Collaborative Digital Media Project
When Group 13 assembled, each member received an e-mail via our Deakin accounts. The four members were able to connect and establish ground information like our names, availability and how we were going to collaborate (see Figure 1).
From this point, we decided to collaborate using a Facebook group in which we would share and put forward our ideas. The Facebook group proved to be effective, as the group chat recorded all of our initial thoughts and ideas instead of having to read individual emails. In addition to its ease, each member could effectively use the site and each member was notified almost instantaneously of new ideas and member progress. Choosing Facebook posed no disagreements because we are already heavily dependent of the site on a daily basis. Collectively, we each proposed a topic question that related to our broad discussion of harmful online activity and potential issues with digital media. This made us choose one topic that neatly addressed our ideas. This enabled a precise and clear approach for our assignment. (see Figure 2).
Once everyone had his or her input via Facebook, we created a word document, which listed each key point under a specific content related heading. The word document presented the information in a concise manner that helped each member choose what points interest him or her the most (see Figure 3). We could now revert back to the document for clarity in a formal manner while still using Facebook to share our progress with one another. The group decided to not meet up in a physical setting until we have completed the proposal. This would ensure we have a clear vision about how we are going to complete the project first, and also enhanced the tasks aim for collaboration online. There were no significant obstacles to work around; however one member notified the group at an early date that she would have limited availability from certain dates, as she was overseas, this provided no difficulties or delay.
In the final stage of online collaboration, the group came together via Facebook to decide that Word Press was where we were going to present the information and video. A few of us were already familiar with the site and discussed the large amount of positives in using it. Moreover, we were all willing to help each other out as some of us had used it sparingly or not at all. Secondly, we decided to record the video using a digital video camera and have the footage edited through IMovie. Again, as some of us were not familiar with the technology, screenshots and progress checks were uploaded onto the Facebook discussion. This ensured there was a step-by-step progress while allowing other members to gain an insight into how their input would be embedded. The final production was to be uploaded on YouTube and embedded into the Word Press document. Finally, for further clarity on the video and collaboration written sections, Word documents were uploaded onto the Group 13 discussion section of Cloud Deakin. Each member was given a formal and detailed guide of how we were going to approach the necessary components, and come this stage everyone was well into their written component for the video and on track for our face-to-face meeting and film session.
Strengths & Weaknesses
A dominant reliance on social media can prove to have its difficulties, strengths, and weaknesses – much like collaborating efficiently and cohesively in a group. The filmmaking and editing process proved to have both strengths and weaknesses that included:
- Efficiency in pre-planning before the process begun.
– As the group arranged to meet a week and a half before the module was due, over Facebook, there was a discussion as to who would take what role in the filming and editing process. This clear planning stage allowed the filming to have all its elements in position for the production.
- Clear discussion about the presentation of information.
– There was no confusion as to what approach we wanted to take in presenting the information in the video. This strength caused no issues between each group member, and made it easy to film in segment, which made it easier to edit.
- Co-Ordinated in a co-operative manner to which we acted like equal members of a production crew.
– Upon meeting one another for the first time, Group 13 sat down for a short, debriefing meeting. The next process was getting into positions for filming. There was an arrangement of a set in the space occupied for the two members on camera, and there was one member filming and directing, whilst the other acted as a second-hand person by assisting the speakers with their needs.
- The group as a collaborative had minimal experience in film making and editing.
– This proved to be a difficulty, as one member had to take on the role of editing a professional presentation with minimal experience. However, there were no issues in taking on the responsibility and all members agreed to put the most effort into the presentation as they could.
- Limited time and space.
– The location chosen for the filming process was a small room that over looked the library foyer. Although the room was tight, the group only had an hour to complete the filming process, to which time was an issue. Although not a major detriment as the process was completed, it was a weakness.
- Some footage was unable to be used, however, a solution was found.
– Although the footage was checked for proper sound and visual elements, when the editing process presented itself, it became apparent that some footage was unable to be cropped and re-editing as easily as planned. However, this weakness was accompanied by a strength as IMovie allowed the use of transition slides with text to cover the missing footage.
Fixing and learning
It is a great challenge to meet people you have never met before, knowing that you have to cooperate and create an academic assignment together. Luckily, we managed to maintain a good teamwork, both in the social media and with meeting in real life. As young adults we have learned the positive effects of listening, respecting each other, and a joint brainstorming. These points contributed to our success in being efficiently and productive in our film making process. All of our voices were heard and we worked well together as a team, all with the same goal of creating something with a good and enlightening content.
Before our meeting we had discussed how we would divide the different tasks, meaning we already knew who would be behind the camera and who would be in front. It was no disagreement with our decisions, and therefor we could be more professional and creative in our meeting. We had also planned ahead how we wished to manufacture our film, with the picture of a newsroom in our minds.
When creating our film we were lucky with the location, since we had not booked a room for the recording. Even though we found a room, which was perfect for our idea, time caught up with us and we had to leave as other Deakin students had booked the room. We learnt that for future assignments, where we will need a special room, we need to plan better ahead, so we don’t end up in the same situation where we have to rush through the final part.
None of us were familiar with being a news anchor or being in front of the camera. The whole group were aware of this, making it less scary of the taught of messing up or saying something wrong. We did some takes where we stumbled a bit in the words, but the support and understanding from the rest of the team made it more into a fun experience, rather than a scene where you get performance anxiety.
When reading an academic text in front of a camera, where some of the content include references with quite difficult names, it is not a surprise that everything will not go smoothly. Some sentences and names were simply too complicated to say, especially with the time limit in our minds. Instead of pushing hard when something didn’t work, we found new solutions, which worked out better for both the news anchors and the editor.
To summarize our whole working process we found that having to completely rely on social media was pretty challenging. We chose to do the brainstorming process online without meeting face to face to see how we can maximize the use of social media. Delivering our message through text should be clear and direct to not complicate the process of digesting the idea – to help cover this we also created study notes and bullet points to be more descriptive in developing our content. To complete this we used Facebook chat as the medium for day-to-day discussion and to post our study notes. We tried to engage with Google docs, but then decided to stick with mediums that we checked with daily and try not to confuse ourselves with too many social media platforms.
All group members are active Facebook users, which made the process smooth with no particular obstacle in the way. After completing our proposal, moving along to the next stage we discussed online regarding filming ideas. We agreed that since we were raising a sensitive topic, the video should be in a serious manner. We planned ahead the shooting scenes and set a date to do the filming process for all group members to attend. The filming process went smoothly, we used the space to create semi-newsroom look alike and assigned group members to act as the production crew.
We had a cameraman, two presenters and a teleprompter. Difficulties we found regarding the script was quickly addressed by allowing the presenters to improvise wordings which allowed it to be more story telling rather than just reading a script. Finished with filming we got together as a group to recap on what materials we had so far and to delegate critical reflection writing parts.
We discussed a few options of social media platforms that we planned to use for uploading the video. We short-listed to WordPress, Vimeo & Youtube. We came down to these since they have a wide range of audience and is easy to engage with. Many creative filmmakers use Vimeo and by uploading our video here we may contribute to inspire people in not to take this matter lightly.
For the editing stage, we agreed that the production crew who was not presenting in the video would do it. We divided the process in having one put together the materials and the other to finalize any shortage. We found that we were a little short on material and decided to insert images that are related to our case studies in the video.
Overall we found that most of the social media platforms we used were easy to engage with, some of the platforms that we were not familiar with was easy to adapt to. We found the most useful platform to communicate with was with Facebook and Vimeo to upload our video. Videos that we found on Vimeo also inspired us to get creative in editing our project. Although relying entirely on social media may be challenging but overall we did not find any difficulties in communicating with each other since it was easy to keep up with. Engaging with social media was a great learning process and very inspiring to do, an effective platform to communicate our views and contribute in making a difference.
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