Digital Content Re:Connected event – LIVE BLOG

This is the archive of the live blog we did for the Amb:IT:ion project’s Digital Content Re:Connected event, which took place here at MDDA on 27 October 2008.

The one-day seminar explored how creating art is changing around us, featuring insights from arts organisations and mavericks that are leading the way in developing new content using the latest technologies.

Media from the event

Video Interviews with the Key Speakers

Live blog archive

Please note, this blog archive is in reverse upside down wrong way round order. Please read from the bottom of the page and scroll up. Ta. :)


The event is closing by showing the 1 minutes videos made in 1 hour during the Let’s Go Global workshop. We’ll have them online in a few days.


Some comments from the closing roundtable discussion.

Roundtable discussion

Listen to people ask you are broadcasting. Make the conversation two-way not one way.

Twitter is a good place to start using social networking. You can get a sense of what people are doing, and find links to other things you are interested in.

Mentioned loudmouthman’s presentation about social networks.

Get a better mobile phone that can gain access to mobile broadband and access social networking and online media tools.

Try to get ‘personalities’ in your organisations using these tools, and don’t blog as a ‘faceless’ organisation. People respond to other people, not to ‘organisations’.

Make time to get started with these tools, have a play with them, and get a bit confident using them.


CJ mentioned the Equity booklet New Media Deals, which she recommends arts organisations read and learn from.


CJ taking about ways to use social media in arts organisations, such as meet the cast videos, behind the scenes photos, exhibition slideshows, a showreel, embedded music players on your website, and so on. Again, see the presentation on for full list.


CJ is talking about some online media services, such as Mippin, ShoZu, Flickr and others. See the presentation on for the links.

The workshop is running a little late. Just finding out what is happening with the closing roundtable talk.


CJ uses two mobile phones. One just as a regular phone, and the other to update blogs, take photos and other online activities.

You can use services like Twitter, Swarmteams, Facebook, Friendfeed and Spinvox to keep your audiences updated on what you’re doing.

Practical sessions now in the workshop using Swarmteams to keep a team updated on each others activities.


CJ is talking about some of the benefits of using social media for arts organisations, such as sharing media across organisations, building communities, audience research, and engaging with the audience.

CJ recommends watching the commoncraft video Social Media in Plain English.


The presentation from the PCM Creative workshop is available at


Caron ‘CJ’ Lyon from PCM Creative is giving the second session of her workshop.

You can find her on most social networks as pcmcreative.

She is a from a theatre stage management background, and is now working to develop ways for arts organisations and creatives to take advantage of social media tools. She is now the ‘virtual stage manager’ at the Pilot Theatre.


The event is still going on. People are in workshops, which is why it’s quiet on this blog. Things should pick up again in about 20 minutes.


OK. Thanks, Christian. Lots of stuff there for people to play with and find out how they can use.

The seminar is now breaking out into two workshops where Let’s Go Global will show people how to make a 1 minute film on 1 hour, and Caron ‘CJ’ Lyon from PCM Creative is taking about mobile media. We are not live streaming the workshops.

Live video and blog will be back at around 4.40pm. See you later.


Lots of people using social media to create stuff and collaborate using cheap kit which enables them to communicate across vast distances.

Talking about more tools – which lets you capture 12 seconds on video about anything. Seesmic is another ‘micro-blogging’ video platform – he used it to record the aftermath of a car crash and how a few minutes after he uploaded it he had people who followed him on Twitter offer him a car to rent, because they ‘knew’ from being online.


Christian pointed out that many people like the way mobile phone cameras are less intrusive than ‘professional’ video cameras and allow more intimate and ‘real’ content to made. Some of his work is showing people how they can create that kind of ‘informal’ content.

Christian Payne speaking

Showing a video of a scientists telling a story about the £20,000 metorite that killed a dog.


Telling story about when he did a report in Iraq which he put it out as a podcast. This enabled many more people to see his work. One of them was the organisation RedEye who asked him to do more work. Through that he got work from the United Nations.


Christian stressing that arts organisations must include their audience, and there is loads of ways to do that now. Loads of live video streaming tools available.

When the Gordon Brown speech was taking place, it opened people’s eyes to how news could be got out without 30 second delays and so on.


Talking about Phreadz, which can be used to show all your online activity over time.

Viddler. Another video platform that has a more professional look and feel than YouTube.

Qik. Telling a story about bumping into Tony Benn at a train station who told him that journalists should move to the internet. Christian recorded that on Qik. Wouldn’t have been able to until recently.


WordPress. He uses it to power his website, as it allows him to engage with the people who go to his website via comments, RSS feeds, etc. It cost him very little money to set up and use.

Flickr. As a photographer it’s useful as it helps to raise his profile, he can find out what photos people like and don’t like, and why.

YouTube. The comments people leave about his videos can be nasty. However, most of the eyes of the world are on YouTube, so it makes sense to put your stuff on it. Told a story about a guy coming to install his fireplace who told him that his house was at the centre of a UFO hotspot, and how he filmed that and put it on YouTube. Lots of people watched it.

Have a look at TubeMogul as it can help you send video to lots of different platforms.


Christian Payne (aka Documentally) is a freelance photographer who also specialises in New Media. If you are on Twitter, add him @Documentally.

Christian Payne and his Mac

He is going to talk about some of the platforms he uses, some of the tools he uses. He wants people to look at the stuff he’s doing and think about how they can do something with the same stuff.

Our offline / online / mobile worlds are becoming one.

He has a main hub for what he does – His website and his blog brings a lot of content and has helped to make him a name in social media. People send him stuff to talk about and review and so on. He was recently involved in some work for UK government and Reuters to use social media at a Gordon Brown. conference.

Hardware you need to do this stuff.

Mobile phone. He used the Nokia N95 and the video is amazing – he can stream live video to the internet, tell people what he’s doing via Twitter and so on. Was very useful for the Gordon Brown work with @sizemore and Illico.

Put a up a slide with the names of lots of social media services on it. If anyone says they are a social media expert they may need to think again as they’re so much stuff to get your head around.

Services he using the most include Qik, WordPress, Flickr, Twitter, etc.

The most important platform to him is Twitter as he can keep in contact with all the people following him and that he is following on Twitter, it is a way for clients to find him, give him work, meet up for coffee and live blog what’s happening as it happens.


Lunch is wrapping up. Very nice hot pot and veggie lasange.

Speaking next is Christian Payne.


Adrian thanking Hugh for the talk. Lunch coming up. We should be back at around 1.45pm.


Want to know more? Check out and


Machinima is great for making movies quick and for having another creative route to do stuff. Some downers – can still cost a bit of money, you can be a little restricted in the range of animation you can use to express the character’s actions, and it is getting a bit harder to differentiate your movies from the thousands that go on the internet every day. Lots of noise out there, so think about marketing your movie.

Machinima is well known in the gaming community, which tend to be very tech savyy.


Hugh has just recorded some action in WoW and is now about to edit it using iMovie ’06. He directed his friend to do things like run past the camera on their horse, roar a bit and walk off camera. Hugh has those clips and is editing them.

Hugh Hancock


Hugh also showed another machinima called Byron, a personal project which is a film of a Bryon poem.

Hugh is now about to make a machinima live, using software called MovieStorm and the game World of Warcraft, and a friend on his in another part of the UK.


Hugh showed the machinima Stealth that was put together in 24 hours that was used to campaign against European legislation about file sharing, and raise awareness amongst the gaming community. The point was that something that reached thousands of people could be created very quickly at low cost.


Hugh showed his movie Bloodspell, a 90 minute fantasy adventure movie that he made alone on a small budget that was hugely popular and would have cost around $40m to make something similar in Hollywood.

Hugh made point that arts organisations can use machinima to enage with people who may not normally be exposed to the ‘arts’.


Hugh has been involved in machinima since 1997, founded and has lots of experience in this stuff.

Showing some examples, such as Eschaton, Red vs Blue, the South Park World of Warcraft episode.


Machinima came out of people playing computer games and then learning how to make movies using them. Really kicked off when computer games become ‘proper’ 3d around 1996, with games like Doom. Also, games would let you record the video clips of you playing the game.

This allowed people a low cost way to make 3d movies, without needing to spend lots of money on a professional 3d software application.

Hugh Hancock talking about Machinima

Hugh is playing a film taking the mickey out of Tomb Raider, which was made using the game Half Life 2.


OK. Next up is Hugh Hancock who’s going to be talking about Machinima.

Adrian announcing slight change to schedule. Hugh till 1pm then after lunch it’s Christian Payne.

12 noon

Thanks, Marcus.

Coffee time. We’ll be back live streaming at around 1pm. Thanks for all the feedback so far.

Don’t forget to tweet, add photos to the Flickr page and tell other people what we’re doing – in particular arts organisations. Send them to Thanks!



How have you embedded digital content creation in your team of four in the Theatre?

You don’t have to do it all yourself. Actors can set up Facebook groups, etc. Make best use of easy to use technology – content management systems for website, easy to use photo sharing and video upload websites.

Collaborations with young people – how much do you use tools like wikis to create work?

Most young people have mobiles. Pilot use SMS to communicate with young people. Marcus gave example of school who created a YouTube video response as part of school project in response to a project they are doing. Marcus says arts organisations should relax a little about the ‘diluting’ of their corporate branding when other people make online stuff in relation to their work. The level of collaboration depends on the project – some would use blogs, some use wikis, etc.


Marcus showed a film that they made in two days with young people as part of


Marcus making a point that ‘collaboration’ means different things to different age groups. To some people, it means meeting online to develop a management document, to others it means working together to do something creative.


Question asked about different levels of engagement? Has using these tools brought more people to Pilot? Marcus stated that they Pilot started with a Facebook group in July 2007. Through using that and other social networks they have doubled the number visits to their main website in 12 months.

Marcus is showing off We Feel Fine.


It’s important for arts organisations to take advantage of all these tools in order to develop themselves and engage with the audience.

Marcus is talking about some of their other projects, such as a wiki called The Rat Kings that allowed people to develop a story collaboratively. He showed the Pilot Theatre’s Wikipedia entry and others.


Marcus talking about how they developed a production where the set design used MySpace pages as backdrops.

Now walking around a space in Second Life they created. Marcus is talking about how useful Second Life is to show off their productions, and do innovative things like fly around theatres to access different photo galleries, stills from productions and posters, and so on. Marcus pointed out that the cost of making the Second Life space was about £1000 in total, including the ‘rent’ of the space.

Marcus Romer and Pilot Theatre in Second Life


Marcus making point that because these tools allow collaboration with people worldwide, arts organisations can have board members across the world, and communicate via video conferencing, etc.

Marcus is talking about the Online Strategy that has been developed for the Pilot Theatre, which shows how they will use social networking tools to engage with the audience, publicise productions, etc.


Marcus is making the point that using social networks enables arts organisations to connect directly to the audience.

Also, the genie is out of the bottle in the sense that it is now easier to do things like stream live video online. The key part to understand is these online activities are still a joint, social experience for the audience.


Marcus has made clear is he is not a techie. Telling a story about meeting the head of Pixar on a bus, who told him that technology does not lead productions, and if the technology is not there to meet their stories, they build it. Marcus has found this inspriational when developing theatre productions.

Marcus is telling attendees to go where they can find all the materials to do with his talk.

Show of hands for people who have bough online, sold online, created and uploaded digital content. About 75% of audience of 50 put their hands up.


OK. Thanks Vito.

Next speaker is Marcus Romer from Pilot Theatre, a national touring theatre company resident at York Theatre Royal. They created the award winning  Lord of the Flies, Beautiful Thing, East is East, Rumble Fish , Sing Yer Heart Out for the Lads, Looking for JJ, Fungus the Bogeyman and the IIFA Bollywood Awards Opening Sequence.

Marcus is going to talk aout the Pilot’s approach to using digital technology.



Does this add anything to the creative process?

Using a social network does have an impact on the production on the film, but not a large part – its main impact was getting people to understand how a film is made, and making more people aware of the movie. It allowed another way to connect the filmmakers to the audience.

Did this influence the kind of film made?

It liberated the work. The casting process was exciting to do this way. You find things on the way you hadn’t thought of, leading to character changes, etc.


Vito is playing the trailer for the Faintheart movie.

The locations of where the movie will be screened are being decided through the use of an online ‘heartmap’. People mark their location on a map and if over a 100 people want the movie to show where they are, that is where the movie will be screened.

Heart map


As well as people keeping video blogs, competitions were run on MySpace so that people could come and visit the filming sets and find out how movies are made.

More excerpts from video diaries are playing.

A competition was run on MySpace for bands to get their music on the soundtrack to the movie and also appear in the film. Five were shortlisted and the MySpace community voted on the winners. A band called Eastern Front from Ipswich won.


As well as Vito keeping an online video diary of the production of the film, the actors also kept their own video diaries. This was good for the actors, as through the publicity surrounding the production of Faintheart, they were able to get other auditions and other work.


We are aware of the problems with the sound and doing our best to fix them. May have to wait for next speaker to get fixed. Apologies.


When the winning movie idea was picked, the casting sessions were then carried out online, with actors submitting video auditions online. There were about 250 auditions.

Some key parts of the script were put to the MySpace community for them to edit collaboratively.


Faintheart is the world’s first ‘user generated’ movie. Users asked to upload short film less than 15 minutes to MySpace, top 12 filmmakers selected by MySpace, Vertigo Films and Film 4. The top 12 pitched to a judging panel.


First speaker is Viti Rocco, winner of the MySpace Movie Mash-up. He’ll be talking about how his movie Faintheart was created through an online community.

Vito Roccos


Adrian Slatcher is giving an introduction to the day and welcoming everyone. Housekeeping and all that. No coffee on the carpet, please!

Adrian Slatcher

This event is part of the AmbITion project – go to to find out more.

Phil Birchenall has helped to organised the day. Thanks, Phil.


Hello. We’ve just set up the gear and eveything appears to be working. Hoping it don’t go wrong as first time we’ve attempted this.

The feed from the Twitter Search appears not to be coming through, so if you want to see what people are twittering about this, please go to the Twitter Search results for #ambitiondcr.

People are filing in. Here we go.

Posted on: October 27, 2008.

3 comments on Digital Content Re:Connected event – LIVE BLOG

  1. MDDA Live Streaming | Online Marketing | Search Engine Marketing | SEO | PushON blog replies:

    [...] for the live blogging aspect, you can visit the Manchester DDA blog here, for all blog, Flickr & twitter posts about the [...]

  2. Watching it Online: mobile video, HD video « AmbITion Resources states:

    [...] and mic are presented, and this lovely personal and reflective video proves it! Also check out the live blog archive and Twitter stream from the day. Over 40 people enjoyed the event live, with over 200 tuning in via [...]

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