A few weeks back we spoke at the Sheffield Doc Fest. We were invited by Channel 4 to take part in their event, Factual Future: How Technology Will Transform Documentary and Factual Programming.
We talked about the Technology of Motivation, a Digit term for an area of interest we’ve been exploring for a little while. We only had 10 minutes though, giving us just enough time to explain City Peaks, an R&D project that motivates lazy Digit-lift-takers to take the stairs, as well as a couple of other projects that helped illustrate how slick design and smart technology can help change people’s behaviour.
What else happened? Well, apart from being amazed that 4 pints of beer and a large glass of wine can be acquired for £11.20 – you’ve got to love the North – we listened to some really interesting developments from the world of multi-platform commissioning.
First up, Foxes Live. Having attempted (and failed) to hook up Lions with GPS in the African bush, Channel 4 scaled back their ambitions to produce Foxes Live, a sort of location-based Spring Watch. It’s a pretty awesome program which allows viewers to track foxes, tune in for live stream den cams, and upload their sightings. Probably the most interesting thing about it was how successful it was, with the public submitting 36,000 surveys and sightings. At its height the website received 1000 hits a second, which in Channel 4 terms is second only to a Big Brother eviction I congratulated myself on not recognising. Another highlight, and probably an even greater indicator of its success, was the spontaneous creation of fake twitter accounts for some of the foxes. My personal favourite was ‘Margaux the Fox’ who would tweet about taking a **** on Piers Morgan’s rug or shagging a badger.
We also heard about the making of “Where is Gary”, a real time multi-platform documentary created by Jean-Baptiste Dumont. It is an independent project that attempts to track down the conman who swindled Jean-Baptiste out of 100 Euros. Having realised that he was not alone, and that ‘Gary’ bizarrely always used the same name, Jean-Baptiste used the connective power of the internet to find his victims and track him down, regularly publishing his progress via short web only films. Eventually the trail led him to England and, rather uncomfortably, to Gary’s mother. It was fascinating and disturbing and clever.
Last but not least – Blast Theory – a multidisciplinary team of artists and technologists who create interactive experiences. And win lots of awards doing it. The particular project co-founder Matt Adams talked about was “I’d Hide You” a multi-player real world experience/online game with live streaming video. Very cool, check it out.