Primary and Secondary Research
Throughout this project I have conducted a substantial amount of secondary research but, the most prominent piece of research arose when I interviewed a mental health expert Annie, at the SHU Wellness Centre. Originally, I wanted to adopt a cultural probe methodology in the form of a daily dairy to document, analysis and interpret the difference between individuals who suffer from anxiety attacks and those who do not. The dairy encouraged the participants to document various activities intermittently throughout the day, and subsequently how this made them feel. Initially I thought I would not need to seek FREC approval however, after a conversation with my tutors I realised I would. This would be difficult to obtain due to the sensitive nature of the project. I felt disappointed, I was a apprehensive and reluctant convincing myself that the interview would not yield more insights as I was beginning to realise the majority of the sources often regurgitated the same information. But, I was pleased that in actual fact Annie gave me some great insights and lots of potential research avenues. These insights also informed my concept and the development process.
Ideation & Concept Development
Ideation has always been one of my strengths but this comes hand-in-hand with my biggest weaknesses making decisions and time management. For me, I finding choosing a concept really difficult maybe, it’s because I give myself to much choice. Throughout my time and college and university I have repeatedly been encouraged to think of lots of ideas. Sometimes I often fall into the trap of forgetting good ideas turn into great ideas once they have been developed.
Digital Tinkering and Software Experimentation
This semester I was determined to become proficient using Arduino, allowing myself to develop the skills required to build better prototypes. Over the duration of this semester I have improved my ability to source code and I even managed to amended a piece of code written by Scott Fitzgerald (2012). The project did not work seamlessly, the piezo intermittently buzzed meaning there was ea fault in the code and/or wiring (I’m guessing both! Pretty sure I needed to use a resistor but, I’ve not got no clue which). When I started I was hoping to have a good basic knowledge of coding and at the very least be able to understand it. Honestly though I don’t feel confident or comfortable using it. I realise that my biggest problem was the amount of time I allocated myself two hours per week. This meant that by the time I got to the following week I had forgotten what I had learnt the previous week. Over the Summer I am going to make sure I create two or three projects a week, making sure I understand the code not just copy and pasting it.
Modul8 is a versatile software that is incredibly easy to learn and a pleasure to use. I have used Modul8 in past projects so I have a good working knowledge of it. I challenged myself to explore different features. For example, I used it alongside MadMapper. MadMapper is a projection mapping software that can be used to output the Modul8’s content. Although I decided not to pursue this further it was not in vain. I am now able to say that I feel comfortable using the software and I may come back to it in the future. However, I didn’t think projection mapping was a suitable output for this project because
Half way through the project I spent time figuring out how I could make my concept work. I knew that Modul8 and Arduino didn’t work together, they needed another input to translate reading from on to another. I identified that I would need to use MAXMSP software to communicate and link Arduino to Modul8. Towards the end of this project I decided to download a demo version of the software and try create something for the exhibition. I spent a couple of hours try to get to know the interface but, honestly I just felt confused and stressed. This software really is important and if I choose to continue with this concept I will have to make sure I set aside enough time to learn and become comfortable.
Audio & Visuals
In comparison to past projects where I have experimented with film the results were much better. I think it was beneficial utilising access to lynda.com , an online learning platform. I watched a tutorial that outlined the importance of planning (something I usually do but, rushed). Guided by this I planned the shoot methodically, which subsequently forced me to consider the concept in depth. Subsequently, this unveiled clear aims and objectives. I shot the footage using a SLR camera which was less than ideal. Originally, I planned to shoot using one of the university video cameras. I wasn’t aware (until I went to get a camera out) that it would require an induction. At this point I was on a really strict timetable and didn’t have time to mess around. I decided that I would proceed. Surprisingly the footage came out really well barring, the clips where I was unable to use a tripod but, I think it helps to illustrate the physical affects of an anxiety attack.
The main problem surfaced when I tried to export the film from Premiere Pro. It didn’t matter what settings I exported it out in the quality of the footage reduced drastically. I troubled shot this using online Adobe forums, Google and Youtube but, it made no significant difference. Unfortunately, I was unable to solve this problem. However, I know the issues lies solely in Premiere as the footage exported in HD from iMovie.
For the final exhibition I decided to display four prototypes, three made from cardboard and one from acrylic, a folder with sketches and relevant documents, Arduino prototype and a diagram that explains how the project would work.
My project encompasses lots of different components; sound, film, package design, Arduino, Modul8 and MAX. I feel as though I have been able to experiment with all these elements barring MAX which, is something I feel disappointed about. I think if I would have been more organised and chosen a concept to develop quicker I may have had time. That being said I think I have given myself a good starting point going into final project.