‘I miss the ocean…’

“I never thought fish swimming in a glass bowl could be so emotional”

The title of this post and the above quote come from the video sharing website YouTube in response to the high definition video above that appeared on the site and has become ‘viral’ over the past week. My guess is that the video has become so popular because it really demonstrates the potential of HD broadcasting. Today BSkyB announced that subscribers to their HD service have doubled over the past year and that the service has moved ‘centre-stage’ to their business plan. It shows that HD is becoming more widespread and popular, especially since YouTube now allows uploads in HD – just like the video above.

As well as the sheer wonder of the sea-life in the video I also find the way the people in front of the tank behave and interact. Not least the toddler playing with the rope barrier and then noticing the diver in the aquarium. It’s great how video can capture such moments and the HD quality makes it feel like you are standing there too (you must make the video fullscreen when you’re watching).

The soundtrack really adds an extra depth (no pun intended) and stirs an emotional response. Therefore users of YouTube have responded to the video through the comment feature below the video. The comments range from appreciation of the video production to serious debates about conservation and saving the oceans. It’s brilliant how Web 2.0 can be used as a platform to explore issues such as this and really make the issues in themselves ‘viral’ and open up discussion in a shared and open manner to a mass audience. At the time of writing this there have been over 2000 comments written in response to the upload and it has been viewed over a million times…

Save the oceans.

Rise of the new literacy practices…

One of my favourite television series Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles has finished its current run in America. The general word on the internet is that the show won’t be renewed and the current season was the last. I find the reaction by fans on the internet to this news to be very interesting.

Obviously there are various postings on forums providing a voice for the renewal of the series. Online petitions and Facebook groups are also appearing left right and centre. These seem to be the norm when internet users have an issue to voice their opinions on as part of a community of fans.  With a simple Google search you can find an online petition or facebook group for practically anything.

More interesting is the way in which YouTube enters the equation. One user has created a video which shows the stunning final scenes of the season with messages around the edge. The messages urge viewers to speak out for a third season by writing to the studios, signing a petition, following a link to a wiki, pre-ordering the DVD, contacting the show’s advertisers and emailing studio executives directly. The contact details are played on a loop around the video. Nearly every type of communication is utlised in trying to save this show.

So from the serious plea to the slightly bizarre; here is another video of Hitler’s (yes Adolf Hitler) reaction to the cancellation of the show. I initially thought this was purely a joke but it is a serious retaliation towards the Fox network. Someone has spent a lot of time planning and making this video attack towards the studio. It’s really strange to watch but just shows how web users are using different channels to voice their opinions and air their views. It’s clear that the internet allows us to make our voice heard in new and diverse ways, to a much larger audience than in the past. But what effect will it have?

My emails to the studios were sent this afternoon.

Consumers or Producers?

I first started video editing when I was fifteen. One of my first big projects was to rework the video introduction of the TV programme Survivor to include teachers for my school intranet. On reflection this practice links with Barbara Comber’s work on critical literacy (Comber, 2001). She talks about subverting texts and redesigning them for real-world use to have a particular effect – this appears to be what I did at the age of fifteen.

A quick search on YouTube shows that others have also chosen to do this. ‘Scary Mary’ and ‘Shining‘ are two such examples. These users (and I include myself) are influenced by texts of popular culture and subvert them to add their own mark. What I find interesting is this is an increasingly frequent technique used by advertisers especially the UK television channel E4. Above is a video of an advertisement for the film ‘Entrapment’ where they have chosen select clips and a sarcastic narration to present the actor in a completely different way. Advertisers try to influence our decisions, but are we starting to influence theirs?