Friday, August 31, 2007

World Press Photos

Image courtesy of Yannis Kontos, his award winning photo set, Amputees, for the World Press Photography Awards, contemporary issues. Please note, Yannis' images are not part of the exhibition

If you're at an end of sorts about what to do this weekend and care for a walk to the South Bank then I'd recommend the world press photography exhibition.

A collection of the best of the best, though you could always argue your own favourite contemporary snapper was not included. However this exhibiton drips with emotion.

No wonder you're met with a bold sign saying some of these photos are unsuitbale for children.

Those exhibiting were chosen from around 78,000 entries from 124 countries. Difficult choices. They include Joao Silva, South Africa, The New York Times and his photos from the US Marines patroling Northern Iraq; Brit Alex Livesey's Getty photo of an acrobatic football kick for Sports Illustrated; and US Spencer Platt's almost surreal image of chique Lebanese women driving around rubble in bombed Southern Lebanon during the Israeli-Hezbollah conflict.

Couple of observations about trawling for online information, it's very scant and makes part of my point when it comes to using the web and IPTV within the arts. I'll be posting the video film on Monday: who's killing the arts.

Meanwhile the world press site quite rightly bans anyone from using their images. I suspect if I were writing an article I'd be on to them to contact the photographers for permission to use their image, but I'm short of time.

However if photographers want publicity, and most do, there should be a creative common license that allows the 'proper 'promotional use of images in bespoke terms and conditions.

Yannis Kontos, a world press photographer winner last year is selfless with his images that way and I find his spirit and understanding enlightening.

Which is why we've been able to collaborate on several photomontages, where he is credited appropriately.

If you're a photojournalist and I clearly understand the issues of rights, which is why I'm not using any images here from the exhibition, it's worth looking at.

The expression is:"let go". The more people that see your images the better.

A further observation is that there could be a little more creativity in publicising these images online. Don't be put off by the front page of the South Bank's site. One of the posts I came across was lamenting the cropping of the main "sell" image online.

As a webby person I might think why that would have happened, particularly if you're working to a template site ( no idea whether South Bank's is) but still pictures are there to be looked at. Give them the same attention in the gallery online and chances are that will woo some more punters.

Here's Yannis photomontage. See you next week as I'm off for a few days.

In a couple of weeks I'll be redoing videos on viewmag so you'll be able to watch this in far superior quality at twice, almost three times the size.

The future of news reportage

We are often guilty of making grand sweeping statements and the future of news reportage may count as one. But I'm confident that by the time I post the video, it will be beyond doubt.

The peice is about the nature and dexterity of next generation reporters and has by proxy been endorsed by one of the biggest global broadcasters.

The report is remarkable absolutely because of the subject and what emerges weighed up against history. You'll excuse me for being cryptic, but you will fully understand when you read about it next week.

It is I can also boast an exclusive and I'm extremely confident we'll be hearing a lot lot more about hte subject in say Newsweek, Times and a host of publications.

The future of news reportage next week

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Is Television killing the Arts?

The Edinburgh Fringe Assembly Rooms director William Burdett Coutts is not pleased at the level of Arts television coverage.

I read this at about the same time, Metal - a dynamic arts think thank -
emailed me about setting up a new body.

The two events set me off. So I trundled down to the South Bank - London's culture metropolis and armed with my camera proceeded to put together a piece about what's wrong with Art and Television.

From what appeared to be a quick 3 minute piece, soon grew to a 7 minuter, exploring a couple of themes.

The overriding one for me is simple and I'll post more detail with the vid in Viewmagazine tomorrow. But here's a snap shot.

TV no longer offers exclusive red blood cells for those Arts bodies needing oxygen for publicity

We know that in blogworld, citizen journalism, even fast approaching, now politics. So the piece I have made asking folk what they think makes that point.

It includes snippets of Simon Prosser, director of Hamish Hamilton publisher of Zadie Smith; a brief look at the wonderful photo exhibition at the Festival Hall; and then we whizz around to the Guggenheim in Bilbao.

Television's relationship with the Arts can only get better with a new constituent of producers and TV personnel who are able to see a new horizon, who can seperate high from low brow, who can make use of the long tail and hold their nerve and who understand that Art is not just a night at the proms, but an experience, which in recent times conductors have shown by allowing populist repertoires and jolly behaviour.

If the best we can do is to discuss whether its proper to clap in between a Mahler symphony, then the plot has been lost. Art and Culture must never be stagnant, but move with the times.

You could argue that TV has done neither and that this has not be helped by some custodians of Art whom may struggle to understand what a blog or video journalism piece is.

Post tomorrow

Forbidden Technologies

Has anyone used Forbidden Technologies editing system? What's it like? Would appreciate some info

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Meeting Mandela

Mandela's in the UK and if you're one of the attendants to his 'brai', you'll be searching for the official photographer for that picture to occupy your mantle and make all your freinds jealous.

Here's my story.

It was the annual Foreign Correspondent's Club meeting in Jouhannesburg. I'd just finished a good run of programmes and with my colleague and good friend, former head of CNN for Africa, Edward Boateng, made our way to the dinner.

I'm chatting animatedly to guests, when a deafly silence falls on the hall.

There in the distance is a slow moving throng of people. Like a Mexican wave slowed down, people begin to rise.

Then slowly perceptibly he appears OMG.

It is Nelson Mandela. He is heading straight for our table. His side-person another official looks at us, recognises Edward and then he stops.

Believe me an hour could have passed.

And this is David who (mumble lost words) the United States of Africa, says Edward, as Mr Mandela's hands extend.

Flash thoughts. How long do I shake for; how firm should I be?

I needn't have worried. I tipped my head, gave a feeble: "hello", and a fleshy soft palm shake.

Then I noticed the photographer and flashed him a pressed eye look. The one that says, "Yes what are you waiting for? Damn it. Flash, Flash, Flash".

He looked back at me and geustured:"No film!"

And that was that! I looked at my palm for a couple of seconds and for a couple of days did not wash it ( no, actually course I didn't , c'mon) but it's quite a thought.

Good luck if you find yourself in a similar situation. Mind you now cam-phones are the rage.

The secret of TV-Net success. What the TV agents say

David Dunkley Gyimah featured in Spotlight - the bible for TV presenters and journalist managed by agents

Huzzah! We're all doing, video online.

But fret not whether you've not yet joined the fray, because it still may be you.

For most outfits producing video costs a bundle. For you and me on the net, next to nothing.

Producing TV/video isn't exactly rocket science, but something else, an ethereal quality, a something which you either have at birth (David Chapelle), acquire through steely determination ( Madonna) or buddy up with someone and be desired by proxy.

But this post is about news information and as such what is it we're supposed to be looking for, from:

* the news/ feature presenter
* the production.

What the agents say

I have had the chance to speak to a number of agents in my career.

One, Jacque Evans would subsequently become mine for number of years. We sadly said a tearful bye bye when I wanted to abandon front-of-camera work to concentrate behind.

Also the TV market in the UK is terribly deterministic, "Oh really (shrill) who did you say your dad is?" - that as well, it's pretty small compared to the US market and is increasingly becoming risk averse.

The pressure on any TV boss to create a hit to sustain their career is such they're likely to look for bankable winners to front their programmes, which is why you see the same faces across different progs.

They have what is either called the X-factor or as Cuba Gooding Jr's character would pronounce in the film Jerry Maguire, "the Kwan".

Random branders and groupies

At present there's probably predetermined mixed with random routes to net video sites. Predetermined comes from your current constituents. They'll come to you come what may. They are the brand groupies ( sorry that's an ad term I came across working in advertising).

Most execs however are also after the "randoms". Those that would never have considered you a friend, but drop by and stay. They in turn bring in other friends and so on, and over a cycle also become "groupies".

Hopefully by then though the brand would have evolved to keep old and new friends together. Channel 4 News is one such brand that has very broad cross appeal. If they visibly broadbandcasted with "outernet" concepts on the net, I think their stock would rise even further. (yes, yes I did work for Channel 4 News as a regular freelance producer, but it's a good show).

Top Ten Video News Observations

So here's my top ten observations trawling across many News-Net video sites this morning looking at presenting and production.

1. If you're a presenter *KISS and refine that script for your audience. Your audience has a quotient for witty, good turns of phrases. Too much though and it's a turn off. Also "inculcate" is a good word, but there is an easier choice.

*Keep it stoopidly simple - actually not that simpletonly simple but avoid pomposity really.

2. Deliver the script with pace. On paper three words make up a second and less really is more. Criticise TV as much as you/me want, but these really are tenants that work.

So slow down. Watch the BBC's Richard Bilton who delivers a master class in pace and style. There's only so much information anyone can take, which is why public speakers regulate their pitches often to three or less thoughts.

3. Deliver it with style. TV is a performance. Know how to sell the tell, using body language and voice inflexions. Looking dour, rigid even with a killer script most likely won't cut it down the line.

4. What to wear. Yep that's personal. But in the same way if you've never worn a suit to an interview, chances are your interviewer will spot that when you pitch up. Body language gives away how uncomfortable you are.

5. Love it, work that space and fill the frame. Not exactly when you're in a killing zone. But show you care about your work.

It's remarkable how many reporters are thinking about something else during a report. Amanda Congdon in this article I shared by proxy in the UK Sunday Times, may not have been your cup of tea.

She wasn't a hard news teller, but she showed she cared about what she was doing(in a witty haughtily, self mocking way). And the good people at have it all sown up. So stop standing like you're tied to a pole.

There is a reason why photographers ask you think about the scene you find yourself in (e.g. happy thoughts) when photographed.


6. Care about your pictures, slapdash them together and it's a souffl'e from hell. You're selling pictures unless it's an audio pod.

7. That cliched electronic background music, urgh, though this is a matter of taste, but it's akin to wearing flares - which yes might come back one day. Look for something original. Actually that's easier said than done which is why there's a music librarian attached to TV projects. But please don't mix Sophie's Choice over a cute girl named Sophie.

P.S. Have you noticed how over the last 6 years Hollywood has moved on in scores and is increasingly using Middle East/Arabic chords to highlight tension in spy genres, when it was absent before then.

8. Multiple pans saying nothing. TV's canvas is broad, the net's watchable window isn't so the language of TV won't always work. Right let's try a pan here from er, where to where?????

Sorry I won't bang on about the language of video journalism, but it's the photojournalistic aesthetic that Cinema, TV, online loves. The heights of this include Black Hawk and Bourne Ultimatum.

In Bourne the director pulls of another feat, allowing the action to take place in the frame and manipulating the dynamics of the camera action to up the ante. My good friend Rob Chiu is also a master of this. If you've never seen his reel, watch this and exhale.

P.S I'm not saying every vid should look like Rob's. It's about understanding the film

9. Let the visuals at least marry with the script

10. Break the mould. Try something new. In time all news online will look the same, so what will make your production different to watch.

Foot notes: The net's big enough to gain your own audience so that the long tail is still to some extent aggregable to something big
2. If you're interested in talking about me helping you out post me at Contact
3. OK now you can pull my old presenter reel to parts.
4. I'm looking for a new agent - Oh yes. And I'll do a longer post on this soonish

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Sights and Sounds of the Carnival

Sights and Sounds of the Nottinghill Carnival on the front page here.

As I looked around it looked like a festival of photography and filming; cameras, mobile phones and PDAs. If I had one tip I would have wanted to pass on he few photographers I stood next to it's don't lighthouse or waterhose. That's where you do this 180 degree swivel. Best to just stay steady and fixed on a subject and let the action take place in the frame.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Television's firing range

You see if you're in the US or South Africa or states where firearms are permitted this stuff is second nature. The mere sight of a holstered gun in the US or SA fills me with dread.

Yeah I know, "big girls blouse".

Ghana's one of the most passive states in Africa in gun crime; though there's been the odd news reports surrounding related crime of late. Many blame the legacy of Sierra Leone, Liberia and Cote D'ivoire.

Anyway I digress. In the United States of Africa - a six part videojournalism led series between South Africa and Ghana's public TV services - I had a plan.

Take the Ghanaians to a shooting range in Joburg. It was an experience for all. There was no bravado, just trying to capture what it is about this cold piece of steel.

A broadcaster-friend at the time was besides himself when his flat was ransacked. They took money, CD players etc, but it was his firearm that gave him the most concern. He'd have to go report it to the authorities. In Yeoville, Joburg, at the time very, very few people I knew had a gun.

The shooting range was a strange experience. The worst, I'd discharged 5 rounds instead of 6 and damn well nearly got myself into trouble handing the piece back to the instructor.


Some bright spark me eh!

Producer, director, editor ( he doesn't like the word VJ) Scott Rensberger showed a report he made from literally stumbling upon an event- a gun fest. He won't mind me posting as he gave me the report. Here's another scary one before that.

However there's a fine line in this - as I'm sure some people will revell in the spectacle. Not Scott's intention or mine either.

Anyway, what's the point of all this. Well the terrible event in Liverpool and while fingers are being pointed at communities, criminals, my bent is there's a lot more TV can do as well.

Our broadcast was to add to a debate, but for what it's worth here in the UK, this issue needs to be a more sustained one with education and information at the heart of it.

Claim to Media Fame - dubious

At best its dubious, but here goes. If you look through the law books Regina Vs Dunkley ( actually I have changed the name) you'll notice a test case involving the use of DNA fingerprinting to resolve a paternal suit posited by the Crown Prosecution Services.

To cut a long story short, the evidence using DNA fingerprinting for the very first time in this way left the authorities in no doubt as to the veracity of our case.

Science and common sense won the day.

So, I was one of the very first people in the UK to have a DNA profile showing necessary markers. Yep this was Gattaca.

In the purest way I have never quite considered myself a jobbing journalist; something about Art gets in the way. So I started manipulating photographs of my gene map sequence.

It's imperceptible, but if you look at the reel here, you'll just about find elements. There's no aesthete to the reel.

But since the reel is the DNA of my work and this one actually contains my DNA ( a photograph) there's some self artistry involved.

Show reels are peculiar pieces of theatre. One could quite easily question their use. At the launch of BBC 3, one producer tracked me down after seeing an article of some Londoners in the Evening Standard.

She asked for my reel and I would have given her something along these lines ( this one's more recent). She says they all looked at it and went er, so...

As Robin Wiliams would have said to Will Hunting "it's not your fault". In 2000 the idea of creating visuals like this was perhaps considered plain wierd. Even for BBC 3. What are we to glean from this?

Have things changed much in the industry? You could argue, a bit, but like your DNA code some things perhaps never change.

Douglas Adams' omnipresent Net theory

If you've never read this article before. A must for anyone, from the late Douglas Adams - Hitch Hikers Guide

"1) everything that’s already in the world when you’re born is just normal;

2) anything that gets invented between then and before you turn thirty is incredibly exciting and creative and with any luck you can make a career out of it;

3) anything that gets invented after you’re thirty is against the natural order of things and the beginning of the end of civilisation as we know it until it’s been around for about ten years when it gradually turns out to be alright really.

Apply this list to movies, rock music, word processors and mobile phones to work out how old you are"

Read the whole piece here. Thanks to Christina Fox my co-TV/VJ trainer for reviving my interest.

Actually they're are parallels with video journalism

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Count Down to China

To coincide with China's Olympic countdown and ahead of a visit to China, will be airing ( good word that, since it's a broadbandcast) a couple of vignette reports from China courtesy of my colleague who has just returned from lecturing there, Kienda.

Two years ago as London geared up for its Olympic bid, one of its ambassadors, the indefatigable Jude Kelly, a figure I so admire, invited me to the top of Canary Wharf - one of the highest buildings in London to brainstorm with an eye opening group of people.

Everyone from the creative industries of one sort or another was there. Jude also gave me her video blog she'd made from Athens during their Olympic run. It's never been aired before so I'm looking forward to cutting it and linking it to a Kienda's China stories and a feature on another colleague and friend in the runnings for scoring for the Olympics.

What I really like about Kienda and Jude's video is the personal nature of the reports. That's what VJ does so well and so what you get is an authored report which include some truly interesting stuff.

Predictive news - the news tomorrow

Europe's biggest street party caught the sun and revellers as more than a million people took to the streets. . .
Elsewhere there were a number of arrests. A man is seriously injured from an attack.
There are renewed calls for the carnival to be moved, despite Hyde Park relieving the pressure by staging some of the steel bands. Wada wada wada

Call it Minority Report's precrime prereportage event - an affliction that will overcome many networks tomorrow reporting the carnival.

There's the TV way and the VJ Way.

Here's how an editor deploying VJs might have sorted the station's report, because in the short space of time I was there ( Gosh my feet hurt from all that walking) these are some of the things I picked up.

The woman looking demure unleashed a torrent of abuse at the stranger, who caught red handed waved ten pounds in front of her. He'd just crouched in her stoop to relieve himself, against her building and she was mad. "I don't give a **** what you're giving me", she belowed.

Such is the pressures to find toilets and the relentless queues that greet you, that many have soiled the best part of London's most expensive residential area with their processed ammonia cum excess beer discharges.

It's possible the woman would have been one of the few (in real reportage I would have asked her) not to have left her residency for more sedate surroundings until Europe's noisiest street party passes. Many residents boarded up, while others just upped sticks for the three days.

They were drenched in chocolate, an army of them; something to do with a chocolate brand celebrating ten years of sales, but the eye catching body deco would have to go to the angels and Egyptian theatrical- costumed youngster gyrating their hips in a fashion that outside of today's event would be considered very risque indeed.
Costumes of this nature take a lifetime to make. As the sun sets on one carnival, costume makers aree busy preparing for the next. It is a 365 day a year affair. . .

The food is just scrumptious; chicken, chicken, chicken, jerked, stewed and skewed. Everywhere you turn the embers and smoke from a coal fire roasting a chicken hit you.

Pity the poor police enveloped in this aromatic essence, but unable to do anything about it, other than splutter. Not because they're choking, but because, perhaps their saliva must be draining past their oesophagus like Niagara Falls. . .

Travel light and make sure you've had your vitamins; ear plugs aren't allowed. Carnival is here and once more float will do battle with float, band with band, skimpy tops and bare chested men all mixing in one big multicultural melting pot.
. . .

Well we all know how to report this

BUT instead we're going to get: "Europe's biggest street party caught the sun and revellers as more than a million people took to the streets. .

The key is first person narrative, letting the camera find the story, and handing over ownership to those involved in it, rather than snatching comments.

Incidentally these pics are stills from my A1 sony vid cam in HDV mode. And I didn't go to the carnival to work. I'll dump some video on viewmag shortly.

Grrrr What's wrong with these people

We are going to provide drop off zones for those possessing guns to drop them off anonymously

*&^$£K_"{@&((*U) HJ F£@^* )*&^

That's the best proposal the government can come up with. Help Us

Rather reminds me of an item that's stuck with me from years ago. A very nice mother working in social services when asked on TV what measures she would undertake to cope with unruly youngsters in her charge, said in her shrill voice: "I shall tell them to stop".

Hi Darling I'm home...
There's all these shootings going on..
What shall I do?

I know I'll have drop off zones. That'll do it
Now then where's that party and what time are we supposed to be there.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Brit Youth Crime

Feeble responses, knee jerk reactions, liberal laws, lack of social understanding; when you look back on successive governments no one has had a clue how to deal with crime.

Is there a way?

Many agencies and critics have provided focus, but with governments this is politics and what's right for people as opposed to political careers and ideologies won't necessarily see the light of day.

This is a report I made for the BBC's network current affairs programme in, wait for it, 1992 about youth crime.

When you watch it you might ask what's changed?

I guess a lot more rhetoric from all sides, but understanding? That's debatable .

The argument and I believe a strong one is that if you've never experienced or been privy to war and its consequences, it's easier to do war.

If you've never see the ruins of crime, been at the coal face to be covered in its grime or taken an active social interest, not because you have to, but because you want to, then tackling crime appears problematic.

BBC's Clash of the Gladiators - & TV/the BBC under attack

TV under attack, the BBC in particular Image from

"As you repeatedly say John"
...the attack on the BBC?
"Yes you've repeated this three times so far" (raising his voice).

"You keep on banging on about the BBC".

"John, you're legendary grumpy in the morning".

"I might have to ask this question several times".
"You seem to have already done so".

"You (John) know what an I-player is don't you?"... ......OUCH!

"Do you believe we're not making enough quality programmes to justify the (BBC) license fee".
"I didn't say that".

"We don't ask for the money".
"Well I don't you might do".
(Embarrasing laugh)

Absolute pure theatre. Take two of the BBC's most feared interviewers and the aformentioned is what you get. Don't ever say the BBC's impartial to its own. This could have been John Humphries interviewing Tory Michael Howard ( they've had legendary clashes) or better still an axe murderer.

But it was John (the rottweiler on the BBC Today programme) interviewing Jeremy Paxman, (the rottweiler on Newsnight) whom the previous night had delivered the MacTaggart Lecture criticising the state of televsion with a few salvos at the BBC.

Both men appeared to annoy each other, with off cuff remarks, and bar humbug tututs.

Jeremy's "You ( John) are legendary grumpy in the morning" will become the quote to haunt Mssr Humphries and provide much merriment for his foes.

If you're a journalism student find the podcast: a lesson in interviewing people you know. If you're a professional Jeremy offers some salutory tips on how to cope with a difficult interviewer.

Hahahaha Brilliant

Clear out a whole tier of the BBC was one of Jeremy's conclusion, and perhaps the BBC ought to be doing more for less another suggestion - when they managed to put down the pillows laden with lead.

Wonder what both of them are saying off-mike

Here's what the BBC's Director General Mark Thompsonhad to say about the new landscape and digitalia when I interviewed him some months ago.

Pop videos - VJs versatlity

One of the interviews I looked forward to about this time last year was with Flash web designer Hillman Curtis.

If you have no idea who he is; I didn't in 98, then google him. He is to Flash Design what Rageh Omar is to news, cool and a leader with a pioneering style of his own.

I'd read on many occasions his self-taught style to film making and in particular how he ballsed up on one or two. Sure enough, candid and self effacing he said what resonates pretty loud with me.

"I messed up a music shoot badly. I know what I do well, so best leave music shoots to others".

I have just finished a music shoot for a friend and was TDB yesterday. TDB an acronym from my school boarding days - working Till Day Break. Having got back from a really nice gathering with the FT ( Sorry Financial Times) at midnight, I thought I'd give it a ago.

An hour in and I'd got this segment sorted. The shoot itself used two cameras; one from my colleage Kienda Hoji as I roamed. The logic is to lay continuous track on the number you want and then find appropriate cutaways, elsewhere.

But as you know Pop Music has an edit rate that would give your grand mother an aneurism. But really there's almost a template you can work from to produce a relatively ok video. I had my 12 year old nephew up to speed on his own within an hour.

Not so much then the pop video itself; sorry Like Hillman I'd rather create something else, it's the versatility of Vjism which deserves a mention. Short news formats; long one hours; series; pop promos; ads; and a car show.

My parting shot though should go to where it's deserving; the artiste Nancy Ginindza who's music inspires me.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Grab a camera and VJ

It's that simple.

In the 80s legions of young people blew their life savings on the latest reversioned moog, a Roland TB-303.

A fair few were untrained musicians but, with music coarsing their veins had an ear for street and what a generation wanted to listen to other than what the majors were pushing out.

Bedrooms doubled as recording studios; late night experimenting with samples and loops produced a crop of tunes that would define the new landscape.

Paul Hardcastle's 17, A Guy called Gerald; stateside, Chicago House kicked in. Either side of this movement, forces coalesced and the rest for the music industry is evident today.

In 2001 at the BBC's inuaguration of videojournalism via Michael Rosenblum, I stood in front of the editors about to co-op this new form into their newsrooms.

One BBC Editor seeing some films made by colleagues and me from Channel One TV - the first all VJ news station in London - chewed me out.

"But that looks like any old television news. What's so clever about that?"

My reponse was swift. That was video journalism with BVW cameras and a language which attempted not to alienate its audience. Yes it was TV news, with better sequences, but made by one person.

Then, video's moog hit the stands; the BBC passed out its first, second and so on batch of video journalists and the language of DIY TV entered what chemists wait for, critical mass. That was the UK at any rate.

And it's that language which continues to evolve. It's not prescriptive, and I would argue has no fixed template, which is why anyone with a camera and films to boot can call themselves a VJ.

The similarities with the divisions of young people calling themselves producers can't be lost.

But as in many professions there's the good, bad and er yep darn ugly. This shouldn't stop us experimenting. The key to getting where we are as VJs; you only have to look at the International Video journalism awards to see the range, is to shoot and shoot.

Because just as film making, which is VJ in a nutshell, has evolved, so should VJs style bible. And that includes the traditional look of TV made by one person if that cooks your goose, to the "dirty" look, handheld n' all epitomised in US shows like The Shield, Homicide and Bourne

So far we're still somewhat subservient to the lingua franca of Television, but that's changing. If anything VJ may come to define TV's paradigm ( er really!) just as the major record companies wrenching from the loss of their market decided to bring this "street music" into their corporate fold.

Yep that's right grab a camera and VJ. What's the worse that could happen.

Social society - I don't know you but. . . ?

We've never met you and I. Chances are if you leave a civil [no swear word] comment I will reply. Chances are someone will pick that up and do similar.

Therein is the beginings of a social society. You probably have a social society members card with lots of people you meet online, and through a process of refinement have become friends. I have many myself.

Many people watch television, but they're not neccesarily part of your club even though TV is a global village and you all might just be cheering for the same person on American Top Idol.


My next door neighbours happen to be very good friends, but further down there is little contact. It's a long street. You can't pick your neighbours, though at some point you may have had some influence on your neighbourhod.

Sadly, the lack of any community activity leaves social cohesion moribund. We know little of each other.

The perception of my neighbours further down is shaped by fleeting assumptions and it's not enough.

"Well go over and talk to them", some of you are saying.
"I need a pretext"?
"What do you need a pretext for, just go over a say hi".

Neighbourhood Watch

Many of us moving to new neighbourhoods have done so. On smaller streets there have been gifts: "Welcome to the neighbourhood", but this act of friendship is not universal, particularly in places where there are dynamic changes and in cases you think, "er I'm not sure here, they've got five mean looking dogs".

No, no, no dog lovers, owning a dog does not make you a paraiah. When I lived in Ghana we had 6 dogs. This is all about perception again.

So what's my whole point here? That there is something in the web culture which could be massaged into TV-Neighbourhood land. And it resides in Community TV, broadband TV.

Storybridge.TV is a strong example of the future - and there should be many, many more of these. Local TV, Local Issues. This was also the DNA of Channel One TV - a station in the UK modelled on New Yorks' cable news programme NY1

Here's an example of a typical Channel One TV story, Social Network Justice . Here a housewife furious at the road humps on her street mounts a successful campaign with friends to have them removed by the council. She says she was influenced by Marje Simpson. For what it's worth social web 2.0 is at least 8 years away with this broadcast.

National TV is getting in on the local act, but the underlying philosophy is skewed. It's as if the federal government came to your neghbourhood, put out a long table with some food, and the men in suits said: "Ok guys lets have a conversation. We wanna tell you what we can do for you".

Local TV

Local TV is bottom up. There has to be an affinity with local people. Parachuting in will yield no where near the same benefits as the micro model.

It is TV about the community, giving the means for people to talk about issues and through the visual language find common interests. National TV could never do this, only as a generic gesture.

There is a park nearby. Like an ecosystem through the seasons it is changing, sometimes despairingly. As I walked across it, an elderly woman with three young children was stooping. She was picking up shards of glass from the playing field.

I walked by craning my neck, stopped and doubled back. We had a fruitful conversation. We'd found a common cause.

"Would she be interested in joining a group going to see the council about this?"

She kindly declined. There are, I suspect, many other people like her and me. So I have asked the small group talking to the council if I can make a film about what they're doing. And the film I believe will in its small way, when online, help foster more of an understanding of who we are. It is news, not reactionary, but educational, which in our increasingly ignorant world we need the world of media to do more of.

Local TV, via the net has the unqiue chance of us getting to know each other and not just online.

Do you trust television? BBC Newsnight Editor Peter Barron answers

Peter Barron, Editor of Newsnight, the BBC's flagship news analyses programme is on The Today programme - a national BBC talk radio show which invariably shapes the news agenda.

He's talking about the issue of trust in the media and answering the presenter John Humphries' question about how the TV industry can mend this.

This week at the annual gathering of television's power players, the Edinburgh International Television Festival there will be debate and soul searching on this point.

There has been, it's acknowledged, been a drop in trust in the broadcast media. About half of the people polled in a survey ( sorry will find the link) say they've don't believe what they see any longer. Here's a link to one in 2006 by Reuters.

It comes in the wake of a series of blunders on TV.

Peter is one of the key figures behind this year's festival. You''ll be hard pressed to find video interviews of him anywhere so this is one real benefit of producing as I interviewed him there some weeks ago.

The views he made on the Today programme are very similar to the 2 minute video interview. So click below to hear Peter's prescription for dealing with trust in the media.

TV Interest

My first TV job completeing a journalism Masters was BBC Newsnight in 1990. Peter Barron then was one of the producers. I would meet up with him again when I joined Channel 4 News as a regular freelance producer in 1997. Peter was the deputy editor of Channel 4 News.

Peter is the editors' editor with a deep insight into the new world of Net and TV, so what he has to say has true value.

In weeks to come I'm looking forward to a lengthier interview - which we've talked about.

Trust in the Media, US

Two years ago I was invited as part of a panel to San Antonio to also look at this issue of Trust. The full report can be found here: Trust in the Media

Student journos - It's off for the Telegraph

So what are the newspaper looking for in their new crop of journalists? That's what I found out from a tour a`round the Telegraph. I'll be talking to some of their new journos next month.

One of them is Alice, who made it on to Oh my Newsnight on her second piece.

This is an early piece, demonstrating her prowess as a young print journo turned video journalist . She shot everything her self.

Her email to me ff:

Hello david

Following my VJ training I made a very short film which was selected by BBC Newsnight... 13 films are on the Newsnight website and the 5 videos with most votes will be broadcast on Newsnight in January. Fingers crossed!

If you have time, it would be nice if you could watch my video and give me any construictive criticism (I know there will be a lot!). I hope you are not too disappointed. It is very much presenter-led which is unusual for me as I'm normally so shy but I hope my shots are ok, it was made in a day and a half!

My Video has been (re)named CARBON, it is number 7 on the page:

Briefly; I had a week off and a trip to Poland fell through cause I was broke so shot it in a couple of days. Edited it at work with pinnacle (YUCK! finally got final cut pro on my mac thank goodness). Looking to move onto docs next.


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

How to create a really cool anti guns ad . . but er.

UK film company Therapy Films have just made a really cool ad against guns, which they shot in the US. No words, shot to a melancholic much used classical repertoire as a bullet pummels through various objects.

Trouble is for the audience it's meant to appeal to it will be as effective as a plastic knife on steak.

This isn't a criticism against Therapy, they've done their job. It's a good piece of film and technically challenging. It was approved by the client. Job well done. Er, £@^%

This reminds me of events in South Africa. A very close friend of mine who is a senior exec at Mcann Erikson Herd Buoys - one of SA's most successful ad companies - said at the official ending of Apartheid, that they ( ad people) might have to go back to basics to get their message across.

They now recognised they'd have to appeal broadly to a new constituent, which needed to be told "like it is".

Having a bullet fly in super slow mo looks Tarantino-cool. That's a lot of cool. Remember the Radiohead video ( I think shot by Artem) or Wimbledon's playback camera at 1/1000th of a second speed or something like that), or the film "Day of the Jackal".

I'd probably want to play around with the camera myself. The IM6 Video Journalism approach rethinks ad/promo production in the same way video journalism does with news. One of the early thoughts is the audience live on the mobiles, they Myspace, they rarely watch TV, they're wowed by DIY video, music ones. So you want your ad to go viral.

Also, one of the reasons why the ad may not be as effective as it should is in all likelihood those you're appealing to have already been shooting off and and are fully aware what the bullet does. We've had series like CSI, ER etc to even give the bullet travel a hyper realistic fashionable look.

Ah, but our ad shows what really happens, you might argue. You could equally argue the actuarist approach. If I can get to one young person with this, we've done something.

Know your audience
If you really want a hard hitting campaign go talk to those with guns.

Where would you find them? Ok if you're really stuck, her Majesty's estate. And whilst there ask what shocks/draws empathy. Find out what negotiators call their "break point" - the point where something makes a difference.

The last shot of this ad, for me, makes the strongest point for empathy. A lone boy standing in the path of the bullet. I'd have pushed that line of thought with 10 young lads falling to the tune of 10 green bottles, re-worded or something, with each of the boys falling violently to the floor till there's none and then pics/video of funerals, because that's the legacy, people hurting really badly.

Also, the pre-teen fronting it is really cute and charming and speaks really eloquently. . . BUT. . . you know where I'm going with this don't you !@$.

OFCOM of course have strong laws governing ads and what can and cannot be shown, but one feels this one will be another oportunity missed. Actually you judge. Might even win Therapy some awards.

Age old question: who's the ad made for? Is Q there, whose film about this subject is doing the rounds.

Crime reporting

London's girl gangs - police estimate at least three "families" in the capital; black soldiers asked to help mentor disaffected youth; the convicted killer of Philip Lawrence Chindamo's deportation row - busy week for mainstream media reportage .

BBC Radio 4's The Today programme produced an edgy radio package for its audience about gangs this morning; overall figures estimated at a conservative 170.

A couple of days ago, another story you can hear their reporter being threatened by a gang of youths as he solicits their views. Some weeks back BBC Newsnight hands over DVCams to youngster for them to tell their story.

There appears the perception that crime reportage is shifting more towards explaining what's going on, rather than always reacting to the latest fatality. There have been many this year.

In print, The Guardian maintains its status quo in reportage - a front page lead last monday. Whilst in broadcasting the BBC seems to be setting the agenda. If the networks don't pick up on it, it is the issue that dare not speak its name.

In a multifarious, multimedia age, you'd think there should be more high profile alternative media keeping this debate going.

Reporting crime has its own risks. I have run into a few myself.

One of the most memorable at Channel One TV coming back from a report and finding my car ransacked by three youths; one still in the vehicle. I was holding a bvw400 camera - cost at the time about 20,000 ukp. So in short if you are doing Videojournalism, be careful.

We often speak about the whizz bang from this craft and not about health and safety. I recall switching the camera on and filming he group as I struggled to get into my car. I showed the footage to the authorities afterwards, but that came to nothing.

Today, if I am going out on a story; I am tonight to help a former student, I go light and would advise as I do to the newspaper industry to use smaller HD cams and ditch the tripod that says "yep in this ruck sack, there's likely to be a camera.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Top multimedia piece - Perseus

Photo/painting courtesy of the 1st-art-gallery.

I stood there mesmerized for ten minutes, just studying the piece.

It is without question one of the most captivating art pieces you'll see at the National Gallery in room 32.

It is Perseus fighting Phineus and his companions by Luca Giordano- October 18, 1634 - January 12 1705. This picture above is a remarkable reproduction courtesy of the 1st-art-gallery who reproduce handmade oil paintings.

Our history consists of defining images, endless unique ones that capture an essence. Director Ridley Scott says the lone image of a gladiator about to slay his enemy was the key to taking on the film, Gladiator. There are many more instances like this.

This is my "kwa", my latest at least. I have seen it before, but now in my directing/producing phase it has new meaning.

Multimedia Energy
It possesses a a kinetic pulse energy. There exists multiple sub narratives within the parent one. Your eye wanders around the piece extracting new information. Even on he balcony in the distance, a figure stirs.

In the National Gallery your relationship between the piece is also affected by space.

The story itself goes something like this: Perseus with the head of Medusa foils his own demise at the hand of Phineas who comes to slay his enemy during a wedding party. The head of Medusa turns mortals to stone once their gaze is fixed.

A Gene of Multimedia
But this piece of art transcends into something else: a fabulous piece of multi media. Yes, there is no visible video, no sound, no photography, no text, BUT all those are indented in the piece.

1 There is movement. Look at the swords you see their end trajectory
2. There is sound. It is ghastly and blood curdling
3. There are multiple photographs, still images everyone makes a point
4. And the absence of text is loud, so loud that you want to know more. You are led to the small slate to read, then delve into books and online to research further. Multimedia at play. Yet also the image viscerally provides you with the narrative.

It is a gigantic multimedia piece. For multimedia is about the relationship between space, time and the essence and not neccessarily about the object and click and point, something articulated long before my reckoning by that great New Media theoritican and philosopher Lev Manovic.

It is the sum of all parts that connect to each other - an object that has branches, leaves and fruit all interplaying with each other which we call a tree. It is art. It is the sum of all media personnel working together, and not necessarily a prescriptive view of one, unless s/he understands the language of others.

And that's the problem we treat multimedia as discreet items collected in a shopping basket and mixed together. The technology is an enabler, the defining moment, the big "C" creativity is more elusive.

The painter Luca Giordano, a Neapolitan painter, is invariably described as the most important Italian decorative artist of the latter part of the 17th century. He was also a renowened baroque artist and printmaker - truly a multimedia artist (in tools and production) of his day, and now.

Intermediation - a connection of ideas
History shows us nothing today is sacredly original. But war remains a window into multiple narratives and we have new contemporary authors who understand ones and zeros doing something with the whole to engage us.

I'll write about that later and the fact that modern day, now defunct, drama such as Boomtown replicates a discourse and template for entering a multimedia piece providing variation and different points of view.

And finally, how that one image provided the thrust for this work in progress with a song from Nancy Ginindza. The song talks about how were not made of a stone and that we are delicate as butterflies. Multiple images flood by. I have used this in a raw state and am yet to post produce with sound and motion graphics.

I could then assign multiple links within the video to link to new narratives using a skewed idea from this The Family created in 2000.

Regarding Nancy's lyrics, as a young woman she articulates a point of view - controlled angst and disappointment about the way we solve issues whether its war or contemporary conflicts e.g the environment.

Listen to her interview in the week before you complete your conclusion.

A work in progress:

Monday, August 20, 2007

What no blog?

A conversation with my alter ego -or is that called Schizophrenia

Alt: What no blog today?

D: Nope

Alt: What nothing happen?

D: Actually tons?

Alt: er Sooo?

D: Well, I miss a blog, apart from you know one reads it anyway?

Alt: But it's not about people reading it, it's about expunging yourself. But don't be silly anyway? How do you know?

D: No fingerprints

Alt: Hey man don't be so hard on yourself. Are you using the word sex in your blogs

D: Now you're being silly

Alt: Talking about being silly how long do you intend to keep up this wierd thing you're doing, you know, I'm your alter stuff and you talking in the 3rd

(Door Bangs)

David sits at Mac terminal

Writes: Met Mike from the BBC World Service Trust, really nice guy; had lunch with my former boss, saw one of the best multimedia pieces at the national gallery , got back to work station - must pick up masters student final essays, Gerard from BBC left message; and IM6 article in the works. Nah, must have bloggers block or somehting (DELETES everything) just pretend you didn't see all this.

Right article on IM6 coming up but first. . .

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Africa paves way for innovatory UN style International broadcasts

I'm so excited by this.

Finally technology has become a friend in need, indeed.

Imagine nations reporting on nations, nations talking to nations, nations reporting to the people.

It sounds a grand idea. It is and exist in some guise for the BBC, CNN, Sky, Al Jazeeera - and many others have global posts in territories.

But Africa?

Probably one of the most ambitious ideas I have been involved in, which I would drop everything to replicate as the kernal for greater understanding.

Take journalists from Ghana, many of whom had never left the country before and take them to South Africa. And in time viser versa.

A coproduction no one had attemped before. Two nations that have so much in common but are seperated by. . . ?

Now finally, I can bring you that unique broadcast: The United States of Africa - a rich seams of programmes that demonstrate something awesome: broadcasters who have a measure of their constituents reporting on matters that aren't driven neccesarily by news but social relevancy.

There's an elaborate write up to this, which would probably make a book. But less speed, more haste.

At a WeMedia summit at Reuters last year, I became impassioned, even angry telling the audience that Africa, anywhere and our lack of understanding e.g. The Taliban, the this, the that is not a sympton of technological differences any longer, but ignorance.

Wild, wild ignorance. Fo every piece of new stock the big broadcasters are buying in, take the old if you want and lets use it in the fashion this idea illustrates: a UN style of broadcasting, designed to add to knowledge, than take away - and believe me that is being done.

This week I'll post the videos which includes some fantastic insert footage part of the broadcast e.g. Stevie Wonder playing for Mandela, A Boeing 747 in the studios with a slew of stars emerging, the first Ms south Africa to get to the finals of Ms World, a day in the life on the new immigrants ( we spend an overnight with Africans huddled in a flat whom the nexy day eran a living as traders. One of them had a PhD), a history of South Africa linked to Ghana, and much, much, much, much more.

And the year this took place, 1997.

Like I said Technology has finally caught up with us. And the second most amazing thing, the Ghanaians in this broadcasts learnt video journalism in 3 hours.

Get mentored, Get going - Young Journalists

Soon the summer breeze will still and autumn leaves daintly sneak onto the ground.

The din of chatter, excited screams, alongside dim faces: something stirs.

It's term time.

Another intake of enquiry minds looking for a career in one of the toughest, open-end career paths, the media.

I will be smiling as I ready myself for first contact. Academics will know that feeling, a weeny tinge of stage fright, and expectation. What will they, her, him, be like?

Huh! that grey hair has grown.

This time around I'm likely to feel a little bit different. My thoughts turn to the challenge, that the stakes need to rise. This for both an industry slow to catch up, but now trying, and for my own peace of mind.

There's nothing more enriching than to find new cohorts who crave the exchange of knowledge. I'll be asking, as I do, whether: "We can either do this, or we can go down the rabbit hole".

Here, nothing is scared. It was made by mortals and can be deconstructed and constructed anew. This year I will be seeking such a challenge myself looking to a PhD to indulge new lines of thinking and applications.

This year I also hope the essence, the new philosophy of journalism will be less unsettling.

Last year when I mentioned how as a print journalist you would have to acquire some skills with video, if you wanted your CV to be in the tray," next interview call back", the mood in the hall darkened.

Masters' student Kathy Land's blog captured the moment and afterwards in her blog.

Hello Kathy if you see this, I hope all's going well.

The job of a trainer/lecturer has many sides: knowledge broker, examiner, inspirer, friend. And in this rubik's cube of an industry, keeping up to date and being relevant with developments is a high priority to assist Kathy and her colleagues.

"Those who observe will learn from their surroundings. Those that look but cannot see will leave non the wiser". This gem I saw at a museum is so apt. Delicate, impressionable minds in the hands of professionals.

But there are some things, such as life experiences - a module within MBA - that we can't short circuit, but I like to talk about with students. Adhocly here are some observations and post it notes from my school of life.

1. Try and see lectures as a two way conversation. You too can contribute by asking questions. There's no such thing as an irrelevant question. But if you've read up on something, been curious about something in the past, ask.

2. Find a mentor or be grandfathered/mothered. Professionals in the industry love the contact with you, but at a convenient measured time. But please try not to start your email with "I'm looking for a job". It may on occasion work, but execs don't have a list of jobs in their desk waiting for you.

3. In Autumn when you're starting your career that's the best time to start looking for a new friend, a mentor - someone who you think I'd love to be like you. By July the following year, first contacts are a bit late and everyone else is looking for a job, so... yep you've guessed Mrs Mentor is receiving a fair few requests by now.

4. Unless you're Madonna or Brad Pitt, your email ( which is the most convenient form of first contact) will not be answered immediately. Don't despair.

5. Devise a one page easy-to-read, fairly professional web page or blog, which would be of interest to your mentor.Embedd the link in your email.

6. In your email; three paragraphs max. A simple header and a polite sign off.

7. Engage, engage, engage. Unlike your previous life where when the bell goes off it's a relief, the end of lectures should be the time for you to want to test some of what you've learned.

8. Party and make friends. We're not all doom merchants. Play is an important part of learning.

9. Over the years the dominant group in journalism Masters are women. Men are becoming thinner on the ground and minorities almost invisible. The industry hasn't changed to where it should be for minorities. I recall the push for sex and ethnic equality extensively in the late 80s. So if you're from an ethnic background you've got industry inertia to wrestle with.

10. Experiment, test, enquire, be positive. Life's experience is as it says on the tin, and you won't find that always in fron the the screen. And if I am around on campus, as many of you have done, lets chat.

Shashank when did you want for us to get together?

Saturday, August 18, 2007

BBC Reportage - How to make ground breaking youth current affairs

Each generation has its muse. Each generation either produces a legacy in programming for others to study or talks of one that stood above the crowd. Current.TV and Youtube are today's de rigeur. Look back in time and this is one reccommendation.

When the very idea of treating young people as adults, giving them a huge responsibilty to produce their own programmes in current affairs would have been considered ill-thought out, the BBC came up with Reportage.

In fact it followed on the back end of Network 7, Janet Street Porters creation. In this report on, firstly a snap shot of the programme and one of its typical features as I cover juvenile crime.

And then on viewmagazine's menu a more indepth look at its contribution.

In case you're not convinced here's 5 reason why the programme had that little bit of something else and why if you're considering a current affairs prog, you could do yourself some good by studying it at making your own contemporary brand.

1. It was made by young people in their 20s, so they knew what was happening on the ground which they fed into the prog

2. It had an attitude. Everyone there would have been considered as top of their game. So rather than process stories the unit actively broke many stories that would have taken ages to develop elsewhere in the schedules

3. It had a decent budget.

4. It spoke to its constituents rather than patronise them and was allowed to experiment and in some cases fail. Programmes were pulled if not considered worthy

5. It operated almost like an agency. Everyone contributed. It was almost like BBC Training on the job as many of its staffers who left would go on to bigger programmes and have since become key players in British broadcasting

Watch it and make your own mind up. Video Journalism? Nothing is what it seems. Reportage was shooting with hi8s in 1992

Prince Rocks

Please join me in affirming what I failed to see the first time round, Prince's give away album via The Mail on Sunday absolutely rocks - all of it.

In part it could be because of a curve ball a friend threw at me via a video skype

"Hey man you're booked to go to China next year, around the Olympics".

"You alright with that?"

'Uh yeah, yeah, to do what!"

"You know talk IM6 Video Journalism and stuff".


But no, no no.

This is a stand alone gesture. The geek I am playing it at full blast on my Powerbook, led me to rummage through some oldies.

So join me once again upstanding to: Bobby Byrd, Bobby Womack, Living Colour - Cult of Personality, Cameo - Cameosis, Larry Young Fuels - Turn of the Light, Chocololate Milk - Actions speak louder than words, Expansion- Lonnie Liston Smith, Ohio Players- Pain, Stephanie Mill - Sweet Sensation - all fabulous tunes and part of 3000 odd LPs sitting behind me that I can't ****ing play because they're on vinyl and I don't have a frigginn deck.

Yeah I know I could get the CDs, MP3s whatever, but I'm ludditely attached to that feel of an old LP with a price maked £2.

What ! newspapers will go the way of Vinyl too and dissapear at some point? Really!

3d web

How soon before we're able to bend space and time around 3d sites. . .the outernet?

What you need to know about multimedia and possibly haven't thought about it that way before... next week

Rules governing shooting video online

For professional broadcasters these rules are quite stringent and can result in huge penalities by broadcasting regulatory bodies, but with video cameras and shooting becoming prevalent by the day what are the rules governing video shooting.

We'll call this "STREET RULES - our guide to a peaceful life filming"

This isn't a guide on shooting great video, but one on the ethics of filming, that should keep you as a video blogger etc nice and clean and morally outstanding. I'll go through these in some detail over the comiing weeks.

1. Risk Assessment and public liability - Know your surroundings and be careful. If you're filming a building site, the foreman WILL ask you to wear protective gear. Watch the bus and where you're placing your interviewee. "Phew that was a close shave". Don't fudge it. If a slate shoud fall on you without due care or you cause an accident it could make the difference in claims.

2. Are you insured for shooting on the streets/public places? Should you cause an accident are you indemnified? I have a policy with BECTU which is reassuring. Shooting the odd video may cause you to think, it's not needed, which is why look up the word "accident".

In Central London, in a bid to curb "loose shooters"; these aren't tourists but content providers, not neccesarily broadcasters, the authorities require you to have a permit. And if you don't under various rules including the terrorism act, they will ask you to stop. It's actually amazing you can't find a police wo/man when you want one, but take out a camera and "Doh, nooo!@".

3. Deception - Whoah that's a biggie, if you've been reading the British Press about cousin television.

Make it clear what the progs about and that ethically you don't doctor or alter the sense of the video to suit a different cause. This is all very well you may say in comedy progs. Yeah sometimes the victims see the funny side as well, but could cause all manner of defamatory proceedings if you get it heinously wrong.

If you're in the UK and you get a letter which is headed "Carter Ruck". Be afraid, be very afraid. In fact leave the country.

4 If you're filming for investigative purposes you may see fit to use deception as your way in. Ethically once you've got what you want give the body/figure a right to reply by letting them know what you have.

This could also help you as well as you'll likely glean new information, or have some corrected: "Oh that wasn't you in the car with my wife cus you have a cinema ticket saying you were at the movies!@" "OK". If you're subject disagreess then you'll pick up new video footage of that which you can dump into your film.

The indelible Roger Cook - TV's investigative reporters' reporter made a career of filming reight to replies and often getting thumped for it, despite being a big man.

Did you see the prog where he's in the car by his lonesome taking two alleged IRA men to task? Owwww you don't wanna get it wrong here.

5. The minefield area, labelled in the BBC handbook as "Access Agreements and Consent"
What are the terms of agreements you entered in making the film?

I once made a film inside Wormwood Scrub prisons on Lifers -Prison Inmate spending around 10 years plus. It was an interesting film of them talking about Art. They asked all the right questions e.g. where it would be shown? I was at a cable station at the time and said I'd try and get them a copy.

Well you know what daily broadcasting is like, so I lost track and a month later got a nice letter in the post saying:
"Since we never signed anything, we're pulling our consent for you ever showing the prog and will SUE if you do. We've consulted our lawyers".

I believed them and duely dispatched copies of the prog with T-Shirts and the matter cooled.

Oh and did I tell you the one when filming somone living on the street at a shelter for the Christmas and he mumbed in my ear: Do you like hospital food?

I'll come back to this, the intricate laws of libel, and how doc makers work around the law with the police when they don't have hard facts.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Nancy needs a manager

Nancy who does almost all the music at is looking for you a manager.

Now Nancy is no ordinary woman. If you like Prince, Chapman, Prodidgy then you'll like her.

This from her myspace which go listen to her music

"E in motion is a young girl who was born in Swaziland the kingdom in the sky, in the South of Africa. her name is Nancy, born in 1986 she grew up listening to african jazz, american jazz, the police, brenda fasi, black mambazo, neil young, ronny jordan, jimi hendrix, tracy chapman, Duran Duran. and as she grew into her own, she started listening to a wider variety of popular music, from kwaito to heavy metal. "

She's just written a war song which I'll try and produce to Yannis Kontos' visuals.

Ferrari -part 2

Youtube chews this stuff up. I'll put a better quality one on a server somewhere even Viewmag.

The Ferrari

Some nice ees from you regarding the initial look and feel of the supercars pages.

We're going to be testing an initial ad space buy for this. We've got a number of high performance cars and invites from the EU. It's all a question of time really for me.

But I do like the feature we're considering of the school for mechanics - women only. They drive high performance cars and are shown how to deal with some of the more pernicious problems vehicle owners face e.g. changing tyre, spotting oil levels, changing spark plugs and

The first part of the film is up. The second will follow shortly.

Couple of things I have spotted. I have "crushed" the blacks to get this high contrast look, which has bleached the film in place. That's the effect I wanted, but has overcompensated on other areas with low light, so there are heightened shadows, where I'd prefer them not to be. I'll correct this by going back to the original rushes.

The original file size was around 3gb. So to get it down to 48mb and 55mb before artefacting and some fraying of the images, I have been brutal with the compression. I'm going to ease up on that as well.

This film is really about "look". On Youtube it looks aweful. Hopefully over the weekend I'll have the time to change and then reconfigure a panoramic 800 X 540 on a different server so you can watch it in full size ( Yummy).

It will yield no difference to the story, but make the film much brighter. The gamma ( light) on a windows PC tend to, by default, display images that are darker when compared to a Mac.

But hopefully when all those glitches are solved and I have introduced sime rigorous SEM the site should begin to work itself.

Then if you are interested and you values/brand are smiliar please email which gtes looked at by Kienda - very nice chap.

And he'll do some whizzadry pokery of calling you back. There, hard sell done.

Back to creative and why Multimedia is about playing with time and space rather than entities.

Good read, Red - from blogger, writer, now author

Rachel North (yep that's not her) was caught up in one of London's Tube bombings. Couple of years earlier she's been brutally sexually assaulted. She features in this August's Red Magazine.

Yep call me Metro Man!

I interviewed Rachel for Viewmagazine when we were both panelists at the WeMedia Global Forum. She's a gutsy, strong, focused woman.

After the Tube ( Subway) bombings her voice became louder; not in decibels, but reach. She became that rarest of new journalists the super blogger, then soon she was writing for the nationals and now she has a book out.

Here's a her story here in video. Apologies in advance. I'm using production methods available a year ago, so you'll have to wait for the video to load. In time I'll change that to the latest production methods which plays almost instantaneously.

kerching kerching kerching video on the net

One of the world’s most powerful ad men, Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO of WPP said on The Today programme ad spend on the web for digital services ect is expected to rise to 23%. That's a lot of kerchings.

Some very clever agencies are devising ways of tracking their spend. Doughnuting ads between video features, similar to TV is an increasing prevalent method. Then all manner of web tracking resources can be cross referenced to find peaks on the page.

A colleague from the Online News Association Kathryn Corrick (facebook) gave a wonderful demonstration on matrix analysing.

We're going to trial something at soon. ( see next post).

As you've probably realised there are no ads on viewmagazine. I have been pretty reluctant begging questions from friends etc. Er, how do you do it? "Vodoo subsiding" :)

c.f vodoo economics

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Traveling light with my movie camera- Gonzo Film Making

Cameras throughout the years
A response to Cliff Etzel at bluprojekt which I think warrants its own thread entitled, Gonzo TV and travelling light with my movie camera.

Of course if you're film making you've got your kit of parts n' all with you, but on occasions it may just be you and your lonesome camera. So, what is a man and woman supposed to do? Here's an abridged.

. . .with my movie camera

Having worked alongside some VJ folk in Berlin who were v. professional I noted they were carrying quite a chunk on their backs.

I also discovered from a fraternity of VJs from four corners of the globe, there are different dialects and approaches to Vjism. Vjism is not a one size fits all.

In the UK, when we started off, (a few years back here's a timeline), we packed, but soon many of us ditched everything for just the camera. I do the same for Journalists I advise on training courses.

  • "What you really don't need, leave behind".
  • "You sure about those shoes, you may have to run to pick up sequences ?"
  • "Yep keep a clean shirt on for those pieces to camera".
  • "I'd probably change into some trousers (pants), what if you need to get on the shot to get that shot"

On more advance courses I open them up to filters, steadycams etc, mike arrangements - all solid TV stuff, but It's really horses for courses and what makes you the VJ comfortable.

In using the term "Gonzo", I do so metaphorically, to give people an idea of Vj's personality. But the truth is I have always been light and "aggressive" with the camera. I also shoot "dirty" as a signature. One of the most outstanding directors around to shoot "dirty" is The Bourne's Paul Greengrass.

"Dirty" means there is often no clean line of sight between you and your subject. The camera becomes another person looking to engage, so you often see "warts n all". It also begs a radical form of editing. I hope the auters don't mind but this is Gonzo.

Gonzo should not be misconstrued with shoddy, just as no one would have called Hunter S Thompson's work second rate. And no that doesn't mean I'm comparing myself to the King of Gonzo.

It's the expressional form of shooting and editing, the language that mixes narratives, dialect, and form - doing away with civility. Is Videojournalism the "Rolling Stone" of TV? That's debatable. But Rolling Stone Magazine's eminence in the 60s was its redefinition of journalism.

Video journalism goes some way to doing the same. It's a state of mind as much as a fresh functional form.

A lot of the times I also don't want to be seen filming. There are laws governing "secret filming", particularly for broadcasters. But I'm not secret filming, I just don't want a sign up saying camera/director shooting.


I mean to be inconspicuous enough so there's no acting on anyone's part.

I can't tell you the amount of times I've shot footage of the police or been out with them and going light has helped tremendously.

On network TV stories in the past with time and a nice budget, yep I've had the whole shabang. Successor Generations for network Channel 4 News made from South Africa is one example. I even had the DVW900 camera. (see previous post "Small cameras=cheap TV, Yes? No?")

On some shoots on viewmagazine it's been tripoded ( carbon fibre tripod v. light) and miked e.g. Sony Dual Channel Radio mic

For example Dream Girls, which I got two of my former students to do and we had oodles of time.

But stories e.g features, news current affairs "waiteth for no one" - that's my motto.

In docs and current affairs, I prefer to move quite fast around the story, eschew set/up reconstructions and am constantly thinking: "have I got the story". 8 Days is probably the most visible and high profile of this - all handheld sans filters etc.

This doesn't mean if you're packing lights, mikes, filters etc this isn't apt, so long as you can work it pretty fast- great!

Again, it's about choice. I'm no Spielberg, oh no, but on "Saving Private Ryan", they stripped the camera of all luxuries to achieve that "frenetic" look landing on the beach.

When it comes to shooting light I'm not alone, quite a few VJs/ producer /directors I know e.g Claudio Von Planta shoot "neat". A lot of my work is about post - where it's necessary, so untreated video is a boon.

There's a scene in the Ferrari film where a man drops by in his car just to say hello, and I immediately engage him. Though he saw I was filming, I didn't want it make a song and dance about it, so I continued to film without looking at the monitor.

Like I said VJ is a state of mind.

David Dunkley Gyimah is completing his PhD which includes future journalism in video. Go to for films

The Ferrari - the Ultimate Performance Car!

Part 1 of the Ferrari. You can read the accompanying article on
Part 2 loaded at some time today

Unfortunately, Youtube's compression takes away from the aesthetic. The original file size was 3gig, before I reduced it to 55mb as you can see on viewmag. Youtube them does its own mash-up. They'll get it right soon.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Wiki Scanner

Th truth is out there.

What the $£@&*!

Ok this is an easy one. You're at a traffic light ( Robot -if you're in South Africa). Your window's are down, it's been hot. Two guys crossing the road throw a wrapper into your car. So what would you do. Drive off of course.

The vehicle's owner got out to challenge the youths and got stabbed. He would later die. Something's very wrong. If you're travelling to the UK, probability and the law of averages suggest you'll be fine, but have a bad day; wrong place, wrong time, and that's it.

The UK in the 90s did an incredible job of victimising DUI ( driving whilst drunk). Some people still do it, but the sense of bravdo attached has been diminished to idiocy, potential killers at worst. It makes you think why they can't mount a sustained campaign against this disease.

One of my former students made a comment in a vox pop: "what if". What one thing would he change, I asked. The way the media operate. They shouldn't just report but follow up, change things.

You could view what he said as rather naive, but he is onto something. In Ghana, where he lives, television has a strong social role. I'm not naive enough to believe TV makers should also become police. Make the programme, catch the culprits, but is there a role TV could be playing that until now it isn't. It does Live Aid to save the world!

A five second message strategic across targeted progs about the cause-effect of knives. Oh wait, that's already being done. They're called ads, and once the client runs out of money, someone else takes that slot.

So what's the solution? Cuz do nothing and, well. In the 0.2 world can traditional media be allowed to also multiskill and have a conscious?

Deja Vu

Rewatched Deja Vu - Denzel Washington again today. One of those films in the genre of Minority Report, which was a big influence in devising an Outernet interactive display - which was just a part of.

The direction is as stylised as is possibly could be coming from Tony Scott. The scene of using "google Earth" resolution to whizz around the city was particularly enjoyable to watch. Some fine folk at a Californian University have more or less perfected that, and the point where the Deja vu Unit tap into a city cam, all doable. Now if they could just figure how to go through worm holes.

But equally satisfying are the sort of online sites: Deja Vu, Bourne, ghosts of citesoleil that combine strong aesthetic values and an array of multimeia offerings. By the way isn't ghosts of citesoleil something? Trippy! What a bar this doc raises.

If I'm ever in need of inspiration, I turn to Apple's trailer site. Incidently, but then you knew this, most of the film sites use the same codecs you find in Final Cut - h.264

In the end it's all about experimenting and finding what works.

How do you shoot a car sequence - or even car show

This week I have finally got through to finishing off the Ferrari piece after some final project markings.

Anyways, so how do you shoot a car show with no budget or using videojournalism, without any rigs, jibs, dollys, reds, aerial mikes, filters, specialised lenses, mounts, and so on ?

All I used was the A1 Sony in HDV mode, the rest is Gonzo.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The Tao of Multimedia

What's the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao got to do with Multimedia?

Following on from the Tao theme - an article which I hope adds to the debate about producing Multimedia packages and how one might go about it. I quote a number of very well meaning people. It's a bit longish but I'll post some bits here in a couple of days and the main article on viewmag.

Meanwhile here are a few passages that give some flavour:

1)Interactivity and Multimedia is part logic, part dysfunctionality. That's because our comprehension of language, our sense of narrative is linear and as follows logical. The Whorf Sapir hypothesis describes this simply as language shapes the way we think. The way we speak is logical and so we have a tendency to present themes in this manner.

2)Mutimedia and Interactivty is more than divying up linear features and placing them on a timeline. It works at an intuitive level if you're one of those people who thinks interstially, sees an object and can think up seemingly unrelated links at first sight which have depth later, you may make a good multimedia producer.

If you're too logical, apply to CNN as a reporter. TV reporting is about resolution and closure

3) In 1995, a residing New Yorker showed how multimedia is a multiple sensory affair and at its core structure IS considered Art. Auriea Harvey, a graphic designer and artist set the on and offline world alight with her work which would also grace some of the best museums.

When I stumbled upon Harvey in 97/98, she was a wave of new fresh air. Her site has since changed; I confess I liked the earlier one. But she wrote rules that did not exist, she created forms that were fully sensory and immersive. I kept a cutting of hers on my news desk for many years. This, what she does, leads; as opposed to the many of us that follow.

4. Early cinema early contains some allegorical forms of how Multimedia would come to see itself 100 years on. Watch
Uncle Josh at the Moving Picture Show Directed by the cinema pioneer Edwin S Porter in 1902 and Life of an American Fireman.

And who are the latter day Gladiators?