Well, the 2nd term of the new media program has come and gone.. It went by so incredibly fast, I find myself straining to remember everything that I learned. However, I learned alot, and I am finally starting to see where I might end up when this is all over. In this program so far, I have done exceptionally well in the front end side of media production.

Illustrator and Photoshop – Okay, so I’m not saying these are the be all end all of media applications, but hear me out. Drawing on the computer and manipulating photos has been a hobby of mine since i was a child. Learning these 2 applications has opened up a whole new world of creativity for me. Whether it be mocking up an interface design, conceptualizing logos, or designing web banners, working with illustrator and photoshop together has been a lot of fun and I feel that i am more than capable at quickly coming up with tasteful visual design.

With these applications being as powerful and dynamic as they are, it is very easy to get carried away with cluttered design. I am a strong advocate for clean layouts, taking into consideration all of the principles of design and how design elements communicate with eachother through grid structures, typography, heiarchy and usage of color.

WPclg

Video? Audio? Call Me. – I have been involved in Video and Audio editing for many years. As a musician, I have been recording and producing my own digital/acoustic compositions for over 7 years using mainly Sony’s Acid audio workstation. You can hear some of my work here(navigate to the sections labeled ‘brains’, and ‘sweat’). I have also recently learned Pro Tools(the industry standard) inside and out. If you need custom sound effects, audio optimization, or background music for a media presentation or website, I am your guy. Just tell me what you like and i will deliver. As for video shooting and editing, it has been one of my many hobbies since my intro to video production classes in highschool(1999). I have an HD camera and YES,  I know how to use it. I am farmiliar in practice with the core techniques of lighting and sound design for video. I am quick with editing and have extensive knowledge in Apple’s Final Cut Pro application.

Behind the Scenes of Web Design – When it comes to building websites, understanding usability, search engine optomization and how to organize information is where it all starts. Through the process of information architecture, we begin to understand how a website is going to function for the end user. It is absolutely essential that this process of identifying the client’s goals and intended audience be the first stage of building any website. Like anything else, when it comes to conceptualizing design, it all starts with planning. After the research and planning stages, interface prototyping can begin. The last part of the process is to make the website look and function as best as it can only after all of this footwork has been taken into careful consideration.  I believe it is important for any individual in the new media/web development industry to practice these steps. I truly understand wthe importance of this process and it will always be a part of my work ethic in this industry.

As far as scripting and programming goes, i would say that i have a solid base knowledge in XHTML, CSS, actionscript and javascript. At the least I can say with confidence that I understand where they are used and when they should be used.

My New Media Family – Aside from what i have learned thus far in the new media design program, i have in the past and will continue to work closely with my Sister who is an accomplished Graphic Designer and Art Director for an established environmental design company here in Vancouver. > http://www.smartdesigngroup.com  We are constantly bouncing ideas off of eachother and she has been a great resource for me. My stepbrother works for Yahoo down in San Jose, CA. He has many talents within the web development industry but I believe his official job title is ” Design Prototyper in the Search User Experience Group.” Needless to say, he is another great resource for me in my new media adventures.

So here I am, at the end of my 1st term in the New Media Design Program at BCIT. So far it’s been a great experience and I don’t have much to gripe about. But allow me to gripe for just a moment or so. Even though only a small part of this course requires getting projects printed, I am a little shocked that BCIT doesn’t provide a color printer for us to use. Thousands of dollars later and we still have to go out and spend money elsewhere to get something printed? Seems kinda silly to me… Anyhow I am lucky enough to have a girlfriend who works for a printing company, so conveniently she can “hook me up”.

Looking back on the first term

Its been an interesting couple of months here at BCIT. I’d be lying if I said I haven’t learned anything in this first term. Although not all of the classes have been, well, incredibly stimulating, I’d have to say that I enjoyed all of them equally at one point or another. The most noticeable thing I’ve gotten out of this first term has been re-teaching my brain how to learn and soak in new information. Its been years since i was last in school and it’s truly refreshing to be challenging my mind again.

works

Term 2, oh boy!

Aside from all the hype about term 2 and how intense it is, I am really looking forward to it. If it isn’t hard, then I don’t expect to get anything out of it. I know I’m gonna be pulling my hair out somewhere down the line, but how bad can it really be? Audio, Video, Illustrator, flash.. This is the good stuff as far as I’m concerned. Bring it on BCIT!

They Call it Netiquette

June 25, 2009

With todays world wide internet population reaching a massive 1.6 billion people, there is bound to be a plethora of poorly written web content out there. From pointless flamewars on millions of pointless blogs and forums, to Jow Blow pretending to be a revolutionary somebody, there is just a ton of crap floating around cyberspace.  However, there are a lot of people that take this stuff very seriously. Afterall, the internet is much more than just a mindless platform for opinion bashing and escaping the physical realm. There are millions of organizations, businesses, artists and individuals out there who are trying to best represent themselves and protect their reputations by using proper Netiquette. Those who aren’t using caution about their web prescence might find that their hasty approach will haunt them in the future.

A Happy Medium is Best for Web Content

Here are some tips to help your web writing appeal to a broader audience, while staying true to yourself.

  • Remember that your are communicating to REAL HUMAN BEINGS.
  • Keep your writing style casual and conversational, while at the same time using correct grammar and sentance structure.
  • Profanity is only effective when used with moderation and within a very specific context.
  • You will not be taken seriously if your emotions overpower your rationale.
  • Keep it short and to the point.
  • Don’t write about stuff that you have no knowledge of.
  • Write about stuff that you DO know a lot about!
  • Don’t write too much about others unless you have their consent.

The World is your Audience, and the World is Listening

I think what it really comes down to is this. Whatever you put on the web is available for anybody to see. If you’re going to write anything at all on the internet, be smart about it. Think of it as if you were going to tell this stuff to a giant stadium full of 1.6 billion real people. Be better than 90 percent of todays web content,  If anything, you’ll get more out of it in the end. Learn more about the core rules of writing for the web in Virginia Shea’s Book Netiquette.

Last saturday afternoon my girlfriend and I wandered out of our apartment to check out the car free day festivities a few blocks away on Main Street. Seeing all the people out with their families and friends in place of where there would normally be bumper to bumper traffic put a smile on my face. With the hipsters of Main Street out in full force, this was proving to be a full on cultural event. As we strolled around checking out the goods from local vendors and artists, I noticed a large gathering of bodies forming a block away. Live music in the street!

HeyOcean

Hey Ocean Rocks Main Street

Its been awhile since i’ve seen a live show, and i was definately due for some audible stimulation. I was surprised to find the popular local jazz/funk/pop fusion band Hey Ocean strapping on their instruments in anticipation of what would be a super fun hour long set. I had heard a few of their songs before, but this was a classic example of a band truly justifying their music through live performance. They were really good. At one point they brought up Ontario based Hip Hop artist Shad and rocked out their collaborative track Vagabond. Shad is one of the most intelligent hip hop lyricists I’ve heard to date. Check out his video the prince still lives at home, a satirical homage to the popular 90’s sitcom Fresh Prince of Belaire. Also, the Vancouver Jazz Fest is coming up real soon so if your in Vancouver and want to see some really good live music, go check it out. There will be free shows at the Capilano Suspension Bridge in North Van, and other ticketed Events at various clubs and bars around the City.

Hip Hop ensemble Wilderness Crew continues to catch the attention of the culturally popular surf world VIA the good people in Bali, Indonesia. Crew member Brett Mjanes, who’s wife was born and raised in Bali, has been visiting the Island frequently over the past 5 years and has made some key connections with major players in the surf and entertainment industry.

Brett reps the Wilderness Crew in Bali, Indonesia

Brett reps the Wilderness Crew in Bali, Indonesia

A boost from Hurley

One connection Brett has made through his travels to Bali continues to stand out among others. Clothing empire Hurley International has maintained a keen interest in the beachy sounds of the Wilderness for a couple of years now, featuring the crew’s songs in surf videos and recently showcasing a performance night at the Balcony restaurant in Bali where Brett took the stage and widened some more eyelids. Hurley represents musicians in a very similar way a record label does, and could potentially be the groundbreaking platform for Wilderness Crew’s next wave of success.

Back in Canada

Its summertime back in beautiful British Columbia. Crew members Eric, Eli and Evan await Brett’s return at the end of June as they look forward to continuing on with writing new material and playing as many shows as possible. The official Wilderness Crew website is in the works and should be up and running by the end of July.

This is for my fellow classmates in the new media design program. In particular, those who are daunted by the 15 page website design brief in our Information architecture class.

The Happy Accident

I woke up this morning in my apartment with the intention of working on my design brief. I was hoping to do some online research and competitive analysis, only to find that the free wireless network i have been riding on for the past month and a half has been cut off. So i packed up my stuff and headed to the closest internet cafe. About a half an hour after i sat down, I noticed 2 professional looking gentlemen chatting. As i listened closer, not to be an eavesdropper, I realized that i was listening in on a real life website design brief. Let me tell you, after about 2 hours of listening to these guys talk, i have come to the conclusion that a web designer/marketer has to know a ton about the industry and has to quickly come up with the answers to many, many questions. Being somewhat skeptical and weary of the procedure myself, it was a bit of a wake up call.

Key Points

Although I didn’t listen to everthing that was said as i was working on my own stuff, I did pick up on a few important things. The designer put alot of emphasis on these particular areas.

  • SEO(search engine optomization)
  • Linking
  • Syndication(RSS feeds)
  • Well written, web-formatted content
  • Youtube, Facebook, Twitter etc. Link into as many social networks as possible.
  • Minimal, subtle yet effective use of flash content.

Above All

So really, this is all the stuff we’ve been learning in class. It was just reassuring and motivating to witness part of the process in real life. Stay focused on the briefs my friends! I think it will benefit all of us in the long run.

I Tube YouTube.. Lots

May 26, 2009

Ahhh youtube, hours upon hours of entertainment at the touch of a button. It doesn’t seem all that long ago when i had first heard about the revolutionary video streaming website. Now, i don’t know what i would do without it.. Well not really, but it is pretty amazing.

How to’s

Aside from ridiculous videos that have me in stitches daily, youtube is basically a portal to visual learning. You can learn to cook anything and everything. You can learn to play musical instruments with hundreds of online lessons. You can learn how to fix your car. You can learn how to fix your computer. You can learn how to speak a different language. The list goes on and on. I am very much a visual learner so youtube is great for me.

Laughs

Back to the ridiculous variety of comedy video on youtube. This is what i really love. Everybody has a different sense of humour, but these are a few of my favorites – The boxer that just can’t seem to figure out how to get in and out of the ring.  –   There’s the fainting goats.   –   The startled panda. – and Extreme Pete.  These are the tamest videos i could think of. But they make me laugh everytime. Enjoy!

Wild Things

May 21, 2009

A Pleasant Surprise

Movies are never as good as the books that precede them, but I actually think that is quite the cliche these days. They’ve decided to make a movie out of my favorite childhood book ‘Where the Wild Things Are’. I haven’t been as excited to see a movie as this in a long time.  I recently saw a preview for ‘Where the Wild Things Are’ and I was instantly flooded with curiosity and nostalgia. Curiousity about how the short storyline will evolve into a motion picture, and Nostalgia from the visual on-screen adaptations.

The Old School Way

They’ve opted to use giant puppets to depict the “wild things” themselves, vs. todays standard of CGI based graphics, giving the film a much more organic feel. This really hits home with my generation in particular. All of the fantasy movies of the 80’s were animated with real life puppets and lots of us kids from the 80’s cringe when we see real video mixed with computer animations. The film hits theatres in October of 2009 so be sure to check it out!wildthings

Food for Font

May 14, 2009

Food

The other day I ran into an old friend of mine who I hadn’t seen in a long time. His name is Tyler Gray and he is the founding partner of a wild foods distribution company called Mikuni Wild Harvest. They have a really slick website, so have a look. Tyler has gone from foraging for wild edibles and selling them to local restaurants, to creating a product line cherished by the most famous chef’s in North America. The website will give you a good idea of what tyler and his company is all about. Be sure to check out the “press” section to see how an ambitious guy from a small town has made a significant impact on the wild food industry in North America.

TG

Font

On a seperate note, I’m finding it hard to believe that this is already the 5th week of my New Media experience at BCIT. Time really flies by when your busy, and the homework is piling up. But i think this is the first time in my life where I’ve actually been excited about doing my homework. This stuff is fun! So this is my 3rd Blog and I’m supposed to be writing about New Media.. hmmm..well, this might be useful to you. I was working on a project yesterday and needed to find a certain style of font, so i called up my older Sister who is a graphic designer. She directed me towards a site called dafont.com where I was able to find tons of really modern, cool free font downloads. Just remember, if you use any of these fonts for commercial purposes, be sure to get permission from the artist first.

New Media and Me

May 7, 2009

Have you ever created something close to your heart; art, music, poetry, or whatever it may be, and been somewhat cautious about who you might show it to? It’s a strange feeling. In my case, it happens all the time.

What it is

I’m a musician, songwriter, performer, and integral part of a hip hop group called Wilderness Crew . I often choose not to mention this in new social situations, as there are a lot of negative connotations with the genre of music that is “hip hop” and I find that most people don’t quite understand until they actually hear it. Maybe I feel that I might be drawing too much attention to myself? After all, most rap or hip hop is loaded with sarcastic wit and self indulgence. However, it is good music and we take pride in it.

wilderness

wilderness

The Scoop

There are four of us in the group and we’ve been best friends since early high school. We write and perform conscious, musical hip hop that has been well received not only in and around the Vancouver area, but also reaching as far as Europe, Asia, Australia, and the US. I would have to a-credit this almost entirely to exposure via the worldwide web. We are averaging 400-600 plays a day on our myspace, and growing. We have made connections with other similar artists through online networking, eg. two shows played last summer alongside well known Vancouver based hip hip collective ‘Sweatshop Union‘.

Exposure

More and more I notice videos of our performances popping up on youtube. Some of them I’d rather not know about, but I suppose any exposure is better than no exposure at all. Our music has also been featured on a series of surf films produced by Hurley Clothing International. Check out “Machado Experience”, “Rizal Trailer” and “Yadin Fishing with Friends“. Our official website is currently in the works.

ETA Music for Media

You can hear some of my personal instrumental production at www.smartdesigngroup.com. Click on the “brains” and “sweat” labels. These are a few songs that I modeled to fit the criteria and expectations of the company. If you or anybody else you know is looking for unique and affordable music for a website or any other visual media, you can contact me at eamberg@hotmail.com .