Week 9: Project 2 Final Post

Violence has ingrained itself in our culture, since the dawn of man, so naturally as entertainment progressed it made its way into gaming.

For over 30 years games have been a huge part of the entertainment industry. Just as rock music and violent films were analysed on their psychological impact, so gaming is now. While intended to be an enjoyable experience a lot has been said for both sides in the video game violence controversy.

According to a study in 2008 by the Entertainment Software Association, genres with the highest sales were action making up 20% and family entertainment making up 19.3%. The Shooter genre, considered to be the most violent form of gaming, surprisingly only made up 10.9% in the study, being beaten out for third place by Sports Games which made up 15.3%.

topsellinggenres2008

Above: Entertainment Software Association’s 2008 top selling game genres study

Study after study has been carried out in order to discern whether there is any link between virtual violence and violence in the real world. However, there has still been no conclusive evidence that has been wholly accepted by experts in the field; some saying there isn’t enough evidence to confirm any findings and some who believe they have found a definitive link.

Nintendo game designer and producer, Shigeru Miyamoto once said “video games are bad for you? That’s what they said about rock and roll.” This is a view shared by many who work in the games industry. It has not been uncommon for new popular forms of entertainment to be vilified by more traditional media throughout history.

Shigeru-Miyamoto

Above: Shigeru Miyamoto talking at one of Nintendo’s conferences – Credit unknown

Demetri Martin, an American comedian, used this point during one of his routines; “I like video games, but they’re really violent. I’d like to play a video game where you help the people who were shot in all the other games. It’d be called ‘Really Busy Hospital”. He makes a good point, video games have been getting increasingly violent as technology has progressed, and while enjoyable to play the objective nature of gaming has shifted more towards killing, which could cause desensitisation to those playing these games.

Violence and killing have become very much the norm for many AAA gaming releases in recent years, however this is not to say that every game revolves around this aspect. Many indie games that have reached popularity have a much less destructive focus, a prime example of this is the Indie titan Minecraft whose aim is based more so around surviving and creativity rather than violence.

 

 

Many of those who have grown up playing video games are of the opinion that gaming does not have any influence on violent or aggressive behaviour. However, those of the older generation who are not interested in gaming are often of a very different disposition. Which often leads to this butting of heads with both sides not fully understanding the perspectives of others.

Whether for better or worse video game violence shows no sign of going anywhere anytime soon and will continue to be a part of gaming.

Read more: Gaming used for education

Gaming could be included in US computer science plan

 

 

Week 9: Project 2 Final Post

Project 2: Week 8 Project Summary

Post production work completed

The work I completed over the past week was mainly putting the finishing touches and finalising my video, audio and article. Due to having already drafted each area of my project I was able to receive feedback and then use this to improve them and create my final versions.

You can see the changes I made to my video piece after receiving feedback in this blog post. Between this version and the final version (seen below) all I changed was re-recording the piece to camera. This was relatively easy to re implement, I was able to record the piece word for word from memory.

However, there were a few issues with my recording, I had taken out a shotgun mic in order to get better recording quality. Upon playback during sound check I realised the microphone was not functioning correctly and produced very quiet audio of very low quality. Due to time constraints and availability I had to simply use the camera’s built in microphone. While this was not ideal the audio was of a much better quality of the clip it was replacing due to using a much better location (as the previous clip had slight echo).

This problem would have been an issue had I not done a sound check, this is something I realised I needed to be more careful with after receiving feedback on my original draft of my video piece.

As well as this I finalised my audio piece. This included completion of recording and I was able to do quickly and efficiently due to having had a lot of experience with audio editing in recent years. I then uploaded the piece to my SoundCloud account and was easily able to embed the this into my blog due to the sharing feature specifically for WordPress (seen below).

Finally after having completed my initial draft I received feedback after a proof reading of my article. This allowed me to clean up some of the grammar, remove some words and reword certain sections so the article read better and was a more fluid reading experience. Below is a picture of my annotated initial draft after having been proof read. After cleaning up the article (also seen below) I am much happier with the final product and feel it reads much better.

project 2 article – Initial draft

image1

Above: Feedback received from college tutor and proof reading

PROJECT 2 FINAL ARTICLE – Final version of article after taking into account feedback and proof reading.

Examples of embedding audio and video for final blog post:

Final audio piece, embedded using soundcloud online audio player done simply by copying and pasting the HTML code from the soundcloud share option specifically for WordPress.

Final Video Piece using YouTube:

Online based problems in completing final post

How can you embed your audio/video?

As seen from my previous theory post, embedding audio and video to allow for an interactive element is vitally important to keeping reader attention. In order to do this I have uploaded my video piece to YouTube and my audio piece to SoundCloud.

By YouTube when I add a link to the WordPress post it will automatically use the YouTube player to have it play natively in the post. This means the reader does not have to click away and keeps them on the post for longer.

Again with the audio piece I am able to easily embed this using simple HTML code which is made available on SoundCloud under the share option. This allows me to just cope and paste the code and it will embed the audio player into the post.

What is the best way to lay out your piece?

As with the previous online based problem I intend to apply my previous theory post in order to layout the piece. The layout of that particular post is in a similar style to that of how I intend to layout this piece.

I will start with a large header to draw in readers with a emboldened first 25 words. Under this will be a large image and I will then spread out images, my audio piece and video piece throughout the article.

This will break up the article and make it a lot less intimidating to the reader and give the impression of easy bite sized pieces of information. This takes into account the idea of heat maps and how readers look at online articles.

How can you make your piece shareable?

In regards to making the piece shareable I will be applying the theory from this post in terms of creating a shareable piece of content.

WordPress has shareable social media links at the bottom of each post. It is more beneficial to have these both at the top or bottom, however, this is not possible to do with out installing a third party program or editing the themes overall code. This is something I will have to accept as a limitation due to using WordPress for this particular project.

How many images do you need and where will you source these from?

I intend to use around 4-5 images spread throughout my piece. I will use this to break up the content of my article to make it a more visually pleasing piece. In terms of sourcing this images I will be using screenshots from the games including in my video piece and still rendered shots from the video piece – therefore they will have all been sourced by me personally. I will be giving fully credit to the games that the images are sourced from below each picture used.

Project 2: Week 8 Project Summary

Project 2: Week 7 Summary

Radio production/post production summary

During this week I recorded and begin editing together my radio piece. I was able to complete all recorded needed and begin to edit together all the relevant clips and wild track.

In terms of production I recorded several vox pops to be included in my radio piece. I was happy with the outcome of them and they were of good sound quality. I didn’t encounter any real issues when recording them. I did several takes with one interview due to recording conditions – however, the person being interviewed did not have any issue with this and it only took about 2 minutes to do the 3 different takes.

In terms of the recording process I did this at home using my own equipment. Similarly with my video piece’s voice over I recorded it using my CAD USB studio condenser microphone with a pop filter. This produced good sound quality and I was very happy with the resulting audio. Due to having rehearsed the script it was a very simple process to record and was not time consuming in any way.

I again recorded this in audacity due to convenience and began the editing process using Sony Vegas 13 pro. While this is mainly software for video editing it also has very good audio editing capabilities, with being able to alter individual sound levels and simple cutting as with Audition. It also allows for rendering in an audio only format which allowed for a much simpler editing process for me due to my past experience with Sony Vegas, as well as having used it to edit audio in the past (as evidenced by this blog post).

While being able to ensure levels were of a good quality and re record specific sections if necessary, coupled with my previous experience with Sony Vegas allowed for a simple and fluid editing process.

I also, using feedback given on my post for the progression week and half term, in terms of my video piece managed to fix many of the editing errors and improved my piece overall. I am much happier with this second draft and I intend to re record the piece to camera also this week. Further explanation of this can be found here.

I also drafted up my 500 word article. I find that it reads more so like an essay and less like an article. I intend to get feedback and change it accordingly to be a more fluid and readable article.

Evidence

vox pop evidence

project 2 article

 

To Do List

  1. Finish editing the audio piece
  2. Make any final changes to written article
  3. Re edit video piece including new piece to camera and render final
  4. Implement all elements into the final interactive piece

Evaluation of previous weeks to do list

In general, I am very much on track and could quite feasibly end up finishing the project early. While I was unable to re edit the video piece due to being away from home to get access to my project, I am still very much on track.

The radio piece will likely be completed by the end of this week if not by the beginning of next week and due to my extensive research the writing of the 500 word article should not be difficult or time consuming.

Other than the final edit of the video I was able to complete all other tasks set last week from my to do list to a good quality. I am expecting to begin writing the first draft of the article this week and complete it next week and combined with the other pieces in the final product well within the time allocated.

Project 2: Week 7 Summary

Project 2: Week 7 Video draft 2

After having taken on board comments made about my first draft I have taken these into account and re edited some of the areas specified.

This include changing the lighting in post production, re editing some cuts and removing fades and re recording some of the audio.

I intend to re-shoot the piece to camera tomorrow however have cleaned up the audio slightly in this draft regardless. All other changes that were suggested have been implemented. The only issue that I could not resolve is that of the poorly framed interview with Stuart Dodd, this was partly due to limited space and so I struggled to frame the shot correctly. If I had the time (or if I were to do this again) I would re shoot this interview.

I am aware there is a shot where it focuses then goes back out of focus, this has been corrected however due to rendering times etc… I thought it best to upload this version before editing in the revised piece to camera as I intend that to be the final draft.

Project 2: Week 7 Video draft 2

Project 2: Week 6 Summary

Radio pre-production summary

Due to having completed the video portion of the project this week I began to create my radio piece. This week I focused on acquiring more research so as to not repeat information shown in my video piece. I decided to angle this more to present the negative side of the argument to counteract the positive argument towards gaming in the video piece. This way I will have presented both sides of the argument in equal relevance and then I will be having the article as factual information to achieve neutrality overall.

Firstly I created my base outline script using the research (see reference list below), and then creating a timing outline for the piece similar to the format of the shooting script. I did this by reading aloud my script one sentence at a time and timing each and then adding it to the script, this allowed me to edit sections of the script to be shorter or longer as necessary to fill the 2 minute time slot. Doing this also allowed me to effectively rehearse the script and get a sense of the pace I will need to read the script when recording.

I also downloaded a sound effect from the game Death Race with is discussed in my piece. I also made preparations to book out a Zoom mic in order to record vox pops for the editing process next week. Due to the having a lot of game footage from the video recording I will likely use audio from that for my wild track and this puts me in a very good position time wise. Likely I will possibly be able to have the radio piece recorded and edited by the end of next week, putting me ahead of my planned schedule.

Radio piece script

PRODUCTION Radio Project

Next week itinerary 

  1. Rehearse script for radio piece
  2. Record radio piece using home equipment
  3. Rip audio from video recordings to use for wildtrack
  4. Write up questions and record vox pop interviews
  5. Tighten up editing on video piece and render final draft

Evaluation of previous weeks to do list

I fully completed what I have set myself out to do last week by completing my radio script. I have put myself in a good place time wise for completion of the project with a likelihood of completing it sooner than planned. This means I will be able to allocate more time to the creation of the web layout for the final project and hope to be able to begin planning the layout of this soon as I already have an idea in mind.

I am very pleased with my overall script and intend to have it read through to double checked to ensure its quality. It may be possible to actually record the radio script this week provided the script receives good feedback, however, I would prefer to wait until after having the vox pops in question so I can alter times and scripting if necessary dependent on the timing of the audio.

 

Research reference list

Kelly, H. (2015)

Do video games cause violence?

Available at: http://money.cnn.com/2015/08/17/technology/video-game-violence/ (Accessed 23 February 2016)

 

Nation Coalition Against Censorship

Available at: http://ncac.org/resource/a-timeline-of-video-game-controversies (Accessed 23 February 2016)

 

Sifferlin, A. (2015)

Violent Video Games Are Linked to Aggression, Study Says

Available at: http://time.com/4000220/violent-video-games/ (Accessed 23 February 2016)

 

American Psychological Association (2015)

Available at: http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2015/08/violent-video-games.aspx (Accessed: 23 February 2016)

 

Stuart, K. (2014)

Video games are not making us more violent, study shows

Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/nov/10/video-games-violent-study-finds (Accessed 23 February 2014)

 

Project 2: Week 6 Summary

Progression Week Project Summary

Due to doing an equal amount of work towards my project during the half term I will be discussing work done both during progression week and this week.

Production and post-production summary

During the progression week I finished off live recordings for my project. This consisted of about 6 different takes of various length and detail. In some of this footage I was standing to the right of the frame (abiding by the rule of thirds) in order to edit in the statistics I’m discussing to the left of me which I indicate to in the footage. I did multiple takes in order to have footage that can take up different amounts of time depending on how the rest of the footage fills the two minute time requirement.

Most of the work done during progression week was house keeping in preparation in order to efficiently enter the post production stage for the video portion of the project allowing me to finish this during half term and focus entirely on the radio piece and 500 word article. This included double checking the quality of all footage to ensure it was of a professional standard and decided which pieces would be included in the final piece. This also included uploading those pieces to the One Drive cloud based storage site so I could download them on my home computer in order to use my preferred editing software over the half term.

I also looked over my shooting schedule and re-organised it for the half term. This was in terms of recording game footage and the voice over. Due to having prior commitments the previous week I was unable to follow my schedule. However I quickly made up for this during the half term and recorded the rest of the footage, including footage of violence in 3 separate popular games in recent years in 1920 x 1080p and 60fps to fit with the rest of the live footage recorded.

Lastly during my half term, in terms of production I recorded the voice over, I did this using my recording set up at home using a CAD Audio U37 USB Cardioid Condenser Studio Recording Microphone, along with a pop filter in order to ensure good quality and avoid harsh s’ and pops. I recorded this using Audacity software, which is free software and while not as professional as Adobe Audition its ease of use and availability was more preferable for me to use on my home computer. The audio itself did not need any specific editing except for being cut which I did during the post production phase for video editing in Sony Vegas pro 13.

Finally during the half term I completed the first draft of my video which I will show to others to receive feedback and will likely re edit. I will likely go back and tighten up some of the cuts as they can be a bit sudden and are edited to a less professional standard in places, but in terms of a working draft I am very pleased with it overall in terms of shots and overall content. While I followed my shooting script for the majority of the piece I did alter some just in terms of practicality. For example, I could not acquire any news footage online regarding the Sandy Hook shootings that I could safely download without putting my computer at risk. Therefore, I used some of the extra footage I had of live action playing of video games and editing news headlines over the footage. I feel like this was aesthetically pleasing and using a white text with black outline to be easily visable. Other than this I essentially followed the shooting script minus timings due to the voice over being longer/shorter in places than initially anticipated and reordering where the interviews went, choosing instead to have them together rather than separate them out in order to not create a jarring experience for the watcher; due to the short nature of the video I felt cutting between interviews would be confusing for the viewer.

Itinerary for next term long term:

  • Week 1 22nd – 28th February: Create radio script
  • Week 2 29th February – 6th March: Record radio script, find and download useful wild track, acquire vox pops
  • Week 3 7th – 13th March: Edit final radio script, draft up 500 word article
  • Week 4 14th – 20th March: Finalise article and plan layout for web package
  • Week 5 21 – 27th March: Any final edits to 3 pieces, combine video, radio and article pieces in web package

Short term plan for next week:

  • Re read research and draft up radio script – angle against violence in video games to counter the angle for violence in video games in video piece
  • Create timing plan for radio script
  • Using research write up interview questions for vox pops
  • Using zoom mic acquire about 4 vox pop interviews using vox pop questions

Evidence:

Evaluation

As discussed above I am very pleased with the overall result of my video draft. I feel like I am in good stead for the next term. My plan for the next term is well spaced out and I feel like I will easily meet the deadlines I have set myself. While I was disappointed that I did not manage to do all I wanted in week 5 I have made up for it during the half term. The video was a much more time consuming piece than I expect the radio piece to be and therefore I feel I will easily manage to complete it by the deadline to a good quality.

Overall I was very happy with the video piece and feel like it flows quite well while presenting the facts without being obviously bias but still having a tilted angle towards support of violence in video games – as intended. This is so I can contrast this with an opposite angle for the radio piece.

I was happy with the editing process only taking about 3 hours in total to complete in about 2 sittings. Below are screen shots of the editing process. If I were to do it again I would likely have acquired more footage just in order to ensure I had enough and could pick between more shots but I had enough to avoid having to reuse any footage and not exceed more than 5 seconds on anything other than an establishing shot, interview or for an intentional point (such as the last 10 seconds).

In a way I do feel like I may have tried to cover too much in the 2 minute slot and would have liked to have had a longer video in order properly explore the topic, however some of this I will likely touch on in the article and radio piece. I feel the topic would suit a longer format documentary style format as well as this shorter format I explored above. I will take this on board for my final piece at the end of the year.

Post Production Screen shots

Screen shot 1 (top left) Audacity project recorded voice over

Screen shot 2 (top right) Importing video and audio files to Sony Vegas Pro 13

Screen shot 3 + 4 (middle) Lighting before and after editing to adjust contrast to alter brightness and visibility of shot due to poor lighting.

Screen shot 5 (bottom left) Effect settings used to edit screen shot 3 to produce screen shot 4

Screen shot 6 (bottom right) First draft clips edited together, using multiple audio and video tracks for wildtrack sounds from games and the text added for headlines and for the statistics segment during the short case study.

 

Progression Week Project Summary

Project 2: Week 5 Summary

Production analysis

During the weekend I took home filming equipment and got the necessary shots I needed for the video project that I cannot obtain in the college. The majority of these shots were someone playing a game with violent content. The shots varied in both how they were focused (including some focus transition shots) and how they were framed. Using my shooting schedule I recorded several different shots for each in order to mix and match to be able to find the best establishing shot and create a good quality 2-4 shot sequence. What was recorded is intended to be the opening shots. Also due to the amount of varied shots I can use some of them in different places in the recording if necessary.

As well as recording as part of the short case study included in my piece I had a member of my college class fill out an aggression test after playing a violent game (from the Call of Duty franchise which has received criticism by the media for being a popular game with “violent content”). The aggression score increased from the original 58% up to 78% which I will discuss in a piece to camera clip that will be displayed after the initial shots of my classmate filling out the test.

Example of footage recorded:

My plan for this week is:

  1. Create a contingency plan (included in this post)
  2. Record in game footage from the source material of violent scenes in the games: ‘Fallout: New Vegas’, ‘Bulletstorm’, ‘Wolfenstein: The New Order’
  3. Record in game footage of Spec Ops: The Line – the in game scene were the player is forced to use white phosphorous on civilians in order to clear a path to make a point about games. (This will require playing the game up to this point in order to record the footage for a few hours)
  4. Interview with Games Development teacher Stuart  Dodd in regards to his views with games and the possible link to violence.
  5. Film piece to camera related to aggression test
  6. Record the voice over on home computer
  7. Possibly begin the editing process and decide which clips shall be used in the final piece.

Below is the shooting schedule that was used for Sunday and planned for the current week.

Shooting schedule 31 01-07 02

Evaluation of recording

I am very happy with the quality of the shots gathered. While I was initially concerned about the lighting available in my room I quickly found the lower light really suited the footage helping to highlight the computer screen and the game making it the focus, also due to a headset being worn it provided light which drew attention to subjects face during close up and allowed for a good focus point in focus transition shots. I expected the recording process to last between 1-2 hours but due to planning ahead and setting up early and the shots being easier to get to the quality I wanted meant it only took about 30 minutes in total. I was also able to get an interview with the person who was playing the games which creates a more fluid narrative by allowing me to cut from footage of someone playing the game directly to their opinion on how they think it affects aggression.

If I were to record the footage again I would possibly have filmed some more shots that I had originally planned (such as a panning shot over boxed games considered violent) however I was limited due to not being able to access the footage from the camera due to the cable that came with the card reader I was supplied was faulty. I managed to overcome this through borrowing one off the person who was playing the games for my recording, however, once they left it limited my ability to record especially since the natural lighting at this point had dissipated. In future this could have been prevented by better planning and scheduling of time to record that shot while lighting conditions were better. However, I was hesitant to use that shot due to the large amount of other usable footage I acquired during the shooting session.

However, I had initially intended to record my voice over this week, this was something I was unable to do due to the issues I had with scheduling and time constraints. I intend to do that this week at home using my own recording equipment, this is mainly due to the fact that I have access to a pop filter and microphone stand in order to get a good quality audio recording. Other then this I was able to meet all the objectives I had planned for this week.

Problems faced with recording this week

The main problem I faced this week was scheduling. I found it very hard to get hold of the person who was supposed to help me with my recording, this meant that organising a time to record was quite a challenge. This was something that could not really be worked around but I did inquire with different people to ask if they could help if I was unable to get hold of my contact.

Once I managed to get hold of the person it was a matter of scheduling, due to prior commitments and working the filming had to be done on the Sunday, this meant that I only had that one day to film what I had initially booked the camera out for. This meant I was working on a tight schedule as Sunday is a day where I have other commitments. However, as stated previously due to good time management and planning I was actual able to film all the footage in a much shorter time frame than initially expected.

The other problems I had were with the equipment itself. Firstly the tripod legs were not tightened well and meant that it was very difficult to set up. However, due to setting up early I was easily able to sort this out with plenty of time before recording. There was also an issue with the microphone I was using (a shotgun mic) not having anything to attach to the camera. In order to overcome this I used a microphone stand I have borrowed off of a friend. This actually was a very helpful outcome as it allowed me to position the microphone is a position to optimise sound during the recording process and use the directional nature of the microphone to my advantage. Finally there was the issue I had with the card reader (which I have discussed above) which was easily solved by swapping out the micro USB cable.

Project 2: Week 5 Summary