Author Archives: shaunsykes94

Why Internet Censorship May Become More Strict in the UK

The London Riots:

In August 2011, a number of riots took place across the capital which were mainly started over the death of Mark Duggen, who was shot dead by police when he was apparently unarmed. Over the next few days, some parts of London were left in a state of chaos and destruction with many buildings being looted or becoming victims of arson attacks. These events were mainly believed to have been started and organised in mass numbers due to social networking sites.

On the 16th August 2011, two men were jailed for four years each for attempting to encourage other people to become involved in the rioting, which had now spread to other parts of the country. The two men created the page: ‘Smash down in Northwich Town’ which attempted to invite people to riot between the 7-10pm on the 10th August. The Merseyside and Cheshire Crown Prosecution Service stated that the two men to: “…gain widespread support in order to replicate similar criminality.”

However, during the aftermath of the events, social media sites were put to good use:

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The Internet Society’s Global Internet User Survey

In 2012, over 10,000 people from the around the globe were asked a series of questions relating to the use of the internet. Here are some of the global results relating to internet censorship:

  • 30% of users agreed strongly that censorship currently exists on the Internet.
  • More than 70% of users agreed or agreed strongly that more government involvement would make the Internet too controlled or would limit content they can access.
  • More than two-thirds agreed or agreed strongly that increased government control would inhibit the growth of the Internet and/or stifle innovation.
  • 86% agreed or agreed strongly that freedom of expression should be guaranteed.
  • 60% of respondents agreed or agreed strongly that Internet access has contributed significantly to civil action and political awareness in their country.

These results show that their is a strong togetherness from people around the world that internet censorship is considered as a threatening aspect to how and what people can publish on the internet due to a small minority of people that abuse this right of freedom of speech. The final statistic in particular relates very much to the London riots, as the use of the internet played a pivotal part in looting and arson of buildings and companies in London.


Avatar Analysis Part 4

The Na’vi are a representation of Native Americans

The success of Avatar has brought about many theories about the representation and meaning of the films plot and other aspects of the film from fans all over the world. Over time, the theories for the film have grown in numbers as the people behind these theories take a more deeper insight into the films plot and characters. In terms of the representations of the characters, the Na’vi seem to be very similar to Native Americans. This is due to the fact that they hunt for their food, wear very little clothing, speak in their own native tongue and follow their own religion. While this representation doesn’t seem to be negative, some minority groups believe that this is the case believing that that the film represents them as being victims who could not protect themselves. Furthermore, they believe this representation is also on the verge of racism as the film suggests that the Na’vi need the help of a white man, also known as The White Messiah in the form of the main character Jake Sulley, to be able to defeat the bad guys. These bad guys are represented in the form of the RDA, the American corporate mining company who are after a valuable mineral on the planet of Pandora. This has caused controversy due to the fact that a large corporation is being represented as the bad guys as they have no consideration for the environment or the people that live on these lands, which many environmentalists believe is correct. In addition, many American viewers believe there is an anti-American message in the form that the RDA soldiers represent the American soldiers of today. Russell D. Moore of The Christian Post stated that: “If you can get a theatre full of people in Kentucky to stand and applaud the defeat in their country in war, then you’ve got some amazing special effects.” However, Cameron defended himself in stating that the film is: “…definitely not anti-American…” whilst also mentioning that the good or bad guys could be America: “…depending on your perspective.” Another representation that received backlash from

Some viewers believed this scene resembled the 9/11 attacks

audiences was the supposed reminiscence of 9/11 attack on the World Trade Centre. Some audiences believed that the scene where the N’avi’s Hometree is destroyed by the RDA troops reminded them of the attack that took place on the World Trade Centre. Cameron was quick to calm those claims stating that it was not intended to represent the attack although he was: “…surprised at how much it did look like September 11.”

With regard to the possible meanings of the film, one of the most recognized meanings is the emphasis on the environment. This is due the fact that Cameron has spoken extensively with the media about his environmental message of how Avatar is a broad metaphor about how we treat the natural world. In an interview on National Public Radio, Cameron stated that the world would go through pain and suffering if the world did not acknowledge: “…our stewardship responsibilities towards nature.” Cameron further emphasizes this environmental message in another interview when he says that Pandora is a fictionalised version of: “…the world we used to have.” Another important meaning that the film gives off is about the use of imperialism. This is backed up by Cameron after he mentioned that he believed that people with more military or technological advances might: “…supplant or destroy people who are weaker, usually for their resources.” In some way, Avatar is very similar to the

Avatar can relate to the fighting over the construction of the first Transcontinental Railroad in America 1863-1869

construction of the first Transcontinental Railroad that started in 1863. The companies in charge of building the railroads fought with the Native Americans forcing them to leave their native land so that the companies could build the railroad on their land. This can be related to Avatar as the RDA tried to convince the N’avi to relocate so they could mine the valuable mineral that they had on their land. The Na’vi would not move leading the RDA to go into conflict with the Na’vi. Other theories around the film suggest that it is very religious, with specific links to Hinduism, and the militarism to help understand the impact the US military’s latest campaigns.

Overall, Avatar has affected many people across the world, by allowing them to try to understand the films much deeper meanings than what we may first initially see or simply parody the film in other entertainment brands, whilst also having a significant impact on how we have viewed movies since the release of Avatar and how we will watch movies in future years to come, due to the breakthrough in technology that the movie has bought with it.


Avatar Analysis Part 3

The release of Avatar sparked a technological revolution in the movie industry. Even before the movie was released back in 2009, movie critics were eager with excitement at this movie, believing that it would spark the next generation of movie making, mostly due to the new digital 3D technology that would be used in James Cameron’s latest movie which would be a vast improvement on the conventional cardboard 3D glasses with the red and green lenses. However, a number

Example of Uncanny Valley

of new technological advances were also used in the making the film. One of which was the use of new motion capture technology to overcome the problems of uncanny valley, a hypothesis that suggests that a nonhuman object that is close to resembling a human being but is not perfect causes humans to repulse the nonhuman object, such as a robot for example. In an interview, James Cameron stated that: “…if you didn’t see a soul there – it would just be a big clanking machine.” Whilst further emphasizing that they: “…have to be real, they have to be alive.” To overcome this problem, a new performance capture technology was created where the actors wore individually made skullcaps that were fitted with a camera that was positioned inches away from their face. This type of technology allowed 100% of the actors detailed facial movements to be transferred over to their CGI counterpart thus allowing Cameron to overcome uncanny valley. Alongside this, the Stereotypic 3D Fusion Camera was created specifically for the movie to create 3D images whilst also being able to blend live action and CGI seamlessly. This was not its only use however. Yet again, new technology was created for the making of the movie in the form of a Virtual Camera System, which allowed the actor’s virtual counterpart and their digital surroundings to be seen in real time thus allowing the Cameron to adjust scenes just how he liked. In addition, a Simul-Cam, a mix between the Fusion Camera and the Virtual Camera System, was created to allow the camera operator to see the CGI characters and digital surroundings through the cameras eyepiece. This was extremely effective as it allowed Cameron to tell the actors how exactly to relate to their virtual surroundings.

Check out this video for the making of one of the movies sequences:

Avatar helped springboard 3D back into films

The release of Avatar in cinemas across the globe brought many changes to the film industry whilst also encouraging many to take their own spin on this new sci-fi epic. For starters, Avatar become the first film to be filmed entirely in stereotypic 3D, which was a great achievement at the time of the release of the film. With production companies realising the success Avatar had at the box office due to the increased price of cinema tickets that came with the use of 3D technology, more and more films that were being produced were now coming with the option of watching the film in 3D at the cinema. This allowed the production companies to raise more from their movies at the box office even if they were not as
successful as they first hoped for. Some of these films would just

Ben Stiller at the Oscars

have the 3D effect added over the top of the original footage in post production, instead of being filmed in 3D, as the companies knew that they could still charge extra for the privilege of watching the film in 3D. Up to this day, a high number of films are now being shown in 3D although audiences are now becoming less interested in 3D movies as some see it as more of a gimmick whilst the prices of tickets for 3D films are rising. The success of Avatar has also brought about many parodies about the film. At the 2010 Oscars, comedian Ben Stiller came out dressed as a N’avi whilst presenting the award for best makeup. In addition, famous animated cartoons such as The Simpsons and South Park started parodying Avatar whilst spoof films such as ‘The Greatest Movie of all Time’ and ‘Aliens vs Avatars’ were also created to make fun at sci-fi movie.

The Simpsons parodying Avatar


Avatar Analysis Part 2

The narrative structure of Avatar is in fact very simple than what we may realise. Avatar has a linear structure to the story, meaning that the film has a three-act structure of a beginning, middle and ending compared to a non-linear narrative that may go middle, beginning and ending. The film also has a closed structure as the film has a clear ending when Jake is permanently transported into the body of his avatar instead of an open structure when the film would end on a cliff-hanger. Furthermore, the narrative of the film is single stranded as the film solely concentrates on the story of Jake throughout the entire film. Avatar also has a state of equilibrium, which means a state of balance. The beginning of the film is where the state of equilibrium is defined, which in terms of Avatar means that the planet of Pandora is at first undiscovered by the humans. The middle is the disruption to the equilibrium meaning that Pandora is being slowly destroyed due to the humans mining for the valuable mineral that they are after. Finally the end, which is the reinstatement of the equilibrium, meaning that the state of balance has been restored and Pandora has been reclaimed by the N’avi.

Avatar on 3D TV

Avatar was released in cinemas in December 2009 around the world earning billions at the box office whilst also breaking records along the way. However, this was not the only edition to be released in cinemas. In August 2010, an extended re-release of the film was shown in selected Imax 3D and normal 3D cinemas that included an extra nine minutes of footage. This, however, was four months after the film was released on DVD and Blu-ray in April 2010 although this version only included the film and none of the special features. This was done so people would go out and buy the film again in order to see the special features thus increasing the profits made on the sales of the film. The three disc extended addition was in November 2010 while the 3D version was released globally in October 2012. The film was also released on other formats including on television where the film made its 3D world premiere on Sky on Christmas Eve 2010 before Channel 4 bought the rights to show the film on standard television which made its debut on 1st January 2012. Furthermore, Avatar was also released on the iTunes store, at the same time of the first DVD release, allowing the viewers to watch the film on their iPods or computers.


Avatar Analysis Part 1

Directed by James Cameron, who has previously produced or directed many successful film franchises such as ‘The Terminator’ and ‘Alien’, Avatar follows the story of Jake Sully who is assigned onto the Avatar program, on the planet of Pandora, after his brother is killed in action. With the use of his new avatar body, Jakes is instructed by the mining company RDA to convince the N’avi, the local natives of the planet, to move away so the RDA can extract the valuable minerals deep within the planets plants. However, as Jake gains the trust of the N’avi, his alliance for them becomes stronger eventually leading Jake to fighting against the group he works for.

The floating mountains of Pandora

As with any sci-fi movie, there are many specific codes and conventions that the viewer would most predominately notice during the movie. One of which is the fact that the film is set in the near future or thousands of years later with Avatar being set in the year 2154. In addition, most sci-fi films usually include far away planets, which are usually occupied by an alien species, thus usually resulting in conflict between the humans and the alien species, which in this case of Avatar involves the humans ending up in conflict with the N’avi on the planet Pandora. Imaginative settings also play a major part in any sci-fi film as it creates a wow factor for the audience whilst also emphasizing the major work that the production company have put into making the futuristic settings seem believable and that our world could become like it in the future. Whilst Avatar is mostly set on the unspoilt land of Pandora, one of the memorable areas of the planet is the floating mountains that hovers over the land.Furthermore, another convention that makes up any sci-fi film includes the use of futuristic technology such as spaceships, link beds, which transferred the human to their avatar body, interactive holographs and which are used within the film. This has become a major part of any sci-fi film as it allows the production company and the audience to become part of the franchise by imagining up futuristic equipment. In terms of the types of camera angles used, one of the most used camera angles in any sci-fi film is the use of establishing shots. These are very effective as it allows the audience to take in the futuristic settings, which are commonplace in sci-fi films, thus allowing them to become engulfed in this new and exciting setting, which in this case takes the form of the natural yet mystical world of Pandora. Other types of shots that are used include medium and full body shots that are mostly used during the

Use of tracking shot in chase scene

fight scenes in Avatar, close ups and extreme close ups that are used to emphasize thecharacters emotions and even highlight a major part of the plot that the characters may mention during the film. In addition, tracking shots also play a major part in sci-fi films as the camera follows a particular character. This in particular is used during the battle, fight and chase scenes during Avatar allowing the audience to become part of the action during the film.


Batman Focus Group Results

Here is our main findings that our group discovered while undertaking this focus group about 1960’s Batman and modern Batman ‘The Dark Knight’.


Batman Focus Group Clip

 


James Bond Movie Series Analysis


Media Student Audience Profile Results

Media Student Profile- Gender Media Student Profile- Age Media Student Profile- Favourite Film Genre Media Student Profile- Favourite Music genre Media Audience Profile- Favourite TV Genre