We are back again to make sure you are up to date with all things DERTy (Digital, Entertainment, Rights and Technology) from the week just gone.

We hope you find some of the weird and wonderful things from this week’s news and Twittersphere of interest. If you have any comments on any of the points below we would love to hear them.

Until next week…

Digital Entertainment

The reality of seeing things in 3D

We’ve got some serious bits in DERTy Talk this week, for which we apologise. But there is more to a Digital and Entertaining life than Angry Birds and Angry Bird Art. There is. We promise. And so the first story is from the IHT regarding the *surprise* that Mars Needs Moms has flopped at the box office. “Tens of millions” in losses are expected of this film that cost $175 million to make. 3D fatigue is setting in. Or is it? Brookes Barnes cites various reasons for the failure. Firstly, saturation – the movie comes off the back of a busy 3D animation season – Rango, Gnomeo and Hop). Secondly – cost. The 3D price tag means going to the cinema isn’t a cheap activity for families; faced with so many movie options some movies are bound to be left behind. Finally – the performance of Moms could be the death knell for ‘Zemeckis’ style animation. Basically unlike the clever bods at Pixar, the Zemeckis approach includes filming live actors then putting them through the computer. It’s the same style used on Polar Express and it’s not to my tastes. It’s kinda creepy. These three reasons aside, the glaringly obvious thing here is perhaps Mars Needs Moms just isn’t a very appealing tale. This should be a wake-up call to an industry that seems to think that celeb + animation + 3D is a guaranteed success formula. It isn’t. Just look at the bastardisation of Yogi Bear. Quality of the story has got to come first.

Hold me closer Tinie Tempah

clip_image002[6]Apologies for the lame headline, we’ve been listen to Elton a lot recently. What we actually wanted to talk about was Tinie Tempah the Facebook GAME. It’s basically the same game concept as Canabalt (which is awesome, btw) and Mirror’s Edge on iOS (even more awesome – though DISCLAMINER we do work for EA mobile). The futuristic-mash-up background is nicely sketched (reminds us of the lovely doodles by Andrea Joseph for Cross Pens) and the game is simple and easy. Crucially each level is soundtracked by one of Tempah’s album tracks. It’s not big. It’s not clever. But it’s a little bit of fun and is driving some good numbers to Tempah’s Facebook wall.

Product placement

clip_image002[18]With the relaxing of product placement laws, Chanel 4 and New Look have announced their first deal. New Look clothes will feature in catwalks on the channel’s T4 show and they will also have sponsorship branding. This tie-up makes a lot of sense, as the teenage market is increasingly hard to target it is nice that another string has been added to the marketers bow. This is likely to be the first of many announcements in this space so we will keep you updated…

Inside Out
image
Or Analogue meets Digital. It feels a bit crass to categorise this as simply ‘entertainment’ but it’s a beautiful project that is so very well put together. Spare four minutes and watch the video to get a better view of exactly what this project is and where it came from, but in essence it’s a photography project of a huge scale that looks to get people from around the world working together. People are challenged to use black and white photographic portraits to share untold stories. The images are digitally uploaded, turned into posters and then sent back to the creators to be placed wherever they like. When you watch the video you’ll see exactly how brilliantly this has come to life. It’s all being documented and archived so that it’s viewable virtually. All in all a lovely project with a nod to the beauty of a physical photo.

Rights

You’re e-book is overdue
This week HarperCollins announced that it’s to put a life span on its e-book content. Currently due to hit those readers in Canada, the publisher is limiting each e-book to 26 ‘check outs’. Effectively this gives an e-book a usage time of 12 months before it self-destructs. The new restriction to the DRM set up makes clear business sense, on paper, but it’s arguably a pretty heavy handed approach which is hard to justify when you consider how many years a physical copy of a book might last. An interesting landmark in modern rights management, but not a vote winner for HarperCollins.
http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/story/2011/03/08/f-vp-misener-ebooks.html

Walk Towards the Light

An interesting feature in NMA today, and the first of many we expect, looking at UltraViolet. Exciting times ahead for consumers – when digital and physical content can be passed from screen to screen and between members of the house hold. (DISCLAIMER: our Edelman colleagues in the US have worked with DECE, the consortium behind UltraViolet).

Technologies

Google Wedding

Google is taking city mapping to the next level by rendering a 3D route plan of the Royal Wedding procession in London. Whilst it isn’t quite up to the same levels as The Getaway London it is an interesting example of how much mapping has come along in recent years. Some people will be very excited about this, indeed the Telegraph ran an article on it as did the Independent. http://bit.ly/emPrWa

Creative Play

Think – Work – Play.com is a space for London creatives, opinion formers and thinkers to share with others tips of the trade. You can get an insight into the latest creative concepts running in the city. Including the latest project in the East End http://think-work-play.com/boxpark-shoreditch/

 

 

Tweets from the team

@LukeMackay Skype screen-grab art. Very funny (via @trendhunter and @GerryWisniewski) http://bit.ly/hijy31

@LukeMackay A brief history of movie title design. Lovely. http://bzfd.it/eJS3hH

@LukeMackay Really beautifully done RT @motherlondon: Well, this is nice:http://youtu.be/DIArJjU8HjE

@LukeMackay The internet is dead. v. v. interesting read from #SXSWhttp://bit.ly/fqb8Wo

@AJGriffiths: News Corp jumps on the ‘social gaming’ band wagon. Sound a bit clueless. http://bit.ly/g0NSnN

@AJGriffiths: Silicon Alley insiders – really interesting profile in the FT http://on.ft.com/gWxLf6

Welcome! This is the first edition of a regular weekly update on all things DERTy (Digital Entertainment, Rights and Technology).

We hope you find some of the weird and wonderful things from this week’s news and Twittersphere of interest. If you have any comments on any of the points below we would love to hear them.

Until next week…

Digital Entertainment

clip_image002Jennifer Aniston and Smart Water
In an area where you see a lot of things branded as ‘viral’, but are in fact adverts which companies want you to pass on, it was a refreshing change to see a company do it really well.  I clicked on the link from Twitter with low expectations but what appeared was Jennifer Aniston promoting Smart Water in a really clever and innovative way.  The campaign has received literally hundreds of positive article, over 4 million views on YouTube and there is a lot of buzz around the campaign on Twitter.  Admittedly they had a high profile celeb to help them get this coverage, but I still think they have hit the nail on the head.  If you haven’t watched it already I strongly suggest a quick look.

clip_image004Intel reinvent art
We’ve been admiring Intel’s creative projects (such as the Creators Project) for a while.  This week the Remastered exhibition was launched “to explore the relationship between art and technology and celebrate its role in inspiring modern creativity as part of its Visual Life campaign”.  Interesting stuff.  Whether or not this art is reimagined or reinvented – a lot of the exhibits look very interesting.  Nice YouTube preview here.


clip_image006Equal Pay Day
People used to forge masterpieces – and Dougal Wilson’s vid for Benni Benassi’s Satisfaction happens to be a masterpiece of Noughties dance vids. So now here’s Raf Reyntjes lovingly-crafted recreation of the video – with an important difference. This time round, the girls are a bit older. Which makes it very funny – or hard to watch, depending on how you feel about seventy year old ladies wielding power tools whilst wearing hot pants. It’s all for a perfectly good cause, thankfully: Equal Pay Day. In fact, it’s a stonking way of highlighting the important issue of inequitable gender wage differentials. In Belgium.

And here is the original http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V5bYDhZBFLA – Spot the difference?

clip_image008Spyro the Dragon gets real wings.
We’ve been a fan of Spyro for a long time (in a former life Luke worked on the little purple dragon of joy and can often be found wearing a purple dragon costume at the weekend).  So it was with fiery excitement that we read about Activision’s real-world tie-ins for the new Spyro game.  There’s a great overview on the Telegraph.  The box copy of the game will ship with real-world peripherals that unlock features and interact with the game.  Interesting stuff – and not unlike the chess scene in Star Wars (in our heads’ anyway).  This demonstrates that particularly for youth audiences digital entertainment is not just virtual but is also tangible.  Moshi Monsters are illustrating a similar approach with a range of real-world products that unlock items in the virtual environment.

Rights

clip_image010

Warner Bros bring film to Facebook
Those living Stateside will soon be able to rent films through Facebook thanks to a new deal between the social network and Warner Bros. Users in the US will first be able to rent The Dark Knight for $3/30 Facebook credits – and there lies the interesting bit. At the moment Facebook credits don’t mean much to the majority of users, but with the Warner Bros. deal sure to be the first of many, we might be about to see Facebook’s virtual currency step up a gear. It also brings into play everything people have theorised around ‘social viewing’ as now people will be able to easily integrate all of the usual Facebook functions around movie content. Sounds like an exciting test bed, watch this space.

Technologies

clip_image012Well Funded Birds
The company behind everyone’s favourite mobile game – Angry Birds – today announced a $42m round of funding to expand its franchise and develop new titles. This comes in the same day that it was announced the game was also heading for Facebook. Considering Rovio claim to have already made $50m from game sales, they must have some big plans up their sleeves. So prepare to be watching Angry Birds the movie and getting an Angry Birds soft toy in your stocking come December.

Tweets from the team

· Transmedia alive and kicking it seems RT @powertothepixel: Fourth Wall Studios raises $15m for cross-media productions http://lat.ms/goM1ft

· Fear and Rango in Las Vegas. Uncanny resemblance…http://bzfd.it/gg55S2

· Black Swan trailer – the Habbo cut. Very cool (Habbo a client) http://youtu.be/ggQa-5T5UqQ via @juzu17)

· Interesting RT @mashable:Who’s Really Scanning All Those QR Codes? [INFOGRAPHIC] – http://on.mash.to/i5bio3

· Never commit a crime in Strathclyde http://bit.ly/hl0oeI (via @shortlist)

The Renaissance Man understood the relationship between art and science perfectly. Music is mathematically constructed, but to pull at the heart strings it has to be infused with emotion. Da Vinci developed an unhealthy habit of digging up corpses – but the anatomic knowledge he gathered whilst elbow deep in bones was fundamental to his ability to draw the human form.

Art and Science are interlinked, so why are they so often viewed as conflicting polarities. For simplicity, snobbery, or stupidity’s sake, who knows? What interests me is that technology has always sat slightly outside both art and science; present in both yet embraced by neither.

At school, for example, we would learn about physics in the science lab, we would create electronic games in the carpentry workshop – fusing light and sound with acrylic plastic – in drama classes I learnt how to programme a lighting desk and in music we learned the fundamentals of sound recording. However, technology’s role has always been one of facilitation. It allowed us to see the actors, to balance the levels when recording; it gave my steady-hand game the satisfying buzz that announced a player’s failure.

But it stikes me that this is changing. Just as the digital revolution has seen technology warmly take residence in the sitting room, technology is finally being welcomed into the artist’s studio.

The renowned artist (and geek) David Hockney has recently discovered PhotoShop for his exhibition Drawing in a Printing Machine (read the Indy’s review here). The exhibition of “inkjet-printed computer drawings’, again uses the technology as facilitator. However, here Hockney is also celebrating the nuances of ink-jet, the possibilities of digital drawing; one of contemporary art’s greatest masters is presenting the technology as art itself.

Digital has democratised art, at least to some degree Just look at the explosion in iPhone art. Yes the iPhone is facilitating here, but you can’t ignore the potential for collaborative art if every mobile phone user has the tools in their pocket. That’s some creative commutes.

True – the fine art word will continue to protect and celebrate professional artists, as well it should. However, the tides may well be beginning to turn. In May, Tim Freeman was named Welsh Artist of the Year, which was the first time I’d noticed a digital artist beating traditional work in a competition. (As an aside check out Kozyndan’s work. They’re my favourite – combining pencil skill with epic digitial proportions). It’s probably worth noting that digital photography has facilitated the work of many photographers – both in portrait and reportage – but photoshop is still widely frowned upon in critical circles.

Video games are where perhaps the most obvious fusion of art and technology is played out. Games like Fable II have caused writers to rethink the relationship between film and game; whilst Spielberg has also got in on the act.

The Hide and Seek festival takes the principles of gaming and play and creates events which allow the public to take part in something truly unique. Sometimes theatre, sometimes playground game, sometimes living art – their initiatives are always fun. A recently developed ‘game’ is Playmakers. Again this fuses short-film making, with an element of collaborative fun to create a unique experience. (See the brains behind it, Mr Fleetwood, describing the project more eloquently here). What excites me about the project is that the camera isn’t just facilitating fun, it is bringing strangers together to create art.

So what does this mean for Tech Flacks? Well I suppose it should encourage us to really explore how art can work alongside technology to engage with consumers.

Art has the power to engage with audiences. That’s why consumer tech brands have been pouring money into sponsored events, such as the PlayStation Season programme. But we should move away from this outmoded, facilitator, approach. Gone are the days when a big budget sponsorship of an ‘arts’ event is enough to communicate with an audience. Let’s look (and encourage our clients to see) how technology can become art, let’s put the technology in the hands of artists, curators and consumers and let’s see what they can create with it. In other words let’s play…

Luke Mackay (@LukeMackay)