The BBC News site offers a number of videos, mostly clips from earlier TV broadcasts. One particular video, Large Solar Flare Captured on Camera, exemplified the quick delivery format popular on the site. The solar flare story was short and to the point with very little substance, and seemed more like a piece to whet the appetite rather than satisfy someone hungry for the story. Also, this story seemed to come out of nowhere, with no links to other relevant material and only a brief explanation of the event (the flare) itself. The piece could have benefitted from interviews with NASA professionals, experts in the field, or even just a glimpse of the reporter detailing the story, as opposed to just voice over. Interviews and additional material may have been featured in the TV broadcast, but a little more could have been done for the web content.
The Guardian seems to put a little more effort into its video material. A mix of editorial types, the Guardian online seems to favour more artistic film styles as well as cut and dry news or how-to videos. Gaddafi’s pipeline a livedraw animation by Peter Blower, exemplifies the Guardian’s inclusion of unique material, lacking from other news sites; the animation is like an editorial/political cartoon come to life.
I set about to learn what customs, traditions and foods were important for Chinese New Year. Being of Western heritage I was relatively unfamiliar with Chinese New Year celebrations, and even though my home town, Montreal has a small ChinaTown I had never visited during New Year. I interviewed my friend and fellow exchange student at Westminster Yumei Lee (or Peggy as we call her), who generously helped provide answers in Cantonese (as she felt more comfortable speaking in her native tongue) and translated her responses into English for use as subtitles. This video is as much Peggy’s as it is mine.
Check out these other Chinese New Year related videos made by yours truly
This short film by Bastien Dubois is fantastic, as it combines several types of animation and really feels like a scrapbook journey through the country. The story gets lost halfway through, but the imagery is so stunning that it takes over the piece. Initially, a character goes on a journey (whether autobiographical or otherwise, I’m not sure) to participate in a ‘turning the dead’ ceremony, but when he arrives some of the graves have already been unearthed. The protagonist’s bus trip as well as the people, the food, drinks (like toka gasy, an alcoholic favorite) and the music are cool to watch as the story jumps from one area to another, flowing seemlessly across the screen. Madagascar, carnet de voyage is nominated in the animated shorts category at this year’s Oscars, and I think it definetely has a shot at winning a statuette.
Today’s thought: if Madagascar looks this good on film, imagine what it looks like in real life!
Late Sunday, AOL announced a merger with online news source Huffington Post. The media coalition has HuffPo president, Arianna Huffington, heading a new media division that will oversee Huffingtion and AOL content. AOL acquired the news blog for a whopping $315 million, the most ever paid for a blog, Arianna announced the merger just 6 hours ago on twitter, but the buzz is already growing.
Oscar season is upon us once again! The nominations came out a few weeks ago and the Academy’s choices are obvious, for the most part; with Black Swan and King’s Speech dominating the competition. Last year’s Oscars, saw changes to the traditional format of the event, most notably the inclusion of more films in the best picture category – in an effort to increase TV viewership. This change, however, seems misguided because having 10 nominees means the ceremony itself is actually longer (with all the interludes throughout the event introducing each film) and considerably more rushed.
Anne Hathaway and James Franco host this year’s Oscars, an interesting choice as neither actor leaps to mind when thinking ‘Oscar host’. Although whenever I think of Oscar host my mind wanders back to the good old days of Billy Crystal…I’m not sure France or Hathaway can pull off a Crystal-esque Oscars, but the hosting has declined in quality over the past few years, so we’ll just have to wait and see what the duo have in store.
My (concise) Oscar predictions:
Black Swan – Best Picture
Colin Firth – Best Actor
Darren Aronofksy – Best Director (Black Swan)
Natalie Portman – Best Actress