24 Mar

Another flash project …

As I gather my portfolio together for my MA Online Journalism Multimedia module, I discovered my first ever Flash project.

Sad story, a British student missing in America, where he was studying.

I decided to take the facts of the story and turn it into a roll-over breakdown.

It’s basic, but it works. It still needs an embedded link (to the Facebook group) and some embedded video, but it works as a basic test of the theory.

[kml_flashembed publishmethod=”static” fversion=”8.0.0″ movie=”http://carolinebeavon.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/jonny-dorey.swf” width=”550″ height=”400″ targetclass=”flashmovie”]Get Adobe Flash player

[/kml_flashembed]

24 Mar

UK Festival headliners map

[kml_flashembed publishmethod=”static” fversion=”8.0.0″ movie=”http://carolinebeavon.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/festivals-map-X.swf” width=”550″ height=”400″ targetclass=”flashmovie”]

Get Adobe Flash player

[/kml_flashembed]

As a keen festival goer, I thought it would be interesting to MAP where some the larger bands can be seen playing this summer.

I am hoping to work on a larger version of this map for a later assignment, but this is a taster of what is to come!

I took the 6 big UK festivals, Glastonbury, T in the Park, Reading/Leeds, V Festival, Download and Sonisphere and noted down all the bands who headlining, whether that is the main stage or second stage.

I wanted a clickable flash map where you could see where your favourite band was playing, and if they were playing multiple events over the summer.

METHOD

  • Find headliner information from official festival website
  • paste a map of the UK into new Flash CS4 document
  • Create a second layer and write a list of bands names down the left hand side (leaving room for further additions as Reading/Leeds have not announced any bands yet)
  • Turn each band name into a BUTTON, with the text turning red and showing red points, Festival name, and appearance date on the map for the OVER, DOWN and HIT options
  • export map as *.swf file, upload into WordPress and embed

PROBLEMS

I wanted to create a second tier to the map, where the user could click on the Festival point on the map and be shown all the band playing (marked with red boxes around their names)

Unfortunately the map was too crowded with “hotspots” and became messy

I may still simply add a list of festival names NEXT to the map, so the user can click on those and see all the bands playing.

There is a slight glitch with the map in that it has turned the FESTIVAL NAMES TEXT BOXES into buttons – so if the mouse rolls over those, it highlights one of the bands playing. (If it highlighted ALL of them, that would have solved my above problem, but it does not)

I also had a few problems working out how to embed the file into Wordress. The solution was simple

  • upload the file into Media
  • install the Kimili Flash Embed Tag plugin
  • Type in the name, tweak the size and it’s done!
23 Mar

Audio slideshow – music news bulletin

It was only a matter of time before I harked back to my old job of knocking out music news bulletins for the rock loving masses!

Instead of a straight bulletin read though, I decided to turn a standard bulletin (recorded into my laptop with a clip on mic and with Audacity) into an audio slideshow.

The Process

Write the Bulletin

  • Check the main music news websites (including NME.com, Kerrang.com and Gigwise) as well as the press releases I have received, for the top stories of the day.
  • write a short 2 minute bulletin with 4-5 stories, an intro and an out

Record the Bulletin

  • Using a clip on microphone and Audacity sound recorder, I recorded the bulletin into my laptop
  • Edit the bulletin for any mistakes/re-recording

Add Images

  • Unfortunately I do not have an extensive gallery of rock stars so I have had to use images from the internet.
  • I am aware that this may be in breach of copyright, so I have offered the opportunity for photographers not happy with images being used to contact me via the video hosting website Vimeo.
  • I selected pictures that supplemented the story. For example the image of Pete Doherty with the policeman and Damon Albarn with the cigarette were obvious choices.
  • I used movement throughout the slideshow to add to the story – for example, zooming in on the eyes of Robin Whitehead, the heiress and filmmaker found dead in a London flat. This seemed appropriate in this situation.
  • I also used images to highlight the fact that the lead singer of Killswitch Engage has the same name as 80’s pop star Howard Jones. By putting the WRONG picture up initially, then correcting it, it brought some humour to the report.

Uploading the Video

  • Initially I did not want to use a public video sharing site (Vimeo or Youtube) over concerns about using  images  and would ideally have liked to host the video on my site for assessment purposes. Unfortunately it was necessary to use one of these to embed the video into this blog due to the file size.
  • I used Vimeo, and embedded the video into this post (see below)

Thoughts

I found creating this audio slideshow a very fulfilling experience. Unlike video, which seemingly takes hours to edit, render and upload, this was JUST as effective and much quicker to turn around.

As usual, any feedback much appreciated

Thanks

Music news audioslideshow from caroline beavon on Vimeo.

22 Mar

Ian Huntley coverage (news and Twitter)

Following the news that Soham killer Ian Huntley was attacked in prison over the weekend, I decided to have a look at the reaction this story was getting online.

First, a quick look at how the story was handled in 2 very different newspapers.

Using the ManyEyes Word Tree visualization, I copied articles from The Guardian and The Daily Mail to see how the name Huntley was handled, and which words followed it in the articles.

Can YOU guess which visualization belongs to which newspaper?

Report 1 was The Daily Mail, report 2, The Guardian. The Soham Murders were a very “Daily Mail” story,  and highly emotive and accusatory language was used. The Guardian’s report was more factual.

I was also interested to assess the reaction to the story on the social networking site Twitter.

For sake of experiment, I created a spreadsheet of all the tweets mentioning “Huntley”. (I chose Huntley over “Ian Huntley” so the search would not be limited to the more formal tweets from news outlets etc. I hoped “Huntley” would give a more casual, public point of view.

  • I opened a new Google Spreadsheet
  • I inserted the following code in A1 – =importfeed(“http://search.twitter.com/search.atom?q=huntley”, “”, “”, 20)

This created a spreadsheet of the last 15 tweets containing the word Huntley.

I now have the option to use this spreadsheet in a variety of ways:

  • cut and paste the tweet contents into a web application
  • export the document as an Excel file
  • publish the spreadsheet
  • create an RSS feed from the spreadsheet

Now to visualise the text.

First, I decide to use Wordle – a site that created word clouds from inserted text, or an RSS feed.

I initially used the RSS feed from my published Google spreadsheet  – which created the following word cloud.

Unfortunately, this cloud was tainted with user names, and the subject of the true gist of the tweets were lost

(MTF)

  • Still trying to nail LIVE data ..
  • a quick news report (recorded and edited on Iphone)- probably from The Computers show on Wednesday night
  • a podcast
21 Mar

Producing a video report entirely on an Iphone

Ok, for my next trick (ok, uni project) I am going to look into filming and editing a video report all on my iPhone.

My plan is to record some stuff “to camera” (Ie me speaking and setting up the story), a clip of an interview and some cutaways or establishing shots.

My plan it so get something that is tv-news report like, but turned around quickly and uploaded to Youtube within minutes.

Has anyone out there tried this, or know of anyone elses work I can have a look at?

In terms of a subject, I am hoping to get along to Justin Willis’ album launch party tomorrow at JB’s in Dudley.(Justin’s GotSeeN profile and Myspace), interview him before the event starts, get some video vox pops and a few shots of him performing and have it all edited and uploaded within the hour.

Wish me luck!

18 Mar

Looks like I’m not into metal any more Toto

Data can be an interesting and eye opening thing.

I decided to cut and paste some sections of my ITunes library into Google Docs and create a data set from Artist Track, Genre and Plays.

  1. sort tracks by PLAY COUNT
  2. remove TIME, BITRATE, DATE ADDED and TRACK NO columns
  3. scroll down to the bottom of the tracks with “2” plays
  4. select every song with 2+ plays
  5. CTRL+C
  6. open a blank spreadsheet (I use Google Docs) and CTRL-V into the top left corner of the page
  7. the Itunes data appear in the Spreadsheet

Obviously this data is immediately out of date, so I am looking now into turning this into a live feed. As a PC user ITunes stats is not an option.

Points to Note

  • I often listen to Spotify instead of Itunes at home
  • I only listen to Itunes when I am working – this does not take into account Ipod plays, or CD listening in car
  • genre categorizations on Itunes can be questionable

So the first chart:

I’m not sure what I find more interesting – that metal is SUCH a tiny category (smaller than Country, worryingly) or that I seem to really like pop. I will investigate this further. Ok – a quick tweak to the options (colour to genre and label to ARTIST) showed that, phew, Ive not turned into a pop-loving indie kid just yet. It’s just that someone thinks Celldweller (industrial drum n bass noise) is alternative (see for yourself). (See, mislabelling , very deceiving)

NEXT STOP:

  • Find a way to make my Itunes data public, feed this into a live chart.
  • Create a flash animation using one of these charts, with shooty out bits that play music from that artist or genre …
  • Stop messing around with data for today and make some tea.
18 Mar

Glastonbury data mashup

NOTE: This is very much a work in progress, so any advice, feedback or tips, much appreciated! Also some of the data used is from news reports/blogs and hence is of a speculative nature but has been included for demonstrative purposes.

As part of my MA Online Journalism I have been playing around with some data from the Glastonbury festival archives.

I wanted to show the statistical history of the festival, through a visual media.

I started a spreadsheet in Google Docs and used the ManyEyes site to create my charts.

Michael Eavis officially took over the regular running of the festival in 1981 and this is where I began my research. Using official data from the Glastonbury website, I built a spreadsheet of the standard weekend camping ticket prices and official capacity (later finding this all laid out in table form on an license application PDF!)

I started by comparing ticket prices, over the years, with capacity.

Interestingly this shows a DROP in capacity between 2005 and 2007 (there was no Glastonbury in 2006).

However, this only shows the official capacity. Glastonbury festival has had a long running battle with gatecrashers (or fence-hoppers) and I felt it would be interesting to compare the actual capacity with the official one.

Unfortunately, actual capacity is hard to come by  – I gathered some information from news reports and blogs, although I accept these figures are largely speculative and may be inaccurate.

(On a personal note I was also concerned that, despite recent successful measures to prevent gatecrashers, according to some reports thousands of people are still getting into the site without paying. I am aware that there is constant scrutiny of the management of the festival and I did feel uncomfortable publishing speculative figures that could be taken out of context by critics)

I inputted the data into a scatter diagram, as above, but this did not clearly show the distinction between the 2 sets of data. I converted it into a simple bar chart which , in this case, is a lot more effective.

Although I still have some data to gather, it is interesting to see the sizeable spike in 1995, 1999 and 2000, which led to the festival being called off the following year for a “rethink”.

Next, I decided to compare the three sets of data – price, official capacity and actual capacity to see if there is was a link between the numbers of people “fencehopping” and the price of the ticket. Instead of placing all 3 data sets on one chart, I decided to create a fourth column, showing the difference between official capacity, and actual capacity.

The problem with this chart is currently the lack of data. I have plotted the years where I do not have estimated capacity, which is making the ones where I do seem dramatically out of sync. I will retry this chart once I have more data.

This is a work in progress, so any feedback or advice – much appreciated!

NEXT STOP:

  • Try Tableau
  • create a Glastonbury chart with “events boxes” that explain the data – ie NEW FENCE, bad weather, Jay-Z headline controversy etc.
  • create a word tree
  • experiment with live data

 

All content (c) Caroline Beavon 2020