Category Archives: Digital Culture

Streaming Out Video

I spoke at the Streaming Out 3 seminar, organised by Brighton-based digital art agency, Lighthouse in February 2013.

For this event, I mainly outlined the projects and current thinking of the SHPLive live streaming performance programme that I’m currently developing. I felt like it would be useful to point out the context and development that has led me to this project, so I skimmed through some of the 7 year history of the Digital Media Centre which I run for South Hill Park Arts Centre and outlined the path from podcasting to local radio broadcasting which led me to propose the current step of live streamed performance webcasts.

Video of my presentation and others in the series are now available on the Lighthouse website.

All of the talks in the three event series are now available online at the Lighthouse web site. Stand outs for me are the talk on the Performance Rooms project by Susan Holtam of Tate, the efficiency and positive partnership working of Brighton Dome’s streamed projects as presented by Carole Britten, the business savvy of production and distribution in the same chain by Picturehouse Cinemas. All of the presentations are rich with useful pointers towards how the arts and culture industry could develop new products, new platforms and ways of talking to it’s audiences.

STREAMING OUT FOR DIGITAL AUDIENCES – TALKS ONLINE

The slide images I used in my presentation are online as a PDF here

Two Way Media

Over the last year or so, I’ve worked on a couple of projects that use the simple idea of asking the people that my employers engage with what they think of that experience, and using their response as part of promotion or recruitment for other events that people like them also might like to attend. Like a curated or enhanced user generated content situation.

I’m talking about participation in a cultural activity here. It often creates feelings of shared identity, pride, progressing in one’s chosen interest, developing skill and so on. I really just wanted to demonstrate what this looks like. One case is a recruitment campaign for members of a youth dance company. I’ve used the same format twice and it has not failed to produce total PR gold dust each time. The resulting video drawn from this is then spun out on social media and Facebook as a series. Enlisting the participants in the spread of the video that features their comments builds on their enthusiasm as well as being fun. The second instance of this idea is a variation on the theme where the participants themselves were asked to record and supply the video material that we would use to promote the event.

Here’s one of a series of videos I made called “Why Shift?” that were used to recruit new applicants to join the Shift Youth Dance Company at The Place, London. These are shot with no rehearsal on a small handheld Flip camera (hence poor sound)

This next piece has phone camera footage from the youth dance companies involved in a remote collaboration for an event called “ReFresh“, where well known choreographers nominate a piece of music for them to use in a new dance work.

Quality and Limitation

It must indicate something about the project work load of the last 6 months that I haven’t posted since ¬†August. Second phases of a few of my recent projects are on the horizon but there’s been a whole load of activity in between.

The live stream programme that I wrote about in a couple of previous posts has taken off and I’m happy to say that I’m now Programme Manager of this project, dubbed “SHPLive“. Our mission is to develop the “Opportunities to Broadcast” thinking that I’ve been harping on about for years in the culture industry.

We’re beginning to deliver some great live stream projects now, and as part of this it seemed vital to me to begin developing the thinking around content production for digital broadcast within the culture industry. A few weeks before Christmas I held a conference event which we called “Beyond The Stage“. The conference tried to get in right at the idea level of digital broadcast and live streaming to show a few example projects but also give a sense of scale and the exciting new opportunities that are emerging around connected TV and online delivery. One of the watch words for our SHPLive programme is “quality” and myself and my trusty Co-Producer repeat this to each other in moments of need.

Jon Pratty speaking at Beyond The StageAt the end of our event, Arts Council England‘s Relationship Manager for Digital Media and Creative Economies in the South East, Jon Pratty took the floor for a summing up of some of the main strands that had emerged during the day. Jon’s got a great affinity to the Punk DIY spirit, and flagged up a question about what did we mean with our “Quality” mantra ?

It’s always interesting when someone queries a theme that you have taken on but perhaps not precisely defined a contextual meaning for. So it made me think “Yes, well. What DO we mean ?”

In an arena where expressions like “Broadcast quality” are relevant, it’s not that technical interpretation that is a driver in this instance. My own talk at the event made reference to the relative nature of production quality which is flexible depending on the platform of distribution. The relevance of a single shot phone camera video on Facebook is different to a scenario where you use that as a public presentation of your organisation. It’s the new vocabulary of media platforms that we have all developed.

But quality of reproduction is not the essence of what we mean with our watch word. It’s quality that has an awareness of this platform specificity, but is actually applied to the conceptual and logistic detail of the content. Finding time to be thorough with one’s thinking and make the best that you are able regardless of time and budget constraints is what I have in mind. In our case, with the creative ambition of our conference we even had discussion about what kind of sandwiches to lay on during the lunch break to arrive our our most networking-friendly spread.

To get back to a good old Punk Rock example, many of the bands involved in the late 70’s wave and beyond embraced a DIY philosophy of independence¬†that saw them record what is now classic music on whatever recording equipment they had to hand, and that didn’t make them any less compelling or vital tracks. In fact even into the Rave era, Orbital’s warehouse classic “Chime” was transferred from the cassette tape original prior to being released as a 12″.

I think we’re probably coming back to the very heart of things here, which is the content. Skilled thought is required to present it in the most effective manner, but good content will always communicate quality.