Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Language of New Media Chap 4-6

One of the problems with media these days is its concentration of ownership. It is safe to say the overwhelming power of the media rests in the hands of very few executives. This cause a problem because people assume these media organizations are only influenced by money and the content will suffer. This why I admire the entrepreneurs of New Media. They take the status quo and flip it on its head. Zuckerberg will probably never sell Facebook and Steve Jobs, with all the health issues is still revolutionizing technology. Where mass media are throwing spaghetti at the wall, hoping something sticks, new media is going straight to the user. Asking them what they want and most importantly what do you have to say?

With all of the advances New Media has given society and how easy it has made aspects of our lives, we often forget the technology behind it that is doing all that hard work. I often bring up South Park, but again they hit the nail on the head. In one recent episode a few seasons ago, the happy people of South Park, Colorado lost their internet. Not just them but the whole world. As you would expect chaos ensued. In real life, if the world lost internet, we’s all lose it. In order to solve the crisis in South Park, they have to go to the “internet.” As if it were a place. When they got there the “internet” was a giant wireless router. The forth graders fixed it by unplugging it and plugging it back in. Many times I think where is all the information on the web? Where does it come from, where does it go? The idea that it is an all powerful being, is it that far fetched. The fact is, there is enough information in a table spoon of internet to make a human beings head explode. Manovich reminds us that all of that is controlled by carefully planned programs and databases. We’ve come a long way.

Databases aren’t a brand new thing. They date back into ancient time where people would use databases to inventory their crops and such. The problem in olden times, even in modern history before the digital era, everything was written down on paper or animal hide, it was analog. This cause horrible problems for organization and efficiency. The digitalization of databases streamlined everything. Now information can be stored without taking up physical space, and it can be as organized as the user wants, most of the time information is searchable. I can’t tell you how much AppleF (or control F for you PCs) has saved my life.

Thinking of digital databases and relating it to media and new media amazes me. Before this class, I didn’t notice all technology has done for all types of media and I didn’t realize how it happened all of the sudden. Recently, I’ve been doing a good deal of digital video editing using Final Cut Pro. We’ve been talking about databases and we’ve spoke of Metadata, Final Cut is a great example of how easy technology makes life. As I’m sure most of us know, film editing was by actually editing rolls of film. The term cut or cutting is still used today but back then thats what they actually did they cut the film. This was good because it’s non linear editing, which means you can work on any part of a film or video sequence at any time, but it was destructive because you actually had to cut the tape. The next step was using magnetic tape, basically reel to reel editing. It was used in TV and radio, but it had it’s problems. It was a linear editing system which means you had to start at the beginning and end at the end and if you messed up you had to start all over. Finally digital non linear editing, the advantage of a non linear system that isn’t destructive. If you make a mistake all you have to do is undo. But the part involving metadata and databases is impressive. When a video file is edited in Final Cut, the original video file isn’t altered in the least, nor does final cut make a copy of the original to alter. What is does, using the file’s metadata, Final Cut makes references to the file’s metadata. When I preview my sequence all Final Cut is playing the referenced parts of the original file. Only when you export the final product is a new file created. Using the database and metadata, no extra space is taken on you computer until you happy with the end result. Now days all editing, video or audio, for TV, Movies and radio is done digitally.


  1. Final Cut is a good example, as you have a database of film segments, and construct a narrative out of it as a creator. But imagine the possibilities of an interface that doesn't present the audience with a completed film, but rather lets them, individually or collectively, assemble them as they see fit. That would be the natural extension of database logic.

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  3. I have had experience in Final Cut pro when in undergrad. Final Cut is an interface has been designed around traditional editing workflows, with four main windows that replicate tried-and-trusted methods of organizing, viewing and editing physical tape or film media. Professor Strate's comment is very interesting because it would be amazing to see an audience assemble an interface as they see fit in this program.

  4. Totally agree with you on the appleF function! Sometimes I do not know what I did before I had a mac...