Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Our new TV channel is on the way

Undercurrents launch an exciting new internet TV channel in June. This is a promo for the Bushcraft series so tune in.


Saturday, March 10, 2007

Vision On TV

Undercurrents is gearing up to launch our first Tv channel in May 2007.

We will release an exciting new channel which will allow you to download high quality films, documentaries, comedy, video activism, radical sports and progressive news. Due to the P2P technology VisiononTv will allow viewers watch a show when they like and pause and rewind programmes. This will be a hundred times better quality video content than sites such as YouTube. We will be using BitTorrent which allows you to download DVD quality video at stunning speed.

Watch this space!

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Excellent article in Red Pepper on alternative media


The eyes have it

Suzanne Fane-Saunders

Fed up with the mainstream news agenda? Got a story to tell but no contacts to help you? Then arm yourself with a video camera and follow Suzanne Fane-Saunders’ tips for guerilla filming and let the credits roll

Ever been in a situation that has made you wish you had a camera? And not just a camera but a video camera? A movement is growing to help people use the power of video by direct action.

The alternative media scene is flourishing in the face of an untrustworthy mainstream. More and more people are turning to subcultures to get a clearer understanding of the society they live in. There is unprecedented power in having someone look into your eyes while they describe hardships. These are people, after all, not simply figures.

Success stories include the psychiatric patients of Paraguay, whose government decided in 2005 to implement community-based mental health services after Witness (www.witness.org) helped engineer a video showing patients kept in tiny cages, their own faeces smeared over the walls, and allowed to drink out of puddles. Closer to home, the extreme violence of the authorities during the G8 summit has been well publicised and the protesters’ stories verified thanks to images shot on the ground.

Once upon a time…
First off, you must have a good story. Whether you are going to an anti-nuclear protest or making a short film documenting a human rights abuse, it helps to have a clear understanding of exactly what angle you will concentrate on, and exactly who the target audience will be.

Be aware both of others’ propaganda and your own. Try to remain objective: it will almost certainly have more effect on the viewers.

Frame the story. It’s all very well to have a camera and an idea, but what you often need is expert opinion. Try to frame the story with comments from someone who knows what he/she is talking about. For an example of an effective story, well told, watch Sense of Fear at www.burmanissues.org.

Two heads are better than one
The most powerful way to effect change is for the individual to join others. Most NGOs will have video campaign programmes already set up. Offer to lend a hand or create bonds with similar minded people at BeyondTV International Video Festival (www.undercurrents.org/beyondtv).

Curiosity killed the cat
Safety is crucial. Not just of the film crew, but also of those being filmed. Depending on the context, the camera can be seen as either a shield or a target. Whether you are in Mexico or Edinburgh, theft, violence or downright fear of exposure can lead people to do extreme things.

The US not-for-profit group, Witness, has published Video for Change (Pluto Press). It offers a comprehensive guide to video making, as well as highlighting the need for safety and a clear understanding of the dangers involved (www.witness.org/videoforchange).

Know your rights
Worldwide, there are issues of censorship and corporate control over the media. However, legal rights do exist. In the UK, for instance, if the cameras are turned on you, you can demand to see the police footage. For advice on your project, talk to the video veterans at Undercurrents, described as ‘a media counter-culture’ by the BBC (www.undercurrents.org, 01792 455900).

Equipment and editing
Whether it’s the latest HD or VHS hardware, there is lots of specialist lingo. Don’t let that scare you. What it’s really about is capturing the footage and getting it seen. Undercurrents runs workshops in Swansea and Oxford, training beginners in the use of cameras and basic editing skills. More advanced levels may also be available (www.under currents.org/training).

Getting your story out there
Once you know what audience you are vying for, then comes the lobbying, the legal work, the publicity – all the gritty stuff. The audience can vary from decision makers in positions of power to the very communities you have filmed; it depends on your message. A great way for the general public to view your material is to organise screenings.

Screens, projectors and other equipment can be hired and the event organised by London-based video engineers Inside-us-all. Visit their website for some unique tips on showing your films or help producing the end product (www.inside-us-all.com).

Edge or mainstream?
Somewhere between mass broadcasting and home-made video, organisations like Witness (www.witness.org) thrive. They want to use video to slice through the chatter of the mainstream with a professional knife. Join the media resistance and volunteer with the Independent Media Center (www.indymedia.org).


Saturday, March 03, 2007

Winner will receive DVDs - design our logo!

Vision On TV- We need your designs for our new TV Channel
Undercurrents is launching a new Peer to Peer TV channel soon.
We need your creative input!

Can you design a logo to suit

We need a logo for our new VisionOn Tv channel.
The winner will receive £35 worth of Undercurrents DVDs and prestige of having their work seen by thousands. (and supporting alternative media)

Top Prizes!
The best logo design for our new non-profit TV channel will win £35 worth of DVDs including Mark Thomas comedy Show!

How do i enter you say?
Design a jpeg logo and email to visionon@undercurrents.org
deadline: March 15 2007

What will be showing on Vision On?
Sports with a difference
Environmental films
Chat shows
Alternative News
Travel shows
Technology programs
The list is wide and all programmes will be inspiring

When does Vision On launch?
We are aiming to release at Glastonbury Festival in June 2007

But you can join up for the test programs NOW!

Download the Democracy player which will include the first few programs.
Leave your PC on overnight to register and download the latest shows.