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    Digital Storytelling and Learning

    Vladimir Ceri

    MA Student of University of Arts in Belgrade

    Abstract: In the last decade of the 20th century, a new digital era for learning first emerged through

    movies, and then came to television almost silently. Digital storytelling has started new digital learning

    era with Hollywood spectacle The Jurassic Park. Then, it was the first time digital technology was

    used to create a complete and detailed living creatures, the dinosaurs. Their photo-realistic appearance

    opened a new world for many broadcasters such as BBC, Discovery and History. Today we could

    hardly imagine their new production of television shows without some amount of digital storytelling,

    which is going to be analyzed by its self-oriented being, and its acceptance by the spectators on the

    example of the BBCs educational series: Walking with Dinosaurs.

    Keywords: digital narrative, learning, television, educational television shows, digital visual effects.

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    Table of Contents

    1. Preface.................................................................................................................12. Ontology of Digital Video Effects ......................................................................33. Digital visual effects and Narrative ....................................................................53.1.Case study: Walking with dinosaurs...................................................................94. Survey ...............................................................................................................105. Conclusion ........................................................................................................15Bibliography ............................................................................................................16

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    NOTE:

    Term digital storytelling means two opposite things. In this paper, term digital

    storytelling is used for a process of storytelling by using digital visual effects. Other

    meaning is for short Internet based video form made for educational purposes, from

    archive footage with narrators voice explaining in interesting way some famous

    person, event or a fact.

    1. Preface

    Process of information, which came from other media than television, had educational

    contents. Learning in the traditional manners, on television, because of mainly

    commercial program that television offers didnt exploit all the possibilities that

    television as a media offers. Learning is often part of narrative on television, not

    dominant.

    Worldwide there are specialized television channels that are based on education:

    fundamental education and append education for big masses.

    television channels that are giving priority to the basic knowledge usually are made in

    such a way to show recorded lectures from a classroom, school or university; not only

    that they have a slow rhythm and hardly any interactivity in studying, but they also

    present the coldness of television as a media. These kind of television channels could

    be found in many developed countries, sometimes they are broadcasted on special

    frequencies, but sometimes they are sharing the frequency with commercially more

    attractive channels in non-prime time; very often they are produced by some

    universities, institutes or colleges. There are also other channels that are adjusted to

    the modern technical and recording means used on todays television: live recording,

    using archive footage, re-recording, reporting, interview, reconstruction and

    visualization of historical events, special visual effects... these means bring the new

    creative way in education to the audience (de Moura Castro 2000). These kind of

    specialized channels exist in countries with the low standard of living, such as Mexico

    and Brazil, where the great part of population has only lower education. Because they

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    have almost no condition for getting regular education, they now have the chance to

    get educated via television, instead of going to school.

    These channels, made for the masses of different age and education level, are

    specialized for science and social studies: History, Discovery, NASA, and Animal

    Planet etc. As channels, they evolved from educational channels of big broadcasting

    corporations such as BBC, ITV, NBC, ABC, CBS and ITV, by taking their shows

    connected to history, architecture, art, music, geography, biology, medicine, computer

    science. Nowadays, the mentioned television channels often combine their education

    programs with reality television shows, such as Man Vs. Wild.

    Almost 25 years ago, synonyms for a good educational television program in Serbia

    were wildlife series Survival in production of British ITV. Practical implementation

    of recording, from documentary point of view, shots made world wide, and

    technically revolutionary framing, camera movement, also specific sound design

    made standards for every future television production regarding wildlife series

    program.

    In the last decade of 20th century, new era of learning and production of educational

    forms came from movies to television gradually.

    Hollywood spectacle Jurassic Park by Steven Spielberg started new development of

    digital storytelling. Than it was the first time digital technology was used for making

    detailed and complete presentation of live beings dinosaurs (Elsaesser 2002). Their

    photorealistic display opened new production forms that many broadcasters such as

    BBC took and have implemented for many other genres of educational program.

    Perception of digital narrative by television and movie spectators, their adequacy,

    relation with real world, and basic ontological problems of DIGITAL VISUAL

    EFFECTS as main ingredient of digital narrative were analyzed based on BBC

    educational series Walking with Dinosaurs with a retrospective view on Jurassic Park

    and foundations it has made.

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    2. Ontology of Digital Video Effects

    Theory by French film theorist and critic Andr Bazin of ontology of photographic

    image (Bazin 1967), is based on historical tendency of human kind of portraying real

    world and its analogy with a real world.

    Based on analyses of psychological circumstances that led to archeological findings

    of many artifacts and problem of preservation of human body in time of his

    immortality, Bazin makes his theory with a reflection of transformation of fine arts

    from basic reproduction of form to illusion. In this process of transformation and

    development, perspective, third dimension, gave a possibility of completely

    understanding the form, shape of things. So the next step was to eliminate problem of

    movement, which wasnt possible until much later with a new technical innovations

    (Workers Leaving the Lumire Factory, 1895). Bazin emphasizes the difference

    between subjective work of painter while portraying real world, and the photography

    that made absence of human from its mechanical portraying of real world, objectivity

    and its real presence in time and place. Bazin says that: photography does notcreate eternity, as art does, it embalms time, rescuing it simply form its proper

    corruption.

    Bazin says that reproduction of real; its objectivity comes from portraying motion

    through movies.

    Thanks to studies of modal logic David Lewis and possible worlds and their goal,

    which is to have same ontological status as real world, digital photography can be

    matching to analog, have same ontological status, which is their jointly being based

    on impossible possibilities in real world.

    Digital photography, opposite to analog, which is based of portraying the real, trace of

    light on a film, its presence is based on process of digitalization and recalculating

    information which light sensors embraced.

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    These information, are chains of numbers which can be seen on computer display.

    Their numerical values can be easily changed, and by changing one or many new

    generated images can be produced. With every change we make we will be more

    apart displaying real world. These previews can be visible or invisible. Visible

    In case of Spielbergs movies or television shows Walking with dinosaurs visible

    visual effects make dinosaurs share same time and place in real world where they

    normally cannot be. They are hidden with their photorealistic appearance and by that

    they could be referred as invisible. Digital images are not produced by optics,

    mechanics, by real or real possible environment, and they are portraying images of

    ideal dinosaurs from real world. For viewers, spectators, they could be real.

    In Studying contemporary American film, Elsaesser said: although optical

    composites can always give the impression that the two separate events occupy the

    same screen space, they eventually fall short in convincing the increasingly

    sophisticated spectator that the separate events occupy the same diegesis

    In movie Jurassic Park composite of real environment, people and dinosaurs within

    the frame, made semblance of

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