Videoblogging Workshops with Boston Neighborhood Producers

Over the past month, I have been working with members of the Boston Neighborhood Producer's Group to learn more about videoblogging. We've been discussing ways that BNPG members can post their videos–that they've made for Public Access Television, also–to their blog. This has been a great education for myself as well and a lot of fun. Also, a great way to raise awareness about the importance of public access television (while we still have it).

I first met with BNPG members Ada and Hiram about a month ago at the Boston Public Library. At our first workshop, we set up a Blogger account (in three easy steps!) for their organization and added a post to their blog. We also included links to their website and other community organizations websites in Boston.

During our workshop, we also talked about Creative Commons. We discussed the concept behind CC and how it allows more people to access more of the work that BNPG members produce. This not only gives their organization more visibility on the web, but their participation in this process helps to contribute to a more creative culture, one that fosters openness and accessibility. Learn more about Creative Commons.

Hiram Scott, President of BNPG, and I next met to set up a blip.tv account for BNPG. This will allow other BNPG members to easily upload their digital video to the web. Another great advantage of having a blip.tv account for their organization is that it allows members to easily cross-post their videos to their BNPG blog. Here's an example of a short video with Ada about Public Access Television that we cross-posted from blip.tv:

Watch the video

At our third workshop, Hiram and I did some troubleshooting to figure out which video formats (and types of video compression) will allow access members, and those visiting their blog, to watch the videos. Including, making sure that their videos play in different web browsers on both Mac and Windows platforms. This has been the most important part of our work so far and something we're still working on. If people have suggestions we can use about accessible video formats, please leave your comments below. Thanks!

Most people with computers do not have the latest, greatest, fastest computers with the most up to date software installed. This has been a challenge, but we're making a lot of progress.

We discovered that some of the export features in both iMovie and Cleaner allow people with older computers to access video using older versions of both Quicktime and Windows Media Player applications. Particularly, if they use Firefox on either Mac or Windows platforms.

Next, we set up a FeedBurner account for the BNPG blog. Using the RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed from their Blogger blog, FeedBurner uses this feed to provide some great options for syndication and tracking. The BNPG FeedBurner feed will also help bring more people on the web to BNPG's work, through the use of tagging and other types of searchable metadata.

We've started our videoblogging workshops with just a few of us. But next we're planning on meeting with a larger group of BNPG members. We hope these access producers will then share their knowledge with other access producers who would like to learn . . . and on and on.

Through this volunteer process of sharing skills, tools, and knowledge using new media technologies we hope to empower public access producers and other residents in Boston who have often been, and continue to be, marginalized by the mainstream media.

It's been a lot of fun working with the Boston Neighborhood Producer's Group. I look forward to our ongoing workshops in the future. And make sure to watch for more videos from BNPG at their new videoblog.

Colin Rhinesmith
President, ACMEBoston

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