For my final project in Comm Lab, Video & Sound, I collaborated with Youngmin Choi and Julie Lizardo to write, direct, and edit a commercial for the fictitious product, Match Watch. Match Watch would be a surveillance service for couples to keep tabs on each other to a toxic degree by utilizing contemporary surveillance technologies present in day-to-day applications.
In this sense, Match Watch is both a parody and a satire. Match Watch parodies the glib way in which technology companies present privacy-invasive technologies both for their own gain and often to the detriment of their users. Match Watch satirizes how these same technology companies facilitate toxic relationship habits, like stalking, with features like location services.
Images from throughout our process
Developing Match Watch was a fascinating insight into the process of shooting a semi-professional grade video, and satisfying closure to this course. In each step of our project, we utilized skills that we have learned throughout our course, adapting these skills to fit our needs as unique issues arose. For instance, in order to shoot a scene of me walking down a hallway, we placed a tripod on a rolling chair to facilitate a stable tracking shot. Similarly, when faced with an issue where (in retrospect) one of our actors had spoken too softly, we used Adobe Audacity to raise the volume of their dialogue without distorting the clip.
Our project is an infomercial for a product called Match Watch. Match Watch is an application and digital service designed to help partners keep track of their significant others through questionable surveillance means. Our infomercial will depict a scenario where the application would be necessary, a description of the product, testimonies pertinent to the success of the product (facetiously), and a demonstration of a limited-edition service offering.
Creating a sound guide gave me perspective into how mindlessly I ingest subtle audio cues in my environment. I got to know the history of 370 Jay Street through our sound guide. By searching the history of each sound Sylvan and I recorded through our initial walk in the basement; I inverted my usual approach for understating a space, and am grateful for having experienced this process differently. I would not take any element of this process back, though, I might have wanted to do some research about the space before entering the basement so that we could better select the sounds we warped into abstraction. Furthermore (though there was equal input throughout), I might have delegated the load of sound editing and pamphlet making more evenly, though we were both versed in these practices. Overall, I am pleased with our ability to guide without direct guidance, as the excess of guidance in the sound guide, I attempted leading up to this project frustrated me greatly.
My partner, Sylvan Zheng, and I went through many concepts of where to conduct our sound guide. Initially, we had decided to conduct our sound walk in the elevators for 370 Jay Street. In preparation for this project, we recorded sounds from each floor’s lobby and sounds of each elevator with a zoom and shotgun mic. We ended up using none of this material.
Spontaneously, we decided to take the freight elevator to the bottom floors of our building. It was during this excursion that we stumbled upon our Sound Guide location – floor CM.
Sylvan and I, using the same recording materials, recorded sounds from floor CM: air conditioning, heavy machinery, and other ambient industrial noises. We mixed the audio component of sound guide in Ableton, mixing our recorded noises with droning music, and beginning the track with an ominous introduction.
Our audio guide was very hands-off in directing our listeners through the space we selected. Thus, we created a supplementary packet with a map and newspaper clippings about the history of some of the elements on the floor. We went through different iterations of our map based on feedback from our peers who attempted our sound walk.
Below is a gallery of the accompanying packet pages.
On the cover of our packet, we included Ode on a Grecian Urn by John Keates – Keates’ poem touches on the fall of empires and the beauty of their rebirth, a perfect metaphor for the reconstruction of 370 Jay Street.
After experiencing the Whale Creek sound guide, I have left with a new frustration with the multi media mode. Much of the information conveyed by the narrator in this podcast was communicated on plaques throughout the space. What information was not conveyed on these plaques, in my opinion, would have been better left unsaid. Intermittent rhetorical questions, campily voice-acted fictionalizations, and nonsensical linguistic musings undermine the only facet of the audio experience I appreciated: the narrator’s voice. The inclusion of an accompanying packet was cumbersome, and I mostly used it to take my own notes. My final complaint was the artists’ music choice, largely ambient music employed nonsensically, provided no value added to the experience. If anything, their brief inclusion of an Alicia Keys track could have set them up for prosecution over licensing rights violations.
Perhaps I left the Whale Creek experience underwhelmed because, according to the audio guide (but not the pamphlet) I had arrived at the inopportune time – morning instead of evening. Furthermore, I appreciate how this sound guide made me aware of the temporal limitations of the medium if it is not continuously, as I was not able to walk the entirety of the space in coordination with the guide due to construction. Lastly, I will concede my appreciation of the artist’s choice to separate their audio narrative into multiple episodes, to allow time for self reflection.