A number of sessions at Input looked at the use of the web and mobile possibilities for public broadcasters.
Thursday afternoon’s session took the audience on a journey through a number of webdoc productions, beginning with a fascinating long-term cross-media project from ARTE in Europe called The Arab World in Revolution(s). The aim was to create a tool for dialogue in the Middle East region, and the project includes a site with video, regular blog entries and a web series, and a tie-in with a television series. Content is updated regularly, and there’s even a cartoon of the week to add some levity.
Another ARTE project presented was Afghanistan: 10 Years, 100 Viewpoints, a rich database documentary showing perspectives on Afghanistan in the 10 years since the war began. The project is a phenomenal undertaking; there’s around 13 hours of video content on the site so it’s essentially a massive archive broken down into chapters and subchapters arranged around themes such as ‘the voice of the Afghans’, ‘memories of Afghanisatan’ and ‘the exile’, presented with video, stills, interviews and cartoons.
Jeremy Mendes of the NFB was also there to present his project Bear 71, and SBS gave a sneak peek of their upcoming online project The Block, a beautiful webdoc acting as an archive and record of the The Block in Redfern before it was finally demolished.
A session on user-generated content and mobile phone footage involved two screenings that were confronting. You Should Have Stayed at Home by the Canadian public broadcaster collected footage from protesters at the G20 meeting in Toronto, and examined police brutality. Mega Tsunami: Hidden Perils from NHK in Japan used citizen footage from the tsunami and interwove it with re-enactments by the subjects involved, also using some impressive graphics to demonstrate the tsunami’s destruction and the following fires.
Audience discussion arose around the ethics involved in using such footage, ascertaining veracity and the changing role of journalists as curators, but there seemed a consensus that it’s a journalist’s (and a filmmaker’s) responsibility to use such footage when it’s available.
The final session was on using social media. I was sceptical, as often these sessions can be a bit ‘social media 101’, but I was pleasantly surprised at the depth. Mostly thanks to another presentation from ARTE on a cross-platform project called Photo for Life. Tied in with a television broadcast, Photo for Life searched out six young photographers to complete a masterclass with a famous photographer, while any other interested budding photographers could also follow an ‘e-masterclass’ with tasks given online. An exercise might be, for example, to photograph an egg, with instructions to represent its texture and use an individual perspective. Participants uploaded their (quite amazing) work and people would vote on the best pictures. Photo for Life appeared to be one of the most successful audience collaboration projects I’ve come across.
It seemed fitting to end Input with a web-based session, hinting at the possibilities to come in cross-platform work. There was a lot of interest in how to make these projects successful, and the crush of people wanting to talk to the presenters was indication of the potential for cross-pollination of ideas and expertise as well.
About this writer
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