Digital Media & Surveillance

RRIB Media: ‘Biting off more than we can chew’

RRIB Media incorporates the creative ideas of Ben Briant, Isabel Taylor, Riam Hussain and Reid Morris.

RRIB Media Logo – Created by Isabel Taylor

As RRIB Media we have created a video incorporating online surveillance into today’s society. The video explores concepts about the impact of online surveillance in  everyday life. The video portrays a sixty-minute style show, called ‘Six and a Bit Minutes’, which saw senior reporter Cubert McCuboid interviewing university students who had differing viewpoints on surveillance. The views ranged from utopian and idealistic about surveillance to dystopian and afraid of how surveillance will affect their future.

We had an array of different ideas for our film ranging from a mockumentary to a blockbuster film. We used Trello to brainstorm our ideas (as shown in screen capture).

Screenshot from Trello

Trello was accessible by each member and began the production process of Six and a Bit Minutes. The original ideas consisted of a documentary, multiple short films, a meta-mockumentary about spying on and stalking our group members and finally deciding on an interview exploring different viewpoints. We discussed having a film entirely about a dystopian or utopian perspective rather than showcasing the three different viewpoints in one video. Another possible idea that we had for the project was having the film as a serious news segment. Once the ‘ice was broken’ with our first Google Hangout session, the ideas all flowed through and changed each minute thereafter. Our catchphrase ‘biting off more than we can chew’ came about from each group member adding ideas to improve our project, but in most cases, we were just over complicating the video. Many of the over complicating aspects were due to paying attention to specific, but ultimately insignificant, details in the video. Or the details proposed were too difficult to organise and implement overall four videos.

As a group, we were all fairly inexperienced in online collaboration, so through this assessment, we wanted to use and gain experience in as many online collaborative platforms as possible. We started on the website Trello, where we were able to brainstorm our ideas, vote on these ideas and set reminders such as due dates and “to do” lists. Once everyone in the group were all happy with one of the video ideas, we then moved onto using video conferencing. Our main platform used was “Google Hangouts”, where at least once a week, we met to discuss ideas and just to catch up to ensure everyone was up to date and comfortable with what their role was. If a group member was unable to make a “Hangout”, the video conference was recorded and uploaded to YouTube so that any absent group members could catch up on any missed information at a later date. Here is an example of one of our Google Hangouts.

Each member of the group was given one character for the video and then each went away to film our individual parts. This, however, did make for a challenge as we needed to ensure each member’s video clips were coherent in terms of framing, sound etc. The onscreen members also had to leave space in their videos for voiceover of the interviewer. Once each member had completed filming, we each uploaded our clips to a shared Dropbox to allow for ease of access to the video by each member. Once all the clips were in the Dropbox,

Screenshot taken from Dropbox

Reid collated them all to begin the editing process. During this process, Reid edited and ordered the video clips as well as added my voiceovers as the interviewer to each Isabel’s, Riam’s and Ben’s videos. Once the editing process was completed, Reid shared the video with the rest of the group where we could each make suggestions for changes, until we were all happy with the final outcome.

Throughout the brainstorming and subsequent filming, there has been one overall core meaning of the video. The message of the video is to simply highlight how hotly debated and complex the opinions can be about online surveillance. The video intended to showcase how significant online surveillance can be outside the internet. This was portrayed through the almost manic nature of the utopian and dystopian student interviewees, as well as the disappearance of students at the end of the film. Although there was an overall core message of the

illuminati ( by Eli Rook (CC-BY-SA 2.0)

film, there were multiple messages weaved through. This was that all digital media is used as a form of surveillance. This was represented in the interview filming style, as well as having the cube as the interviewer. The cube symbolises both the Illuminati and an inside joke related to Deakin, that the ‘cube is watching is all’. With having the cube as a symbol of surveillance, as its role as interviewer gives it a sense of power over the students. Another subsequent message of the film was the online surveillance is intrinsically linked with offline surveillance. To specify, whatever you do online has an impact offline.

Overall the collaborative video was an eye-opening and educational experience. This is not limited to learning about digital surveillance but applies to learning how to conduct an entirely online collaborative project. As an inexperienced group, we dealt with many new challenges and hurdles from the brainstorming stage to writing up this very report. We dealt with them accordingly, learning and experimenting with online programs such as Trello and Google Hangouts. This project was as much as learning about the online programs as it was how to organise such a complicated project online. As RRIB Media, we are proud of the surveillance film we produced, and the skills and experiences we took from the project can, and will, be applied further to our learning and future careers.

We hope you enjoy our film, as embedded below.


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