Media Investigation

PART ONE – Critical Frameworks

MEDIA TOPICS

Genre
Narrative 
Representation 
Audience 
Regulation  
Technology (including digital media) 
Production/Distribution/Exhibition 
Marketing and Promotion 

GENRE
Genre in films are the categories that describe a film by its differing and defining narrative elements. Over the years genre has grown and overtime sub-genres that define a film in more detail than before have come about as films have gotten more complex. The main genres are Action, Adventure, Comedy, Crime, Drama, Historical, Horror, Musical, Science Fiction, War and Westerns. These can then categorised further using sub genres like for example in Horror there is Slasher films.

NARRATIVE
Narrative is described by David Bordwell as ‘a chain of events in cause-effect relationship occurring in time and space’. This is the structure that a story is told in a film and how it goes from the start to the end. The most common way is called a ‘linear’ structure, this is where the story follows the beginning, middle and end in chronological order. Other structures like nonlinear are told by breaking the film up by maybe adding flashbacks or starting at the end and then the story goes back to explain how the end happened.

REPRESENTATION
Representation in films and television is how well the media is portraying and representing different types of people and communities. There are many underrepresented groups of people in the media and these include women, people of different races, LGBTQ+ people, etc. Over time these have started to be represented a lot more than before but progress is still being made.

AUDIENCE
Audience in media defines the people who intake the said film, newspaper, game, etc. There are different types of audiences such as expert audience which are people who know a lot about the topic in question compared to people who are just learning about it now. Another way to categorise audiences is through target audience, this is the group of people the media is targeting the most towards purchasing and watching, reading or playing it.

REGULATION
In the UK films are regulated by the BBFC. This organisation watch the films in question and give them an age rating, this is based on the content of the film throughout the themes in the film, language they use and scenes that are in the film. Violence is usually the main cause for higher age ratings as well as how graphic those scenes are. Sometimes the public don’t agree with the age ratings given which cause an issue if they’ve given a lower age rating and children have seen things they shouldn’t have. 

TECHNOLOGY
Technology over the years has grown and improved which has allowed films to be made at a much higher quality. With the increase in digital technology films have drifted away from film stock towards digital image sensors more recently. The same goes for every other aspect of media as everything has improved as technology has, games have become more detailed and complex, the internet has taken over, advertising is now a lot more accessible, etc and all of this is available on our phones that fit in our pockets. 

PRODUCTION/DISTRIBUTION/EXHIBITION
Production is the overall creation of the media such as, in a film there’s planning, filming, editing, etc this all comes together to produce the film and each part is as important as the other, this however is why everything takes a while to produce, each part having the same care and attention to detail is key towards making a successful film, but is also time consuming. Distribution is how you spread the media across to more people. This could be printing a lot of newspapers and having them sold in various shops, for films this is through DVD’s or selling rights to streaming applications to have them available there. Exhibition however is the public screening such as films being screened in cinemas. 

MARKETING AND PROMOTION
This is the way that the producers get people interested in their product, for games, films and tv shows this is done through trailers/teasers which create hype around the media before its released, this usually continues with various teasers and information coming out periodically until release to keep the hype surrounding their product. 


PART TWO – Choosing your Focus Area

SPECIFIC INDUSTRY

Television
Internet
Radio/Podcast
Film
Music
Newspaper
Magazine (Including Comics)
Advertising
Computer Games
FOCUS AREA

I am going to be focusing on Computer Games for my specific industry and Technology for my Media Topic. I think these will go well and work together hand in hand as computer games are all about technology and the expansion of technology has grown games from being very simple 2D games like Pong, to massive open world 3D games with expansive exploration and characters who react to your behaviour. I feel like this will be a good thing for me to look into as I play games a lot and this will keep me interested every step of the way. Also in gaming I want to narrow it down more and look into how Virtual Reality is growing and evolving in our world.

 

TITLE IDEAS
“Not just for gamers: An exploration of the possible uses of VR in the future”
 
This title I feel would work well as I feel it instantly interests the reader by the choice of words “Not just for gamers” this then allows me to explore how the Virtual Reality has been primarily used for gaming but over time has been expanding to new things as well as the future evolution of VR.
 
 
 
“Technology of the future? An exploration into the possible future uses of VR”
 

I feel like this title will work the best as it leaves my options a lot more open, the last one said about VR not just being for gamers however I also want to talk about it in reference to gaming. This also catches the audiences attention with “Technology of the future?” and then expands to talk about the possible other uses of it. This title I feel will be a good start to writing my essay. 

 

ABSTRACT

I am going to investigate Virtual Reality and its current uses mainly in games, its possible future uses and any uses that are in the works currently. I am going to investigate all the different Industries VR has expanded on as it has evolved such as healthcare, architecture, etc. I am going to research this on various different news articles, websites, YouTube videos, online books and studies into the similar topics. 

I have been playing and watching people play games for many years now and have seen how VR has evolved over time. I have played games including on VR over the course of 12 years and I have seen how games have evolved as I have grown older at a very rapid pace, I started off on a Gameboy, then to a PlayStation from the 2nd all the way to ordering the 5th and now having an updated Gaming PC whilst getting everything  else I could in-between those, I have seen how the consoles have improved over the course of those years becoming more and more reliable and optimised. However I have not researched into the other uses of VR and I feel like this will be interesting to research and learn more about. 

I am going to mainly be researching online on different websites of either studies or articles, these include the BBC as they have done various articles on VR in many different industries and topics.

I think that I will learn more about how much VR has evolved over time and become a key part of other industries as well as gaming. I think this will make me appreciate how much technology has expanded and become such a major factor of everything from everyday life to being used in medical practice, the military and training pilots.


PART THREE – Research and Explore your Focus Area

Name of SourceInformation/Quotes Reference Information
Virtual Reality Medical Applications, Inc.“Our mission is to bring the latest virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technology with our own proprietary game, software,  biometric and motion sensors into medicine to benefit patients in the areas of radiation therapy, pain management, cognitive enhancement, or rehabilitation.”https://vrmedapp.com/

Sourced – 27/01/2020
Forbes – The Future Of Virtual Reality (VR)“But over the next few years, in VR, as in all fields of technology, we’re going to see things that make what is cutting-edge today look like Space Invaders. And although the games will be amazing, the effects of this transformation will be far broader, touching on our work, education, and social lives.”https://www.forbes.com/sites/bernardmarr/2020/12/18/the-future-of-virtual-reality-vr/?sh=334d57df27be

Sourced – 27/01/2020
FlyFright – Using Virtual Reality to Conquer Fear of Flying“VR is a very real solution to help you get over your fear of flying. Utilizing VR tricks your brain into thinking you’re actually in the airport or airplane without being there. It’ll be easier for you to deal with the anxieties as they arise, without actually being in the real situation. “https://flyfright.com/virtual-reality-fear-of-flying/

Sourced – 27/01/2020
Virtual Speech – VR Applications: 21 Industries already using Virtual Reality“Don’t get me wrong, there are some great virtual reality (VR) games out there, but VR, AR and MR are going to shape our future in so many more ways than gaming.”

“VR is the term used to describe a computer-generated environment that someone can explore and interact with. A user is immersed in the environment and the brain is basically tricked into thinking what someone is seeing in the virtual world is real.”
https://virtualspeech.com/blog/vr-applications

Sourced – 28/01/2020
BBC – Virtual patient’ helps train medics remotely during pandemic“The “virtual patient” can role-play life-like scenarios and be accessed via a VR headset, PC or tablet.”https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-bristol-55202237

Sourced – 28/01/2020
BBC – Web Summit: Oculus co-founder talks China and military AI“AI has been described as the third revolution in warfare, after gunpowder and nuclear weapons. There are fears that autonomous AI-powered soldiers could find their way on to the battleground in future.”https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-55158060

Sourced – 28/01/2020
BBC – Clubbing in cyberspacehttps://www.bbc.co.uk/news/topics/cywd23g0wzwt/virtual-reality?ns_mchannel=social&ns_source=twitter&ns_campaign=bbc_live&ns_linkname=undefined_p08nzhsm%26Clubbing%20in%20cyberspace%262020-08-18T17%3A13%3A36.022Z&ns_fee=0&pinned_post_locator=urn:pips:p08nzhsm&pinned_post_asset_id=undefined_p08nzhsm&pinned_post_type=share

Sourced – 28/01/2020
Polygon – The VR revolution has been 5 minutes away for 8 years“Virtual reality is either better than it has ever been, or at least a few years away from mainstream acceptance, depending on who you ask. Both points of view always seem to be true. That’s because VR has been five minutes away from some kind of breakthrough for about eight years.”https://www.polygon.com/2020/10/20/21521608/vr-headsets-pricing-comfort-virtual-reality-future

Sourced – 29/01/2020
Virtual Reality Society – History Of Virtual Reality“In 1968 Ivan Sutherland and his student Bob Sproull created the first VR / AR head mounted display (Sword of Damocles) that was connected to a computer and not a camera. It was a large and scary looking contraption that was too heavy for any user to comfortably wear and was suspended from the ceiling”https://www.vrs.org.uk/virtual-reality/history.html#:~:text=In%201968%20Ivan%20Sutherland%20and,ceiling%20(hence%20its%20name).

Sourced – 29/01/2020
The Guardian – The complete guide to virtual reality – everything you need to get started“The current age of virtual reality began in 2010, when American teenager Palmer Luckey created the first prototype of a VR headset that would evolve into the Oculus Rift. Two years later, he launched a $250,000 Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign to commercialise it – and $2.4m of pledges later, the tech industry’s interest in VR was reborn. Two years after that, Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, liked the Rift so much he bought the company for $2bn.”https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/nov/10/virtual-reality-guide-headsets-apps-games-vr

Sourced – 29/01/2020
Stanley G Weinbaum – PYGMALION’S SPECTACLES
“But listen – a movie that gives one sight and sound. Suppose now I add taste, smell, even touch, if your interest is taken by the story. Suppose I make it so that you are in the story, you speak to the shadows, and the shadows reply, and instead of being on a screen, the story is all about you, and you are in it. Would that be to make real a dream?”http://www.gutenberg.org/files/22893/22893-h/22893-h.htm

Sourced – 29/01/2020
Mark Zuckergerg – Facebook post“This is just the start. After games, we’re going to make Oculus a platform for many other experiences. Imagine enjoying a courtside seat at a game, studying in a classroom of students and teachers all over the world or consulting with a doctor face to face – just by putting on goggles in your home,”https://www.facebook.com/zuck/posts/10101319050523971

Sourced – 29/01/2020
Investopedia – Virtual Reality“Virtual reality (VR) refers to a computer-generated simulation in which a person can interact within an artificial three-dimensional environment using electronic devices, such as special goggles with a screen gloves fitted with sensors. In this simulated artificial environment, the user is able to have a realistic-feeling experience.”
https://www.investopedia.com/terms/v/virtual-reality.asp

Sourced – 29/01/2020
The Ringer – Waiting for the Future of Virtual Reality“Currently, no company is investing the resources to compete with Oculus, which controls more than 51 percent of the PC VR market per the latest Steam survey.”https://www.theringer.com/2021/1/12/22226387/virtual-reality-playstation-xbox-oculus

Sourced – 29/01/2020
Iberdrola – The Future of Virtual Reality“Investment in VR and AR will multiply 21-fold over the next four years, reaching 15.5 billion euros by 2022. “https://www.iberdrola.com/innovation/virtual-reality#:~:text=THE%20FUTURE%20OF%20VIRTUAL%20REALITY,15.5%20billion%20euros%20by%202022

Sourced – 29/01/2020

PART FOUR – Essay

Technology of the future? An exploration into the possible future uses of VR

Virtual Reality is simply the name to describe a virtual (computer made) setting or environment that a user can partake in different activities and experience things that either they have never done, or things that would not be possible in the real world. This is what makes VR so exciting and enticing to a lot of people, the ability to put a headset on and meet people from around the world, explore the unknown and experience new things are all things that you can do in VR.  A science Fiction writer wrote something that very closely matches the description of what VR aims to achieve: But listen—a movie that gives one sight and sound. Suppose now I add taste, smell, even touch, if your interest is taken by the story. Suppose I make it so that you are in the story, you speak to the shadows, and the shadows reply, and instead of being on a screen, the story is all about you, and you are in it. Would that be to make real a dream?” (Stanley G Weinbaum 1935). The idea of VR was spoken about such a long time ago as if it were a dream of Stanley, the technology has slowly been evolving and Stanley’s speculation of how reality can change is becoming a much more feasible idea. VR has achieved all but taste, smell and has only partially harness touch, if these are all perfected then the question “Would that be to make real a dream?” would be answered.

Virtual Reality as we know it today has been a long process, in 1960 the first VR HMD (Head Mounted Display) was made; however, this was only used for a film. Then a year later in 1961 the first motion tracking HMD. Virtual Reality did not become popular until 2010 when an American teenager created a prototype of a VR headset which would eventually evolve into the Oculus Rift after launching a Kickstarter to earn enough money to perfect the headset and to mass produce them, they became available for purchase and thus started the age of VR gaming. Mark Zuckerberg then went onto purchase the company and since then the company has thrived. When he purchased the Oculus he posted on Facebook saying “This is just the start. After games, we’re going to make Oculus a platform for many other experiences. Imagine enjoying a courtside seat at a game, studying in a classroom of students and teachers all over the world or consulting with a doctor face to face – just by putting on goggles in your home,” 

Virtual Reality is mainly used commercially for gaming at this current point in time. The issue is that its not as popular as speculated. Another article talks about this and says “The problem with VR was that four years ago it was way overhyped,” says David Cole, founder and CEO of digital entertainment research firm DFC Intelligence. “It was doomed to underperform by a large margin. However, the devices and content have been improving to make it start to look slightly interesting to a mass consumer base.”” (The Ringer 2021). When Sony came out with their depiction of a VR headset did not achieve the 6 million sales in only 2016 however in 2020 the total sales since release has only just passed 5 million. As fun VR can be many people do not find it worth the money and anywhere close to what was expected, this goes back to the issue of it being overhyped. Too much hype can be the downfall of a product if it does not reach the expected standards set by the public. However, VR is still loved by many and is still successful even if it is not as successful as expected. The Oculus Rift is the most popular VR headset and this offers a huge selection of games and apps for owners to purchase and experience for themselves.

VR is not only used in gaming, but also in a wide variety of different industries. VR has been used in medicine for various reasons. VR has been used previously to help professionals train in different surgeries but practicing on virtual patients to help prepare them before they need to help a real person. “Our mission is to bring the latest virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technology with our own proprietary game, software, biometric and motion sensors into medicine to benefit patients in the areas of radiation therapy, pain management, cognitive enhancement, or rehabilitation.” (Virtual Reality Medical Applications, Inc.) this is the mission statement of a company that use VR to help with different treatments on patients. They use VR during radiation treatment for cancer patients as during this treatment the patient needs to stay still so they use VR to distract the patients and keep them focused on something else to help relax them as much as possible. They have stated that “The system can be used to avoid use of general anaesthesia in children undergoing radiation therapy.” The company also use VR to help people with missing limbs and help relieve the pain of phantom limb.

Virtual Reality is also used in industries such as Automotive, Architecture and Art and Design to help these people on designs and to make this all easier. “Brands such as BMW and Jaguar Land Rover already use VR to hold early design and engineering reviews to check the visual design and object obscuration of the vehicle – all before any money has been spent on physically manufacturing the parts.” (Virtual Speech 2020). The fact that some of the biggest car companies are utilising the power of VR to help save money on designing they cars shows that VR is starting to be taken seriously as a tool and more than just for people to play games on.

VR is also used in education and training which was mentioned earlier with medical training. Companies like Virtual Speech use VR to help train people at improving their social skills for things like corporate meetings with online classes with “VR training so you can learn from experience in realistic immersive scenarios.” (Virtual Speech). In addition, VR has been used to help train law enforcement officers by preparing them for real life situations through going through simulations and teaching them how to react and deal with said situations, the researchers from the University of Alabama said that the work could “improve training of officers and positively affect the hiring process.”

“Virtual Reality is one of the technologies with the highest projected potential for growth. According to the latest forecasts from IDC Research (2018), investment in VR and AR will multiply 21-fold over the next four years, reaching 15.5 billion euros by 2022.” (Iberdrola) Over the next few years the funding and money invested into VR is predicted to increase a lot exponentially. This means that VR will also evolve a great deal over the course of the next few years. This could mean that what everyone is wanting to be improved will be and new uses and developments will be announced. we’re going to see things that make what is cutting-edge today look like Space Invaders.” (Forbes 2020) overtime Forbes also believe that Extended Reality which is a mixture of VR and AR will be “one of the most transformative tech trends of the next five years.”. The world of VR is looking promising with more developments coming in the near future as well. The tech will start to become more accessible to people and more user friendly. VR headsets will become lighter, cheaper and ergonomic to make these headsets a lot more appealing to the everyday consumer.

I believe that VR has come incredibly far but in order to become a huge success it still has a way to go. The website Polygon.com has previously made an article about VR which is titled “ The VR revolution has been 5 minutes away for 8 years” This talks about how VR has taken strides towards evolution however, for many it doesn’t feel anywhere close to convenient “they are not going to be enthusiastic about tightening plastic, rubber, or nylon braces over their head and crushing their hair” (Polygon 2020) if VR reality is going to become as popular as other forms of entertainment then it needs to become more user-friendly, the heavy headset, the wires on many of them and the controllers all feel uncomfortable. Once these changes have been made and the headsets are easier to use, lighter, and of course cheaper I believe that the original hype around VR will finally be justified and VR will take over. I believe that it could help people who struggle in social situations find a place that is so close to reality that they can find somewhere to go with friends without having to worry about anything going wrong due to the environment around them not being real. If VR becomes a part of everyday life, it will become an escape for many people to have fun and have a break without having to leave their home. Imagine a person who works too much to be able to go on holiday have the option to do that through VR with only a short loading screen as the obstacle. This will improve the quality of life for people who don’t have much free time greatly. The opportunity for anyone to achieve any of their desires, visit anywhere they want too, partake in any activities they want too without any risk of injury will be an incredible new thing that people haven’t fully been able to experience to the possible extent VR has to offer. This is what I hope to see in the future and what I feel I would enjoy most as a feature, just the chance to be able to explore both places on Earth I haven’t visited as well as created universes different to ours.

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