Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Tutorial with Jonathan: Show and Symposium

While this tutorial was mainly based around the Show, I also got some feedback on my video symposium too.

My main concern for the coming show was my laptop, I had intended to use this in the show but the switching-on button broke so I've had to remove this.  It still works fine but needs either a pen or I use a chopstick to turn the power on. So I wanted to run this past Jonathan and make sure it would be ok to still use this.

Inside the structure I had planned to have the laptop open flat out, vertically standing on a contraption that I'm in the process of  making. The keyboard will be covered which can easily be removed to access the computer - all the vents on the laptop will be left clear.  I had a plan to secure the laptop using wire which I know wouldn't be that secure but hopefully would act as a deterrent.

I explained to Jonathan about the video inside, and how I'm hoping to make three, five minute videos that are slightly different which I want to play randomly. I am using KM player to do this which works really well. The text in each video will be the same but the video images will be slightly different, though having said this it may change slightly too by the time I've finished.

Jonathan's suggestions and comments:

First I want to say that your symposium video is very good, it is clear and thoughtful and really explains your project very well, well done! It really is a good example of how to do this and show the story of how work develops. There is one suggestion, I was thinking about videos when native English speakers like you or I speak and how difficult that can be for international students. I noticed you have a full transcript on your blog anyway but maybe have a look at this and consider adding captions to the video I'm not sure it is possible to do the interactive captions of the TED videos yet but maybe there is a way.

I don't see a problem with the laptop switch, the power lead will need to be PAT tested, which is a basic electrical safety test, but if the plug is connected properly, ie. fitted in the factory like most are nowadays, then it will have no problem.

Just one thing to mention as an option instead of your laptop, it is possible to use media players to play video back to a screen, I think the latest Western Digital Media Player (check on Amazon) has a shuffle playback option for videos with the latest firmware, these simply connect to a monitor and the files are added to the media player hard drive or play from a USB stick. The only issue is a monitor, so if your plans are fine with a laptop then probably best stick with that, but thought I would mention it anyway, maybe something to consider in the future for other exhibitions.

Have you thought of using a Kensington lock to secure your laptop?

I had heard about these, but I didn't realise until after our chat that there was one on my laptop since I've never seen one before. I assumed it would look lock-like and didn't realise that I had to buy a cable, so  this was really good to know.

Sound is the only other thing I wanted to mention in a group setting it might be very difficult to have a really quiet space with only your sound playing,  how do you see the sound working? is it very quiet or quite loud? so if there is a lot of noise around, not necessarily from other work, just the environment, people chatting, outside noises etc -- do you see that as a major problem? how quiet do you want the environment around your piece?  would you consider headphones for the user inside the dome? The opening night (private view) could be quite busy so the sound levels may need to be higher than for a normal day.

The sound is quite quiet,  I was planning on having speakers but I will bring headphones along to experiment before and see which works best.

So basically you need a 200 x 200cm space, preferably in the middle of a darkened room? I think we will have at least one room that is darker (but not dark - that will not be possible to make it really dark. The only tricky issue is getting power to the middle of the space, a cable across the floor is fine and I have some of the special rubber cover that is needed to cover it to avoid trip hazard.

I think this sounds fine and you have planned well for it, I don't see anything too complicated, well done.

I found this tutorial really useful.  Just as I'm writing this up now, I have been thinking that I must buy some white headphones. If I find that headphones work best when experimenting before the show, then they really need to be white to fit in with the colour scheme inside :-)  I  need to buy a Kensington lock too. Jonathan has kindly emailed me a link to some, so now I know what they look like :-) Next I will have to write a list of everything that I need to do before the show, this may take some time! 

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