Makey Makey Workshop and Playing with Video

by John Seedhouse

The Future Media team carried modelling clay, beans, fruit and tech to the Birmingham Made Me exhibition last week.  Lead by Mark Brill (Future Media Senior Lecturer) and Mei-Ju Yao (MA student) we were there to persuade a bunch of grown adults to get their hands dirty and techy with a little bit of kit called Makey Makey.

We have written about Makey Makey before but for the uninitiated it is a clever little PCB with a USB connector and a pack of wire and crocodile clips – imagine that bit from Lethal Weapon with the car battery and the wet sponge and we are probably in the right zone. The cool thing with this kit is that rather than electrocuting Mel Gibson the creative type can use the contents of the box to turn anything into a switch…

After a brief introduction to the contents of the box and the facilitators for the session we let loose 6 groups, with a Mac each, a table covered in the offspring of a Blue Peter demo and a last minute shopping trip to the 24 hour garage.

Having provided our delegates with the materials of mass chaos, a “responsible” support worker, a brief outline of the what, why’s and how’s of the kit and a team name related to social media channels (see the clever way we link this all together…) Mark set the challenge.

Each team had to use any or all of the items on the table (plus begged, borrowed or stolen additionals) and the Makey Makey to create an answer to one of the briefs:

#1 Being more active is fun
#2 Get kids to eat more fruit
#3 Help older people
#4 Better business networking
#5 Train a pet
#6 Help build a team

Perhaps wisely, Shrey and I decided that we would live-blog the event rather than risk the potential danger of electrified seats… Into our usual mix of Vine, Twitter and Storify we thought we could try filming and doing a live edit onsite and then showing the results at the end of the session. More on that later…

It says something for the concept of the tech that by halfway through the introductory session normally mature adults were devolving into giggles and making obscene things out of play-doh and pieces of wire.

As a kinaesthetic exercise it was interesting to see the way groups approached the problems from a 3D perspective. Cardboard houses and earthing strips of aluminium foil were the most visible and the air was filled with fruit drums playing alarm klaxons.

Whilst I was madly videoing bits and bobs on the iPad mini and wondering if I would be able to edit them all with the i-movie app, Shrey was busy making vines of the chaos and tweeting (he was alone in this as the groups seemed far too busy to start hash-tagging instagrams and tweets.)

So what was produced?

Team Instagram came up with a variation on the game controller for Pacman – a boisterous project that involved play-doh pads, metal carpets and a serious lack of vertical stability. The demo team of Jon Hickman and our own Neil Horne had clearly engaged in similar silliness previously…

COntrolling pacman with makey makey
Dance Mat Pac Man Controller

Team Facebook developed a Pavlovian approach to childrens diet with a fruit / audio reward system.

fruit based piano
Team Vine seemed to enjoy hitting fruit to produce strange and wonderful melodies.

the makey makey drum trigger
Drum machine triggers from Team Vine

Team Pinterest and Team Foursquare combined electrocution and pet care into a pair of Woodhousian behaviour training systems.

pavlov's dog
One of 2 differing dog training systems

Did we change the world with the event? Not really but it did prove that there is an innate element of creative solution building in all of us. Sometimes it is just fun to regress slightly and try solving problems without resorting to Microsoft Office products – and maybe this is where we need to think about re-focussing on how we learn with technology.

We made a Storify of the session.

 

 

Did the self contained video production system work? Watch below…

Makey Makey At Birmingham Made Me 2013

makeymakey
No food was harmed during this session!

Makey Makey is an invention kit comprising of a small circuit board, some wires and crocodile clips that can connect to a variety of materials.  This allows you to turn everyday objects into interactive tools which can then be used to control games, make music and even train dogs!  

 

 

Makey Makey appeared at this years Birmingham Made Me Design Expo to give delegates an excuse to play with their food. 

makeymakey2
Getting creative with Makey Makey.

 

Future Media students Shreyas Joshi and John Seedhouse attended the event and have collated their live Tweets, Vines and Instagram photos from the day to take us inside the Makey Makey workshop.  See what they got up to on their Storify blog here.

 

Working on a live brief: Interview with Future Media student Julia Ivorra Harrison

On the Future Media MA you work on live briefs, what’s that like?

At first you work on real briefs but simultaneously alongside the lecturers. The client never sees your work so you are free to make mistakes and learn as you go. Another benefit of this is that you have an inside knowledge of the company you are working on as our lecturers have actually worked on these briefs so they know what the outcomes will be. They can guide you and mentor you more easily as they know the project inside out.

Working on the live brief for Bridgestone was good because it really helps to prepare us for when we are more experienced and working on real briefs. As you are working with guidance you gain the confidence to try out ideas you may have been afraid to by yourself! You have freedom to go crazy with your ideas and test them out without the fear of making a mistake and if you do get stuck you have a team to help you out.

What were the challenges of this project?

We had three things to consider in the brief that we were given. Firstly Bridgestone are currently running a competition to meet Valentino Rossi, the Superbike Rider who they sponsor, all you have to do is purchase some tyres. They have created a campaign to promote this featuring a ‘Yellow Man’ who stalks Rossi. We needed to use this in our social media strategy.

Bridgestone also sponsor skiing events and have a giant ski sculpture made from tyres that is available for promotional use over the summer – when this campaign will run. The challenge here was to figure out how the ski sculpture could be used, A – in the summer and B – in the UK where you cannot ski.

Our third challenge was how to target female customers.

How did you manage all of your ideas?

We met with key Parker at their office in Lutterworth to discuss Bridgestone’s social media strategy in the UK. Their social media presence in the USA is really strong so we looked closely at their campaigns. The team; Neil Horne, Richard Duffy and myself, then went away and came up with 15 ideas. We went back and presented these to the agency during a tissue session where they separated the good ideas from the bad. During this session 7 good ideas were chosen for development so we went away and worked on those. When they had been fleshed out we went back and presented them again and the best one was chosen.

 

20130605-210637.jpg

How did you prepare for the big pitch?

We all worked together to perfect the final idea and make sure all the details were exactly as we wanted ready for the pitch. It was exciting and also scary as the director of the company was there but we were prepared and confident with our campaign.

Bridgestone liked your idea! What now?

We have been asked to work alongside Key Parker over the summer to help with the execution of our campaign. We will be attending events where we will get to witness our ideas in action and see the project through to the end.

 

Hayley McCaffery

Digital Marketing and Communication Assistant

Working on a live brief: Key Parker & Bridgestone Europe

OVERVIEW

Key Parker, a long established and successful midlands agency, work with Bridgestone across Europe and support them with their marketing on and offline. As the worlds largest tyre manufacturer Bridgestone are always looking to the lead the way not only in tyres but communications too.

With brand values such as Serving Society Through Superior Quality and the desire to reinforce the brand position of Toughness the Future Media team were briefed to deliver a full pitch around a number of events and occasions coming up in the Bridgestone marketing calendar.

 THE BRIEF

Bridgestone sponsors Valentino Rossi, the Superbike Rider, and a campaign has been created around The Yellow Man – Rossi’s new persona. How can this be driven across UK & Ireland and extended as a social campaign?

We also have a giant Ski Sculpture made from tyres, how can we best utilised this in the summer? We want to talk to females also, how would we do this in a non-intrusive environment? Promoting safety is key through all of this, what are the approaches we could take?

THE PROCESS

After an initial briefing meeting with Key Parker on the Bridgestone brand, the company philosophy, position within the market and the key company values the challenges were shared with the Future Media team. These challenges were formulated into a brief and the work started.

Desk based research around the competitors, the consumers and the products took place whilst at the same time research into the market from a digital perspective was undertaken too.

Armed with this information the Future Media team began to look at solutions and platforms that could deliver on the brief for Bridgestone.

A ‘tissue session’ was held at Key Parker with there Social Media Manager where the Future Media team shared all the concepts and ideas – some 15 or so! The meeting helped to trim down the ideas to workable solutions, combine certain ideas into campaigns and overall give a temperature check on the direction. The Future Media team was on the right track and hotting up!

With the insight from Key Parker the final ideas were worked up and visualised in to high-resolution images whilst alongside the pitch presentation for Bridgestone’s marketing team was developed. On the pitch day the Future Media team took the Bridgestone team and Key Parker through the history on the project, the ideas to date, the outputs of the ideas, the results that could be expected and ultimately how these ideas would benefit the brand, customers and meet the initial objectives of the brief.

THE OUTPUT

At the end of the pitch the Bridgestone team were very complimentary about the ideas, the thinking, the work that had been put into the concepts and relayed that they felt the background work by the team was also strong.

THE RESULT

The Future Media team have been asked to work with Key Parker to take the ideas to the next level and bring them to life from a design and feasibility point of view. The client’s want to see how everything would work in the context of the real world and how much investment they need to put towards.

The Future Media team will be working closely with Key Parker over the coming weeks and months to not only bring the ideas to life but to execute them and also go to the events and exhibitions where the team’s ideas will be delivered to the trade and public for the first time.

The Future Media Bridgestone Team
The Future Media Bridgestone Team:
Neil Horne, Julia Ivorra Harrison
and Richard Duffy

 

Exciting times for the team lie ahead!

 

Gray Dudek

Senior Lecturer in Digital Communication and Future Media

 

Future Media the New Rules of Digital Communication

At the heart of the Future Media course is a planning methodology that belongs to one of the world’s most successful advertising agencies. That methodology is a five-step process, developed by McCann Digital and it forms a sequential workflow that covers almost every consideration in a digital communications project.

The five steps cover: Discovery, Planning, Design, Development and Deployment (DPDDD)

DPDDD Methodology blog

In both industry and academic terms, this progression forms a proven model from an authoritative source that demonstrates a logical pathway from concept to conclusion. This route forms the first of the ‘New Rules of Digital Communication’ in this module since it determines every participant’s four-week journey through the pre-production, production and post-production phases of creating their own branded video content, for their own online social media marketing. Put simply, this means making a ‘shareable’ video résume of themselves and their brand.

In the Discovery and Planning phases (week 1) students are given their brief to write, produce and direct their social media videos as well as deliver a formal written report of their progress throughout the project. As part of aligning their learning objectives to their learning outcomes in this module, students also receive in-depth lectures and seminars on the branding principals, creative approaches, technical specifications and multiplatform strategies essential to the final delivery of a measurably useful and enriching extension to their online profiles.

These sessions, given by industry practitioners, link to previous modules and field trips as well as providing insight and strategy into the actual production process in hand. The overall aim here is to develop a holistic approach to convergent content creation whilst utilizing the DPDDD methodology in practice.

This approach translates into establishing and positioning a brand within a competitive market, developing concepts to carry that brand, identifying targets and effectively delivering messages to and via those targets. This last point is key since the “new rules of digital communication” give online marketers the opportunity to both ‘pull’ audiences ‘in’ to their message (through ‘sticky’, “get it here” exposure on ‘closed’ channels like TV) and ‘push’ audiences ‘out’ with their message (through ‘sharing’, “recommended” exposure on ‘open’ social media channels like YouTube). This is a lucrative and cutting edge arena in today’s predominantly mobile marketing universe; and here, students are exposed to both professional and academically useful research, as well as the experiential practice of creating content that is both ‘sticky’ and ‘shareable’.

As this pre-production phase segues into production, (week 2), students begin to exploit the Design and Development options in the DPDDD methodology. In line with their brief and brand, students’ concepts and messages become visualized in mood-boards and treatments and, in turn, their treatments become scripted into copy and storyboards for peer and target audience feedback.  This process keeps the creative direction of each project on brief whilst at the same time refining their overall strategies and the allocation of resources required to deliver them. Importantly, professional resources and expertise are put in place to maintain the momentum and quality of the creative production process. A commercial image bank and music library is made available to download licensed pictures and compositions for example, and whilst students might source shots from their own archives or shoot material on their iPad minis, there is also the option to shoot ‘links’ in commercial studios with industry camera operators using broadcast quality equipment.

Mike and ShreyasMike and Shrey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is important because high-end production resources require thorough preparation and accurate decision-making, particularly when budgets and schedules are tight. In addition to saving money and time these disciplines also add authority to every stage of the project, especially end-user perceptions, by establishing high production values from the outset.

In the post-production phase of the project, (week 3), all the ‘Design’ and ‘Development’ preparation from the DPDDD model is funnelled into its ‘Deployment’. Here, students corral their carefully selected media into folders for non-linear editing. As an added discipline, they compile these choices into detailed ‘edit scripts’, pinpointing all the precise video and audio clips required to make the completed linear timeline of their production. The ‘edit script’ offers students the chance to make a ‘rough-cut’ of their productions or, more usually, organize all their creative and editorial decision-making before committing to the finite resources of an online edit session in a professional high-end edit suite.

John editing

Neil editing

Working with professional video editors and sound engineers at broadcast facilities, students are allocated a single four-hour slot to cut and mix their completed productions. This practice is, (in addition to their earlier filming with industry camera operators), valuable experience of creative collaboration at a professional level.                        Here, specialist know-how and expertise enhance students’ decision-making as well as adding contextually relevant experiential learning through knowledge transfer amongst all the pressures of an operational environment.

 

 

On completion, the finished productions are saved at high resolution (along with all their associated materials) and then exported in web friendly codecs ready for uploading to targeted destinations. Students may choose, for example, to upload a high-resolution .mov file of their final cut to Vimeo for industry professionals whilst also uploading a lower resolution  .mp4 file of their final cut to wider audiences via Twitter, You Tube, Linked In and Facebook. In all cases, they are ramping up their online presence and exposure as well as consolidating their brand and its proposition. As ‘hits’, ‘likes’ and ‘shares’ build, so too does the amplification of their messages across their target audiences and social networks.  In one case, within hours of upload, a ‘like’ from a student’s ‘first’ Linked In connection (Visiting Tutor) triggered an unprompted ‘like’ from the same student’s target media organization and more specifically, target individual!  Hard evidence for the power of recommended views over browsed views and DPDDD methodology in creating branded content for ‘social video’.

In the final phase of the project, (week 4), students write up their experience in a 3,000 word ‘portfolio of practice’ that combines their academic research and learning in this digital arena with their experiential learning. This is, essentially, a reflective document that serves two functions; it consolidates the DPDDD methodology in ‘real’ and contextually relevant circumstances whilst delivering an industry standard project report as proven preparation for their final module in the Future Media MA and MSc courses: Masters by Practice, where working with industry partners, students deliver an integrated, multiplatform campaign for a commercial brand.

View the Future Media students video resumes.

 

Mike Villiers-Stuart BA, Prof. Cert. TLHPE, FHEA.

Senior Lecturer Future Media and Digital Communications.