Sunday, October 28, 2012

How traditional news making could corrupt videojournalism

I can guess what you're thinking? You're not alone!  But you're wrong.

A couple of days ago,  I wrote about the reality/ appearance divide as being fundamental to news as much as it is philosophy, then this story emerged and went viral which illustrated my point in its starkest terms.

Contrary to what you're thinking and your impressions of the young woman Kim Stafford (tumblr), she is in fact an Obama supporter who was lampooning the Tea Party's opinion of Obama.

The spelling of "Kenia" is the denouement. The revised story was broken by news reporter, Kyle Whitmire, who spoke to her.

How a lot of people got it wrong, is not an anomaly, and that it's referred to as news or journalism is itself an interesting thought.

If you follow my blog then you'll know that:

  1. I'm a videojournalist, though not of the kind you're probably aware of.
  2. I'm deeply concerned about the construct called "news" and how in this day and age we should avoid flaws that developed over time since traditional news makers brilliantly developed the form in the 1950s.  Note, when it was created, it was brilliant and to degrees still can be!
  3. As someone who has worked in the news business since 1987 for the likes of BBC, ABC, Channel 4 News and taught around the world; I spent my college years in Ghana, I believe I have, like others, a panoramic view of the subject. Though yes, it's an opinion...
  4. But it's an opinion I have tested and reflected upon through a PhD programme I'm completing, which has involved extensive interviews with those involved at the time, including VJ founder and trainer Michael Rosenblum, so I trust its robust knowledge (see notes below).

The deceit that news has come to inherit was the idea it represented the whole truth. This has not been purposeful since people behind respected news making are honourable folk.

A two-minute story purportedly told you all you needed to know, as did a five-minute and 15-minute. But the flaw was not in the length, though it plays a part. 

By the way the two-minutes was an arbitrary figure adopted by managers in the 1950s fearful any lengthier news would put off viewers. The issue was the assumption of total truth.

News presenting, presenting-live and reportage - just one facet of videojournalism

Reporting for ITV's London Today

Videojournalism and cinéma vérité
David meets Albert Maysles - a pioneer behind Cinéma vérité

Perhaps one of the worrisome features that has spawned is the classic metier between US and European news. In fleshing this out I'm not for one moment claiming anyone system is better than the other, but that it requires less prurient positioning by its agents.

Take Robert Drew's cinéma véritéIt was brilliant and is brilliant. I love Primary and Salesman and could not envisage seeing them done any other way. I have spoken to Robert Drew and Albert Maysles behind Salesman.

But the form's truth values, though at the time were seen as revolutionary and a breadth of fresh air, by today's evaluation puts it as no more superior than Jean Rouch's cinéma vérité. That's not my assessment, if you trawl the literature, you'll discover this.

All this means is the US system of cinéma vérité was as equally as valuable as the French system of cinéma vérité. In fact the US called there's Direct Cinema, which observed life; the other had a central figure as the agent provocateur. Each had their pros and cons.

Here's the rub though, the gene of those systems has largely been adopted by a new generation of news makers labelled videojournalists. 

So now we have newspaper videojournalism, television videojournalism, and US videojournalism and UK videojournalism. 

In other words different constituents are at odds with one another, though it's not a war of attrition, how we get to the truth.

News is a language defined by cultural literacy

I'd been a reporter in South Africa in 1992, so in 1997 took a team to South Africa as videojournalists looking at the country's transitional change from white suburbs to the influx of Africans
The fact is language and cultures are different, no matter how much the Net brings us together. 

But if you for one moment accept that journalism is a cultural and literacy convention according to Schudson, which they did not in the 1950s, you're closer to realising the stuff of old cannot be maintained. 

It is for that reason that when working in Tunisia, Egypt or China, I work with videojournalists I train to accommodate what they do in line with their cultural values, and normative principles in news' traditional values that need challenging or not.

Also as newsmakers we're not empty vessels who create narratives. You and I might both be able to agree the way the news on Kim Stafford  was wrong, but the manner and nuances in which we present this may differ.

Rosenblum tells a story that is rich in cultural significance and served as a launch pad for him to start to wire together videojournalism. He went to Gaza, to learn about palestinians, he was warned against meeting. Cultural pluralism, and your background, is key to interpretation. Interpretation is what you do in journalism.

The reason why the BBC's interview for jobs, at least during my time of employ, used to value travel ( inter-railing etc) was it expanded one's horizons to understand others. 

I spent my formative years in Ghana. It valued TV, oddly enough as a cohesive tool ( A pre-facebook tool) so much so that its deference in news was over bearing. It was a bit like the BBC of the 1940s interviewing a government minister. "Minister Poole can you tell us what you;re doing today?"

But when we took videojournalism to Ghana and South Africa in 1997, the results were remarkable. How traditional news making could corrupt videojournalism is a flag to make us aware of conversations we're likely to have in ten year's time as opportunities lost.

If the key concepts you hang onto videojournalism is the break in shooting your own news, I fear you might have missed a point.

As David Hockney said, a new form only became available in Art when the easles and paints became smaller and more mobile.

By the way the US-UK and newspaper and broadcast videojournalism divide should not be seen as a broad brush approach on my part. By doing so, I commit the very sin, I'm critiquing. Brian Storm, of Mediastorm, has a great insight into concerns I share. That said it is a concern nonetheless.

David Dunkley Gyimah is a panelist at NewsXChange in Barcelona. He publishes which examines the history of videojournalism through his work and others and is a jury member for the UK's top broadcast news awards, the RTS. 


A part of the PhD examines videojournalism. There have been a number of exemplary scholars who've looked at this nascent subject and they should be applauded.

The nature of any PhD delivering new knowledge to the community is to frame what you know, coupled with how you went about verifying to the point it can be called truthful.

In other words how you bridge the reality of what's happened, to the appearance of your presentation (appearance). Not so different from news really, except each has their own standards of rigour.

My approach is based on several knowledge-creating methods.  Parking them aside for the moment, I believe I know what I know because I was among the first official UK declared videojournalists in 1994. Thus what I talk about from the transition of traditional broadcasting to a dedicated videojournailist, and reception of videojournalism from the 1990s to the present, is a lived experience.

I know what I know because before it there was no network in the UK officially, by the NUJ's acknowledgement practising videojournalism.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Prometheus of videojournalism and social

By David Dunkley Gyimah. Connect with him on Google 

"Focusing attention only after people start relying on a medium misses the critical era in its development. By the time an audience has gathered around a source, many of the negotiations over purpose and mission are complete. 

Routines have already been developed. Limits have already been set. A “hard pattern” of processes and purposes might already be guiding the product. 

These negotiations not only provide an important view into how and why a medium developed in a certain direction, they can also give us a glimpse of the roads taken".

The above passage comes from Mike Conway's The Origins of Television News in America. It is an incisive text, described as the lost chapter in the development of television news in America by CBS.

Put another way it is the Prometheus of US TV News. In Greek mythology Prometheus is credited with creating man from clay. In Ridley Scott's Sci fi it begs the related question "where did we come from?" the missing link in the Alien's franchise.

Delivering a Keynote in Norway
A fortnight from today I'm in Denmark presenting at a conference of journalists interested in videojournalism and Prometheus is an important subtext for my 2 hour session.

Let's recap: "Focusing attention only after people start relying on a medium misses the critical era in its development".

I have long held that Videojournalism UK misses a critical era in its development and I hope in an 80,000 word thesis via a rhetorical argument to prove this.

The difference stems from the development of videojournalism from a period in the mid 90s in which videojournalism was built from the ground upwards to furnish the ambitions of a newspaper company with $82 million dollars, about £50 million pounds to spend.

There was no existing process and videojournalism was the panacea.

The converse which the BBC came to develop was, having observed videojournalism from a distance to cherry pick what it needed incorporated that into existing structures so there are degrees of compromise people had to negotiate.

The result is a different manifestation of videojournalism from one group that I have researched and for which I was fortunate to be a part of in the mid 1990. I do not say that one form of videojournalism is better than the other in structure or organisation, but that it was different and delimiting.

Broadly too what it thus presents is a videojournalism that mimics the duopoly that existed in the 1950s between a filmic form called Cinema Verite, Free Cinema  and Direct Cinema.

It's been fascinating to see this played out and I have verified some outstanding questions by speaking to the founder of Direct Cinema Robert Drew.

None of this somehow should come as a surprise. We've seen time and time again how institutions assimilate and codify technologies and processes to become their norm which become the normalcy for various constituents.

We can't know it all, but it's a shame if we can't have the desire to want to know proclaimed Socrates.

Here for ff up piece on presentation to Danish Journos.

Click here for insight into major new findings on

What is videojournalism on the web, in multimedia and offline - a major study and film - and why it matters

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

What comes next in Social Network of News?

Scene from Sex Lies and Videotape
By David Dunkley Gyimah. Connect with him on Google 

The appearance/ reality divide is arguably the most fundamental distinction in philosophy, said David Rodriguez-Ruiz in his critique of Steven Soderbergh Sex Lie and Videotape (SLV).

Soderbergh, 26, and a relative unknown in 1989 stunned Hollywood with his film about tangled relationships and sexual repression. So this is what goes on behind the curtain's of middle class suburbia.

The conceit was further complicated by the central role of a relatively new device, the consumer camera. One of the main characters gets off filming women talking about sex.

It didn't matter that this was a fictional story, its low budget style convincingly posited this as a quasi-documentary. Reality TV,  a decade later, owes a debt to SLV. This was non-fictional material captured for our fictional titillation.

The appearance/reality divide is central to all forms of media including news whose prudishness likes to think it's above reproach.

Truth or to use the more apt term "verisimilitude" is the thing that news and non-fiction attempts to capture, but it's not fixed. In Simon Blackburn's erudite read  Truth - a Guide to the perplexed, we learn how the vocation of getting to the truth has evolved over the centuries.

Blackburn, a professor of philosophy at Cambridge University states:
For a time in the seventeenth century, ordinary, everyday empirical belief may have seemed fairly easy, The ideas in our minds come from impressions, and impressions come from the impact of the world around us. 
This system of truth could equally have applied to news making. "Tell me what was said", as opposed to what was saw was instrumental for early journalists from Andrew Marr's My Trade - A Short history of British Journalism.  Some journalists (circa 18th C) didn't even bother to verify.

But  around the turn of the 20th century, journalism borrowed from the sciences with positivism. If a scientific experiment could be replicated anywhere around the world in what they were they doing, how could that help journalism?

Journalism's so called rules

The rules of objectivity, impartiality, fairness and balance developed over time hereon. They've had their flaws, but, by and large, they've held the practise of storytelling together, bridging the gap between appearance and reality.

But, Social Networks have now thrown an almighty spanner at this.  It's not the technology per se, though that's important, but the philosophy underpinning the appearance/ reality divide.

Michael Schudson an eminent academic at the Columbia School of Journalism reminds us, and this is significantly relevant now, that news is a cultural product.  Culture, the human need for membership or shared feelings of a social group is at the heart of the fundamental changes to the news landscape.

Understand culture and societies and what's happening in news becomes obvious.

That broad analysis aside, within the viewing patterns of traditional media, the codification of television viewing cultures is performed according to a class rating system, developed in the UK, and wait for it, 50 years ago. 

The grades ABCDE equate as, A being affluent and E being impoverished. Back then Britain was a fairly homogenous place with distinct markings. Now, not so. And the system devised by default for the web of new technology adopters versus the stay-putters, may not even suffice.

Regarding the broader context of cultures Roger Scruton, a well known sociologist, advances the logic for my point. He views cultures as the creation and creator of elites.

And since the 20th century the news and media industry, at least in Western cultures has been the promulgation of news cultures by elites towards elites. Paradoxically, this thing called news made in the West has been one of the most successful exports across the world.

To make the news follow our example they say. "Our" being CNN, BBC, Sky, ABC, CBS, France 2 and the rest.

Since social practises and literary conventions change over time within cultures, so the effect of the Net, disrupting fixed cultures and debunking elite cultures reforms the way we view, but also want our news.

The "we" is no longer a stolid system, which is why on your twitter account, as many people connect with you, will disconnect with you over time.

And what a group of "we" want, which was partially always there, but has now been heightened by connections, ambient relationships, centredness, in a fragmented, to put it lightly, crap existence. I'm pulling a point from Professor Manuel Castells broadcast on BBC Radio 4's Analysis.

And there's an added layer. What cultures want ( young urbanites vs empty nesters) is at odds with a profession that believes its craft skill gives it the edge to tell cultural groups what they need.

Sky News uses Social Media matrixes to create stories

When I visited Sky News, I was amused, if not a little surprised to see their social ticker operating in the newsroom. The ticker shows the broadcaster which news is going social, so they follow up. This is not for all news by the way, but we're back at the conundrum, which is partially solvable.
Do we tell people what they need to hear, or what we believe they should know?

Jean Baudrilllard called it hyperreality. We want so much of what we believe we should have, but are denied by media institutions that we're in a continual process of inventing artifacts that bridge appearance/ reality divide.

We want intensity ( Instagram); to be loved ( Facebook);  to learn about others without any commitments, the theme of SLV, which works into Tweeter. We want info quick (Twitter again) and we live in the age of visuals (SLV) and PInterest.

Any app, any software that attempts these stands a chance of success and the reason broadcast media struggles with this is again is the differing cultural systems they occupy, either because of their homogeneity within and lack of pluralistic connections with cultural groups outside.

Have you ever wondered why media people employ by likeness. You could tell who works for the New York Times and The Washington Post, Schudson tells us. But if it helped them back then, it's not now.

The BBC is an interesting case.

Social Networks at the BBC

Yesterday I read a fine blog by Nadja Hahn on ten ( at least ways) to make social media work for organisations. The BBC was the exemplar.

It made me reflect on my days working at the BBC in the 1980s and 90s.  The BBC as Hahn notes is doing some fine things with Social.  In effect, it's tackling the issue of cultures and elites in a way that's far different even from the makeup of staff when I worked there.

I presented to senior BBC executives about storytelling and video making here looking at different cultural group's video making. Of course back in the 80s the web wasn't available then, so the hegemony of the BBC's culture was stable and intact.

The BBC has proven itself to be quite astute, particularly 2008 onwards, and as my own visit showed before the completion of their new premises the set up looked impressive. 

But I can also show you emails between  commissioners and me in 2001-2003 where they did not get social or the web, and you only have to get Peter Barron, its former editor of Newsnight over a beer to learn the herculean task of the BBC to review itself in and out to become highly relevant again.

There's still work to be done though, but the BBC has a huge advantage in capacity and resources, which commercial organisations with more fixed cultures on the one hand and limited resources on the other, will always find difficult to match.

Social, as much strategic involves a large portion of throwing a lot of material out there, which is why Mashables tweets almost every minute on new findings.

The issue therefore is what comes next in News?  To objectivity, impartiality, fairness and balance comes "mutual affinity" - what can I know about you that becomes relevant.

And fundamentally as my own PhD research has revealed, some of those central tenants above that sculptured 20th century journalism are not as centrally relevant, integral perhaps, as they once were.

As cultures change, perceptibly over lengthy periods, we can count on more pressure on journalism. Professor Manuel Castells says it will get more disruptive. From my own research I  wholeheartedly agree with him.

About David

presenting in Tunisia on cinema journalism
David Dunkley Gyimah begun his career in news in 1987 going on to work for Newsnight, Channel 4 News and ABC News South Africa. He is completing his PhD in the future of news that looks at philosophies and cultures. He is participating at NewsXChange a NHK produced session on Social media and broadcasters; Denmark's national union of journalists on videojournalism, and UNESCO. He publishes and is a recipient of the Knight Batten Awards for Innovation in Journalism and International Videojournalism Awards.

Click here for insight into major new findings on

What is videojournalism on the web, in multimedia and offline - a major study and film - and why it matters

Friday, October 12, 2012

Winning a Youtube Channel worth up to $850,000

It's all about the tube - David's baby mac - model of the first mac he worked with in 1993
If you're an existing channel owner, you should be quaking considerably in your boots. 

If you've always wanted to own your own channel and couldn't afford the Sky platform insurance indemnity of supposedly $1,000,000, Youtube just answered your prayers.

The platforms says it was part of its original plan as this week it rolled out 60 new channels in Cannes, made up predominately of European producers.

The idea is channel proposals with strong brand potential and detailed feedback on their audience profiles can grab $200, 000 or up to $850,000 according UK industry magazine Broadcast. A watermark of 100,000 subscribers appears to be the bench mark.

So far the victors include: Endemol, who make Big Brother; Hat Trick Productions behind "Have I got News for You", and Jamie Oliver's Food Channel.

The outlay of funds from Youtube's parent Google will be recouped from the ad sales. This year Google stands to make more than $10,000,000.

The move signals a bold foray into television's already diminished audiences and also leverages Youtube as the platform of the future to watch television.

Yet it could also spell the end of meritocracy for the millions of users whose use built up the brand. That is by playing to stronger brands, Youtube may be forced to set up tiered premium relations with its commission winners.

In its bid to become the destination of viewer choice, Youtube is also signaling intentions by dint of the producers its allied with to produce lengthier quality pieces. The days of the idiosynchratic 2 minute  piece could be number.

david working on Nato's War Games 
The strategy that must be adopted by existing networks, aware of the social power of Youtube, is to jump into bed with them.

This could be a boon in some sense as firstly Channel owners avoid some of the superfluous regulatory frameworks of channels.

Over the last five years for instance, we've been working on Nato's War Games series .

For us this would be a prime platform not only for War Games but streaming web-based docs to audiences about conflict, an idea that Danfung Dennis indepedently arrived at for his iPad platform Condition One.

David Dunkley Gyimah will be  in Denmark UNESCO (cairo), New Xchange in Barcelona speaking about future media. You can find more about him as a senior lecturer, PhD researcher and programme maker from his site

Thursday, October 11, 2012

News Xchange Media and Videojournalism ideas that make the modern world

Delivering a Keynote in Norway
Every broadcaster wants to know about the future. Everybody wants to know about the future.  Yet often the future is something they won't countenance, until it becomes untenable.

"Breaking News: Can TV Journalism Survive the Social Media Revolution?" presented by the BBC's Lyse Doucet for the annual Huw Wheldon Lecture is yet another example of confirmation.

Doucet spoke about her resistance to Social Media until the Iran 2010 demonstrations. Then the collective of the people illustrated a wisdom of crowds. This is what it would have been like in the 1930s had not the intelligentsia ruled the teleporting of vision should be controlled. 

And even then BBC considered it such a low art compared to the spoken word.

From the moment I wanted to become a journalist in 1987 balancing my Chemistry degree with shifts at BBC radio, the ambivalence or skepticism to anything new has been a feature hard to ignore.

And "new" back in the 80s meant personnel as much as technology. When three years later I travelled to report from Apartheid South Africa, having had stints on Newsnight and BBC reportage, my uher became my recorder and edit bay. 

Using the BBC's studios in Johannesburg was out of the question. Adapting was something I learned quickly in order to make a living.

Embracing technology for me was a given. In the last twenty years I have yet to meet a broadcast executive who in 1996 didn't sniff at this thing called the web, or in 2000 think editing on your mac was a prepubescent activity, or in the ensuing years pour cold water on somehing called MySpace, Facebook and Twitter.

The general thinking is that technology has been the driver for the new dawn in hyper-communications, but that misses a huge point: the needs of the broadcaster comes first before techno-fetishism.

A broadcaster or publisher will simply not lay out millions of pounds on a piece of technology and its development when that means a depletion in its bottom line. They are a business first and foremost.

There's no such thing as an altruistic broadcaster or publisher.

In 1995  when some of the UK's most powerful publishers merged their interest into the British Media Industry Group, they did so aware that projections for the newspapers business did not look healthy and like all businesses the imperative, where possible, was to diversify.

Few, if any of them if they were candid, would claim to know 1995's future up to 2000 as this video I present as an anchor at Channel One shows.

But they were aware through the availability of cable, because that's what primarily defined multimedia in the 1990s, that there was leverage to be gained in the lucrative field of television advertising.

The 2000 Media Jump

By 2000 scores of management and executive meetings, with overheads and PowerPoint's needed to be run, often back to back.

Those who weren't prepared to shift a bit to the new quadrant, even though by netizens' standards these were small moves
, left their employ.

Then publishers and broadcasters did something remarkable. Instead of nurturing talent within, many opted to buy in talent from tech companies and the silicon valleys. 

Actually that's not the remarkable bit. 

What was, is that to do this they acknowledged a degree of dead space in their companies and the hit they could take financially and in resources before getting up to speed. Any company trying something new has to build in a contingency that absorbs inactivity by default.
TV and publishers have always circulated their own talent. This time they went fishing outside and when they succeeded, their confidence was such you would have thought they invented new media.

It wouldn't be the first time. Some people think Ed Murrow invented television news. New research by Mike Conway in The Origins of Television News in America begs big time to differ.

For that reason then I'm grateful to some of the big hitters in broadcasting for setting the record straight when it comes to videojournalism in the UK. As the figure who brought videojournalism to the BBC Pat Loughry states: "Channel One TV was ten years before its time". 

Channel One TV was the videojournalism station I joined in 1994 having previously worked for BBC Newsnight and reported from South Africa.

The videojournalism I knew was equally not palatable as the future for broadcasters and publishers. 
In a couple of weeks however I'm on the road mapping out the future of the media and the future which I glimpse will again make for some bum shuffling.

Media Futures Research

That's not to say that I know specifics in which app will do what, but if we mine from the themes of Jean- Froncois Lyotard, Jacques Rancieres, Leonard Shlain Nicholas Mirzoeff and others, a picture emerges, though its not necessarily explicitly. 

The general theme is, we are becoming more image conscious rather than worshiping the alter of the text. Shlain provides a convincing argument to this that spans centuries. It's the reason why less writing ( twitter) and greater images ( Pinterest) currently work.

Appearing in Time Square

It's the reason why Tokyo, Times Square and Picadilly Square London, look like perpetual landscaped Christmas trees. Postmodernism, not to be sneered at, tells us we lead fragmented, disjunctive  lives. You like your job, then don't like it; you have many friends, but not real friends.  

All this was known before Facebook, which is why Facebook would work. Anything that connects us that gives us a sense and belonging requires attachment. Social didn't just happen, it was a brew stewing for a while.

Right then if you're so smart asks the absolutist, how come you're not making a mint. LOL I'm working on it, but yes it is the technologists, the builders, who are in vogue. Journalism provides other intrinsic values.

If you want to become rich become a banker.

But remember how in 2006 I spoke about all that acres of broadband space, what will broadcasters do? Well they're doing that, only just now.

But what about the next generation of broadband? This is what the Chinese created when I had the opportunity of visiting their expo. The Internet would support holograms, such as this child and mother speaking to grand ma and dad - projected as figures.

or what about this Outernet site profiled on Apple's site in 2006, which every town will have one day, which will let you dump compressed files onto your phone to be watch on your HD at home. 

Or that a bluetooth device which will one day make telephones redundant. In fact by allowing access to its echo feature you can hear anyone who is mentioning your name. Geopositioning will tell you where. 

Remember the shiny emblem Kirk and his team tap and then speak into?

The reason being that along the horizon exists the next big web volcano - the shake up of learning, knowledge and education.

The signs are there, the logic is simple - all the institutions are diversifying, as they should. Pearson publishers, who I present to in a couple of weeks, have their own degree course and there's more.

The structures that so suited the traditional learning environment are being turned around. In a couple of weeks, I'm addressing journalists in Denmark, Unesco in Cairo and I might, might just be speaking about the future at News Xchange.

And its the learning environment that will present the next, did-not-see-it-coming for broadcasters. Question is will they see it?

Because from the "now", history tells us at some point there's also an anti - a shift that cuts against the grain - which is another reason why it's difficult to nail trending and for the benefit of the broadcasters countenance what lay ahead in the future.

David Dunkley Gyimah is a senior lecturer at the University of Westminster. In his broadcast career he worked for Channel 4 News and Newsnight. He is a Knight Batten Winner for Innovation in Journalism.

Friday, October 05, 2012

Pushing the visual and video journalism envelope

Mark Cousins, behind the Epic Story of Film, the book and Channel 4 Series,  described by the Telegraph as the Cinematic Event of the year has a new film out - What is this film called Love.

His previous multi-faceted work includes the must-have book on documentary written with his friend the Oscar winning documentary/film maker  Kevin Macdonald Marley (2012), Touching the Void (2003) and One Day in September (1999) .

Mark's influence on my work, and I many other cinephiles, has been deeply rewarding.

I first came across on screen him when he presented a series on the BBC in the 1990s interviewing some of the greatest directors and actors in the world. e.g. Scorsese, Tom Hank's etc.

Three years ago I had one of those rarest opportunities to share a space with him for a week. Such is his vast encyclopedic knowledge that he deconstructed my work and offered his own critique, which I intend to eventually use for a book.

Interviewing Mark Cousins
What Mark offers is a philosophical probe and language of film. But and it's a big BUT, not philosophy in a manner to complicate or muddy affairs, but to experiment and bring clarity. Film is soup, which does not have fixed meaning.

We create meaning through a negotiation between what the filmmaker offers and how we ourselves perceive the text. One aspect of this is a Wittgensteinian model. The strength of images and text is not fixed and that film based on fixed language of meaning is not fixed.

Because then the limitation of language pens in ideas. If you're five years you'll use language in a certain way. If you're twenty with a greater language vocabulary, you'll have a greater use. But even at  twenty you might end up limiting yourself because you believe, say for instance, meaning in the English language is all encompassing.

Were that the case, then French, Iranian, Cuban and Chinese films to name a few would be prescriptive to our English language of film  mode. But all the aforementioned have all redefined film.

Film in effect is a universal language, with multiple syntaxes and grammars, and Mark whether its in his documentaries or in his latest film seeks to discover how standing on the shoulders of giants he can himself enhance his understanding.

Forever learning ")

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Video journalism's margins towards the centre of tomorrow's creative form

I have long argued the scope in video journalism. 

I'm on Chapter Seven of my 70,000 word thesis, and with this corpus almost intact have the opportunity to embark on a number of tours, to explain a past, present and future of videojournalism.

Predicting the future is as I have said a mug's game ( See Apple's site for what I spoke about some time back).

How do you know has to be the first question anyone should ask.  I have conducted various ethnographic studies in China, Tunisia, and the UK.

So whilst, yes, it would be a bold person to claim they've a hang on the next trend, using methodologies such as the Delphi procedure, Trend extrapolation and Media history, some interesting results emerge.

One question you could ask yourself is with broadband beyond your wildest dreams, what could you do, that you haven't done so far?

Gamer the film provides some examples in spatial film making, whilst my trip to China and hologram (previous posts) videos is worth considering.

However in breaking of from writing, I wanted to reinvigorate a conversation on Montage.

Creative Videojournalism

Last week in one of my first psychovideojournalism tours, we ending up at Trafalgar Square where I shared ideas with the team on creating montage.
Viewing a montage sequence at Trafalgar Square from Psychovideojournalism
Montage is the apotheosis of film form and extremely difficult to pull off. You can trace its background to the Russians in Pudovkin, Eisenstein and Vertov.

But one of the daddy's of montage to create it as a genre was Donald Siegel, who played a huge role in enabling the form to possess its own identity.

Remember montage, as seen in the modernist guise of CSI Miami etc is often used to show the transition of time within the body of a film.

As a stand alone, it conveys ideas in what semioticians view as unorthodox shots often prefiguring some symbolic meaning.

 A symbol is something that bears no relationship to what you see. You make up the meaning or in some cases societies convene on some understanding e,g, a red sign as a triangle.

In Se7en, you're no wiser about the image, but as a whole the meaning its frankensteined. That is together the sequences signify strange dangerous even criminal behaviour.

The film montage sets the tone. Montage is used elsewhere in "accelerated digital" to convey information in motion graphics. Motion graphics, which stems from graphic artists moving into the moving image is itself old as film with intertitles, BUT, you'll have a jolly time going through films in the 1960s and the great Maurice Biner who made several titles include this one below for Charade.

Anyway, below are some more opening titles, from the likes of Snatch  and the last one from Tarantino because it represents a different form of Montage, as a music break within a film.

BUT more importantly it creates the famous contrapuntal feeling again developed by Eisenstein. The scene works against the images to recreate something that shouldn't work, but does.

See you in Denmark next this month and then Cairo with UNESCO talking about the future of the media in December.

Meanwhile I'll post some new films on