).

Cool Pic#3

(I was searching for something “creative” to parallel our creative ideas, and I came across the pic. It’s really sick looking, most certainly “creative”…Borrowed from https://encrypted-tbn2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTr-NgT65JJJtxV9eGHcvXJX63LQTEiJWSW5fzqZgNMHO3IqHnQ8Q, https://www.google.com/search?q=storyboarding&espv=210&es_sm=91&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=Kmh-UpI6k8fgA9XUgPAC&ved=0CAkQ_AUoAQ&biw=1273&bih=659)

I’m trying to get pretty creative with our film. I have experience using Adobe After Effects, so if possible, I would like to take full advantage of that. What we discussed in class is that we wanted Candid Career to be personified. What I mean by that is we want Candid Career, at some point, to take a physical form (in the form of a genie or something along those lines) that appears before the indecisive students, and tries to direct them in the right direction to choosing a career path. What we also decided on doing was to use multiple media outlets, including a screencast of the Candid Career web page, which will briefly run the viewer through the site so that they will know how to navigate Candid Career once they were done.

MY TOP 5 MIDTERM POSTS

1) http://kingsofpologrounds.wordpress.com/

 

I think that this blog was one of the best that I looked at, simply because of the amount of depth that was added to the blog. I felt that the student who made it put considerable amount of effort into the blog. There were 8 posts that were put on the blog, all throughout the week. Each entry had a long, and in depth analysis or post that referred to different aspects of basketball. Some included links to YouTube as well. I think that it was one of the best ones because of the amount of effort that was put into it. Clearly the student went above and beyond what was expected for in the project.

 

2) http://craftcreationsbyjen.wordpress.com/

 

I think that this blog was extremely well done as well. The overall theme of the blog was how to create different kinds of crafts and nice ornaments for different holidays. I think what made this blog stand out from the rest was the diversity of the material. There were links to different YouTube videos, as well as links to videos that the student did for the project. I also really like how there was material for several different holidays, instead of focusing on just one holiday. I think that that added a lot to the project, because it obviously takes a lot more effort to talk about several projects for different holidays, instead of just one.

 

3) http://brandonsmidterm.wordpress.com

 

I liked this blog a lot, because of the subject matter. I am a huge music fan as well; I pride myself in my diverse taste in music. I listen to virtually any type of music, ranging from classical music to dubstep to trance to death metal- I love it all. So I can appreciate when others put a lot of effort into creating their own music. Creating music is not as easy as many people make it out to be. It takes a lot of hard work, but it really shows off a completely different side of the creator. The listener can really get a better understanding of what the musician is all about. I really like the Techno/Remix cover that the student posted- I think it was really well done and I think that I definitely got to know him a little better through his musical expression, which is always cool.

 

4) http://chadsitcoms.wordpress.com/

 

This blog is in my top 5, because I am absolutely in love with It’s Always Sunny in Philidelphia. It is by far one of my favorite shows. It is absolutely hilarious, and contains some really strong underlying themes on social satire about our current society. I think that the student put a lot of effort into the blog, going into some depth about Season 9, and into the show itself. There were multiple blog posts, which provided links to YouTube or gifs, and had an analysis in the post. I think that a lot of effort was put into the blog, and that it will make more people hop onto one of the funniest shows on TV’s bandwagon. I also liked the introduction of what a Sitcom was, and that there were several examples provided, such as Scrubs, The Office, etc.

 

5) http://puppies4midtermblog.wordpress.com/

 

This blog was definitely one of my favorites, not only because I am a HUGE dog lover, but also, like some of the others that I chose, had a tremendous amount of detail. There were multiple posts made, all which provided videos to different hosting sites like YouTube, and also contained references to various articles. Each post went extremely in depth about a different topic relating to dogs. Topics ranged from grooming, to dressing up dogs for Halloween, to basic potty training. Pictures were also added to a lot of the posts. Overall, I think the student did an outstanding job. Clearly A LOT of work was put into it- I think they should be really proud.

Midterm

Right off the bat I can say, for sure, that the midterm was a difficult task. I wanted to go along with the theme of my class blog, and have it pertain to fitness and nutrition. I originally made a podcast for the midterm, but later designed a video for the midterm. The video was definitely a bit difficult to make. I wanted to go a little above and beyond and made a really flashy intro for a made up fitness company that I owned (BSF diet and fitness). In case my video wasn’t clear enough, BSF stands for BullSh*t Free. I have a very non-BS approach when it comes to fitness; I don’t like to sugarcoat or beat around the bush– I get right to it.

I created the intro in Adobe After Effects. I used a royalty free grunge background and superimposed a logo that I designed on top. Using keyframing and basic animation, I skewed the text as it travelled across the screen, giving it the impression that the text was being stretched like a rubber band and shot across the screen. I also put on a blurring effect when the text travelled across the screen, so that it gave the impression of movement.  I then added a glow filter on top of the “diet and fitness” section to make it look like it was shining. Finally, I added a subtle lightning effect on the BSF logo.

 

Cool After Effects Pic

(A Cool Image Created in After Effects!! Taken from: http://www.hongkiat.com/blog/adobe-after-effect-tutorials-beginners-intermediate-advanced-users/)

I divided the video up into a few sections, each pertaining to a different macronutrient- protein, carbs and fats. I added title cards in between each one to divide up the information evenly, so the viewer knew when I was talking about which macronutrient. Finally, I added a song to the beginning and end of the video, to add some spice to the video- I felt it would be very bland and boring if I didn’t add some sound to it.

Screencasting

This week’s assignment was a bit trickier than the others, and it wasn’t because of the technology we had to use. It was getting my thoughts together on video. I have a slight stutter so sometimes when I need to talk on video/audio or on the spot I get a few of my words mixed up, or I have trouble getting my thoughts out clearly. It took me a couple of takes to get my points across in a way that I thought was clear and comprehensible. I wrote down the points that I intended to highlight, but I did not use a script- I talked around the highlighted points that I wrote out. I didn’t want to have long breaks in between my points where it would sound like I didn’t know what I was going to talk about next. Overall, I’m reasonably satisfied with the finished product.

I found that the Screencast-O-Matic was surprisingly easier to use than I initially expected. A lot of sites advocate their “free and easy to use” software, but it seldom actually is what they advertise it- 1) quick 2) easy…and 3) free. Usually it is more of a “choose 2” type alternative where no matter what combination you choose it is still way more trouble than it should be. Not the case with Screencast-O-Matic. Besides the unnecessarily long title, it is a very good program. I had to download a few plug-ins to use it, but after that little bump in the road I had no issues using the software- it downloaded my screencast very quickly as well.

SP Pic #5

(The circle of [Web] Life) (Taken from: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mathplourde/8795755603/)

In regards to editing the video, I’ve had a lot of experience in film editing, so that o was a walk in the park for me. I cut it down a bit (because I tend to ramble sometime) so that it met the 2 minute mark.

This week’s assignment was interesting, to say the least. I’m a musician, so I’ve worked with audio editing in the past, so this was more of a refresher for me. The only thing that tripped me up a bit was the crossfade. I’ve used other editing programs where they have plug-ins for crossfades and other effects, so it’s really easy to do– you just drag and drop. Using GarageBand took a little more effort.

I’ve planned on making a SoundCloud account for a while now, but I’ve always gotten side tracked and never got a chance to. Now that I finally made one for this assignment, at some point I’m definitely going to use it to my advantage and upload some stuff that I’ve written at some point.

I think that Podcasts are a really cool method of expression. They’re a lot like radio, but I feel that they are a little more interactive, in the sense that the listener can choose which DJ’s they like the most and they can continue to listen to them, instead of whatever DJ’s the radio company chooses. I’m a really big Joe Rogan fan, so I always try to catch some of his podcasts – the Joe Rogan Experience, whenever I get the chance. He talks about some really cool, really weird, and really hilarious things that really expand your mind and make you think! I’d definitely recommend his podcast to anyone whose never listened before and wants to have their minds blown!!

Image

(Borrowed from: http://a1.mzstatic.com/us/r30/Podcasts6/v4/ab/31/c8/ab31c8a2-dcec-a994-5db2-29b4b14f7c08/mza_6150185404776333501.170×170-75.jpg, https://www.google.com/blank.html)

I think that this assignment is definitely a useful skill to have, especially in today’s day and age. Technology is slowly being integrated into our lives, whether we like it or not; it is merely our decision whether to keep up and continue to learn how to use this new technology, or fall behind. In a few years I’m certain it will be a prerequisite skill for most, if not all, employees in certain fields to have at least a rudimentary knowledge and understanding of basic audio, video and image editing. There are so many programs now that are cheap or free that are right at our disposal- it only makes sense for us to learn how to use them. Who knows when the skill might come in handy?