Monday, March 31, 2008

New Wonders - Journalism could learn from.

She's tipped as the new sensation...

Yes, yes they say that about many people, but for my colleague who's recently been involved in signing John and Jehn, Rahel is the real thing.

But as much as I'm into posting about this about someone who's destined for big things, I'm also fascinated by the event that enables such creatives to come together and collaborate in a manner that can only foster greatness.

In Hammelburg Germany, every year a swathe of students from various universities across Europe, of different disciplines meet, supervised by business and music types such as my colleague Kienda Hoji.

There in a retreat, a castle, they go through a number of simulations to get students into this type of shape.

It's brilliant and inspiring and it's called MUSO.

They meet without knowing each other and then share, swap ideas and come away after a week richer in knowledge and ideas: I mean this song was put together overnight - wow!

Where's JOURNO: the journalism/videojournalism/story telling equivalent?

If you're a rainmaker who makes things happen then this must serve as a template for how to develop innovation in the collision of video and the web - away from the crunching of figures and dour outlook that only suits know best.

For the meantime lets enjoy Rahel - shot by Kienda

It's not funny doh!

Truth, I really couldnt tell you why I'm belly-aching except for I nearly coughed my guts out all because Duncan - photographer - wanted to snap away for his book. Mad !!

Radio journalism -South Africa

You hear less and less of the term Radio Journalism nowadays.

During my postgrad we spoke of nothing else. TV was for those flash lot, but radio was real journalism.

Has that changed much???

Anyhow, I'll be posting the doc First Time Voters which I made for BBC Radio 4 during South Africa's transition.

On hearing it for the first time in ages ( 10 years) I think it stands up pretty well, and in some way you can spot the influences in Videojournalism.

The premise was simple. I'd found a couple of alpha males/females in SA whom I thought would make great interviews. Back in London, I wrote an article for the BBC's internal magazine, Ariel.

A BBC producer ran with the idea and we got the commission - a programme I'd probabaly put in my own top ten of personal favourites for many reasons, not least it was also aired by the SABC - South Africa's pubic radio - on the eve of the election.

Like many many people I too believe that radio is a much more powerful and immediate medium than its sibling TV/video.

I go to bed with the world service and awake to Today.

Video [podcasts] may get all the attention at the moment, but getting to grips with the mechanics of radio packaging can go some way in influencing the VJism.

My evidence, after the BBC Radio 4 I had a welter of ideas how to produce VJ pieces- such as this one -and this here

Sunday, March 30, 2008

18 hours - Social networking

Late last night it started with an SMS, which I had to honour.

A class mate had lost his wife and the troops we're rallying to pay their respect and offer whatever support we could.

The unwritten code of the school I attended, Prempeh College is such that you almost drop everything when a class mate is in a crisis.

The term that underpins us is Amanfuor. This may not mean anything to you, but in Ghana or amongst Ghanaians it resonates deeply of kindred spirits.

The word literally means: one of us. It is perhaps the ultimate in social networking, which started 30 years ago for me.

Our thoughts go out to Akasala - our old mate.

Today, this morning and with barely a good night's sleep - the clocks came forward - a different kind of social networking.

Breakfast at the Front Line Club with about ten others, some of whom I knew, organised by Graham Holliday

Graham's a freelance journalist and blogger based in Vietnam and author of Noodlepie - a much heralded blog about going-ons in Saigon.

If you've been here you need no convincing, if you haven't then you're missing a treat.

It is many things - a restaurant, part of the produce comes from founder of the Frontline Club Vaughn Smith's farm - and upstairs a social fulcrum for various debates about the media and personalities. It is everything you wish your media could be driven by Vaughn and co, no stranger to the news business and any number of awards.

I was here some two years ago as a panelist at the Kurt Schork Awards in International Journalism - Celebrating & Remembering the Unsung Heroes of Global Reporting.

Today it was wild mushrooms and toast, mixed with conversations about the decline of the news media.

Vaughan has some great plans, which he spoke about and I'm looking forward to catching up with him again.

The crux of the matter is that there are alternatives to the status quo but how do you gain firm grounding in these shifting sands: wo/man against the machine.

On our way home, Duncan, whom I have been waxing on about for the last couple of days made me the subject for his everyday people project, persuading me to lie down on the pavement and pose ???"@!££$

I could have said no, but Duncan could charm birds down from a tree.......

And from our own wee chat, perhaps reviving the idea of the IMVJ tomb I have in mind - a combination of media theory, a journey through my own fuzzy mind, literally; and how tos when shooting stuff that needs to break the mould.

The stories would include: Britain's PM John Major'd leadership election, working the townships of Soweto, surveying the wrecks of WWI ships in Gallipoli, First Time Voters and the United States of Africa- the series, working with Lennox Lewis, my experience within the BBC and the ideas that went into, yielding stories such as 8 days, 72 Hours and the Cube.

We'll see.

Multimedia new for old rope - repurposing or innovation

Alfred Hermida writes from a posting on his site which I have pulled out a section

This fails to recognise that the the Internet is not print, it is not radio, it is not TV. It share some attributes with print and broadcast, but is a medium in its own right, with its own strengths and weaknesses.

This requires a shift in how journalists have approached stories, adopting a multimedia mindset from the get go.

It is time to stop talking about repurposing and instead to start a discussion on how to re-imagine journalism.

In which I responded

Couldn't agree with you more Alfred on your last para.

Part of what amuses me is what might be called the sanctity of journalism.

That everything we need to know about it, is out in the open. That, there are no new paradigms.

At least that's what you could have made of it in the absence of the web and accompanying digital environment.

But now?

The repurposing debate mirrors my thoughts around the use of broadband: a new medium or repository for repeats.

Here's an exercise. If you scan a raft of broadcast news programmes [trad] media will have reported faults related to progress and the web with the medical profession, business, race, society etc, but very, very, rarely introspectively about itself.

Everything's alright in the house.

The explosiveness of race and culture provides an example of the fault lines of repurposing. Does MM news inherently provide added educational value, rather than exclusively reaction/comments to events?

Because if it does, that makes repurposing a wee bit difficult and you could argue more work is required for MM reportage compared with linear.

For instance, the reporting agenda needs to be widened and be more expansive, say, in covering news about the tragic nature of youth stabbings in London.

We'll read about it, watch in on the news, but hitherto we're not seeing much of MM's ability at big issue coverage.

The time, the crime, the preventional schemes, concerted programs, the sharing and pooling of knowledge between groups, what the police are doing down to community level participation and so on.

Meanwhile, you wanna do multimedia, figure out what you want, then fill in a form, shove it in the hands of the graphics department and say something like: "Yeah I want this to go swish and that chira thing you do.."

See, repurposing, and it didn't cost us much.

It may well be "journalism" - the very word itself - negates the sort of vision you imagine, at least at present.

The vested sums/ interests wrapped in the word, the politics/business surrounding it, means wholesale changes aren't possible.

We might blog, believe we've found a tool and fresh semiotic to broaden the news agenda and accompanying discourse, but adopted by many trad media it's funnelled into something that suggest inclusivity, yet how much impact has it on shaping/driving news? Does it almost amount to merely free content on your doorstep?

Videojournalism which I'm passionate about is another example of the repurposing debate. Is it merely about one person taking on a story from the idea stage to completition, replicating the model of TV news?

Or is it about a fresh stanza in story telling and widening the agenda, particularly when produced for the web?

The "journalism" in video almost makes it restrictive, because TV journalism does not court creativity, big "C".

"You wanna do docs or advertising mate if you want to shoot flash stuff", you almost expect to hear.

It was Richard Deverell in his former position before he became the BBC children's controller who said in a
project we were partnering at my Uni:

We haven't figured out anywhere near what to do with the Net with regard to the media... or something like that.

I still agree with him.

Maybe, just maybe, a solution to multimedia reportage exists outside the confines of contemporary journalism.

That perhaps the graphic designer, Flash expert, motion graphics artist, photojournalist, journalist, futurologist, Tech, business major - should all be sitting at one table having a conversation rather than the division of labour that has become so prescriptive.

But then that wouldn't be journalism would it?

Cheers David
Uni Westminster
& Smart Lab

Saturday, March 29, 2008

By Product of a web site

David presenting at Apple talk - the event went well but afterwards was soured by a friend's plight

" Bloody hell, someone's nicked my bike".

We rounded off my talk to Apple - I was first there 2 years ago (link here) - on a bit of a downer ( bad news).

Duncan, whom this post is about really, emerged from Apple' s store, walked a couple of paces down the road to find his $1400 bike, which he'd attached to railings, had disappeared.

I felt so sorry for Duncan. If it's happened to you it's a bummer anyway. To have it happen to a nice bloke like Duncan who's the sort of person who'd give his last bit of change to someone in need is crushing.

Always happens to the good people eh?

Duncan, I have in a short period met two both extraordinary, is the someone you'd like to see down with a guiness.

He's a photojournalist and an extraordinary one at that.

He made his name - this is only half the story - getting pictures of Prince, Madonna, Elton John....

You name it he had the pics, but he acquired his lot in the most extraordinary of circumstances: he never went to a gig as a press photographer, always sneaking in with fans and finding a good spot to get his exclusives.

He tell's an incredible story capturing Prince at a gig, which I'll let him tell in a video spot pretty soon.

Then there's the Roling Stones in the early days of their career.

And then his knack for making the stars do things, they wouldn't ordinarily do: Elton John and Madonna together baring their chests.

The Anti-Snapper
Duncan would later sell his photo agency to the Press Association where he is today.

And the project he is knee deep in is what I can only call the celebrities celebrity- YOU.

Duncan is photographing and telling stories in his own way by capturing people.. Thata's it .. people. He approaches his subjects cold and intrduces himself, the rest is the art of human interaction and what any TV producer would kill for, opening up people enough for them to be so relaxed they tell you and do things they would normally only do with family.

And the stories he has to tell could fill a whole schedule.

Here are a couple he's kindly given me permission to show... NJOI NJOI NJOI as much as I am

Postscript -
In the post below this, I talk about the plusses of having a web site. has been extraordinary in that. And I continue to be grateful as well as inspired by the people I come across who have their own stories and centre of gravity.

The by product of a web site II

You're a writer, want to become a journalist, have film making in mind as a profession... could you think of blogger or put together a website?

First thing I say to friends, clients and students is do you have either?

Of course the world could do with more websites like it needs global warming.

There's enough, way enough you're saying, that phhrer another one.

But a couple of things.

Call it the long tail or the attraction of micro communities, someone somewhere might just knod their head sagely at your piece of artistry.

And then a friend/contact/lead you never had the day before is old news.

The ongoing debate, and it's still seething; some of the Masters students I lecture to, raise this as well - do you really need a web site? Do you really need to understand CSS and grid designs.

"I'm a journalist... I just wanna write".

There can, I believe be nothing more carthartic than having completed a degree and whilst gunning for that first job building something of yourself.

And, and if you're in the right place at the right time, and that's not chance by the way, but playing the numbers game, you might just impress that potential boss.

And with a whole load of tools on the web, you may not even want to go down the design/css route.

Tamer Al Mishal - a student last year, now a correspondent for the BBC in Gaza is one of my heroes for how to use your web site.

The purists may carp at some of the rawness and lack of design aesthetic here and there, but Tamer knew what he was doing and when you look at it you'll understand what I mean.

He uses the less accepted, but prevalent format of "tables" fo the build, but...

( This year we had online journalists getting deeper into CSS, SEO, RSS, and info architecture see London Outloud and London Alternative)

Apparently BBC bosses at Tamer's interview were so suitably impressed by his web knowledge, VJ skills, and rapidly changing media theory/ethics, and, and that he knew how to sell a story about himself ie PR.

It's shirked by traditionalists and the Brit cultural position is to play this down, but in a very noisy environment as today, you'll want to flag up something you're doing, even if it's a tiny weeny bit.


Friday, March 28, 2008

Videojournalism 1994

Found this made in 1994 which I have dumped on

It's about youth crime - something I have covered extensively in my reporting career.

It got me looking at my tape stock and there, betas, A1 tapes and the likes, are hundreds of video stories that are sitting idly around.

But hey what's the point I think looking resigned.

500 vid stories that's not overly surprising since at Channel One we would often cut two stories a day, so if you worked 250 days of the year ....

Anyhow this report sits between VJ for TV and Gonzo.

If it looks dark, that's because the gamma goes all pear shape when compressing so a few areas appear more dark than they looked when transmitted.

The camera I used was the Beta BMW300 - huge washing machine of a camera - appropriate if you're a designated camera operator but a bummer if you're a VJ with a Vinten tripod and tapes to carry.

Cost, between 15-30,000 UKP. That was about 45,000 USD. They would later come down to about 8000 UKP. Large part of the greenbacks went on the camera lens alone.

Did I tell you the story of a colleague of mine doing a really nice shot on a bridge overlooking the Thames and the plate on his tripod slipped and woops 1000s of pounds of camera fell into the Thames, probably there today.

Any how here's the link
Crime, Crime, Crime. If you go out to London today you'll be in for a big surprise. The first of three reports on London's under current crime problem.

Africa media - blogging live

Academics and media from around the world gathered at the University of Westminster to examine Africa's media.

I'm here at a conference for Africa Media organised by the Universtity of Westminster. I spoke about Vjism in regions e.g. Egypt, Ghana and South Africa.

Speaking now is an doctoral student from the University of Oregon Janet D Kwami, University of Oregon reflecting on the media and ghana.

later I get to see a fabulous doc. on Nigeria's film industry often referred to as Nollywod made by academic and film maker Jane Thorburn

Nigeria's film industy we're told is an incredibly well oiled industry, but it'a all rather haphazard.

It's got the audience in stitches in some part as the drama's really do ham up their acting. But underlying the hilarious bits are lucid and candid clips from some of Nigeria's top execs talking about the industry

A film cost about 2000 ukp roughly 4000 dollars and shooting can last from 5-30 days. They don't have a distribution system so as one pundit says piracy is a form of distribution, then the actual marketeers place a film on their shelf for short periods - couple of days because of the high turnover of films being made.

The skillset they argue is low, though many now shoot using videocams of one sort or another.

Right back to Janet's talk first.

Janet's taking us through a timeline back starting off at 1992 - a pivotal time for the free press because of a new constitution.

Yet ironically as she notes a criminal libel law, a colonial legacy meant that you could report what you wanted but not criticise the government.

However Janet goes on 2000 was the next pivotal period when the media was seen to play a crucial role in the election and the future government.

2000 is when the current government came to power.

Janet posits a case about how media pluralism is non existent, that a large proportion of the media is formulai - poltical jousting programmes and the likes.

She noted a problem was brown envelope journalism - the expectation when a journalist covers an issue they expected to be compensated.

Further problem areas highlighted by Janet include:

  • funding and sustainabilty.
  • the demise of community media - rural radio, community media is pretty much existent
  • gender and the media - 2004 was the womans manifesto in reaction to what veered on soft porn in some of the newspapers. The ethnographic study showed that woman undertook specific gender beats, while men ran with "big politics".

    Her critical challenges:
    She says a participatory media needs to be built allowing greater media expression
    She wants to encourage citizen journalism - and here she gives an anecdote about filming an event in Ghana when some women approached her, marvelling at her camera and how they could film their own festivals.
    New technologies, funding and professionalism and ethics are her "critical engagement points".
  • Corpsing on Radio 4 Today OMG

    Friday Morning lstening to the radio whoah - something happens for me to google the bbc's newsreader Charlotte Green.

    Charlotte Green joined the BBC after graduating from the University of Kent with a degree in English and American Literature.... and so on says the BBC website.

    Today the normally professional and stoic Green has added a new stripe to her career and one for the BBC's bloopers.

    A monumental fit of laughing-corpsing reading the news.

    The offending item - an early recording of the first human voice, which sounded like a gurgle.

    But Ms Green after hearing the audio, set on reading the next item, couldn't hold it down.

    Wow, it was a wreck. She giggled, giggled some more then in a tidal wave just let go.

    She was rescued after crawling through by the presenter James Naughty, who did not sound best pleased.

    Oh dear, imagine the conversations off air now

    postscript: Good that the BBC could see the humorous side of it and post this article about the event.

    And finally

    Ghanaian journalists in South Africa Vjing

    Me and my big mouth.

    One of my colleagues is one of the key organisers of this huge pan-African conference in the UK looking at the media etc.

    He wanted me to chair something and I kopped out, but then a speaker couldn't make it and by proxy asked me if I could contribute.

    "Your folks come from Ghana, don't they and you lived there"????

    "Uh yes and so that makes me an expert?".

    No, seriously it didn't quite go that way. I chewed his hand off and said:

    "Shall I talk about the United States of Africa videojournalism project?"

    The crux was taking 7 Ghanaian journalists to make films in SA and teach them how to shoot.

    I get pretty ancee, as I did as the WeMedia Forum some years back, when people talk about Africa and media, and we're made to think they've goto take out secondary loans with the World bank to get their media in shape.

    So I'll speak about that, then.


    One thing. I have just got back from this apple thing and can't write for toffee. so it's going to have to be a 5.30 start tomorrow to see if I can plan some presentation.

    Me and my big mouth

    Keep an eye out

    If my memory serves me - not everything it used to be - then pretty soon the Telegraph's super young journalists head home.

    12 young bright things were rigorously chosen from 800 applicants across the UK and then put through some pretty steep learning curves.

    I did a stint with them and found them to be really nice and truly sussed.

    For the last year or so they've been working in various regions; I bumped into one of them at the UK press associaton who said: you won;t remember me.. but ..


    I have got his card marked that he'll be an editor in less than three years; how could I forget him.

    I'm keen to see what and how they transform some of the output of the Telegraph, which has built up a significant and loyal base in the US according to traffic we were showed.

    And Yes.... I made a film of them. How could I resist? The first dedicated super journalists: videojournalism, print and multimedia for a national newspaper.

    I'll find the blog one of them wrote for me. Wish em all the success. They stand to transform a time in newspaper media coverage and influence a generation behind them.

    Thursday, March 27, 2008

    thank you, thank you

    A big hearty thank you to the good people who spent part of their evening at Apple Reegent Street - listening to me talk about and media agendas.

    Abs appreciate your responses and the interaction of questions.

    Hahaha I crashed my bowser, so had to reboot and filled in the time talking about my Mandela encounter.

    Cut a long story short, Madiba walked over to the table I was on at a do in SA and we shook hands. I glanced over at the official photographer who shrugged his shoulders that he'd run out of film.

    Digital.. bring it on.

    I'll post one or two of the slides and sites that I mentioned such as - where you can go and find an array of goodies.

    The VJ platform has many facets: some shoot for TV, some shoot great lines, some shoot docu-style and some, me, shoot with film in mind backed by a hard narrative.

    The Chatham House interview is an example - in which the dir of one of the UK's leading think tanks talks about what their research uncovered about the Britain being caught up in a terror siege.

    Can you beleieve when they published their report, not a single news broadcast outlet focused on their range of findings.

    The rubik cube using game theory is here as well.

    So thanks once again and yes do email me.

    And finally a massive thanks to Robin and the ultra cool people at Apple.

    Don, one of my VJ shooters, shot a film of the presentation. We've got to pass it by some people so hopefully you should be able to see that.

    I'm whazed!

    Wednesday, March 26, 2008

    It works

    BBC 10 Oclcock news featured an item on plastics in Midway - David Shukman.

    Yep it works.


    Well why else would the studio go live to the reporter.

    It wasn't a breaking story.

    I can only guess they were trying out a new sat link back, because the feed from David was pretty clear with no drop out or buffering, which usually occurs with the portable sat-phone links.

    Carrying pics over the net/sat without breaking the bank is the holy grail for comms and that's what Duncan Whiteman tells us his working on.

    But for the meantime, we should expect some more breaking sat link stories from the Beep.

    Inspiring Donald

    Today I had an inspiring email from someone I've never met. Donald ( email below) was very generous and his warmth comes through his post to a story I made.

    Donald writes himself: I'm a 53-year old full time student at UNT in Denton,Texas.....

    In Ghana where my parents come from that figure is that, a figure, but its reference is clearer here and it leaves me full of admiration for him as he looks to video to tell his stories.

    And No, if you've misconstrue my comments to mean anything but "wow".

    A brief write up to the story, Donald refers, to is below

    South Africa's Successor Generation

    It is an incredible feeling as a journalist, sociologist, or an interested party to see change within a nation take shape before you.

    The Civil Rights Movement of the US, Perestroika in Poland, Thatcherism and the politics of self - these provided genuine reflections of our changing attitudes.

    Documenting them yields rough drafts; a snap shot of history, tempered by the achitect.

    Nonetheless they are visual documents for new generations to ponder

    Truth, I don't by any stretch think so grandiosely about this work or others.

    But watcing this film - a version of which was made for Channel 4 News - is a strong advocacy for videojournalism and why we must persevere to tell non ageneda stoies.

    More and video here

    Don Mooney wrote
    I'm a 53-year old full time student at UNT in Denton,Texas.My instructor just returned from a NPPA conference in Norman. OK and it's really motivated me to grasp as much as I can about the craft,particularly before I graduate at the end of this year Stories like these are what attract me being a mobile journalist. Mostly i've done still photography but video offers another aspect of telling stories. Continued success!

    David writes:
    Dear Donald

    You're inspiring. You're testament to the ideals of humility and giving it a go

    If we could all but carry the same torch you have and enthusiasm, many of us will be better for it.

    Your kind words are much appreciated.

    This thing that we do is born of the same appreciation and love you have for photography.

    And yes the story of young South Africans voting in their first election, then returning to them again and again, are the sort of stories that make some of us all sit up at night.

    When I had the story the first time, it was 93. South Africa was about to turn the corner.

    I'd left the UK because I couldn't find work and with a ticket I blagged from British airways, I found myself in South Africa, with one contact I'd come across in the newspapers, Alan Swerdlow ( I'm forever indebted to him).

    Luckily he met me at the airport and through him I landed on my feet and would subsequently be amazed at the richness and diversity of South Africa, seldom shown on TV.

    The young people I focused on, are the same people driving the country's economy now and I'm thankful they gave me their time.

    Video is the sort of medium that allows us to tell such complex stories more easily.

    Truth it's not as difficult as the pros would have us believe.

    Please email me or skype me at daviddunkleygyimah if I can be of any help.


    p.s UNT, NPPA, Denton? - better go check them on google LOL

    Monday, March 24, 2008

    Apprentice Comic Relief - ??

    Is it just me or the sight of grown men being reduced to toddlers on the Apprentice's Comic Relief show was just cringey. Whreerhh! Kevin Mackenzie, MP Lembit Opik, and Hardeep

    Inspired by Arthur C. Clarke

    We all have virtual mentors - figures whom may have passed away or not within reach whose work we so admire that it plays a part in shaping our own.

    And when you reflect on the impact of your mentor, there's most likely a scene or event that you can place yourself at which is your year zero of your fan affair.

    Like many scifiers I was heavily influenced by Arthur C Clarke's writings. Oh and Marvel comics.

    I'd bought a futuristic manual at a bric a brac shop, second hand which became a reference book to turn to, particularly when reading Applied Chemistry at university.

    Clarke' super science had chemisty centre point playing an extraordinary role - the possibility of fission. For a novice chemist and dreamer like me it was manna from heaven.

    Clarke's forsight about Sat comms, coupled with a few others I'd come across: E.M Forster's The Machine Stops and Vannevar Bush's As we may think telegraphed this bizzare unimaginable world with something we now call the Internet.

    The Internet under ARPANET was some way off.

    Science Fiction has done a lot that we can be thankful for.

    Though thank goodness though they've stopped killing off the black dude in sci fi films after the opening credits.

    I remember hsoting a radio prog a while back when this actor made a strong case analysing Sci fi flicks which in the first half,the black dude goes, then the woman - though I didn't know at the time, but the censors would not let you show a woman being shot on screen or suffering a fatal death.

    Right where was I....

    Yes, so today this morning I came across this; a neatly typed series of letters in a book I'd written to someone with a strong underlying pretext . The date: Tuesday Dec 1990 8:13 PM. .... the spoils of youth eh?

    Dadawoman pondered to peer at the universe from the hatch of her helius II shuttle. It was peaceful in he pod. The flickers of light and irredescent flames from distance stars made her recall memories from the parrallel universe thirty light years ago.

    She had met mongoji-arantula and shared quark-filling moments with his amber. They had been warm; the light they bathed in as they emerged under the amber inducing rays that brought goose pimples over her thorax.

    It seemed like yesterday, when she was caught in the cross winds; her life turned sideways by her decision to pilot a solo mission to the Agorra.

    Faustian-kye had inadvertently colided with her pod. She toiled to keep her hellius under control.

    It appeared at first she would collide with the planetary particles. She wracked her inner self for what seemed eternity. She could have blown the hull gasket to lessen the gyrations but that would have meant sacrificing toto, her pet cheecho.

    Her thoughts were truly symbiotic. Cheecho would stay whatever the costs. It was a rare species to be celebrated from the Agorra triangle. Warriors fought to the bitter end for a chance to return with one. She had acquired hers through exceptional circumstances.

    { EDIT 4 PARAS}

    Dada gave a final burst to the fuel injector; her videodell having captured her mood asked in seminal tone:

    "Dell 1 wants to know why Dada, strong in faith, looks so sad".
    "There are somethings even a hyperintelligent computer like yourself dell will never understand".
    End ++

    If I ran an institition I'd hold a class called "Dreamers!"

    Sunday, March 23, 2008


    David - what has been the reaction to this melding of Solo VJ'ism and this new language of cinema - especially those entrenched in the stodginess of traditional journalism?

    Does this new melding elude to the idea of rules are meant to be broken - and thus a new way of reporting is born or is it to appease the masses for a softer, more entertaining way to consume the news?

    This may be the catalyst I need to get creative after a dry spell this winter.

    Warmest regards

    Cliff Etzel - Solo Video Journalist

    Hi Cliff

    I can't generalise as you're always going to find resistance in news making: it has embedded rules and what nots for so long that established organs are likely to continue as is, until. . .

    Television, film, painting - they're all living arts.

    The geneology of painting has travelled through Impressionism, Expressionism, Dadaism, Modern and Contemporary Art and that's just talking about western models.

    Each time one of the forms found public space it had its detractors and supporters.

    Cinema - likewise, and that's where many TV practitioners borrow heavily from.

    Eisenstein's Battle Ship Potemkin - 1925 is one of the most heavily used "canvas films" indelibly influencing a generation.

    Canvas film = deconstructed with style and shots used in further cinema.

    Film techniques absorbed by TV such as linear causality and parallel narrative,Argentine author and film critic Jorge Luis Borges was talking about way back when.

    I'm digressing.

    News is documentary or film verite, but the tools used in collecting images are no different than the painters' brush.

    As we become more televisually literate, we demand more, because a lot of what we see looks homogeneously the same.

    Our language becomes more sophisticated. Our visual acuity becomes more enhanced.

    A telling example: my mother and many others find Bourne's editing style confusing. A new generation need not refer to any visual dictionary to understand exactly what's going on.

    The sacrosanct argument is you can't embellish news. But we do that anyway by way of subjectivity and the person/ organ informing you - albeit without design news execs will say.

    ( Don't worry I understand the argument of news making - though there needs to be a contemporary debate about it)

    What Videojournalism or Man with a movie Camera or even IM6VJ - Intergrated Multimedia 6 Videojournalism offers is a new lingua franca.

    It's no different to the camera in the hands of a skilled director e.g. Abbas Kiarostami.

    The web as a mega broadband pipe and interactive coding has more to give - and its getting it in terms of "the new painters", solo reportage - expanding the agenda and seeking new discourses.

    Consider this for instance - call me naive - but given our many shared problems, why do we still use TV news a divisive medium.

    Sorry but I could fill hours talking about this.

    In the end something that has never been done, awaits to be done. Many might throw their hands in a resentment, but that won't stop the many others looking to make new meaning of the tools we possess.

    p.s Incidentally this reponse is not to say factual TV hasn't undergone change.

    Two pivotal points in my career

    1. BBC Reportage late 80s - early 90s which introduced MTV reportage. Yes you needed a crew, but the gene of Reportage would find its way into many BBC docs and factual programmes e.g. Here and Now, Black Britain, Panorama.

    2. 1994 World News Conference - a Canadian graphic designer refines the split graphic interface that would become a hall mark of CNN.

    ps2. Breaking the rules? No, not for the sake of it, but the rules of TV were set up tp enable new comers to the medium to make proficient TV.

  • Don't cross the line
  • Rule of third
  • Don't goldfish
  • Shoot with the light source behind you
  • Don't have your sots fight the music

    They're guidelines, that's all they are.

    Talk soon

    CAMP VIDEOJOURNALISM from david dunkley gyimah on Vimeo.

    Robb Montgomery, founder and ceo of and I knocked heads.

    In Cairo for a week we filmed a series of meetings, deconstructions and talks with editors that will emerge as the film CAMP VIDEOJOURNALISM

    CAMP VIDEOJOURNALISM is a story about new areas of storytelling. Robb has huge amounts of newspaper and web experience as a visual editor with a background that includes The Chicago Tribune.

    As a piece of entertainment we hope you enjoy it. As a piece on how to it may have some currency.

    We were due to present at their annual media gathering - a huge affair - but before then we decided on creating a VJ piece and the accompanying "making off.." which would demonstrate widening the news agenda, uncovering fresh areas of what constituted news and new techniques in news making.

    There's some drama as well, when Robb falls sick from a bug and I'm constantly, to my amusement, spoken to in Arabic, before a hotel staffer insists because I look like a Nubian.

    Don't ask.

    Then there's the states's state-of-the-art TV, which really is something and the management's desire for videojournalism, which starts off, that is the presentation not quite how we thought it would go.

    The trailer above and playing on will be deconstructed for my Apple talk on the 27th March at Regent Street, 7 O'clock.

    It combines the use of Final Cut, After Effects and Live Type - which I use to create film titles using key frames.

    On I have dropped in a 960X 408 file, originally from 600mb down to 8mb for swift download

    Advanced Videojournalism

    In Advancing Videojournalism, we play around with the subject-verb/ object in visual grammar, which enables us to shoot with the necessary focal narratives and cut aways in situ.

    Effectively how to shoot to edit and identify the film's internal tempo and how to move it along by directing around the shoot.

    In the last three years there has been a frenzy in video used in journalism.

    But how significant has the emergence of video news making been to the established network news agenda?

    It's a difficult question to answer, but what seems apparent is a general outlay of video skills have emulated television's stanza and its news agenda.

    You could argue there's absolutely nothing wrong with that.

    I had an interesting discussion along these lines with a senior executive from the METRO - the free newspaper.

    If you're at Apple, say hello

    Thursday, March 20, 2008

    Dudes wot's going on?

    Wot the P**** FLOL

    Dirty shooting star

    There's always one, a hidden gem who completely takes to the medium. Matter of fact there have been quite a few, but Gareth from Cornwall is on a mission to push videojournalism - a craft he's only been at for a relatively short time compared with his career as a newspaper journalist.

    One of the things I stress in advance handheld Videojournalism is dirty shooting. It's used extensively in the Shield, NYPD, Homicide - Life on the Street and more recently Bourne.

    So in advance videojournalism I work with Vjs to understand the Subject-verb structure in visual grammar.

    It doesn't have to be cut frame cut. The camera dances around the subject mimicing what should be the focal points for the eye.

    This is Gareth's first shoot at it since we crossed paths and I think you'll probably say not bad.. not bad at all.

    You could also say "rubbish". No doubt someone will, but the point is this is his first and he'll no doubt get better.

    It's a great story that labours a wee bit in the second half. You judge

    Cops arrest a man


    Ken walker - extraordinary photographer popped by our uni and we ( friends and I) got him to do a little shoot.

    The theme which we'll expand upon looks at mentoring and new academics.

    At the forefront belly laughing is Shirley Thompson - a composer and writer who's written for the Royal Philharmonic and played for the queen.

    In the background is Kienda Hoji - an expert in music, legal and contracts. Has represented major artists and closed many big deals. Known also for his work in China.

    To his side is David Matthews, a lecturer in Journalism. David's written some great gonzo books - one on boxing and the other on greyhound racing. Not many people would be willing to put themselves through the pain he's gone through for journalism.

    He became a boxer to write his book.

    To his side, obscured - better pic will follow- is Mikyael Riley - an original member of Steel Pulse and originator of the Reggae Philharomoic Orchestra.

    They're all amazing people which you'll mee in more detail soon

    Wednesday, March 19, 2008

    Videojournalist Reel

    videojournalism reel from david dunkley gyimah on Vimeo.

    What next after videojournalism

    It makes sense now, but it's shelf life looks limiting: videojournalism ie journalism with video.

    In a videoless environment what will it be called?


    But the tag is meant to signify the art of one person making a news film.

    From early adopters in 1994 and 2000 in the UK, it's now a mass commodity, so truth it's only just got started.

    As a party pooper we're yet to hit some of the difficult debates that accompanied photojournalism when they started to push.

    And push we will, for a simple reason.

    If everyone's doing video. If everyone's reached a fairly proficient standard, who do you watch and why?

    The news you find on the national newspaper reflects what's on the television and then a new outfit replicates that product.

    Who do you watch will boil down to brand loyalty which is increasingly under threat.

    The BBC knows that much in this short interview I conducted with their Director General, Mark Thompson. (See Front page of under global leaders)

    So as a new outfit wanting to be different from the crowd, what do you do?

    For one, ask whether you really do need to replicate news in its current form or whether a different approach might suffice.

    News is a high intensity, money - draining commodity. Watch your logs, if no one's hitting them, there's the evidence.

    Videojournalism - great name - also has a huge target of an achilles, the tag "journalism".

    For journalism is only a small component of what your new skill set brings.

    Programmes, fashion, factual, multimedia, mash-ups, integrated multimedia, outernet, deep video, sound slides, promos, titles, vlogs, gonzo - just a few I have pulled from the air with little effort.

    VJ for TV and VJ for VJs

    There's VJ for TV and VJ for VJs

    A lot resides in the story and its treatment and then the author behind the camera.

    In the 60s video art burst onto the scene, amateur film makers with bolexes became defacto videojournalists - just that video didn't exist.

    Among the films worth watching shot by a director/camera operator with a reporter ( the norm for national newspapers using videojournalism): an interview with a fresh faced Bob Dylan, whom gives the reporter a run for his money and some good stuff from Andy Warhol.

    Maybe not this vid, but in one similar the camera man is the reporter in an interview with Stones

    As we embark on this road more travelled, it's worth thinking about how distinctive you are.

    As a newspaper the field is wide open, but TV is upping its game - and in a profession where experience, creativity and risk are needed to advance techniques in the TV lab, those building on their background in visual grammar may be the ones to provide that thing we'll all lean to.

    The Guardian's RTS is testament to that.

    What next after videojournalism?

    Early adopters - mass takers - maturity - saturation - fallout from going bust - re-alignment of the field - new techniques emerging.

    Where are you on the cycle?

    postscript: Two days later I had the opportunity of spending a brain storming session with Metro newspapers. It would be inapprop to reveal the contents but what is videojournalism is a key question.

    Tuesday, March 18, 2008

    Advancing videojournalism

    "If the solutions to solving the world's seemingly intractable sustainable energy problems are so attainable, why haven't we reached them ?

    Economist Jeffrey Sachs article in Newsweek proffers a poignant answer: we are facing up to the problems in the wrong way

    Sach's feature deserves a film treatment.

    And fortunately ABC's link at the bottom of the page points to a piece by World News' Charles Gibson.

    I'm yet to see the report, but it strikes me how apt Sach's argument is to a profession I'm more familiar with.

    New ideas can often present challenges delivered through any medium.

    In print, it might be too abstract to grasp whilst TV suffers ignominiously from dumbing down an argument?

    But we hardly need lecturing about the power of the image deconstructing complex ideas: see an Inconvenient Truth.

    TV news, and now web video present at best a canvas to decipher many an analyses.

    Instead however online news' staple diet looks set to reflect its real world model of divisiveness.

    Read more

    Sunday, March 16, 2008

    Push the button - Videojournalism

    We all possess something that pushes our button.

    As journalists and thinkers of the new unchartered discourse enveloping us, we can be as passionate as the next facebook about to hit us or as critical about why a new app won't work.

    Today I did a bit of spring cleaning myself and in the process sorted out my often cob-ridden head.

    In ten things that motivate me, I am introspectively, inspite of the myriad gadgets tried to get back to basics.

    What is it that motivates me?

    What is it that motivates you, as a manager, trainer, lecturer, journalist or even motivator.

    So here are mine in no particular order but produced as short movie clips back on

    1. producing mash up visuals
    A bit like a painter really I see an image or have an idea in mind and want to replicate, play with it.

    A lot of what I put into projects stems from a small idea

    2. Talking
    Oh yes I like to talk and I'm thankful for the hosts that have given me a platform to share/ express ideas.

    They can be new ones, but often I like the idea of testing what we might call traditional ideas that exist in our current paradigm.

    Why do doors open right to left, when other prefer you push.

    3. Talking 2
    This is where yiou get the chance to interview/talk to a global figure.

    Included in the clips are the BBC's DG Mark Thompson in a Q and A that's really apt.

    If I could find my Mandela clip I'd post that as well, but in 20 odd years I have had the opportunity to speak to a fair range of people whose views make you think

    4. Producing Stories
    Of course who doesn't like a good yarn, but it's the thought of editing and constructing making one clip run into another; the outcome of which adds to the singular voice which is tha attraction.

    Here I'm talking to the Ex Director of the CIA and a senior intel office in Washington

    5. Creating new story ideas
    From the Butterfly Vlog to modular interactive docs, the outernet and hyperlinked videos; just what will journalism of the mash-up generation look like in 10-20 years time. Here I have congealed lots of ideas into a Videojournalism Trailer.

    6. Paradigms
    Yes we all drive on the right, but if you don't venture outside your home state you prob won;t realise that other people drive in the left. And there not strange.

    Quite the contrary they consider you a bit odd, but the idea is to broadminded and look at your new paradigm sideways.
    In IM6VJ What is Multimedia, Naka Nathaniel, David Sifry, Dan Gilmor and a host of figures let us into their way of thinking.

    7. Making things
    Well that's often media, but not always. On a deep sea diving expedition we had to make a makshift microphone to lower to the divers below 30m.

    In this clip, I'm in South Africa where I have carried out quite a few substantative VJ assignments, spoken to MNet's Carte Blanche and SABC. This story here will run and run - South Africa's new power employment force.

    I'm back in South Africa late this year to talk VJ with a group connected to the SABC

    8. Development
    Nothing beats working with creative people and bouncing ideas around.

    In this world you're either a giver, taker of both. It's great to receive, but to give is also thrilling and that doesn't exlude you as a student, lecturer or the low rankers in the high flying jobs. Everyone has a POV. Lets hear it

    9. Connecting
    Visionaries. Enuff said!

    10. Anticipating
    Not knowing, but hoping, pulling for something special. In every class there is a genius about to hatch. We may not find them now, but we should give everyone the oxygen needed to be fulfilled

    Friday, March 14, 2008

    Title Sequencing montage in Videojournalism

    Mike Jones at Digital Basin writes:In many ways the more interesting evolution for motion graphics going forward will be the saturation of motion graphics as a common visual language, not only for 'intros' but for the consumate telling of cinematic stories and evocation cinematic meaning.

    Read more of Mike's post hereon Title Sequence Montage - 25 of the best title designs

    It's become a point of amusement that some film makers refuse to work with the industry's king of motion graphics, Kyle Cooper on the basis his cinematic credits can often outshine their movie. see Wired

    What you've picked up here Mike is a general, perhaps unperceptible in my wee world, theme of how multilayered, condensed, narratives can convey a story akin to the best 'MTV' promo narrative.

    This heightened sense of music, compositing, sequencing, Man with a movie camerish extension pushes all the right buttons in online videojournalism film making.

    Director Tony Scott, Michael Bay, Greengrass and a slew of film makers use the dna of motion graphics as 'breaks'/ 'narrative arcs' within their films.

    While my argument is not that Vjism growth is purely motion graphic driven, the complexities of visual storytelling told simply in MG will go some way to advance the next phase of this nascent story telling form.

    I thought calling IMVJ - integrated motion/multimedia Videojournalism might help me think along those lines.

    Thursday, March 13, 2008

    Media Producer

    Take something like Final Cut, add something like After Effects, include a play out algorithim that enables HD to fly down the web, add green screen technology and blue sky tech to control an array of lights and sound from the stage, then package this all onto a PC and then ask how much would you be prepared to pay for this.

    £50.. Yep it could be yours.

    I'm sitting right now with the guy, who on his lap top has shown the demo and is se to work the encoding the back end.

    Some things sound like dreams

    Wednesday, March 12, 2008

    A day at Press Association

    Great to see the two editors, Catherine in wine red polo neck and at the back head just peaking, John, also playing to Duncan Raban's "Broadway- I did it my way" pose

    Picture by Duncan Raban

    School Report preview - an amazing idea

    BBC Radio 4's Today programme - THE bastion of BBC News' public service radio in News and Current Affairs, which is often credited with setting the day's news agenda previewed an excerpt of an experiment tomorrow.

    School Report features pupils from UK schools producing their own news.

    This morning Radio 4 featured about 2 mins of a news bulletin from a group of participants, in which the news presenter demonstrated as much aplomb as a season pro.

    But it was their choice of stories and the ensuing interview which provided an interesting debate - gripping and enlightening.

    Their bulletin, as Radio 4's presenter Sarah Montague would comment more or less mirrored the station's.

    Phew ! A sign that would indicate Radio 4 more or less reflects not only what the x million of Today's listeners like, but less prominently the youth as well.

    X by the way was 5 million at one point

    Asked if they the students found the news difficult to assmble, they commented on the sheer weight of items they had to wade through before making informed choices, but added, the exercise demonstrated it wasn't only grown ups who could claim to be the arbiters of news story telling.

    What's interesting in compiling their news using Brit newspapers and to a degree the Net as research is you might expect the stories they picked to be of the same news agenda.

    Ergot most of the newspapers on a strong news day run more or less the same news agenda.

    Same old or different news
    The results with this experiment, while brilliant in one regard, highlight aspects of a project by RTE's Editor of News Michael Lally, who gave over his network to a community to tell their own news one evening. ( click image on page for video)

    It was a good exercise but they ( the community) ended up adopting our mannerisms, style of production. They more or less became a version of us.

    While I doubt very much anyone of the broadcasters involved in tomorrow's School Report exercise would have been prescriptive, there should, I believe be some nudge to ensure students become more experimental, in both content and production.

    Looking at the BBC's website, the variation in news at a more local level appears to ilustratate a break from traditionalism - though that's me speculating.

    But it does though propel a much talked about issue within the narrow confines of media and broadcasting, which is Local, hyerplocal news making.

    If at a local level the dna of news, its function on the ground, how it impacts local communities can be enriched by pupil and citizen news, that wouldn't be a bad thing.

    So could the same experiment be replicated by citizen journalism?

    Yes was my answer.

    No was that of Channel 4's Mark Roberts.

    See what you think?

    The Embryo of 21st Century Journalism

    John Angeli, the UK Press Association's Editor of Video made the point - PA is looking for fresh ways of harnessing the video beyond the 2 min news package, which would entail geo-specific clips delineated along a timeline of events.

    He cited the shooting of Rhys jones, the 11 year old liverpool boy shot in the back of the neck by an assailant, as an example.

    Inspite of the comprehensive reporting John added, he couldn't quite get a grasp of the location of a nearby pub from where the fatal shot is said by police to have been fired.

    The pub ismentioned as a crucial location by investigators.

    Multimedia reporting could perhaps provide added information, John suggested.

    It prompted Visiting Lecture Tanja Willmot who teaches online journalism to ask whether, wrapped up inthe definitition of multimedia: graphics, video and the rest, journalists should be made to learn such new crafts.

    And that for me is the rub.

    I hope to expand on this on, but first at the heart of what PA is doing, what Tanja was questioning is the very traditional definition of Journallism.

    Journalism ~ writing for a journal.

    Firstly a great thanks to the Press Association for welcoming 20 or so international master in journalism students from the University of Westminster, and a special thanks to John Angeli and Catherine from Multimedia.

    Once upon a time visits of this kind were weighted in terms of benefits towards students, and while that might be the case here, it also, I hope, gives media companies like The Press Association the chance to see how the present crop of new multimedia news practitioners are thinking.

    Monday, March 10, 2008

    Multimediashooter What the heck!

    One of the sites online which is a treasure trove of amazing multimedia is

    I recommend it to almost everyone I come across, students and industry. Only last week presenting to a Chinese delegation I urged them to go look.

    I logged onto the site today to find this. Very sad.. very very sad. My heart goes out to the team behind it.

    I hope he can find the strength to resurrect one of the web's finnest sites

    Sunday, March 09, 2008 menu

    here for menu

    Amazing talent - Lord Byron Lee - the art of new story telling

    Once in a while an amazing person crosses your path and you simply find yourself saying, "wish I could work with them".

    Lord Byron Lee is one such person: a stockbroker in the city ( london) by day but in the evenings, he can be found entertaining his friends with his catalogue of stories.

    Cecil B, Orson, these names are too grand, but Lord Byron Lee triggers thoughts of these immortals.

    We've just filmed him in a studio and will soon put the drop in shots.

    Meanwhile, a short burst of this amazing talent, who's just penned "The Stockbroker's Tale", the scourge and killer instinct of working the stock market in the city.

    Saturday, March 08, 2008

    Happiness is

    Happiness is running out of petrol on the autobahn on your way to a talk. Nice!

    Videojournalism corpsing

    So I am giving this talk to a group of Chinese television execs in London for a couple of days to gather TV industry intelligence and I'm corpsing.

    I mean corpsing big flipping time.

    I'm speaking and within "pencil throwing" distance almost the whole room is busily doing something; emails, talking about whether any of them have spoke to their family, what they're going to eat etc.

    I get to the part of my powerpoint where I'm trying to distinguish between: is the web a platform to place media or place to platform media and I might as well have undressed, though the thought of that urgghh!

    Have you ever had one of those outer body experiences where you can see yourself and you end up thinking: "OK (chump) what next?"

    Sobering, very flipping sobering.

    Translators looking at me, I'm looking back and I'm thinking: should I, shouldn't I: You know drop something utterly nonsensical into the talk?

    Coward! Ah well, only 50 minutes more......

    By now, the goto to see some great work, has been swallowed into a great big black hole.

    And then, then I break down into fits of laughter. I'm corpsing and having a private joke, otherwise I guess it amounts to nervous laughter. Though I'm not really nervous.

    I borrowed this thing once from a presenter I saw: He runs into the hall before the start and instructs everyone to play along with him by laughing.

    So a minute later everyone's screaming with laughter, and as new delegates enter looking bemused, those seated laugh even louder. Wierd, but a great way of getting everyone on side before you tell em what you'er going to talk about.

    No such luck here. Corpse some more.

    I very rarely open up when talking. I guess it smacks of self-aggrandisement, but I thought ah well sod it, so first to

  • VJ Rubik Cube
  • Then seqeued into that maestro of motion graphics Rob Chiu - and this great title opener - pure sex
  • And then a hyperlinked film

    And then it all went calm. Can't tell you exactly when I was in some strange place, talking about this an that...

    And it all ended rather differently to how it started.

    NB: If you'd like to learn more about videojournalism then you can bookmark this videojournalism site here which details what Videojournalism is, videojournalism projects with say the Financial Times, and how it broke for newspapers in the UK.
  • VideoJournalism Training

    Image: news executives in Berlin discuss the virtues of videojournalism and the future of journalism on the web

    Visual journalism, do you need training ?
    Either way whether it's a one year or one week course you'll have to push treacle. Ultimately, even with the most inspiring trainer it's all about you.

    A senior newspaper exec returning from DNA, the news event in Brussels, tells me talk of videojournalism and how well it's being executed was quite sobering.

    Of course one of the recuring themes of videojournalism is how it's generally inferior to TV; it's been a big stick since way back when, though if you read some of the comments here about the UK's first and only VJ-driven station back in 1995 from industry figures there was then and is now light in the distance.

    Critics do have a point, but the validity cuts both ways.

    There are in any discipline talented beings and those found wanting.

    Videojournalism stands in the locker room more naked because:

  • it's the low hanging fruit - anyone can do it.
  • More VJs means of course a greater number of people who may not exhibit nominal competence (whatever that is)- same thing happened with photography.
  • In photography the industry sought to differentiate the amateur from the professional - you'll hardly hear that distinction in Vjism. That is you're either a VJ or not.
  • The training regime is dramaticaly different within the industry, primarily because there is no one standard. It means different things to different people. So whilst TV makers believe its roots are in TV, newspaper execs tend to believe its something geared towards the photojournalist.
  • Training levels are also different to the halycon days of TV and its mandatory training when if you wanted to work in TV, you went to various courses and then had to jump through hoops as a freelancer, before after months or years of showing how good you were you finally given a contract.

    This last point can be a sore one for many professionals whom see a generation of televisual practitioners assuming the rank of TV producer/videojournalist after a few months following say a weeks training.

    Slogging is still the standard bearer in the mainstream media.

    At an industry gathering for young wannabe media people and interns one BBC exec lamented how they have to vet candidates calling themselves producers working in the industry when their experience amounts at best to that of a researcher.

    Snobbishness or does he have a point?

    No Short Cuts
    It's easy to take this practice for granted, something my co-colleague Rob Benfield - a former TV director, commissioning editor and all around 35 years veteran - and I discuss ever so often.

    Students on Masters courses have a year to practise and experiment to hone their new skills and even then that's just the beginning.

    A view therefore is long/short course training can give you technique, but the creativity is all down to you.

    In fact a simple principle offered to students can provide them with adequate VJ technique in 15 minutes. We used the same standard to train Ghanaian journalists filming in South Africa in one evening.

    But ultimately the visual grammer of film making resides in the student's passion for experimenting and possessing a growing catalogue of film/VJ knowledge and deconstructing technique.

    You simple can't learn a language by treating the training day as a surrogate.

    Quite a number of VJs hail from an industry where visual grammer is part of the discourse. If not they're pressed to practice day in, day out their new language, visual language, just as you would do learning a 'foreign language'

    Does this mean short courses don't work?

    Not at all. Fot many of us , short courses have been the necessary taster or even spring board to a mor indepth excursion.
    I learned CSS in 4 days and how to drive after 15 lessons.

    CSS was not going to make me a creative web designer, my susbsciption of Computer Arts and Web Design would help there, coupled with a few death marches and as for driving a Lewis Hamilton, I'm definately not.

    Technique and Form
    But there is technique and form used in training that short circuits reading a whole 500 page manual.

    They are distilled observations, tried and tested means, converged practices between one discipline and the other.

    Modifiled versions of the classic Aristotelian Arc, at which point you're either thinking "what!" or "yeah".

    I noted skimming online that Media Bistro has a seminar: How to Use Plot to Structure Your Fiction - The secrets of building and creating powerful storylines.

    Appled to film, which Hollywood invariably does - which explains why movies can seem formulaic, it's the great fall back position for VJ making.

    The message from DNA according to the Executive I spoke to who's at the forefront of shaping his international media organisation is that Training Matters.

    And it's not a one stop shop.

    Sadly that can often be misconstrued for trainers making more money of their clients; that should not be the case.

    Training matters because film, videojournalism is a living art and it will evolve during the passage of time.

    Having said all that, I loved reading about the advice the director and husband of Madonna Guy Ritchie gave his friend Jason Statham when Jason felt he needed acting lessons to launch his hollywood career.

    Naah you'll be like the rest of them from RADA was Ritchies advice, and look where it's got Statham now.
  • Friday, March 07, 2008

    What's the web for?

    REDUX Metaverse reportage - next generation web journalism

    3D Police Officer & 1st Responder Training

    NOTE: The above video you're watching is not a game, It's a real time event unravelling in which the avatars you see represent real people at their computers controlling their actions.

    Trainers use these scenarios to familiarise recruits with what potentially might happen in real world

    Wednesday, March 05, 2008

    Dreaming up New digital meeja words

    Dreaming up New digital meeja words
    0. Drummer - act of leaving comments in various blogs thus combined sound of person clicking "send" constitiutes one beat which turns into a drum roll after the 4/5th comment
    1. Prowling - the act of hovering over a blog wondering whether you'er going to post, because no one else.
    2. Nipping - the act of watching a vlog/video and following a different trail to the one intended.
    3. Toxing - leaving unhelpful critical remarks in a blog
    4. Veeping - Video hyperlinking, not common at the moment
    5. World - already in usage, but not common, reference to working in 3d virtuals.
    6. IMVJ - integrated multimedia videojournalism - conceptualising and completing multimedia project combining vid,pics,text
    7. Face off - leaving facebook for a while, not updating and the likes.
    8. ambient -current noise levels pertaining to what the chat's about within your blog amigos
    9. Einstein - multimedia packages incorporating citizen journalism c.f E=Mc2 e= multimedia with citizen involvment
    10. Percy - Videojournalism package along the lines of fly on the wall - no reporter speaking. Named after Percy, one of the earliest filmjournalists using a Bolex Camera 1960s working at BBC
    11. Ronin - Videojournalism package with Jump and fast cuts
    12. 369 - videojournalism package modelled on TV news template
    13. FPS - For Petes sake - Invariably used in Flash project when action scripting isn't working
    14. Jump - Jumper - someone who excels at different softwares - FCP, AE,
    15. Andy - a super blogger
    16. Zoo - revived 80s word revealing behind the scenes for a show or multimedia packaging.
    17. webologist - someone who knows everything eabout the web.
    18. Gore - early uptaker to the web who purports to know everything
    19. RIP - Rankle your Internet Provider after your site's been down or been deleted through some terrible mishap - Happened to me once
    20. Absolute F***er - someone who's so cool online you just wanna be their friend.

    How much is enough?

    The site's up, films and multimedia loaded. Shiny new thing, glaring at you. Satisfaction. Job well done.

    Some will criticise, because that's what they do; others will muse and offer critique-based solutions.

    "That doesn't work because you've broken the line".

    And then there's your own internal alter ego.

    For some people, it's just never enough.

    When did Pollock know that was the last brush stroke?

    How could the four year old know she'd finished her master piece: a sun flower?

    When is enough, enough?

    Firstly the critic who offers nothing does not help you. If you can, continue the journey.

    The one who offers you a reason why it doesn't work, is the friend to hang onto.

    They constitute the "bouncers". You bounce ideas off them and they come good.

    And at some point you begin to question yourself as if your list of bouncers surrounded you.

    You become your own best critiic.

    Natures bouncers congregate
    PhD seminars, The Smart Lab, is exactly like that.

    Non ellitist, which cuts against the grain of thinking, each person has a defined goal and in the midst of others is trying to find new windows, clear direction.

    And all the while, surrounded by people who ask questions, simple ones: why does that do this?

    Flâneur flâneuse kila mapping, New forms of music Online, online spaces, perfomers using their dance to create digital paintings, Virtual Nomads visualisation.

    I did not understand all, but I got let into a new world, out of my confort zone, which in turn sparked new ideas and I was always all too ready to say: I don't understand".

    The package on Ron Edwards and his virtual worlds and how videojournalism would work inside is but one example of the adage: if you want to know about water don't ask a fish.

    The solutions for what we often might try to achive live beyond the boundaries of what I already know, that at least is something I have come to appreaciate.

    Hillman Curtis' Flash expertise, Rob Chiu's amazing Motion Graphics... peoples whose experience play into the hands of videojournalism, which simply can't be a manifestation of an old language refined for a new era.

    Getting your bouncers to work
    We often get so wrapped up with own ideas we miss the tree from the woods.

    Here is where your bouncer works. They don't mollycuddle you, wrap you with cotton bud comments, or turn their nose.

    They're trying to get you into a space where you might realise your own flaws, and in cases explain better your own understanding at convincing them.

    At Smart Lab we had these 10 minute presentations, punctuated by immediate and overnight feedback from the 20 or so other cohorts.

    It was as exhilirating as it was nerve wracking.

    The experience is one to adopt. In some cases it already exists now, online, through comments and emails from those we establish a bond and relationship with.

    Three more rules to add to the evolving manifest of web and videojournalism.

  • Protect your bouncers
  • Protect your golden hour - each time of the day you have a peak creative zone. Identify it and make sure you do nothing else during that period but creative things.
  • Protect yourself - If it hasn't happened it's waiting to be done. It's never enough
  • Shirking health and safety and release forms

    So far not everyone's paying atention and vid is so new to newspapers, they see no legal requirment as TV does.

    So I guess its going to takle a serious accident before risk assesment forms are given the respect due

    Tuesday, March 04, 2008

    Video Shooters - Police step up stoop and searches

    "The law gives the police officer the power to search you, anything you are carrying and any car you are in"- Form 5090, issued by community police in London.

    If you're a VJ then expect to be stopped and searched if you're shooting on the streets of London, particularly central London.

    Inceasingly the police are steeping up their stop and search on video cameras issuing them with a document that often involves a comprehensive background search and you filling out a detailed form.

    Now one organisation is seeking clarity.

    Last year I posted how PA's lawyer Mike Dodds had brought the matter to the attention of the City Corporation Police.

    But alas it would seem little has been changed.

    So what d you do if you get stoped by the police?

    Sunday, March 02, 2008

    Metaverse reportage - next generation web journalism

    In this month's Harvard Business Review, Metaverse platfroms ie Second Life et al are crowned as the next phase of the web.

    It's easy to chase shadows in this future where every day a new product and semiotic for the web, its participation and indeed story telling unfolds.

    But the signs seem to suggest, if not so obviously, that 3d virtual platforms could expand the machinations of web functionality.

    At the moment we may or may not be participants, but greater web speeds and a generation born into avatars and bebos may exhibit different attitudes.

    Will you gather in a virtual world to watch films? Will a chunk of your income come from your alter ego living and breathing in an electrical medium?

    The Matrix dared suggest a ludicruous future, which caught our imaginations nonetheless, but in Forterra's Oilve virtual system, where participants live in Iraq and Afghanistan modelled on real towns, accidents can happen.

    Ron Brown, the European disributor of Forterra, got accidently shot during a training execrise and his his avatar violently hit the floor.

    Attach sensors to the body and as Trinity would tell THE ONE, the body can't live without the soul or something like that.

    Metaverse reportage
    In the latest video on, I dig out excerpts from my days reporting conflict in Africa, West Africa and South.

    In Ghana the US Special Forces are teaching Ghanaian Paratroopers low parachute deployment.

    Paras jump at either high altitude or low enough under radars and open up their parachutes with minutes, sometimes, seconds to spare before hitting the ground maximising their chance of escape.

    It's in military and emergency exercises where AUGMENTED REALITY, virtual world's like Forterra are gaining in popularity.

    Next month in what might be a first and very trippy, I'll be in Forterra as a videojournalist reporting on issues that have an impact on the real world.

    Exercises which Nato undertakes in its annual war games, which I have reported on also feature in the video package.

    There's a lot of material I have had to exclude, but by next week I should have the template for a hypervideo package.

    Will metaverse really rule the web?

    If you can afford it find out from Harvard Business Review, otherwise, here's my uncompressed version of the video on

    read also Dusan Writers post

    Saturday, March 01, 2008

    Coming up on

    I bumped into a former student whilst calling on some good folk at the Financial Times.

    Ed's gone from student last year to the Financial Times - great stuff.

    I whipped out my small cam-for an interview where he talks about how his online skills from his one year Masters have helped him.

    If you're a student embarking upon a Masters it's worth watching.

    Each year new cohorts always groan when we place in front of them CSS, and the more obscure aspects of writing for the eye and appreciating SEO tags as well.

    Also coming up on, we go into Afghanistan with Ron who gives a cool interview of metverse TV.

    If you subscribe to the Harvard Business Review, there's an interesting article inside about how next generation television will be metaverse - virtual worlds and the like.

    Also and I promise I can soon reveal a good example of a hypervideo in action, which I'll play around with at full length with a presentation at apple

    newspaper journalists excelling at videojournalism

    This week I showed you what Gareth in Cornwall was doing- a format which has his bosses excited.

    Today, I'm bringing you an exchange and video from Catherine, from Devon, whose path I also crossed.

    This is her first piece on a very difficult shoot - a training excercise in Norway and I'm thrilled to bits for her.

    She's gone straight in at the deep end, going largely handheld - which is advanced videojournalism and also she eschews the reporter's v/o instead threading the elements together.

    This often means, you have to shoot-to-edit on the fly.

    Great use also of nat sound and the piece breathes you; and she's cracked the metronome of the piece, which is one of the most difficult aspects of visualisation and editing.

    Well you take a look and perhaps you'll join me in the chorus that says, newspaper videojournalists can do visuals very well - it's all in understanding the grammar and breaking those rules.


    Hello David,
    Remember me? Anyway, I have finally been able to do my first two videos which are at

    The first is Norway and I also did one Bakery Secrets Revealed which is in archive (left hand menu under video). I'd really appreciate any feedback.

    The Norway one was fun - I only had one day, a very rushed day from pillar to post, with no time to plan. I hadn't realised how hard it was to a) move in snow quickly and b) get close ups when they were firing and made me keep back!!

    The only tripod shots were the CO interview. Still - see what you think!

    Best wishes,
    Community Editor
    North Devon Journal


    Catherine, I mean this in a nice way, but I could marry you. Very very nice. Couple of things you've done that make this exceptional.

    your first videos..
    you've gone largely handheld - the gonzo approach
    you've adopted the observational doc approach - based around the Guantanamo piece. Hence no voice over.
    Some strong sequences...

    Nothing wrong with the shoot and you prove a fundamental point about you as a newspaper journo turned VJ that you understand visual grammar.

    You'll only get better.

    Remember the aspects of narrative movement: lens, inside the frame, music etc.

    Next time to heighten the senses use the lens as the third eye, so in military/emergency operations - you can push in to the subject. It doesn't matter if we see you hitting the deck with cameras wobbly, the viewer knows where you are and that there is an operator behind the camera and a sense of urgency.

    Did I mention the zoo effect Chris Moyles Radio one, where his assistants don't have to creep around the room: we know they're there so any noise.... any sudden movement with your cam is tolerable...

    c.f 8 days.

    Fabulous all the same. I'll take a look at the other.