Monday, June 10, 2013

The Videojournalists's Playground in Denmark

Pictures from my presentation as part of an international line up for #Videoplay  (Video Playground) at one of the prestigious films schools The European Film College in Ebeltoft, Denmark

This is their really nice cinema auditorium we're presenting from

I had two 2-hour slots mapping out how different styles can be used to create different feelings in videojournalism. I also proved to delegates that cinema has nothing to do with cinema. Darren Dutch, a US Emmy award winning solo videojournalists tweeted.

: cinema is the spectacle, it's what draws you in

The seminars over a week are aimed at predominately mid career photojournalists, photographers and TV Camera men and women.

My presentation was titled Doing as theory, the reflective practitioners. The goal was to show how new ways of working are becoming theory and that its the crafts person reflecting on what they do, which has currency, and differs from citizen journalism.

I have enormous respect for anyone doing video, i particular those calling themselves citizen journalist, but here I argued that unless you can begin to read media and change styles accordingly, you're very different from those who have spent years wrestling withe their disciplines.

I probably over did the slides running at 53, but I wanted to ground the theory. I stated there was no such thing as a unitary future of journalism. Why? because our ideas are as diverse as they are disparate and post modernism doesn't facilitate one big idea any more.

Can you think like a videojournalist? I ran a few cognitive experiments, but here's one that was a favourite. If you want to play here goes.

1. Look at the balls and see if you can detect a pattern

No? Ok look at this one

Any luck yet?  If you saw this. Well done.

But what about this? Did you get this? Prime numbers versus even.

Effectively I have demonstrated how we read media from patterns, but because we go for the obvious, journalism gets a bit dull. These are called semantic fields and the really clever videojournalists break conventions.

We looked at several videos and I talked about how some broadcasters were changing from the traditional package, but the delegates detected some short comings. Look at this incredible video from Alleppo from Channel 4 News, which will likely win awards and see whether you can come up with a critique.

I reccommended books like this one that gets you into the headspace of understanding how to reflect on what you do

And played through several videos deconstructing with the audience why they worked, or not

And demoed some of the kit I use on stories, such as the pocket rig, a small devise that mimics those huge shoulder rigs using the 5D, expect its much smaller.

There was a good degree of audience feedback on personal films I have made, and it was great to see critiques which acknowledged and challenged what might be acceptable or not. Great questions start the thinking process to reinforcing reflective thinking.

I summarised that it was neither my job nor my intention to claim to teach you my style. By showing tow different films and a range of commercials I wanted to prove that the best way to become a film maker or videojournalist was to pick a style and hone that, before moving onto another.

Thanks very much for the generous reception. Here's the image that underpin my practice.

And we end with these two pictures and my thanks to Martin Ramsgård and Søren Skarby two formidable practitioners who are driving various projects in Denmark to increase the value of professionals shooting video and making films.  

Next up was Daniel Moj, a prolific entrpreneurial videojournalist from Germany who put on a wonderful show, and tomorrow is   award winning videojournalist from the US whom I really looking forward to seeing. 

And finally it was great to meet up with Henrik from the Bombay Flying Ducks, photography and Flash producers par excellence. 

You can learn more about the event and the people behind it on their Facebook site aptly called Video Playground. My thanks to all the delegates for being so generous, Leif, his assistant and Michael for taking the photographs of me including these two below.

David Dunkley Gyimah is a senior lecturer, videojournalist, filmmaker, artist-in-residence at the Southbank Centre and consultant for a number of compabies, He tweets and can be followed at @viewmagazine