Enjoying the Pet Shop Boys

My love for dance music is wider that most would imagine at first. One of the genres I actually quite like but generally wouldn't admit to is the electro-pop/syth-pop stuff. The Pet Shop Boys seem to fit right in the middle of that genre of music perfectly. So it was great to see and hear them perform the other night on the Brits, which I only tuned into because I happen to be in the hotel room flicking through the limited channels for something to watch. Anyhow, The Pet Shop boys they won the 2009 Outstanding Contribution to Music award. Although they play a good selection of tunes, Go West, Its a sin, West end Girls and my favourite Always on my mind. Enjoy the performance before it gets taken down…

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BeebCamp 2.0


Yes believe it or not the BBC is also involved in the BarCamp movement but currently only through its own internal BarCamp titled BeebCamp. For those who don't know sometimes the BBC is called Antie Beeb, I don't quite know why either it seems to be a legacy thing. Anyhow this is the 2nd Beebcamp, I had missed the first one due to it being not as widely advertised. The main guy behind it Philip Trippenback did a good job bring together a diverse group of people from around the BBC to the event which was held in the White City main building. It felt more like a external BarCamp because of some of the regular characters being at the event. We invited about 10-15 non-BBC people to join us and stop the usual internal chatter which you usually get with internal events.

Shooting on small cameras
at the table
This was the first session and I got to say a really good one. I didn't say anything till much later in the session because it was a joy to finally hear someone saying what I've been saying all along. The premise was that we (the BBC) should be able to shoot on small cameras including Flip Cameras and even Mobile phones. Reasons? Many, including purpose, cost, reaction to the camera, conversational media and what is broadcast quality? The last three were very fitting with some problems we've been having recently.

There was a really good talk about the reaction people have to the camera and how we move to a more conversational media of the internet, rocking up with a complete camera crew even a person with a camera and boom mic causes people to act and can disrupt the environment. Huey from Radio one talked about a example when Jo Whiley was filming backstage and some rock star asked her if she was broadcasting? She replied nope its just for my blog and he then said ok and threw up.

The debate then turned around to what is broadcast quality and this is one of biggest bug bears. The BBC does have a standard for broadcast quality but what it doesn't have is a standard for internet video. This could be partly because there assuming you will shoot for television then convert it to the internet. Well thankfully not everyone is thinking that way. Although I do remember having a conversation with a work friend about PAL and NTSC recently. She said we should shoot in PAL because we live in the UK and I said yes maybe but what I was actually wondering was when you encode the final video file does 30fps instead of 25fps work better in the video codec we choose?

I'm a pirate and what you going to do about it?
I decided to run this one myself again off the success of the conversation at Amplified08. Once again this one always brings out the pirates in everyone and frank conversation about the state of on-line media. I wish I'd recorded this one as it was that good. Anyway I can't remember much of the details because we covered a lot of things including the pirate bay case which Rachel Clarke pointed out Sofia Metcalfe is covering it via Twitter, which is handy because its all in Swedish. The notion of how scared the BBC is of being associated with BitTorrent came out too, which was very interesting, even with stories like LegalTorrents and LinuxTorrents.

The general consensus around the table was that BitTorrent is a neutral technology and the BBC should be using it when possible rather avoiding it, its almost unstoppable. I say unstoppable because there was discussion about streaming and how the ability to upload videos to youtube, viddler, vimeo, blip, etc, etc. Has grown very fast and the audience for that kind of watching is maybe more that the bittorrent users. Even Boxee came up in the 20min discussion, which is currently having to remove Hulu from Boxee because rights holds just keep on moaning.

Actually I think thats where we ended. Maybe the BBC has a vital role in educating and advising the rights holders about Free culture. Interestingly Jason was thinking about the future of the Licence Fee. I certainly like the idea of our audience (people formally known as our audience) being participations but I think we need both processes to work hand in hand otherwise yes you will get something which is more like Epic 2014/5.

What should the BBC do with twitter.com/bbc? [video]
Another good session this time from Jem Stone and Arron. I twittered this one on the day. So the question has been asked and my answer is “do nothing for now.” I can't imagine what BBC would twitter. Jem makes the point CNN has a person whos the voice of CNN but the BBC is a really diverse beast and I don't believe anyone person even Mark Thompson (the director general) could be the person behind twitter.com/bbc. I'm totally open to change my mind if someone comes up with a good idea but right now the best we could come up with is for the account to follow all other BBC people. But then someone did rightly ask, would they follow people working for the BBC such as myself or just personalties like Stephen Fry??

There was so much more including an attempt to build the BBC's organisational using grassroots methods,

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