Monday, 17 December 2007

Geolocated Media - I know where it's at!

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I was recently at the HP Mediascape conference in Bristol, and wow, what a huge step geolocated media has taken these past few years. While it is still experimental, a bit clunky and semi-geeky (geek is cool ;) it is certainly a rapidly expanding medium. The conference featured case studies and presentations highlighting the immense potential for using this technology to enhance experiences of different environments and deliver content to an audience in a more dynamic and immersive way. From elements in alternative reality games to historical re-enactment tours around the Tower of London.

A Mediascape is a location-based experience, games and tours on a GPS handheld device. As you walk around a given area your GPS location triggers the playing of media in the application whether it be audio, images or video. As GPS devices become more widespread (how many people do you know with SatNav or a GPS mobile) this type of media becomes more justifiable for the big public service broadcasters to produce - they can reach more people. The British broadcasters already produce the best media in the world and this is yet another way in which our vast resources and archive can be re-packaged to reach a audience who might otherwise not receive this content -both at home and internationally.

HP have been developing this technology for a number of years and I remember Savannah which was created in associated with Futurelab and the BBC in Bristol. This was a strategy-based adventure game which allowed children to learn about life as a lion using their school playing field to mimic a Savannah, working together to hunt and survive. Read the Futurelab report here.

One I created earlier...NightlifeFor the nighttime challenge at the conference I, along with Mark Jacobs, Stuart Redding and Ed Drewitt, produced "Nighlife: World in a Square". We split Queens square, in Bristol, into four quarters, each representing a different continent. As you walk around the square you hear natural sounds from the nighttime of that continent - "can you guess where in the world you are?", walk a little further to see an image and hear a narration describing the natural sounds.

If Nightlife was an official geolocated experience connected to a public service production (channel4, BBC), we would need to include the capacity for the "immersee" to walk into any space, anywhere in the world, and unroll the experience around them, broadcasting not narrowcasting. And the Mscape software allows just that!

I found the Mscape creator software very intuitive and easy to work with, for the most part it is simply dragging and dropping onto a map. While you do need to understand the foundations of code to create more sophisticated experiences, anyone can get started with the basics. So download the toolkit and create a geolocated media guide around your garden. It may be a few years before the public service broadcasters can invest resources into producing such experiences for mass rollout but it is certainly worth keeping an eye on.
Paul Williams

Life in Cold Blood: David Attenborough face to face with a Spitting Cobra

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Life in Cold Blood has now started posting some of the top clips from the series to YouTube and the first is when David comes face to face with a Mozambique spitting cobra.
Click on the image below to see the clip.

These clips will remain live until the final broadcast but they will be available on the bbc.co.uk Life in Cold Blood webpage indefinitely. Hopefully these clips will reach a few people who may never otherwise see this amazing series.

Life in Cold Blood will reveal the warm-hearted side to Amphibians and reptiles.

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Earth: The Power of the Planet: Ice

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Tuesday 4th December 21.00
2.6M viewers, 10.6% Audience Share
(Slot Average for Tues 21.00 = 2.16M viewers, 9% Audience Share)

Radio Times: I've worked out what worries me about Dr Iain Stewart, presenter of this stirring geography show. He's oddly reminiscent of The Thick of It's vicious spin-doctor Malcolm Tucker: the same Scottish accent and aquiline features. Except Stewart is far from vicious; he's unsettlingly nice, with a big toothy smile and a seemingly bottomless well of enthusiasm. And as it turns out, seemingly bottomless wells are a part of tonight's story, the wells hollowed out in glaciers by meltwater. No-one knows what happens at the far bottom of these rather beautiful holes, but whatever it is, the glaciers are melting at a rate of knots. To a geologist, that's nothing new. Ice has advanced and retreated across the Earth 50 times in its history, it seems, although in the great scheme of things it's unusual; for 90 per cent of Earth's history there was no ice around. When it was around, it shaped the landscape in huge ways, a story Stewart tells well.

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Earth: The Power of The Planet

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Tuesday 27th November 21.00
2.4M viewers, 9.7% Audience Share
(Slot Average for Tues 21.00 - 21.30 = 2.16M viewers, 9% Audience Share)

Radio Times:
2/5 - Atmosphere
Dr Iain Stewart's hyped-up, over-enthusiastic delivery could be a turn-off if the visuals in this series didn't deliver everything he promises so loudly. "Tornados are like giant whirlpools!" he gasps dramatically. But the remark is accompanied by amazing footage that confirms just that. Then: "We live at the bottom of an ocean of air!" But who'd disagree after seeing the shots of clouds swirling over the Earth's surface like waves breaking on the shore? The globetrotting Stewart is examining the Earth's atmosphere - how it shapes our planet, creates our weather and what its relationship with life is. It's breathtaking, racing from one sensational sequence to another. You simply won't believe the acrobatics of an "air surfer", the spectacular lightning show in Argentina and the pillar of flame shooting up out of a frozen Siberian lake (it's fuelled by trapped methane gas, in case you were wondering).

Read more here

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Dodeca Camera: 360 Immersive Video

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This is incredible! Dodeca 11 lensed camera to generate 360 immersive media.

If you want your audience to feel as though they are on location with you then check this out. It provides true 360 immersive video - panning within live action footage.

See the demonstration video for Humpback Whales, it blew me away.

Other demo's here: http://demos.immersivemedia.com

Imagine having this camera on a jeep while filming Big Cats, out filming Killer Whales hunting or placed amongst a badger set at night.


Also see their Geoimmersive Routes being produced in association with Google Maps: http://demos.immersivemedia.com/onlinecities/

The UK Supplier is TX Immersive Ltd who currently have 4 cameras in the UK.

They also have another company called Transmission TX who have worked with remote live feedback, e,g, from cameras attached to Sherpas on Everest.

OUTPUT
Each Dodeca camera outputs high res jpegs at 480 lines, when the images are blended together it can create an image of 1100 lines which I am informed equates to 1080i HD. The frame rate can be adjusted to create timelapse or slomo.

It has a live output but it does require blending time before immersive interaction. This could be done on a laptop in the field. The current base station records upto 6 hours of material at one time.

The dodeca camera can be worn and steadycams and stabalisers are available. You can also operate it remotely - e.g. setup in the middle of a seal or penguin colony and record and operate from a kilometer away.

COST
Camera costs 80,000 pounds to buy so you might be best to dry hire - after a two week training course, (or wet hire with a trained user)

PLATFORM
Currently working on Flash in aticipation of Flash 10 released next year. 

There are plugins available for the Open TV (Sky) platform, which would allow playback and control of immersive 360 degree video on the current generation of Sky Plus and HD boxes.

WEIGHT
Base unit is 10-15 kilograms
Also need to take recorder unit in a backpack.

Monday, 19 November 2007

Rip Books to PDF

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Put your entire library on a USB stick! This would be wonderful if only I could justify spending a thousand pounds. It's easy to rip CD's or DVD's but most people can't rip books. This device aims to make that a thing of the past by letting you make PDFs at 500 pages per hour, if you can turn them fast enough.
http://booksnap.atiz.com/

Blue Planet Live: Dates announced

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Dates announced for 'The Blue Planet Live!' concerts taking place next year.
Visit theBluePlanetLive.com to book your tickets and enjoy the amazing images from the BBC Natural History Unit and the wonderful specially composed music by George Fenton.


Friday, 16 November 2007

My Britain: Video clips from across Britain (BETA)

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Being developed (Beta version) not for general release: http://extdev.bbc.co.uk/mybritain

My Britain is a location-based video clip player that dives in to the BBC archive.The service allows users to explore on an individual clip bases or take journeys across the country by theme, drawing connections between BBC programmes past and present. This prototype contains 400 clips.

It's a location-based service the places clips on a map. Categorised in to topics you can find BBC clips by place. But they have also created new narratives that allow you to watch clips in 'journeys' across the country. 'Extreme British Sports' for example looks at the curious British pastimes from Bog Snorkling to Coal Carrying, taken from programmes broadcast over the last 30 years.

Nature UK Live on BBC.co.uk

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Go to www.bbc.co.uk/earth/nature/uk/ to find, browse and explore the best of British nature from across the BBC.

What is Nature UK? It's a new site developed and launched by a predominantly Bristol team for Science & Nature online. It is an experimental approach to delivering the best Nature content from across the BBC. It includes videos, photos, radio pieces and articles from News, TV, Radio 4 and local websites. Its launch coincides with lots of activity on TV celebrating the wonders of British wildlife such as The Nature of Britain and Autumnwatch and integrates the Breathing Places campaign.

The site is continually evolving as we roll out new features and functions and original material over the next few months.

Autumnwatch

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Thursday 15th November 20.00 BBC2
3.3M viewers, 13.8% Audience Share

Radio Times:
In the final episode, Bill Oddie, Kate Humble and Simon King reflect on the highs and lows of the past fortnight. The team give tips about how to enjoy Autumn for yourself. There is information about applying for a Breathing Places grant from the Big Lottery Fund where you live.


Steve Leonard: My Life With Animals

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Sunday 4th November 17.30 BBC2
2.4M viewers, 12.9% Audience Share

Steve Leonard is the ultimate animal action hero: a practising vet, with a passion for pitching himself against some of nature's most incredible athletes. He's raced with cheetahs, swum with sharks and thrown himself from a hot air balloon on the tail of a peregrine falcon! We meet Steve to find out more about his most memorable moments and the stories behind these amazing encounters.

The Nature of Britain: Woodlands

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Wednesday 14th November 21.00 BBC1
4.5Mviewers, 18.6% Audience Share

Radio Times:
6/8 - Woodland
Alan Titchmarsh enters our ancient woodlands to discover beautiful butterflies, dormice and a bird with a beak like a pair of pliers. He reveals the secrets of the central character in all this drama, on whom all the creatures of the forest depend - the trees.

Nature UK Goes Live on BBC.co.uk

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Go to http://www.bbc.co.uk/earth/nature/uk/ to find, browse and explore the best of British nature from across the BBC.

What is Nature UK? It's a new site developed and launched by a predominantly Bristol team for Science & Nature online. It is an experimental approach to delivering the best Nature content from across the BBC. It includes videos, photos, radio pieces and articles from News, TV, Radio 4 and local websites. Its launch coincides with lots of activity on TV celebrating the wonders of British wildlife such as The Nature of Britain and Autumnwatch and integrates the Breathing Places campaign.

The site is continually evolving as we roll out new features and functions and original material over the next few months.

Friday, 9 November 2007

A Virtual Woodland - The Future of TV online?

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Sophie Stafford posted a link on the Love Earth Blog to a fantastic little website site this morning - http://www.upmforestlife.com/

This website is brilliant - a televisual experience online, exactly where television is heading - interactive storylines with the viewer controlling the stories path. Interesting, informative, pretty, and with lots of clickability and flashy bits!


Sophie Stafford writes:
"You follow a path through a tranquil Finnish forest, complete with bogs, brooks and glades, and each new vista is strewn with little 'species stars'. These bring up information boxes on the animals and plants living in the forest, many of which also play calls. Some species even have videos clips, so you can watch red fox cubs playing, silver-studded blue butterflies sipping from a puddle, as well as majestic elk.If you fancy a spot of virtual birdwatching, you can enjoy dunnocks and willow warblers singing, experience the common crane's noisy display, and catch a glimpse of a black woodpecker or Tengmalm's owl.The forest is managed for both biodiversity and wood products, and you can learn a lot about sustainable tree management as you continue your exploration, including thinning, harvesting and transport to the mill.It’s good to know that all the paper for Radio Times comes from this wonderful woodland."

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Nick Baker's Weird Creatures: The Invisible Lizard

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Friday 2nd November, 20.00, C5
0.8M viewers, 3.5% Audience Share

Radio Times: 5/8
Wildlife documentary series in which naturalist Nick Baker hunts down some of the strangest creatures on the planet. Nick is on a turbo-charged chase through Madagascar in search of chameleons - the so-called masters of disguise. Nick wants to find one of these 'invisible lizards', Brookesia, the smallest of them all, in order to bust a few myths and uncover the mystery surrounding this incredible lizard.

Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Showdown in Elktown

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Winner: Best Short Programme in Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival 2007
Tx February 11th 2007
2.8M viewers, 8.3% Audience Share

A very light hearted look at what happens when elk take over the small town of Mammoth in the heart of Yellowstone during the annual rut. Narrated by comic Steve Punt with as many western one-liners as we could fit in there!

Photo: Neil Nightingale, head of the BBC Natural History Unit, at Jackson Hole Film Festival 2007.

Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Nature of Britain: Freshwater Britain

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BBC One Wednesday 31 October 2007, 9.00-10.00pm

Join Alan Titchmarsh as he travels from our island's rivers to the sea, to reveal the beauty and spectacle of freshwater Britain.

Discover the real Loch Ness Monsters, the venomous mammal stalking the Hampshire countryside, and the unexpectedly romantic side of the predatory pike.

Watch kingfishers diving, salmon leaping and a songbird that swims underwater. And find out why a drop of rain is the key to keeping all this wonder and beauty alive.

Credits
Producer: Simon Bell
Series Producer: Stephen Moss

When Hell Freezes

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Monday 29th October, 20.00, C4
0.8M viewers, 3.5% Audience Share

Digiguide: Antarctic roleIn 1912 Australian explorer and geologist Douglas Mawson pulled off an extraordinary feat. After an horrific journey across hundreds of kilometres of frozen wasteland during which his two companions perished, Mawson was the sole survivor of a doomed Antarctic expedition. Some questioned how it was possible, and there were suggestions that he'd eaten his dogs and even considered eating the bodies of his dead comrades. Mawson was knighted and became a hero, but the question of how he lived when others died has tantalised scientists, historians and explorers ever since.

This part-documentary/part re-enactment attempts to find an answer. Having been almost killed during his own solo trek to the South Pole in 1999, Australian adventurer Tim Jarvis confronts the ice, as Mawson did, with the same meagre rations and primitive clothing and equipment.

There's been mixed critical reaction to the programme. On the one hand, there's praise for Jarvis, who recreates Dawson's terrible trek as fully as he can. On the other, there's suggestions that since he can't totally reproduce Mawson's dilemma - Jarvis is morally obliged not to eat his dogs, for example - the exercise is a tad pointless. That niggle aside, it's a worthy piece of documentary-making that's well worth catching.

Monday, 29 October 2007

A Passion For Plants

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Friday 26th October, 20.00, BBC2
2.4M viewers, 11.1% Audience Share
BBC Natural History Unit

Radio Times: 2/8
The second in documentary series going behind the scenes at The Royal Horticultural Society. This time we see eco-friendly gardening in practice at Harlow Carr, the society's most northerly garden. The garden is prone to flooding and this summer, curator Matthew Wilson finds an elegant yet high-tech solution using dry stone walls. Also, the students at Wisley design and dig their allotments and children in Wakefield benefit from an RHS scheme encouraging children to grow their own vegetables.

Producer: Mark Flowers

Thursday, 25 October 2007

The Nature of Britain: Urban Britain

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Wednesday 24th October, 20.30 C4
5M viewers, 21.5% Audience Share

Radio Times: 3/8 - Urban
No pretty pictures of pastoral scenes this week. Instead, Alan Titchmarsh is looking at the different species of wildlife that have adapted to urban living. It means, other than the occasional shot of adorable fluffy ducklings (surviving a dive of 60 feet from a tower-block balcony to the pond below, no less) we're basically talking about creepy-crawlies, pigeons, foxes and the like. There are some surprises, though. Not least that the River Tyne is now clean enough to provide a habitat for otters. But what's really amazing is finding out exactly how creatures have adapted: seagulls, for instance, are nesting on top of a city building in Bristol because they think they're safe from predators there. They didn't reckon on TV presenters and crews stomping about the place, of course.

Thursday, 18 October 2007

The Nature of Britain: Farmland

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Wednesday 17th October, 21:00 BBC1
5.6M viewers, 24.8% Audience Share

Radio Times: 2/8
Cowpats: not something I'd ever thought of as beautiful but, on the evidence of this week's programme, I can see that they - or at least the fungi that grow on them - have a certain visual charm. Alan Titchmarsh has come over all pastoral to explore the flora and fauna that are an integral part of Britain's farmland - and as farmland makes up a hefty three-quarters of our country, that's a lot. Much of it is cosily familiar to even a rabid urbanite - sheep, ladybirds, fields of poppies, that sort of thing. But the sight of thousands of rooks perched on telegraph wires is astonishing, while the footage of cows gambolling like lambs on the first day of spring is delightful. And if you missed last week's hare-boxing highlight, that's repeated here, too.

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Wednesday, 17 October 2007

The Wild Gourmets

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Tuesday 16 October 8:30pm - 9:00pm C4
1.4M viewers, 6.2% Audience Share

Radio Times:
5/6 - Cumbria
Series following award-winning cook Thomasina Miers and adventurer Guy Grieve as they search for the best wild food in Britain, turning seasonal food into sumptuous feasts. On the menu today are shrimp, flounder and... squirrel.

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

BBC: Virtual voyage of discovery down to the Titanic

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A lovely, user-friendly BBC website, video and flash rich and quite similar to the Planet Earth player in functionality.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/northernireland/titanic/

YouTube and the Great Copyright Challenge

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Where there's a will there's a way! Like with the DRM of the BBC iPlayer (the code which causes iPlayer programmes to self-destruct after 30 days), which was cracked recently - you can pay people loads'a money to write code to protect your content, but there will always be the techies who are much more willing to spend longer trying to hack it, simply for the pleasure of beating the big boys (and besides it's much easier to break code than to write it). What's more the continued rise in the use of Peer-2-Peer means that anything can be shared with anyone, irrespective of the legality, and this seems to be particularly ubiquitous amongst University students. Nether-the-less organisations such as Google and the BBC must be "seen" to be making an effort and today Google announced its latest strategy...

In Broadcast today:
Google has unveiled widely-anticipated technology to stop illicit access to copyrighted material on its YouTube video-sharing service. The technology identifies content owned by media companies and can dictate its usage on YouTube.

However, it cannot pre-empt the posting of content, leaving the work of identifying it up to content owners. Google has been dogged by copyright issues since it acquired YouTube for $1.65 billion in October 2006. MTV parent company Viacom launched a lawsuit against Google earlier this year for what it called "massive" copyright infringement.

The technology requires copyright owners to first upload their content to a Google database before it is broken down into data points and analyzed. Any matching versions that get posted will then be automatically flagged. Viacom general counsel Michael Fricklas said the company was "delighted that Google appears to be stepping up to its responsibility".
However, it is unclear whether Viacom will still pursue Google for damages related to past infringements.

Google's $1 billion lawsuit includes actions brought from the English Premier League, Rugby Football League, the Finnish Football League Association, author Daniel Quinn and music publisher Bourne & Co.

BBC joins forces with Adobe

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Iv'e been editing graphics and video for years using Adobe products and I must say that I find them as robust and adaptable as any apple product. Editing with Premiere offers as much functionality as FCP (for my needs at least).

Earlier today Adobe issued a press release that "New Adobe Video Tools Selected for Creative Desktop Initiative" and on the front page of the BBC intranet "Gateway" we read "Adobe and Cloud deals set to enhance iPlayer".

Adobe to enhance iPlayer
BBC iPlayer will be available on Mac and Linux computers for the first time by the end of the year after the BBC announced an agreement with Adobe to use its Flash player software. The BBC is also set to become the first UK broadcaster to have all of its online content made freely available via Wi-Fi, after agreeing a non-exclusive venture with The Cloud, the UK’s largest provider of ‘hotspots’.

The iPlayer enables viewers to download and view around 400 hours of tv content from the last seven days and store them for up to 30 days. Following a ‘soft launch’ in July it generated some half a million downloads from a quarter of a million registered users in its first five weeks. With user numbers rising steadily, FM&T director Ashley Highfield has set up a full consumer marketing launch in December to coincide with the arrival of streaming. Mac and Linux users, however, will not be able to download programmes and Highfield said he did not yet know whether there would be sufficient users to justify investing in the functionality.

The iPlayer’s growth will continue next month when it will be embedded into the Daily Telegraph’s website allowing users to click on any BBC programmes mentioned and be taken to the iPlayer to download them. Highfield said it would be the first of a host of ‘deep embedded relationships’ with listings providers and tv and radio sites. The BBC also hopes to set up an iPlayer trial in a small number of Virgin Media homes before the end of the year with a view to launching a full cable service early next year.


New Adobe Video Tools selected for BBC Creative Desktop
"Adobe Systems Incorporated today announced that the BBC, through its technology partner Siemens, has selected Adobe® Creative Suite® 3 Production Premium as its preferred solution for PC-based non-linear editing and post-production. Production Premium CS3 is Adobes complete integrated post-production solution for video, audio, graphics and Web publishing that will be used to edit and deliver content across the Corporations broadcast channels and Web sites."

The move will support the BBCs Creative Desktop Initiative, in which the BBC aims to standardize on leading tools in an effort to improve workflow efficiency, create a tapeless environment and reduce costs. Beginning in April 2007, it will start rolling out Adobe Premiere® Pro CS2 to PC users within the organization, allowing them to take advantage of the powerful non-linear editing tool...The BBC will implement a phased approach over the coming year, with an expected initial deployment of 150 workstations.

Read the full Adobe press release here

Nigel Marven's Shark Island

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(1/5) Monday October 15th, 19.15, C5
0.7M viewers, 3.1% Audience Share

Radio Times:
Naturalist Nigel Marven travels to Cocos, a remote, spectacular Pacific atoll that inspired Stevenson's classic 'Treasure Island' and is rumoured to be the location of buried pirate gold. It also holds another secret: it is home to more sharks than any other place on Earth, including hammerheads that converge there in huge numbers. Nigel Marven is determined to find out why.

TV Throng:
Returning to Five for a brand new series of natural-history adventures, wildlife expert Nigel Marven heads off to an uninhabited Pacific island where it is said that there are more sharks than anywhere else on earth.

Intrigued by these top predators since he was a child, Nigel travels to Cocos Island –an atoll near the coast of Costa Rica –where he has four weeks to discover why there is such a great concentration of sharks in the area. To do so, he employs a dive boat with a specialist crew and a selection of equipment, including a state-of-the-art miniature submarine which can go 400 metres down for up to four hours – and will open up a whole new world to Nigel on his adventures.

Nigel is particularly interested in the mysterious hammerhead sharks that come to Cocos in great numbers, and is fascinated by the diversity of sharks around the island. In attempting to unravel the mysteries of Shark Island, Nigel has numerous close encounters with other animals above and below the surface, including the unique Cocos goby – a tiny fish that has evolved to live in freshwater and climb the island’s vast waterfalls to reach a utopia free of predators and competition.

Thursday, 11 October 2007

The Nature of Britain: Coastal Britain

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Wednesday, October 10th, 21.00 C4
4.9M viewers (Slot Average 4.5M), 21% Audience Share

BBC Online:
Alan Titchmarsh makes an epic journey across the length and breadth of the country to explore the huge diversity of wildlife in The Nature Of Britain. The eight-part series, which can be seen this October on BBC One, is the first comprehensive portrait of the links between Britain's plants, animals and the places where we live for over 20 years and a first for the channel.
Using the very latest in filming technology, such as ultra-high speed cameras and the heli-gimbal camera mount which gives rock-steady aerial shots, The Nature Of Britain brings many TV exclusives to our screens.

These include killer whales hunting seals off Shetland, the underwater courtship behaviour of the pike, a honey buzzard raiding wasps' nests and otters in the River Tyne right in the centre of Newcastle. The ambitious series, made by the world-renowned BBC Natural History Unit and co-produced by The Open University, also celebrates the uniqueness of British wildlife – from magnificent boxing hares to bizarre dung beetles; and from tiny harvest mice to mighty golden eagles.

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

BBC "How we built Britain" and the amazing Microsoft Photosynth

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Microsoft's Photosynth is a very exciting application being developed by Microsoft. I have been eagerly awaiting them to complete their technical trial for months so I can have a play!

How Microsoft describes Photosynth:
"Our software takes a large collection of photos of a place or an object, analyzes them for similarities, and displays them in a reconstructed three-dimensional space.

With Photosynth you can:
* Walk or fly through a scene to see photos from any angle.
* Seamlessly zoom in or out of a photo whether it's megapixels or gigapixels in size.
* See where pictures were taken in relation to one another.
* Find similar photos to the one you're currently viewing.
* Send a collection - or a particular view of one - to a friend.

See a video tour of the photosynth here

How We Built Britain
The BBC managed to jump into bed with Microsoft very early on for the online proposition of “How we built Britain”. The website which accompanies the TV series takes thousands of images from tourists submitted to flickr, to build a three-dimensional panorama that you can pan and zoom into.

You can still upload pictures to Flickr to join in.

Visit the website to view some of the first Photosynthed images here.

The site includes a wide range of modern and classical buildings from around the country, everything from the Royal Crescent in Bath to the Blackpool Ballroom. Photosynth for the first time allows photography to really capture the scale of a location and reflect the true magnificence of some of our greatest buildings.

The next time you visit a National Trust property remember to snap like crazy so you too can make the best of Photosynth.
I might just need to get myself a few more memory cards.

- Paul Williams

A new age Viking Ship adventure

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The timewatch website is following a Viking Ship expedition, with daily video, text and photos sent from the sea: www.bbc.co.uk/vikingship

They used a Thuraya DSL satellite system which, although geographically limited, worked pretty well and has the advantage of unlimited upload for a fixed fee.

Also see their interactive (google maps based) map on the external website. They did hope to incorporate this within the BBC site but the BBC testing procedures prevented this from happening on time.

Meet the Natives

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Thursday, October 4th, 21.00 C4
1.6M viewers, 7.3% Audience Share

Radio Times: 2/3
Second in a three-part series which turns the tradition of anthropological observation on its head as five tribesmen from Vanuatu travel 10,000 miles to encounter the 'three tribes' of Britain - the working, middle and upper class - for the very first time. The five travellers arrive in Manchester and are amazed by the first city they have ever seen. They are saddened by seeing homeless people sleeping rough and cannot understand why such a wealthy city cannot house all its people.



Monday, 8 October 2007

Nick Baker's Weird Creatures: The Human Fish

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Friday, October 5th, 21.00 C5
0.7M viewers, 3.3% Audience Share

Radio Times:
Wildlife documentary series in which naturalist Nick Baker hunts down some of the strangest creatures on the planet. Nick's quest takes him to Slovenia in search of a bizarre, sightless salamander. He descends deep into the mountains to find the proteus or olm, dubbed the 'human fish' because its skin resembles human flesh. Nick camps underground for three days in an attempt to experience this light-deprived world and the effect it has had on the olm's evolution.

Nature of Britain: Programme 1: Island Britain

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Weds 10th October, 9pm BBC 1

The definitive landmark television series on Britain’s wildlife: A contemporary portrait of the most celebrated, watched and best-loved wild creatures in the world.

Join Alan Titchmarsh on a journey of discovery through eight key British landscapes,
as he tells the stories of the surprising relationships between the land and the creatures that live there, and pieces together the puzzle of what lives where – and why!

In the first episode of this landmark series on Britain's wildlife Alan Titchmarsh travels from the top of the British Isles to the bottom, to discover what makes our island home and its wild creatures so special.

From boxing hares to blonde hedgehogs, swirling starlings to swooping seabirds, and fighting seals to leaping dolphins Britain's rich natural heritage is full of wonder, spectacle and surprise.


Credits
Producer: Chris Cole
Series Producer: Stephen Moss

Friday, 5 October 2007

A Natural World Special: One Hundred Years of Wildlife Films

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Saturday 6th October, 8.30pm BBC 2 (Previously aired on BBC4)

'100 years of Wildlife Films, was perhaps the most fascinating piece of television I have watched this year...' Euan Ferguson - The Observer 02.09.07

In this two-hour special (which has been previously shown on BBC4), Bill Oddie highlights the passionate, eccentric and pioneering individuals who have often risked life and limb to break new boundaries in wildlife films.He charts the extraordinary changes in technology that have driven the industry forward, and he reveals how the last hundred years of wildlife films has as much to do with our social attitudes as it has to do with the animals themselves.In 1907, a flickering film about birds enthralled a cinema audience in Britain. In the hundred years that followed, wildlife films have taken us to places and revealed images we would otherwise never have seen.With stunning, exciting and sometimes shocking footage, Bill Oddie explores the changing trends throughout the last century, from shooting animals for fun in the 1930's to campaigning to save them from extinction today.

Credits
Camera: Mark Macewen
Produced/Directed: Clare Brook

Wednesday, 3 October 2007

Multiplatform stuff to consider when planning an expedition

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Depending on the length and remoteness of your expedition I would suggest that the best way for your to proceed would be to have someone at base who you can upload packets of information to, using a sat uplink, as the year progresses. I'm actually looking into doing a similar sort of thing from the Arctic and Antarctic - even more logistically challenging, and using Iridium Modems and Begans to get the data across. Assemble your clips, text etc, in the field and uplink these packages in the evenings to base, who can then do the final posting, youtube uploading, Google File generating etc. They can also monitor comments from visitors to the site.

LONG WAY DOWN
You might want to check out Long Way Down, a Ewan McGreggor Project: www.bbc.co.uk/longwaydown and http://www.longwaydown.com/ to see how they did it. Which was similar to how you propose, They used 3G whilst in Europe but from most of Africa they uploaded to base with a Satlink.

I was at a talk about their project and they said the following: Web content/podcasts were "little moments of fun" mostly recorded on Mobile phone but also DV shot. 3G sent direct within Europe – Africa has no coverage, so satphone was used there. They sent in daily reports from the road - 115 clips in the 85 day expedition, 30-60 seconds each. Daily, or regular updates is very important to maintain an audience. They produced what is known as "Mashable content" allowing people to take bits away and embed on their own websites. Cycling websites etc and sites that were doing similar journeys. This allowed the word to spread about their project.


SUBSCRIBERS, PODCASTS & YOUTUBE
I would also set up an RSS feed so you can have subscribers to your blog and create a video/audio cast for iTunes. Youtube is an easy and free way to create a subscribable channel too. Photoblogs are very popular - using a service like Flickr or Panaramio, and along with Geotagging (see below) you could get the best out of these sites and see your photos on their map interfaces.

You might also want to consider tapping into the social network groups, namely Bebo, Myspace and Facebook - Bebo is about to break into the media market with the launch of a teen drama (Kate Modern)

I have written a quick guide on how to create a podcast here:


GEOTAGGING & GOOGLE EARTH
If you going to be travelling around much I would strongly urge to get into geotagging. We cannot underestimate how important this will be in the future, and how exciting it is at present. Ashley Highfield, director of BBC Future Media & Tech, said as much at the BBC Vision Multiplatform day.

Read my article about a little gadget that I use - cheap, easy and very effective. From this you can create a Geotrack which can be viewed on Google Earth (or any other global interface) as in the image below (you can also embed video and audio) - puts your media in a geographical context.


Also see why I think Geotagging is the next big thing.
And Geoblogging (put your blogs in a geographical context)

Not only does Geotagging put media and place together but it also allows you the capacity to leave "virtual graffiti" so people can access media about a location when they are at the location - using the power of Wifi or mobile internet. (see the mscapers project by HP).
Hope that helps,
Paul Williams

The Wild Gourmets

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Tuesday 2nd October, 20.30, C4
1.5M viewers, 6.6% Audience Share

Radio Times: 3/6 - Wales
Series following award-winning cook Thomasina Miers and adventurer Guy Grieve as they search for the best wild food in Britain, turning seasonal food into sumptuous feasts. This week the pair head for Wales, catching eels in the mouth of the Severn, preparing traditional Welsh laverbread and sampling the unique salt marsh lamb.


Monday, 1 October 2007

Up Close and Dangerous

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Friday 28th September, 20.00, C5
0.7M viewers, 3% Audience Share

Radio Times: 4/4
Documentary featuring top wildlife filmmakers who share their most hair-raising encounters with the natural world. A cameraman is stranded on an iceflow with a hungry polar bear. A ball of sardines acting as bait prevents a cameraman from seeing a hunting shark until it is almost too late; and a defensive gorilla charges a scientist.

Philips 3-D TV

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At the BBC Vision Multiplatform day last week the chaps at Kingswood Warren (the BBC's technological R&D dept) had a Philips 3D TV on display.

This is one of the coolest things I have ever seen, I was captivated and drooling - when can I have one? Apparently i'll have to wait 10 years before they are widespread in UK homes.

I have been playing around with 3D images and video quite a lot recently but this was something else. No 3D glasses required, no shutter glasses required, it was like I could reach in and touch what I was seeing. Like the TV was a window into another, and very real, world.

It works by splitting the light emitting from the screen so that the image reaching the left eye is slighting different to that reaching the right eye - stereoscopic. You have to be in the right spot (one of 8 viewing positions around the TV) to have the image correctly reach the eyes as stereoscopic, otherwise the image is a little blurry.

See the video below for a more complete explanation about this incredible technology:



Broadcasters should seriously reconsider 3D content – it looks like it is coming back in a much more dynamic way. First with video glasses, and then full 3D TVs, being spearheaded by computer gaming and 3D screens for computers.
- Paul Williams

Kameraflage for Hidden Interactivity

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Hide another layer of content directly in the video layer. Hidden messages that you cannot see with the naked eye bt which people can access by taking still photographs of the TV screen (or as is currently in development, eye wear that allows the wearer to see the messages). This could provide an opportunity for interactivity - allowing viewers to see "secret messages" or collect clues for an alternate reality game connected to the TV programme. The messages hidden behind the video in a particular sequence or part of the programme.

http://kameraflage.com/

Tuesday, 25 September 2007

Nature's Calendar

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Monday 24th September, 18.30, BBC2
1.3M viewers, 6.6% Audience Share

Radio Times:
Autumn: Walking
Documentary series. A guide to the best places in Britain to see wildlife this autumn. Chris Packham visits the Galloway Forest in Scotland, where red deer, red squirrels and red kite are on the itinerary. Sanjida O'Connell listens to some bizarre autumnal screams in Lancashire. And Janet Sumner goes on the Stiperstones Stomp in Shropshire.

Monday, 17 September 2007

Up Close and Dangerous

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Friday 14th September, 8pm C5
0.6M viewers, 2.9% Audience Share

Radio Times:
Documentary featuring top wildlife filmmakers who share their most hair-raising encounters with the natural world. In this programme, a furious buffalo charges a camerawoman; a chimpanzee asserts his dominance in an attack, a reef shark tests the nerves of a diver, a leopard grabs onto a director's leg and a killer whale almost mistakes a cameraman for its favourite snack - a seal.

Thursday, 13 September 2007

Light Saber Wii Remote

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This is just the coolest thing -I just had to post this to my blog too. I know some of my friends (some of which already have life size light sabers) will be drooling when they hear of this!

During a demonstration of LucasArts latest Star Wars video game - LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga for Wii, there was news that slipped of perhaps a motion-sensitive lightsaber action Wii remote in the offing. Could it be that gamers all over the world will be able to take their jedi fantasy up a new notch in the future? Lucas Arts has already admitted that internally, they’ve tested the possibilities. And this would seem like a natural step in the development process for Lucas Arts, who are currently engadged in creating an all lightsaber battle game for their faithful who will buy just about anything with the Star Wars logo on it.

Course, one could just take one of those cheap $7 Hasbro lightsabers and modify it by incorporating the Wii remote into it. I bet someone started working on that about 5 minutes after the Wii was released. It’s already been hacked for PC versions by the same guy who created iSaber for the MAC. But wouldn’t it be cool to have a WiiSaber to take on Darth Vader? Talk about “if you build it, they will come.” Just don’t go on some “damn fool idealistic crusade” once they do.

LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga is due for release on the Wii, Nintendo DS, Playstation 3 and Xbox 360, and comes out on November 7 – just in time for Christmas.

From: Adele Chaplin Published: 13 Sep 2007, Newsbytes

Outrageous Wasters

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Tuesday 11th September, 7.30pm BBC3
258,000 viewers, 1.38% Audience Share

Radio Times:
Series in which a team of eco-experts are on a mission to transform Britain's most wasteful households. The Withey family from Aylesbury are packed off to purpose-built eco boot camp House of Correction, where they're forced to face up to the impact of their careless ways and learn to live a carbon neutral lifestyle. While they're away, their home undergoes a radical eco-makeover, designed to shock them into changing their ways on their return.

Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Convert almost anything to anything

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Zamzar is dedicated to helping you transform your songs, videos, images and documents into different formats. Our mission is: "To provide high quality file conversion for as many file formats as possible"

We are intent on bringing order to your filesystem by offering you a one stop solution for all your file conversion needs. Like others we were fed up with having files in all sorts of formats, and no easy way of converting between them - the quest to find a better way led to the birth of Zamzar.

Apple launches radio tagging system

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From Broadcast (7 September) by Yvette Mackenzie

Apple has unveiled new technology that enables US high definition radio listeners to "tag" songs that they hear on FM stations for subsequent purchase via iTunes. iTunes Tagging technology, which was developed by Apple in conjunction with iBiquity Digital and major US radio broadcasting groups, was unveiled across the US this week together with the latest iPods.
Apple vice president of iPod product marketing Greg Joswiak said: "When a song plays on your HD Radio that you like, a simple push of a button will tag it and later give you the chance to preview, purchase, and enjoy it with iTunes and your iPod."

The US initiative follows a similar scheme in the UK put together by UBC Media. The Cliq service displays the tracks playing on the radio and allows consumers to buy them immediately.
Cliq is available on new DAB radio sets and also via Java enabled mobile phones. UBC Media chief executive Simon Cole welcomed the introduction of the iPod tag service:
"This is great news for us and for the digital radio industry globally.

"Importantly, it confirms our very strong and long-held belief that radio has a huge part to play in the future of digital music sales and that those sales represent new revenue opportunities for radio".

The Cosmos: A Beginner's Guide

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Tuesday 11th September, 7.30pm BBC2
1.4M viewers, 6.9% Audience Share

Radio Times:
Is there another Earth? Adam Hart-Davis is on the summit of La Palma in the Canary Islands, searching for planets around other suns. He discovers how it is possible to find planets too small to see, and tells the story of how the first ever planet outside our solar system was found - an event that rocked the world of astronomy. Janet Sumner visits the Virtual Planetary Laboratory, where they invent inhabited planets so that astronomers know what to look for.

Thursday, 6 September 2007

2D to 3D photos - & an easy way to create true 3D images

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I was playing around with different ways to create 3D content for my new Video glasses and I came across this software Digital 3D Photos - one of the coolest and easiest piece of software that i've played around with in a long time. It turns a 2D image to a virtual 3D image (so long as you have the 3D glasses or video goggles - the video glasses provides a much clearer and less dizzying image as it eliminates the haze of red and green that is associated with wearing the R&G 3D glasses) - see images below.
















I also came across a neat little camera attachment that can help you make true 3D images - Photo 3-D. This is Simply a little base plate that you use to move your camera from left to right quickly while taking 2 photos. You then import these two images as left and right stereoscopic stills into the software and hey presto a picture you can almost jump in to.

TV Goggles, 3D Video and Augmented Reality

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I was recently at the Edinburgh TV Festival and from this it seems alternate realities, anything to do with GPS/Geo, and 3D video glasses are the next big multiplatform thing.

Video Glasses
I won a pair of the video glasses at the festival and they are amazing http://www.icuiti.com/ They give a "virtual 72 inch feeling" like watching a big TV for a few metres away - so your eyes focus into the distance. Based on military technology they don't appear to strain the eyes and I've been watching the girls aloud videos for the past few weeks... on the bus, on the beach - they are great. I've also connected them to my PC when playing games like Doom3 and they really provide for a more immersive gaming experience.

Because they operate on two screens they have the capacity to deliver 3d stereoscopic content and also allow an added level of interactivity with augmented reality - several companies are selling these video glasses in the states and Asia and they are just about to be launched in a big way in the UK. I wouldn't be suprised if they became as popular as ipods during the next couple of years - particularly as they can take your mini-ipod screen and turn it into a virtual 72inch TV screen (I used my video specs with my archos but I can also connect it to my DV cam and get a live feed).

These extend the potential for delivering natural history in 3D, really allowing landscapes and animal behaviour come alive to the viewer like never before. What's more, as was being preached by Vint Cerf from Google at the TV festival, delivery of video over the web trhough services like the iPlayer allows for multiple layers of content and data to be delivered and hidden behind the video - each layer activated by different technologies, or methods of viewing.

3D Filming
The age of digital media has allowed for a development of products which can take 2D material and convert it to virtual 3D. IMAX and Warner Brothers did exactly this with Superman Returns in 2006 with 20 minutes of 3-D images converted from the 2-D original digital footage, and George Lucas has announced that he may re-release his Star Wars films in 3-D. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix was also released in IMAX theatres with 20 minutes of 3-D content.

James Cameron is planning to shoot his new films Avatar and Battle Angel (planned for released in 2009) in digital 3-D. Filming will use HDTV cameras and the Sony Fusion Camera system.



21st Century 3D provide the worlds smallest and lightest, HI-DEF, stereoscopic 3D camera system and they have just announced the released of 3DVX–H and 3D-SSR which are solid state stereoscopic recorders. http://www.21stcentury3d.com/



The 3DVX–H is particularly useful for long-shot natural history as it had a "modular hyperstereoscopic camera system" that allows maintains a strong stereoscopic 3D effect and high quality at long distances. "With ordinary camera separation, discernable stereoscopy diminishes as the camera’s distance from the subject increases. The 3DVX–H compensates for this by allowing users to increase the interoccular distance to as much as three feet or more."

Augmented Reality
I am going to be playing around with this - the way I see it working is if you strap a webcam to your forehead with the image playing through an augmented reality application and into the goggles you can create the illusion of projecting virtual 3d graphics into the real world whch you can then interact with. Cool!!











Wednesday, 5 September 2007

Stranded in Grizzly Country

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Saturday 1st September, C4, 8pm
1.3 M Viewers, 6.1% Audience Share

Radio Times:
The reliable Alive strand ends with the tale of Blake Stanfield and his father Neil, whose rafting holiday on an Alaskan river hits a snag when they slam into an ice shelf and lose the raft. It's almost as if they're trying to get into a gripping Saturday-night drama doc: they haven't got a radio or a phone, Neil's 65 with a dodgy ankle, the place is bristling with bears, and there's nobody else about because the rafting season hasn't started yet. (It hasn't started yet because everyone else is waiting for the ice shelves to melt.) As Blake decides whether to stick with his ailing dad or risk hiking 60 miles for help, we're treated to the usual suspense, terror, relief and tears in that order, as superb narrator Zam Baring outlines a series of outrageous misfortunes with understated relish.

Attenborough Explores Our World

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Monday 3rd September, UKTV Documentary, 2/6pm

UKTV Online:
Attenborough Explores... Our Fragile World
In an exclusive TV premiere, Sir David returns to UKTV Documentary in Attenborough Explores... Our Fragile World, a documentary looking at the impact of climate change in the UK.


Our planet is the hottest it has been since records began - and it's getting hotter. Many predictions have been made about the future fate of a warming planet and its wildlife but, Attenborough Explores... Our Fragile World takes a look at the impact on the animals and habitats affected today. Global warming isn't a future phenomenon - it is happening right now. Sir David Attenborough said, "We are heading for a great worsening of the conditions of this planet for life of all kinds and I have no doubt whatsoever of the cause, which is the by-products of humanity's activities, and that therefore we should be curbing them." The United Kingdom offers unique insights into the effects of climate change on our planet. It has a long history of nature observations - particularly the timing of seasonal events such as flowering and bird nesting. So, with the UK as his platform, Sir David Attenborough takes a look at the effect of global warming, both local and global.

Outrageous Wasters

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Tuesday 4th September, BBC3, 9pm
197,000 viewers, 1.06% Audience Share

Radio Times
Series in which a team of eco-experts are on a mission to transform Britain's most wasteful households. The Buchanan family from Glasgow are packed off to purpose-built eco boot camp House of Correction, where they're forced to face up to the impact of their wasteful ways and learn to live a carbon neutral lifestyle. While they're away, their home undergoes a radical eco-makeover, designed to shock them into changing their ways on their return.