Wednesday, August 31, 2005

LAMP - Laboratory for Advanced Media Production

Went to the introductory seminar for LAMP run by AFTRS this afternoon. An interesting time with some interesting ideas. Unfortunately, it seems like a lot of these seminars seem to be aimed at promoting the cross-platform aspect of new media opportunities, something that, while I understand and appreciate the significance of it, I find a little boring. I just have some issues with the whole saturation aspect.

Seminar getting started. From left, Peter Giles,
Cathy Henkel and the web designer
whose name escapes me.

There was some great stuff.

The show kicked off with Cathy Henkel from Byron Bay based production company Hatchling Productions running through her cross platform production of "I Told You I Was Ill - The Life and Legacy of Spike Milligan". Some interesting material about the way content can be distributed, and in my opinion far more interesting than the Fat Cow Motel people we got to listen to back in May.

Next up was Peter Giles, AFTRS Head of Digital Media. He ran through some of the issues that face digital producers nowadays and some of the technology that's coming through to assist audiences and sponsors alike. Of particular interest to me was a display of some of the more modern interface controls for IP and Interactive TV, allowing the user to swap between TV channels and other services such as broadband internet by using a metaphor of 3D space. Need to find out some more about that.

Once again, former Senior Broadband Producer for BBCi Gary Hayes ran through what's in store for the future, nowhere near as in depth as last time, but still inspiring stuff. Gary's basically the driving force behind LAMP and it shows. While Peter Giles was the voice for the presentation part, once Gary took over you could tell immediately whose show it was.

Interesting factoid from the presentation; by 2009 it's predicted that there will be more people using the internet and games than DVD/Cinema and Pay TV. I'd be surprised if it takes that long.

Best address of the afternoon was saved until last. Jackie Turnure gave a great talk on non-linear narrative, something that regular visitors to KingLeonard - The Weblog will know is a pet subject of the editorial team here. Using the development of her game Oz as an example, Jackie talked about the difficulties digital media producers face in trying to break the linear narrative mould, while maintaining drive and purpose for the participant to continue the story. Fascinating stuff.

From left, Jackie Turnure, Gary Hayes
fielding questions after the seminar.

I had a word to Jackie after the afternoon was over and asked her for some more info. I should have some links, or at least some documents, to read soon.

The rest of the afternoon was spent working through some ideas for creating cross-platform content. We were split up into random groups and asked to come up for a pitch based on four elements - show idea, target audience, challenge and platforms. We then got to pitch these twenty minute ideas to the panel for two minutes to get feedback.

An interesting experience and if nothing else it made me aware of my own affliction. I have discovered that I am affected by what I shall call "Geek's Syndrome." Looking at the article I pointed to yesterday, that geek's have a tendency to be more interested in the means rather than the outcome, "cooler still if it involves a new computer and coolest if blue LEDs are involved". In this case our idea of an interactive show based on web and security camera footage was heavy on tech, light on story. It had nothing driving it other than "at the end we'll vote for the best and someone will get a prize". For someone who keeps saying that they're interested in stories I'm not exactly filling myself with confidence.

I need to stop relying on my cameraphone for this stuff!

The other thing I realised today is that I'm full of proverbial. I mentioned the other day that "we imbue places with our own personal mythologies." What I realised today is that I have no right to say what WE do because the only person that I've ever known to exhibit this sort of behaviour is ME. Therefore to say that WE do something is entirely presumptuous. So I'd like to say that "I imbue places with MY own personal mythologies." I can't speak for anybody else.

Good stuff to come out of today:

Ran into an old friend and work colleague, Simon Humphries. I worked with Simon at the ABC for many years before the work ran out for him there. Since then he did a pretty incredible tour through Europe, worked for a child care company and created a DVD video titled "Earth Stories", part of which I helped produce. He told me today that the work has been picked up by ACMI, the Australian Centre for the Moving Image in Melbourne. A nice bit of news.

More fun tommorow in the wacky world of the future!

Other Links as a result of the day:

Broadband Bananas - Interactive TV Video Archive - The Art & Science of Making Games

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