conference attendees in conversation. b&w

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.

 

 

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