July 19th, 2010 by Joel Hietanen

Time for just a quickie now, and as it seems the first one to become part of our slowly developing roll. Well, my steadily growing experience in making videographic work seems to lend itself to certain abuses. I, and I have to admit the true causes elude me, have become increasingly interested in the technological side of video production also. Me, a nerd, never. IDDQD.

For our ongoing ‘Pushing the Scene’ project we bought another camera to record video with, in order to get more dynamic footage from interviews with two simultaneous angles. And, as seems to be the hip and pop fashion, it was not a videocam, but an DSLR capable of HD video recording. Now, don’t get me wrong (in what follows), the luxury of shooting footage with exchangeable lenses is unparallel. However, DSLRs are certainly not ready to be (at least in terms of my limited experience) the sole recorders of video (and audio) for video projects. For now, they take wonderfully pristine footage with the correct lens choices. However, in terms of reliability and audio recording there seem to still be some unresolvable obstacles in the way. By the way, our DSLR is the Canon EOS 550D with a Sigma fisheye lens (specifically suitable for low-light shooting) and another Sigma lens for more all-around applications.

kamaa2

Our JVC videocam, the GY-HM100U.

kamaa1

The usual fieldwork equipment of a contemporary ethnographer.

First, a gripe about reliability. The 550D overheats if the shot takes over circa 20 minutes (and most interview settings obviously do). Secondly, the audio capturing capability is practically zero (with the internal mic). This naturally did not come as a surprise, as we knew we were going to use our videocam’s (JVC GY-HM100U) audio capturing capabilities for most of our recording. However, as the Finns say, the hunger increases as you munch away, and therefore I have become increasingly interested in building a presentable rig out of our Canon DSLR for video use.

So, (after days of internet scowring) what do I need? Well, a decent microphone for starters. I went through a whole set of directional test mics (Rode Videomic, Azden SGM-X / SMX-10 etc). Directional meaning to have the ability to capture audio from a certain direction, i.e. the voices of interviewees in otherwise loud surroundings. However, as I learned, this was not the only qualm. As our Canon 550D is not primarily intended for video shooting, there is one rather gargantuan concern. This would be the AGC (‘automatic gain control’) ‘feature’ that basically, for the lack of better wording and excuse my French, absolutely f***s up your recorded audio. Thankfully, Canon seems to have no interest in rectifying this problem, and there are open source micro-projects that tackle this issue for the 5D Mark II model, but not, to date, for the 550D. So yes, indeed, thanks a whole bunch Canon. The ‘methodology’ of videography work certainly lunges the researcher in a whole new realm of ‘what you need to know’, and this just after I thought to have acquired a decent baseline knowledge of editing in terms of all the various video formats and codec issues.

How to go about this, then? How to (preferably) brutalize the AGC out of our 550D. As it turns out, this in itself will not be the ultimate salvation. As I know from my dabblings with music production, I need to be able to monitor the sound entering my camera also (as in ‘not too loud, not too soft’), and of course, a DSLR not dedicated to video shooting lacks all such capabilities. Well, I found at least two options. The rather bulky Beachtech DXA-5DA and the Juicedlink DT454 4-CH. These are basically boxes of audio electronics to attach to your camera that give you the capability to monitor the recorded sound that is being fed to the DSLR.

And here’s the twist and the crux and the help-me-I’ve-had-enough part of this post. I tested two Beachtech DXA-5DA today with 3 different mics, and neither Beachtech DXA-5DA device showed any decent graphical representation of the sound going in. This would be the device to use as it provides a way to circumnavigate the whole AGC issue by fooling the cameras electronics (but that, I have to say, is another whole matter in and of itself). This, in practice, rendered the whole monitoring feature unusable without constant headphone monitoring. With our preference for unobstrusiveness and ‘going in light’ in our ethnographic video work, it would seem kind of peculiar for me to rock a camera rig the Ghostbusters would be envious of with the humble addition of having wires hanging out of my ears. Very subtle, indeed.
So, the outcome. I’ll wait for something else. And we’ll continue to use audio by relying on our JVC video-cam only. It may not take as spectacular footage (especially in the dark), but it is a full-fledged video recorder. To date, it seems, a DSLR is not. Finally, a normative recommendation. If this is your game, use both. Always. And simultaneously.

June 18th, 2010 by Joel Hietanen

Joonas and I just attended CCT5, consumer culture theory conference in Madison, Wisconsin, held at the Grainger Center of the University of Wisconsin’s Wisconsin School of Business. Attendees consist of academics interested in cultural research in the field of marketing and consumer research. We presented a preliminary account of our new videography project, ‘Pushing the Scene’, in which we attempt to build rich accounts of the negotiation of the social constructs of authenticity in the dubstep electronic music subculture. The newest member of our research team, Risto Roman, was also present to bring further insight into the cultural realm of dubstep (Risto produces and DJs under the alias Desto).

IMG_0219

Relaxing after our presentation on Sunday morning.

Like Rob Kozinets has already pointed out in his insightful blog postings, this was the best CCT yet. From my humble vantage point of having attended approximately 20 conferences in international contexts, I can do nothing else than to wholeheartedly agree! Indeed, the presentations and discussions were of high quality, but I must also emphasize what consists of the true magic of the CCT gatherings – the laid-back atmosphere and the truly engaging conversations that occur beyond the conference agenda (yes, this would also entail the great parties this year and before). A special shout-out must go out to Rob, Alex Thompson, Marylouise Caldwell, Paul Henry, Handan Vicdan and Sofia Ulver-Sneistrup along with others making up our outgoing posse. Good times, good times. Like the saying goes, this trip was not one of economy or its health-promoting qualities.

Coming back to Rob’s blog, he has already provided an in-depth account of the conference and its contributions (and rumors and some minor controversy). What happened in the first session was that Eric Arnould called for the cessation of case studies in the CCT field. The discussion developed into relatively voluminous amounts of spilled digital ink (see also the comments in Rob’s blog) about what became resolved as an issue of conceptualization. This approach is further clarified by Robert Kozinet’s following point “…ethnography leave unclear what the difference is between “single” and “not-single”. From my perspective, there thus seems to be more agreement than not on the larger issue, which would naturally have to do with the further work of legitimizing CCT research in general. This task can be undertaken by further development of a focus in robust theoretizations and deep ethnographic takes. Certainly, if scholarly work in our field remains primarily focused on a description, we we stand to lose a lot of our potential. From my perspective, especially one that is now fortified with encouraging experiences in the CCT5, the general ethos of the CCT crowd is exactly doing this, moving to the direction of emphasis on theoretical work and (even) more holistic approaches into various consumption contexts.

Another thoroughly interesting moment was the luncheon keynote on Friday by John Deighton, the editor of Journal of Consumer Research (JCR), the most prestigious journal in all scholarly things consumer. One of the core insights he shared was the increasing need to consider the impact of CCT for managers – i.e. what can CCT offer in the practice of companies’ marketing efforts. Indeed, it seems, that the cultural side of the matter is becoming increasingly recognized by companies also (e.g. Proctor & Gamble, Nokia), and therefore we must contemplate our role in this transformation. This provides opportunities for interesting shifts in ethos, as many CCT scholars with their close affiliation to the critical marketing discourse have traditionally not been closely tied to the managerial end of things. Perhaps, as cultural insight becomes increasingly relevant for companies, they will also provide us with more interesting opportunities for cooperation to bring in thought that has less to do with the reduction of the consumer into a number and more to do with holistic and co-creative approaches. Thus, we CCT researchers must remain ever vigilant in reminding ourselves to keep and open mind and readily pursue these opportunities as they emerge. Perhaps, in the future, there may be new openings for positions of chief cultural officers, as McCracken calls it.

Regarding the contributions of the CCT crowd in JCR, Deighton gave us some juicy morsels along with more sobering accounts and suggestions for the future of CCT research. Now, it must be remembered, that even with the encouraging growth of the CCT tradition, we are still far from being a firmly established and traditional field – some would certainly refer to us as still being on the fringe. For these reasons it was truly inspiring to have Deighton tell us that CCT accounts for much of very interesting and high-quality research in the journal. Thus, he contended, we CCT scholars have (in terms of the number of researchers in the field) become ‘over-represented’ in the journal. However, he continued, with growth comes responsibility and the need strategize and find ally discourses in academia. One such promising field could certainly be anthropology, with their ongoing trends of becoming increasingly interested in subcultural phenomena and becoming less ‘realist’ and more interpretative and reflexive.

While Deighton’s insights are certainly valuable for our field – indeed we need to display a more cohesive whole to become more distinctly recognizable – it is my belief that CCT’s somewhat Feyerabendian approach of (virtually) ‘anything goes’ has and will continue to be a source of interesting research and creativity. Naturally, this ‘anything goes’ does not mean complete ontological and epistemological relativism here, but rather denotes the ongoing freedom to pursue social phenomena from diverse theoretical perspectives and a relatively liberal methodological toolkit. Social phenomena will continue on to consist of equally diverse constructs – constantly negotiated, constantly evolving – and thus we can certainly draw form a tradition promoting freedom and courage in our work.

IMG_0145

Risto creating a soundscape for Robert Kozinets's presentation in the poetry session.

IMG_0144

The way of the mobile artist.

IMG_0183

Sid Levy reciting his work in the poetry session.

Anyway, thank you CCT for a fantastic experience. See you guys in EACR London in a couple of weeks. Meanwhile, we’ll hang out in the Big Apple to continue our project of exploring the negotiation of authenticity in the electronic music subculture of dubstep. Lots of film to capture! Joonas will provide a more detailed account of the presentations in the conference, and I’ll be sure to jot down an account of our experiences in NYC also.

February 18th, 2010 by Joel Hietanen

This would be our new videographic project (which we started scetching out late 2009), and I got to say, I am quite happy to push the paintball-related video clips off my editing table for now. Seeing the same material over and over again, from the conferences to my doing-the-Edward-Scissorhands on the editing table – well, its stating to finally become just a bit stale… So, on to new and better things it is, then, and what will such things entail?

For us, an exploration of the consumer community partaking into the growing ‘dubstep’ electronic scene is the answer. We needed an interesting and a highly audiovisual cultural phenomenon, and a great deal of access. Dubstep gave us all of the above.

Coming this far, we have come to understand the role of access and autoethnographic accounts when going after an in-depth understanding of a phenomenon and rich material for its representation. This time we did not have to search far and wide. Our initial impulse came from the ‘Illicit Pleasure’ JCR article (Goulding, Shankar, Elliott & Canniford 2009), even though what we consequently set out to go after is quite different, except for taking an interest in consumption cultures revolving around electronic music. As it happened, I used share a student flat with Risto Roman (going by the alias Desto), and at the time we got together to experiment with music production. I might even post up some of our work dating back to the days of yore, but I’ll need to summon some more courage before you’ll see that happening. With all the other things on my plate, my musical ambitions (or dabblings) had become comprehensively afterburnered. Meanwhile, Desto had gone on to establish himself as an internationally known dubstep producer and DJ.

In this project, he would thus be the autoethnographic member, Joonas would look at the phenomenon from a somewhat less acculturated perspective and I would initially be the fence-sitter with some experience in producing (and obviously partying out to) electronic music, albeit not so much specifically related to the dubstep genre.

Before we entered into the contexts where dubstep happens, we held (quite) thorough conversations about the curiosities of dubstep culture with Risto. Additionally, he provided us with a wealth of internet resources in the form of forums (e.g. Step Ahead), blogs (e.g. Blackdown) and insider documentaries (e.g. Dubfiles) all revolving around dubstep. At that point Risto had already set up interview sessions with renowned DJ/producers as they came over to Finland to strut their stuff at dubstep parties. At present, we have already conducted some interesting filming with a couple of DJ/producers of international fame in interesting backstage settings and the like.

pts

Bristol based Jakes in the back room of SLAM IT at Kuudes Linja, Helsinki.

10

Desto on decks at Kuudes Linja.

pts

Some screengrabs of Pinch from our video material. The low light capabilities of our JVC videocam leave a lot to be desired - which is why we decided to go shopping for new gear.

14

Pinch again.

pts

Pinch in the backroom of Kuudes Linja, displaying his dubplates. He keeps them unlabeled so as to not let onlookers easily learn his selection.

This time, in order to not spend as long pondering on what the hell we are actually doing, we decided to focus on uncovering the perspectives of cultural agents, specifically the DJ/producers, who, through their actions, shape and reproduce the culture. At this early stage we are primarily interested in (still hanging on to the practice theory as a foundation),

  • The practices that drive the evolution of the dubstep culture
  • Agency and authentication in dubstep culture
  • The marginal/mainstream tension regarding this genre of electronic music

Next we are looking forward to visiting some of the most interesting international settings where dubstep has a central role. This would, at the very least, entail two trips to UK (Croydon and Bristol) and a hop over the pond to the states (New York). We will keep you all updated about our progress (and all unplanned slapstick-like outcomes during the process) on this same bat channel, so please keep reading this blog in the future as well.

While this project is still at quite an early stage (we are going after a rich ethnographic immersion, not a few quick & dirty interviews), we have already submitted some early scribblings to the CCT 2010 conference. Hopefully we get accepted, and I hope to see all you guys there.

References:

Dubfiles – Dubstep Documentary. Directed by G. McCann and G. Jugdeese. Dubfiles 2008.

Goulding, C., Shankar, A., Elliott, R., Canniford, R. 2009. The Marketplace Management of Illicit Pleasure. Journal of Consumer Research. 35, 5, 759-771.

February 18th, 2010 by Joel Hietanen

After the great experience in ACR, there was still one more round of editing to do regarding the ‘Brothers in Paint’ project. After winning the ‘Juror’s Prize’ we were asked by Rob Kozinets to send the same video to the EACR 2010 conference in London. We still felt quite unsatisfied with many aspects of our film, and so we decided to give the material one more extensive treatment. The film was still excessively long, too much of what was said in the interviews was muddied by background noise (all our material was captured in situ, and with paintball that obviously entails people frantically shooting each other in the background) and the overall soundtrack was in need of a professional touch.

After seeing our videos ad nauseum in presentations and the editing table, slicing off more material was not as painful as it had been before ACR. The final cut for EACR thus became close to 35 minutes in length. Still not particularly short as far as videographies in ACR go, but getting closer to what can possibly be viewed without the need to pitch up a tent. To tackle the background noise, we added subtitles to everything. Finally, the artist responsible for the background music, Desto, took the whole video soundtrack (speaks and everything) for a final mix down. On the whole, the outcome for me is satisfactory, granted I would like to redo the whole thing from scratch now – the outcome would be quite different (then again, when is this not the case?). Yes, the outcome is still very much just descriptive in nature and the theoretical point needs further sharpening, but overall, I guess it can defend its place

Obviously, we were again guilty of the classic mistake of thinking, “It’s a matter of a few touch-ups and a little cutting, I’ll have it done in a couple of days.” Well, it took over two weeks, as ideas seemed to pop up as we went along. Even the subtitling alone took almost a full week. Add the typical blue screen here and there, and my laptop came close to a tragic accidental ‘falling to the ceiling’ more than once. Video editing, folks, is some orders of magnitude more unpredictable and demanding than journal writing, believe it or not. Perhaps one day I’ll get this point to such a degree that I’ll actually have my calendar planned properly. I’m not holding my breath though.

We, as self-appointed anarchists, are always looking to question existing structures. Therefore we wanted to become the worlds first to openly showcase our material to everyone. Videography, for me, can be a powerful tool for popularizing science and to be more popular, it has to be public. Therefore, here is our EACR 2010 submission in its entirety. Please enjoy!

More than two years have passed since the first time Joonas crashed into my office with but a glimmer of an idea. Now the first project is complete, and were quickly branching out towards new endeavors. Our work using videographic methodology is certainly not over. Actually, its only really getting started.

  • A diverse research team peppered with an autoethnographic angle works great – it’s all about access. Traditional ethnography is difficult in and of itself, now you have the added desensitizing and obstructing thingie called a camcorder. Plan for this, ensure a welcoming access (for each member of your research team)!
  • Doing all filming in situ is the way to really bring out the effect of the video – even if it means background noise and a somewhat shaky shot. It’s the entire context you are going after, not just a talking head, which leads us to…
  • …always asking, whatever you do, “Why video? What does it (in every particular instance you are shooting) add to traditional textual representation?”

Even when facing adversities, never ever give up! Instead, do your best to anticipate and remedy hardships before they happen. They will. Don’t let them stop you

February 18th, 2010 by Joel Hietanen

Wind the tape forward a little over six months and you see us returning from the annual pinnacle of tournament paintball, the World Cup in Orlando. It was now the time to figure out how to actually put our 40+ hours of material to work (you can probably imagine what it takes to merely go through such a mountain of video, let alone 1) choose the bits we felt would best support our argument, and 2) cut and edit them to a videography work). This is what we set out to do, but there was a catch. To edit video one must actually know how to use the relevant software – admittedly, another skill I, at the time, knew embarrassingly little about.

Fortunately I had two things going my way, 1) a relatively intimate relationship with Photoshop and a background of having been involved in electronic music producing, and 2) a friend and a team member, Raffe, who already knew many of the tricks of video editing. Thus I picked the same software (Premiere) and pleaded him at his doorstep long enough to soften his heart. Finally letting me in, he discovered his mistake. When it comes to software, I’m of the trial-and-error type, that is, trying and erring at a considerably fast and sloppy pace. You probably guessed it, he was of the more organized type. Yet, he managed to ram the fundamentals into my head with admirable grace (though I think the reason why he went to the restroom so often was, rather than relieve himself, to swear at my incompetence while muffling his voice with a towel). Our videography crew was now definitely in business.

I remember that self-learning Photoshop at quite a young age was a tedious and frustrating exercise. It seemed that there was an excess of unfathomable things that ‘you were just supposed to know’. Oh, how the memory of these days of yore returned when I strarted to dig deeper into editing with Premiere. The basic editing tools themselves were quite straightforward, it was the bottomless abyss of video formats that got me. Never before have I read through so many user forums (and called Raffe when all else failed) and help files. Somehow however, we started to have a rudimentary skeleton of a piecemeal of a frame of a videography. We were on our way.

And on that way we certainly did collide with the ACR 2009 Film submission deadline with quite a momentum. The ACR 2009 Pittsburgh had been our ultimate aim. To get a film accepted there was the goal, and this goal we had to achieve. What we did not anticipate, however, was how poorly we were prepared to finalize our material into something that could bear, even in passing, a resemblance to real videography. With multiple problems encountered with adding graphics, choosing acceptable target formats, and even fighting with the ‘credits’ tool, recording and mixing in a commentary seemed easy enough. And indeed, after two uncooperative audio interfaces and one broken laptop, we finally managed to squeeze my shaky voice on the film (at this point it was 5:30 in the morning, after all).

The outcome was still clunky and quite unfinished (and today I certainly wonder if anything will ever really be anything else), but after two work-oriented nights, the deadline was upon us. We actually had to finally ship the finished submission DVDs in double-triple express mode (or alternatively the post office just decided to play a joke on us, you decide). Feeling a little dazed and incomplete (perhaps somewhat nauseous too – well I had been up for close to 48 hours), it was done however, and we felt comforted by the opportunity to rework some of the film if an ‘accepted’ with revision’ were to be upon us.

The cover of the DVD we shipped off to ACR

And that was what we came to receive. The comments were brief, pretty much only suggesting us to shorten the overall length of the video. This was hardly surprising, as the original DVD we shipped out was a massive hour+ long. The final version came out to be a somewhat more manageable 47 minutes (still quite a mouthful). Yet, for us, it seemed difficult to cut parts away, as our study was intended to be a descriptive visual account of the social practices of tournament paintball culture. Ethnographic description (as anyone familiar with CCT ethnographies in JCR knows) needs substantial amounts of material to show as much as possible of the cultural practice, and we simply felt that every piece sliced off decreased the descriptive power of our argument.

Anyhow, then we were off to Pittsburg to present our video at ACR 2009.

February 18th, 2010 by Joel Hietanen

There once was a time when I did not have the faintest of notions that academic research could (or in some cases should, as we wish to argue here) be conducted on video format (and some might, to a large extent quite rightly, still hold that position). Actually, there was a time when I really did not consider consumerism or consumer culture a viable option to take interest in regarding a potential academic career. This all started to quickly change, however, on an interesting (and quite faithful) day in early 2008.

That day Joonas crashed into my office, and I remember there was an air of enthusiasm and urgency about him. He said we should immediately begin to plan how we could start researching my long time hobby, tournament paintball, from the perspective of consumer tribes, utilizing an ethnographic approach (myself as an autoethnographic member of the research team). Culture, from the inside, is obviously and extremely elusive concept – actually, at the time, it felt altogether utterly ridiculous to think there was something so interesting in the phenomenon of tournament paintball. I had lived and breathed it for too long. In retrospect, it was naturally exactly this that had peaked Joonas’s interest – my deep commitment to my team members and my readiness to ‘hook my wallet’ onto my paintball gun every time I set out to gather the next batch of bruises to decorate my skin.

Joonas had been recently introduced to and become increasingly fascinated by the work of Russell Belk and Robert Kozinets regarding videographic methodologies in researching consumer tribes and collectives. He must have reasoned, “Paintball teams, family-type love for your team members, blood, sweat, tears, and boys (sometimes also girls) with expensive toys…what’s not to research this from a consumer tribe perspective!” We figured that this extreme sport spectacle would be an ideally visual context for trying our hand at videography (even as we, at the time, knew relatively zippo about it). Here’s some pictures of the author’s team, Helsinki Cyclone, just to give you a tickle…

In terms of initial interest, we are especially indebted to one particular JCR article, the in-depth ethnographic study of Celsi, Rose & Leigh (1993) into skydiving communities. Hell, reading it at the time almost felt like I could just control+replace the word ‘skydiver’ in the paper to ‘paintballer’, and the story would still remain accurate to a substantial degree. Immediately we felt passionate about starting to work on a context that could potentially bring about something similar.

Early on, we thought that my autoethnographic take could become an interesting starting point for this research. I had, at the time over 10 years of experience in tournament paintball. All in all, the first time I had held a paintball marker was in 1995. Joonas had, around the same time, become acquainted with Kristine De Valck, who had also expressed an interest in this research form the very beginning. We figured that a research team with varying levels of involvement in the research context could potentially bring about a very rich understanding of the consumption culture of tournament paintball. If I was the man ‘inside’, and Kristine the girl ‘outside’, then Joonas would have to become the fence-sitter. Therefore, it did not take long before Joonas was dragged to a practice session, a marker shoved into his hands, and politely told to shoot the guy coming at him ‘guns blazing’. This was the day Joonas received his first scar. He carries it still.

I myself had been playing paintball on the international scene (amateur level) since the late 90’s. Therefore, an international perspective to our research on the culture of paintball tribes came very naturally to us. The department head approved our wishes to purchase cheap equipment and go about it (excluding the laptop, all the equipment, software included, cost less than 450 Euro for the entirety of this project).

I started by myself in Spain as my team Helsinki Cyclone had a tournament coming up (Millennium Malaga 2008 – http://www.millennium-series.com/). It was a typically tentative first time. I went about testing our flunky equipment in various settings, attempting to capture the overall feel of the international tournament setting, and going about filming our first interviews while strenuously trying to be ever ready to kit up and play when our moments on the field were upon us. The interviews gave me hope, even if many players seemed somewhat reluctant to showcase their innermost thoughts in front of the camera – something which would come as less of a surprise today. Another thing that certainly seemed to put people off, was me trying to be overtly transparent about our research. Telling people, “This is an academic videographic study for an academic institution with an academic purpose at academia-scmemia” may be taking research ethics a bit too far. At the very least I seemed to be very gifted and successful in confusing/boring/horrifying the bejeesus out of people. Yet, as a test and a preliminary attempt at research it did seem to go well. Thanks should especially go out to Gus (today a member of the the Nexus organization) and Jeff (from Dye Inc.).

After Malaga, without much further ado, I packed Joonas into my luggage, and we set about to continue exploring the scene, now at the second leg of the Millennium circuit in Toulouse. At this point we were still holding on to a very abductive mindset. We wanted to speak to tournament paintball players on many levels, find out what was on their minds, and only afterwards start thinking about a theoretical approach to this study. In retrospect, I have to hold myself back not to smirk at the naivete of our initial enthusiasm. A highly abductive outlook may be all well and good for traditional ethnography into consumption culture – not to the same extent for using a videographic methodology where you ‘either got the shot or you don’t’ (Artis, 2007)! Yet, there we were, in sunny Toulouse waiving a video camcorder in our hands. What a we must have been.

Remember when I just described our first attempts as overtly abductive? Well they were, and suddenly we felt like we had conducted a dozen interviews without anything really sticking out in terms of theorizing. A thought of going to Malaga for next to nothing really stated to loom over us. And yet, just as we were beginning to doubt the whole project, a remedy came from the interviews with Oliver Lang (a professional paintball athlete – one if not the biggest name out there in the paintball world) and something of a group interview with Johannesburg Dynamix, a divisional team all the way from South Africa. Capturing their varying views on their personal passions in the sport certainly gave us the first twinkle of a half of an idea. Thus we began to focus on a descriptive exploration of the entire social practice of paintball, predominantly drawing thereafter on the work on ‘practice theory’ by Schatzki (1996, 2001, 2002) among others.

 

So it was time to continue on, heading to further Millennium events (Nurburg, Toulouse, London, Paris), and then finally the World Cup in Orlando.
References:
Artis, A.Q. 2007. The Shut Up and Shoot Documentary Guide. Oxford, UK: Focal Press.
Celsi, R.L., Rose, R.L., Leigh, T.W. 1993. An Exploration of High-Risk Leisure Consumption through Skydiving. Journal of Consumer Research. 20, 1-23.
Schatzki, T.R., 1996. Social Practices: A Wittgensteinian Approach to Human Activity and the Social. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Schatzki, T.R., 2001. Introduction: practice theory. In: The Practice Turn in Contemporary Theory, (eds.) Theodore R. Schatzki, Karin Knorr Cetina and Eike Von Savigny. London and New York: Routledge.
Schatzki, T.R., 2002. The site of the social: a philosophical account of the constitution of social life and change. Pennsylvania: The Pennsylvania State University Press.

February 1st, 2010 by Joonas Rokka

My inspiration for video research was spurred by a few occurrences that took place in 2006-7. Firstly, I had just jumped on to my doctoral studies at the Helsinki School of Economics (currently known as Aalto University School of Economics) the previous year and was anxiously looking for new potential topics for my thesis work. I soon discovered that I needed to look outside of Finland to be able to find something interesting.

As it happened, I found myself first on an intensive course on Consumer Culture Theory (Odense, Denmark) headed by some of the most renowned figures in cultural consumer research, including Eric Arnould and Craig Thompson. The course instantly set the tone for my future work: I was caught to study the cultural aspects of consumption and consumer society from emerging approaches that stem largely from cultural anthropology and sociology.

Not long after, I took part in my first research congress: the 2nd Consumer Culture Theory Conference 2007 (at York University). This annual conference was organized for researchers employing qualitative, interpretive, ethnographic, videographic, netnographic and phenomenological approaches, in other words, in many ways emerging, if not completely novel approaches considering the dominant corpus of work within consumer and marketing research.

CCT conference was a success in many ways, not least because it also offered conjoined workshops designed for new students entering the field. I took part in the Video Ethnography Workshop, which was held for the third time. The purpose of this two-day workshop was to experience videographic research in a hands-on manner, guided by experts. After opening lectures on video-based research production, student teams were given camcorders and editing software as well as professional assistance for designing a small-scale video study in practice. By the end of the workshop we also presented our videos and received feedback.

30052007203

29052007200

28052007192

Pics from the workshop.

During the assignment I ran into my future co-author, Kristine de Valck from HEC Paris. We conducted a video study in a local shopping mall interviewing and observing consumers about their personal styles. We got to experience some on-field action and stumbled upon a number of challenges typical for video research including 1) the difficulty of gaining access to people in such public environments and 2) the trouble of presenting camera in interview settings without scaring people away instantly. Despite of these, we managed to shoot some footage that we could edit and produce into a short film – my first videographic experiment.

The videography event was organized by Russell Belk and Robert Kozinets who have written several articles and book chapters about video research (see Belk and Kozinets 2005; Kozinets and Belk 2006). They have also founded the Association for Consumer Research Film Festival. Held annually in the North American ACR conference and in rotating years in Europe, Latin America and Asia Pacific, the film festival has spawned considerable interest among consumer researchers now for over 9 years.

As soon as the workshop was behind, I began to ponder how video research could work out for me. What is it good for? What makes it so compelling? Why hasn’t it been used previously? What new avenues could be opened up? Soon Kristine asked, if I could join her in Paris and to come up with a brand new video project. I knew this would be the perfect chance, so I was in…

References:

Belk, R.W. & Kozinets, R.V. (2005) Videography in Marketing and Consumer Research. Qualitative Market Research, 8, 128-141.

Kozinets, R.V. & Belk, R.W. (2006). Camcorder Society: Quality Videography in Consumer and Marketing Research. In Handbook of Qualitative Research Methods in Marketing, R.W. Belk (ed), Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing Limited.