Our Family is Growing

We our very pleased to announce that our family has grown!!!  We have a few new additions to add to the Hargreave / Yearwood team, on top of our wonderful crew of educational and tech based contractors.

The first new addition to the family is Liz Kearsley, a photographer and journalist hailing from the UK. Liz has already been a nominee in an international photography contest since she joined our ranks and has had a few rather amusing introductions to Canadian culture, having joined us in Yorkton, Saskatchewan, to help tell the Yorkton Film Festival’s story interactively.

3 of our new team members: Bronwyn, Liz and Alyzee

Shortly after Liz’s arrival, we had twins!  No, really we welcomed two new interns from UBC’s English Department, Alyzee Lakhani and Bronwyn Malloy.  Both have been a welcome addition to the team.  They have been getting their feet wet writing on the Yorkton Film Festival Blog and helping Emme Rogers out with her prose.  Currently they are busy developing a tween and teen friendly character for Erica Hargreave to talk about in the classroom, and they will be assisting Erica this summer with her programs for Capilano University and the Delta School District.

Liz, Alyzee and Bronwyn Playing with Imagery for the Shaw Rocket Fund

Finally, we are very pleased to have Susan Brinton acting as a business advisor to us on some interactive projects that we are building for the future.  With over 20 years experience in film and television, including as an Executive in Charge of Production for CanWest and the Global Television Network, and as a Senior Policy Advisor for Television for both the Canadian Television Fund and Telefilm Canada, Susan’s advice and guidance is absolutely invaluable. We are thrilled to be working with and learning from her.

Photo Editing for the Interactive Audience

Alyzee Lakhani on Spanish Banks beach, shot for Ahimsa Media.

Caption accuracy and editing used to be the main tasks us photographers had to focus on following a shoot.  Today that has all changed.  With a multitude of platforms to display our photographs, most freelancers now have to get to grips with internet distribution too, on sites like photoshelter, flickr and stock agencies.  As a result intelligent and extensive keywording has become a vital tool.

My newspaper background means that I have always been most at home with the new agencies for any sales beyond a newspaper or magazine.  I, like many British press photographers, have many photographs listed with Alamy, yet as my client list widens so do the places I display my work, and with that I have found my workflow techniques evolving.

Everyone has their own process of editing using different software, be it the camera’s e.g. Nikon Browser, professional e.g. Adobe Lightroom or computer based e.g. iphoto.  I use Adobe Lightroom and have found it is a great time saver for multi-use captioning and keywording, as well as embedding photographer information into your images prior to editing.

However it was not until I uploaded our coverage of the 2010 Yorkton Film Festival to flickr that I discovered just how much time can be saved by properly preparing your images.  I’ll use Lightroom processes here as an example, but different software has similar options.

When I open up Lightroom 2 and attach a memory card an option box pops up (see below).  It includes a variety of things you can input for the entire photo batch.  In the local newspaper game each download usually involved several jobs so I wouldn’t fill much of this in, bar my copyright information, (which I have pre-programmed) so I would put in minimal keywording or captioning then download the pictures.

A lightroom screen grab of opening page information

This has recently changed when I realised just how much time can be saved by keywording each image prior to upload and to batch keyword jobs initially. One reason for this is that on flickr you must place quotation marks around each phrase longer than one word to tag or keyword and then a simple space between single words.  Whereas, most other systems use the simple comma to separate phrases.  As a result most of us need to continually remind ourselves to use this method, and it can become awkward when cutting and pasting repeating words.

Whereas, in Lightroom you can place your group keywords in that initial download and then easily add individual words whilst editing.  Take for example the image below:

Screen shot of Adobe Lightroom 2, with keywording options open

On the right hand side of the page the panel gives a variety of keywording options.  You have a list of the keywords already attached to the image (from initial download), then a section to add more, and options for the programme to remember past keywords in groups for you.  It allows you to easily click and add without re-typing.  I tend to keep that option on recent keywords, due to my varying shoots.   Below the keywording panel, is also a keyword list, with ALL your past keywords, which can be handy if you forget spellings. Below this is a section detailing your metadata.  The metadata is crucial picture information: copyright information, caption and shooting data.  This can be edited at either the download section, or within Lightroom. You can also input it in Adobe Photoshop.  (I will explain in a further post the importance of metadata in relation to copyright theft and in particular facebook)

I have found that inputting all of this information into Lightroom significantly speeds up my uploads and keeps my files up to date should I wish to use the photos on a different outlet.  It also means that my contact information stays with my image (bar placing on facebook) so if you wish to upload to various sites you do not need to keep typing the same information.

Embedded information is also very useful should you later wish to put the pictures onto a blog, for example using WordPress.  It can help bring further traffic to the site, because the photos keywords are also added to the SEO of the post.

Exciting Times for Media

Times are a changing in the Media World and we are highly excited by some of the most recent evolutions.   Particularly here in Canada where the new Canadian Media Fund (CMF) has been announced bringing in an experimental element. This is a perfect opportunity for members of the digital media community to get funding and branch out, trying new projects that funds would not have previously been available for.

This is the first year such funding options have existed here in Canada and although the fund’s guidelines are still evolving, it is this open invite for submissions that we feel can allow the creative juices to follow.  The CMF are also widening their view towards the advantages of transmedia storytelling for their more traditional television fund with the convergent program.  This provides exciting opportunities for traditional media to discover new avenues with their storytelling and really have fun with the new challenges and opportunities that the changing landscape of media offers.

In keeping with the times, the Yorkton Film Festival has really embraced the idea of Interactive Storytelling, and has contracted us to help them to tell their online story.  They are rebranding their image, doing a bit of marketing for the festival and the Golden Sheaf Nominees, and acting as a case study example to festival delegates of how interactive tools can be incorporated into their stories.  Way to go Yorkton!  And thank you for inviting us along for the ride!

To follow along on the Yorkton Film Festival’s online story, check them out on:

In keeping with this model of forward thinking and moving towards the future of media, the Yorkton Film Festival is hosting some great workshops on Friday May 28th, 2010 aimed at thinking convergently, including a few with our own Erica Hargreave.  Here is what you can look forward to:

Friday May 28

  • 8.30 am – 9:00 am:  Blast Off – Social Media at the Festival, Ramada Yorkton

A look at telling the Festival’s story using social media and how filmmakers can use this to build the buzz around their productions, with Erica Hargreave.

  • 9:15 am – 10:15 am: Panasonic Workshop and Presentation, Ramada Yorkton

Panasonic Canada presents and discusses the latest Panasonic video cameras and technology, including notes and news on 3D.

  • 10:30 am – 12:00pm:  Let’s Play CanCon Convergence Roulette, Ramada Yorkton

A fun filled game show where panelists compete by trying to adapt new convergent technologies and applications to classic Canadian TV shows. Hosted by Robert Hardy. Panelists Cam Bennett, Trent Haus, Rob Bryanton, Brenton Sawatzky and Erica Hargreave.

  • 2:00 pm – 4:30 pm: Which Way To The Future? Ramada Yorkton

Spend an afternoon with some of the biggest names in the industry, as they try to make sense of and figure out where the rapidly changing screen based media industry is headed. Hosted by Richard Gustin. Panelists Cindy Witten, Daniel Cross, Norm Bolen, Valerie Creighton and Rudy Buttignol.

Saturday May 29th, 2010 at the Yorkton Film Festival hosts some always needed industry staples, putting you face-to-face with the broadcasters, talking finance and actual production, and discovering how to get your proverbial foot in the door.

Saturday May 29

  • 8:30 am – 9:00 am: Blast Off – Social Media at the Festival Part 2, Ramada Yorkton

Explore ways to use social media as a storytelling device on your projects, with Erica Hargreave.

  • 9:15 am – 10:15 am:  Now’s Your Chance, Ramada Yorkton.

Table-hopping group discussions with industry leaders, broadcasters and distributors.  Ask the questions you’ve always wanted answered.  Join industry leaders for straight talking, small group discussions.  A rare honesty that Yorkton offers, unlikely to be found at larger festivals.

  • 10:30 am – 12:00 pm: Oh, Oh! They Said Yes – Now What? Ramada Yorkton

You’ve finally pitched a project that a broadcaster/investor likes enough to make an offer. Join the panel of experts as they share insights and ideas of what has to happen in order to get the proposal into a finished project. Hosted by Joanne McDonald. Panelists Stephen Onda and Peter Raymont.

  • 1:30 pm – 3:00 pm:  My Big Break, Ramada Yorkton.

Five successful Saskatchewan film and television producers discuss their first big “success” and how they found it (or how it found them).  Hosted by Bruce Steele.  Panelists Michael Snook, Jeff Beesley, Dennis Jackson, Melanie Jackson and Anand Ramayya.

Click here to register for this year’s festival.

We hope to see you in Yorkton!

Making Twitter History in Yorkton, Saskatchewan

A very cool thing happened to us at this years Yorkton Film Festival.  We hit the ‘top ten trending twitter topics’!

Festival Social Media Team: Lee, Karen & Tris tweeting away

Festival Social Media Team: Lee, Karen & Tris tweeting away

Now I know what some of you are thinking, so what, we do that all the time at various events here in Vancouver.  Well, what made this hit on the ‘top ten trending twitter topics’ so exciting for both Tris Hussey and myself is that it was the twitter community following along on the Interactive Storytelling Panel conversation from outside of the room that drove us up to the ‘top ten trending twitter topics’.  To the best of Tris’ and my knowledge this had only ever been done with conferences and events from inside the room.  Definitely a twitter first for both Tris and I.

yff09 delegate, Joanne MacDonald, tweeting for the first time.

yff09 delegate, Joanne MacDonald, tweeting for the first time.

To make this even more exciting, this happened whilst one of the main points that we were getting across is that social media is about community and building the community around you. The twitter community demoed this for the festival delegates in real time, as they illustrated to the room how a conversation could go beyond four-walls and those that could not be present could still be a part of the conversation.  The highlight of this for me was not during the panel, but at the awards gala, when @heckofamom could not be present at festival to see her sister, Teresa MacInnes win two Golden Sheaf Awards for ‘Norm’, but she could follow along in real time on twitter and be a part of the night with her parents, brother-in-law and Teresa.  My eyes welled up with tears and I got all choked up when they thanked Tris and I at the end of the evening.

Teresa & her husband, Kent winning the Golden Sheaf for Best of Festival for Norm

Teresa & her husband, Kent winning the Golden Sheaf for Best of Festival for ‘Norm’

Community is also the factor that makes the Yorkton Film Festival so special to me. This Film Festival is a whole community event that the families of Yorkton, Saskatchewan put on for the film community.  The community made us dinner every night for heavens sake.  It was pretty gosh, darn special and I feel incredibly fortunate for having been a part of it.

Members of the Yorkton Red Hat Society at Opening Night

Members of the Yorkton Red Hat Society at Opening Night

An enormous thank you to the twitter community, Yorkton community and yff09 delegates for making this years Yorkton Film Festival so very special to us!

Raising a glass to the following tweeters:

From Outside the Room:

From Inside the Room:

The Yorkton Film Festival Goes Interactive

Most excited to be heading off to the Yorkton Film Festival this week with Tris Hussey (from m2o)  and Emme Rogers.

The three of us, along with locals, Richard Gustin, Karen Brownlee, and Lee Robertson will be demoing Interactive Storytelling to the Festival by telling the Festivals story through tweets, snapping pics, blogging and possibly even shooting a bit of video.  Much of this is very new to both the film world and Saskatchewan, so we will be posting some basic how-to set-up various social media platform posts on Bridging Media.  We will also be talking a fair bit about characters on the web there.  We even did a podcast with @SookieBonTemps (the True Blood character Sookie Stackhouse on Twitter) that you should be able to find there later this week.  For the lighter side of the Festival (or as Emme likes to call them festivities) check out Emme’s posts on Being Emme.

Designed by Mitch Doll

Designed by Mitch Doll

The main highlight of the festival for us is the Interactive Storytelling Panel on Friday May 22 from 1:30 – 4 pm Saskatchewan time, 12:30 – 3 pm PST.  Very excited about this panel as it is all about what I am passionate about – Interactive Storytelling.  We will be talking about building stories and characters interactively with the audience,  using social media tools to effectively tell stories and further your projects, and discuss the future of media.  Joining me on the panel is Richard Gustin (former head storyteller at SCN), Gresham Bradley (Director of On-line Development at e-cast in New Zealand), and Peter Raymont (Executive Producer of the Border).  Emme is also insisting that she’s going to be making an appearance (apparently the lack of an invitation hasn’t dissuaded her) and Tris will be our in the audience online panelist driving the traffic and conversation online along with Lee Robertson and Karen Brownlee.  We are really hoping some of our social media savvy friends from Vancouver and elsewhere will jump into the online conversation during the panel – the tag is #yff09 – as we want to highlight the sort of talent out there that the producers and broadcasters in the room should be bringing on to their projects.  I know for sure that both @SookieBonTemps and @LordLikely are planning on hopping into the conversation.

Stay Tuned for more from Yorkton (mainly on Bridging Media, m2o, A View from the Isle and Being Emme)!