Thursday, February 18, 2010

Project: Brothers in Paint (vol. 3) – Final thoughts and the EACR 2010 submission

After the great experience in ACR, there was still one more round of editing to do regarding the ‘Brothers in Paint’ project. After winning the ‘Juror’s Prize’ we were asked by Rob Kozinets to send the same video to the EACR 2010 conference in London. We still felt quite unsatisfied with many aspects of our film, and so we decided to give the material one more extensive treatment. The film was still excessively long, too much of what was said in the interviews was muddied by background noise (all our material was captured in situ, and with paintball that obviously entails people frantically shooting each other in the background) and the overall soundtrack was in need of a professional touch.

After seeing our videos ad nauseum in presentations and the editing table, slicing off more material was not as painful as it had been before ACR. The final cut for EACR thus became close to 35 minutes in length. Still not particularly short as far as videographies in ACR go, but getting closer to what can possibly be viewed without the need to pitch up a tent. To tackle the background noise, we added subtitles to everything. Finally, the artist responsible for the background music, Desto, took the whole video soundtrack (speaks and everything) for a final mix down. On the whole, the outcome for me is satisfactory, granted I would like to redo the whole thing from scratch now – the outcome would be quite different (then again, when is this not the case?). Yes, the outcome is still very much just descriptive in nature and the theoretical point needs further sharpening, but overall, I guess it can defend its place.

Obviously, we were again guilty of the classic mistake of thinking, “It’s a matter of a few touch-ups and a little cutting, I’ll have it done in a couple of days.” Well, it took over two weeks, as ideas seemed to pop up as we went along. Even the subtitling alone took almost a full week. Add the typical blue screen here and there, and my laptop came close to a tragic accidental ‘falling to the ceiling’ more than once. Video editing, folks, is some orders of magnitude more unpredictable and demanding than journal writing, believe it or not. Perhaps one day I’ll get this point to such a degree that I’ll actually have my calendar planned properly. I’m not holding my breath though.

We, as self-appointed anarchists, are always looking to question existing structures. Therefore we wanted to become the worlds first to openly showcase our material to everyone. Videography, for me, can be a powerful tool for popularizing science and to be more popular, it has to be public. Therefore, here is our EACR 2010 submission in its entirety. Please enjoy!

More than two years have passed since the first time Joonas crashed into my office with but a glimmer of an idea. Now the first project is complete, and were quickly branching out towards new endeavors. Our work using videographic methodology is certainly not over. Actually, its only really getting started.

Finally, here are some practical takeaways learned along the way.

  • A diverse research team peppered with an autoethnographic angle works great – it’s all about access. Traditional ethnography is difficult in and of itself, now you have the added desensitizing and obstructing thingie called a camcorder. Plan for this, ensure a welcoming access (for each member of your research team)!
  • Doing all filming in situ is the way to really bring out the effect of the video – even if it means background noise and a somewhat shaky shot. It’s the entire context you are going after, not just a talking head, which leads us to…
  • …always asking, whatever you do, “Why video? What does it (in every particular instance you are shooting) add to traditional textual representation?”
  • Even when facing adversities, never ever give up! Instead, do your best to anticipate and remedy hardships before they happen. They will. Don’t let them stop you!

1 comment:

  1. Cool that you decided to post the results online! I saw parts of your work during the Advanced Consumer Behavior course last spring, and it was interesting to see the rest of it now.

    I wanted to share this with my classmates at Stockholm School of Economics, so I've posted the first part (and a link to the rest) to our class blog ( Hope that is ok!

    Looking forward to following the progress of your new project in this blog. :)