Libraries – the original Social Networks

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library dragon

I was listening to the Scroobious Pip podcast (birthday edition) this morning where he interviewed his mum.
She sounds very nice.
She also works in a library.

She was advocating the role of libraries everywhere. I sympathised with her because, over the last few years, I’ve worked in several libraries in Perth, Dundee and Fife on behalf of their local authorities, running workshops and classes in using social media and digital media (filmmaking, storytelling, etc…).

As a direct consequence of doing this work I have a new found enthusiasm for libraries and there role in local communities. In lots of areas libraries are struggling to stay open but in others they are the hub of the community. The fact that you are reading this may mean that you have all that you need at your finger tips via the internet – however, by turning up at your local library for an event, to borrow a CD or… dare I say, borrow an actual book, you are helping to retain a service which, for some, is a life line.

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Click here to visit my LinkedIn page to watch a couple of short videos and tell me your memories of going to the library – or even what’s happening at your local library this summer!

Wellderly – collaborative participation

wellderly figures

My wife is currently studying on the Design for Services Masters programme at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design (Dundee University). Along with two colleagues from the course she has been working on a submission for the Young Innovators Challenge (YIC) – entitled Wellderly.

“The Young Innovators Challenge returns with a new focus on social innovation. This is a great opportunity to develop ideas and new ways of tackling real issues that can make a difference in Scotland and beyond.” Scottish Institute for Enterprise website

wellderly set

Above: The stage is set. The whole film was captured and edited on an iPad with the models set out on a ‘lazy-susan’ to reduce the need for moving the camera. 

My involvement was purely digital – in that I helped create the movie. The script and models were all Keerthana, Jenni and Moyra. I took the pieces and the audio and put them into what you see below. We were tight for time which meant about three hours preparing the various elements and then four hours the following evening to animate the 90 second film – submitting in time for the midnight deadline with (literally) seconds to spare!

wellderly animation stuff

I hope you like…

I would consider this a prototype. At some point in the future I would hope to tidy it up a little – maybe add some sound effects – but I’m pleased to say that Moyra, Jenni and Keerthana have been announced amongst the finalists for YIC 2014, so, along with a very good idea, our little film did the job.

wellderly timing sheets

Above: Timing is everything – key points in the audio are mapped to two, three, second chunks which allowed me to work out how many frames I needed to capture for each segment.

Incidentally, in reference to my previous post on ‘social innovation’, the Scottish Institute for Enterprise (who organise YIC) offer their own interpretation of social innovation as “Social innovation is an emerging global phenomenon that brings together enterprising and entrepreneurial thinking with creative innovative skills to deliver solutions with a social impact. Done well, it changes people’s lives and communities for the better.” – again, it’s quite broad, but worth a read I thought.

wellderly title

Please let us know what you think of Wellderly by leaving a comment here or by contacting  Moy, Keerthana or Jenni.

Capture. Edit. Share: Film Making on iPad

Over the last few years I’ve been running workshops using iPads; video editing, audio (AudioBoo), animation, image manipulation and more. I can tailor them to young people from 7yrs and up; however I’ve found that there are also a number of adults who would like to know how to use their new devices more creatively. (If as an individual, or member of a group, would like training then drop me a message…)

Perth iMovie Feeback

So, it was great to be back in Perth this week working with ‘Living Communities‘.

I ran a film making workshop (one pupil’s feedback above) with the assistance of two dancers from Space, Dundee College’s Dance Academy. Obviously it’s useful having some form of content to capture, but having the dancers gave us something quite dynamic to film without having to worry about scripts, cues, or plot lines and so on.

The format of the day was that the dancers did a presentation in the main hall. They then came up with a shorter piece which they repeated throughout the morning and afternoon. The pupils suggested the locations, found their filming positions and took turns fulfilling the various roles required, filming, clapperboard, extras, etc…
They then had 45mins to edit what they’d captured down to between 60-90 seconds. Finally we had the Fast Film Festival where every group presented their film.

The video below is a summary of the workshop:

Each group was made up of between 2 and four pupils and one iPad. Collaboration and sharing was the team’s responsibility and though we had a very larger group they handled the challenges of filming together really well.

Coincidentally, I recently did some filming with SmallPetitKlein, dance studio in Dundee. This next video is one of the initial rough edits of a collaborative piece for the ‘Sense of Place’ exhibition at McManus. It proved very useful this week as an example of what the pupils in Perth could achieve. (The final outcome that resulted from this film is currently in the exhibition at The McManus, Dundee.)

For your iConsideration

iphone-oscar-app1

I’ve been delivering workshops over the last few months on capturing and editing digital content on mobile devices. Digital video and photography is nothing new of course, but, in recent years, colour correcting and editing content on the same device has become more than just a domestic option… many devices available to purchase on a modest budget, combined with software costing no more than your lunch money, can be your camera, your editing suite and your means of uploading to the web. In reality you can make an HD quality short movie and upload within minutes of completing the edit.

For the digital journalist, the ability to do this offers obvious benefits and potential – but is  this tech limited to nothing more than online content..?

Well, based on my experience with the media, available apps and subsequent results, I was poised to write about where I saw the potential this method of filmaking offers beyond YouTube, Vlogging or school projects.

Last summer I was commissioned by The Young Foundation to make a series of short films for a social innovation project. Initially I was a little shy about revealing my filmaking kit – an iPhone, an iPad and a laptop. However, I felt convinced that, given the sensitive nature of what I was to film (homeless hostels), smaller and less-intrusive kit would offer me a greater advantage over larger, very intimidating, HD broadcast quality digital cameras.

During this time I was reminded of a film released almost 10 years earlier – Tarnation (2003) was a documentary gathered from 20 years of ‘Super 8’ film and analogue video footage. The ‘first time’ film maker gathered his content, digitised it and edited together in Apple’s iMovie, the freebie digital movie editor bundled free on all Macs. At the time the iMovie application was ‘Final Cut Express-lite’ – ‘Final Cut Express‘ being ‘Final Cut-lite’. But this new documentary maker, 1) Didn’t know the difference and 2) didn’t have the money to use anything else – even the kit he had was loaned.

Within a few years of release Tarnation had garnered 8 film festival awards and several other nominations.

So, ten years back to the present, just as I’m about to write about where iPhone movie-making could be taking us in years to come, I find this on CNN – “$1.99 iPhone app saved Oscars film

I recommend you watch the clip but, essentially, within a few hours of me publishing this post, Searching for Sugarman (2012) may well be an Oscar winner, due (in a small but essential way), to a few essential ‘iPhone-captured’ shots!

iPhone app

The possibility of ever seeing a feature film made on an iPhone is highly unlikely. However, there are plenty of good reasons why we might see an Oscar/BFI/Cannes/etc… nominated documentary, (or even a short film) that was captured, edited and published on an ‘iDevice’.

The downside of course is that there may well be an awful lot more rubbish to wade through – however, a true creative spirit will always find a way… and so maybe, just maybe, one of next years golden statute winners is already walking around with a golden opportunity in their pocket.

UPDATE: Maybe you already know the story, but Searching For Sugarman won the Oscar for Best Documentary 2013 – congratulations to al involved!

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