Quarta-feira, 28 de Outubro de 2009
Support website - sneak peek

This is what we've been working on, the last few days - the support website! A preview version can be seen below. Just a note: the upload function isn't working yet because we are still looking for a good solution in terms of grabbing and having enough space for what we hope will be several gigs of space!


So here are some screenshots, and remember: Constructive critics are REALLY welcome!


Sampling And Instrumentation Processes

Another round of questions, another round of answers:


Who will be the participants in my study? How will they be selected?


Well, I think this one is a no-brainer. Obviously, the participants in my study will be the Erasmus Students living in Aveiro. Within these, i guess it would be good to get the most answers possible from anyone who's available to answer them, so I'll probably send them to everyone and hope a lot of them answer. 

I've also thought about interviewing a few specialists in the field of web-documentary development/user-generated content if I can.

What kind of data do i need for my study?


From the Erasmus students, I suppose the data I need to gather will be primarily related to the themes we want them to talk about: which are most relevant and why - this may very well be a starting point for the introduction of the concepts we want them to develop and participate. A final survey, after the documentary is completed, may also provide data about the degree of satisfaction and if they think their experiences were well represented in the documentary.


As for the specialists, the data would probably be around their thoughts on the creation of a web-doc with UGC, how to do it well and similar projects.

How will i gather data for my study? What instruments do i need to adapt/create/validate and apply?


The Erasmus students will probably be asked to fill in a short questionnaire, sent through mail, to try and grab the greatest number of answers possible.


For the specialists, I think it would be better to resort to direct interview if possible, with an  elaborated interview script but that also allowed a bit of deviation, so that each subject could give their own experiences. If the specialist could not be interviewed presentially, the script would also be sent through e-mail.

posted by hjb às 17:44
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Quarta-feira, 21 de Outubro de 2009
Project & Seminar - Investigation Methods

This week, during our Project class, we were asked to answer several more questions during the week, about the investigation methods we intend to use in our projects.


So here they are:


What is the methodology which, at the moment, i consider the most adequate for my investigation? Why?


As to the object, i think it will be exploratory. Mainly because I think this will be kind of innovative (haven't seen many investigations based on a web documentary with user-generated content around). And I've already been looking for a few facts/investigations close to these themes.


Relatively to data sources, I think this project will be mainly based on bibliographic research, trying to gather bits and pieces from other authors to compose a solid block of text that focuses on all the main concepts of the project. Though I don't know if i'll be able to gather useful info from field research, mainly in what refers to community actions and so.


Lastly, the procedures to gather the data - from what I can see, I think a Case Study will be the adequate one for this project, the case being focused on the Erasmus students living in Aveiro during this year. A etnographic study could be of some interest as well, but it would require a lot more involvment and a deep, time-consuming personal experience with the subjects.



Theories, models and relevant authors for my investigation. (justify the 3 most important ones)


I'm afraid that, at this moment, I can't answer this question yet. I'll try to answer it during this week or the next, as I read more.

posted by hjb às 23:30
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Sexta-feira, 16 de Outubro de 2009

Na nossa opinião, a metodologia adoptada foi adequada, representando uma melhoria relativamente à metodologia tradicional (focus groups). No entanto, consideramos que esta metodologia não resolve todos os problemas inerentes a este tipo de investigação. Alguns dos problemas maioritários detectados prendem-se com:



-> Criação de um Ambiente-tipo: ainda que não tenha as mesmas limitações que um ambiente

laboratorial, os participantes sabem igualmente da sua monitorização, logo, podem reagir de acordo com o que é esperado pelos observadores ou, pelo menos, serem influenciados para alterarem as suas acções normais.


-> Os resultados pretendidos nesta investigação são qualitativos e não quantitativos. Ao invés de solicitarem aos participantes o preenchimento de um questionário no final da sua participação, é-lhes pedido que o preencham quando bem entenderem, talvez aproveitando para uma pausa no jogo. A altura em que os participantes efectuam essa pausa pode ocorrer num momento de má prestação no jogo ou pode, inclusivé, fazer com que não tenham ainda experienciado certas fases no jogo, o que pode provocar a adulteração de algumas respostas.


Uma alternativa para solucionar este problemas poderia passar pela tentativa de "vigilância" não-intrusiva através de câmaras colocadas estrategicamente nos locais de uso. No entanto, para além das questões éticas e morais que isto levantaria, teriam de continuar a ser monitorizadas, o que poderia ainda influenciar a sua prestação.


Grupo: Cátia Figueiredo, Fernando Faria, Hugo Branquinho, João Silva, Marília Moita,  Rui Rodrigues.

posted by hjb às 17:37
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Quinta-feira, 15 de Outubro de 2009
Advances, fallbacks, and more advances and fallbacks.

Well, I'm writing this post to give you a bit of info about what's been going on around here.


Graphics & Personal Stuff


As you might have noticed, this blog has been graphically remodeled. I've also done a few Illustrations that intended to be used here / for project publicity /  for the project website (more on this below). However, the end result - even though I think it's good - is a bit child-like, and may not fit a more "professional/clean" look (which I think may be ideal for this project). Still, it was a good way to get some more Adobe Illustrator practice (hadn't used it in a while) and I like the end result, so it's here for you to watch (and comment, if you like):



On a related note, even though I still want to work in the Audiovisual field, I've started a 1-month intensive course of ActionScript 3 - Migration from AS2. So hooray, more work and exercises -_-'


Thesis-Related Work



 Well, a lot of things have been going on. Firstly, I guess I'll start explaining the reason to create a project website. As my thesis will be based on User-Generated content, a support website is needed for several reasons: as a meeting place with information about the project, contacts and suggestions;

as a place to gather the material they produce (videos & photos) as well as give them feedback/display information or treated material (such as small reports); and to launch new themes/discussions/events.


With this in mind, and considering that my work should be primarily focus on the AV/community component of the project, my coordinator (Prof. Raposo) proposed me the integration of a member in the project: Jorge Viegas, an ex-erasmus student, currently finishing the TIC course. He would be responsible for the web part of the project, as a means of evaluation in one of his final disciplines. So we started working together, with Prof. Raposo helping us, to find a solution for this website.


Several things must be taken into account: the main purpose of the website is to gather the user-generated content. So, there shouldn't be any kind of registry required - or if there is, it should be minimal, in order to keep it simple and not drive the users off of contributing. We should also have access to the original files uploaded (since they'll be used in the documentary) without any kind of compression or loss of quality (since they can be made by cellphones/cameras/etc, their quality may already be low, which can be even worse if they suffer any kind of compression). Lastly, it would also be nice to have some kind of community tool (forum/blog/etc) to publish the news, though this doesn't exactly have to be in the same platform as the website.


We then began searching for an engine to host what we needed. By our coordinator's suggestion, we tried out the ning.com tool - a social networking website. So we created the I am Erasmus profile and community. At first glance, the tool seemed perfectly fit for our needs - a easily-build forum, blog, social-network, with a place for video and photo upload for the members. However, we quickly found out that it automatically converted every video to a flash video, without any options to turn it off or configure it, and not allowing access to the original file - which basically meant that we couldn't use it as the main platform to gather video.


Next step was to try out Youtube.com's tools. Youtube allows users to upload content and later, if they lost the original file, to download a .mp4 version of it. While this is not ideal, it could work if the compression rate was not high and if it allowed videos inside a group to be downloaded by its administrator. Since youtube.com's popularity is very big, this would allow minimal effort from the user's side - just join the group, upload & attach the videos to the group and we would do the rest. Unfortunately, that is not the case - videos are only acessible to the one that uploads them, so to use this platform we either would have to create a universal user and ask every contributor to upload their videos in it (allowing for potential misbehaviour within the account) and we would not have access to the original files all the same, only the .mp4 files.


We are currently researching another idea: a Wordpress blog, with a frontpage containing the upload tools for every user, allowing videos and photos all the same. While this may also allow misbehaviour, we can access the original files. Main problems with this are: we don't know if there's any solution that allows file upload and field submission at the same time (so we can get both the file and the info about the person that submitted it without them having to register); and also the fact that we need a file-hosting server big enough to gather their videos.


Meanwhile, GRI also provided us with a list of erasmus students' mails, and we are trying to look for ways to reach them besides e-mail (facebook accounts linked to those mails, for example). We will also inform them of news through the use of e-mail, when the site is ready or there are any relevant events.


More news on all the above soon, hopefully.


What to do, in research:


 So, along with professor Raposo, we decided that the project's keywords should be something like this:



User-Generated Content

Web 2.0



The next steps of my research will consist of finding a solid base of papers about each of the keywords and then answer the questions: who, when, where, how and why - who are the main researchers in the field, when did they research it, where was it researched, how was the research made and why was it made.


We also established a solid line: papers should've been made from 2005 onwards, so we can assure they're still reliable, as information changes quickly nowadays - I'll try not to break this boundary.


Let's get to work!!


posted by hjb às 15:32
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Who does what, and how does that interest me?

Well, time for another Dissertation Project activity! We were asked to take a look around in each others' blogs, and point out which were the ones that could help/have some interest to our own investigation.


The ones I selected as important to me were:


Teresa Oliveira - Teresa is also working with audiovisual user-generated content, which is one of my investigations' main concepts, although in my case it applies to the documentary style.


Rui Oliveira & Luís Alves & Paulo Nabais -  Rui, Luís and Paulo are all working around the documentary genre, which is also one of my key areas of interest for this project. Hence my careful following of their advances;


Pedro Ferreira - Pedro is working around Mobile Audiovisual content which, just like web AV content, is relatively recent and has specific rules. Web and Mobile AV rules sometimes overlap/are linked to each other, another reason for me to pay attention to Pedro's work.

Hugo Monteiro - Hugo is working on Motion Graphics used in Education. While it doesn't specifically touch any of my key concepts, it may be important for several reasons: personally, because motion graphics are one of my interest areas; work-related, because it can provide me clues of how to use motion graphics to transmit information in my documentary.


These were the most relevant to my project so far. Eventually, a few others may be added as we narrow down the areas of interest of each project.

posted by hjb às 14:27
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Quinta-feira, 8 de Outubro de 2009
... and more Questions: Seminar!

Suggestion of Links/Important Resources for my research:

Here are a few books i'm trying to get more information on, which may be of importance to this work:

New Documentary


Cultures In Webs: Working In Hypermedia With The Documentary Image

Documentaries: and How to Make Them

Digital Film Making

Managing User-generated Content and Defining Value in the Digital Age: Questioning Authority

As you can see, most of these are about how to make a documentary: i tried to find some who specifically talked about web docs, but the closest i found was this. The last one should be useful to write the context about user-generated content, but i suppose there are a lot of papers about that around.

As a curiosity, some recent interviews from the Jornal de Notícias newspaper about Erasmus students (but in Oporto): http://jn.sapo.pt/Reportagens/Interior.aspx?content_id=1379335

What's relevant in what's been made in this area of investigation so far? (3 examples)/What are the most important results coming from those investigations?


This specific area of investigation doesn't have much papers or dissertations: I found that, in the web 2.0 area and the User-Generated content field, there is a lot of information. But in the opposite pole, I have found only one paper specifically about web documentaries : "Web-documentário – Uma ferramenta pedagógica para o mundo contemporâneo", that doesn't touch the UGC part. In a meeting i had with my coordinator (Prof. Rui Raposo), it was suggested we try to contact the authors of similar papers to get more information. In sequence, my coordinator found a interesting paper, that looks at the audiovisual UGC coming from an audience that is also a collaborator, but in a web series: "The Community as Artist: The Show with Ze Frank".


I have also found that a course in the Film and Media Department Hunter College, New York was about Web Documentaries, and its page has useful links, but with a problem: they are _ALL_ broken.


Probably, the course of action will be trying to nitpick what I can from each of those papers and create a text that links them. I'll probably also try to contact a few of those writers, to see if I can obtain more information/similar works.

Segunda-feira, 5 de Outubro de 2009
Soon to come.

A revamp of the graphic aspect of the blog. Oh yes. Most definitely. Gonna create at least a new logo, and change a few bits here and there.


A few updates about the work we've been developing.


.... and also the answers to the Seminar class questions. Pretty soon.

posted by hjb às 00:46
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Getting personal ... questions - and answers!

During the last Dissertation Project session, we were asked to answer a few questions which relate to personal reasons to accept each project. Here are mine, answered as truthfully as I could:



1 - Why have I chosen this thematic?


There were several reasons behind my choice. One of the biggest has to be the fact that it was one of the few audiovisual projects that were proposed. Seeing as I want to try and lead my life in this area, it was pretty logical that i would either have to choose such a thesis, or go and create my own proposition within this field of expertise (or just give up my degree, hehehe :P).

And why did this theme stand out between the ones that were presented? Mainly because, especially since i did an Interrail trip around Europe, 2 years ago, in which I travelled across 14 different countries in only 28 days, all those different cultures made me change my view of the world. And working in a city that i now consider my own (Aveiro) with people that remind me of how different the world is viewed by each of us, is something i consider a previlege, and something I will try to honor in the work I'll do.



2 - What is my investigation's starting question?


To be true, I don't really know yet. As you might have seen in my last post, I know several of the themes I wish to focus on, all of them having been discussed with my coordinator (Professor Rui Raposo). Mainly the web documentary ~ user-generated content ~ community dynamization are the themes which I want to focus on the most, so I guess a question would be something like:


How to efficiently dynamize a community so they contribute with user-generated content towards a web documentary based on their way of life?


Or something less complicated, I still have to work on that.



3 - What is the title of my investigation (3 suggestions)

To be honest, I really like "I Am Erasmus", the name that came with the project - I think those 3 words describe exactly the main purpose of the documentary: to show what the erasmus experience is like. Though it doesn't explicitly say it's in Aveiro, it does have a strong sound and a strong, personal feel about the experience.


Getting more technical, though, something around the lines of "Studying abroad - Erasmus' life in Aveiro" or "Web documentary based on user-generated content: Erasmus in Aveiro" would probably fit.



4 - "(Not) gonna do's / perhaps I'll do / no clues"



Handling my creativity around the project - I want to do designs, motion graphics, edit video, stir some healthy discussions about the theme, etc.

Enhance my organization - being a fairly disorganized fellow, i do know that I have to improve on that. And I intend to.

Work with video - give small video reports about the activities instead of only a documentary, and maybe use that to try and improve participation rate (as to the user-generated content).

Get along with the community - I want them to trust in my capabilities of truthfully reporting their experiences.

Establish goals - I think I work better with goals each week/day, or whatnot. Let's try, and see how it works out.



Definitely not gonna slack off on this - I definitely want this to be a rewarding experience, both in the sense of learning and getting an enjoyable final product.



Maybe i'll write my dissertation in english.



I don't really know how to make a dissertation yet - never even read one. Guess I'll have to read plenty of them from now on!


(more to come?)

Domingo, 4 de Outubro de 2009
Project Presentation

This is the first official presentation for the I Am Erasmus project. It was shown on the first day of the Erasmus students' activities here in Aveiro, to ask for their collaboration and to give them a simplistic overview of the project.


In detail, this project consists in a study of different matters, with a web-documentary (and a support website) being the by-product of the study.

Some of the matters this study will try to address are: rules to create a web-documentary (and differences between it and the normal documentaries); how to efficiently dynamize and get collaboration from a community (in this case, specificially, the Erasmus community in Aveiro); what kind of contribute can user-generated content bring into a documentary and how can it be put to good use within the main product; and several others.

As time progresses, more details will be added to this blog, along with footage taken (as an example, the first days' presentation was recorded and will probably be made available.)

posted by hjb às 23:43
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Who Am I?


My name is Hugo Branquinho.

I'm 22 years old, currently taking a Master's degree in Multimedia and Communications - Digital Audiovisual. This blog is where i describe my 2nd (and hopefully the last) year in it, where i write a dissertation about the I am Erasmus project.

I'm a multimedia artist (or at least i try) whose passions include everything that relates to video, motion graphics, animation, illustration, photography, multimedia.

You can take a look at my personal website and personal blog (they are currently under construction, so here's the link to my YouTube folio). You can also take a look at my deviantArt webpage.

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