Saturday, June 18, 2011

Social Video (visual) technique begets social behaviour


The screen said download Mac cleaner and install for free. I rarely do. Hoax sites and viruses you see. But this time, given my mac's been acting like its on crutches, I gave it a go.

It installed, cleaned my Mac a third of the way and stopped. Purchase the rest if you want this benefit.  Because, yes, the company had made it a benefit.

The ensuing site made that clear, buttressed by favourable online comments ( tweets and facebooks), a reduced price from 400 UKP to 40UKP and a countdown clock. I now have 2 days and counting to take advantage of this generous, no, very generous offer.

Advertisers have name for it. A national UK bank once disparagingly had its tellers mark cards of its customers: sheep and bulls.

Something you don't need, it's not particularly on your radar is sold to you with palpable tension and drama to heighten the buy and you, me, the sheep buy it.

There is the cinematic in this when we turn to the visual narrative craft - an illusion which invades the psyche that causes a reaction.

Video journalism's anti-aesthetism short from david dunkley gyimah on Vimeo.

Social Motivated
Many of the films you'll watch online you did not intend on watching; you browse and then sometimes you're stuck.

Whether by serendipity or design the film maker has got your attention and sold you the visuals/narrative for your time (the currency). They heighten the visual affect through a whole series of techniques.

Hollywood has packaged this as an elixir. Hitchcock could read the audience in his sleep. Horror movies at their visceral best have the measure of us. We're hardwired you see. But the thing is we can learn these techniques.

Newton summed up one of his laws of motion as an action causing an equal opposite reaction; cause and effect in our daily lives. We do something and nature gives us something back in return.

Film making an artificial pursuit in practice, but an intrinsically mental activity obeys this law in spades, but it's incumbent on the practitioner to understand what that is.

To many film makers, and good ones, it's stating the bleeding obvious. A good film causes social reaction. We all talk about it. The cinema is a social space - we all gather to watch a film, albeit in non-conversation circumstances.

But the real work for social is predicated before we get to the movie theatre or your website in question.
Make the film, cut the promo, sell the promo and with the use of social wares get it out there.

Some do this for a living - commercial advertisers and public relations. Others attempt it in their films as a course of good storytelling. In news the explicit is eschewed.

Getting it right
I had three different groups email me recently to deconstruct their films. In each case the news piece resplendent with information, forgot, or discarded the affect the film could potentially have.

This is not a flaw per se, for both reside on differing semiotic approaches.

BUT, and it's a big one, the philosophy of our times calls on a differing approach to consider. Firstly what are you covering. Secondly what's likely to be its effect, and then here's the hidden issue.

If the latter question is answered it'll be spoken about.

But a word of caution social video technique is not a bolt on. It's film making intrinsic to the subject. It's an ephemeral, cerebral, poetic, didactic quality. It's also behavioural in its outcome and its not new.

Leni Riefenstahl knew exactly what she was doing, when she produced the epic documentary Triumph, which galvanised the Germans and other nations with differing effect.

Social video, and mind you we're prone not to call it that is more affective around the ecology of what's now acceptable, yet on the other hand as the former boss of ITN news would say, Geoffrey Cox, the public don't know what they want until it's given to them.

Now, do I go and download that file?