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Interview Audio, Richard Sambrook, BBC Global News Director

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Here is an interview with Richard Sambrook, Director of BBC Global News from October 5, 2005 at the We Media Conference. Sambrook talks about the future of journalism and the latest experiments with citizen journalism by BBC. He also discusses UK press coverage during the build-up to the war in Iraq, and some differences between the US and UK press.

The BBC is subsidized by the UK government, and therefore is a lot more free to experiment with participatory media when there isn't an explicit business model attached. As a result, the BBC is shaping up to be a worldwide leader in "We Media" innovation, and making news a more collaborative process.

(19:41 / 5.6 MB / Subscribe to Interview Audio)

Click here to listen to the MP3

kentbye's picture

Interview Audio, Doc Searls, Doc Searls Weblog

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Here's an interview with Doc Searls of Doc Searls Weblog & senior editor of Linux Journal on May 16, 2005 talking about open source communities, and how collaborative principles apply to the future of media, politics and culture.

Since I'm working on this open source documentary about the media, then I wanted to get some insight into what makes open source communities work.

Coincidentally, the group formerly known as Pajamas Media had their launch today and are now known as Open Source Media -- and I have a little rant about OSM™'s privacy policy which seems to be in complete opposition to the values of open source (via The Talent Show).

(24:42 / 7.1 MB / Subscribe to Interview Audio)

Click here to listen to the MP3

kentbye's picture

Playlists are to Music as Edit Decision Lists are to Film

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When the timelines of edited film sequences are exported, then they are flattened into an "Edit Decision List" that is somewhat analogous to a musical playlist and an academic syllabus or H20 playlist.

UPDATE: I explore the how this playlist concept can be applied to filmmaking in conversations with Lucas Gonze, Colin Brumelle and Farsheed

JD Lasica just posted a video interview with Molly Krause of Harvard's H20 playlist project.

You can think of H20 as a way to share a college class syllabus. It's an ordered reading list that can be used to aggregate knowledge from experts. They describe it as an "open source, educational platform that explores powerful ways to connect professors, students, and researchers online."

Here's an example of a H20 reading list that should give you an introduction to "Social Bookmarking with" written by Brian Del Vecchio.

H20 tracks derivatives made from playlists as a way to track the relative authority, expertise and reputation of a given author -- much in the same way that academic citations in peer review journals are a way to measure these same metrics. But the H20 playlist format decentralizes this process from the normal gatekeepers and allows for a much more grassroots and bottom-up approach to this concept.

So as Krause says in the interview, you can think of these playlists as a way to provide guided maps to particular fields of study.

My understanding is that playlists have gained a lot of popularity because it is a way for people to create sequences of songs to play on their computer or mobile devices. Because more and more individual songs are being digitally distributed and separated by the order in which they usually play on an entire music album, then playlists have been able to recreate these musical experiences much in the same way that DJs have done.

So Harvard has expanded this playlist concept from music to academic information, and I would like to expand it even further to a journalistic and filmmaking context.

Netflix is already using the playlist concept for distribution of DVDs with their "Netflix Queue." You select videos that you want to see, and then you determine the order in which you receive them.

This can be extended to the actual generation of films because filmmakers are essentially doing the same thing except with multiple video and audio dimensions synchronized by timelines and smaller nuggets of information (i.e. a sound bite vs. an entire DVD).

When the timelines of edited film sequences are exported, then they are flattened into an "Edit Decision List" that is analogous to a musical playlist and an academic syllabus or H20 playlist.

Edit Decision Lists can be generated with a web browser interface, and then dynamically translated into online edits by using the SMIL open standards -- or into offline edits by using Final Cut Pro XML interface that I've described before. I've been able to successfully accopmlish both of these in the tests that I've done.

Most people get completely lost by this point, but I'm basically exploring the idea of using playlists for the collaborative generation of media much in the same way that Harvard is exploring playlists for the collaborative distribution of knowledge.

I was very happy to discover that H20 backend has been open sourced, however the code was a bit too complex for me to parse.

But I'd love to catalyze an effort to port some of these concepts from H20, and into Drupal.

I've been in contact with the two Drupal developers of the playlist module, and I hope to talk to them more about it soon.

I also happened to meet "playlist maven" Lucas Gonze of at the Open Media Developers Summit, and may pick his brain about the function and culture around playlists -- as well as best practices for tracking related and derivative playlists.

So with that, I'll share the e-mail and comment below that I just sent off to's JD Lasica (whom I also had the chance to meet at the summit)...

kentbye's picture

Lessons Learned From Open Source Politics

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Micah Sifry from the Andrew Rasiej New York City Public Advocate Campaign just posted long write-up with a lot of lessons learned from their open source political campaign -- a campaign that was ultimately not successful.

I had been in contact with the campaign after successfully pitching them on an idea to remix citizen videojournalism reports as part of their communications strategy to catalyze people living outside of New York City to encourage their NYC friends to vote for Rasiej.

They were going to use some of the footage from my second video blog, and vlogger Ryanne Hodson was going to recontextualize it to use for their campaign. Then we would promote both versions driving Internet traffic to both of our projects.

However, the Rasiej campaign was not able to follow through on this idea since they became overwhelmed in the chaos of the last weeks before the election.

In his post-mortem analysis, Sifry questions the feasibility of conducting an open source political campaign.

I submitted the following reply to his post by saying that I thought that more innovations happen within the collaborative media realm before we see any radical shifts in our political culture.

My intention is that Raseij supporters could support The Echo Chamber Project as a way to build up the necessary Drupal infrastructure to facilitate a open source communications strategy by producing collaborative media.

More details below...

kentbye's picture

Screenshots of User Interface for Distributed Editing

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I have some preliminary screenshots for what the volunteers will see when they help order sound bites into sequences.

This has been some of my first Drupal development, and I'm sure that this interface will continue to evolve -- but I just want to show what I have so far.

More below...

kentbye's picture

Progress on Collaborative Filmmaking Infrastructure

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In order to have more volunteers get involved with this project, then I need to build the infrastructure in order to put them to work in helping edit the film.

Lately, I've been able to make some promising advances and gain some new insights on my original plan for Collaborative Filmmaking. I completed some milestones that have allowed me to prototype the workflow and make alterations to the original flowchart.

Once I get these tools into place, then a lot of my writing will become less technical and geared more towards creating videos that will instruct others how to participate.

This is what my plan for collaborative media currently looks like:

Collaborative Filmmaking Flowchart Version 2.0

There are more details below...

kentbye's picture

Formatting to Optimize Vlog Remix Potential

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The video blog creator wants to be properly attributed for their work, while the remixer would ideally want to have footage that can be seamlessly used in their productions.

So not including any watermarks or titles is in a vlog entry could encourage remixing. But at the same time, the original content creator wants to maximize the attribution for their work.

I sent the following two questions to Ryanne Hodson because she is in the process of remixing this vlog entry for the Rasiej campaign for Public Advocate in NYC.

I eventually decided to experiment with my second video blog entry by publishing two different versions -- the original version with titles and a more remix-friendly version without a watermark or any titles.

For future episodes, I'll probably chose to only publish versions with watermarks and titles until my film is completed -- at which time I'm open to releasing more remix-friendly versions.

Below are some more thoughts on finding the best balance between what's in the best interest of the creator and remixer...

kentbye's picture

Using Citizen Journalism to Open Source Political Campaigns

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I sent the following proposal to Micah Sifry and Andrew Rasiej to open source the national aspects of their campaign for New York City Public Advocate by remixing citizen videojournalism reports into their communications strategy.

This could provide a viable model for how traditionally top-down driven political campaigns could release some control by collaborating with issue-based advocates on more detailed, Long-Tail messages that go beyond the least common denominator audience.

I heard from David Weinberger that Rasiej was having a conference call last Wednesday for political bloggers, and some other surprise guests.

I joined this conference call where Rasiej said that they needed help spreading the word to New York citizens to vote for him on September the 13th.

Rasiej talked about the national implications of his campaign for how Wi-Fi in NYC would be a cultural and political trendsetter for other cities to do the same -- as well as how he intended to use technology to facilitate grassroots activism and bottom-up democracy.

The only problem was that Rasiej campaign hasn't had time to craft this message on their own, and so they asked bloggers to make the case for him.

It just so happened that I had just completed my second video blog episode where I had already made the connection for how technology is changing media, politics and leadership.

So I suggested that they remix my second vlog episode by cutting out my message out and inserting their own. Using the Creative Common-Attribution license encourages people to do this type of remixes as long as they provide a link to and an attribution in their video.

This would encourage both of us to promote our respective vlog entries to our network of contacts.

And it also allows us to experiment with how citizen journalism and activism could be used to collaborate with political campaigns.

Below is the more detailed pitch that I sent to the Rasiej campaign laying out my vision for how this type of collaboration between citizen journalists and political campaigns could work. They gave it the green light, and the remix will start being produced next week by vlogger Ryanne Hodson.

Hey Micah and Andrew,
During the conference call yesterday, I noted some pressing desires for your campaign, and I think that I have some innovative solutions to some of them.

I talked with vlogger Ryanne Hodson, and she is willing to remix the following five-minute video on how technology is changing media & politics into a shorter vlog entry that communicates how your campaign can catalyze a larger movement of grassroots, participatory democracy.

This would require gathering a few sound bites with Ryanne, and then having her edit these juxtaposed with the sound bites that I've already gathered from experts at the Personal Democracy Forum.

Here is link to the 5-minute video

Below are more details on how these SOLUTIONS can fill your DESIRES and accomplish your BOTTOM LINE.

kentbye's picture

Echo Chamber Project Vlog Episode 2: Media & Politics

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Here is the second Echo Chamber Project video blog entry

Description: Technology is transforming media & politics, and large-scale collaborative media can provide some insights into grassroots leadership and bottom-up democracy.

Featuring: Chris Nolan, Jeff Jarvis, Doc Searls, Scott Heiferman, Markos Moulitsas, Mindy Finn & Kent Bye.

(5:08 minutes / 12.6 MB)

Download Quicktime

Subscribe: Vlog RSS / Blog RSS

Listed below is a full transcript of this video with additional links...

kentbye's picture

XL Spreadsheet for Generating Final Cut Pro XML Sequences

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Here is an Excel spreadsheet that I used to generate valid Final Cut Pro XML.

Being able to generate Final Cut Pro XML means that it is definitely possible to generate sequences of sound bite clips within Drupal -- and provide some interesting possibilities for faciliating collaborative editing.

My intention with posting this is that at some point a PHP programmer will come along to code this spreadsheet into a Drupal module.

Note that being able to do this requires extracting the following eight variables from the Final Cut Pro XML data.

sequence id > media > video > track > clipitem id > in
sequence id > media > video > track > clipitem id > out
sequence id > media > video > track > clipitem id > name
sequence id > media > video > track > clipitem id > duration
sequence id > media > video > track > clipitem id > file id > pathurl
sequence id > media > video > track > clipitem id > file id > timecode > string
sequence id > media > video > track > clipitem id > file id > timecode > frame
sequence id > media > video > track > clipitem id > file id > timecode > reel > name

If you want to get this to work with sound bites and Final Cut Pro on your computer, then I suggest trying to recreate the XML with the spreadsheet first.

I copied and pasted the XML data into a Word document to remove all of the tabs (^t) and carrage returns (^p) before it would work.

I also created a special content type within Drupal that contains these 8 XML variables -- as well as the text of the sound bite.

Here is an example of a "Sound Bite" node from the Bill Plante interview -- and here is an aggregation of all of the Bill Plante sound bites.

So it is possible to assign each sound bite to a unique URL -- as well as collect metadata on each sound bite that could be fed back into Final Cut Pro.

For more information:
Collaborative Media with Drupal + Final Cut Pro XML
Preparing FCP Sequences for Distributed Editing via XML
Progress on Phase 01

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