Thursday, February 28, 2008

Watch this. Newspaper videojournalism formats visual newspaper

I have tried to and been fairly successful at staying in touch with print/ videojournalists whose paths I have crossed, and I'm always grateful for the warm and kind words from people like Gareth.

The latest exchange with Gareth has had me watching their latest video on his site, again and again laughing etc.

And, as I have often mentioned in briefings etc they're using video to leverage the newspaper and presumably vice versa.

Cornwall & Devon Media Lt have made video their own. Absolutely fab. Do take a look here. Nothing overly fancy, but it works as you can see below


Hi David, hope all is well.

Have been incredibly busy with the "day job" so have been desperately trying to fit video in around everything else..and soon about to train 34 of our employees who are interested! Good signs...!

If you get a few spare moments (!!) any feedback on the things I've done lately would be fantastic.
My main "showpiece" has been our What's On guide....our leisure editor is really up for it and its got everyone talking and excited about video.

An email even went around BBC Cornwall apparantly saying they had "missed the boat" and were now playing catch up with us in terms of entertainment and online video...! ( rest of email been cut)


Hi Gareth

Absolutely fantastic. Loved it. And the presenter, well he's destined for big things. Sorry but there's nothing wrong with that. Its sharp, well shot, fast narrative, size of the screens great. fabulous.. get experimenting with more hand held and fluidity with the lens, but your format's a winner. (idea - Confidential offered)


Hi David,

Just a quick note to say a huge thank you for revolutionising our video world!

I no longer feel as if I will be producing standard video pieces which have been seen a million times - but inspired to get out, capture emotion and be different, yet confident. (Hopefully the job won't get in the way too much!)

It was a real eye-opener...and can't convey my gratitude enough.

Shall continue following your site and your words of blogging wisdom...

Hope our paths cross again,

Many thanks mate,


Digital Editor
Cornwall & Devon Media Ltd

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

video hyerlinking promo viewmagazine

Promo on for video hyperlinking, which I shared with an audience.

My thanks to Tony Graves and his wonderful band of assistants at the Cultural Exchange.

Masters in Journalism students say it out Loud in an alternative fashion

Masters in Journalism students launch their web sites.

Two different briefs from alpha and bravo team within a couple of weeks from the design phase.

Built in CSS, with Flash and Video, both teams run the site with an editorial mix of designers, marketers, photo editors, podcasters, man eds and editors.

This is London London Out Loud which looks at London from a student/ international traveller's point of view.

You can learn more about their brief and USP from visiting the site.

London Alternative
London Alternative takes a similar path in appealing to international students, but you'll find that it and OutLoud are different, according to the Editorial teams.

And this is their promo

How do you treat your newspaper copy online?

In putting this hypervideo story together, I came across some some choice cuts from a fly-on-wall approach when the Telegraph invited a group of us on a tour of their newsroom.

It's senior exec was very gracious in answering a range of questions.

This one concerns how journalists treat their copy before it goes online.

Now, I didn't ask my colleague what he meant behind the question, but my guess is it has to do with SEO, Key word density and the likes.

You're writing for two audiences, and if you're clued up on writing Jakob Nielsen style, with Search Engine Optomisation for a good measure, you'll score big time.

Some CMS programmes we've discovered are better at wooing bots ( spiders crawling your text) than others.

The year of Videojournalism

  • The year of the videojournalists - the digital artists and the Net age.
    We're coming full circle into a multimodal system that wants to examine multiple perspective.

  • It's official. "We make a million pounds of ad from placing video on our site, this editor told me at a conference.
    "What!" I said.

    "The ads are crying out for video "he replied.

    Who said video doesn't sell online?

  • Today, previewed first video hyperlink stories which I hope to put online.

    It's simple. You follow a linear story and then it indicates to you various branches. For instance stay with the interview or move on.

  • This is the new promo banner for giving notice of video hyperlinking, which The Economist featured in an article. Made in FCP and After Effects.
  • Monday, February 25, 2008

    videojournalism success

    THis from one of my former students from last year. Please join me in toasting his success.

    Hi David,

    Bit of news for you on the job front. I have just signed a contract as a video journalist in Afghanistan with NATO.

    My time is going to be split between Kandahar and Copenhagen, which is the production centre. I'm going to be out there with a laptop, camera and satellite transmission gear sending back video stories which will be put on the Internet and the footage will be available on all the news wires.

    I'm off to Copenhagen at the start of March for a month and then on to Afghanistan at the start of April.

    Thanks for all your help and stay in touch.


    Sunday, February 24, 2008

    Hollywood plays multimodal - Vantage point and multiple reportage.

    What's interesting about the film, which has DNA similar to Mike Figgis' Time Code, The Usual Suspect and the daddy of them all Rashomon - about a female assault from four different angles. etc is the multiple narrative approach to unravelling/piecing together a story.

    The web site also sets up a playable game which no doubt will be translated to market research.

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

    I wrote about this some time back, but it continues to concentrate my thoughts and sets up an interesting question.

    Can multimedia also infer multifocal or multimodal?

    By its very nature and multiple delivery of assets, the PC is a multimedia tool, but how much bearing does that have on a lingua france of "choice reportage - perspectivists approach"

    In a videojournalism report I'm now compiling, what's clear is the multifaceted nature of term "multimedia" across disciplines from modern day founding father Vannevar Bush to today's graphic design community and the media.

    there's an interesting moment in the film when we're at the Telegraph's hub being shown around by a senior executive and somebody asks how the newspaper and its web version reports are consructed. It's one of the hidden arc segments of the film, so you'll have to click on the film to access this

    In itself there may be little to fuss about, but in semiotics this will have a bearing on the nature of the narrative in reportage.

    To get a sense of this obvious focal story, what part do others in the picture play?

    Before Broadcasting
    Before the language of broadcasting was refined, a legacy, but not quite a whole lift from newspaper reportage's equitone from Addison and Steele, how robust and expansive was the storytelling language?

    We might now easily take that for granted, but centuries ago, there was a different discernible paradigm in play.

    Broadcasting, 60 years old, brought its one set of rules; the ever expanding web culture has its own.

    Multimedia Reportage AD
    A hypothesis: the bible - one of the oldest and most popular tombs lays a claim to multimedia reportage.

    Matthew, Mark Luke and John - four differing perspcetives towards one event and to fully comprehend the Bible the reader is required to cover all four gospels.

    Some 500 years before this painting at the top by by Luca, Giotto di Bondone one of the greatest Italian Renaissance painters did the extraordinary with visual narrative and lines of perspective and focus.

    By jumping through the periods you begin to get an idea that our way of doing things now is not so sacrosanct - time and change move very slowly over periods of decades rather than centuries.

    So to this painting again and the original piece I wrote, as I get back to editing this multimodal report.

    See you at the Cultural Exchange.

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

    Saturday, February 23, 2008

    Culture talk - Future TV

    From Politicans, to Musicians, Poets, and Senoir BBC executives, each year the good people of Demontford University stage a week of open lectures where figures are invited to talk and anyone can just drop in - it's free.

    In the past they've had the following

  • Louis De Bernieres who wrote ‘Captain Corelli’s Mandolin’ adapted to film and stage as well as translated in over 30 languages.

  • The BBC’s creative director, Alan Yentob.

  • Germaine Greer, currently Professor of English and Comparative Studies at the University of Warwick. A well known TV critic and famed for many things including The Female Eunuch in 1970.

  • And high profile journalist, currently writing for The Guardian, Gary Younge who delivered a personal perspective on how race and culture need to change for the 21st century.

    This year I have been invited to talk and will be looking into the future of news and programme making via the web, something that I have been passionate about for a while.

    This will be jargon free and walk through the landscape of news, videojournalism and a new short film I should finish by then, which has multiple video-hyperlinks - some part of my PhD studies.

    If you're turning up do come and say hello. See you there and thanks to Tony Graves, his students who put this event together and digital connoisseur Chris Jones who provides this write up of the event and my talk.
  • Wednesday, February 20, 2008

    Inside Afghanistan

    It's one of the world's trouble hotpsots where the rules of engagement, as well as maintaining law and order is played out continuously in the face of insurgents e.g. the Taliban

    But almost everyday you can find Ron Edwards on the ground surveying the terrain and in some instances, under Chatham House rules, advising clients e.g. Army folk about what it's like being in Afghanistan.

    But Ron Edwards is a civilian and this is no ordinary country, at least in the context we fix on at the moment.

    This is Afghanistan world, as the experts would say, or Virtual world to the less-Virtual minded.

    Virtual but so real that if you're injured by an explosion you will be injured, correction your avatar will suffer inuries- yes the Matrix.

    This is a brief glimpse into a world whose potential is so huge.

    Each year we at the University of Westminster fly to Norway for War Games.

    The possibilities of augmenting those exercises with this level of modelling and mapping is awesome.

    Here's Ron ( above) talking to Ian from Thames Valley University about his work.

    I'll post a more expansive interview soon. This was shot on my Canon 1XUS 70

    Could this be the clearest evidence yet that London Undergrounds tube network could soon no longer be a mobile free zone, as this exclusive film indicates

    The tube is probably the last refuge from the all pervasive din of mobile phones and often inconsiderate callers with little phone etiquette.

    Last week a man practically gave out his home address, National Insurance number and Date of Birth on a busy carriage.

    But, with all that said, many would like to see London's tube capable of receiving mobile phone signals.

    So this man walked by me, looking like something out of robocop: an antenna hanging behind his ear and a mobile and graphic user interface in front of him.

    I had my Canon IXUS 70 in my bag and walked up to him.

    He clearly saw me filming but I did not want to draw attention to it so excuse the wobbly shots.


    Been dormant for a couple of days - Sorry back now Phew Tired, but a couple of things that may me go wow.

    1. Could London's tube ( underground network) soon be a mobile zone. Well here's the proof that it could.
    2. And inside the real Matrix - thoroughly mind blowing stuff.

    Sunday, February 17, 2008

    Please pass this on - You could help save a life

    A friend sent the following to me and I'm passing it on

    The Smile,

    – the Talking or Tongue stretching

    – the Raising of Hands

    STROKE: Remember The 1st Three Letters.... S.T.R.

    My nurse friend sent this and encouraged me to post it and spread the word. I agree.

    If everyone can remember something this simple, we could save some folks. Seriously..

    Please read:

    During a BBQ, a friend stumbled and took a little fall - she assured everyone that she was fine (they offered to call paramedics) .....she said she had just tripped over a brick because of her new shoes.

    They got her cleaned up and got her a new plate of food. While she appeared a bit shaken up, Ingrid went about enjoying herself the rest of the evening.

    Ingrid's husband called later telling everyone that his wife had been taken to the hospital - (at 6:00 pm Ingrid passed away.) She had suffered a stroke at the BBQ. Had they known how to identify the signs of a stroke, perhaps Ingrid would be with us today. Some don't die.... they end up in a helpless, hopeless condition instead.

    It only takes a minute to read this...
    A neurologist says that if he can get to a stroke victim within 3 hours he can totally reverse the effects of a stroke... totally . He said the trick was getting a stroke recognized, diagnosed, and then getting the patient medically cared for within 3 hours, which is tough.

    Thank God for the sense to remember the "3" steps, STR . Read and Learn!

    Sometimes symptoms of a stroke are difficult to identify. Unfortunately, the lack of awareness spells disaster. The stroke victim may suffer severe brain damage when people nearby fail to recognize the symptoms of a stroke .

    Now doctors say a bystander can recognize a stroke by asking three simple questions:
    S * Ask the individual to SMILE.
    T * Ask the person to TALK and SPEAK A SIMPLE SENTENCE (Coherently)
    (i.e. It is sunny out today)
    R * Ask him or her to RAISE BOTH ARMS.

    If he or she has trouble with ANY ONE of these tasks, call 999/911 immediately and describe the symptoms to the dispatcher. < /FONT>

    New Sign of a Stroke -------- Stick out Your Tongue

    NOTE: Another 'sign' of a stroke is this: Ask the person to 'stick' out his tongue.. If the tongue is 'crooked', if it goes to one side or the other , that is also an indication of a stroke.

    A cardiologist says if everyone who gets this e-mail sends it to 10 people; you can bet that at least one life will be saved.

    The British VideoJournalism Revolution from 1994 to now

    What defined videojournalism? How different was it to Television? Why was the first practitioner in the UK a newspaper outfit? And where next can it go as the main debate focuses on primary implementation?

    In a series of talks and webinars I'll be producing facts and films from archives, never seen before, that might give you a better understanding of what we're doing now and how that conversation developed 14 years ago

    The British VideoJournallism Revolution
    No company, or era captured the essence of this brave new form of journalism called Videojournalism in the UK than Channel One TV.

    For its first birthday, the accolades as you can see ( Click Image) were a fulsome acknowledgement of the changes enveloping the media; the seeds of change had been sown.

    What its first 25 videojournalists knew back then, supported by innovative management and technicians, will not surprise many of them today.

    After the first year some of Britain's biggest names in the media and politics paid their respect.

  • Tony Blair MP, not quite Prime Minister said:
    "Congratulations to Channel One on its first year. It has already been a regular fixture of all important news events and I have enjoyed speaking to its journalists. I wish it every success in the future"

  • Jane Root - at Wall to Wall who would be the first ever woman to become a channel controller at the BBC said:
    "Congratulations to Channel One. We've been delighted to help Channel One prove that good television can be low cost and high quality as well. Channel One deserves to be a great success.

  • Chris Crammer who was head of News gathering BBC News and Current Affairs and would go onto CNN, he said:
    " Congratulations to Channel One. Video Journalism has really made its mark. You've broken new ground in multi-skilling and competitive coverage. The Industry should take note"

    And then Stuart Purvis, who was chief executive of ITN, the UK's biggest independent news provider said:
    "Congratulations on a year of Channel One. You've already developed lots of new young talent and taken some impressive steps in multi-skilling".

    It wasn't only that Channel One was radically changing the face of News and Programme production, but had implemented a next generation management tier with innovation at its core, and a revolutionary news output system that had hundreds of programme execs visiting the station to learn how it was done.

    "We used track and rushes, so sometimes wouldn't see the inside of the news station for a week".

    The programme went out live, but it wasn't live, unless so various times when it created a tear in the schedule for its juke box play out system that looked like the Enterprise. One person could control everything.

    Many of those innovative assets have been lost or not yet resurfaced.

    800 people across the UK applied to become Videojournalists. It created a wild amount of curiosity.

    What is videojournalism? How does it work? What sort of stories will we cover? How will we compete with the likes of the BBC? How hyperlocal can we get? How will we cover nigh beats as soloj journalists? How will the internet aid our quest? How much will videojournalists earn? What is their future? And how would they like to shape the future?

    Remember this was 1994, 14 years ago.

    Some of the VJs would later become household names in the media at large, and multiple industry winners as well.

    Marcel Theroux, son of the famous Paul Theroux and brother to Louis Theroux, sat opposite me has made several ground breaking docs. Dimitri Doganis has become one of the UK's most formidable doc makers winning awards for features such as the Siege of Bethlehem for BBC TV. Julia Ceaser, an entertainment correspondent now fronts BBC News 24s Economics programme and Rachel Ellison, now an MBE went on to tutor female journalists in Tajikistan adn was Editor of the BBC's World Trust.

    We all met in one place, with high ideals. What we knew back then has been rerun in a new paradigm now.

    In posts to come I'll share some more of the history of Channel Oners and the flame it lit that is now subsuming news. And how full circle 14 years on a new phase of videojournalism has opened for me, which involves looking at Future TV, Presence TV and IM6 Videojournalism, which I was invited to speak at the BBC's Leadership forum.

    Next stop - how to fold videojournalism on itself and eschew VJ made for Television's stanza
  • Saturday, February 16, 2008

    Theatre of the Mind


    I should be going through the next stage of building a movie, but I have been distracted and for very good reasons.

    Once in a while a talent crosses your path; an unusual one in so much as a dying art that's been revived for the 21st century.

    Lord Bryon is a stock broker by day, but his hidden skill combines the voice of a Hollywood trailer voice artist and the writing skills of any brilliant story teller.

    Last week a colleague gave me his CD and I just went wow, so we talked about filming him and in my usual, yeah, came up with a treatment that we spent time filming.

    Credit to Kienda Hoji for producing, Hassan for lighting and filming, Lord Bryon for his incredible talent.

    It took us a couple of hours to film this 15 minute seq; not the sort of swift turnaround VJ product; this was about patience.

    We had three DV cams shooting, and I'll soon, sometime have those edited for you to really enjoy.

    Here's a preview mixed to three from the shoot. The snippet from his original audio book, which Byron calls Theater of the Mind, is called Marcus Constantine

    Of course one of the greatest in this genre is WOTW - HG Wells

    The full version soon, which we'll post on YTube.

    Friday, February 15, 2008

    Videojournalism? Journalism or Art?

    " When I'm painting, I'm not aware of what I'm doing......I have no fears about making changes, destroying the image etc because the painting has a life of its own".

    So said Jason Pollock.

    Yesterday I added this modified comment from a colleague:

    "We view and read images and film with our emotions; they are symbols that communicate with our sub conscious. Our minds make assumptions about their content and meaning, thus the image depends on the context with which it has been used.

    The image and film's state can be heightened by elements such as music, colour and narrative - all of which add texture, qualification and interpretation".

    Journalism is exacting; factual information, the truth, objectivity and impartiality.

    Embedded in long format film it is the documentary, and over the years many many doc makers often solitary or working in small groups e.g. Molly Dineen, The Lord's Tale 2002; Barbara Kopple, American Dream 1990: Jean-Marie Teno A trip to the Country, have showed us just how magnificent the form is under their authorship.

    Their pieces are considered, studied and allow movement both within the film, and by the journey of film making itself.

    Videojournalism borrows very heavily from the doc form, but works to the compressed time ratio of news???

    It is a quasi of many forms, almost confused by what it is.

    But there's no denying that it is about artisanship.

    Perhaps above many other things, it captures why there is no one fixed form and why I mention two broad strands that sit next to each other: Vjism for TV and Vjism gonzo.

    The latter is more expressionistic; eschewing the template of news production.

    For traditionalist newsmakers it's a medium hard to understand; difficult to acknowledge breaking the rules, particularly if you've been used to the stanza of prescriptive news all your working life.

    Just as one art form over time usurped another, film styles n' all, video-making ( video journalism) stands to morph from one form to another.

    We've likely only just seen the beginning of the auteurs.

    Thursday, February 14, 2008

    circular films

    This is trippy. Why is the field of view so constrained to the present paradigm.

    I mean your camera can only film so much, but what if it could take in some more around the edges, and what if the cinema canvas got even more panaromic.

    In 300 the director runs a really cool technique of both widening the frame, and in so doing manipulating the images within it.

    The effect can be just as a wierd as bullet time; differece is not many people have tried this, so give it a go.

    To illustrate how it works, put three friends on a couch with three cameras trained on them individually.

    You need three camera or more to make this look something else

    Line em up on the field of action, and where possible demarcate the action into thirds.

    Set the timecode: just slap your hands as you're recording

    The let them fidget, jump up and down etc.

    In the edit lay the three different film time lines on top of each other; synch them so they're the same timecode, then crop away each of the films to highlight only one of yor subjects.

    You should have a seamless picture.

    Now the fun; slow one down to 50 or less and speed up the other, letting one continure as normal.

    Et Voila. In 300 you see the effect best in the end fighting scenes.

    Next time try it with a wider panama.

    Now what would film look like if we could wrap it around our visual periphery?

    Yep we've been here before. cf Lev Manovic and spatial cinema.

    Nothings orginal nowadays huh!

    Wednesday, February 13, 2008

    Lets make a movie

    Actually more a trailer, but I thought this might be fun.

    This is quite gonzo - a term I often use to interchange between self authorship and what's going on in the mind.

    John Sturrock an incredible photographer and lecturer put this up on the board, last week as we double-headed.

    How right he is, how right the quote, which I have doctored and added to:

    We read images and film with our emotions; they are symbols that communicate with our sub conscious. Our minds make assumptions about their content and meaning, thus the image depends on the context with which it has been used.

    The image and film's state can be heightened by elements such as music, colour and narrative - all of which add texture, qualification and interpretation.

    The right side free-wheeling mind assimilates and hands over to the left side sequential and more ordered.

    How you react with the product is completely up to you

    Making a film/trailer/ flash movie/ site/ is an inspirational love affair - particularly when there's no green backs awaiting you.

    I suppose this vocation can be a bit like an artist painter - making pieces out of the sheer enjoyment, and that's often my starting block.

    If it's straight news then I'd like to think I'll gain the zeal from the story, but when it's a feature two things fight each other: the pic and the music.

    Ridley Scott talked about how Gladiator was inspired by a single pic and I had some idea what he meant.

    It's like a word association game: one image begats another and so on.

    When I heard this music (see below), I couldn't get it out of my head.

    The energy, pace said it all. I bought the license and played it at high volume on my Mac with speakers with no light in the room.

    It allows me to visualise scenes and how the music might be interpreted; also I'm editing sequences together.

    Then two images came to mind - which I have laid over this quicktime file.

    Left side - right side brain
    These two marry the music pretty well. They are scenes shot in Cairo for a project looking at Multimedia. Last summer I was there with Robb Montgomery and we made a behind the scenes attending to a number of projects about multimedia.

    I have since continued looking at this with elements for a half hour feature which I can put together.

    Unfortunately I can't do that in a couple of days because of commitments, but we can look at how I might get something decent - I hope, together.

    So this qt movie of two stills sets the trend.

    From here some point tonight I'll dig through my archive and look for approp shots from Cairo, London etc.

    Once I have got the shots, we'll start to manipulate them.

    Manipulating shots is perhaps the more trying for any videojournalist. It's a feel thing. I'll use a few ghosting effects and what I call grandma's recipe - stuff that I've built up which in many ways has no structure.

    Now wait, I'm not saying I'm Pollock, but if I had to a chance to ask him how does he know where to daub his strokes, the paint, I'd be highly interested in his reply.

    I wouldn't be surprised if he said, he just feels it. It may look random and perhaps it is, but the manipulation of imagery is dependent on the context and image, and that often can feel you with an emotional state that allows you to do things you wouldn't even consider worthwhile before.

    For instance in one short I made I recorded the film onto my Super 8mm and then projected that onto water surface and refilmed with my dvcam.

    I have no idea why, other than the music and the mood suited something haunting and I'd somehow conjured up, most likely from seeing someone else, a way of meeting that.

    Anyhow's enough of that. Lets see what happens tomorrow.

    top gear goes global

    If you don't know the phenomenon that is Top Gear, then read on, otherwise skip the ff paras.

    Take three blokes, as British as they can get, two whom qualify for crusty old man syndrome: butter should be evenly spread on toast, NOT pasted, and then place them alongside some of the hottest cars on the planet amid some of the best TV-film makers for that genre and let them act as spoilt teenagers and away you go.

    Notice also that there should be no scantily clad or half decently attractive women in sight.

    Sounds all too wierd for high success, but that's what this programme has consistently done over the years winning itself global gings from New Yorks TV film awards.

    Jeremy, Hamster and May are a sitcom with a script that sometimes isn't far off from the cringe of "The Office". Hamster (on account of his size) nearly met his car maker with a horrific accident last year. Jeremy parks jets in front of his house - his poor wife- and Mays is the ant-Christ of optomism: "It'll never work... it'll never work... see I told you it won't work" as his car sinks to the bottom of the river.

    And now for the news: Top Gear in on the verge of American stardom, not the stars they're already on BBC World etc, but the US wants its own Jeremy, Hamster and Mays.

    So what is it with this prog, for on the other channels are Channel 5's Fifth Gear - an O-lectric set of the old Top Gear. Yep BBC bosses actually scraped the programme, and the old team more or less went to Channel 5 sans Jeremy.

    And then ITV had Pulling Power, where the very lovely Katy Haswell worked ( We were at journalism school together and occupied a shared student digs) and my mate Kevin Haggarthy plied his own mellifluous banter.

    Kevin, ITV will tell you was a favourite on the show, much loved also by viewers in a top gear anti way.

    Kevin was the epitome of cool, without being cold or arrogant; leather jackets, racing gloves and the like,

    We made a car feature last year and now it looks like we could be testing some other super cars.

    Not anywhere near top gears budget, but how you make a car feature with spit and polish and one guy that would be me who doesn't have a clue - makes for some interesting moments.

    I'll deconstruct that item in a jiffy

    Tuesday, February 12, 2008

    Copy from Apple Presentation

    Apple have just sent this through to me for an evening presenting at their Apple stores, Regent Street, somewhere in March.

    Be a chance to mix it up and reveal how some programmes like The Ferrari 599 GTB and Vlog Butterfly were made (how some elements of TV making will never disappear) and some handheld Gonzo shooting stuff, plus other bits and pieces.

    If you're coming down, see you there.

    "Video online is coming of age. Newspapaers, magazines, the Arts, small websites are all looking to produce strong news and feature stories.

    In this session, International award winning videojournalist and creator of view, David Dunkley Gyimah, profiled on Apples Pro site, demos innovative video work with leading media brands using one person crews and the new practice IM6VJ which brings together multiple disciplines in programme production."

    Sound Slides and beyond e.g. Stop Action

    The photojo from France didn't much like it, when a couple of years back we mixed a brill gospelly track, created overnight in the studio to the photos of Yannis Kontos who had just won World Press Photographer in the contemporary section.

    "Leave the photos alone", was his advice.

    He might have a point, and perhaps he wasn't referring to the cuts you can undertake on that brill programme SoundSlides.

    In this case I was key-framing to produce the sort of filmic effect you'd find using a rostrum camera on opening credits to Law and Order or Homicide - Life on the Street.

    Manipulating pics to provide movement is one of those added weapons in film making, whether as stand alone - see Eye of the Prize or as part of film - and one effect which regularly surfaces and there are some good ones on Youtube is Stop Action.

    I can see how I'll end up stretching this to do something else, but for 5 minutes work, well you judge.

    There's really nothing in it other than dragging a selection of photos from Iphoto onto FCPs timeline which I configured to 5 frames in FCPs "still frame" settings.

    A student emailed me about creativity and how you begin to create a slew of workable ideas.

    My advice to her was that beyond the plethora of books on the stores shelves,go hang out with creative people, if you have the opportunity, particularly those that come from the adworld.

    Their motivation, aside from being creative is to sell a product within the constrains of compressed time: a short movie in 40 seconds.

    I spent three years with Jon Staton, ex head of TV at Saatchi and Saatchi - who's still my mentor. His office housed another creative team: the writers who thought up the car in front is a Toyota and other gems

    And as a parting para to the wonderful world of manipulating pics, how about this for photorealistic from a friend and work colleague, Rob Ojok.

    This isn't a picture taken by a stills camera but something built in Illustrator.


    Monday, February 11, 2008

    Accelerated news making

    Digital Video has been around for at least ten years now, DVcams much the same, and whilst programme making and film has been heavily influenced by its presence, one facet of TV had remained resolutely unchanged.

    Consider the strides made in the written word, the fluidity of language caught in new contemporary forms, magazines such as Vanity Fair, Marie Claire, News Statesman, Arena and The Face.

    Examine how digital has alterted the form of film making from Mike Figgis' Time Code, The Matrix to Beowulf.

    The intimacy of this non celluloid form has created a slew of altered states, new horizions, a language which modern day lexicons have either been ill at ease accepting, or not bothered at all.

    You might ask why TV News terms e.g. two-way, oov, Piece to Camera have not been joined by 21st century aphorisms.

    Of the many people who deride videojournalism, it's the unconventional nature of the art, that leaves them feeling uncomfortable: Vj is nothing more than dirty TV.

    In the 90s, the very idea of camera operators doing sound in a bid for the networks to cut money drew sharp breaths; doing everything well that's plain daft: if it's not broke why fix it.

    What's more videojournalism is to them an imposter of TV News production as it should be.


    Sunday, February 10, 2008

    BBC's assessment of South Africa

    Thru the eyes of a child circa 1992 - an 11 year old gives her assessment of South Africa, with a fresh-faced David presenting the programme from their edit room in Rivonia, Joburg.

    The BBC's current affairs programme, Panorama broadcasts its health check of South Africa on Monday in view of Jacob Zuma's assumed shoe-in to South Africa's presidency.

    No more Mandelas features Fergal Keane, the BBC's foreign Corr at the time of SA's political transition, returning to the country to ask about Mandela's legacy and the new President of the ANC Jacob Zuma, whether he has the right character to lead the country.

    Jacob Zuma has been charged with corruption; he denies all charges.

    South Africa holds a special place for many people, contemporary historians, current affairs followers et al.

    If you have no recollection of South Africa's seggregationist politics called Apartheid, reminiscent once of US laws, then it might be difficult to appreciate the country's incredible journey.

    In the ABC Newsroom near the SABC where I worked, and where the BBC, ITN, WTN and many other foreign networks were housed, the conversation would invariably, during the run up to the 94 election, be along the lines of, "what if".

    I remember showing around IRN, Independent radio News, reporters who landed within the election run asking what the potential for a blow up was.

    The media waited with bated breath. Would she, wouldn't she?

    It is testimony to all, not least the politicians such as Mr Mandela that the country held its nerve and the networks disengaged from the region taking flight to Rwanda.

    It was the beginning of some harrowing reportage from that region.

    In the slip stream of Zuma's election presidency when it comes to that, the networks will be back in SA; not as post Decade of Democracy reportage, but subtext that dare not speak its name.

    Which corner will South Africa turn?

    There are a number of features I made from the region during my 18month stay, but two in particular remain dear to me.

    Partly because they have sociolgical angles to them: Veronique here was 12 at the time we made this programme and says a number of things you might find interesting, then my First and Second time voters who cherished the ideals of voting.


    This caught my attention. Whoever it was in Ghana's Cup of Nations that let this slip ought to take a history lesson or two. On a lamp poster extoling the arrival of the South African's someone used the old South Africa flag; the Apartheid one.

    Saturday, February 09, 2008

    Sky's new addition - Dionne's dream job

    Great News. This afternoon I heard from a good friend - also a former Masters student of mine - who's got the gig she's been after since we first met, working in LA, for Sky's new entertainment network.

    Dionne deserves all the credit in her new life; she's worked odd jobs, slept on couches, worried about her finances, but remained resolute and focused.

    In her student days she got herself onto the red carpet for Sin City and bagged some good interviews, and a couple of years ago she braved the cold to interview the stars of Dream Girls, which you can see below in pics and the short feature we made, where we leave the camera rolling to catch the behind-the-scene chatter.

    In life you get what you strive for, ambition isn't a dirty word: if you work hard you'll be rewarded. Luck sometimes is something engineered out of circumstances and the numbers game and no more is this all exemplified in Dionne's success.

    Was it Luke Perry who tried out for more than 200 auditions before landing 90210

    I,We her friends, wish Dionne all the best.

    p.s Lucky girl. She's been invited to the Grammys by some big cheese that recorded a Beyonce track

    Dionne at work on the DreamGirls Red Carpet

    The Levels and Perils of Videojournalism

    on the front page of you can hear a radio report from David for BBC Radio circa 1992 on how the then Conservative government planned to tackle youth crime by penalising parents. The present government want to adopt something not too dissimilar.

    "So you wanna be a videojournalist?"

    "Have you got a camera? Yes! You're a videojournalist"

    It may sound flippant, but this scene, if anything, captures the essence of this evolving discipline and equally importantly intimates one thing: "There is no fixed stanza -everyone has or can develop their own style and you probably don't need training".

    The term has evolved, metamorphised since I first became privy back in 1993 at BBC Reportage when it wasn't even called that.

    I got my second national TV job in 1992 on the groundbreaking BBC Reportage by having to send in a piece to camera on a VHS video camera, before becoming imbued in the craft more diligently later on with Channel One.

    Q and A
    One of the over riding questions I get asked is often: "We want to do something new, something bold".

    Whilst other companies are content with a strong televisual ethic - no russian two-steps (shooting technique)

    I have a couple of VJ shooters whose own work I admire and the one thing that is prevalent with them is their understanding of the form of television production.

    I often say with clients, students etc that the ones that will wrestle most with the conversion to Vjism will be those with existing dye-in-the-wool television skills, but there's a caveat, that is if they're not prepared to experiment.

    Some time ago some journalists I was mixing it with physically crossed TV's line, but technically the shoot worked: what's the problem?

    At its heart videojournalism is television, film making, artistry, motion graphics rolled into one.

    And from this new Lego set, some blocks have been pulled out and discarded, but videojournalism is still television making, just as good feature television making is film making and to push the comparison impressionism or cubism is art.

    As a genre Vj looks to push the boundaries, but it would be a brave practitioner that threw the baby out with the bath water.

    It is folly as one TV Network has proclaimed to do away with cutaways on the strength of how they became lambasted: it's the execution not the technique itself.

    VJ TV, Film -one and the same

    You still need the language of television, which often yields an amusing scenario in lectures and on the circuit.

    If you want to learn a foreign language, you're ahead of me aren't you.

    Similarly if you want to understand Vjism and where you might break rules, or re-apply new ones, watch lots and lots of TV, study lots and lots of good film directors, search out many many videojournalists and deconstruct their work.

    And yes that includes some of the greats: Eisenstein and Lang: watch this for a history of German film.

    VJs strength lies in its visual interpretation of an issue or event and how that is done is very much the stuff of film making.

    You take the project as it comes, falling back on your visual linguistic knowledge and go for it, which is why good film makers can handle a plethora of genre.

    A confident VJ/ film maker knows when to be restrained, even tell the story in the latin of TV News and when to go "Bourne".

    This week the editor of the FTs online operations called me into his office: "You'll probably want to see this, part of your in-house advice last year".

    It was a sturdy piece of videojournalism, with sequences which pleased the eye and it worked very well, not just for me, but the FT's audience as their general huge rise in online figures show.

    Deconstructing VideoJournalism
    Yesterday a local newspaper in Oxfordshire whose journalists I have swapped ideas with emailed me a link for a critique (I try very hard to maintain a link and help where possible those whose path I have crossed).

    What do you think about the video; a woman recovering from an illness?

    Fine my answer, but you neeed to isolate her, consider your mis en scene and also get her to speak slowly.

    My BBC Radio days have taught me a few things about speech. If while speaking to some one you begin to subdue your voice as you articulate what you want, your interviewee will follow.

    In my doc for BBC Radio 4, First Time Voters, I asked my interviewees to take a bath or relax and I'd interview them around 9 in the evening.

    I had that luxury and I knew at that time that with few distractions I'd get better material.

    Of the four interviews, one broke down crying: I stopped the tape out of empathy for my interviewee and was roasted by my award winning radio 4 producer.

    Another one threatened to almost hit me (he got so passionate) when I dared to ask why he wouldn't vote in the general election and the other two dug dip inside themselves.

    My VJ friend from Oxford is now investing in a black backdrop to isolate his interviewees where necessary.

    VJs K.App
    The most remarkable thing about Vj is the one major thing that was its big sell in the first place; that astonishingly one person can do the job of at least four people: film, do sound, edit, and voice.

    That is still remarkable and by default the pay off is an extraordinary reduction in the work flow costs, though I know VJs who come at the price equivalent of the the four combined professions.

    And to this hazy mix of attempting to do everything and succeeding, the anti has been raised further.

    IM6 Videojournalism is what I might call Total VJ, oftened likened to the small self contained unit of special forces, where in time controlled environments, armed with laptop, cameras and sat pack you're pushing the edges further.

    Influenced by the writings of Leonard Shlain and Manovic I've capture this in the below equation. If you're a maths major it should appear familiar.

    On the other hand if you pick up a camera and you can shoot, you're still a VJ, at least in my book.

    David will be at Apples store Regent street talking about videojournalism and how some of the UK's leading brands are using it.

    Friday, February 08, 2008

    Response to Jeff Jarvis finds his Mojo

    I have left this on the link above

    Agree with Jeff about the broadcast-flow, so for what's termed "smash and grabs" the Nokia is ideal.

    Easily, by the time Tory leader David Cameron would have known he was about to be interviewed the camera would have been out. Its rate of transmission online also puts added pressure on professionals for being on song.

    As a videojournalists and academic the smaller sized HD cams still get my vote and I remember well in 1994 when I first took out a Sony Hi8 to interview a British MP and the reaction it caused.

    The HD's quality threshold is a big plus and if the sony's etc can get blue sky, they'll have a small small wifi card developed that can take video cuts, probably compressed, straight online.

    The Nokia by the way was showacased in London at Reuter's headquarters in 2007 before members of the Online News Association.

    You can see snippets of a liveky debate here

    Where the Nokia would score really high would be in war situations. It would be ideal for an exercise we run with Nato ~ war games

    And just for good measure here's a piece from in 2004 illustrating how we trend extrapolated mobile phone broadscasting together with the powerpoint. Seems we're all inching very close to what we call here Total Broadcast.

    Doing Matt Damon

    I saw this last week. If you're a Bourne fan this'll make you scream.

    Please, please, please, this is adulty cuz of the profane, but they do beep out, so if you're young or need supervision, please skip this.

    Good to see someone not taking themselves too seriously or as we would say in Blightly take the P*** out of themselves.

    Telling the story = Video+ journalism+ web+SEO

    David interviewing the BBC's head of multimedia Newsroom Peter Horrocks. David is using an Sony A1 with a radio mike and a Mac used to show Peter video clips

    D'you think we're doing enough to tackle this issue (global warming)? Are we thinking the big ideas?

    The question from the BBC's venerable morning news and current affairs talks show, Radio 4 was in response to an item looking at bold science and how scientists are now dreaming up schemes to reduce the world's Co2 emissions, which seems the stuff of science fiction.

    Are we thinking the big idea with the threat of a cataclysmic accident?

    You could almost ask the same of journalism, though you'd have to think sideways to pull parrallels with an imminent catastrophic event and frankly you could argue that journalism has been thinking big, major big as of late.

    So are we now telling the story?

    That in effect is the kernal of an afternoon talk at Cultural Exchange in Leicester, a gathering of eclectic professionals from all areas.

    I'm deeply grateful for the invitation to speak and should have every reason to feel excited and apprehensive.

    Firstly excited because I'm talking to an audience, not soley compriding the industry, so I'm looking forward to stripping back some of the assets we often take for granted in news.

    Secondly, I'm excited at the notion of what if, how far can we push the existing consensus of news.

    So my wish will be to pose questions about what we do, as much as seek answers?

    Are we thinking big?

    Are we thinking big

    Apprehensive because firstly one ought to; the fight syndrome is necessary to work proficiently.

    But also because perversely the audience I will be speaking to, will want to be challenged ( I would if I was in the audience)

    Assume nothing, say something. The methodology of lecturing will be much called upon here.

    So are we telling the story?

    Hah how long is a piece of string?

    but some thoughts are crystallising.

    It is the bane of every news executive that you cannot please everyone all of the time; you're damned if you do and damned if you don't.

    There have been seismic advances in news and change, particularly over the last four years, and the environment is still evolving - a slow burn evolution to the formation of a new star to rival the old magnificent one, the Sun.

    It's very plausible that the world of 2020 may look a very different place.

    And if it is, then one major impact will have been our ideological change to telling a story.

    By far the one thing that has us chomping at the bits, ready to critique, made us entrenched in our views has been our ideological position, which in itself is born of other facts e.g. up bringing, environment, social unit, schooling, rationale etc.

    Just as in politics, the Republicans and Democrats, Conservatives and Labour, the military junta and local politicised citizens, they couldn't boil and egg together; " No you get the water, I'll get the egg!", Journalism for long has had a polarising edge.

    It, the news outlet may have interviewed you, it may have sought your views, but, but, you were never cut out to understand or tell the news.

    Of the times I have been interviewed by potential media employees for a staff job, I might have thought yes I didn't get the job because I did not know enough, didn't demonstrate I could know enough, but also that ideologically I may be different to the hosts' wishes.

    That's not a criticism. If you're coming to sup at someones house, then they'd expect you to have the same mannerisms as them.

    So the ideological notion of news and programme making, steadfast as it is, still holds intact the brandnames of famous news outlets.

    And the something that's happening is significant for the reasons that some outlets are softening their positions, their manifestos are embracing new ideas, radical by their traditional standards.

    But also that the the big brain of news production which was once carved up between distinct groups is being metasised by new grey matter, with something to say.

    Storyvilles' Storybridge sets a tone
    A local news team nt in existence five years ago finds the net and an audience; that's the stuff of - superb

    Similarly even amongst the established players, new ideas e.g. video has them playing new strategies.

    It may not be surprising, though I raise my eyebrow in humor, that many of the newspaper groups I have come by no longer deify the broadcasters in the way they once did and want to take them on at their own game.

    Fancy that - a newspaper with no video ambitions five years ago wants to take on the bastion of video - TV news production, the BBC, ABC e.g. without a hint of farce in their pronouncement.

    The journey at cultural Exchanges will be one trying to explain my fascination with story-telling; a precocious 14 year old stuck on his bunk bed in boarding college reading newsweek and writing a report for our college mag on "the Neutron Bomb- the armageddon of contemporary armament .

    But how being on the fringes has some benefits; that the design of the tech standard of journalism I have come to practice embraces CSS, HTML, SEO, Videojournalism, Podcasting, Flash, Multimedia, Director, Promos, Outernet, BUT reside heavily on the tenants of journalism e.g. factual, objective, impartial etc.

    And when I say being on the fringes there are a myriad variables I could explain, one being coming from a background in science ie Maths and Chemistry degree.

    Are we telling the story?

    Are we telling the story is a personal tale, without being David-centric.

    I cam across a picture recently which had some effect on me. It's by Paul Cezanne called Apples and Oranges who is described as the father of modern art.

    In this picture, well documented, but of use for my news purpose, Cezanne is instrunental in breaking a painting and presumably cultural paradigm.

    Ther are multiple focuses in the frame, each telling a different story - much for me like this picture below taken by a good freind Sajo Idrizinovic.

    And it's multiple story telling with what we can do with interactivity that should allow us to open up ideologies even further.

    Are we telling the story sound like an abstract, but I'd be interested in hearing many thoughts.

    Thursday, February 07, 2008

    FT multimedia Newsroom more pics and contextual reporting

    More pics and news of the great activity at the FT. Shared some time with their Editor and senior journalists yesterday.

    A lot of what I can't say would fall under Chatham House rules.

    But we got to look at editing for journalists and I was taken by the work of some of their reporters now Vjing, and news packages being put together.

    More on that later.

    Here's some new pics that give you an idea of their hub.

    The government wants to fine parents for the children's misdemeanors.

    Yesterday I spoke about contextual reporting.

    Where have we heard this before in recent times.

    Flashback the Tories illustrated by this picture from photographer and lecturing colleague John Sturrock and a soon to be added radio report for BBC Radio 5 on the conservative government's plans on penalising parents.

    We've been here before.

    Wednesday, February 06, 2008

    Building a video production network - the pay some attention to contextual (archival) reporting

    I couldn't tell you why I did it.

    Perhaps it was the wow syndrome of actually reporting on air, for the BBC, knowing that sooner I'd have to seek other alternative empolyment, so this was effectively my electronic scrap book.

    The Net was still incubating within universities; the web yet to see air, but where possible I tried to keep my reports.

    Not any old reports, but those that gave some context to the present political and social ecosystem, by default you hear, as unless you set out from the get-go, few reporters might believe they're repoting something rather of great significance.

    But when you look through the archives of even contemporary history, you can pull out some major moments.

    In the UK, the Thatcher er, go back further to Wilson, further back, Eden.

    Globally, the Watts Riots, the explosion of the LA riots, South Africa's elections, Bhuttos death and so on.

    Contemporary sliced history
    Within these events a great number of reporters, print and electronic, deliver a version of contemporary history.

    However the reports we're likely to remember have some key elements: strong reporting and context that puts the then report into perspective.

    Often the report builds in archive; archive that in some way is a narrative of old which trend extrapolates into the present.

    An example: any mention of Jerome Kerviel's ( who is he?) is given greater depth alongside Liam Neeson (ah Gotcha).

    And it's not that Mr Kerviel doesn't make scintilating reportage on his own, but the context of Neeson gives it a broader peg.

    As a self contained report reflecting other nuances and events, it is a slice, however, slither of contemporary reporting history.

    It's every reason why when there were riots in LA, Charles Wheelers reports from the 60s - Watts - gave substance- a bigger why, how, when.

    It may well be when we calm down a bit over our excitement with video, that when generations look back, the small easy-to-watch hilarious video snaps on YouTube may still prove popular.

    But for the many video outfits, newspapers and new broadcasters starting out, an idea of how things were against what they are now - say if this were 2015 - is what will have resonance with that news generation.

    And that archive and contextual reportage, what the BBC instituted as a matter of course under its then 90s DG, and was given the title Birt's mission to explain, will be a major player.

    Archive starts now.

    If you're setting out you'd be ill-advised to ignore it, particularly when you look back 5 years on and realise THAT report, THAT issue, happened on your watch and you ignored it, never gave it the feature angle it deserved ( Call it the newsnight approach), never realised that you could do so much more than the snap news-in-brief we have become accustomed to.

    David's Archive
    Above pic shows an array of tapes within our studio with an assortment of tapes of a dizzying array of formats; each one possessing something I felt attached to decided was siginificant.

    Some of David's most personable and memorable reportge in no order

    1. Launch of Channel One ( dedicated VJ station) thought to challenge hegemony of TV News 94
    2. South Africa election 94
    3 Meeting Nelson Mandela -96
    4. Tory education secretary Jackson trying to sell university fees -88
    5. Unity 94 - gathering of Journalists of colour in Atlanta
    6. Crime spree UK - Tory Minister Waddington on taxing parents for their children's misdeeds -91
    7. 8 Days - UK's first regional journalists being trained in videojournalists -05
    8 Interviewing Loius Farrakhan for an hour - 92
    9. Gene (DNA) conference on breakthrough of gene mapping
    10. San Antonio - Trust in the Media conference

    Tuesday, February 05, 2008

    Men - how often do you examine your testicles

    I know how this comes across, but for this reportage I couldn't be any more blunt.

    A report which I dug out made for BBC Radio looked at the growing number of men between 18-40 affected by testicular cancer.

    I visited a young man, former navy personnel, on the Isle of Wight you had one testice removed because of the illness.

    He was told he'd never be able to have children, but miracuolusly he did.

    The hospital I went to for the report advised me on a daily routine for men to check themselves.

    Behind the screen, the doc told me to pull my trousers down, er ( fright) and he'd check and using diagrams show me what men should be doing every morning.

    "That's a bit embarassing doc", aint it".

    "Nonsence", he replied, "women perform routine checks on their breasts for any abnornalities, what's the problem!"

    You can find the radio report on the front page of a simple routine that's worth the bother.

    Monday, February 04, 2008

    Exclusive pics inside the integrated FT Newsroom's hub

    It's been written about, featuring in the Guardian and other newspapers, but these might be some of the first pictures on the web showing off the Financial Times's new newsroom and the hub, which is triangular of sorts.

    In the past few months the integrated newsroom has grown in popularity.

    The Telegraph might have been the first to launch, though I'm interested to learn whether they saw the idea somewhere else when they sent managers on a fact finding world mission to create the newsroom of the 21st century.

    Channel 4 News, where I used to freelance regularly has mooted its new newsroom, The Guardian is yet to move into its new offices and the BBC is in the process of creating its multimedia newsroom ( see interviews from Vlog Butterfly)

    Various pics inside the newsroom

    the core of the hub is a triangular seating composition

    So what of the FT and the effect of these changes?
    The newsroom has changed beyond recognition from when I was there last year doing some interesting project with their journalists.

    Various TV screens provide a focus from where ever you are in the room.

    Some of the inner offices have been removed, thus the floor space is bigger.

    The lighting is brighter

    Branding colours aboves the desks have changed, as has the floor colour.

    There is a uniformity over equipment ie PCs

    Behind the scenes, the FT is upping its game on video.

    If you're a skilled video maker, then a flood of job ads are about to appear in the Guardian etc.

    Among their new video recruits are pro skilled camera operators who can talk geek speak ie what's the difference between 1080i50 annd 1080i60 and whether cameras should be fitted with specialist lens for increased shallow depths of field.

    I'll write a lengthy article on the FT soon, but in the meantime you can read and watch video of Inside the FT from a previous visit.

    A FT friend has a look at Viewmagazine's recent Vlog Butterfly

    David inside the FT

    Sunday, February 03, 2008

    Television's big RIP ~ ie its amazing Reprieve - a future Newsweek personality

    Since writing this blog, Duncan and I have since met up. More recently a lot more interest has been generated in his app. In a meeting I would attend with Duncan, a former head of TV at Saatchi and Saatchi Jon Staton swore on being taken through Duncan's baby, saying "this is the holy grail of communications".

    This post is available here as an MP3 podcast for you to download - should you wish of course :)

    Google the name "Duncan Whiteman" and the chances are you'll get nothing, which is surprising, utterly surprising.

    For Duncan Whiteman, with no hint of irony or hyperbole stands at the gates of a malestrom with the ability to irrevocably change the face of television as you or I know it.

    His absence from the web is all the more remarkable since he's had his hand in other apps, though not as a front figure.

    But now, now, is on the verge of his opus.

    And when it hits us depending on who you are, it'll either be the biggest disruptive force to you profession or a liberation into a territory unknown thus far.

    Who is Duncan Whiteman?

    He's a genius, a code writer, who can manipulate anything but life itself through line and line of code, a key holder to the matrix of emerging TV

    Why you should know the name Duncan Whiteman.
    Duncan currently lives in Spain with his family, an Englishman who hails from Leicester, who attended university at below the age we normmaly associate with tertiary education.

    We met through a friends friend.

    He was in the midst of a multimillion pound pitch - deal, a demonstration, when the group gasped at what they were seeing.

    Surely this can't be done.

    But Ken Walker, an artist and close friend asked the attending group to stop and take stock.

    "Do you know what you're looking at"?

    D-O Y-O-U K-N-O-W W-H-A-T Y-O-U A-R-E L-O-O-K-I-N-G A-T? he said again more measured.

    I know that because when my phone rang one evening, that's all Ken would repeat.

    "I have got this mate called David", Ken told the group, "He's into all this. Why not let him take a look?"

    "Er I'm flattered Ken. OK, but I can't promise anything" was my response.

    The meeting
    A skype conference chat was set.

    Duncan is an habitual background checker; if you're going to be sitting at his table, he wants to know who you are.

    But this time Duncan, at least before our meeting did not google me. He felt at ease with my introduction he would later say.

    For anyone who knows me, I am, If I'm allowed to say so myself, very easy going. Mannana mannana. What will be will be.

    Cyber handshakes by the party over, Duncan went into his shed- metaphorically- and showed me around.

    It must be a pisser, because that's what it boiled down to, to know that someone you've never met is evaluating, guaging you, trying to fill in the void which for a man of Duncan's status should be 1,000,000 google pages minimum.

    And that the right outcome puts you on course to your ultimate goal.

    Let's praise even the smallest achievements we make, rather than criticise the mistakes that we are bound to make. We're human after all: Glass half full, rather than half empty is my mantra

    Whos is Kaizer, no Duncan Whiteman
    Duncan, frankly sits in that rarefied air of the Jobs and Bill Gates.

    What was destined to take a few minutes, ended up taking 30....1 hour.... 1hr.30.....2 hours....2hrs.30.... 3 hours.

    And even then we could have continued.

    We spoke, and spoke, and even now speak some more.

    Perhaps also because he's from Leicester and went to uni there, as did I.

    And also that he effortlessly moves from media to maths and code, which chimes with my degree in Applied Maths and Chemistry, though I'd be the FIRST to say I'm not even a smidgen in Duncan's league.

    What I saw, what Duncan plans needs to be seen, released for all to enjoy or killed - stopped dead in his tracts.

    The latter we joke about, because Duncan recognises the disruptive nature of his invention and so do many many others who've had a sniff.

    What is it? All I can say is imagine the best and worst of what the media could be in a future of Isaac Asimov.

    Many CEOs that control what you do in the media, and have by proxy come by Duncan know that much and have made themselves known to him.

    And many don't know the half of it - as Project X, Duncan's not one for showing his hand.

    What is emerging as public knowledge has been Duncan's breakthrough at algorithmically transmitting High Definition film down the web, without it going at all.

    Sorry if I have lost you.

    Among the select few popping by to say hello, include one of the world's most powerful media magnates'. Yes Mr X. He's on Xs Christmas card list.

    Are you thinking what I'm thinking?

    No, I'm thinking something else that Television's big RIP, that is it's amazing reprieve - will no doubt feature in Wired Magazine and either be something we're all going to enjoy or never ever see.

    End ++++

    If you'd like to talk to, hear more from Duncan, let me know and I'll look to set up a conf skype

    Round up

    Great posts from Peter Ralph at Shootingbynumbers
    " If your eyes enter from the left of the screen they will tend to settle more comfortably on the right.
    So in most images placing the focus of attention on the right of the screen will produce a more harmonious composition."

    From Digital Basin, Mike Jones
    elaborates on space and cinema and the unquestionable matrixes that hold this form together
    ".....for it is these discourses that have served as the pillars for established cinematic theory over the past century ? mise-en-scene, montage, the role of the viewer and the role of the maker are all built from their accepted norms"

    Cliff Etzel has made the leap from DV to HD out of neccessity
    "...I made the jump to HDV after having lost out on two potential broadcast projects where the producers specifically asked me if I shot HD. Having to say no I didn’t shoot HD probably lost me those possible projects. So it was a necessary expendeture I had to make."

    And the usual bag of goodies at Multimedia shooters.. Multimedia shooters

    Saturday, February 02, 2008

    Designed journalism, visual journalism, video-multimedia journalism

    Just picked up two amazing books for a bargain price of 20 UKP.

    One's on Bauhaus design and the other from an amazing design outfit called the Attic Seeing is Believing and this book is a wealth of inspiration - from anything such as web design, typography, motion graphics and trippy things.

    The process of design meets journalism has crystalised three main core areas for me in this new new thing.

  • Videohyperlinking - linking one video to another within the frame. In other words by clicking the linear video you'll jump to another segment then come back to the mother time line. I have produced an example, from a conference in San Antonio - you'll need a fast connection.

  • Integrated Multimedia Videojournalism - the aesthetic of videojournalism (Gonzo) with graphic and motion design yielding integrated multimedia packages. The Butterfly Vlog and the Family would be examples. The latter points to interactive docs and a strong film aesthetic with promos etc.

  • The Outernet - The point where the net is no longer tethered to desks and laptops, but three D space designs such as the cube here - a playable huge rubick's cube which shows a story on segments of each side, controllable like the interface in Minority Report. Being immersed in ones own site, interacting live with the data ( not quite there yet) are other examples. You'll see an example of an aspect of the Outernet controlled by hand movements on Apple's site; they asked for the pic for an article.

    The skill set is what we've all come to know: Video, FCP, Flash, Director, Action Scripting, CSS, After Effects, Key framing, Illustration, Compression technology, Sound Pro, Lighting, typography - and thus borrows from the web, TV-docs production, radio production, graphic design, and videojournalism.

    One of the more prevalent questions I get asked concerns compressing film.
    Take this promo here for instance which measures unusually 800 px by 450 px on the screen reduced from over a gig to 15mb. The key is to compress your film above its minimum threshold; the point where it begins to disinetegrate and then recompress at Flashes higher state.

    Equally important I'd add it's not what I think I know already, but employing a different approach, that which I don't know but am willing to give a go. Artistry means never pursuing the same idea and execution twice.

    This inspires the pants of me - from the ronin, the titles to OFFF in New York - produced off a small cam and distilled through After Effects.

    Yes it's not journalism, but if you wanna know about the water, don't ask a fish!
  • Scary Shoot - Reminisce

    Working for ABC News. On the eve of SA's first all-race election a terrorist bomb rocks the centre of town and shakes my home nearby. We're soon on the scene to see the carnage. Minutes later a colleage from the BBC World Service calls to ask if I can report from the scene. Here for the report of the elections taken from Viewmagazine's how to produce better podcasts.

    South Africa's townships provided the backdrop to some of the most scariest reports, which looking back on, I have no idea how and why I did them.

    No I do, when you're fairly new to the game, ( I'd had five prior years at the BBC before going off alone to SA in 1992) you're invincible and I wanted to see the world.

    I'd boarded a plane to South Africa with nothing more than a newspaper cutting of someone I'd found in a South African freebie newspaper.

    I asked him to meet me at the Airport.

    He did.

    Had he not I have no idea how I would have survived.

    Alan Swedlow was not only one of South Africa's rising theatre directors, but a thoroughly decent man with a contacts book to die for. He's next door neighbour was a woman whom in years to come would serve as SA's ambassador to the UK, Cherly Carrolus.

    inside the Townships
    The townships became a hang out. That's were the stories were.

    Surprisingly, they were also fairly close to Joburg, (Alexandra is in Joburg) which was a mystery to me.

    Of all the newscasts I'd seen, I have never envisioned Soweto to be this huge place, with, yes call me naive, had a BMW dealership in its midst.

    The great thing about South Africa is that I was never discriminated in my penchant to want to do different things.

    What I mean is that London ( the BBC World Service) would happily take a radio package from me; whilst the next day I was either producing, directing and reporting a tv feature for an international outfitf, writing a newspaper article, or as I became involved in later, working with ABC News.

    how to produce better podcasts - talking to US Air America, now WLIB veteran broadcaster Mark Riley

    Close calls
    I had many close brushes; once I was pursued by a car jackers after a new car I'd hired for a feature for BBC Radio 4, then a couple of Boers accused me of being responsible for concentration camps - being a brit you see, and then the littany of gun fire attacks in down town Joburg.

    On one of the scariest assignments, we'd journeyed into Kathlehong, then labelled murder capital of the world. The previous day, our contact told us, several men and women had been gunned down.

    "If you value your lives you will do exactly what I say" he whispered forcefully.

    Clearly we didn't value our lives because we'd just signed a death warrant saying in the event of our deaths, the team taking us in were not to blame.

    There came a point in our night patrol when someone aimed an RPG at our truck, but decided not to shoot when we flashed our lights. We all had night vision goggles on.

    In a car coming home one day, a new friend who worked at one of the more prominent radio stations, Metro, warned me to stay down as we drove through one of Soweto's more dangerous surburbs.

    A few days earlier he'd been carjacked.

    As the robbers fumbled with his car keys, he let off 5 rounds into them, fatally wounding them.

    The event was reported to the police.

    What happened, I asked.

    The police chief told me to go away, he replied, adding that the day I empty a whole cartridge, reload and empy another clip, I'll have something to be accountable for.

    At that moment he took the gun, a glock from the glove box and waved it at me.

    "It's got dum dum bullets designed to cause maximum damage" he said.

    I asked somewhat tentatively to feel the gun: cold, was my assessment.

    With a high-8 camera I captured a few scenes that I have archived and will one day trawl through.

    But I mention all this given the scorn one can now receive at being called multiskilled.

    Frankly it was always about survival for me, but in a way I was no less scared about what you could do and would like to do after coming across Jerry Timmins.

    Now one of the most respected senior senior execs at the BBC World Service, I happened to be around when he was a producer/reporter/director at BBC Newsnight.

    Such was his prodigious talents that he was always in demand to help with a report.

    Clearly I thought if you can learn these other things, aren't you merely raisiing your stock? I think so.