Discussion Questions: Web 2.0

After reading William Uriccio’s “The Future of a Medium Once Known as Television,” consider the following questions:

  1. How has Web 2.0 expanded since the publication of this article in 2009? What are some new characteristics? Based on these developments, what advancements do you predict Web 3.0 will entail?
  2. How would you interpret the findings from comScore VideoMetrix on page 27? Do you agree with Uriccio’s or Neilson’s interpretations? How do these numbers reflect a changing medium?
  3. Explain why Uriccio refers to television as heterochronic and YouTube as heterotophic. What are the advantages and disadvantages of each? What would television look like if it were heterotophic or YouTube if it were heterochronic? Is heterochronia in television still relevant?
  4. How has the television industry limited itself? How is YouTube capitalizing off of television’s self-imposed limitations? How can television change to keep up with consumers’ changing needs?
  5. How has the film medium adapted to current consumers? In what ways should the film medium be categorized? (technological geneology, rituals such as film festivals, exposures, something else?)

Using “B-roll” footage; citations

I wanted to follow up on Alfredo’s and Cuillen’s questions from class today in more depth, especially since both questions help expand our digital literacy.

Alfredo asked if Fair Use covered footage from a film used as a transition.  We know from our Fair Use discussion today that an image that is central to analysis is most firmly protected by the “purpose of the use” pillar of Fair Use.  But I think our discussion did not explain how what I call “b-roll” footage is central to analysis.  The explanation of why is an important exploration in composition and digital rhetoric, so I want to thank Alfredo for introducing this nuance as a problem for our class project.

“B-roll” is a term from documentary film-making.  Anthony Artis explains in more detail below, in this snippet of “Your B-roll is your A-roll“:

“The term ‘B-roll’ comes from the world of film where editors used to use an “A” and a “B” roll of identical footage, before the digital age changed everything. B-roll shots are similar to cutaways in that they help break up the static interview shots, but B-roll plays a more major role in telling a visual documentary story.

A long-time documentary filmmaker I know actually refuses to use the term B-roll, because she feels it diminishes the importance of these visuals—and she’s right. B-roll should not be a secondary or low priority. It really should be thought of as “A-roll,” because it is the action of your story, which serves to reveal character. Without it, you’ve just got a bunch of talking heads… booor-ing.

Even with an engaging storyteller speaking, the audience still needs to see visuals of the scene, settings, characters, and action of the story. An interview or voice-over itself is the narration or literal telling of the story. The B-roll is the showing of the story. Together they can complement each other by painting a more complete picture. That amazing guitarist could tell us what it was like to play Woodstock (the real one), but we’ve only got half the story until we cut in the B-roll shots that show the multitudes of free-spirited, mud-covered hippies swirling to the music as far as the camera lens can see. A soldier could tell us what it’s like to be in combat, but when we cut in a shot of explosions and a chaotic firefight, his story takes on real human meaning. Now we’ve got a much stronger sense of story than either an interview or B-roll footage alone could have given us.”

Think about how your B-roll is functioning in a video essay.  Like Alfredo says (and I think he’s absolutely right which is why I bothered to go and watch a couple video essays with his question in mind at 9:45 on a Tuesday night), tons of video essays use film clips and secondary sources as transitional material.  It works like the illustrative material that Artis is calling “B-roll”.  Here’s the big exception to how you’re using your B-roll and how a documentary film maker uses their B-roll (i.e. why the documentary filmmaker can’t claim Fair Use).  You’re flipping to B-roll when you want to show a bunch of examples of what you’re talking about at once (sort of like a mini-supercut) or when you’re showing a secondary source.  Then you’re cutting back to the big scene you’re analyzing for your “A-roll”.  Both A and B are functioning together to “paint a more complete [analytical] picture”.  By this construction, you’re pairing an analytical claim (“Film does this…”) with visual examples.  Then you’re using a single sustained example to make a more localized claim.  Your video essay, if it imitates what we’ve watched, does some version of this swap several times–between A-roll and B-roll.

If your B-roll is neither

a) evidence for your claim nor

b) a secondary source you are bringing into your conversation

then it is likely not covered under Fair Use.  Source material you use for this purpose from databases of material with the appropriate Creative Commons license for your use.  

The video essays that have survived copyright strikes do so because they understand this distinction.  We will talk about this in class more on Thursday.  If you’re looking for transitional footage that is not covered under Fair Use, here is a great resource guide for how to find it.  The video below explains Creative Commons in 3 minutes! Check it out.


Watch how Lewis Bond uses A-roll, B-roll, and transitional material (gathered from Creative Commons) when he discusses film composition–or choose your own favorite video essayist and do this same analysis for the first 5 minutes of the author’s argument.  We’ll dissect this example in class on Thursday. (P.S. Turn on the CC and you’ll see how Lewis Bond gives credit for his primary sources.)


Cuillen asked how to cite sources in the video essay itself.  Here’s some screenshots that show different strategies.

In the video info, like NerdWriter:
NerdWriter citation

Image Source: Nerdwriter

Giving your film “credits” (Kevin B. Lee, Tony Zhou)

Kevin B Lee citation

Image Source: Fandor

Tony Zhou citation

Image source: Every Frame a Painting

I’ve also seen people put citations in as annotations, but I like that less because most people turn annotations off.  (It’s also a pain to do.)

Importing external data into Premiere

I experimented a bit this weekend with the quickest way to import data from a DVD or big video file into Premiere.

You can’t take files directly from a DVD because they are encrypted to deter pirating.  So first off, you probably want to convert anything you’re putting into your video essay into an .mkv file. The three major competing video files types are .mkv (universal), .avi (Microsoft supported), or .mp4 (Apple supported).  You will be submitting your final project in .mp4, so keep that in mind as you explore these digital file converting tools.

To convert DVD material into .mkv:

  • Download MakeMKV
  • Install MakeMKV from .exe or .dmg file
  • Open MKV application.
  • Put DVD in computer drive. (I’ve checked out an external DVD drive for the PAR 102 computers.  Just ask the proctor for it if you don’t see it out.)
  • Choose “File”–>”Open Disc” and select your disc.
  • The DVD contents will now show up in MakeMKV and you can choose to export them in .mkv form to your desktop.  Choose the portions you want to save as .mkv and continue.  (Sometimes it can be tricky to tell and you’ll just have to import more than you need and figure it out afterward.)
  • MakeMKV will suggest a directory for your new .mkv files.  Let the program run and then move your files to whatever folder you’re using to store the stuff you’re importing into your video editor.  I use UT Box to manage my files so that I can work on my project on multiple machines.  Be sure to follow the directions in the Premiere walkthrough if you use UT box to manage your files, as well.

You don’t need to convert standard video files like .mov or .avi to import them into Premiere because Premiere integrates all these file types into the “sequence” you create in your project (giving them the same frame rate, audio codex, etc.)  But if you need to convert a video file into .mkv or .mp4, do the following:

  • Download Handbrake (we have this on DWRL lab computers already).
  • Install Handbrake from .exe or .dmg file.
  • Open Handbrake.
  • Choose “File” –> “Open Source” and select your video file.
  • On the dash output settings, choose “.mkv” or “mp4” and select your file destination.
  • Press play on your dash to begin the encoding.
  • You can now import your new video file into your video editor.

Who establishes what the “norm” is?

Said argued that the concept of the Orient as other serves to establish Europe and the West as the norm.

In regards to the quote above, can the same be said in reverse?


Orient/oriental is an umbrella term that throws people of Asian descent into a neat little box with no further questions. The way we generalize people of certain skin color, ethnicity, nationality, and background has all to do with the norms established long before we learned what any of these things really meant. When Edward Said coined the term Orientalism, there was a sense of an US vs THEM mentality among society and its media that has been going on for hundreds of years—West vs. East. It’s prevalent in our daily lives, ingrained in our pop culture. How many times will we see white writers and directors take on projects that involve presenting an aspect of a certain culture to us before we begin to negate said content that ultimately doesn’t do the culture justice?

The perpetuated stereotypes presented by Western media for Asian men: sexual predators to white women, asexual/emasculated men, flamboyant villains, and Kung Fu masters.

The perpetuated stereotypes presented by Western media for Asian women: hypersexualized, the Lotus Blossom, the narrative of the white man saving the Asian woman during colonial and military history (aka China Doll), and the Dragon Lady (even if Lucy Liu looks like a badass).


As much as we enjoy these characters sometimes (believe me, I love me some Kill Bill) it’s also a matter of being aware that these depictions aren’t as accurate as they could be. It’s just a lot more fun if we can see a culture from a more exotic perspective than a realistic one, isn’t it? White writers would never give you that. It’s the same reason cultural appropriation is a thing–we like the exotic appeal of things, not the true nature of them.

With race relations in the U.S. at an all-time controversial high, it’s safe to say that more and more people are questioning the status quo, asking why it’s still the same group that gets to decide what normal is. The reason this quote cannot be said in reverse is the same reason reverse-racism is not a real thing—who holds the power? If you’re not white you’re a minority, right? So the majority rules—literally. That’s not to say being a minority means you’re free of prejudice or don’t have the ability to push the same racist stereotypes but the shift in power would never be handed over to a minority group. In the grand scheme of things nothing really changes in the overall attitude of society if say a black person is prejudiced against a white person, white is till the norm therefore white remains in power despite whatever the black person does against them. But the problem with who gets to establish what the norm goes far back beyond what we see now.

When Europeans came to settle in North America, they came with a very narrow mindset of what was right and wrong—there were no other groups to tell them otherwise, besides the Native Americans and well that didn’t go down too well. Native Americans were seen as savages, uncivilized, heathens who didn’t know how to govern themselves. Europeans took over and decided that they knew what was best for this group of people. They established a norm just by believing it and enforcing it—because if we stop to think about it, every norm is but a social construct not a rule of nature. Race is a social construct that those same European settlers created when slavery became a “necessary evil” in their minds. To justify their treatment of African Americans they established this ideology that these people with darker skin color were destined to be inferior than them. All throughout slavery’s history, it was widely accepted as the white man’s duty to in some form or other save the black people because without them they wouldn’t know what to do with their poor, uneducated selves. When America was establishing itself as a nation, the more people came in the more diverse society became. With that diversity came conflict and if you open an American history book void of a white-washed perspective, you’re hard-pressed to find that a major non-white culture ever co-existed peacefully with the pre-established notions of race this country had. Racism has always been and remains to be about who holds the power which is why white has to this day remained the default for everything that matters, everything that’s “normal”.


The Changing Landscape of Television

  1. With the rise of original content from streaming services, how does that raise the stakes for network television?

The rise of original content from streaming services is definitely something that is going to be putting more and more pressure on network television. Thousands of people are ditching cable for Netflix, HBOnow, Hulu, CrunchyRoll, etc in the recent years. And the more that do, the more capable these companies are to dish out higher production value programming. Take Netflix’s House of Cards for example. The first season was directed by David Fincher, a director known for movies such as Fight Club and Seven. If you watch the show, you will see just how much Fincher is weaving in cinematic qualities of filming to a “television” program. Shows that compare on network TV are AMC’s Mad Men, Breaking Bad, and pretty much any HBO program (though they also have their own streaming service now that is not linked to a television provider). Network TV is going to have to incorporate more cinematic qualities into the shooting of their programs if they are going to keep up with the streaming services, which means spending a lot more money on the production side. They also need to adapt to the way that people are watching television programs these days, by binge-watching. Some providers already have an on-demand feature that has the recent episodes of the most popular shows for their subscribers to watch whenever they want. I think there will have to be more of these options for people with non-traditional schedules that want to be able to view their programs at will. This goes against the traditional weekly episode system that has been around for decades of serial TV, so I don’t think it will be the easiest change for the medium, especially when factoring in the networks’ advertisers.


  1. How has portability impacted television? Discuss both negative and positive impacts.


I think the portability of television has a lot of different negative and positive impacts. The fact that we can pull out our cellphones at almost any time (depending on the quality of your service) and watch something on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, or HBONow is pretty remarkable when compared to just a few years ago. I think it has been a good thing, following the invention of TIVO and the DVR, because not all of us can be home to watch what we want when we want. But on the other hand, I have seen it drastically change the way people are parenting their kids, for better or for worse. At a boring wedding last summer, I saw a few children just sitting at their table the entire time watching a program on Netflix. When I am at a restaurant, most children I see have an iTouch or iPad to keep them entertained. Lots of parent’s these days just hand a child a device to get them to keep still and quiet. Not that this is necessarily harmful in all cases, but I think it could be a potential negative impact for the children’s developmental and social skills. I think the portability is also changing the way we watch some genres of TV. In my opinion you wouldn’t choose to view the latest Batman movie on your phone, you would lose that cinematic experience. The same goes for more cinematic television programs such as Game of Thrones. So when people choose to do that, I think they are losing some of the intensity and production value just by staring at a 4 inch screen. I think we are going to start seeing more productions that are explicitly made for portable viewing, whether that be a good or a bad thing.

Response: “Screens: televisions dispersed ‘broadcast’” Discussion Question


  1. How has portability impacted television? Discuss both negative and positive impacts.

In his textbook chapter, P. David Marshall talks a lot about the increased portability of television. I’m going to preface this blog entry by mentioning that Marshall wrote this piece in 2009, back when watching portable TV meant putting a disc with the first season of friends into your portable DVD player on a long car trip. Even though it’s only been seven years, portable TV has changed drastically. For many, it means watching Netflix on your iPhone at the gym… or on a plane…  or at a boring family gathering. So that’s what I’m referring to when I say portable TV.

The most notable change brought on by portable TV is increased consumption. There are now screens EVERYWHERE, which has both its pros and cons. The most apparent con is that we get less exercise and sunlight, but increased consumption fosters a community feel, since TV brings people together.

Portable TV also affords us more agency. Marshall talks about how traditional television leaves little up to the consumer. Yes, you can choose which channel to watch, but other than that, the TV does its own thing and continuously spouts out content and information. With portable TV like Netflix, we can pick when and where we watch shows and episodes of our choosing. Although we could be robbing ourselves of valuable information using this method, increased agency is generally a good thing for the consumer. It puts more pressure on networks to create quality content since there’s a more pressing threat that we’ll simply watch something else if their shows are bad. Hollywood went through this same transformation when the spectacle of movies began to wear off and Edison lost his monopolistic control over the industry.

The third biggest change deals with content and affects networks rather than audiences. Since screens continue to shrink and audiences increasingly bingewatch, producers must find a way to cater to these new needs. Marshall mentions that some shows have tried to change filming styles to better suit phone screens, and writers have complicated the plots (Jane the Virgin is a great example of this) to hook viewers for hours on end. It’s too soon to tell weather or not this is a negative or positive development for the TV industry.

Portable TV has undoubtedly changed television’s landscape. Like any development, it carries both negative and positive changes, but overall, the agency, community, and content change are largely beneficial.


Discussion Questions- Screens: televisions dispersed ‘broadcast’

  1. What is ITV and IPTV and how did these developments contribute to overlaying television onto the internet?
  2. How has portability impacted television? Discuss both negative and positive impacts.
  3. Could one argue that with the emergence of digitalized media, the face of television as we know it is subject to change into an entity entirely different than what people are familiar with? In what possible ways could this potential change impact society?
  4.  In regards to transmedia storytelling, must an original narrative already have enough fandom support to be effective in different mediums? (Are there any examples of narratives that had better success in a medium it was not intended for?)
  5. With the rise of original content from streaming services, how does that raise the stakes for network television?

Discussion leaders: Madison and Yessenia