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Urban Explorers 2008, reviewing the experiment


While waiting for Murcof at the airport we asked Jimmy Edgar if he would like to improvise something on an old Casio keyboard. Recorded on the roof (full recording) of Schiphol (Amsterdam airport / AMS)

The festival was a great success. Exhausting, but really great. During the festival we made around 400 posts on the special microblog.

What worked
Mobile services worked very well. Sending a photo through Mobypicture and directly sending an audio file through Gabcast give a really strong storytelling experience. Twitter messages are like SMS. Great to keep context in the timeline without actually having ‘to produce’ something.

Avatars on Eclectro Live

I think our idea to connect everything you post to an avatar (like Twitter), and make the coverage as personal as possible really helped keeping it clear for our viewers. At least for how much this is possible given the enormous amount of information produced. Organizing it on time gives a very good overview of what was important or special during the festival.

Microblogs are really strong live applications. Afterwards they are less exciting to watch. You can use it as a collection of material where you can search items for articles elsewhere.

The WordPress XMLRPC is wonderful. From the 400 posts we have published almost none of those was made on the website itself. The posts were created using other websites and automatically posted to Eclectro.nl/live. Making publishing really easy.

What didn’t work
Video is difficult. Or at least uploading video is difficult. if you record a video it is still difficult to upload. When we recorded a video in high quality using a mobile phone (N95) the files get easily close to 10 Megabytes. If you want to upload/e-mail these files using UMTS you’re not only giving your battery a hard time, you’re also making it impossible to upload anything else during this process. Wifi often wasn’t available and when it was it was too unstable to upload or e-mail video.

I think services like Qiktv or Seesmic Mobile are interesting because the web-server is recording instead of your camera. Unfortunately those services can’t directly post a recording to a blog, yet.

We used a photo camera for recording video as well. This worked very well, the quality is good and Flickr is a great service for distributing files shorter than 90 seconds. The files recorded with the 8 Megapixel Sony Camera are around a 100 Megabytes. Uploading a 100 Megabytes in size. This requires you (or your laptop) to spend at least a few hours on a restaurant Wifi. Missing out on the festival. In the end we uploaded most files at night or in the morning.

We recorded the interviews on DV camera. This worked perfect, since there is no urge in getting the longer interviews directly on the web.

Two blogs
My idea was to maintain two blogs. The Eclectro blog and the Eclectro Live blog. /Live would be about us, a personal story about how we experienced the festival. The main blog would present interviews and reviews. This was just too much. We simply couldn’t make all this in a weekend and have a good time.

Ideas for live blogging / micro blogging
Op de parkeerplaats
zoom
You need a central spot with a computer and good internet connection. A central spot on the festival where you can empty a camera and upload a batch of files.

Think about what you want to do and if this is possible. Think about how you keep it clear to your audience what they are looking at. Most people don’t know what is happening and they have to understand what it is and why you are publishing. We explained it with a short introduction movie.

A few people asked me to add more structure to the website and make it easier to scan what happened over time. I think we need even more timeline based structure in a next version.

If you are telling a story make sure to tell everything. Tell what you expect and afterwards tell if your expectations were right or wrong. Make returning jokes / running gags. Keep it personal and keep your audience informed.


Jimmy Edgar performing on stage later that day


Hauschka is playing at the Urban Explorers festival 2008, Dordrecht, Netherlands from Wilbert Baan on Vimeo.
Hauschka adds little things like bells, plastic and metal to the piano using tape. A piano mash-up :)

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Experiments Interactive Storytelling Journalism Music Notes

We started!


Inge talks to Greg Haines about why he moved to Berlin and about making a living as an artist.

We started with the Urban Explorers festival live coverage. We are using WordPress as an aggregator for information we publish on several other websites like Flickr, Mobypicture, Seesmic, Vimeo, Ustream, YouTube, Twitter and more.

The next days we will be running around the city of Dordrecht. Everything we do can be followed on the special micro blog. This afternoon we will be picking up two artists at Amsterdam airport. Tonight we sleep in an old squatted villa in the centre of Dordrecht.


Hauschka talks about how he works