Learning Reflection 4

One of my favorites parts of this class has been hearing classmates' individual studies. I really enjoyed learning about a variety of different topics and their relation to photography, and also seeing how each presenter used their information to potentially create a new work. I feel that we had a nice variety of topics, and I was excited to learn about the new technologies and techniques used in photography. 

Perhaps my favorite new technology is cinemagraphs and live photos. These are images in which every object in the image is still, except for one moving part. We saw examples of beads of milk dripping off a cookie and into a glass, or a comforting photo featuring a moving fire. While the newest iPhones allow you to create these live photos and cinemagraphs, I was excited to find that there are a few apps out there that allow you to create these without the latest phone. I agree with our class discussions that these moving pictures will have a place in today's visual culture, and I can certainly see them being useful in advertising as an interesting and new way to catch people's eye. 

I was also interested in the virtual reality techniques that have recently been adopted by media outlets. As a journalist, I am extremely interested in telling the story in a new and compelling way, but virtual reality brings up new ethics concerns that we have not had to think about before. Because of the nature of the camera, it is very easy for a journalist to become a part of the story they are telling, so it's important to consider how to tell the story and if you are involved, how to keep your involvement in the story to a minimum. I am fascinated with how news outlets like the New York Times and ABC News are currently using this technology, and while I'm not sure how much it will develop on the consumer side, I think using virtual reality is another way to engage an audience and tell the story in an exciting and immersive way. 

Overall I really enjoyed these presentations and I am excited to see which of these technologies continue to emerge into the mainstream. 

Learning Reflection 3

The importance of video becomes more and more apparent to me the closer I look.

    Of course, it’s what plays on your television screen, and now, it’s what automatically starts playing on your Facebook timeline. And while that doesn’t seem like a very important factor, it actually is.

    I would say 80 - 90% of what I see shared on social media is video. Sure, there are some photos that float on occasion, but it is almost always video that dominates the social media world.

    Whether it’s a video of a tiny tortoise trying miniature pancakes, an “informative” BuzzFeed video on secret Snapchat tricks you may not know, or citizen journalism footage of a tragedy, it is video that is being shared thousands of times a day. In fact, all of these examples are videos that I saw just yesterday.

    On Tuesday, Brussels, Belgium experienced a terrorist attack in the heart of their city. Unsurprisingly, and of course justified, nearly every nightly news channel on yesterday talked about this disaster.

    Because it was breaking news, it wasn’t something that could be predicted, so much of the initial and primary footage used came from people who were on the ground at the time of the event - citizen journalist.

    All of the news briefs contained these videos. A video of people running from the train station; another video of people crawling out of an exploded metro car out into the dark, smokey tunnels of the metro.

    If you watched any bit of coverage, even if it was something online, you probably saw these videos.

    I can only remember maybe one to two distinct images that were shown in all of the news casts. And that is where I begin to understand and important difference.

    Videos surround us now. They are used to hype fans up for football games, tell an interesting story from the day, or show a cute cat playing with a box.

    They are moving pictures that not only have visuals, but have sound. You can hear what is happening in these captured moments. You can hear the labored breath of the football players, you can hear the cries of people in the metro station, and you can hear moving of cardboard as the cat struggles to fit in the box.

    Photographs are still important, without question. Before there was video, there were photos. But while a pictures speaks a thousand words, a video actually speaks.

Learning Reflection 2

I was excited to hear from Stephen from the Weather Channel about the updates on Field Pro. I’m happy to learn about their plans for the app, and I think that their requirements were in line with what needs to be apart of the app and with our comments and feedback. It was interesting to hear the process of how the app will be developed and what it may potentially cost to build. In a way, it seems almost absurd to me that hundreds of thousands of dollars can be spent on a digital product, especially one that could potentially be built by some students in the NMI. That being said, I am looking forward to visiting them again and see their progress. 

For our assignments in class right now, I am most looking forward to my New Media Photography study on vertical video. I have heard countless times, and we have even heard from those at the Weather Channel, vertical video is horrible, looks terrible and cannot be used.  I definitely understand where these statements come from, because I too hate watching vertical video on a tv where your perspective is limited and the edges are blurry and it always seems to be shaky and is all in all just a terrible experience. But I don't think that these issues should rule out vertical video all together. 

In doing some preliminary research on my topic, I learned about an app called Vervid - a video editing a sharing app that also serves as a video player for vertical video. The creator mentioned an article that claimed that apps are driving vertical video. However, he countered saying that it isn't the apps that is driving vertical video, it's our behavoir. 

Think about how often you use your phone. Now think about the way in which you use your phone. Are you texting horizontally? Are you taking a selfie horizontally? Are you dialing in a number with your phone held sideways? 

Most likely, you aren't. 

People use their phones vertically for almost everything. Apps like Snapchat are taking off, and operate in a vertical format. Media organizations are jumping on this trend, with many using the "Discover" feature of the app to share news and stories and reach a wider audience. 

On Vervid, professional videographers and photographers are producing some pretty spectacular content, some even using drones to fly over landscapes. 

I really believe that vertical video has a place in the new media age, and I am very excited to see what else has been produced and what the future of this once "forbidden" media holds. 

Learning Reflection 1


    As a photographer, I have learned several new tricks from the technical review (still very excited about “C” mode),  but by far the most interesting thing we have talked or worked with in class has been the Weather Channel projects, particularly Field Pro.

    First, I am intrigued by the FIeld Pro project concept in general. I think it is a great tool to utilize citizen journalism, which I feel many media companies have struggled with. I also feel that the team has a good sense of direction with where they want the project to go and grow.

    Working on this project and critiquing its design and style has been an interesting and different experience, and I have enjoyed being able to see what a project looks like in its beginning stages at a major media company. I don’t think many college students get to see such a behind-the-scenes look, and it gives perspective to what products already exist and how major companies go about bringing ideas to life.

    Looking and going through the user experience of Field Pro has really forced me to think differently about both design and how users interact with that design. Often times, it is obvious when a website is bad or isn’t working, but being able to articulate exactly why and how to fix those problems is a completely different concept. I have really enjoyed getting to tear apart Field Pro bit by bit and really examine the problems that exist within this new project.

    On that note, having someone actually listen to my opinions and ideas for this project and really take them to heart has been a pretty incredible experience. Not very often can a 22 year-old walk into a major company and tell them what to fix. I realize that isn’t exactly what’s happening, but it has allowed me to see the value in bringing in outside people with experience to look at a project you’ve been staring at for months.

    With regards to visuals, working with this project has only increased my belief that visuals are key. Some of the major problems with the current Field Pro website is design. And the stand-out parts of the website, or really the only stand-out part, is the video. Granted, the video leaves a lot to be desired, and there are ample amounts of work that can be done to improve the existing video; however, that visual attracts attention and holds an audience. And in a project that is centered on user-produced visuals, it is important to feature those front and center.     

    When we visited the Weather Channel, the promotional video they showed us, that had nothing to do with Field Pro, was astounding. It had exactly the right mix of professional and user-generated content, and the videos were engaging and exciting enough to hold the viewer’s attention. After watching the video, many of us were fired up and ready to go out and take interesting photos and videos, proving that good visuals can say and do a lot more than just words on a screen.