Saturday, November 07, 2009

videojournalism 2017

In this photo: Richard Vagg, Rachel Royce, Julia Caeser, Sacha van Straten, Marcel Theroux, Sacha Van Straten, David Dunkley Gyimah (photos | remove tag), Sally Greenwood, Seltzer Cole, Stephen Lee, Trish Adudu, Dan Stanton, Oni Battacharya, Paul Lewis, Amera Ziganii Rao, Rachel Ellison, Dan Roland, Tim 'The Beast' Woolgar, Steve Punter (photos), Kate Ashley, Richard Griffiths, Jonathan Frisbee
Pic courtesy of Rav Vadgama, himself a former videojournalist ( not in the picture) now a producer on GMTV.

Class of 1994 - UK's first Videojournalists.

In 2017, the Net landscape has flattened.

Broadband speeds average 500mb. HTML has been re-engineered. The ability to become your own netcaster is as easy as going to the supermarket.

And therein is the issue.

If there's a growing swell of video on the Net stations now, imagine what it'll be like in just under ten years time.

Madness comes to mind. Incomprehension, is another thought.

Will the primacies of the BBCs and ABCs still hold court? Will a white label of the BBC's I-player yield ever more hopefuls into a market teaming with talent?

Who can you trust?

In the last two weeks I have received five emails from potential global-wide TV Net stations, with their brand of videojournalism, looking to be crowned the "BBC" of the net.

Why BBC? Because it still sets a standard albeit aided by an increasing contentious funding model.

Will it be present in 2017 is any one's guess. But history has been here before. The Academy de Baux ruled the art world until the turn of the last century, when the Victorian videojournalists - the impressionists of Manet, Monet and Cezanne - stepped forward.

The rest has become the stuff of tireless studies.

By 2017 with any luck a generation should understand film like a vernacular akin to their mother tongue. You can't teach someone to speak their language, they learn it on the go.

Where they require a leg-up is in the structure of language and that has started now and will continue to enrich the medium.

We can't even be sure whether videojournalism will be usurped by the new new thing.

But trust and values will count for more.

Collisions at the South Bank
In January I have invited a figure head to our gathering at the South Bank who underlines the epitome of Trust.

He's well known on the screen. He has a Doctorate in the medium. He has shot many many docs. He has written many books that are studied. And, and he continues to make films, pushing at new edges. These are also guilt edge values.

I have much to learn from him in creating a fresh understanding that moves me further beyond what I believe I already know in my 25 years of a career and I'm damned excited.

In 2017 we will measure standards of knowledge by the the giants whose shoulders provided us the elevation or to Producers who know how to cook the elements together to nourish us.

In 2017 there will be many many more supermarkets and shop stalls set up proclaiming videojournalism or whatever it'll be called as the gold standard. Learn from us, and we'll guarantee you a job, some will say.

Already there is a move to set up a trade mark for endorsement, just as you might see ACE after a film makers name. How it'll work is any one's guess.

But part of the joy and to some frustration is that after a training session, every ones a videojournalist expert. Why not? If you're providing a service that others dearly need.

And so long as you can preach and practice the mantra that videojournalism is not a one-size -fits- all.

In 2017 when xml is probably ceded by a new language, what might determine how we invest in stories?

Storytelling par excellence
Character and Story construct will still rule. Some things will never change as the tablets of Gilgamesh show. Heroes and Villain's, Ups and downs.

I'm watching the Formula 1 story of Jensen Button as I write this. And if there's another thing the BBC does exceptionally well it is sports stories: a combination of accelerated cinema and arching narrative.

Button was the lone figure in F1 racing, and almost has been, destined for a last chance drive with an outfit who were not sure they could make the cut. On his penultimate race he was crowned the world champion. Magic!

Now time to tell the story - a skilled director who understands long format and how to cut into reels of tape with interviews and directed shots. It is not easy, but the best pull it off with ease.

In 2017 how many more of these will we, I, see?

I hope a lot, but it's not to be taken for granted. 2017 may produce a common new lingua franca for visual essays, but equally we'll need to be assiduous and mindful of pushing on the form now.

Will you ask what visual journalism will do for you or what you will do for it. The latter begs a bit more than proclamations of being the future of the form.