ASSIGNMENT 2: Analysis / Reflection Blog Posts

The Shot Construction / Next Stage Exercise
https://backyardcreativesblog.wordpress.com/2018/05/06/the-shot-construction-next-stage-exercise/

The Initiative Post
https://backyardcreativesblog.wordpress.com/2018/05/06/the-initiative-post/

Readings #1 – Sight & Hearing
https://backyardcreativesblog.wordpress.com/2018/05/06/readings-1-sight-and-hearing/

Readings #2 – Actor and the Director
https://backyardcreativesblog.wordpress.com/2018/05/06/readings-2-actor-and-the-director/

Lenny – Reflection on
https://backyardcreativesblog.wordpress.com/2018/05/06/lenny-reflection-on/

TK2 Taxi Driver Deconstruction
https://backyardcreativesblog.wordpress.com/2018/05/06/tk2-taxi-driver-deconstruction/

You Find a Scene
https://backyardcreativesblog.wordpress.com/2018/05/06/you-find-a-scene-dark-s1e1-netflix/

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The Initiative Post

Creative Obstructions

I started this post by looking into the rules of Dogma 95. I knew some of the restrictions like only using light that was actually available, no sets could be built and sound had to be captured as it was shot. I liked the simple restrictions that could help celebrate a production that wasn’t going to have a Hollywood finish to it. As I looked into Dogma 95 and its directors I was interested to learn that the movement was often seen as a publicity stunt but even if it was one of the goals was to help film-makers without the budget see that quality work could still be produced (Chaudhuri 2005).

I thought that I could use the Dogma 95 restrictions and re-shoot a version of our Lenny. However, after doing a handheld version and the fact that there is fake violence in the scene I didn’t really think that it adhered to the rules. Through my research, though I found The Five Obstructions, a documentary where Lars Von Trier challenges his friend and peer Jørgen Leth to remake his short film, The Perfect Human, with five different sets of rules.

The different versions that Leth was able to produce are really quite unique and interesting films and so I tried my hand at one of the limitations. The one the First Obstructions required Leth to use no shot lasting more than 12 frames and it is with this restriction that I attempted to edit some of our Lenny.

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1p6ALdkOz4RbOx2wvWr4HvPtymBz6RWtJ

While this definitely is definitely an incomplete edit (and possibly just pretentious), I definitely felt like I had a renewed creative freedom while editing with this significant restriction. I felt like I was able to take on the point of view of Lenny’s broken and fractured state of mind. I could justify for myself the use of moments of black that would be as if Lenny had blacked out. As Lenny tries to find her feet she gets stuck going backwards and forwards never certain of her direction or where she is.

I was also able to incorporate moments that were I’m not in the rehearsed action, which helped to support the rapid jumping of the cuts. I’m 100% sure how I would incorporate longer dialogue in a comprehensible way using only 12 frames at a time but I think I would be able to find a way to get the important information in supported by the justification of being in Lenny’s slowly fading consciousness.

Consideration how I might apply this to any future films, I probably wouldn’t use such an extreme form but it does make me think about how straightforward my view of cinematic space and time has been. Are there moments where I can play with this form to make an ordinary moment more engaging. This type of editing makes me think of the car scene from Jean-Luc Godard’s Breathless, where the conversation and soundtrack have continuity but the location changes frequently and unexpectedly.

References

Chaudhuri, S 2005, ‘Dogma Brothers: Lars Von Trier and Thomas Vinterberg’, in N Romes (ed.), New Punk Cinema, Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh, pp. 153 – 167.

The Five Obstructions 2003, DVD, Zentropa Real ApS, Denmark, directed by Lars Von Trier.

Lenny – reflection on

Pre-Production

I tried to restrict myself to the functions of my role as the DP during the preproduction. Each person brought their own varying degrees of preparation into class for discussion and consideration but the process was often stalled when team members didn’t attend. I know that I have a natural behaviour to lead and take charge, and I really tried to resist this beyond shot choices in light of directorial decisions. However, even with this interrupted preparation, we didn’t organise a time to meet outside of class to resolve anything that hadn’t been decided. I felt like we lacked the unifying organisation of a producer or production manager, but I’m not sure if this is necessarily the responsibility of those positions.

A lot of our focus was on shot construction and how we would cover the scene, it drove most of our discussion about the scene. I approached it from a location perspective, taking photos of the potential angles and using these photos to make a storyboard:

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1Smm97mU7uU-PxioQj8q99rW4r9YWuMkA

I found this really helpful for figuring how to best capture the location. I had an idea of how the actors could look in the space but I was never going to be able to be 100% certain if the lighting would work or how to best capture the two of them together.

We had other storyboards in the group that were the opposite, sketches of heads and bodies and the relationship between the actors but without the relationship to the location. We really needed to combine them both and spend a bit more time playing with other options. Next time, as a crew, I would like to capture the scene almost in the same way that we did for the shot construction exercise, trying to capture a scene in a single take but each time trying to do it differently to the person who had done it before. This way we would have a range of different angles that we could choose from and refine. Maybe we would have stumbled upon that great over the shoulder that Zexi captured in her Shot Construction / the Next Stage take.

Production

I was definitely worried that we wouldn’t have enough time to capture all the shots that we wanted to get and again without a production manager I was worried that we would have issues with costumes, blood and cleaning. I needed this plan to help keep me on track and know how much time I could spend thinking about a particular shot and how much time we had if we wanted to try to squeeze something in.

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1mwwQeORI1LXR6N-WZYGYAoTeFGHp-uPt

I didn’t refer to this much on the night but it is was definitely helpful to quickly look at and see how we were progressing in terms of time. I had also ordered the schedule in terms of the importance of the shots, as I saw it, so at least I knew that we were covering the necessary moments.

Again, I felt like I held back urges to lead the crew, trying to focus on what I needed to do. Partly because I hoped that others would take control and to allow space for others to feel like they could step in and make suggestions. I don’t know if I would do this if it wasn’t an exercise situation. I have seen a gamut of leadership dynamics on various sets, some with the DP is driving the day, others where everyone looks to the 1st AD and some where the director is really holding everyone together. I would like to be one of those people who helps everyone do their job better, who feels like that they are an integral part of the making of something. I think this comes from encouraging input and supporting independence. However, working on a tight schedule like this assignment creates pressure and I definitely felt like we just needed to go to get it done in time and it did take us a little over three-hours to shoot.

Post-Production

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Getting into the editing room is definitely where I started to question the effectiveness of our preproduction. I could envisage the first two scenes, how the characters meet and how they part. But, how to put together the conversation was the difficult part. Each take has lines following one another really quickly so it was hard to know which moments to allow for reactions and where to find moments of characters finding their thoughts. I still don’t think I have effectively found the rhythm of the conversation.

By focusing on the shot construction and not the story I also found it difficult to make a choice about which music to use. I had two different tracks one version that is much lighter like everything was an unfortunate series of events and one that was much more sinister that felt like a plan had gone horribly wrong. After talking with the director in the edit suite we decided to work with the more sinister soundtrack for this version of the scene.

https://drive.google.com/open?id=14SVFDdj6m9V7gR4U3con3wOwXo8yKvZs

This rough version still needs refinement of the audio files and the inclusion of atmos. Most of my time has been spent finding the rhythm of the scene. After playing with a few versions I liked the idea of having Sharon’s scene first. I intend to find a sound effect of a distant gunshot for her to react to when she stops and turns around, allowing us to capture the moment that Lenny is shot.

I also played briefly with using a wider aspect ratio. I think this works really well for some of the shots, particularly during Lenny’s entrance, but it creates issues with headroom once we introduce the box at the end of the scene.

The Shot Construction / Next Stage Exercise

https://drive.google.com/open?id=13_WT0Ut3BMPvYyNMskeBAGvdJt1uhoKB

I have only looked at the first take from this clip which I was DP/camera operator.

Shot Planning

To start with a similar shot to our static Lenny in the lift meant that we would need to leave the lift at some point and the camera would either have to follow Lenny or shoot from a really high angle because of the reflections. This made me think that would be putting the audience in the perspective of someone who is walking with Lenny supporting her and trying to take care of her but completely incapable of doing so. By characterising the camera this way I could justify moving around into the MCU as she falls into the wall and also the pace with which with we would leave Lenny when tracking back. I was glad that we got the change of pace when Sharon enters and wanted to play with the faster speed of movement getting back to Lenny however, I wasn’t expecting for the whole scene to play out. Without a set plan for the scene, I tried to find a similar OTS we had used in the static Lenny and decided to keep the camera on her because the scene had been entirely about her so far.

Camera Set Up

While setting up the camera I knew that I wouldn’t be able to adjust the focus and that any changes in the framing would come from moving the camera closer or further away. I choose a focal length that I thought would allow me to get the wide angle which would make Lenny appear completely alone and isolated in the corridor, but could also get a reasonable close up without being right on top of her. I knew that having a wider focal length was going to give me more flexibility to keep Lenny in focus with all the movement.

Reflecting on the Shoot

If I were to do this again I would definitely spend more time rehearsing the major camera movements with the actor: finding a way to make the first fall against the wall bigger to help justify the movement from OTS to MCU, finding the timing of the fall (the quality of it, when it would happen and how quickly), getting Lenny to look briefly in the direction that Sharon is expected to come from to help justify the start of the track back, and determining the first and final frames of the long track away with reference to Lenny. I thought too much about Sharon hitting the MCU while still having Lenny in the wide but didn’t consider the how I was going to get there. Needed to get the end frame of the track back with reference to Lenny, got it considering where Sharon would enter but without knowing where Lenny was supposed to be in the frame for the movement caused a lot of awkward adjusting while moving. I’m not sure how to gauge the pace of this track back, it feels too slow, too much like an ending, and considering the Sight & Hearing reading I would probably try compliment the camera movement with a soundtrack of really audible, sharp and pained breathing from Lenny that is particularly fast. This tempo contrast might help to sustain the tension throughout the duration of the movement.

Reflecting on the Footage

I think that some of this is usable, particularly because the quality of the handheld movement is reflective of Lenny’s state at this moment. She isn’t stable, we get a chance to see her point of view when she leaves the lift and is trying to get to the place to meet Sharon, we get the chance to see her inner state in the close up and we get to see the loneliness in the wide once she has fallen to the ground. It needs more rehearsal and I would also probably continue to play with the camera settings. I don’t think that we set a white balance so when we are in the lift the tones are cool and then it warms up before slowly adjusting, the movement helps to mask this and I was lucky that the temperature change happened in the moments before changing the frame. But given that I have these to states, I would probably white balance for the hallway and let the lift interior be more blue.

What Would I Do Differently

The shot that I was able to incorporate was one of the gunshot wound. I couldn’t find the right moment to justify moving to this which is one of the key circumstances of the scene. If I had started with it in the elevator then we probably wouldn’t need to actually be in the elevator because we wouldn’t have the reflections. I could have gone to it instead of going to the MCU of Lenny when she falls against the wall, maybe using her hand to wipe sweat or hair from her face to motivate moving the camera back to her expression. There might have been a moment where she puts her hand up to catch herself against a wall and we could follow the hand that could have been really bloody with her body falling back into frame moving us back to her, and it should be clear from her performance that the blood is hers but it could still be ambiguous, might need her to try to check the wound once she is sitting on the ground to really understand the seriousness of the injury.

I would also like to try a version where the camera continues to track back as the scene plays out rather than following Sharon into the conversation. Sharon would eventually leave storming past the camera (maybe tearing up or fighting the urge to turn back around and help her companion) leaving Lenny, extremely isolated, to deal with the box, collapse and die with no hope of anyone coming to help.

Readings #1 – Sight and Hearing

“What is for the eye must not duplicate what is for the ear.’

I think this happens a lot in film, tv and theatre. It is definitely an idea that I heard while studying as an actor, can’t remember exactly where but I think it was in reference to postmodernism and the work of directors like Anne Bogart, Robert Wilson or Romeo Castellucci. Essentially, by duplicating vision and sound, the work is reduced to a radio play or silent film, the one channel provides no more information than the other. When I was bored in plays I could close my eyes knowing that the vocal expression was an accurate representation of the physical expression and that I wasn’t missing anything. However, in shooting the Lenny’s, creating this difference is really difficult. The advantage (or trap) of film and tv is that you have cuts and various shots sizes to effectively say – look at this, now look here – giving the illusion that there is new information or, if you don’t see what has been cut to, there is an important visual cue that could be missed.

“If the eye is entirely won, give nothing or almost nothing to the ear.* One cannot be at the same time all eye and all ear.’

My initial reaction to this particular statement was: Is this true? Are there exceptions? And I thought I had found one in the “Star Gate” sequence during Kubrick’s, 2001: A Space Odyssey. My memory this of this 10-minute experience was that it was both all eye and all ear. The massive visuals it offers, full of colour, extreme close ups and vast wides, and representations of the unknown; paired with an epic soundscape that is operatic, orchestral and distorted. However, in watching the scene again, this sequence is a master class in proving the above statement. It is expertly crafted to give precise, distinguishable details to the eye or the ear while the other could become incomprehensible. The interchange between these two senses keeps the experience immersive and engaging. Tempo is a big component of it, while the image is still and slowly moving, there is significantly more intelligible detail in the music and when the image becomes faster, intercut with Warhol-esque close ups, the changes in the soundtrack become much more gradual and atmospheric. What I remember as all eye and all ear was simply the intensity that is created by these two mediums, which makes perfect sense for the scene.

References

2001: A Space Odyssey 1968, DVD, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Beverly Hills, CA, USA, directed by Stanley Kubrick.

Bresson, R 1986, Notes on the Cinematographer, Quartet, London, UK.

Readings #2 – Actor and the Director

I found this to be quite a confused point of view on the relationship between the director and the actor. Mackendrick (2004) seems torn between the crucial need for an actor’s organic and imaginative behaviour and the director’s need to control this force for their own storytelling needs.

I think he articulates his struggle perfectly with his response to ‘How does a director get an actor to do what he wants? […] You don’t. What you do is try to get the actor to want what you need.’ I agree with the first part of his response, I think any director trying to get an actor to “do” something, particularly if it is on set right before a take, will find that his efforts are in vain and will most likely see a wooden performance. This struggle is perfectly described in the ‘sweeping the floor’ story. It’s a simple solution to help an actor with a line that is to be delivered ‘in a throwaway fashion’, but it isn’t going to work for a lead role. I’m sure that Brando didn’t need the props he used in the scene described from On the Waterfront. I believe that he is an actor that understands the behaviour of his character, is responding to what is happening moment-to-moment (whatever that particular moment may be for that take) and is aware of his surroundings that he is able to translate the character’s behaviour into the objects in his environment. Using tricks isn’t going to make an actor’s work any better, I think it will more likely make it looked contrived.

I like the suggestions Mackendrick offers for the directors work such as ‘go through the whole story again, remembering ‘who does what with which to whom and why?’ […] When all the sequential connections in the story were known to me inside and out was I ready to proceed’ and ‘a quiet and uninterrupted period of walking through the places where the scenes will be shot. During this time you become each character in turn’. I think this is necessary, if potentially idealistic, preparation to do before rehearsing with actors. Without it you are dependent on their work and suggestions. However, I don’t understand the game that comes after all this work, ‘plan everything but make it appear to the actor that it is invented on the spot. […] Your job is to gradually jockey the actor into thinking up what you’ve already thought up.’ I think that this rigidity of decision would cause as many problems as it would solve. These ideas resonate with the American view on Stanislavski’s training that is mostly psychological and completely ignores the later psychophysical ideas as embodied by his student Michael Chekhov.

Half of the trouble that inexperienced actors have is that they try to “act” and this reading makes me think that “directing” is the trouble that many directors have. Actors are generating behaviour constantly that directors need to be able to notice and point to. Directors shouldn’t protect actors from ‘irritation’ and ‘disruption’, they should protect actors from those who try to deny them that experience. 

References

Mackendrick, A 2004, On film-making: an introduction to the craft of the director, Faber and Faber, London, UK.

TK2 Taxi Driver Deconstruction

Editing

To look at the editing, particularly of the interaction between Travis and Betsy, I downloaded a copy of the script and tried to note at what points the cuts were made.

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1c37EV36bO8TlXmM8K3ZVL6DZdUGClG8t

While doing this I noticed that cutting during a character’s lines was used quite sparingly, and the moment following a cut at the end of a line is usually a breath as the other character decides what to say next.

The highest density of cuts occurs during Travis’ speech when he explains why he wants to have coffee with Betsy. I recognise this speech as what the scene is all about philosophically, a moment that the audience really needs to pay attention to, and it contains five cuts, with three shots all of which are moving. This stands out in an exchange that has a total of 28 cuts, before start of this speech there has only been 12 cuts in a minute and a half, then we see four different shots in the space of ten seconds, after this we have the remain 11 cuts over about a minute so the scene definitely gains more pace even though the dialogue is much more sparse. I think this helps us to follow Betsy as she makes up her mind about Travis, we get to watch her watch him and get coaxed by him and these quick cuts are reflecting the speed of her thought.

One shot that I can’t figure out is the high angle shot of the desk as Travis sweeps his arm over it. Firstly, it has some flow from the preceding shot but doesn’t seem to flow into the shot that follows. It is a very literal shot but what does it add? Would we have seen Betsy be more affected by Travis if we were able to watch her eyes examine her environment? But considering her reaction at the end of the speech maybe she isn’t all that affected, maybe she is just impressed and the vulnerability and openness of Travis at this moment is much more mesmerising. Really, I wonder if this shot could have been almost anything: a wide shot of the office, someone else answering a call, Travis watching her leave alone on another day, a busy New York street. Wouldn’t any of these abstract shots have displayed the feeling Travis was trying to convey? It would have completely broken the world of this scene, but Travis is doing that anyway by getting very honest in a scene that has been quite playful. It is a very poetic shot and maybe that is the best poetry that Travis can muster.

Colour

The colour is noticeably cold when Travis crosses the street and it is still cold when he enters and walks towards Betsy. I think it because it has been white-balanced for daylight and this action is happening in the shadows. Once he arrives at the desk his skin tones appear natural and he definitely is contrasted against the cool background. Makes his character feel warm and bright in a dull environment. I’m assuming the posters on the wall behind him are mostly white and they seem quite blue to me. Against the cold, black and white faces of Palantine, Travis looks full of life.

But these colours continue to switch between the colder background in close ups of Betsy and the warmer background in the wides. This is most noticeable at the 0:32/0:33 cut in this clip. Based on the discussion we have had in class I suspect that this is more to do with the film stock than any camera settings but I haven’t worked with film in this way so I’m really not sure.

Blocking

This is a small moment but I noticed that when Tom reenters the scene, he doesn’t circle around to the back of the room and make his way down the centre of the frame, he instead steps over something and squeezes between a desk and a pillar to get into the frame. This definitely plays up the comic nature of his behaviour. If he had come down the centre of the frame he would have really imposed on the scene like Orsen Wells in Citizen Kane (Van Sijll 2005).

Citizen Kane Orsen Wells

 

References

Van Sijll, Jennifer 2005, Cinematic Storytelling: the 100 most powerful film conventions every filmmaker must know, Michael Wiese Productions, California, USA.

You Find a Scene – Dark S1E1 (Netflix)

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1gXUbUCBrmVwyJiSVs7FmkXzpwiNArCXN

I choose this scene because I really enjoyed the suspense and tension that Dark was able to evoke and the way that it weaved the stories of around thirty characters together. I choose to deconstruct this early scene because the story hasn’t developed enough to be an important contributor to creating dramatic tension or build many connections between the story arcs.

Camera Movement

I believe that this is one of the major devices used to create an unsettling suspense throughout the series – the camera is almost never still. The camera follows characters as they walk, run and ride, or subtly tracks in or away from wide shots and close ups that would typically be static. The audience has to take in details of a location or the emotions being portrayed while also feeling like they are being pulled or pushed by the frame. This floating camera movement causes the environment at the edge of frame to constantly move around a consistently framed subject, this makes me feel like I am on is never on stable ground, quite literally, I am not able to have a static moment to just sit and observe, feel settled thus safe, because big percentages of the image are always changing.

The other camera movement that I wanted to note is at the 1:00 mark of the clip. We are following  Ulrich running in a wide shot from behind, cut to a close up of his face and his eyes momentarily look to his right. This eye movement is highlighted by the first higher note of the violin that we have heard during this sequence of running and this note carries us through the cut to the next shot that shows us what Ulrich looked at. As Ulrich runs ahead, the camera maintains its momentum but sweeps to the right towards a wooden sign pointing towards the Winden Caves in the opposite direction. For me, this was a great moment to see how subtle an action can be to make an audience want to know what was looked being looked. A clear but momentary deviation from the forward focus of Ulrich’s gaze, in an image that had a lot of movement, was enough to propel us to the introduction of the caves.

As the camera sweeps closers to the sign the violin note slides to something discordant before being swallowed by a deep drum roll. We cut to the cave entrance and, without the runner to justify the speed, we fall quickly towards it like it is sucking the camera and as we get closer something screams at us from inside.

Framing

Almost every shot places the subject at the centre of the frame – the only exception is the turning point of the conversation when Jonas stops walking, but even then, the camera operator moves to bring the two actors into balance. Many people have recognised the use of centre framing by Kubrick to create tension, Renée (2017) describes the effect as ‘eerie’ and Oseman (2017) says that he creates ‘worlds of perfect order… so perfect that they would have to come crashing down sooner or later’. Oseman’s reason doesn’t quite work for building tension in Dark, the world is anything but perfect, but (knowing the story) I can see a reason for ‘duplicity […] the two characters appear to replace each other on screen every time you cut’. Neither of these really satisfy me as justification for the sensation that they cause, perhaps a character in the centre of the frame directing most of their energy in the direction of the camera is confronting for the audience because it feels like they are coming for you. Or, the space that is around them feels like something could come from anywhere.

This frame is also from a low angle, which accentuates the height of the trees and really gives you the sense they are looming over the characters.

Soundscape

During the conversation, even though we can only see woods, the soundscape is really busy with faint grumbles of traffic or a plane and construction. If we hadn’t seen the depth of the woods that lined the roads in previous shots it might noticeably oppose the environment. This is opposition is really interesting though: we are definitely not in a Disney forest where the birds are singing, there may be a few caws but nothing bright, the rest of the town is close so it isn’t exactly a private space but we are far away enough away from them that they cannot be seen or offer any safety. These elements support the tone of the conversation that is not an easy, casual walk in the park.

References

Oseman, Neil 2017, ‘9 Uses for Central Framing’, Neil Oseman, 18 June, viewed 3 May 2018, <http://neiloseman.com/9-uses-for-central-framing/&gt;.

Renée, V 2017, ‘ 3 Different Ways You Can Use Central Framing in Your Films’, No Film School, 2 January, viewed 3 May 2018, <https://nofilmschool.com/2017/01/3-different-ways-use-central-framing-films&gt;.

The Future of the News Feed – Facebook Ads

2018 is proving to be a year of change for Facebook with potentially more to come in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal and Mark Zuckerberg’s Congressional hearings. These changes will be closely watched by businesses who have spent almost $12-billion on Facebook Advertising in the first quarter of 2018 (Facebook, Inc. 2018). Understanding how to reach potential customers as this landscape is updated or regulated will be crucial to running successful campaigns with Facebook Advertising. Let’s look at how Facebook has changed already this year and what should stay the same.

Less Organic Reach For Businesses

Mark Zuckerberg announced on Facebook on January 12 that ‘The first changes you’ll see will be in News Feed, where you can expect to see more from your friends, family and groups. […] you’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media.’ (Zuckerberg 2018a). While this change will have less of an impact on sponsored posts, it does mean that the likelihood of getting organic views in the News Feed would drop, as identified by Griffen (2018).

Limiting Targeted Advertising

Partner Categories was a feature that allowed advertisers to target quite specific audiences based on information gathered by third-parties apps and Facebook Marketing Partners. This included information ‘such as offline demographic and behavioral information like homeownership or purchase history’ (Facebook Business n.d.a). As of March 2018, this feature is being discontinued by Facebook, ‘while this is common industry practice, we believe this step, winding down over the next six months, will help improve people’s privacy on Facebook’ (Facebook Newsroom 2018). The future of targeted advertising appears to be dependent on the customer information that business already have (or are willing to purchase outside of Facebook), particularly if users take advantage of the announcement in May 2018 that they can clear their browser history from Facebook’s database (Zuckerberg 2018b)

Government Regulation

The potential regulation of Facebook advertising could also impact the ability for advertisers to target specific markets. In the US it is likely that is could vary across the country with legislation happening at a state, not national level (Purdy 2018). There is even a call from Dayen (2018) to ban targeted advertising completely. In Australia, there may not be any regulation changes until after the ACCC releases its final report on Facebook and Google advertising operations that is expected mid-2019 (AFP 2018).

Finding Customers on Facebook

What will still remain is the ability to reach customers who are already connected to your business and ‘Lookalike Audiences’ (Facebook Business n.d.b) through sponsored advertising. The ability for businesses to enhance the Facebook experience could prove the difference in the getting space on the News Feed. When examining user engagement across a range of social media platforms, Voorveld et al. (2018, p. 45) found that, specifically, Facebook ‘consumers used it to fill empty moments’ looking for ‘enjoyment, satisfaction, or relaxation’. An important feature for users is ‘social interaction’ and ‘advertisers aim for or have content suitable for sharing with others or about which users would like to communicate with others’ (Voorveld et al. 2018, p. 46).

References

AFP 2018, Facebook rejects Australia media calls for regulation, The Economic Times, 27 April, viewed 24 April 2018, <https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/international/world-news/facebook-rejects-australia-media-calls-for-regulation/articleshow/63879442.cms&gt;.

Dayen, D 2018, Ban Targeted Advertising, The New Republic, 10 April, viewed 27 April 2018, <https://newrepublic.com/article/147887/ban-targeted-advertising-facebook-google&gt;.

Facebook, Inc 2018, Facebook Reports First Quarter 2018 Results, CISION PR Newswire, 25 April, viewed 27 April 2018, <https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/facebook-reports-first-quarter-2018-results-300636652.html&gt;.

Facebook Business n.d.a, About Partner Categories, Facebook, Inc., viewed 27 April 2018, <https://www.facebook.com/business/help/298717656925097&gt;.

Facebook Business n.d.b, Lookalike Audiences, Facebook, Inc., viewed 27 April 2018, <https://www.facebook.com/business/learn/facebook-ads-lookalike-audiences&gt;.

Griffen, A 2018, Facebook News Feed: Why It Is Changing and What It Actually Means for Users, Independent, 12 January, viewed 27 April 2018, <https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/features/facebook-news-feed-latest-why-change-users-fake-news-media-mark-zuckerberg-a8156491.html&gt;.

Purdy, C 2018, If Facebook gets regulated, thank vegans, Quartz, 5 April, viewed 27 April 2018 <https://qz.com/1240903/regulating-technology-companies-like-facebook-will-depend-on-the-states/&gt;.

Voorveld, H, Noort, G, Muntinga, D, & Bronner, F 2018, ‘Engagement with Social Media and Social Media Advertising: The Differentiating Role of Platform Type’, Journal of Advertising, vol. 47(1), pp.38-54.

Zuckerberg, M 2018a, One of our big focus areas for 2018 …, Facebook, 2 May, viewed 27 April 2018, <https://www.facebook.com/zuck/posts/10104413015393571&gt;.

Zuckerberg, M 2018b, Today at our F8 conference I’m going to …, Facebook, 2 May, viewed 3 May 2018, <https://www.facebook.com/zuck/posts/10104899855107881&gt;.

YouTube Channel Partner Goals – Web Presence

YouTube is host to a billion users who are watching over one billion hours of content every day (YouTube Press 2018) with content creators uploading 300 hours of video to the platform every minute (Brandwatch 2017). I wanted to find out more about what channel owners can do in this highly competitive marketplace to keep viewers watching, subscribing and returning to their content. For some creators, their content can generate millions of dollars in ad revenue through the YouTube Partner Affiliate program. Since the start of 2018, to be a part of the program, channels need to meet ‘the eligibility requirement for monetization [of] 4,000 hours of watch time within the past 12 months and 1,000 subscribers’ (YouTube-Creators Blog 2018).

3-Minute Videos

According to Buffer’s blog post by Lee (2016), 3-minutes is the optimal length for a YouTube video. This was based on data that took the average length of the most popular videos on YouTube. However, this information was gathered in 2012 & 2013 and, if redone today, should probably be considered for individual categories because of the significant popularity of music videos. Even with that in mind, keeping videos succinct makes sense considering viewer behaviour. According to the statistics from Brandwatch (2017) ‘More than half of YouTube views come from mobile devices’ and ‘the average mobile viewing session lasts more than 40 minutes’. These two points make me believe that users are actively engaging with the platform and viewing a variety of videos each visit – this provides an opportunity for creators to keep viewers on their channels.

A Well-Timed Card

Using YouTube channel analytics, creators can see the average view duration and a graph of the audience retention over time for each individual video. In an interview with DeMers (2017), Syed Balkhi suggests placing a card at the exact moment when users are leaving your video. Creators can use this card to invite viewers to link to another video right at the moment they are thinking of looking for new content. This takes advantage of the active nature of the user and keeps them clocking up viewing hours on your channel.

TubeBuddy

While researching I found many people recommending the use of TubeBuddy, a browser extension certified by YouTube, to manage and optimise a YouTube channel. One of the key features of this plugin is its ability to improve SEO within YouTube. It allows channel managers to see where a video is ranking on YouTube searches for its tags and keywords. It also can suggest related tags and keywords for individual videos by analysing the title, description and existing tags. Based on the positive response this plugin has received (Boone 2018), I am definitely planning to test it out for future projects.

References

Boone, J 2018, ‘10 Ways to Harness the Power of Your YouTube Videos’, No Film School, 19 April, viewed 25 April 2018, <https://nofilmschool.com/2018/04/10-youtube-tips-creators-should-know-about&gt;.

DeMers, J 2017, ‘8 Secrets To Grow Your YouTube Channel In 2018 From A YouTuber With Over 550 Million Video Views’, Forbes, 29 December, viewed 25 April 2018, <https://www.forbes.com/sites/jaysondemers/2017/12/29/8-secrets-to-grow-your-youtube-channel-in-2018-from-a-youtuber-with-over-550-million-video-views/#239e263f28de&gt;.

Lee, K 2014, ‘Infographic: The Optimal Length for Every Social Media Update and More’, Buffer Social Blog, 21 October, viewed 25 April 2018, <https://blog.bufferapp.com/optimal-length-social-media&gt;.

Mohan, N 2018, ‘Additional Changes to the YouTube Partner Program (YPP) to Better Protect Creators’, YouTube Creators Blog, 16 January, viewed 25 April 2018, <https://youtube-creators.googleblog.com/2018/01/additional-changes-to-youtube-partner.html&gt;.

Smith, K 2017, ‘39 Fascinating and Incredible YouTube Statistics’, Brandwatch Blog, 12 December, viewed 25 April 2018, <https://www.brandwatch.com/blog/39-youtube-stats/&gt;.

YouTube 2018, YouTube for Press, YouTube, viewed 25 April 2018, <https://www.youtube.com/intl/en-GB/yt/about/press/&gt;.