Music Matters panel: (l to r) Paul Morley, Zoe Martlew, Tom Service, Kathryn Tickell, Graham Vick
Rosalind Porter is a Radio 3 Listener Blogger.
It has been an interesting morning so far, snuggled up near a warm radiator, my laptop on my knees with the Free Thinking guide beside me. I'm starting to quickly form an impression in my own mind of what works and what doesn't with live streaming. Overall it seems to be important to remember that this is described as 'visualised radio' rather than an on-the-cheap version of television. To give some background to the technical set-up: for each event there is one manned camera and two robot cameras, backed up behind the scenes with a team of three people to vision mix, operate captions and direct/produce the live stream. So obviously the results that viewers are seeing on their laptops are influenced by the resources available. For example, it isn't possible to have members of the audience asking questions on camera.
Certainly, the highlight of this morning was the conversation between Philip Dodd and Colm Toibin. It was naturally easy for the cameras to focus on what was important at each moment and also be ready to capture the various 'special' incidents during the programme. This was followed by two programmes in the presenter-and-panel discussion format, posing similar issues for live streaming one might say, but surprisingly it turned out not to be the case. In 'Is Social Mobility Overrated?' one had a lively panel with a wide range of opinions, but the frequently heated and animated discussion was exceptionally well controlled by presenter Anne McElvoy; she ensured that each panellist had their time to make points, clamped down on the over-verbose and I would imagine made the lives of those involved in filming and direction much easier as the camera could concentrate on whoever was making a point at the time, with group shots to gauge general reaction. It was a fascinating discussion covering a wide range of subjects from education to inherited wealth and one came away mentally buzzing at the suggestions - some highly controversial - which were made.
However the opposite seemed to be the case in 'Music Matters' where presenter Tom Service in my opinion didn't seem to exercise such control, allowed panellists to talk over each other or interrupt - which definitely made the job of visualising the debate much harder given the resources and perhaps resulted in a less satisfactory experience for the live stream viewer. Perhaps rather like the efforts to make classical music accessible, the general effect was disorientating. I seem to remember we had a similar debate last year at Free Thinking and I'm rather disappointed that nothing new actually arose from the discussion. Particularly that one never gets to hear from those to whom classical music is supposed to be reaching out. Why no teenager on the panel who has never been to a symphony concert, to find out from the horse's mouth what puts them off, or on the opposing side a member of a youth orchestra to discover how they were captivated by the world of classical music? Rather than being truly enterprising, apart from some excellent ideas from opera producer Graham Vick, it turned out the "same old, same old".
Do please comment on your impressions of the streaming, and this morning's debates.