Stuff you should care about: Pogo

The movie ‘Up’, as sampled and remixed by the Australian DJ, Pogo.

It’s brilliant! It’s in my head. It has spawned this brilliant lipsync tribute too. Upular was commissioned by Disney Pixar (and so appears in Disney’s YouTube channel as well as Pogo’s own. Interestingly, of the two, the Disney one currently has fewer views). More recently, he has also worked on an officially sanctioned film for Toy Story Film called Toyz Noize.

Before that, Pogo was entirely sampling various films on the basis of Fair Use. He’s known for having sampled Alice in Wonderland (Alice), Hook (Bangarang), Terminator (Skynet Symphonic), Harry Potter (Alohomora) and more. He’s suffered several take-downs on YouTube as a result, and has written and spoken about copyright and fair use; to quote him, “remix culture is all about interpretation, not theft”. This guy’s body of work embodies why Fair Use is important.

BAFTA Film Awards 2010

I was fortunate enough to be invited to help out the BAFTA online team during the Film Awards on Sunday. I spent the afternoon and evening tweeting as @baftaonline and helping their team keep their Facebook page updated.

Initially, I was mainly sharing photos from the red carpet, which meant wandering around with an ‘access all areas’ pass and trying grab pictures of the buildup while staying (unsuccessfully) out of the way of various live news cameras. Here are a handful of the photos I uploaded to Twitpic during the afternoon.

Share photos on twitter with Twitpic Share photos on twitter with Twitpic Share photos on twitter with Twitpic Share photos on twitter with Twitpic Share photos on twitter with Twitpic

I was only slightly hampered by not having much of an idea of who everyone was, and during the busiest time on the red carpet it was a struggle to get a photo and tweet everything. Fortunately, the Bafta/BBC TV crew I was embedded with were very helpful in confirming names of people I was unsure of, etc. Conscious of a fast-depleting iPhone battery, I was alternating between an iPhone and my Canon camera, grabbing snaps and video of whatever looked interesting.

Red Carpet Kimberley Walsh Guy Pearce on the Red Carpet James Cameron on the Red Carpet Andy Serkis on the Red Carpet Edith gets her make up touched up

Once the ceremony began, I went upstairs to the media room where I sat with the BAFTA online team watching the ceremony and backstage interviews live. I was updating their Twitter and Facebook presences with the award winners as they were announced and the response to these live updates was overwhelmingly positive. Rob (BAFTA’s online editor) had proposed a very clean, cut down style for the announcements which worked really well for giving it an official, definitive tone. Keeping it short meant it was more likely to be retweeted too.

Upstairs

During the ceremony, I had a list of who was announcing what, and had to fill in the blanks with the winner as they were announced, tweeting and updating Facebook as quickly as possible. This was pretty stressful, though obviously also an awful lot of fun. I soon found a rhythm and was pleased to be using a laptop where I could quickly copy and paste blocks of text between various windows. The iPhone is nice, but it would suck for this sort of work.

Backstage Carey Mulligan Backstage Kristen Stewart Backstage Backstage

There was some frustration, among people watching on TV, that the twitter stream was acting as a ‘spoiler’ for the event (though I should point out this was massively outweighed by vast numbers of people expressing supportive, grateful thanks for the instant updates). I think the call (which was, of course, BAFTA’s to make) to announce live, rather than in sync with the TV coverage, was the right move. People were looking to @baftaonline for the definitive results when rumours were circulating on Twitter, and it wouldn’t have made sense to wait. We should probably have been clearer as the ceremony began that the tweets were going to be out of sync, to reduce the risk of people being surprised by spoilers.

Once the ceremony was over, and I’d reluctantly handed back the iPhone, I found myself on the stage itself. This was, frankly, even more surreal than the rest of the day. Watch this video below to get a sense of what it was like.

Later in the evening, my wife and I attended the Film Awards party, which was great fun.

BAFTA Party BAFTA Party BAFTA Party BAFTA Party BAFTA Party BAFTA Party

On returning home, I discovered I’d been seen by the BBC News cameras 3 times. As Ian H pointed out, it’s a bit like playing ‘Where’s Wally’.

In the news (1 of 3) In the news  (2 of 3) In the news  (3 of 3)

This makes five times, to my knowledge, I’ve been spotted on TV. (The first and second both being on the set of Watchdog in 2008.)

So, all in all a fantastic day and what little stress I did feel was entirely exciting. Thanks to everyone at BAFTA for a brilliant time.

Playful ’09

Playful 09 was great.

Playful 09

I really enjoyed Playful 08 so was delighted to be asked back. Last year I demoed my Rock Band MIDI guitar hack. This year, rather than extend my P5 Glove project into another MIDI instrument, I decided to set myself the challenge of talking about games and films. This was perhaps a little foolish, as I know only a little bit about games and barely anything about films. However, the audience were mercifully forgiving of my ill-prepared nonsense and laughed in all the right places.

In case you missed it, here are my slides, complete with dodgy audio recording of the talk.

Thankfully for all concerned, the rest of the day was much better. Here’s some of what happened:

Playful 09 Leila at Playful Robin Burkinshaw talks about Alice and Kev Daniel Soltis at Playful James Bridle's MENACE Rex Crowle at Playful

A great day with lots to take home and think about. Thanks to Toby Barnes and everyone else at Pixel-Lab for making Playful happen.

More people who have written about it: Suw Charman-Anderson, Leila Johnston, Howard Pull, Adam Davis, Lawrence Chiles, Libby Davy, Daniel Soltis, Priyanka Kanse, Melinda Seckington and more, plus the official record: part 1, part 2 and part 3.

Inside the brain of Adam Curtis

I don’t often talk about work projects, but I cant hold my tongue about this one. I’ve been rather excited about it for a while, and it went live today.

Adam Curtis blog

Adam Curtis is the documentary filmmaker behind ‘The Power of Nightmares‘, ‘The Century of the Self‘ and more. Recently, he’s done some pieces for Screenwipe about the rise and fall of the television journalist and another about ‘oh dearism’ in the news for Newswipe.

Well, he’s going to start blogging about his work and ideas on the BBC. In fact, the Adam Curtis blog launched today at bbc.co.uk/blogs/adamcurtis. Hurrah.

Adam writes: “This is a website expressing my personal views – through a selection of opinionated observations and arguments. I’ll be including stories I like, ideas I find fascinating, work in progress and a selection of material from the BBC archives.”

All rather exciting. Of course, the rights issues with some of the clips, and especially the music, make it hard to publish them all for an internet-wide audience and sadly some of the content has to be restricted to the UK for right reasons, but the plan is for as much as possible to be globally available as the blog goes forward.

Some related links:

While I’m pimping BBC blogs, other recent-ish blog launches you might have missed:

Mini film reviews

I don’t know why I don’t keep cinema tickets. It would make remembering which films I’ve seen recently a lot easier.  Off the top of my head, the films I’ve seen recently with a three word review for each one:

  • Taking Liberties (fairly thought provoking)
  • Die Hard 4.0  (some nice effects)
  • Transformers (remove the dialogue)
  • Bourne Ultimatum (some great scenes)
  • Eagle vs Shark (Kiwi Napoleon Dynamite)
  • Hallam Foe (dark and beautiful)
  • Death Proof (tense and hilarious)

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