Category Archives: Student Contributor

Visiting Framestore

By Wiktoria Przybylska

A mix of creatives from University of Greenwich Media and Communications, Film Studies and Film and TV took a trip to the brand new, freshly paint-smelling Framestore head office in the heart of London, Chancery Lane.

Framestore is one of the biggest post-production companies in the world, with award-winning effects, innovative technology and fifteen thousand talents (just in London) working together to create characters we love (Dobby! Paddington! Digitally recreated Chris Hemsworth!).

Upon arrival, we were greeted by a non-disclosure agreement, which we signed and so yeah, that’d be it for this blog post, thank you, Maria, for organising the visit, it was great!

Just kidding! We were greeted by two guys from their recruitment who were friendly and kind enough to spare a whole hour to guide us through what and how Framestore operates while answering a million questions, most starting with ‘let’s say we wish to work here, how would we…?’

Their lovely team showed us an amazing presentation and talked about all their past projects, upcoming ideas, organisation, creative brains and worked hours behind each detail in each shot of each film and add. I mean.. They took kids to Mars! (Google it, I recommend).

What we learnt is that post-production is hard work, great fun and Framestore is amazing enough to do paid internships and apprenticeships for all media and film buffs to try their best with the best. They also promised to put successful candidates right into the deep end of an actual production! Also, apparently on Fridays at 5 pm they crack open a can of beer, sit around and have fun – which makes Framestore not only the perfect place to work and get inspired but also… well… to be.

Big thank you from all of us to Maria, who organised the tour for us! It was a great experience to see it for ourselves and to talk to the people who work there (…and recruit – be quick, they are recruiting interns for Summer 2018 NOW – with accommodation and travel expenses payed!).



How can we understand traditional media in the digital age?

Let’s begin with three simple questions:
– Can we call the BBC iPlayer ‘TV’?
– Can we say that the Guardian online is a newspaper?
– Is the Hackney podcast what we mean as radio?

Some might say yes, because we know these digital developments stem from the good old magic boxes and printed paper.
Some might say no, because digital and analog are two different worlds set upon different rules.

Still, the point is that news media are entitled with the mission to explain what is going on and –broadly speaking- help us out with our life; but how can they define the world when they appear unable to define themselves? Is there some underlying life principle that allows TV/radio/newspapers to retain their identity, whatever form they may take? Continue reading

Spacetime worms can make you cry

At least I did.

This brand-new TED talk by Deb Roy deals brilliantly with the notions of memory, language and media. If that wasn’t reason enough to watch it, the processing and visualisation techniques this MIT researcher used are simply mind-blowing. More details on how data was pieced together could have been helpful; as the presentation time slot is limited, you sometimes have to take what he says for granted.

The first 10′ or so focus on his son learning to speak. However lengthy it may seem, please don’t skip it: it prepares you to take the 11’30 leap towards media language. The way they “are analysing how language connects to events which provide common ground for language” could be applied “to the world of public media”. Foucault would have been pleased to see the relationship between mass media and social media texts gets unpacked by tracking words. Now, statements can actually be pinpointed and their influence assessed.

“As our world becomes increasingly instrumented”, Mr Roy says, “and as we have the capabilities to collect and connect the dots between what people are saying and the context they’re saying it in, what’s emerging is an ability to see new social structures and dynamics that had previously not been seen.”


An audio Queen in King’s Cross

The Guardian's headquarters (c) Patrick Gosling

The reception (c) British Council for Offices

The offices (c)

The newsroom (c)

Yesterday, our Media & Comms class went on a field trip to The Guardian‘s headquarters in King’s Place, a sleek new building alongside Regent’s Canal that also happens to be the home the London Sinfonietta and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. Harmony and innovation were indeed key to the media group’s relocation in late 2008: the focus on digital content demanded cutting-edge facilities and more space for studios, while print and online journalists were mixed up and rearranged (spatially speaking) by topic. The entire organization has become an “organic place”.

After a tour around the offices, Francesca Panetta, senior audio producer, sat down with us for an extensive Q&A session. A very warm thank you to this amazing woman. Continue reading

Musings on radio and podcast


As ‘traditional’ media (TV, press and radio) have branched out on the Internet, they take on new formats and provide new services, like catch-up TV, live journalism or podcasts. It is anyone’s guess to say what will become of them in the next years or even define them – what is radio today? Can you call a catch-up platform like the BBC iPlayer ‘radio’ as well? what about podcasts and Internet radios? Beyond the fragmentation of platforms, do they belong to the same over-arching media identity?

Roughly, this is what my dissertation research is about. Here is a sneak peek into the ongoing reflection, fueled by yesterday’s fruitful meeting with Francesca Panetta.

Continue reading

Release your inner couch potato

Credits: Perrier / Leo Burnett

Dear readers, it’s time to watch TV.

The iPlayer is currently offering a BBC Two series on “Foods that make billions”. The first episode told the amazing stories of bottled water, which bared a striking similarity with information: how can you make people pay for something they can get for free? Answer: make a statement, champion values that people are ready to endorse.

The documentary is very neatly edited (I loved the music score!) and provides many striking insights. Nestlé’s PureLife demonstrates an impressive marketing lesson, while the Perrier story is the perfect example of a branding success (by Leo Burnett agency). Charles Fischman, author of The Big Thirst, certainly makes a point when saying that bottled water is a “caricature of the global economy: it provides people with 20-30 varieties of something for which there is no actual variety!”

Again, the same could be said of information: what do you really buy when you purchase a newspaper? (or more likely an online subscription). Bottled water is all about packaging; news is all about design. Could it be that Rupert Murdoch’s iPad-only Daily will be the new Eau de Perrier?


Speaking of BBC programmes, may i draw your attention to the fact that the outstanding modern-day Sherlock Holmes series is back? If you want to see how he deals with a smartphone and nicotine patches, or what if Dr Watson had been injured in the Afghanistan war…

IP can dance

For us students in Media & Communication, the past few days have been spent paddling in intellectual property. Within a few hours, you breathe, eat and sleep IP. Time to take a break. To the gym, for example, where tv screens fitted on every torture machine allow you to stay in tune with mainstream culture without having to pay a licence. And MTV happened to air this music video:

\”Hello\” – Martin Solveig & Dragonette

(the embed feature is down, sorry for that)

Forget the tennis, forget the music. Have you noticed how interesting this is from an IP and advertising viewpoint?

Continue reading

Digital Branding

New media advertising offers multiple opportunities and benefits that traditional media do not, with respect to different unique features that differentiate the internet from other media, but interactivity can be considered as one of the main ways it can stand out.

The early forms of online advertising were mostly small, simple formats, but as connection speeds and the access to broadband internet have increased the range of possibilities available to advertisers has grown. Today the branding effectiveness of online campaigns is being lifted through enhanced rich media hence the consumer’s response to seeing them is high.

The following link is to a surface study presentation on Digital Branding:

Image: Bill Verplank

The focus here is on how rich media is been used by advertisers to stimulate attention and engagement with a target of changing their long term opinion of the brand as the impact on the consumers is immense when the brand is associated through interactive (engaging) means.

Go through the presentation, and feel free to comment below.

Sad day for com & business news

Tail slate - Credit: CB News

Yesterday the French weekly magazine CB News was officially put into liquidation. For 25 years, it had kept practitioners and students at the top-end of what make the life of brands.

It has been said that CB News died from a miscarried digital shift. The argument sounds strange since Christian Blachas, founder of CB News (1986) and its direct competitor Stratégies (1971), is used to moving seamlessly between different platforms. He created a newsletter and a monthly video report for the latter, and when his TV show Culture Pub was forced out of the screens after 20 years, he transferred it online — only to find the audience following and growing.

This is primarily the story of stormy relationships between truth and money. Continue reading

Local communications lack sparkle

Lord Mayor's Show 2009 - Credit: John Carter

A good trends analyst never rests.

At least that was my excuse for roaming London last Saturday instead of doing my research.

Two days ago was held the Lord Mayor’s Show: just before Remembrance Day, this popular event celebrates centuries-old traditions as well as up-to-date civil services. Army cadets, youth associations, nurses, postmen and such walked alongside the mariners and various impressive pieces of weaponry. The whole display aimed at bonding people together and gave a palpable sense of what makes citizen identity. Beginning with the parade, the Show ended with the much-awaited fireworks, climax of what is little less than a massive branding campaign for London and Britain.

And it failed.

Continue reading