Tuesday, December 08, 2009

More on Geek TV

The Legion of Tech has successfully popularized what we in the Pycon subculture call the Lightning Talk, which isn't always as breathless-sounding as my recent demo of the genre. You can say quite a bit in five minutes, if properly prepared, and many are already sitting on such already polished talks even as we speak.

Also at Pycons, you have a mixing box right at the point of delivery. You could specify the meticulous details, as Lindsey (a musician) does for her sound set ups, per her Free Music Blog. Such explicit instructions, about whatever technical topic, might help your sister stations get their content on line sooner and more inexpensively, whether for free or for trade.

In the case of video, you'll want to pipe signal directly from the laptop, so the slides don't have to go through the camera lens except as a part of the backdrop. If the laptop is beefy enough to play smooth animations, then so much the better.

What you get in the can at the venue (studio) is pretty much what goes out, unless the presenter wants to take on post production. We're presuming a live audience context, perhaps at a place like Duke's Landing on SE Belmont where we've been doing some pilot studies.

The speaker's head and/or full profile may be inserted as a rectangle within the slide, with editing decisions made on the fly, making post-production less tedious. On the other hand, some clients bring forward already-produced five minute (or shorter) segments, designed specifically for free and open source sharing.

Those producing this show need to think in terms of a growing inventory of replayable assets (the Portland Knowledge Lab model, likewise Children's Television Workshop's).

What we're looking for are utilitarian talks mixed with more flights of fancy. The "alternative turn signal" talk at Ignite 7 was somewhere in the middle of this spectrum.

Think of practical advise to non-profits involved in direct service. It's up to you to compress everything a non-profit executive director would need to know about open source web frameworks, in five easy to digest minutes. Other talks could zoom in.

Then we'd want medical and health care talks, sometimes with frank content, such as how to prevent the spread of this or that, along with practical agricultural advice, around urban farming, trusted food sources, tested protein combinations (e.g. beans, squash and corn). Cooking tips will remain a popular feature (Ignite 7 had that one about road kill, plus sometimes hunters waste meat like crazy so maybe learn how to harvest that as well).

Some of my clients are turned off by TV as a "push medium" though i.e. don't want to have to sit through a broadcast (sequential access), want random access instead instead (as on Youtube). Of course it's not either/or, but this bias does suggest producing five minute segments that work either way i.e. that could be part of a telecast, per some Sesame Street episode, our could be shared standalone.

This focus on "practical" segments is consistent with the original purpose of community access television, so I'm thinking this is a winning formula, perhaps even here in Portland. Both CUE and AFSC produced for community access contemporaneously with my presence. Who wants to be on TV?

Speaking of which, I've kept the "ISEPP TV" meme alive in case we want to join forces, as a source of content (e.g. Neolithic Math) if not server facilities (I keep losing track of which servers live where, have my own 4D stuff to keep track of). We haven't had much followup on my QA proposal (to check the quality of what we've already got), but then those weren't collected with the five minute restriction in mind, so we're talking brief excerpts at best.