Sunday, October 31, 2010

Sometimes a Bio adds context

Added context for reader.

Interested in Cinema journalism. Then please read Deleuze. All will become clear
shooting for Channel 4 News in 1999 on the digi beta 900 using interchangeable lens
I have been making films for 20 years (started in radio) of a 23 year media career starting with the BBC with BBC Newsnight, BBC Reportage, ABC South Africa, WTN  and Channel 4 News, and Jon Station Agency ( fmr head of TV at Saatchi and Saatchi etc.

In the last 10 years I have been a senior lecturer in videojournalism at the University of Westminster - the past two years of which include a PhD study into the Outernet.  

In 1994 after becoming a dedicated videojournalist working at Channel One I shot on a range of cameras from beta, 16mm, and digi beta. This one above is from a shoot in South Africa for Channel 4 News - which you can find here.

The post ( this add on appears as an addition uner my most recent post) is not an epiphany, and depending on your entry into this blog, you will have read going back to 1995 aspects of cine and interactive videojournalism. 

Or in magazines such as Africa Communique in 1997 looking at work done in innovative video.

However, this post was a realisation of the intention of 17/ 23 + inch mac screens transmogrificating into the precept of the Outernet ( see front page images of  ).

I have been writing about film, innovative video, videojournalism and cinema since the mid 90s. Here's a piece from Blue Print in 1991  highly respected architecture and innovation magazine .

The film fortunately was appreciated by the audience who saw the group before seeing the short film. But as a film maker seeing it on a cinescope screen ie an Outernet system, I would have changed one main parameter to correct the film's metronome. In less than 10 years time this will be a moot point.

David working for ABC News, South Africa - a day before their first all race election, a bomb goes off in Downtown Joburg. You can hear his report on the BBC World Service here.

Foreign Reportage. I was in South Africa in 1992 with a hi-8. I had no formal videojournalism training, but had worked for newsnight and reportage so had a very good idea of production and direction

cine-videojournalism - a lesson I learned

In the summer gone a short film I had made was screened on a cinema screen at the Southbank.

The film all of 5 minutes was over just as it had begun. The effect of which caused me some disappointment. Everything I had planned about the film, turned out to be anything but.

The film was a let down. Had I known the affect it would have provided on the big screen, I would have produced it differently.

We hear so much about the cine adjunct to videojournalism surfacing courtesy of, in particular, the DLSR cameras that a growing debate about cine-journalism is an industry in itself.

My take and by no means as blunt as it seems, but that the lens culture of shallow depth spurned by any piece of equipment, does not in itself constitute cinema.

Moreover, if it were the case then how would we define deep focus as exercised in that cinematic feat of Citizen Kane. We could argue a cultural specificity as a get out clause.

Certainly there is no denying the allure to a visual stimuli whose aesthetic affect has been often associated with cinema praxis, but to assume equipment is the key primer ignores a huge epistemology of knowledge that makes cinema work, as well as the giants before us.

We could point to fundamental differences between the two forms cine and video, which in attempt to correct the former's elitism would bring forth videography to counter cinematography.

We could talk about movement to reinforce a narrative. There's no such thing as a cut away in cinema.

I could in fact have a 2 hour discussion about the many facets which markedly define the signified of cinema to that of other media.

In many ways the medium doth shape the message, but the journey towards a videojournalism within a cinematographic ecosystem pulls towards the philosophy of the moving image. Yet plays heavily also to a reassessed ideation of the still image in say photo essays.

Delueze's What is cinema is much food for thought. In practice, in commerce we want immediate answers, simplified discourses, clear lines of demarcation, but alas I believe it's far more diffused.

I may have spoken effusively about cine-videojournalism in recent posts and I believe we are inching away from video ( form and style within TV news) to the more dominant escalator in film.

But the technology and practice will not in itself provide clear answers; they lie in devising new languages ( literally too), not borrowed, but worked a new. In the field of experiments where mistakes that are made inform our own and others phenomenological outlook.

For me - a huge lesson - they lie in thinking, however beautiful the image produced for the mac, has a different haacceity  which when impinged on our conscious yields something or not that comes to define cine-videojournalism.
Added context for reader.
shooting for Channel 4 News in 1999 on the digi beta 900 using interchangeable lens
I have been making films for 20 years of a 23 year media career starting with the BBC with BBC Newsnight, BBC Reportage, ABC South Africa, WTN  and Channel 4 News, and Jon Station Agency ( fmr head of TV at Saatchi and Saatchi etc.

In the last 10 years I have been a senior lecturer in videojournalism at the University of Westminster - the past two years of which include a PhD study into the Outernet.  

In 1994 after becoming a dedicated videojournalist working at Channel One I shot on a range of cameras from beta, 16mm, and digi beta. This one above is from a shoot in South Africa for Channel 4 News - which you can find here.

The blog above is not an epiphany, and depending on your entry into this blog, you will have read going back to 1995 aspects of cine and interactive videojournalism.

 However, this post was a realisation of the intention of 17/ 23 + inch mac screens transmogrificating into the precept of the Outernet ( see front page images of  ).

I have been writing about film, innovative video, videojournalism and cinema since the mid 90s. Here's a piece from Blue Print in 1991  highly respected architecture and innovation magazine .

The film fortunately was appreciated by the audience who saw the group before seeing the short film. But as a film maker seeing it on a cinescope screen ie an Ourernet system, I would have changed one main parameter to correct the film's metronome. In less than 10 years time this will be a moot point.

P.S If you strongly want to understand the epistemology of cinema in the context of cinema, and journalism then you would do well to read Gilles Deleuzes What is Cinema 1 and Cinema 2. There are few people alive today who make the case for cinema and  its imbrication with other forms. A MUST READ.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Future interdisciplinary journalism

SMARTlab interdisciplinary Phd programme Feb 2010

The phrase is tautological, because journalism by dint is interdisciplinary. It involves text, images et al and any scholarly book in your library will evince its transversality.

The interview was a legal lift into the realms of television interviewing. Television news making looked to cinema and documentary maker - themselves polymorphic forms.

This is an uncontested point. However many agree there is something else going on.

Future interdisciplinary journalism is a reflexive thought - from a week away on my Phd programme, SMARTlab, which is a communion of interdisciplinary individuals embarking on a learning journey.

It explores ideas within post structuralist and postmodern ideologies (matters after the 1960s); the notion that there are periods within our culture when systems break down, albeit imperceptibly, and new ideas take their place.

Each time this happens, history shows the uproar, the spike in opprobrium, anger and often vitriol- somethings never change

But that however, the cornerstone of those systems must in themselves be comprehended and its upon those pillars et al that we contextualise new forms.

Those arguments take many shapes and within the field of media and journalism: there are inter and intra discourses between the citizen, the practitioner (journalist), and the academic.

Should the news media be involved in promoting society to act? This thought would have had you ridiculed out of the room ten years ago, but now?

SMARTlab programme
We meet three times a year for a week: a Nasa virtual reality pioneer, dance educationalists, 3d space engineers, educationalists in the field of disability, scholars examining autistic spectrum, interactive television specialist, sonic crafters....

Within that space, we pitch to each other and critique each others work. Sometimes many of us fail to understand the density of a colleague's research, but occasionally a light goes off.

Kathy, a dance educationalist from Ireland, whose credits include dance programmes for the UN and Hollywood films introduced me to Laban and areas of kineathesia, which unknowingly I use in my work, as I suspect many other photojournalists do.

Dance posture and engineering illustrate how to minimise a growing area of concern for videojournalists; many are seeing chiropractors because of back problems.

You're not alone. Same thing happened to us at Channel One. Pity us then carrying weight loads the equivalent of a five year old.

The model itself is one, though I have spoken about   in articles going back to the 90s, have never really experienced it in this form.

In the 90s whilst learning flash and director (remember lingo), I was always amazed there were no journalists in sight.  If you used Flash 3, we have something in common.

So the reason why the reflexion.
  • Where we are in journalism
  • How I'm joining a Knowledge Transfer Programme from my uni with Ghana
  • And that our SMARTlab programme is now transferring to University College Dublin.
It's all new and gives a refocused meaning to this word, "journalism" - which is undergoing an epistemological shift.

All interesting stuff.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The future of something and some

Just past midway in Phd week and I'm back to sleepless nights.  

Ideas about ideas. Even as I sleep, I can hear how noisy my thoughts are. If I say I'm having an "inception" moment, you'll understand.

There are now micro level knowledge knots I'm untangling, or at least trying to.

What is it that seperates one person from being visually creative from another?  Does psychoanalayses or arnheims school of Gestalt have the answers.

The relenting probing into questions like this have set of  a country of academics over the years to investigate in one guise or another.

Often at surface level it makes little sense. Jumbled, jargon-riddled words on a page: Verisimilitude, Libidinal space,  hyper reality and Haecceity.

Academic fisty cuffs- one of the last bastions of knowledge where entry, if that's what you want into this knowledge pod requires you to demonstrate critical thinking.

What does it mean to think of a neoaesthetic or an anti-aesthetic or that there is a pre-discurvity towards emotion?

Often  we watch a movie, a film and make utterances of how much we liked it. We may even breakdown the film into its components; that scene and this one, and so on.

And on the back of that, we then attempt to describe why, because the bottom line is simple and evident for us all. We all want to find a way that helps us formulise how we do something and do it well.

It's what or partly why we're all still learning; going to varisity, or in that job.

Making films in your sleep
The Net and film making is a deeply interesting field, especially since we're all film makers, but what wouldn't you do to be able to make a film like Ridly Scott?

There are big spaces we all occupy, and then there are the in-between spaces; tiny cracks, often not evident that a comparative few work in, understanding implicit choices in creating a creative film.

Can you learn this? Yes, but there comes a point when to differentiate yourself from the broad masses, we go into this ecosystem of deeper level thinking. You don't need to know what those words e.g. Verisimilitude mean, but you're now occupying that space.

You know it, cuz a friend looking at your stuff has just called it "deep", "crazy", or wow.

But to get there, you often engage in your own fight club. There aren't many creatives I know who don't fight those demons.

To get to that space, be prepared to go mad. To get to that space, be prepared to entertain those alien words. To get to that space know that sleepless nights are part of the transaction.

And then, when you get to that space, be aware that it's not there. It's beyond that, because no matter how hard you might try, its fleeting and then moves on.

And then, like an idea, like sleep, you're awake again in the real world.

It's 6.31 time to get up - I can hear the alarm going

Monday, October 25, 2010

The political aesthetic of scale and the ambitious - how makes an impact.

As you read this, your campaign is turning south. Launched amid a flurry of board meeting and plenaries, the team had every reason why it would work.

It was checked, doubled checked and even straw poll of reasoning thrown in.

Then there was the tiresome debate about how no one watches videos more than 3 minutes long and that without the obligatory social buttons sowed on, it didn’t stand a chance.

So why is it floundering?

Because it’s failed to catch the mood of the politics of scale, of ambition, of sensation which is now part of the zeitgeist likely to  make any visitor ponder: “what!”

Go Big and Prosper
The politics of scale is not a new phenomenon. It's practiced all the while on television e.g. the Olympics, or even reality shows such Undercover Boss USA, where a CEO masquerades as a new employee at his own company to assess what's wrong.

Simply, these programmes beg us to be in awe in disbelief. 

And now with the fashion for social networks it's now gaining firmer traction.

At its heart is an ambitious idea enough to scare mere mortals away. By dint of its presence, it leads to an aesthetic of scale debunking the myth it’s not about size. It is, but you’de be mindful to understand its first basic premise.

It must be affective – whether as a website,  more so as a film – which is not just about representation but a processural experience.

The groups who stand to excel the aesthetics of scale are broadcaster, NGOs and commercial outfits with ready access to audiences and inhouse talent who should be thinking big.

Far from being the big society, this is is about thinking big to get to the small. You’ve seen it in the following works:

New Aesthetics of Scale
My own experience with scale stems from video shows made in South Africa and Ghana, and Nato's programme.
The South Africa show in 1997 used small DVcams, leading an interntional team of African broadcasters to report on each other in what you might call intranet broadcasting - between 2 nations.

That sense of ambition has since returned with a project I'm talking to the BBC about, as well as a programme concept with a fellow Phd colleague.

So what are the ingredients for scale?

  • An original idea
  • Involves many people as contributors or participants
  • It yields the exclamation.. "are you mad?" when you tell friends
  • It involves a methodology you've not encountered
  • It often takes a long time to accomplish and resources beyond your means, so you need to have a co-partner

Thursday, October 21, 2010

How good do you think you are and how do you know?

Here's a thought? How good do you think you are at what you do?

It's one of those squirmish questions human resource often inflict on unsuspecting candidates, who must then straddle a line between deprecation and the avoidance of arrogance.

That is, if you are good.

But spare a thought for those whom you might say are not very good at what they do.

John Cleese sums it up as follows - the same cognitive skills that allow you to know you're good at something, can also illustrate how poor you are at recognising how bad you are.

It's long winded, but put simply. If you're bad at something, often you lack the skills to understand how bad you really are. You see it all the time at open competitions, say the X-factor.

Cleese got me thinking more deeply though, because often the act of knowing something boils down to the science of knowledge and how to learn.  This is captured exquisitely in Don Schon's the Reflective Practitioner.

The philosophy of knowing
In Don's book he takes us on a journey of how we learn and how we might qualify that learning process.

Do something, fail, and do it again, reflecting on where you went wrong.  As such, even acts considered futile by others may have merit.

I demonstrated this when I showed a group of students an object and asked what it was. It was an apple, but how could they prove that.

They needed by negation or what Don refers to as hypothetical testing disprove it was anything other than the object in question. They needed to traverse a reflective journey articulating and discarding thoughts.

I often in my first video classes give a camera to clients asking them to go out and shoot. Many students return often embarrassed or disgruntled that they were not given instructions.

I point out there is no formality in what to do. Were I to abandon them at that point, then their fears would be justified, but I then begin to explore their natural ability, untainted learning, around the exercise.

Some will demonstrate natural talent; others will in despair do very little crippled by the fear of not knowing and not wanting to explore.

Which experimenter are you?
Schon devises his experimenters into the following
  • Exploratory experimenters
  • move testing experimenters
  • Hypothetical testers
  • and my own interpretation non-testers occupy these realms.
Explorers are what I call jumpers;. They'll take the leap into the unknown with often little guidance, backed by their own fierce temperament.  Move-testers need to see the next link in the chain. If it's not obvious they'll not move.

You meet them in Chess all the time, when you literally have to pull their finger.

Hypotheticals scratch an itch. They've thought about any number of tangible outcomes and will eliminate by active thinking what to do. Non-testers lack the spirit to move in an alien environment.

Child Psychologist Dr Desmond Morris' extensive work with children - the subject of a BBC programme gave some clues. Some toddlers in an experiment were quite at ease playing with foreign objects; others would stand by non-committed.

Perhaps it is preprogrammed, explaining why those who aren't as good at what they do often have no idea about this. But it does help if you're in a safe environment where you can explore your concerns.

This is something that I try and foster in my work. Creativity craves safe environments to work without fear before you let the genie loose.

Providing a safe place and getting people to work together, whilst encouraging the first three aforementioned often helps bring along the non-committed. It's a complex process of behaviour, but often it works. Age, background, self esteem all play a part.

Daring exploits
In 1992 with little more than a piece of paper and a scribbled name I travelled to South Africa for the first time. I was met at the airport by someone I had swapped a letter with. Yes, no emails and mobiles during those days.

It was a huge risk, but he met me and is still a firm friendship today. The fact it turned out he was one of South Africa's up and coming theatre directors adds another layer.

In this world of continual change, the tools- this onslaught online - is only part of the key to innovation. Steven Covey, author of the galactical best seller The 7 habits of highly effective people, provides an insight into interdependency.

It was true back when his book launched to become a best seller then as it is now.

Often it's not the subject that stymies us, but the process of how we acquire and process knowledge that needs greater critical thinking.

And here in a world being levelled by consensus whilst we have the opportunity for collective thoughts - a good thing- we must also be mindful of not losing idiosyncrasies and a sense of inddifference to consensus.  That's not the same as not knowing, more the explorer at their best.

We need more explorers.

Britain's swingeing cuts to an elephant in the Chancellor's room

Is it me. Or am I missing something.

Britain today announced cuts to to its house keeping budget that might no longer allow for the moniker "Britain - one of the best places to live".

Then again, given what's going on in France with its riots n all, things haven't got as bad as they seem.

The French are protesting over the hike in the pension age from 60 to 62 years of age. In the UK it's going from 60 to 66 years of age. There should be opprobrium from the Brits.

Early days though in terms of a potential pending strife -as the unions in televised interviews are calling for resistance.

But a couple of things irk me in a manner which has me stamping trampoline-fashion on-the-spot.

Maligned Bankers
Am I misinformed in understanding that a major part of the fault of the UK's debilitating predicament was caused by maligned bankers.

That up until the collapse of Lehman's brothers, Britain's budget was fairly in good shape.

So why after the cataclysmic event that have led to Britain PLC being saddled with huge debts doesn't anyone, namely politicians from the labour bench force this argument.

Rather, we're led to believe that the previous government was reckless with the state's finances over its 13 year run.

The evidence is that the Tories broadly supported Labour's budget strategy up until Lehman's crash, but the tory-lition continue to land punches over Labour's recklessness.

So what would have happened if the banks were allowed to sink?

The former PM, Gordon Brown is absent from this much needed redress now.

And so while this open sore needed penicillin, the medicine instead has been to severe the foot and then waterboard the vunerable. I can't imagine how many rogue banker are chuckling over a a prized bottle of wine, singing "happy days, happy days".

Can anything be so perverse?  Frankly why not skim of more bonuses.

If you're planning a hols to the UK, better do it quickly, next couple of months appear to be very uncertain.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Sixty Nine Days - the movie of the Chilean miners

As films go this was truly epic - Sixty Nine Days.

A worldwide phenomenon played out on the small screen years earlier (that would be today) on live TV.

Thirty three miners, also a good a Hollywood title, though not with the same resonance as emerging from the depths of entombment,  delivered by awe-engineering cesarean.

As we wept, Hollywood moguls mixed their emotions. After all they too are human. But it would not have escaped them that here was a film to be made on par, if not more ambitious than Apollo 11, or The Titanic.

And like both  seafaring (really) tragedies, here was a movie whose outcome everyone knew, but had more than enough drama to sustain two hours.

So, with the dust barely shaken of their boots, Hollywood is now in a behind-the-scenes bidding war.

Which studio will emerge triumphant for the rights, which will no doubt have trans media written all over it: book rights, merchandise ( those dark shades) etc.

Which director will be tasked to helm this soon-to-be global brand?

Will it be an ensemble piece, that's 33 characters?  Or will it be character-driven to feature the perceived stars, such as Mario Sepulveda  (Super Mario) and of course the 19 year old, who'll attract the teen vote.

And then it could get messy; a story needs tensions and wrong doings. Cue miners' infidelity, wives and girl friends fighting for the attention of their man, and cynically you could say financial dues.

Movie Journalism
But here's where this story takes a u-turn, because in discussing a movie about one of the most epic factual stories of our times, this should be a narrative penned and produced by journalism.

If journalism bereft of a definitive pathway of the future, but willing to experiment, had it in itself, it would necessarily reclaim what was once within its stable.

The schism dates back to the early 1900s when Lumiere's and George Melies slugged it out for ownership of fact and fiction. The Lumiere's doubtful of their novel equipment failed to press ther case. Vision became at best documentary. 

In the 50s as Television news took over from Newsreels,which dallianced quite wrongly with fictionalised narrative, it too baulked. Such was the clamour for truth, that anything but was derided - even the great Grierson - father of documentaries - and his staged reenactments.

And therein lies an intriguing issue.  It may be that television doesn't have the infra structure to produce and distribute cinema films. It may be that they don't have epic directors, though that's questionable. 

But frankly, TV news doesn't do fiction.  And furthermore it won't discriminate between fiction - as in made up for commercial reasons, and fiction crystallising a story based around fact, but pushing fictional content. Docu-dramas are one facet of that. The motif "based on a true story", another.

However, last year the BBC showed its hand, with 10 days to War. A brilliantly conceived story of the run up to the Iraq War, in which I was one of eleven jurors at the prestigious Royal Television Society, which voted it to take the coveted Innovations in Journalism Award.

In next weeks Special viewmagazine, I'll be looking to bring you an interview with the BBC Editor who conceived this and the strategy which enabled him to posit the programmes into Newsnight.

It's a dangerous road to go down the editor admits, but if you're experienced enough -as the Newsnight team were the results can be highly rewarding. Magazine download on Web Journalism, where next? - special report

Next week, a special report from looking at some of the contested and talked about issues within journalism. 

Written as quick reads, for travels-digests to work or otherwise, it'll include material intended for a book publication.

Created to stimulate and provoke further, the contents draw on my experience straddling traditional e.g. BBC and new journalism e.g. Outernet  over the last 24 years, and the Net's propensity for open endedness. In otherwords, this is envisaged as a hyperlinked open magazine.

The latter, a brief developed as part of my Artist in Residency a the London Southbank Centre.

As the author, some of articles lean on research drawn from PhD research studies, though written up in journalistic prose, and is part of a visual presentation planned for Apple's Theatre in London later this year.

Also in mind, a collaboration which one of best brand news makers, whom I'm in talks with. The magazine looks at:

  • Videohyperlinking explores an inevitability of future video transactions.
  • Training Days asks whether processing to ensure the wheels on your news production turns over is enough?
  • The triumphant and gradual ( at the time of writing) rescue of the Chilean miners is a story journalism should tell. But it will be left to Hollywood and fictional cinema to retell this epic story. Why?
  • And the new philosophy for videojournalism. TV news of 1955 is creaking around the lens, so why should videojournalism ape its methodologies, rather than seek to define its own
  • And can't pay, won't pay, but then who pays? Why can't every journo, pro or amateur, enjoy the spoils?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Why Videojournalism is a haptic craft akin to gaming

There appears no conscious thought. It's as if the gamer and game are attached playing as one - best exemplified in the film "Gamer" where Simon (Logan Lerman) literally plays Kable through hand gestures.

Elsewhere in Malls with Wii and X-box displays kids can be observed (though we marvel no more- we did with Pacman) to be in tune with their console.

Their console has become a haptic device. Sensory touch and feel is as good as manipulating the game without a device, which is why Gamer offers a unique perspective.

The gamer involves a number of receptors: proprioreception ~coordinated move cognition; Somatosensory ~ consoles shaking affecting the sensoriums ; occularcentrism ~ primacy of sight et al.

At some stage of the gaming level, the gamer ceases to be intimidated by instructions and technical efficacy.

Crudely "it's about the game baby!". Cause and effect; anticipation and intuition, which incidentally Philosopher Henri Bergson in The Creative Mind calls a mode of reflection, far different from intellect, take over.

Videojournalism's Gaming

The similarities in Videojournalism could not be more stark. Where the camera remodels itself as haptic vision - what you see down the lens informs you in story mode form.

You switch screens and perspective from the real (external scene) to the virtual (lens) offering a different point of view.

The frame in itself cedes your birthright of objectifying scenes through a 180 degree plane; 40 degrees when you're focusing - how you normally see things.

Cause and effect often override the news cameras sense for data stasis.- except principally where the action is unfolding - what I call event-driven awareness - when the news camera follows the event.

Ordinarily the cameraman sets ups for the scene or limited scenes and holds.

The documentary maker liquefies the scene - asking what immediately comes next, and next, and next... The fictional film maker has preplanned, rendering his or her task no less complicated, for other reasons.

The experienced videojournalist does the same, with one exception, she or he is driven also by authorship via narration, as well as visualisation. It's as if you're playing two games inflicted as one: narration and visuals.

What's more they're attempting this in a shallow lapse of time. Turnaround mimics the game. Intuition and compressed refexivity play a larger role.

At a creative fight club it took us around 9 minutes to film, cut, and upload an interview which was 3 minutes. Here's one example from work in Macedonia with a senior BBC figure.

Results - How to create a multiple angle interview in 3 mins from david dunkley gyimah on Vimeo.
 [ You can click here to see this was constructed here]

The TV industry of the 1990s understood fully the differing senses of visuals and narration enough to attempt to eviscerate videojournalism's ontology. It couldn't work and wouldn't work, because you could not possibly do sound and visuals at the same time.

We never referred them to Gamers, that through training and beyond the technical feat of mastery kinaesthesia was very possible.

Haptic and Cause and Effect though prescribe a narrow gate towards delineating videojournalism.

And if at this stage this rather sounds obscure, then through out the many posts on this blog I have failed to elucidate what I believe videojournalism is and more pertinent what it could be, which is shaping through post TV debates.

Videojournalism is not a bolt on, though it's had every attempt at being one to existing media, yet it emerges from the DV film maker et al with a caveat of filming substance of news value.

That word "news value" is a worthy signifier in an age when the Internet has shown ( we always knew it existed) the plurality of events constituting  news, your news, subjective news, was important.

Moment videojournalism

Charlie Bit Me has tremendous value; his dad enacted a methodology of videojournalism. But before you discard this thought as a "what?". There was no construct involved; a combination of haphastance and the fondness of memories reveals the "moment"  - which is not replicable.

The "moment" which has come to equate a substantial portion of Youtube's form prefigures the alternative more complex form of the construct. That is where do you go next for build a narrative from the scene yet keep interest?  On the other side of the fence, the Gaming programmers figured this out -but that's for another post.

The question that should concern us looking to become proficient videojournalists is how we transcend the normal to the normative? Partially the answer lies in gaming culture.

David Dunkley Gyimah is a practising videojournalist and senior university lecturer and trainer, and PhD candidate at the SMARTlab investigating future media. He has 23 years of media experience and has spoke widely around the world on videojournalism , online and future media. He publishes, and is available for talks and commissions

Friday, October 08, 2010

Great stories, Good stories and then some - Videojournalism

David in China with one of the prominent tech firms

I've had my head down on various projects and soon hope to modify a manifesto for future collaborative work. 

Meanwhile I have been reflecting on this title Great stories, Good stories and then some - Videojournalism - which I was going to call something like Puddles in the Sky.

Henri Bergson said affection and memory make perception impure - that we give over to familiarity. This is a well trodden path for philosophers, exploited by modern day marketeers and generally people a generation ahead of you.

When the Rolling Stones  circa 60s were carving out their careers, teenagers were warned by their parents to steer clear of their medium and message.  When a film generally wins an Oscar it's because it conforms to affection and memory.

This is not a criticism of the film maker. Gosh we all wish we were that good.
The nature of good stories
There are great stories, good stories and then some - and their rewards are not always ratified.

Great stories - have it all. Plot, characters, richness, scores. Good stories all but got there but played to familiarity a little too much.

But then there's the some. The some is not the haplesss mediocre ones that got away, but the ones that break convention, that seek ingenuity by taking risks, that rarely have antecedents and sear a hole in your consciousness.

There's something about it. But you find it difficult to explain. You might try any number of film discourses and probably succeed, but in truth you're being taxed of a new vocabulary.

There are great stories and then some.  The great stories have a familiarity, the and some challenge you. Things are done that little bit differently. We attempt sometimes to explain away this disembodiment - ie you can't be asked, as Art.

And that in its eventuality may be so. Next week I'm presenting to a panel on this.. and some..and my focus is videojournalism ~ expressions that challenge a given form in the relationship of author and his work and his work with the audience.

How in ways we can look to embracing haptic vision as it exists in other new media forms into video factual story.

I'll expand more during the week

Saturday, October 02, 2010

New modes of storytelling
Couple of weeks ago in a post I spoke about getting in touch with me concerning my quest and passion to explore the modularities of storytelling.

I had an interesting chat with Giordano who's doing some work in Haiti. He's been on the ground and has built up admirable knowledge about the area and issues.

The extent of that talk should remain confidential as it will, but there are broad principles that need addressing, and are in many quarters.

They include
  • Parachute Journalism
  • Partisan Journalism
  • anniversary journalism 
  • And Agenda-fuelled journalism

The latter of these sits in with a methodology of audiencing, the network and editorial values.

The editor chooses when to cover an issue, based around his or her knowledge of the audience's appetite. These are tried and tested methods, often referred to as gate-keeping, which external outfits in today's citizen journalism try and crowbar in their stories, issues etc.

A lot of editors I speak to acknowledge we operate a 19th century model of journalism, even 18th century if you think back to the Addison and Steeles, and we're yet to find a new construct.

This week I had a lengthy talk with the BBCs journalism college and in weeks to come hopefully we'll be able to announce a couple of things that attempt to lance some of those perennial boils of journalism in an artistic and practical manner.

My Background
In reflecting on my own past, I would like to think I have something to offer here. Those reason are both inclusion and being an outsider.

Being black is a statement; I am black, but it comes with a degree of eye-tracking working in the media. In 1987, as a science graduate, you could say I needed my head examined.  I had no contacts, no inside patron, but was fortunate enough to convince others to give me a chance.

So even though I went from one outfit to another e.g BBC, Channel 4, ABC News, South Africa, Ghana, Channel One and so on, I tended to think of myself as an outsider, but with a knowledge how the media operates.

That isn't to say main stream media has the 'knowledge' sown up, but that to prod and find cracks, we must be aware of how they work, as a practitioner and also from an academic point of view- where possible.

I'm continuing in a round of interviews which continue to reinforce my area of expertise sometimes, and also shed light on new areas. Often I have been fascinated by interviewing senior figures, only for them to turn the tables on me and ask what I think.

Multi modal storytelling
There is no one prescriptive method for telling stories.

In many ways the multiple approach we adopt through citizen journalism harks back to an era   pre-equitone - that prose of storytelling from an author as refined by 17th century Addison and Steele and given prominence by Marshall McLuhan.

We find our own accommodations by mimicking others, or borrowing their means. But knowledge does count. It provides Terra ferma to deconstruct these things that appear new, but in many ways have their own antecedents.

To the wire newsmen, twitter is a refinement of the early telegraph and telling a story before the line cut, or in Twitter's case you passed your word count.

Social media yields comparisons with pamphleteering - again in the early days of newspapers, when the princely sum of a few schillings forced people to share their Daily Courants and to talk about its impact in the pub, before the newspaper cryer would appear.

New knowledge and collaborative work comes from sharing, so I'm happy to talk, so please do email.


Friday, October 01, 2010

Time Lapse by Mike Flores

Timelapse Montage from Mike Flores on Vimeo.

Great Time Lapse, made also by the locations. Always adds that something to viscerality