I created a questionnaire to be handed out and filled in by the experiment participants after each soundtrack is complete. This will be filled out between each soundtrack, rather than at the end of the whole process so it is fresh in their minds. I will paste it below for reference.
If you wish to remain anonymous please tick this box and move to section B. [BOX]
Participant [ADD NUMBER]
Section A: Your details.
Name: ___________________________________________ Age: __________________
Occupation: ______________________________________ Gender: _______________
[INSERT SCENE TITLE HERE] e.g. own soundtrack 1
Describe how this movie scene made you feel in 3 words:
On a Scale of 1 to 10 choose how [SAD/UNCOMFORTABLE/SCARED] this scene made you feel?
1 – – – 2 – – – 3 – – – 4 – – – 5 – – – 6 – – – 7 – – – 8 – – – 9 – – – 10
What in particular about this scene stood out to you most?
I have written up a consent form for all participants taking part in the experiment. This will be confirmation from them that they know all procedure and protocol during the experiment. It will also confirm that they are fully aware of the experiment and what is happening. I will paste it below:
Danny Smith is a student of Creative Sound Production at The University of Abertay in Dundee, Scotland. Danny’s honours project aims to show a link between soundtrack elements and the audiences emotions. This experiment will involve you watching a series of film clips, and answering a questionnaire after each one, on how it affected you. Each film clip will be between 2 and 5 minutes long. You have the option to not take part at any point during the screenings, with the options to leave before and during the experiment. You will also have the option for your questionnaires answers to not be used in the experiment after it is finished. There will be a few personal questions asked at the beginning; name, age, gender and occupation. You will have the option of not answering these questions and keeping all of your answers anonymous. This experiment will be used to inform Danny’s own project of creating soundtracks to highlight particular emotions for his own media. This experiment is intended to benefit the researcher, Danny Smith, and may not benefit you in any way. All non-essential information will be kept confidential unless the researcher, Danny Smith, asks you personally later for a specific purpose. Any health and safety risks that could occur during the experiment will be made explicitly clear by the researcher, Danny Smith, before beginning. The contact details of the researcher, Danny Smith, will be given to you for any enquiries and/or concerns you may have about the experiment or questionnaires. The final presentation will be available for all participants to see at the end of year show, also all the research will be available for anyone who took part to view once the project is complete.
Please print name below:
Please sign below to confirm that you have read and understand everything outlined above:
I have decided after a project meeting with Kenny that there are some changes needed to be made to the project. I am focusing too much on the wrong areas. For example, I was planning on screening the film clips to highlight and confirm my assumptions on how they made people feel. As Kenny said though, this would be benign as each of the clips are already made in a particular way, that the screenings would not highlight anything, they’d just give obvious results which I already know. So instead I will go into a much deeper analysis of the case studies, so that I can pinpoint everything that will make people feel these ways to a tee. If I manage this effectively I will then have extra knowledge when it comes to creating my soundtracks for my own media piece in the end when it comes to that point. I was focusing too much on backing up my point with information that holds no merit when I should be doing that through appropriate literature and examples. The aim thing I am trying to say is I will be taking a more hands on practical approach rather than what I was currently doing. I have been told some examples will will inform my final project presentation. These examples are: Derek Jarman’s “Blue”, Italian animation series “The red and the blue” and the classic Disney “Fantasia”. The simple and avant-garde style of these examples will help me with my final presentation idea of the moving image piece.
In regards to the final piece I must start drawing and artefacts that can be used for the animation. I must also start speaking to animators and artists who understand what I am trying to do and how do it for guidance on how to create the final piece. Once I have a piece to score to which I am hoping to have before the end of February, I can begin to create the soundtracks I am aiming to. I have a holiday booked for the end of February for 10 days, hopefully over this time I will be able to finalise at least one, and also get a good portion of my writing done.
In todays lecture we discussed methods of working with your experiment participants.
You use participants to test theories. You will create an assumption about something and then find out if the theory is correct in reference to the results of the experiment. They will either inform or contrast your assumption, and you can adjust your findings accordingly. The standard is to have at least 32 participants minimum in most studies, but as this is a student project we do not have to follow this.
You should also not be asking what the participants like or dislike about the work. You should just be asking for their own opinion, so they do not feel obliged to say anything positive or negative. This is done to understand others’ own experiences without providing them with any bias, which you will be about your own work. You must also be an objective observer, make sure that all participants are aware that constructive criticism is accepted and won’t be taken into offence. To do all of this you must only ask questions which are neutral. Everyone taking part must be aware that there is no wrong or right answers. You must also order questions in a way which will not affect the participants next answers.
After the questionnaire section of my screenings, I will try to get a focus group meeting, to just get a general idea of most peoples movie viewing habits, in reference to soundtracks. I will make these semi-structured, with prompts used to start conversations and then observe and record what is said. Focus groups are usually used in market research to get peoples opinions of products or media.
In this lecture Simone went over elements of good critical writing. To have a cohesive document your essay must have clarity and precision, being very clear about what is trying to be conveyed. It must have accurate and precise information to inform and back up your theories, no estimates or guesses. All information must be relevant, nothing should go off topic too far that it is indecipherable from the original point in question. It must also have great breadth to the points, this is a dissertation now, not an essay, no half assing any points. And of course there must be a depth of different logical information which all relates back to the point at hand. This will all of course improve over time, as most things do with practice. All academic writing should be supported and informed by appropriate literature, reference the hell out of it. Conversely to this, you should not put citations in the abstract. Also similarly to this, it must be noted that personal and anecdotal evidence is not supported in critical writing. In critical writing you must also always put the focus on the object and not the researcher. Case studies are deep and purposeful analyses of a topic, and should be underpinned by theory indefinitely. Case studies should not just be a review of a topic.
I recently went to an exhibition at the Dundee Contemporary Arts Centre (DCA) called ‘Drawn Into Tomorrow’ by Finnish duo IC-98. This is a time based art piece which mixes illustration with animation. There was a collection of 4 almost hour long animations, it shows very dark hand drawn landscapes that have been animated to show the world without humans in it anymore. The artists themselves are named Visa Suonpää and Patrik Söderlund, and they state that the pieces are long so that the viewers can reflect on them and think to themselves as they are not provided with answers from these pieces, Patrik states “its an evolving meditative experience”. The one I was drawn to was called Hours, Years, Aeons. It shows a dark and dank forest which has a tree which sinks into a lake and flowers which bloom around the screen, the piece is shown in a room with the work being projected onto a large wall and a bench to sit and admire the piece. The room was chilling from walking in as the passageway is pitch black and it is very difficult to see around the room, as your eyes adjust you see any other people in the room and the bench in the centre. I think Patrik Söderlund put it well when saying that the piece is meditative, as it moves so slowly and precisely over such a long period of time, its almost hypnotic. The main thing other than the beautiful visuals that draw you in though is the music backdrop. The music in this piece is very dissonant, mainly played by harsh woodwind instruments and horns, but there is also a lot of sound design and musique concrete. The music very much represents the on screen visuals, with loud creaking noises whenever the tree moves a significant amount, the noises like this are loud and harsh and don’t seem to fit into any time signature as they are just sound design pieces. The mists which rise up out of the marsh water and the tree is also given a complimentary motif in the music, there is a wispy airy sound when the on screen visuals are being matched. There was also a scurrying of bugs when we saw an infestation of termites swarm the tree, which could make anyone’s skin crawl. The rest of the piece is filled mainly by what I believe is an oboe or clarinet, which plays a very ominous and uncomfortable backdrop of beautiful dissonant music, which again does not seem to fit into any particular time signature. Which sets the mood perfectly of the marshlike forest. I have been influenced very heavily by this piece for my final honours presentation, as it matches what I would like to do quite similarly.
I will paste my feedback for my Concept Development document below.
The opening few sentences of your document are very good — they’re entertaining and they provide a good sense of context for your project and the document. What you don’t do so well in the document is set out the terms of reference for the discussion that will follow, you just continue straight into the discussion. Remember what we said in class? Use the introduction to tell the reader what you’re about to tell them!
I don’t think that it’s a good idea to list the books that you’ve cited in the proposal in the text itself. Isn’t this what a reference section is for? Better, I think to introduce the main theories and concepts, and provide examples and/or case studies that explore their use in practice. Having presented the list, you don’t really go on to explore the key ideas, you just note that Chion is the best, and move on to your case studies.
Similarly, although you highlight what your case studies will be, you don’t then actually go on to analyse them here. You provide links to the blog post you wrote about it, so the material is ready — why didn’t you incorporate it into the document?
It’s not a bad attempt, but I was really looking for more than just an overview here. “
I am a bit disappointed here as all of the feedback is very accurate, and I feel like I agree with it all. Which means I could have had a better grade if I put in a bit more effort at the time. Everything that has been said has been taken into consideration and I appreciate that this is all great feedback that I can work upon.