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iPlayer Day: The iPlayer Picture Desk

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Ashley Stewart-Noble Ashley Stewart-Noble | 19:04 UK time, Friday, 12 December 2008

I lead the iPlayer Picture Desk, which is a team of three people (John Quintero, Ali Wade and Tricia Yourkevich) who are experts in their field and the best at what they do. In short, my team look after all the imagery that is used to illustrate programming in iPlayer (both radio and TV). Their brief is to give each image a distinct look and feel that works when that image is presented on its own, as part of an aggregation (in search results) or within the context of a site outside iPlayer (eg /programmes).

The team not only work to a high standard, they set the standard for the rest of the BBC to follow. To this end they have produced an image style guide (PDF 4.4MB - we recommend right-clicking and 'Save Target As...')) which details two things:

1) How to take a great picture for the web
2) How to take a great picture for iPlayer

This style guide is now distributed throughout the BBC and has already been used by publicity to ensure we get great shots for radio.

We also run a Flickr pool for BBC Staff to submit their images for use on iPlayer, the bbc.co.uk homepage or the other portals we run here. Due to the nature of iPlayer, we can't credit images, but we let users know where their images will be used so they can share the bragging rights.

The past year has been a phenomenal one for us. The challenge of illustrating network radio was our biggest challenge with 10 stations to illustrate with a new content management system and an exceptionally tight deadline. The result has been a visual success for an aural medium. There are some issues with elements of the interface that obscure our images which need to be ironed out, and they will be, it just takes a little while. Also to be added to my team's achievements is the assistance we gave the Nations and Regions team (images for 40 hours for each of the 40 stations needed sourcing, manipulating, storing and uploading) which gives me confidence that we can meet the next slew of visual challenges the iPlayer will throw at us.

Ashley Stewart-Noble is Senior Content Producer., BBC Online, BBC Future Media & Technology



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