Thursday 18 December 2014, 14:18
X man: Simon Lloyd I arrived on my Final Cut Pro X course with low expectations. I’d heard so many bad things about the latest version of Apple’s video-editing software that if I could learn to make it join a couple of shots together I’d have been pleased.
Our trainer, Simon Lloyd, turned out to be a sceptical convert. “Most of the editors I’ve spoken to HATED it for the first two months,” he said, “but a year later they wouldn’t want to go back.”
For many of them, and for me, going back means Final Cut 7, which was released in 2009. It’s a clever system that can do lots of sophisticated stuff but lets you make enough progress as a beginner that you’re encouraged to keep going and learn more. After several years of using it, I’ve found there’s always more to learn. But I now have my own well-practiced habits which I didn’t want to have to abandon for some trendy new system.
As for Final Cuts 8 and 9, they don’t exist. Simon said Final Cut 8 was being built while a separate, secret team worked on 10, or X, which was released instead. (Calling it X rather than 10 reminds me of Google’s X Lab, so named because what comes out of it is supposed to be...
Tuesday 16 December 2014, 16:41
The BBC welcomes Al Jazeera to New Broadcasting House Six years after the launch of the BBC’s first international journalism training website, we now have 15 language sites which between them account for about 40% of the traffic to the BBC Academy site. We’ve had some excellent feedback recently from around the world.
We were delighted when the Qatari website Sasa named the BBC College of Journalism’s Arabic site the number-one training site for journalists in the Middle East. Sasa looked at 10 leading training websites in the Arabic language for journalists and decided that the BBC offers the best quality as well as a unique selling point:
"Based on our survey, where we looked at 10 sites available for journalists in the Middle East, we found that the BBC training site in Arabic is the best, as it is not only focusing on skills training for TV, radio and news content, but the site is a rich source for learning correct Arabic language.
“The teaching points start from how to write news in Arabic to tips on mastering the language itself, as well as advice on translation from English to Arabic."
Second place went to a media support training site from Egypt, and third to the International...
Monday 15 December 2014, 12:29
As the Heathrow Express pulled out of Paddington we were already on the phone to the item producer, running through the available shots. There were some helicopter shots showing the airport at a standstill; there was a camera at the Renaissance hotel - traditionally as close as you can get to filming in Heathrow with a decent view of the runway; there was some flight-tracker stuff off the internet; and one of two people had started to post pictures online.
What we were clearly lacking was stuff from inside the terminal: shots of long queues and interviews with miserable passengers. The desk had asked permission to film and been knocked back. Fortunately two of us were kitted out with iPhones fitted with PNG.
PNG is the BBC's own iOS app which lets journalists record, edit and send audio, video and photos directly from an iPhone or iPad -from wherever they are globally - straight into the BBC's internal media playout systems.
It’s also the focus of the BBC College of Journalism’s iPhone training course which I’d even gone so far as to have...
Friday 12 December 2014, 14:52
Next year the BBC will be running a major initiative, 2015: Make it Digital, to inspire a new generation to get creative with coding, programming and digital technology.
In preparation, the BBC held more than 26 staff sessions on 10 December, teaching some foundation principles of computer science in an hour reinforced with examples from the BBC website. People watched Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and other celebrities such as NBA star Chris Bosh explain coding concepts. And there were 20 short puzzles with simple drag-and-drop programming to learn about Loops and If Else functions, all with the...
Thursday 11 December 2014, 17:44
Just when I was feeling I'd generally got the hang of social tools like Facebook, Twitter, Skype and LinkedIn, I started hearing about a whole lot of new things with names like WhatChat and SnapApp.
I didn’t think I knew anyone who used them - until downloading one revealed how many of my contacts do. But to learn more, I got in touch with two expert practitioners, Federica De Caria and Pan Yue, both international journalism students at Brunel University, and asked them to explain all about these hugely successful messaging apps. Here’s their report:Federica De Caria (left) and Pan Yue...
Wednesday 10 December 2014, 11:08
Today is Hour of Code day and the BBC is inviting staff to take part in an hour-long session designed to give people the opportunity to experience and understand coding.
Run by Code.org, The Hour of Code is a worldwide movement which last March saw more than 26 million participants in the United States, and more than 3 million in the UK, get involved. The project aims to give 100 million people worldwide the opportunity to experience and understand coding. Through the online tutorials, you can learn the basic concepts of computer science, in just 60 minutes, with simple drag-and-drop programming...
Tuesday 9 December 2014, 11:09BBC News on Facebook
A colleague wandered up to me the other day. I’ve been told you can help me “to social” a TV report, he said, and prepared to walk away. What was it about? Had he given any thought to how the report could benefit from a social media “makeover”?
The truth was a little more mundane.
Friday 5 December 2014, 14:54
Dozhd's shopping channel spoof on YouTube Russian independent news broadcaster Dozhd has suggested a new law banning ads on pay TV could force it to become a shopping channel. The warning comes in a spoof video devised as part of Dozhd's latest subscription drive. But the threat to the channel from the new ad law and Russia's generally hostile media environment is all too serious.
Instead of reading the news, Dozhd journalists and presenters are seen hawking merchandise (above) shopping channel style: everything from cut-price furs and miracle meat grinders to state-of-the-art fishing rods...
Tuesday 2 December 2014, 11:20
Asia is a huge and diverse region, and many of its journalists face pressures we can barely imagine in Western newsrooms. Some are hampered by technological problems; others feel threatened by ideological sensitivities and political pressure.
But Asian journalists are never short of rich, intriguing stories to cover or the drive and tenacity to dig them out. I was therefore thrilled to be invited to Manila to attend Uncovering Asia - the first investigative journalism conference on the continent.
As some readers may know, my speciality is online research and I was asked to deliver some sessions...
Friday 28 November 2014, 13:15
A few months ago I was asked to make a short video for a verification course we were about to pilot here at the BBC Academy. I used a lightweight tripod, my mobile phone and a movie app to edit the piece. It was fairly straightforward: one interview, chapter headings and moving screenshots of websites.
The video was intended to reinforce key learning points outlined earlier in the classroom. Although relatively simple, the end product was satisfactory.
At the same time the Academy was having very serious discussions about changing some of its training: placing more emphasis on ‘blended learning...