My friend Clancy, beside his main duty as a student, is one of the mentors at UOW MakerSpace Club, a place for creating, sharing, learning with technology and art, based inside the campus library. Since the MSC has been establishing various technological facilities available for public use such as the 3D printing machine, VR or embroidery machine, there is an emerging need to inform the university community about its existence as well as how to make the best use of it. Realising this demand, Clancy decides to centre his DIGC302 project around the idea of introducing the public about MSC in the form of a video series. Each video is around one minute in length, is filmed from point-of-view perspective using 360-degree technology and is made viewable on VR devices. The main platform used to share these videos is Youtube and below is the first video about 3D printing machine:
In order to get the footage for the video, as he tells me, Clancy takes advantage of some specific events. For example, during Open Day at uni, he was able to introduced about MSC to many visitors (mainly students), encouraged them to experience the available technologies as well as asked them for the consent to film their using the facilities. However, sometimes the filming opportunity comes quite spontaneously as he randomly sees someone using the tech and decides to film. After acquiring enough materials, he then talks to the MSC Coordinator, Nathan, and other mentors who are in charge of different technologies to understand about them (because he is specialised in VR) to write the script for the videos. Based on these scripts, the video materials are then rearranged into the most logical order. The video is then uploaded to Clancy’s personal Youtube channel and sent over to MSC Media team to gather initial feedback. Finally, he makes some adjustments if necessary and uploaded the final version to the MSC Youtube channel, ready to be publicised.
As Clancy tells me, his project has a three-fold utility. First of all, it contributes to the promotion of the MakerSpace Club. Due to the fact that MSC is a relatively new community, it has not been really well-known among campus. Therefore, Clancy hopes that through his project, people will know more about the cutting-edge facilities available as well as MSC in general. Secondly, this project is useful for students who are lack of understanding about various technologies of MSC. In particular, after watching the videos, different students may find themselves interested in different facilities and can apply for a full in-person induction at MSC. Finally, Clancy also finds this project valuable for himself. As mentioned earlier, he is specialised in VR so other technologies such as the carving machine or embroidery machine are a bit unfamiliar to him. Therefore, by spending time learning, talking to experts and making videos about them, he becomes more knowledgeable in those areas. Moreover, the whole video series can be used as a part of his professional portfolio, which can be shown to employers when he gets into the workplace in near future.
First of all, I want to talk about how Clancy’s project has been progressing in terms of concept. According to our conversations at the very beginning of the semester, the original idea is to make videos of the full induction for each of the facilities at MSC. However, this does not seem to be useful due to the fact that a full induction normally lasts around an hour and no one wants to have a VR headset on the face for that long. Therefore, the concept has changed from ‘induction’ to ‘introduction’ as the videos only provide some basic information about the technologies, which provokes people’s interest and encourages them to come visit MSC for an in-person induction. Secondly, Clancy also made some adjustments to his methodology. Originally, he edited the video right after filming. However, working with 360-degree videos is a real struggle as there are a lot of settings to remember. Therefore, by filming a bulk of material and editing all of them later allows him to avoid forgetting any setting.
In my opinion, Clancy is doing a good job by putting himself in the audience’s position. As mentioned in the Trajectory section above, he has changed the concept from the full one-hour induction to one-minute introduction, which makes the video more user-friendly. I consider this is a really important element for every project because one of our main goals is to best serve our target audience. Secondly, I give credit to Clancy’s consultation with experts in MSC facilities that he is not familiar with to acquire understanding about them. By doing this, he not only understands more about them but also knows which should be shown to the audience to maximise the utility. Another good point is in the methodology as Clancy spends a lot of effort in the pre-testing phase. When the video is filmed using the 360-degree camera, the footage is streamed to his phone. However, it appears differently when put into the computer for editing. Therefore, he has to test his shooting so many times to make sure that the final product is well tailored.
Suggestions for improvement
The first recommendation of mine is that Clancy should pre-test the videos to ordinary students besides MSC members. In this way, he might have a sense of what the audiences really want to see. Clancy can do this by gathering a focus group which can give him consistent feedback or uploading the videos onto his personal Facebook page. Additionally, in order to better promote the videos, he might consider reaching other groups within UOW that are working on the same stuffs. For example, the video about the Carving machine can be sent to the Mechatronics group to get feedback as well as to promote it to their audience. Clancy also asked me whether more sophisticated editing effects might improve the quality of his videos. In this regard, I consider he can give it a try but he has to make sure that no matter what effects he uses, the big idea of the project must be consistently maintained.
If you are reading this, it means we have reached the final stages of our projects as well as the semester. I just want to say thanks for your time spending with me sharing ideas and feedback. I really appreciate how you have trusted to ask and valued my recommendations. Your suggestions to my project have been really useful too. Wish you best luck with the remaining of your project and the upcoming plans of yourself.