Revealing the GoPro world one video at a time

“Transmedia storytelling represents a process where integral elements of a fiction get dispersed systematically across multiple delivery channels … each medium makes it own unique contribution to the unfolding of the story.” – Jenkins 2007 

My favourite example of a transmedia narrative is the Twilight Saga. Since the release of the four books, the story has been hugely expanded. Fans are able to watch the books come to life with the five movies, and get to know characters through the companion novella, The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner, and Midnight Sun, an alternative perspective of Twilight. The transmediality is obvious; you don’t have to have read the books to understand the film and you don’t have to see the film to know the characters. 

Similarly, the GoPro (POV wearable & mountable compact camera) is capable of being a transmedia narrative. When a viewer watches GoPro footage, they are not entirely focused on the individual characters or plots but rather on the complex world that is GoPro. The one video “provides roles and goals which readers can assume” (Jenkins 2007). By seeing one powerful video, an individual is exposed to one section of the huge GoPro world. The viewer, most of the time, will then watch multiple GoPro videos and receive a well-rounded image of GoPro and its capabilities; “consumers become hunters and gatherers moving back across the various narratives trying to stitch together a coherent picture from the dispersed information” (Jenkins 2007).
If a viewer only sees one video, that consumer will not know everything about GoPro. Users pool information about the GoPro by using the camera for different purposes, and tap into each others expertise to create the never-ending story of GoPro. This does not mean that one video does not tell a story, in fact, every video can be understood on its own. But, each video contributes to the narrative as a whole.
The accessories available alongside the GoPro also contribute to the transmedia story as they are all used for a different function; new parts of the story are revealed with every accessory release.

The bigger picture of The GoPro is unveiled with each video that is added to the bottomless pit of footage.

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GoPro bigger picture (source)

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Just for a bit of novelty- the story of 2013 shown through GoPro footage

Reference:

Moore, C. 2014, ‘Transmedia narratives: from blockbusters to g/local content flow week 7′, lecture, BCM112, University of Wollongong, delivered 15 April 2014.

A Passion for Participation

The most impressive thing about GoPro is the passion of its users. It is said to have the most socially engaged online audience in the world, with a Facebook fan base that grew to 1.3 million in a year. But it’s not the fan base size that sets GoPro apart — it’s the level of engagement of those fans.

GoPro began as a wrist camera for surfers, stemming from CEO Nick Woodman’s two greatest passions: surfing and photography. He defined his target audience by being his target audience. From beginning as a niche product, the GoPro has evolved into something that almost every person wants; the target audience has stood up and identified itself. But, this unintended audience is what has made the GoPro so successful. Woodman (2012) recognises that “The content people capture is really what’s growing our brand. It’s not about the camera. It’s about sharing the content.”

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original GoPro camera, Mike Lewis 2010

GoPro connects with its users in exciting and memorable ways by tapping into their interests and connecting with them on a personal level. That is what makes GoPro footage so easily recognisable, the perspective of passion that always shines through. The viewers get sucked in and feel as if they experience the moment themselves: “It’s like a teleportation device,” Woodman (2012) says. His consideration of the audience is what drives the success of GoPro. Yes, they created a great product, but, it’s clear that user content is what drives its awareness. GoPro is highly dialogic in nature: people watch footage and want to join the conversation, it relies on people talking, sharing and participating.

Every two minutes, a new piece of user-generated footage is uploaded to Youtube; it is ranked #1 on the Brand Channel Leaderboard for audience passion and popularity. This flood of content is a way for GoPro to involve it’s audience and form a close producer-consumer relationship by empowering users to create content that GoPro can share and use for commercials. GoPro lets its users become the stars, which often excites and encourages users to share their content and spread further awareness and popularity.

GoPro is its audience.

user-generated content for GoPro ad

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Reference:

Moore, C. 2014, ‘Will you be my audience? User empowerment, access and participation across media platforms Week 5’, lecture, BCM112, University of Wollongong, delivered 1 March 2014.

Copyright or Copywrong?

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SmallBizConnect, n.d.

To me, and hopefully others, copyright is a difficult concept to grasp. Thankfully, Ming Thein (2012) sums it up by asking whether you would take an apple from a table under certain situations, and comparing those situations to downloading images from the internet:
a) A sign said ‘please help yourself’ / creative commons license
b) There was no sign, and no obvious owner / sample for royalty-free or licensed stock
c) There was a tag on the apple saying ‘this belongs to’ / somebody else’s gallery site
d) The table with the apple on it was in a grocery store / somebody else’s site with a watermark and ‘all rights reserved’ in fine print

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I had previously never read a whole Terms & Conditions page; but, I can now tick that off my bucket-list thanks to the 4722 words of fun GoPro put forward to ensure proper use of their camera. Surprisingly, I surfaced some interesting points that have forced me to think deeper about the strength of copyright.
GoPro has full faith in licensing of work, affirming that they “respect the intellectual property rights of others and expects its users to do the same.” GoPro has enforced policies which terminates access of users who repeatedly infringe the copyright terms. In accordance with the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act, GoPro responds to claims of copyright infringement, by allowing users to report supposed violations.

GoPro is intensive when it comes to being able to distinguish user content from original GoPro content. They have many templates in their editing program which display that the content is “Shot with my GoPro camera”. As well as this, they encourage users to tag #GoPro when sharing footage on the many platforms that video gets spread across. GoPro does not claim any ownership rights within user content and nothing in their terms restrict any rights that people have to use and exploit user content. However, GoPro has access to any content which can be used as they please, without providing compensation.

Copyright is a complex system which can really only be upheld by one method… reading the T’s and C’s carefully!

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Karla Lant 2013

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Reference:

Moore, C. 2014, ‘Watch, but don’t touch! Copyright, ownership structures, and industry control Week 3’, lecture, BCM112, University of Wollongong, delivered 18 March 2014.