MCI

AUD451 TET Distortion & Quantization Error

Guy Cooper Distortion TET.png

The sound used to analyze the quantization error created by the bit depth change was the preloaded full drum kit recording. The cymbal-heavy sections were difficult to determine the changes, but the lower frequency tom sections and quieter sections made it easy.

A sound with less audio content would make it easier to hear the quantization error. The dynamic range is 96.33dB at 16bit, 72.22dB at 12bit, 48.16dB at 8bit, 24.08dB at 4bit and 12.04dB at 2bit. (Smith, 2007)

Therefore it would be easy to determine the quantization error noise if you can aurally analyze the noise in the signal during sections with less audio content. (Corey, J. 2010)

The quantization error is more noticeable in the higher frequencies due to the larger and changes in level per sample. Sounds with lots of high-frequency content such as cymbals would make it harder to hear the noise created by the quantization error due to masking.

“Critical bands are important in many audio disciplines. For example, codecs such as AAC, MP3, and WMA are based on the principle of masking. A tone (a music signal) will mask quantization noise that lies within a critical band centred at the tone’s frequency. However, if the noise extends outside the critical band, it will not be masked by the tone. One critical band is defined as having a width of 1 bark (named after German physicist Heinrich Barkhausen).” (Everest, F. A., & Pohlmann, K. C. 2015)

References
Smith, J. (2007). “Pulse Code Modulation (PCM)”. Mathematics of the Discrete Fourier Transform (DFT) with Audio Applications, Second Edition, online book.

Corey, J. (2010). Audio production and critical listening: Technical ear training. Burlington, MA: Focal Press.

Everest, F. A., & Pohlmann, K. C. (2015). The master handbook of acoustics. New York: McGraw-Hill.

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AUD451.1 Delay & Reflections

Guy Cooper Delay Lvl 1Guy Cooper Delay Lvl 2

Sound reflections from surfaces blend with and affect our perception of the direct sound in differing ways depending on the delay time, directional angle and level. The result of these reflections is how we analyse the environmental acoustics of closed spaces. Understanding how the impulse response is used in acoustic reverberation analysis prompted me to use a similar sound source for delay exercise. The sound source used in the above technical ear training exercise was a single snare drum hit due to its strong attack transient, making it easier to identify the delay time by ear.

Delays over 30ms are also more easily identifiable as echo’s by the ear and therefore the delay time is more easily identifiable using impulse sounds with a strong attack transient that have an initial duration of 5-15ms such as a snare drum or click.

The experiments indicate that the localization of impulsive sounds, with strong attack transients, is independent of the room reverberation time, though it may depend upon the room geometry. For sounds without attack transients, localization improves monotonically with the spectral density of the source. Localization of continuous broadband noise does depend upon room reverberation time, and we propose the concept of direct signal to reverberant noise ratio to study that effect. (Hartmann, 1983)

Sounds without attack transients can make the delay time harder to hear, as the comparison of the sounds original source with the delayed sound is more difficult to identify. The resultant combined sound has a less defined repeat of the initial wave pattern and sound when analysed with the ear so the use of gradually increasing sounds such as cello would make it more difficult to hear the delay times in the exercise.

Environmental characteristics are determined by comparing our memory of the sound source’s timbre outside of the host environment to the sound source’s timbre within the host environment. We must go through this comparison process carefully, scanning the composite sound for information and then comparing that information with our previous experiences with the timbre of the sound source (at times considering how the source appeared within other environments). Differences in the spectrum and spectral envelope of the sound source we remember, and as heard in the host environment, form the basis for determining most environmental characteristics. (Moylan, 2014)

Utilising a source that I am familiar with also made it easier for me to identify the timbre change from the short delays. I am familiar with the snare sound used in the example from its production in this recent track and this has helped me to recognize the comb filtering effect and timbre change in the snare sample when combined with the delayed sound.

Hartmann, W. M. (1983). Localization of sound in rooms. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America,74(5), 1380-1391. doi:10.1121/1.390163

Moylan, W. (2014). The art of recording: understanding and crafting the mix (3rd ed.). Boston, MA: Focal Press.

Harry, L, Campbell, I & Cooper, G. (2017, November 14). The Dash, Gold Coast: Human Records. Retrieved November 16th, 2017, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wLV7tYXTdXY

Everest, F. A., & Pohlmann, K. C. (2015). The master handbook of acoustics. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Rindel, J.H. “Diffusion of Sound in Rooms – An Overview.” 15th ICA, Proceedings vol. 2, 633-636. Trondheim, 1995.

CIM402.1 Community is a postmodern metanarrative & Do we consume media or decode it?

Community is a postmodern metanarrative

The show “Community” is built upon a typical US TV sitcom situation in which 7 unlikely students from a community college are drawn together into a study group that sets the scene for a repeating set of scenarios. From the outset the inclusion of a 7th member to the typical 6 person, 3 male, 3 female situation lends itself to the shows main focus Jeff, being left as the narrator or commentator of the situations which is where this show makes it first postmodern announcement. The pivotal character sets the tone of the show and allows for a sarcastic turn, starting to define a postmodern take on the usual sitcom situations that arise from the storyline.

The application of the term “meta” and the definition of the show as a postmodern metanarrative begins with the declaration that the show’s audience is educated enough to understand the concept of meta. The joke of the term “that’s so meta” takes on a sarcastic meaning in the show when applied to multiple mundane situations that the characters refer to as meta and in turn expresses an awareness of the term meta to the audience to get the joke. The term metanarrative is perhaps used in this situation to describe the standard base storylines of each episode, but then the ridiculous direction each of these easily predictable storylines take. The underlying storyline of each character as it progresses throughout the series takes on a developmental and different approach to the usual TV sitcom.

“They told very different over-arching stories of the progress of their research. Within each tradition, accounts of research depicted human characters emplotted in a story of (in the early stages) pioneering endeavor and (later) systematic puzzle-solving, variously embellished with scientific dramas, surprises and ‘twists in the plot’.” (“Storylines of research in diffusion of innovation: a meta-narrative approach to systematic review”, 2005)

The underlying storylines in the show Community are what provide this direction as a metanarrative. The narrative of the show is typical in its school location (‘Saved by the Bell’, ‘Beverly Hills 90210’ & ‘The Wonder Years’), but the bigger picture that the characters and storyline creates suggest a more relatable and connectable truth to the audience through their commentary on the situation, primarily through Jeff’s character. It suggests a drive towards the every city scenario of similar colleges and how these extreme sitcom scenarios are played out in less TV fashioned ways, but with similar experiences across the lives of college students.

The postmodernism of this show is only expressed in the following of typical US sitcom shows such as ‘Friends’ & ‘Roseanne’, Community is a giant postmodern joke on so many of the typical US sitcoms from the 90’s and 2000’s. Its sarcastic storylines and characters only work in the space of the post-sitcom scenario presented by these previous shows. Taking on situations that lend themselves to the typical scenario, but then applying a different direction and also running commentary on that scenario as it plays out in a less than usual fashion.

So the combination of the postmodern scenario and the metanarrative storylines in each episode and then in turn with the season progressions, the show itself becomes a joke and sets up its own demise as a series. Caught between being able to reset itself each season as a typical sitcom does and progressing to fill the metanarrative of the storylines, the show must come to an end and this in itself is discussed and commented on, also creating another postmodern take on the TV sitcom series.

Storylines of research in diffusion of innovation: a meta-narrative approach to systematic review. (2005, January 26). Retrieved October 25, 2017, from http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0277953604006471

Sheehan, Helena and Sweeney, Sheamus (2009) The wire and the world: narrative and metanarrative. Jump Cut, 51 (Spring 2009). ISSN 0146-5546

 

Do we consume media or decode it?

In Stuart Hall’s ‘ENCODING / DECODING’ he talks about how “reality exists outside of language, but we constantly mediated by and through language. What we know and say has to be produced through discourse.” The consumption of media is a misuse of the term consumption, media doesn’t become used up when we consume it, we take it in and although we pass it out, it isn’t consumed and it doesn’t go away. What we get out of it is related however to our perspective on how we view it. Entertainment media is typically used to distract and fill the void of time and thinking for most people, but even when we are just watching, we are still decoding the media we consume. The content affects us and changes our subconscious beliefs of what is possible and makes us think or at the very least believe that what we are seeing or hearing is possible.

The aspect of if we believe the media we are seeing or if we reject its content as possible is itself a form of decoding, we are not just consuming the content, but constantly processing its validity and meaning. Its meaning may not be obvious, but even when we think we are simply being entertained by color, light, and sound, it is being processed by our brains to serve a purpose to us. That purpose may be unconscious, but we are constantly taking in the world around us and when we view media, entertainment, informative or otherwise, we are still decoding its meaning or processing the images and sound for decoding at a later stage.

It is perhaps not just the delivery or distribution of the media that changes our thoughts, but our interaction with the media as we reproduce it to our friends, peers and even our own selves in dreams or unconscious thoughts that allows this decoding. Not thinking at all about the media we consume is a difficult line to take, switching off completely with sound and images coming into our senses is not possible as we have been wired to be aware of our senses for survival. Some forms of true meditation can occur when our subconscious is let to flow, even in the presence of auditory and visual stimulation, but that conscious flow of thoughts is still relying on the decoding of the world around us to put itself in the place of physical safety.

When we take in media, we are always decoding it. Though it may not be thoughtful and meaningful analysis, it is still being processed and affecting our sense of reality. We usually put ourselves and the media in its context before and while consuming and this can define how much we are aware of the media and how much we can choose to ignore its true meaning. Popular entertainment, when considered and believed to be simply for entertainment purposes, is perhaps not given the same gravity as news media when we consume it, but it is affecting our vocabulary and discourse with the world when we view it. Simply not decoding and only consuming is not an option for a functioning conscious human brain.

The Bjork – CIM405.1 Case Study – Creative Practitioner

Icelandic musician and visual artist Bjork was asked “What drives you ? what makes you creative ?” in an interview by Herman Vaske in 2002 on a TV series called “Why are you Creative?” (Vaske, H. 2002. YouTube) and her response was that she doesn’t see herself as any different from anyone else creatively. She uses the example of her family, whom make fireplaces and are electricians, they are obsessed with what they do like her, but they are not considered creative socially. In the interview Bjork says that she works hard at being creative and in turn being a creative practitioner, she does not take holidays and works on her art 24/7. Bjork’s process is natural for her, singing is something she has always done and for her it started as a child singing on her walk to school, interacting with the environment around her. Using the natural beauty of Iceland and the open space to fill it with her voice. This is her creative process, allowing whatever she see’s and feels around her to channel her creativity. She then expresses it in her own unique way using technology and striking, bold adaptations.

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Figure 1 Bjork in the MoMA-commissioned video for Black Lake, directed by Andrew Thomas Huang.

In that same interview, Bjork also spoke more about creativity and said,

“For me, maybe I’m not so concerned about if it’s creative or not because it’s a funny word. Maybe because I’m brought up with a working-class situation, and with the people I admire the most, my grandmother, my family, if you were to look at their passport, no one of them says artist, but for me all of them have been very brave and completely stood by what they are made of. Sometimes to take care of a lamp shop is very creative, or to feed 8 children can be a very pro-life statement. And my grandfather would show me a fireplace he had just made, a polaroid of it, just as proud as I would play him a song.” (Vaske, H. 2002. YouTube)

The first of Tony Buzan’s six aspects of ‘How to have better creative thinking’ (Buzan. T. 2011. Video) speaks about how everyone is creative, Bjork embraces this philosophy and works with passion and consistently at what she does to create, as she is an artist and that is her job. Growing up in a working-class family has given her that hard working ethic and she carries that into her profession, making her a creative practitioner. She utilizes her own personal emotions and experiences and embodies that into her music and visuals, reliving them through the art form. She then takes those productions and displays them publically in unique and different ways, embracing technology to better serve herself and the way she chooses to deliver her art.

She also embraces the exploration of the creativity of the audience by allowing her music to become a vessel for education, as seen in her 2011 album ‘Biophilia’.

Her 2011 Biophilia app has since become a large-scale educational project, teaching kids to explore their own creativity while learning about music, nature, science, and technology. It has now done three years at schools across Scandinavia and is becoming a very serious part of the curriculum. “Out of all of my projects, this one is growing the most,” says Bjork. (Zadeh, J. 2016. Website Interview)

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Figure 2 Biophilia Album Art

Bjork works divergently (Manning A. 2017. Website) in her head for long periods of time, developing the music and ideas in what she refers to as sections and little cupboard and drawers.

“Most of my work I do in my head, just when I’m doing other things, I don’t know if it’s because I’ve been doing it for so long, or because I spent so many years without recording my songs, I wasn’t till 27 I started recording them. It actually becomes quite organized in my head, and I’ve got all these little sections and little cupboards and drawers and I started that idea and drawer and I can come back to it a year later and it will still be there. So I work in a room and it looks like I’m starting a song, but I’ve actually been working on it for a year.” (Bjork on Writing Music, 2017, Youtube)

She then returns later to bring those ideas together with convergent thinking (Manning A. 2017. Website). The use of low-tech and easy to use technology like the simple laptop computer as opposed to a large-scale studio facility, allows her to take control of the creative process and not rely on others and waiting for the right time to record her music.

 “I see myself as someone who builds bridges between the human things we do every day, and technology,” she says. ‘So when the laptop came, it meant I didn’t need a studio anymore. I hate them anyway – they don’t have windows and they are really expensive – but now I can write my music wherever. For a woman, I think it is really empowering because I don’t need the whole patriarchy of the studio and that whole universe to make my music. Instead of doing a small proportion of it myself, I could go all the way up to doing 90% of it myself.’” (Ellis-Petersen, H. 2016. Website)

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Figure 3 A hairpiece and dress from the Medulla era

The ability to capture the moment in a way that suits her thinking and process is a very important part of delivering the emotions she embodies into her songs and recordings. She can work around her mood, sleep patterns and life with this portable technology to efficiently and more directly record the way she chooses. This allows the raw emotion of the original intent of the piece to carry through to the final product more clearly.

Divergent thinking and using the environment around her, combining nature and science into her process and then relating it back to the music is her most utilized process. Letting the ideas settle in her head and then developing them further to come out at the right time and be captured under her own control have proven to be very effective for her. She can embrace the technology and explore the options available to her music production this way, without being hindered by the logistics of high-end studio production.

She bases her art on her own emotional experiences and then channels this for the performances in the live and studio settings. The album Vulnicura is a good example of this process, even though it can be tough emotionally on her.

“There’s no easy exit through. I wish. I would have taken it if I could. [long pause] It’ll be emotional. I’m just going to have to cry and be a mess and do it.” (Zadeh, J. 2016. Website Interview)

This in turn causes problems in her practice, when the emotions she is channeling are negative and not easily relived. Effectively communicating her feelings and emotions safely, while being too close to the content is something a lot of emotionally based performance musicians face. Creating art that is, as Joe Zadeh explains as “Almost too powerful for the artist themselves” (Zadeh, J. 2016. Website Interview), gives the product more depth and connects with the audience on an emotional level as well as auditory and visually.

“It feels like Björk Digital was a means for her to promote one of her most successful albums in decades, without having to actually relive the pain and anguish that was the fuel of its conception. And that doesn’t detract from the validity of the exhibition, in fact it adds to it: here lies a piece of art almost too powerful for the artist themselves. It opens up a strange and interesting path for the relationship between art and technology, that machines could somehow liberate artists from the crippling weight of extremely personal projects, and perhaps enable them to write more truthfully than ever.” (Zadeh, J. 2016. Website Interview)

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Figure 4 Performing a DJ set at Björk Digital in Tokyo in June 2016

The Wiki entry on CIM405, ‘Bjork: Tech & Human Connection’, discusses how she uses her art and the album ‘Vulnicura’ as therapy to process the pain of her divorce. This was a matter of urgency for Bjork to be able to release the pain. She has used VR technology on the album ‘Vulnicura’ to overcome these problems, by creating a VR version of herself, and then performing it once and sending that on tour.

“[Vulnicura] has been different to all of my other albums,” she tells me. “I wrote it faster than any other, and I wanted it over as quickly as possible. I did the least gigs I’ve ever done for a record, because I didn’t like the moaning. So I did like twelve gigs. Maybe fifteen.” Her tones changes: “I thought maybe there is a way? If I film myself singing those songs in VR, then I just have to do it once. I could put that on tour, instead of me. Meanwhile I could focus on more positive energies and write new songs. Instead of indulging yourself in negative shit, you should just make new stuff, it’s much better. So I started doing that, and I have been ever since. Most of my time goes into writing the new album, which I’m pretty far with now.” (Zadeh, J. 2016. Website Interview)

Picture5Figure 5 Visitors experience Björk Digital at Somerset House.2016

The Vulnicura album was performed live on tour in a showcase entitled ‘Bjork Digital’ As I have written about in my Wiki entry in the CIM405.1 Wiki entitled ‘Bjork: Tech & Human Connection’,

She was driven by experimentation and improvisation with the album and the interactive VR displays she made with other directors is a way for her to distance herself from the feelings inside the art and inspired it in the first place. She is using the creative process as therapy for her own self. (Cooper, G. 2017. WIKI CIM405.1

She overcame the personal negative association of the emotion in the album’s content by collaborating with other creative industry practitioners, such as video directors, animators and graphic designers, using their perspective to work further on difficult personal projects. By using other art forms to further deliver her art. The use of different directors has allowed different points of view of each of the tracks on the ‘Vulnicura’ and helps Bjork distance herself from the difficult personal topics.

“The visual side of Vulnicura has been a very slow plan … I think emotionally it really works because heartbreak is the oldest human story of all, so it could take this experimentation,” she says. “Each song has a different format and a different director. I think that helps because the story is mainly just me moaning, and the instrumentation is always the same, just strings and beats. So to get different points of view with different directors and different technology … I think it suits the project really well.” (Ellis-Petersen, H. 2016. Website)

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Figure 6 Speaking at the launch of Vulnicura, Björk appeared not in person but on screen in the form of an ethereal avatar.

Through the use of technology, Bjork is able to deliver her art within the restraints of the music industry, while still exploring experimental and avant-garde approaches that suit’s her personality. Creative divergent beginnings, formed in her head, that are then folded into practical processes, using new technology, equipment and methods. The collaboration with visual artists, matches and brings her music to the industry with new and exciting formats that engage the audience in an active way, such as the VR ‘Bjork Digital’ shows. This evolving and exploratory process helps challenge the music industry expectations and yet still conforms to what is considered a musical performance.

It is the visual, emotional and musical aspects of Bjork’s art that engages the audience. Not simply a .WAV file audio recording, but a technology and interactive based package that works for Bjork herself and the industry to accept and take in the art she pours so much passion into.

Björk – Vulnicura Live (Complete HD 1080p)

References

Cooper, G (2017, June). CIM405 WIKI Bjork: Tech & Human Connection. Retrieved June 20, 2017, from https://campusonline.gscm.sae.edu/mod/wiki/view.php?pageid=14#toc-7

Ellis-Petersen, H. (2016, August 31). Björk: ‘I build bridges between tech and the human things we do’ Retrieved June 20, 2017, from https://www.theguardian.com/music/2016/aug/31/bjork-build-bridges-technology-somerset-house-london-virtual-reality-vulnicura

Björk on Writing Music. (2014, July 03). Retrieved June 16, 2017, from https://youtu.be/JNFktYapxWY

Joe Zadeh, (2016, Sept 22). How Bjork Created a Virtual Version of Herself to Deal With the Pain of ‘Vulnicura’. Retrieved June 18, 2017, from https://noisey.vice.com/en_us/article/how-bjork-created-a-virtual-version-of-herself-to-deal-with-the-pain-of-vulnicura

Fusilli, J. (2015, March 09). How Björk’s New Album Creates A Welcoming Universe Both Logical and Unexpected. Retrieved June 18, 2017, from https://www.wsj.com/articles/universes-both-logical-and-unexpected-1425938338

Vaske, H. Björk – Interview on ARTE – Why Are You Creative? (2002). (2012, May 04). Retrieved June 18, 2017, from https://youtu.be/oUKMIlsoevU

Manning, A. (2017, February 06). Divergent vs. Convergent Thinking: How to Strike a Balance | Harvard Professional Development | Harvard DCE. Retrieved June 20, 2017, from https://www.extension.harvard.edu/professional-development/blog/divergent-vs-convergent-thinking-how-strike-balance

Buzan, T. Video. (2011, April 12). Retrieved June 20, 2017, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zO2LdDpx-Tc

FLM456.1 Case Study – Guy Cooper

FLM456.1 Case Study

Guy Cooper

The purpose of this case study is to compare and contrast two documentary film’s and analyze the storytelling method in each. Looking at the mode of desire, social influence, target audience and market and also how effective each method was in delivering the documentary.
I will be analyzing ‘The Story Of God With Morgan Freeman’ (Season 1 Episode 1  — Beyond Death) https://www.sbs.com.au/ondemand/video/945622595542/the-story-of-god-with-morgan-freeman-beyond-death. It was produced by The National Geographic Channel in the USA and originally aired on April 3rd 2016. It last aired on SBS TV on Sun 21st May 2017 and SBS on-demand, also as a multiplatform production on TV, online and via SBS on-demand.

Screenshot 2017-06-16 14.51.15

I will also be comparing ‘Trillion Dollar Island’

http://iview.abc.net.au/programs/trillion-dollar-island/ZW0614A001S00, which was produced by Chalkboard TV and BB2 in the UK. It first aired in the UK in Jan 2016 and has recently aired on ABC TC on Wed 14th June 2017. It is a multiplatform documentary currently available on TV, ABC iView, and BB2 online. The production is hosted by Jacques Peretti and he takes the audience on a journey throughout the Cayman Islands interviewing banks, businesses and the people in relation to the use of the Cayman Islands as a tax haven for big businesses.

“Investigative reporter Jacques Peretti is on a mission to get to the heart of what makes the UK tax haven of Cayman Islands tick – and uncover the unexpected truth about what its existence means for regular taxpayers.

The Cayman Islands. It is a Caribbean paradise of sun, sea and cocktails, but there is something else going on. Big money, big corporations… and seemingly no one paying a penny of tax.

Now Jacques Peretti travels to Cayman in search of the truth about this controversial British tax haven, and uncovers some shocking revelations for what this sun-drenched island means for everyone back in Britain.

Jacques meets the politicians, playboys and ex-pats on the islands in a bid to unravel the truth about a place with the population of Bognor Regis… but a trillion pounds in the bank!”

(BB2. 2017. Website)

Screenshot_20170616-091136

In discussing the effectiveness and analyzing these two documentaries, I will be referring to Renov’s modes of desire or four fundamental tendencies in documentary, as explained in his book ‘Theorizing Documentary’ (Renov, M. 1993. p, 21.). Renov theorized that documentary films fall into one of the following four modes.

  1. to record, reveal, or preserve
  2. to persuade or promote
  3. to,analyze or interrogate
  4. to express.

(Renov, M. 1993. p, 21.).

The Story of God with Morgan Freeman fits into the analyze or interrogate category for me. While it provides a lot of direct information about the historical progression of religious gods, in a logical and clear explanation. It also asks the question to the audience and the interviewee’s, if God exists? Which he directly asked the first interviewee, who drowned and came back from a mysterious light “was that god?”. Some of the information and delivery of the documentary fits into the to record, revel or preserve, but the overall goal is to get the audience thinking as they never push towards any one direction.

Screenshot 2017-06-16 14.54.03

In contrast ‘Trillion Dollar Island’ is more focused to persuade or promote, the host and producers direction and personal bias is put into the documentary, as he takes the audience on a journey to tell the story that they want to tell. Using the interviews and questions as well as the data and some monologues to the camera, to showcase the issues of having an offshore tax haven. Highlighting the issues in the Cayman Islands with its residents and also how the tax exempt status is hurting potential tax revenue in the UK. Although focused on the UK, the documentary has many connections with similar issues in Australia.

Using another documentary theorist with Bill Nichols’, in his book ‘Introduction to Documentary’ he discusses his view of storytelling in documentary films with 6 storytelling methods. Poetic, expository, participatory, observational, reflexive and performative.

“Individual voices lend themselves to an auteur theory of cinema, while shared voices lend themselves to a genre theory of cinema. Genre study considers the qualities that characterize groupings of various of filmmakers. In documentary film and video, we can identify six modes of representation that function something like sub-genres of the documentary genre itself: poetic, expository, participatory, observational, reflexive, performative. These six modes establish a loose framework of affiliation within which individuals may work; they set up conventions that a given film may adopt; and they  provide specific expectations viewers anticipate having fulfilled.” (Nicols, B. 2001. p, 99.)

This gives us another view of the intent of the documentary filmmaker and helps us further understand the purpose of the film. The story of God with Morgan Freeman is observational with different stories, interviews and lots of historical information, leaving the viewer to make the decision for themselves. The first episode has Morgan interviewing a man who drowned and came back to life, some scientists about AI, an archeologist and a trip to Egypt, a Buddhist temple and cremation center in India. Covering a wide range of viewpoints, it delivers the content without too much bias, allowing the audience to make their own decisions on the topics.

The Story of God with Morgan Freeman is a tent-pole program for SBS, although produced by national geographic, it is heavily integrated into the SBS website and up front and center on the first page. The celebrity draw card of using Morgan Freeman as the voiceover and host is appealing to a wide audience and will help drag the viewer into the film. It has a direct storytelling voice with Morgan Freeman, but is not authentic voice, more observational and analytical. Morgan Freeman does input a lot of his own personal experiences and shares this with the audience right from the start, talking about the town he grew up in and where he first experienced death. This gives us some authentic voice and the personal stories from some of the interviewee’s also expresses this, but overall the content is direct and unbiased, an observational view that encourages the audience to analyze for themselves. The first episode deals with life beyond death and whether there is an afterlife or not. The description on the website itself states  that the documentary was made “in an effort to understand how religion evolved and adapted as society changed, and how religion transformed the evolution of society.” (BB2. 2017. Website)

The producers are looking to explore the topic of religion and how it relates to society, in an effort to understand, making the audience think about it for themselves. The documentary is very cinematic overall, lush musical scores, sweeping wide angle high resolution shots, high speed and lush cinematic production with the deep and well produced voice over from Morgan Freeman. The production alone on this documentary is exceptional and this in turn opens it up to a wider audience, in addition to using a well-known world celebrity, it is appealing to many different countries. Being National Geographic, the target market is more directed to people who want to explore these more in depth topics and therefore doesn’t simplify the content or lay out the answers. It simply shows the history and discusses the aspects, leaving any conclusions for each self. The sharing of personal stories and monologues from Morgan Freeman, help the audience feel that there is some authentic voice and connects with the fact that this documentary is also the hosts exploration of the topic of God. I think taking an actor that has ‘played god’ in a film before also has some connection and I expect that Morgan himself is interested in the topic. Although he shares his personal experiences, he doesn’t go as far as sharing his view on whether god exists or if there is an afterlife. There is also a lot of very graphic shots in the documentary that I see as there as shock and awe value entertainment. Reenacted blood rituals, actors playing Jesus and shots of his hands being nailed to a cross, bodies being burned in a pile. They have chosen the most bloody and shocking things to reenact and show the audience, layered with deep and emotive music to grab the audience’s attention. Unnecessary to the actual story, but helping to keep the viewers’ attention.

Trillion Dollar Island on the other hand is to persuade and promote the host and producers view of the issues caused by tax havens, such as the Cayman Islands. The host directs the interviews and content to show the aspect of the story that he wants to explain. Building the documentary up to showcase how these ‘evil’ banks and governments are causing these issues. Based on Nichol’s storytelling methods, Trillion Dollar Island is a expository documentary, where the host constructs a specific argument or a point of view for the audience. Focusing on the negative aspects of the Cayman Islands being used as a tax haven. The interviewer directs each of the interviews and blends these with his own monologues to show the audience his point of view and make sure that the final conclusions and summary of the documentary are clear and in line with their views. The use of still images, footage from the islands and interviews shows a multi-faceted storytelling method like The Story of God, but answers its own questions directly and forces the viewer into their perspective. Playing on the poor island people and how the banks and local Cayman government and UK government is to blame, surprisingly taking the responsibility away from the corporations.

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Both documentaries use different modes of desire in expressing their points and direction. The use of a more cerebral approach with The Story of God, allows and requires the viewer to form their own opinion based on the information. I found the inclusion of Morgan Freeman’s personal experiences helped bring an authentic voice to the film and in turn helped me to understand that there is no answer, but that they are asking the audience (and Morgan) to explore and think about it for yourself. While the Trillion Dollar Island uses a more direct persuasive approach, laying out directly to the audience their point of view on the topic. Both are effective in delivering the purpose of the documentary. The Story of God having been made by National Geographic has a more open option and does not force an idea onto the listener and this is partly due to the target audience being perhaps a bit more intelligent and wanting to think for themselves. The international feel on the documentary is shown with the use of an international star as well as traveling to different countries and talking to both religious leaders as well as atheist scientists. The Trillion Dollar island on the other hand is more focused at low income workers in the UK being on BB2 and now ABC, it also takes the view that the government and banks need to sort this out, that the view of the people is not important. Its more about the little guy standing up to the greedy corporation. Its target audience is more bulk mainstream blue collar workers and hence it lays out what they want people to think. Instead of asking the audience what to think.

Overall I thought The Story of God was much more effective in delivering the topic within the mode of desire, obviously a much higher budget film with having Morgan Freeman host, as well as the music scoring and epic film locations and shots. It felt less pushy and more open to the honest answers, a more thoroughly thought through process and film. The Trillion Dollar Island was possibly more on the exposé side of films, attempting to explain what is going on with the greed and tax exemption, but focusing on how it affects the poorer locals on the Cayman Islands and blaming the banks and governments to do something about it. Perhaps missing the bigger picture that capitalism itself is the issue and instead finding someone for them to blame for the current situation. The host repeatedly asked interviewee’s who is to blame for it, who is responsible for the situation.

 

Bibliography

Renov, M. (1993). Theorizing documentary. New York: Routledge.

Nichols, B. (2007). Introduction to documentary. Bloomington, Ind.: Indiana Univ. Press.

Anderson-Moore, O. (2015, September 17). Nichols’ 6 Modes of Documentary Might Expand Your Storytelling Strategies. Retrieved June 08, 2017, from http://nofilmschool.com/2015/09/nichols-6-modes-documentary-can-help-expand-your-storytelling

The Story Of God With Morgan Freeman Season 1 Episode 1 — Beyond Death. (n.d.). Retrieved June 13, 2017, from https://www.sbs.com.au/ondemand/video/945622595542/the-story-of-god-with-morgan-freeman-beyond-death

Trillion Dollar Island. (n.d.). Retrieved June 14, 2017, from http://iview.abc.net.au/programs/trillion-dollar-island/ZW0614A001S00

Britain’s Trillion Pound Island – Inside Cayman. (2016, January 22). Retrieved June 12, 2017, from http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b06wrt2d

What is a creative practitioner?

After 15 years out from university at the Consevatorium of Music (and spending 17 yrs as a lecturer), I have re-entered the student life to study my Masters in Creative Industries. I have spent the last 19 years being a creative practitioner with my production company, record label, publishing company and as a musician, photographer, director, producer and artist.

But what is a Creative Practitioner ?

This was the inital response I gave,
Living Creative – Creative people tend to approach decisions, choices & life from a different direction and with a different intension/goal. 
An internal drive to create and share for their own understanding of the world around, as well as inspiring others with expression of emotions and thoughts.”

I wouldn’t change anything in that description and the key words for me are intension, drive and expression. The discussion surrounding the aspect of artists that create art for themselves, being creative practitioners, has no solid answer. For myself it is centered around intension and direction. Anyone can create or “do” art, it might be a simple as cooking a meal or running your finger across a fogged up mirror. But I believe that practitioners have direction and intension in mind with their creative endevours. It may not be financial or even to be pleasing for others, but it has an intial purpose in their minds.

I was more focused on the aspect that a creative practitioner creates for an audience outside of themselves, an outwardly facing project. But upon more reflection, the project can be selfishly and inwardly facing with a purpose to explore or interest the self and still be considered a practitioner. I would certainly not argue that the term “creative” can’t be applied to a range of skills and aspects of life. But the term practitioner suggests someone that activly thinks about their practise, their art, their method and perhaps their purpose and then integreate this into their future work. Their practice and the direction of their creative efforts is refined with each thought.

Which comes back to the defination of intension for myself, a direction and an awareness of the thought process behind creating. Self reflection in the process and final outcome, having a self awareness of many aspects behind the art and project production itself.

Here is a photo I took of a succleent in my garden, because I liked the patterns, in hindsight after selling the picture for stock use in some advertising, the colors and angle and lighting were all directed at being a background shot. But the intension was purely self indulgent, whats the outcome ? a nice picture and some cash ? hahh

The other photo is a shot from a music video I recently made for one of my artists Mickey (www.mickeytheband.com). Much more intension with the colors, props, technical equipment, flow and shot order. All set to follow the musicial composition and production we made, lyrical and artisic connection and intension for a commercial and artistic purpose. Whats the outcome ? a 3 min video that is exposing the artist on the internet and soon MTV, but maybe no cash or commercial outcome. Both are examples of my creative practice, but originate from different places.