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 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.

Janeiro 2011







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