News & Updates
March 24, 2017
If you ever wanted to experience the life of a tree and explore its being, now you can. Treehugger: Wahoma, a combination of virtual reality, data visualization, and installation art, takes participants on a journey through the nervous system of a 3,500-year-old redwood.
The exhibition, which was on display at London’s Southbank Centre back in December, was created by London-based interactive creative studio Marshmallow Laser Feast. During its time at the Centre, participants would begin their adventure by entering a small, dark studio space that contained a fabric-covered column in the middle of the room. Once they put on their HTV Vive VR headsets, the column would come alive and became a sequoia redwood tree.
The virtual tree provided visitors with a colorful visualization of the complex networks of a sequoia’s imperceptible micro-ecosystem. When physically interacting with the tree, visitors would transform to become part of the lymphatic system and be carried up to the canopy. They would then shrink to the size of molecules and become the droplets of water that come from the redwood’s highest branches. “We’ve heard the experience isn’t that different from like, doing mushrooms,” says creative director at Marshmallow Laser Feast Ersinhan Ersin.
Marshmallow Laser Feast first began designing Treehugger after they completed In the Eyes of the Animal, a VR experience that allowed participants to explore habitats through the eyes of animals that live there. Both Treehugger and In the Eyes of the Animal provide people the ability to explore the natural world. But while In the Eyes of the Animal required users to operate their VR headsets in an actual forest, Treehugger was a way to provide the experience indoors.
In the future, Marshmallow Laser Feast wants to develop different Treehugger “chapters” that explore the life of different kinds of trees. According to Ersin, their objective is to connect people with the natural world using virtual reality. “When most people look at trees, they don’t necessarily see them as being alive, because they move and grow so much more slowly than we do,” says Ersin. “We’re trying to give people a new perception of trees as creatures just as vibrant and alive as we are.”
Source: Visual News
March 24, 2017
Sponsored Content Provided by Luna Bar
If you’ve watched a movie or TV show, or just been out in the world at all in recent history, you probably know that women are underrepresented in media. The problem usually starts with financing—it’s tougher for women directors to get films financed, and with fewer women directors come fewer complex women characters, fewer women crew members, you get the picture.
LUNA Bar’s been championing women for years and has been tackling this problem for a while now. LUNAFEST, a film festival for, by, and about women,has been running since 2000, amplifying the voices of thousands of women in film. But this year LUNA has had even more impact—by directly addressing the financing issue. In January, LUNA delivered six $10,000 grants to women filmmakers at Sundance. Last week in Austin, LUNA and South by Southwest partnered with Chicken & Egg Pictures, a nonprofit devoted to supporting women nonfiction filmmakers, and Gamechanger Films, which exclusively finances women-directed narrative films, to award two $15,000 artist grants to women filmmakers—one for documentary, one for narrative film.
For Nanfu Wang, who won the documentary grant for her film I Am Another You, the grant will help her continue to make films. Wang grew up in a small, rural village in China. “We didn’t have a lot of resources, and girls were not really encouraged to go to school,” she says. Wang’s dad died when she was 12, which further reduced the family’s finances. “We could only afford for one kid to go to school, which of course was my younger brother.”
Undeterred, Wang educated herself, then applied for a scholarship to Ohio State University’s media studies program and got in. It was there she discovered documentaries. “I had never seen a documentary before coming to the United States,” she says. ” I realized this is what I want to do, it brings together all the things I love: storytelling, social change, visual language, and it can really make an impact.”
She began filming I Am Another You, following Dylan, a young American street kid, with the idea that America must be so much freer than China. “I had a very vague idea of American freedom, especially coming from China and I had been longing for a place that was freer, which is how people fantasize about America,” she says. Dylan provided a different window into both freedom and American society. “To me, now, freedom is more complicated,” she says. “There are many, many problems, in any society. In this film I saw issues with homelessness and mental health and how society deals with that. Also religion, judgment, family problems, there are so many layers. And then especially now, as I was completing the film, the political environment has changed so much. Freedom is not free and it’s not guaranteed, it’s something people have to fight for all the time and you can’t take it for granted. It’s very slippery.”
Ceylan Ozgun Ozcelik, the narrative film winner, also tapped into the current political moment with her film Inflame, a psychological thriller that looks at the impact of fake news and Orwellian control of the media and the populace. For Ozcelik, it’s not just about revealing the dangers of autocracy but also the importance of remembering and learning from history. “The initial idea for Inflame was the story of a woman who starts to remember in a society that is forced to forget the past,” she says.
Ozcelik says this grant not only supports her work financially but also brings validation and exposure. “As a Turkish filmmaker, I have always questioned myself in terms of comprehensibility during the creation process. This award means that Inflame is here and reached a global audience, against all odds,” she says. “For that, I am really grateful to SXSW, Gamechanger and LUNA—they made Inflame visible.”
Now in its 16th year, LUNAFEST continues LUNA’s commitment to empower women and amplify their voices. Follow LUNA on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to see how they champion and support women in film and beyond.
Image Provided by Luna Bar
The post Show Her The Money: Why Financing Really Matters for Women Directors appeared first on SXSW.
Source: SxSW Film
March 23, 2017
Last week, nine strangers with a passion for innovation teamed up with Madame Gandhi at the SXSW Hackathon to create a brand new app that was then tested and validated at Madame Gandhi concerts by her fans.
The SXSW creative in residence Kiran Gandhi—known by her performance name Madame Gandhi—kicked off the Hackathon with an impassioned speech about the convergence of artistry and technology. Within an hour, the team was working on making her idea a reality.
Ben Campbell, Tope Alabi, Quierra Wells, Hannah Trimble, Jordan Bejar, Suncerie Daye, Gia Castello, and Yen Chuang, and Hackathon mentor Arpit Gupta worked for 24 hours to build an augmented reality application, EntertainAR, to enhance the experience of attending a live concert by virtually interacting with artist merchandise.
The app allowed Gandhi’s fans to scan her The Future is Female T-shirt using the newly created EntertainAR app. Once scanned, fans gained access to exclusive content such as 360-degree videos or songs from her album.
EntertainAR’s winning demo entered them into the SXSW Incubator, where the team attended Gandhi’s SXSW concert as her merch team, collected fan data, demoed the prototype, and sold merchandise.
“I loved how the team was able to come up with a minimum viable product over the course of only a couple of hours…they really came to know my brand very well and built-out a product that helped me map my merchandise that I sell at my live shows to my online presence,” said Gandhi.
Trimble, an EntertainAR team member who focused on design and UX said, “I was lucky to be on a talented and creative team that made the 24 hours truly enjoyable. The staff did an excellent job of bringing in industry professionals and artists for participants to collaborate with. Not only was it a productive 24 hours, it was also a ton of fun.”
Praising the team’s ingenuity, mentor Gupta said, “The team of nine channeled their creativity and inspiration to innovate an augmented reality experience for anyone, anywhere, using just their smartphone. We achieved our goal of creating a usable market solution to keep artists in the driver’s seat of their merchandise and fuel their brand through intelligent tech.”
2017 Hackathon Winners
To learn more about the winning teams in Music (Ctrl^3), VR (Space Time Studio) and Film (Looper) as well as API winners at the 2017 SXSW Hackathon, visit sxswhackathon.devpost.com.
Photos by Randy and Jackie Smith
The post Madame Gandhi Creates Augmented Reality Merch App at 2017 SXSW Hackathon appeared first on SXSW.
Source: SxSW Film
March 23, 2017
If you’re unsure of what fossil fuel subsidies are, they’re basically measures that lower the cost of fossil fuel energy production, raise the price collected by energy contractors, or lower the price paid by the consumers. A study released by Science Direct, How Large Are Global Fossil Fuel Subsidies?, looks at the economic and environmental benefits of reforming fossil fuel subsidies, concentrating on consumer prices, environmental costs, and overall taxes.
These are the key points from the study:
- Fossil fuel subsidies amount to 6.5% of global GDP in 2015
- Incorrect pricing is responsible for a sizeable amount of the subsidy
- Coal subsidies account for about half of global subsidies, making it the largest segment
- Subsidies are concentrated in a few substantial countries
- There are considerable environmental, fiscal, and welfare benefits from subsidy reform
Subsidy reform has been an important international policy agenda, especially ever since the December 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change that called on countries to reduce emissions. The call for subsidy reform demonstrates the awareness of how harmful fossil fuel subsidies are environmentally, fiscally, and socially. These are some of the damages these subsidies create:
- Environmental: increase air pollution, which leads to premature deaths, and an increase in greenhouse gas emissions.
- Fiscal: expenses that need to be financed by a blend of higher public debt, greater tax burdens, and reduced public spending can strain economic growth
- Macroeconomics: investments in energy efficiency, renewable energy, and energy infrastructure is greatly diminished while an increase in the vulnerability of countries susceptible to unstable international energy prices
Although the economic argument for fossil fuel subsidies may seem apparent, reform has been challenging. There are a number of factors that must be considered when crafting an appropriate legislation, such as the size of energy subsidies, and because of this, it is difficult to move the policy agenda forward.
A point of contention is the definition of what would be considered an energy subsidy. This affects the estimated size of energy subsidies on a global and country level. The study looks at post-tax subsidies, which result when consumer prices are lower than supply costs, to present a better estimate of global energy subsidies, provide comprehensive assessments on regional and country-level energy subsidies, and present a clear estimate of the global and regional environmental, fiscal, and social welfare benefits from disposing energy subsidies.
Here are the primary findings from the report:
- Global energy subsidies are substantial: post-tax energy subsidies are estimated at $4.9 trillion worldwide in 2013 and predicted to stretch to $5.3 trillion in 2015 or 6.5% of global GDP in both years. The post-tax subsidies in 2015 are 16 times as high as pre-tax subsidies, which comes in at $333 billion.
- Mispricing from a domestic perspective is responsible for a large majority of the global subsidy: in 2013, local air pollution totaled 46% of the subsidy, under-taxation of broader vehicle externalities (e.g., congestion, accidents) accounted for 13%, 11% of the subsidy came from undercharging for inventory costs, and general consumer taxes amounted to 8%. For that same year, global warming only covered 22% of the subsidy. This means 78% of the subsidy was due to domestic pricing distortions which suggest that unilateral subsidy reform is in countries’ domestic interests.
- Coal subsidies are notably sizeable: in 2013, 52% of the post-tax subsidy was due to coal, while petroleum accounted for 33% and natural gas 10%.
- Post-tax subsidies are similarly prevalent in advanced and developing economies and oil-producing and non-oil-producing countries. However, they are particularly extensive relative to GDP in Emerging and Developing Asia, the Middle East and North Africa region, and the Commonwealth of Independent States.
- Subsidies are condensed in a few major countries: in 2013, the subsidy in China was $1.8 trillion, $0.6 trillion in the United States, followed by Russia, The European Union and India at about $0.3 trillion each, and $0.2 trillion in Japan.
- The advantage of subsidy reform are significant and varied: appropriate energy prices would reduce global carbon emissions in 2013 by 21% and fuel-related air pollution deaths by 55%, while simultaneously boosting extra revenue of 4% of global GDP and increasing social welfare by 2.2% of global GDP. It is important to note, however, that there is a substantial fluctuation in these improvements between regions and countries.
[Via: Science Direct]
Source: Visual News
March 23, 2017
Let’s be honest. Nobody really gets the color balance right on a shoot. There’s inevitably going to be some footage that will need fixing in post. …
Source: CW’s Flipboard Feed
March 23, 2017
Ever wonder where some of those strange post-production terms came from? Here are some origin stories you might not know.
Source: CW’s Flipboard Feed
March 22, 2017
This post originally appeared on Column Five.
“Doing” content marketing well requires a lot of work and attention. You have to be willing to roll with the punches, tinker, and try new things. That means never being satisfied with the current state of affairs and always keeping one eye on the future. It’s a challenge, but it can be done—and done well. Good partners can also provide support, whether you use a content marketing agency, strategist, consultant, or freelancer. But sometimes it’s hard to decide who to work with.
Over the last eight years of running our content marketing agency, I’ve found that the best results—and best work—comes when you find talented people you’re able to forge meaningful relationships with. (We call it doing good work with good people.)
However, with the proliferation of talent marketplaces and other low-cost solutions out there, content marketers often overlook relationships in the pursuit of transactional work.
WHAT IS TRANSACTIONAL WORK?
Transactional work is done with limited context, treated as a task instead of one component of a larger plan. It’s “one and done” work. Both parties wrap up, then move on to other things. There is no investment in a working relationship. It’s simply an exchange of money for goods or service.
WHY IS TRANSACTIONAL WORK SO PERVASIVE?
The rise of transactional work can be attributed to many things, and brands pursue this type of work for specific reasons:
- Marketers are often hyper-focused on project-level ROI.
- Marketers want to keep costs down, often focusing more on what they’re spending than the value they’re getting from their investment.
- The proliferation of on-demand talent makes it easy for brands to get what they think they want.
- Marketers are often more focused on getting projects done than getting projects done that can make a real difference to their brand and bottom line.
For these reasons (and more), it‘s even harder for brands to stand out from the competition.
THE LIMITATIONS OF TRANSACTIONAL WORK
Of course, not all transactional work is bad, but purely transactional relationships limit good work in several ways.
It limits problem-solving abilities. Being proactive is difficult when you only understand one piece of the puzzle. It’s hard to have a clear understanding of a client’s needs. The initial ask may not be the best solution to achieve larger goals, but that insight is lost in a “one and done” context.
Work quality may suffer. As a result of the proliferation of marketplaces, creative work has become commoditized assembly-line work. If you’re commissioning articles that are basically a bunch of words thrown together to meet your publishing quota, you’re doing everyone a disservice. Your content should strategically solve your audience’s problems, build trust, and spotlight your expertise in the industry.
Good work goes unacknowledged. The process usually cares most about the project at hand—less about the people behind the project.
It saps time. Continually onboarding new vendors can take a lot of time away from your core business activities, which can cost more money in the long run.
It creates inconsistencies with branding and marketing. Good content marketing helps you tell a cohesive brand story. Too many cooks in the kitchen and not enough oversight can hurt your brand more than it helps.
To create better work more efficiently, collaborative relationships are key.
BUILDING A RELATIONSHIP WITH A CONTENT MARKETING AGENCY
When agencies and brands forge symbiotic relationships, the quality and efficacy of work produced is significantly better.
A collaborative relationship is a different dynamic. It means working together on a project vs. one party giving orders and one party taking orders. Because the relationship is viewed through the lense of collaboration and not transaction, there is more willingness to allow for trust and creativity on both sides. This benefits content marketers in many ways.
1) Working relationships tend to get better with time.
It’s a general rule for all relationships: the more you know someone, the better you can relate, whether you’re dealing with partners, teammates, or vendors. You get to learn from and challenge each other, which helps you both grow over time. This intimacy means you know each other’s strengths and cover each other’s weaknesses. This type of rapport means there is less posturing, more empathy, and more vulnerability.
Ego becomes less important, and the best ideas win. This is when good work can be created.
It’s worth mentioning that the first project we take on for any new client is always the toughest because there isn’t that intrinsic familiarity. But we’ve never done a second project that wasn’t substantially better than a first project, both in terms of the end product and the experience. It only gets better.
As you develop a working relationship with a content marketing agency, you develop efficiencies in your processes, start to think together, and build on what each party brings to the table. If you’re willing to make the investment, you’ll get better work—that scales.
2) A content marketing agency is often more invested than a one-off shop or freelancer.
When you forge a solid relationship with a good content marketing agency, they will invest more deeply in your business. I’m not trying to diss one-off shops or freelancers. It’s just a fact. The closer you are, the more you care (think cruising Tinder vs. moving in together). I’m not saying one is better than the other; they’re just different.
Over time, an agency becomes an integral part of what your company is doing. They share your struggles, work for your goals. They’re on the journey with you. As a result, they proactively offer help, suggestions, and recommendations for things that can help you be more successful.
Their success is tied to your success, so they will go the extra mile. They will think about your work when you don’t. They’ll help you keep your content efforts on track.
What’s every brand’s biggest hurdle? Creating enough engaging content. A content marketing agency can help you jump over that hurdle—and ensure a soft landing.
3) Brands get to leverage the collective creativity and experience of a team.
A content marketing agency provides a built-in “sanity check” that lets you tap into their collective experience and wisdom. After all, 50 brains are better than one. This is tremendously valuable. Thanks to their collective years of experience with many clients in many industries, your content marketing agency has seen most things that can go wrong. They can help you avoid making those mistakes.
(For the record, we don’t let account directors present content solutions to our partners without vetting them with our internal team first.)
Additionally, because a lot of creative work is collaborative by nature, there’s a good chance that the work you do together will have input from people who specialize in distribution, content, design, and interactive, as opposed to, say, working with a freelance designer on an infographic after working with a freelance copywriter to develop the content.
But, hey, agencies cost more, right?
“If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional to do the job,
wait until you hire an amateur.”
In other words, you get what you pay for. It might be more expensive, but if you’re looking at marketing as an expense vs. investment, you have the wrong perspective for this line of work.
An agency provides tremendous value in time savings, avoided stress, headaches, etc. When it comes to creative work, I’d rather partner with a team that specializes in what I want to do than take pot shots.
Ultimately, developing a meaningful relationship with a content marketing agency is a smart decision for any brand that wants to take content marketing seriously. A good content marketing agency will use hard-earned knowledge and expertise to help you scale, create enough engaging content, and think strategically about your brand.
And that’s how you get truly great work.
Ready to start looking for a content marketing agency? Here are 12 things to look for.
Source: Visual News
March 21, 2017
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released a study that found adolescents that struggle with their sexual identity are more likely to experience behaviors harmful to their health. The Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System monitors behaviors that increase the risk of health related problems among adolescents. The study aims to raise the awareness of this problem. The YRBSS wants to create education and health care programs designed to help high school students during this transition period.
Sexual minority students have to deal with the growing pains of moving through adolescence to adulthood just like other students. Sexual minority youths also struggle with the emotional burden associated with their sexual identity. The majority of LBGT students become healthy and productive adults. However, sexual minorities have a higher risk for harmful health behaviors during their transition into adulthood.
Source: Visual News
March 21, 2017
Divide Your Scene Into Two or Three Areas and Optimize the Exposure and White Balance for Each Area with the Sony Digital Filter
The possibilities for the future of sensor technology just became wide open — granted this is an in-camera app for Sony cameras, but it just blew my …
Source: CW’s Flipboard Feed
March 21, 2017
We recently covered a project Google News Lab did called The Rhythm of Food about how food trends have changed over the years, but to celebrate 2016, they worked with Polygraph to create The Year in Language 2016. The project is simple: Google analyzed all the word searches from throughout the year to reveal how society embraces new words.
The data is broken into five main sections: Word definitions, ranked by Search interest growth; Search interest for established words vs. 2016; Max. Search interest for established words; Search interest for words, 2013-2016; and Search interest for top rising definitions by state, 2015-2016.
They identified 2016’s most popular terms by ranking search interest definitions. This means they looked at searches such as “woke definition” or “define woke” to determine their rank. These are the top 10 words of 2016 based on their criteria: Triggered, Shook, Juju, Broccoli, Woke, Holosexual, Shill, Gaslighting, Bigly, and SJW.
For the top trending definitions, they only looked at emerging words, or terms with minimal search interest in 2015 that steadily grew throughout 2016. This allowed them to eliminate established words such as “emoji.” During this time, each of the top rising definitions of 2016 managed to obtain a level of search interest to distinguish it as a common searching, meaning they were being searched as frequently as common English words. Terms from past years that have reached the same status would include “selfie” in 2013 and “netflix and chill” in 2015. Unsurprisingly, “selfie” is now one of the most popular definition on Google and so far, none of 2016’s top definitions have been able to reach the same popularity as “selfie.”
This interactive chart they created compares different popular definitions between 2013 and 2016. Clicking on each term produces a different colored line graph so you can see exactly how popular each word is relative to other popular words.
You can also see how each word has fared by state and how the search interest has changed since the beginning of 2015. This chart allows you to see what definitions are more popular in certain areas. For example, “ woke” only peaked in the northeast and west while “wavy” only ever took hold in Virginia.
[Via: Flowing Data]
Source: Visual News