BBC Digital Archive Project – Release and Reflect

And so the BBC Archive Project has drawn to a close. The final product from the footage we had been given to use is ready for you to watch:

The BBC had given us an overview into the types of skills that they where looking for from future graduates from The University of Salford. They wanted to assess whether releasing their archived content to students was a worthwhile and meaningful thing to do so, in order to develop the students skills.

When I first heard about the project, I was immensely excited, and was eager to get stuck in and begin being as creative as possible with the material. As in my previous blog posts, we had a number of ideas of things that we could do, however realised that we were very restricted on time. This meant that I was a little over ambitious at first, however we used the ideas generated at that time to inform our final product.

So, what skills have I developed during the course of this project? Well. Where do I begin?  (an appropriate question I am asking whilst typing this!).

Creativity – From the very start of the project, we wanted our message to be strong. We wanted to show how allowing the use of pre-existing content, can be used to create something entirely new and interesting. With this in mind, we designed our video frames based upon overlapping several source videos, using fades along side titling and opacity to blend it all together. We used Adobe Premier in order to slices the videos up and arrange them as we wanted on the screen. We hadn’t had much chance to use this software before, however I had previously done some pretty basic work in it before so it wasn’t all daunting.

Media Literacy – In order for our video to make sense, we had to select the right clips to include. With over 60GB worth of video footage, we had a nice selection to choose from. The most important thing here was making sure we had clips that meant something to one another. We set out to send a message of how content is always influenced by other examples, and so selecting clips that where similar in natures was key. Instead of just telling the viewer about these influences, we wanted to show it and make it much more meaningful.

Thinking Skills – We had a lot of ideas when starting this project, and chosing one we were comfortable with required us to negotiate and debate the pros and cons of each. With the amount of content given to use, planning was everything. During the latter parts of the project, I realised that we wouldn’t be able to fully present our work the way we wanted to, with the given timescale (the ideas as mentioned in my previous BBC archive blog post). Whilst this may have been a slight set back, it was a good judgement call to make, and one i’m glad I made. We focused on the message that we wanted to convey, which was determined from a lookup on the various definitions of “originality”.

Communication – This was a key skill that we used for this project. We wanted to communicate our thoughts on the word “originality” using both audio and visual mediums.

Throughout this project we had documented our ideas in the form of blog posts, and used social media (namely twitter) to share our ideas and thoughts about it. In doing so, we had created a good record of our ideas and our progress. Not only this, but a great deal of time was spent working on this video and since we were working as a team of 2, then we spoke to each other throughout the entire creation. (If only I had £1 for every time we used the phrase “how about” or “what if”, when working on it together!)

Autonomy – Being in a partnership, made life a lot easier in terms of management, however meant that we needed each individually put as much effort in as each other in order for it to work. Throughout the project we’d use Laptops in between class sessions to work on it, and this proved to be a very efficient way of working in the sense that we’d only have to work around 2 peoples prior arrangements, as opposed to perhaps 3 or 4. One of the laptops was used to create our video, whilst the other was used for research and the development of our plan, and browsing the available content to assess its suitability.

Team Work – Team working skills are always essential to any project. Co-operation and collaborative working where key to us settling on an idea we liked, and then to portray that idea in a video. We had to of course make sure that whilst doing so, we were both happy with the ideas put forward. We’d have to revisit certain parts of the video and tweak them quite often, till we both agreed that we were satisfied with the way it looked.

We faced a major setback right at the start of the project, as content we were expecting couldn’t be used due to copyright issues. This was the first time we were forced us to rethink our ideas. However having taken some time out to think about what else we could do, we came together once again and had developed a new plan. This plan however proved to be particularly ambitious given the time we had available, and so we had to rethink once again.

Whilst we faced problems through the project, I am glad that we faced them. It allowed me to engage in a process that would prove very useful later in life being a web developer. Problem solving skills are pretty much a prerequisite for any programmer, and so the experience gathered here gave me a better insight into managing the problems and putting them into workable solutions. It has also allowed me to vastly improve all of the aforementioned set of skills, and so I am taking an incredible amount of experience from this project, that will no doubt prove to be very useful.