Sunday, May 31, 2009

Tamil Tiger Flag Victory

Police fail to make flag flying a terrorist offense. After a week long showdown outside Parliament between Tamils and Police, protesters continue to fly the Tamil symbol in defiance.

Rev. Billy comes to UK

Reverend Billy and The Church of Life after Shopping Come to the UK.

Video Skills

People & Planet and visionOntv bring you an exciting new video editing workshop. Get the skills at Summer Gathering 09

A Time Comes - trailer

Director Nick Broomfield has made a 20 minute film celebrating the spirit of direct action. This Bright Green Pictures film tells the story of the Kingsnorth Six, a group of volunteers who scaled the 220m chimney at a coal fired power station in Kent in 2007 to protest against government plans to build new coal plants across Britain. The film premiers on on May 31st and will premier on YouTube June1st. The film features the music of Nick Laird-Clowes performed by David Gilmour of Pink Floyd amoung others.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

2ed IPTV training day - Programme


(Applications you need – editing software, Audacity, a skype account and visionOntv – install them now)


This is our first induction to "the project" – the ambitious goal of creating, collating and distributing high-quality media to make an entire alternative IPTV station, which can take a million forms and be disseminated to every corner of the web. Most importantly, at its core, it aims to liberate people to do the same themselves, to take any part of the project or infrastructure, and make it their own.

1. The infrastructure of an IPTV station

The delivery mechanisms - streaming and peer-caching – soon the CMS (content management system)

Distributing by download (p2p = peer-to-peer = peer-caching)

The VOTV player app at visionOntv – built on miro

There are 5 main channels at the moment:

- Grassroots – for UK-based, direct action and environmental stories

- Friendly Fire – US-based stories – "the news you don't see on NBC"

- Globalviews – "Another World is Visible" – international stories not based in either the US or the UK.

- Headmix – culture and counter-culture, dramas, soaps, music vids etc

- Plug and Play technology for social change

There are also an ever-growing number of subject-specific channels , which can also be embedded in websites and blogs (see below).

Each channel needs looking after – we need people to be channel controllers.

Content comes into these channels as either original or syndicated:

Syndicated content:

1. rss feeds – trusted series or shows which we take every episode of – examples: Ted Talks / Rocketboom / Threadbangers

2. rss feeds which we monitor and selectively re-publish. - Mosaic / US indymedia -

3. single films which we re-publish (if longer than 10 minutes, usually in "youtube-length" sections of less than 10 minutes) – eg "The War of 33". There are visionOntv titles available for anyone planning to do this the "VOTV video titles folder" in the image gallery here.

Original content:

1. animotos

2. short video reports

3. studio shows – the technical means - we need presenters and technicians – purpose of studio shows

Distributing by streaming - via tubemogul to 8 different sites, including youtube. And via blinkx to 10 search engines.

Embeds and using metadata:

This potentially distributes the films massively, by allowing people to view the films on numerous different portals.

Marketing and publicity – currently we are in Phase 1, which has 2 stages:

a) Outreaching to activists

b) Outreaching to NGOs

This is being done via embeds, and links to short urls on websites and blogs.

Phase 2 goes to mainstream media and uses a wide range of techniques such as “celebrity endorsement”!

Plans for the future – seasons, series, playlist generator, everything running through the cms, groups, marketing very widely of the cms project. Encouraging people to use the CMS and open media feeds as “mashup” for their own sites.

The distribution challenge – the goal of getting views – 1st goal: 10k viewers per film.



(Participants to start thinking about what they might want to do)

2. How to Do Stuff


1. How to find creative commons images – at flickr

or at sitepoint

2. Make an animoto in one hour:

From one of these stories:


3. Transcoding – how to make a film ready for the web.

Full-spec (dv quality) avi/mov to mp4 following the guide here.

Transcoding DVDs to mp4 and youtube films to mp4 at the bottom of the same page.


LUNCH – A Korean vegetarian meal will be served. Donations welcome.


4. How to publish – account:



Practical workshop: publish the animotos to visionOntv via tubemogul

5. What to publish - quality control or "smart aggregation" (the aesthetics of alternative media)

6. What not to publish - Copyright/copyleft – creative commons licences – music - legals




7. Using rss for new films– checking our mash-up of rss feeds for quality films.

8. How to search elsewhere for new films – our youtube subscribers etc

9. How to make a studio show – (not a practical workshop – which will be a separate session)

10. Promoting the channels – on your social media networks – promote the channel rather the film - write reviews in appropriate places – put an embed in your blog or campaign website.

11. How to argue for an embed – the two blocks to getting an embed on a website, the owners and the admins.

12. How to implement an embed - taking an embed code off or creating a new one.


3. The next step

How we can help you to realize your goals and ambitions.


4. Sundowners
Enjoy a cocktail with visionOntv!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Drupal as the CMS for alt-projects?

As a side note i can't help feeling that all the money foundations are poring into drupal will be wasted as it empowers the geeks not the users or content creators - its the wrong metaphor.


Video Blogging vs Citizen Journalism?

Good post from richardhering "Given that our proposal to the Open Video Conference in New York 19-20 June was sidelined, how big is the gap between citizen journalism/alt-news (which we represent) and video blogging (which OVC represents)? I think they should be closer, sisters in the creation of an alternative media. From one side the problem is the failure of citizen journalism/alt-media to create consistent quality content (we've got solutions for that - fast turn-around production templates.) From the other side is the problem of video blogging not escaping its individualistic nature and building communities. So come on guys, we're all in this together!"

I had a hope that the Open Video Conference would be just that, the opening out/up of video, but it seams to be just a continues of something that is much like the "activist ghetto". Come on guys we need to replace thoughts roting institutions called TV with something as far reaching, as one stream in the Open Video future we all strive for. Were are:

Just to highlight a few, not to mention the project, video blogging, like the world is NOT non-political, were is the political stream in the Open Video Conference?

Sunday, May 17, 2009

visionOntv's proposal for the Open Video Conference - New York 19-20 June

visionOntv's proposal for the Open Video Conference - New York 19-20 June
This proposal has been accepted, but is not yet scheduled in the conference programme.

How can open video become the new TV?

Intro to the visionoOntv project

visionOntv has the goal of making open video activate social change. We have modest foundation funding for 2 years to launch this (starting April 2009).

As a platform, visionOntv has a skinned and simplified version of Miro, currently with 5 main TV channels, enabling downloadable HD content. (All the other channels and options on Miro are easily available - our version merely adds an interface which helps users to transition from old to new media. All the options for wised-up users are still there.)

The "main channels" are a mixture of "smart aggregation" (syndicated rss feeds and separately posted content) and original programming which contextualises the other content for a wide audience. All content posted is also streamed, currently on 10 different sites via tubemogul.

We ran a solar-powered TV studio at the UK Camp for Climate Action in August 2008, producing some 25 shows ( We will have a beta of our CMS running by the time of the Open Video Conference.

The Presentation: the 6 things needed for open video to make social change

Our presentation asks precisely how open video could activate social change, and sets out some of the answers we are pursuing. Some of the questions are:

Can alternative media really break out of the ghetto?
Why do people watch mainstream TV news? – (info-tainment, slick packaging, personalities, etc).
How can we compete with the mainstream in terms of entertainment and production values, so that our important ideas reach out beyond the small circles that they currently reach?
What kind of filtering and molding of video content will enable it to become the new mainstream?
How can compelling content be produced on a huge and global scale, for little or no budget and (therefore) with a short turnaround?
Could citizen video journalism explode, with high-production-value, watchable films no longer being limited to a small group of the highly-trained?
Can it be done effectively by people whose main work is something else?
What else does the new TV need to be?
Much of the technology for IPTV already exists, but the social outreach does not. We have not yet built effective communities around video content, or, in many cases, around open source tools. Video blogging is individualistic, and we have not yet worked out how to deal with passivity, the thing which “old media” was actually designed around.

It is vital that we don't underestimate how difficult any of this is to achieve. Here are 6 things that are needed for it:

1. Production templates

visionOntv has prepared templates for effective films which can be made in an hour (, using automated animation of stills ( We are currently preparing a template for short video reportage, such as, which was picked up by rocketboom. There is a further template for the live-edit production of rapid-turnaround studio shows using webcams and software mixing ( The emphasis throughout is on how to do effective story-telling at very low budget for the widest possible viewership.
We will demonstrate all of these at the Open Video presentation.

2. Training

The key to the mainstreaming of citizen journalism is training in the templates. visionOntv has funding to carry out a training programme in the UK, beginning June 2009, and plans to do it internationally.

3. Smart aggregation

The careful selection of creative commons content based on quality. Putting the viewer first to build user trust and loyalty.

4. Quality content needs quality upload

We have developed a transcoding standard which ensures that the video file is not too large, but can also be projected on a video beamer (important for communities with limited broadband access, and for promoting the collective experience which is a community screening). We will demonstrate this in the presentation.

5. Open source production tools

- automated animation for fast-turnaround citizens' reportage using stills
- video mixing for studio shows
- a really simple-to-use transcoding tool where all the options for the more technically-minded are available, but where the basic interface is “stupidly simple”.
- video editing (lite and full version)

At the moment, unfortunately, we have to use corporate solutions for all of the above. We will never recommend to a novice citizen journalist a piece of software which is complex and forbidding.
We need open source tools which have the potential to take over completely from corporate tools.

In an adjoining proposal we have suggested working groups at the Open video Conference to develop these tools, which would match up software developers with professional users.

But something more than quality content is needed to enact social change.....

6. Social media tools

visionOntv is customising a completely modular open source cms, where any part of it can easily be imported to any other media project. This is vital. By using a java-based cms, any part can be taken and used as widget code. We are seeking to empower the users with a do-it-yourself cms. We are giving people a whole pile of tools which glue together, but can also be taken out separately into other sites and blogs, and where the keys to creating projects are not in the hands of the techies who created the original cms. This is a new kind of web application where users can create their own resources around our content, and all the tools will talk to each other. Users can build their own gateways into our material for their particular needs, and we could then gain from their new creative commons content. Put simply, it allows the user to manage the content.

visionOntv's cms will have superior chat functions on video streaming, by being layered in such a way that you will be able to chat to anyone else who is watching the film, or to anyone who is watching the channel, or to anyone who is watching anything on the station as a whole. Viewers can then break out into campaigning (or more purely social, even dating) forums, so that an activist minority starts to feel like a large community, sharing ideas and ideals, planning actions together, discussing the effectiveness of different tactics, and in all kinds of unpredictable ways making social change.
(We will have a beta of the cms by the time of the Open Video conference)

The playlist generator
This will be created in three phases: the first allows us to create a coherent look and feel using an "old TV" metaphor – permitting us to create seasons which publish at the same time each week, to insert "in-betweens", and to differentiate daytime programming from "primetime".
In future versions, content will be user-controlled, for instance by "I like it / I don't like it" ratings.

Metadata standards need to derive from actual practice, in a decentralized way, rather than being centrally-defined in the abstract. visionOntv is doing this, rolling out embeds in content-specific websites using tags.

Proposal 2: Workshop

Wouldn't we all like to make a living from what we do?
Funding / monetizing open video production – a round-robin – an opportunity for everyone to share their experiences, good and bad, of funding or monetizing the production and distribution of radical or open video. We can contribute our own experience from a UK/European perspective. And we have a concrete plan for sustainability of the VOTV project which we would like technical support for.

Proposal 3:
Working groups on the different pieces of software to define a spec for development:
- video editing – both lite for citizen journalists (replacing i-moive and movie maker) and full for professionals (replacing FCP, Avid and Adobe Premiere)
- video mixing for studio shows
- transcoding tool – really intuitive to use on first sight
- automated animation – for fast-turnaround citizen journalist reportage with stills

Proposal 4:
We would also like a suitable corner (preferably in a cafe) to install a “min-sin”, a computer in kiosk mode playing a custom version of Miro. The organisers of Open Video could then insert info-announcements into this player.

Friday, May 15, 2009

The End of Farming in the Fertile Crescent

Rick Rowley: A rough short piece from a longer film we're working on about how the US destroyed agriculture in the place where it was invented 10,000 years ago.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Police Brutality - Community Sanctuary

After a day of police brutality at the G20 protests in London, April 2009, a squatted island in the Thames offers a safe sanctuary.

A history of the Iraq War in 5 minutes

The Continuing Occupation told in 5 min.

Monday, May 11, 2009

TV report of Alien captured on CCTV

How an 8 foot alien was spotted on CCTV cameras prompting 3 police cars to respond to the scene in Bournemouth, UK. James Sanger,music producer of Keene tells the story.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Sand Fantasy "You Have A Friend"

Swine Flu - the view from the streets

Made on visionOntv's citizen journalism course on 2nd May 09. http;//

London Squatting

A film about squatting in London, made by first time filmmakers during a weekend citizen journalism course organized by visionOntv.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Films from visionOntv templated training workshops

Monday, May 04, 2009

visionOntv's "Long Live the Media" weekend

Participants from visionOntv's "The Media is Dead, Long Live the Media!" gathering say why they are there.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

After all the bad press, let's admire the police!

Mayday, mayday! Space hijackers disgrace themselves in London by dressing up as the police, but as you've never seen them.

Ken Saro-Wiwa

Shell face justice in a New York court, after 14 years, for the hanging of Ken Saro-Wiwa

Friday, May 01, 2009

New venue

NEW LOCATION! The 100 Flowers Cultural Centre, 2A Belgrade Road, Stoke Newington, N16 8DJ.


From central London, it's best to get the bus (trains and tube are shut for engineering on Saturday) - 76 or 243 from Waterloo, 149 from London Bridge, or 67 from Aldgate all stop at Princess May Road on Stoke Newington High Street (the second stop after the Rio Cinema), or 73 from Victoria via Marble Arch stops at Stoke Newington High Street, and then 5-10 minutes walk south.

Hamish 07931165452, Richard 07894350478

Call us with any problems or queries. Email:,

Ravens Ait eviction