Monday, September 19, 2011

Zeitland workshop: “Transmedial Storytelling”

Today, on September 19th Zeitland, including me, is holding a workshop at Film Commission Region Stuttgart / MFG Filmf├Ârderung Baden-W├╝rttemberg with our buddy Martin Nerurkar (Gameforge). Our topic will be “Transmedial Storytelling: Arranging your story in film, print, web and games”. The workshop will start at 18:00, Breitscheidstr. 4, Stuttgart. Registration details are displayed in the announcement below. Hope to see you there!

Link:
http://zeitland.com/?p=713

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Cinematic game trailers

Taking some time off working on the I.P. Bible for Rust Raiders (www.RustRaiders.com), I made a small collection of trailers I love watching. I wouldn't call them the greatest top trailers of all time, hoping there are even better ones ahead, but their craftsmanship and cinematic style is truely inspiring.

Please enjoy!
And if I missed some, feel free to comment and add em.


Deus Ex 3 Human Revolution




LA Noir




Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2




Uncharted 2: Among Thieves




Splinter Cell: Conviction




Gears of War






World of Warcraft and Star Craft
(Not in-game tailers because it's all prerendered, but still cool)








Silent Hill




TOM CLANCY'S GHOST RECON: FUTURE SOLDIER




Crysis 2




Assassin’s Creed II




Bioshock




Halo 3: ODST




Mass Effect 2 Trailers








Grand Theft Auto 4




Metro 2033




Metal Gear Solid 2 - Sons of Liberty





Metal Gear Solid 4 - Guns of the Patriots




Dead Space (takes some reference from the Alien 4 teaser)




God of war 3

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Transmedia, an Interview with Inga von Staden

Inga von Staden, head of the Interactive Studies Degree Program at the Animation Institute/Filmakademie in Germany, and a great mentor to me and other students, has just released a very interesting interview about transmedia.

http://www.nealromanek.com/i-ask-inga-von-staden-what-is-transmedia/

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Free stock image resources

Images, textures and references are a very useful tool for artists. With the web, they're practically everywhere, but sadly not always free to use due to copyright restrictions. Here are some free stock image resources from the web.

Search Engines


Here are some search engines for free stock images:

http://www.everystockphoto.com/
http://search.creativecommons.org/
Google Images (be sure to set the license options correctly under the advanced search)

Image Resources


www.cgtextures.com
Vast image resource for textures. The first place I'm visiting when looking for textures.

Conclusion: Highly recommended.

www.sxc.hu
SXC is a friendly community of photography addicts who generously offer their works to those who need them free of charge. It's one of the biggest free image sites out there with 350,000 photos and counting.

Conclusion: Recommended.

www.flickr.com
The giant. You can use the advance search to search for creative commons license pictures that can be used free of charge and altered.

Conclusion: Recommended.

www.morguefile.com
Hosts tons of free images for inspiration, reference and use in creative work, of course also for commercial use. It also has a bunch of interesting search options, like the color picker. It has a quite powerful search with lots of filter options.

Conclusion: Recommended.

www.stockvault.net
It has a huge amount of photos with some high quality ones as well. All images are licensed under a Creative Commons attribution license. There is image tagging, but searching categories might lead to better results. Also there are a lot of ads on the site.

Conclusion: Decent site.

www.freerangestock.com
They strive to provide high quality free stock photography for commercial and non-commercial use. And there are already some very good photos available.

Conclusion: Decent site.

http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/imagegallery
Public Domain images from the NASA. If you need space, nebula and planet images you might find it very useful. More "image of the day" links can be found here: http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/lib/aptree.html
They also have a website for more details on their copyright and image usage.

Conclusion: Recommended for space images.

http://www.deviantart.com/?catpath=resources/stockart
The stock image category of deviant art. You can find high quality images here, but be careful about the license restrictions since they might vary from artist to artist.

Conclusion: Recommended, but you have to be careful about the copyright licenses.

www.pixelperfectdigital.com/free_stock_photos
Compared to other sites, there aren't that many photos on it. Still, pixelperfectdigital has a good amount of high quality photos. Sadly it also has irritating advertisement and resource-links to other sites that aren't free, like dreamstime.

Conclusion: Go here if other sites do not have what you seek.

www.openphoto.net
Since the search seems to only take the file name under consideration, you're better off using the browsing function. Which makes finding particular images tedious. Also there are a lot of advertisements on the site. The categories are well-arranged with a fair amount of high quality pictures under a creative commons license.

Conclusion: Not Recommended if you are searching for a particular image, but the image quality and pool is good.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Cross, Trans, Multi, Interactive

Coming back from last week's bookfair 2010 in Frankfurt and having attended the first Stroydrive, a transmedia conference, I am wondering why there are so many problems understanding the differences between transmedia, crossmedia, crossplatform, multimedia and interactive media.
If you're new to the field, it's easy to mix those terms up. And there still are debates going on about which is which, but enough material and common knowledge is already available to make clear cuts.

Here's how I'd define it:

Multimedia
A combination of different content forms in a single product. This could be a multimedia presentation with text, audio and video that runs on your computer.
In a broader scope, the term multimedia can be difficult to define, since even printed content such as a newspaper may be considered multimedia because it contains images and text at the same time.

Interactive Media
The expression already includes its purpose: To be interactive and give users the possibility to choose and interact with the software (user feedback and control). Since the interactivity has to do with media, it could be described as a subform of multimedia, because most of the time the users actions will change the display of different combined media, such as images, text, videos, graphics and audio.
Interactive media is not only limited to the digital world, as adventure books, card- and boardgames can also be considered interactive media.

Crossplatform
Software that runs and inter-operates on multiple computer platforms. For example a 3D game that can be played inside a browser on a Mac, but also on a tablet PC or on a gaming console. In true crossplatform entertainment, different players can interact with each other in the same gaming world, using different platforms at the same time.
In a broader sense virtual machine platforms such as Java are crossplatform as well, because software developed for those machines runs on many operating systems and hardware types.

Crossmedia
Here, content from one media format is ported to additional media formats. This can be done right from the start of a media release or gradually. For example a movie that is accompanied by a game and later a comic book. All media formats reside in the same "story environment" or "intellectual property", meaning they are all based on the same initial idea. Most of the time, crossmedia only copies the content of one media to the next while adjusting it to the new format's specifications. For example a printed comic book that is accompanied by a digital version on a tablet PC and an adventure game, all telling the same story.

Transmedia
Transmedia can be seen as a subform of crossmedia. Here, content is not only copied from one media format to the next, but split among them to generate a holistic experience for the user. Transmedia tries to penetrate a user's lifestyle as fully as possible, using different media to tell interlinked parts of the same story.
Users can enter a transmedia story at various entry points, because they might consume only a fraction of all transmedia products. What is true for good transmedia entertainment is still being defined at the current time. It is often a balance between attracting a user with a single, satisfying media product while quickening his appetite to consume other products as well. To get a holistic experience of the big narrative scheme that spans all transmedia products, a user might want to "collect them all".

360-degree
360 essentially hints at an all around experience. Hence there are many areas that use the expression 360-degree. There is 360-degree feedback in human resources for example, where feedback is provided by many different sources in the team, peers, subordinates, supervisors and stakeholders to name a few. It helps to give a more complete view on a certain employee and not just approach him from a single view.
Then there's of course Xbox 360, an entertainment console by Microsoft. My guess is, it was named Xbox 360 because Xbox 2 sounded old in comparison to the Playstation 3. Plus, Xbox 360 likely also refers to an all around entertainment center, combining different media in just one console. And now there's Kinect that even makes you go hammertime in front of your tv.

In the context of a converging media landscape, 360-degree development means creating immersive media experiences for the user. This is true for 360-degree content as well as a 360-degree marketing approach. It can be classified as a cross or transmedia experience, but other than using a few media formats it strives to create an all around experience on as many of the touch points surrounding the user as possible. It will also likely use interactive formats and user generated content to engage the audience even further. This could be a campaign or product that involves a network of online media, games, radio, print, alternate reality games and real life events.

In the documentary area, like at the BBC, it stands for a certain cost effective production method and value chain. Journalists develop a story (quality core content) that is adapted to different media formats and platforms. For Mark Thomson of BBC switching to a transmedia production is even "a question of survival" in the converging media world (http://www.bbc.co.uk/pressoffice/speeches/stories/thompson_future.shtml).

360-degree deals, often used in the music industry, are deals that will give a company shares from all revenue streams coming from different media.


There are lots of fancy terms popping up in these fields, forgotten, reinvented and new ones - such as product worlds, meta media, integrated communications, branded entertainment, user generated content, social media, community involvement, creative kernels, operative ideas, content onions, rabbit holes...
but this is a different (transmedia) story to be told.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Urban exploration

Abandoned factory in Lurgan by Stefan Ray

Urban exploration (often shortened as urbex or UE) is the examination of the normally unseen or off-limits parts of urban areas or industrial facilities. (From Wikipedia)

It's a great source for inspiration, especially when you're working on postapocalyptic or horror scenarios. Here are some photo websites I found. Take a look:

Lipinski.de
Sperrzone.net
Relikte-der-zeit.de
urb-ex.com
Forbidden-places.net
Telefunker.wordpress.com
Friched.net
Urbex.nl
Oboylephoto.com
Dubtown.de
Abandoned-places.com

Thursday, September 9, 2010

A crossmedia team outline

I'm currently trying to get some structure into my crossmedia production thoughts from an entrepreneur's standpoint. No project is alike, especially crossmedia ones, but this is my take on constructing a lead department for a larger project with a scope that covers different media formats and platforms. In an ideal world, here's how I would approach crossmedia team planning right now:


Crossmedia Producer
Responsible for supervising crossmedia productions and delivering the products on time and within budget and quality standards.

Crossmedia Director
Responsible for creating crossmedia concepts that bind users across media formats and platforms and maintaining their essence throughout the production.

Crossmedia Designer
Responsible to give the project a coherent visual appearance across all formats and platforms.

Crossmedia Writer
Responsible for the narrative engineering of the story environment across all media formats.


There are other roles that work across media as well, such as the Audio Director and Technical Director. But mostly they can be constrained to certain media formats, with the crossmedia parts being outlined and enforced by the Crossmedia Director or Producer.

Taking a hierarchy for decision making into consideration, the director or producer is best to be given the team leadership. Their field of work connects with most aspects of production and they ensure the creative vision and production standards are maintained on all levels.
Logically it makes sense to have the producer rank higher than the director, because he has to ensure that the production is on time and within budget and quality. He can't do that without the proper control. This is most often the case in game development. On the contrary, film directors are definitely higher than their producers in Europe, especially in France and Germany.

I'm looking forward to discuss this with my friends, coworkers and peers.